Clouds from the Past: My Reflections on Sandy, Gloria and the Jersey Shore

On a suggestion from my cousin Samm, who was in the middle of Sandy’s landfall when it happened, who was without power for weeks, whose sons missed days and days of school and ended up being some of the lucky ones given that some are still without homes, and who, perhaps most importantly of all did some fantastic work in setting up a non-profit called Backpacks for Brick, I’m reblogging this post from last year that I wrote as a sort of helpless feeling response to the utterly heartbreaking and destructive events I watched unfold by remote on my computer screen. It seems fitting given the imminent one year anniversary and the battening down of hatches we’ve been doing in the storm that swept over London and the Southeast last night. I hope it gives some pause for thought.

The American Londoner

I feel confident in saying I grew up on the Jersey Shore. I don’t mean that in the way that many would nor do I mean to offend proper Jerseyans. Anyone who has read this blog much at all knows that I am a de facto Pennsylvanian.

But most and the best of my summer childhood memories are rooted firmly in that area of America. I was born in Northern New Jersey and spent my childhood there. My mother used to take us down to the shore for a couple weeks every summer, leaving my father alone with his annual fortnight of peace to do the tax returns. So we’d stay with my grandmother in an affluent (I perceived it as affluent then and still do) little town called Normandy Beach with a sweet little bay not more than two minutes away and a vast expanse of beach just three…

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