by Elle Brown
A year ago today, Kiditude was rendered incapacitated by Hurricane Sandy.
When I emerged from the basement the morning following Superstorm Sandy, I struggled for a few minutes. The sounds throughout the night were scary. I wasn't sure if my house was intact. I was confused at what to look at first. I wasn't sure if it was safe for the children to come up. I sensed the sun was shining. I started to process. I was trying to figure out if it would be like a "snow day" and we'd go back to school and work tomorrow. But, then I reached the window. The shock of what I was seeing, in the bright sunlight, wore off and I quickly realized, it wouldn't be a normal day. It would not be like a "snow day" either. It was going to be something very different. Most unsettling was that I had no past experience to call upon to predict how we would get through this.
Our home suffered a fallen 50-foot pine tree and electrical damage. Streets were impassable by car; blocked by fallen trees and electrical wires. In fact, I couldn't see the blacktop. People were wandering around outside. I never see my neighbors! And, there they all were.
We lived without heat, running water or toilet facilities for over 2 weeks. There was no operational post office, gas station, bank or grocery store. We were left with the money in our pockets (can you say, "Kids' piggy banks") and the canned food in our pantry which included all the #Halloween candy we wouldn't be handing out. We lit matches to a gas stove and boiled potable water we trekked back in buckets from the local firehouse for drinking, washing, and flushing. We lived by daylight, flashlight, and candlelight. And, surviving seemed to make the daylight hours go by very fast. When we could get gas, we operated a small generator to charge our phones for the kids evening entertainment during the pitch dark hours. It was wintery cold from nor'easter Nemo. We slept in one room on the floor with every blanket and pillow we owned to keep us warm. All I can say is thank goodness for the invention of bulk buying when it came to toilet paper and paper towel supplies.
And, we were the lucky ones.
I have friends who are not back homes yet and some who will never be able to return. They've moved on. There are still businesses out of business. There are still schools that are not operational and kids ride buses for an hour to get to another school. People, children, lost and abandoned pets, jobs and the economy are still suffering a year later from Hurricane Sandy. Don't forget the Jersey Shore still needs your help. Donate, volunteer and plan your Jersey Shore summer vacation now. Help #RestoreTheShore!
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