Friday, November 2, 2012

Take the long way home

Unless you live under a rock, you already know that New Jersey got hit pretty hard with Hurricane Sandy. What you might not know is that I lived there while I was in the Army, and before that I went to the Jersey shore pretty frequently when I was a little girl.

I’ve mentioned before that my father and step-mother lived in Bryn Mawr, PA. We’d head over to Atlantic City or another town on the shore and spend the day playing in the Atlantic Ocean. I remember one drive back when I was about four, a wasp flew in the open window, landed on my knee and stung me. I started to cry and my step-mother hushed me because my brother was napping beside me and she didn’t want him to wake up.

I got stationed at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey when I was 20. I also got married there at the chapel on post. I listened to Supertramp's Breakfast in America album over and over again that first summer as I drove to the shore after work pretty much every day (a 15 minute drive away). I was very close to Long Branch, and Red Bank, too.

New York City took about an hour and every Monday I drove there and took lessons from another oboist who was stationed at Fort Hamilton. At the time, I owned a manual four-speed Civic, and I had a bad habit of keeping my car in second gear as I went through the toll gates on my way to Fort Hamilton. One time, though, I left it in third gear, didn't pull my arm back in fast enough and damn near broke it on the netting on the right side of the coin collector dealie. I had a bad bruise for weeks. Still made it to my lesson though.

This week, I've been reading all the stories out of New Jersey (and New York too) and remembering how it was to live in the area. It's as though part of my younger years has been washed away along with all those houses, the shore, the roads, the bridges, everything is devastated. Fort Monmouth was decommissioned last year, so no one was there for the hurricane. But Monmouth County was hit pretty hard, which makes sense when you look at a map and see exactly how close it is to the ocean. I can't imagine what Sandy Hook looks like now, although I was fascinated by it when I lived there.

I feel for the people who live there and I wish for quick repairs and restorations to all who were affected by this hurricane. 


Joybells said...

A friend of mine and his wife are there now, sorting through what's left of their house. So sad.

Jeanne said...

I was texting a friend who lives in Manalapan, NJ on the night of the hurricane, and she said when she opened her back door, she could smell the ocean. That was interesting, but kind of scary. Now, of course, it's all just dark, wet, and dreary.