Thursday, November 8, 2012

We Survive and Rebuild Because We're #JerseyStrong

"Tonight I'm gonna take that ride. Cross the river to the Jersey side... 'Cause down the shore everything's alright." -Tom Waits

At the very worst, Sandy has inconvenienced the DKL family. I use the word "inconvenienced" specifically here because so many others have it dramatically worse. In our house, we lost power for two days.
I had to spend the first two nights of the storm in the city for work. (The whole "news doesn't stop" thing.) When our power came back on, we opened our house to friends and neighbors and hosted a steady stream of people from Thursday to Monday, including a baby shower My Director (aka Wonder Woman) put together.

Currently my commute is, to say the least, annoying. Under normal circumstances, I walk out my door 5 minutes before the bus is expected to be at the corner on which I live. I wait, make small talk with my fellow commuters, and get on without incident and with plenty of seats available. Now, since there are no trains running on the line that moves through my town due to damage from Sandy, the buses are packed. Standing room only. On the first day, it was full and passed me by, even though I go into work at the buttcrack of stupid. So I walk a good mile or so downtown, to a corner where I am ensured I will get on the bus.  I've had to stand two of the days so far. This is a first-world inconvenience of little consequence. Annoying, but insignificant compared to this:

This used to be a parking lot and a boardwalk.
Now it's a mess of nothingness.
An iconic breakfast spot where I've eaten and
several of my friends worked summer jobs.
That is Ortley Beach, NJ. You can click here for an entire album that shows the destruction. Homes and businesses gone. Ortley, just south of Seaside Heights, is where I went to the beach with my friends in high school and college. After school, during the summer, or the rare occasion when we'd skip class, we'd end up here. These aren't just summer homes, folks. Real people live here. Or lived here, I should say.

Peanut's little world has been inconvenienced too. She was officially done with the aforementioned steady stream of visitors. To quote her directly, "I'm tired of play dates. I just want to play in my play room by myself." Part of that is her only-child syndrome. Part of it is having her "normal" shattered over the past ten days as well, as the children of friends and neighbors have gladly invaded her play room daily for warmth and amusement. I try to show her the pictures and explain to her what happened, but I'm not sure she can grasp the magnitude, the significance. I'm not sure she can wrap her 5 year-old head around this:

So I will stick my commuting complaints where they belong. I will chalk up Peanut's lack of concern to her being 5 years-old. I will keep perspective and be thankful that I have such problems to drone on about. After all, my experience is a vacation compared to what one man from my hometown of Toms River, NJ went through. Please take the time to read about and listen to this amazing story of survival and hope.

My family is fortunate to have what we have. To have gone through and be going through the minimal inconvenience we're experiencing. Some others were not so lucky. I hope you see these images, hear the stories, and realize how dire the situation is in some of these places. I have spoken to people down there and it's tough. They are all Jersey Strong, and have vowed to survive and rebuild. But they need help. As I've said before, I've never used this blog as a platform to raise or make money of any kind. But this is unprecedented .

Here is where I am comfortable asking you to donate:

HURRICANE SANDY NJ RELIEF FUND (This was set up by Mary Pat Christie, wife of Gov. Christie. Money goes directly to NJ victims.)

OCEAN COUNTY, NJ (Where I am originally from. The Church of Grace and Peace in my hometown of Toms River, NJ and the Ocean County government set this up for donations directly to that area.)

REBUILD HOBOKEN (My Director and I lived in Hoboken for 10 years and for Peanut's first year. This is where our empire began and it's been decimated.)

Today's post was supposed to include video of me singing Thunder Road at a charity event in Hoboken to raise money for the rebuilding effort there. The snowstorm we had last night prevented us from being able to make it there. I will find a way to sing that song, on video, and post it here on DKL in hopes to raise more money. Stay tuned. And thanks for your generosity.


  1. We had another nor'easter yesterday and today. For us, it was far worse than Sandy. Two foot around trees down all over the place. But because we were not in a "State of Emergency" everything went on as usual.

    I was scared to be outside delivering mail. (Because really, who the Hell wanted their grocery flyer today?)

    And still, it was nothing compared to what you had down there. Nothing. And all everyone kept saying was "This helps put it into prospective. Look at how scary today is/was... imagine what they went through."

  2. Wow ! That story is intense !So glad the guy made it safe. It is a miracle how he did. Thanks for sharing 1 Nice that your family could open your home to those who did not have power. Glad your'e OK through this ordeal Justin and survived the storm ! Sure Peanut is glad to get her room & home back :)!


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