(One in a series of blog posts about a Point Borough family living through Sandy and its aftermath. The previous post has hyperlinks to the other past posts.)
Day 10 Post Sandy:
Well....just when things were showing signs of getting better, Mother Nature threw in a curve ball - a wicked nor'easter. Thanks! Snow is falling all around, temps have dropped and the cold are getting colder. Hope she doesn't have anything left in her arsenal for awhile!
Most kids would be jumping up and down for joy when they saw the first snowfall - "Yippee - a snow day - hope we don't have any school!"...not this time...not even close. For the first time in almost two weeks, today my 12 year old actually said - "I wish we had school"...zoinks! Never thought I would hear those words uttered from his mouth! This whole thing is getting old. The newness has worn off and the reality has really sunken in. Transformer just blew again over by me - somewhere near our town's baseball/soccer fields....homes back into the dark zone :(
Got a frantic call from a friend that lives in the 100 block in Point Beach - "The water is coming again - it's covering my yard!" Just the tone of her voice sent a chill down my spine - fear in its most raw form. I still have power at this point but I think of those who have been rendered homeless, who are sifting through their belongings trying to find memories to hold on to, those who are struggling mentally with the devastation that has been handed to them....life as they know it completely turned upside down.
As I said in an earlier post, I truly wonder how the Katrina victims did it...how they managed to find their way through the darkness and ugliness that monster storms can bring. When the news cameras and media stopped covering their stories, their stories developed more chapters. Many chapters that went unread by most of the nation. I feel as though we are living in our own little Katrina...Life is going on around us in our own state - schools are in session, businesses are up and running, life is "normal". And here we are....
Ironically, prior to all of this mess, in my school, I was teaching my Health lessons to my 1st-3rd graders about Stranger Safety (I'm a Health and PE teacher). I was stressing the importance about NEVER taking things from people they don't know...NEVER talking to people they don't know....they need to tell a grown-up that they know and trust if someone has approached them and has offered them something. It's OK to take candy from strangers on Halloween because their parents are with them.....
What an odd twist on that idea now right? Now we have "strangers" helping others....people that we do not know offering us food, clothing, shelter, flashlights, baby supplies, a warm meal, a hot shower....a shoulder to lean on, words to comfort. I guess I should add a disclaimer to my Halloween rule...."and in times of disaster, it's okay to accept help from strangers."
My son's youth football team, the Golden Elks Pop Warner Unlimited Midgets, was supposed to play in their next round of post season playoffs this week. They were crowned the New Jersey Shore Pop Warner Conference 2012 Champions in their division on the Sunday before Sandy hit - in the wind and rain in Asbury Park. With no power for lights on any of the area Pop Warner fields, we would have to travel an hour northwest to play the next game. Our league takes in kids from Point Boro, Point Beach, Bay Head, Mantoloking, Lavallette and some of Brick. With the hardships that many of our families are facing, we chose not to play in the game - too much strain on the families. We withdrew from the bracket. Because we are not playing in the game, we then will not have the opportunity to play the Maryland Unlimited Champions this coming Sunday in Asbury.
Okay - that's the background and lead up for my next point. Time for some happy news. I received a comment from the Head Coach from the Maryland team expressing their sympathies and congratulating us on our big win. In the same breath, he told me that his team is collecting donations in Maryland and is bringing them up with them on Sunday. They will be playing in Asbury against the team that we aren't able to play. Our team will be meeting up with the Kent County Maryland Spartans and their families prior to their game on Sunday to receive the donations and to thank them for their support. In my eyes, our boys have come out as winners...not able to play but able to gracefully accept help on behalf of their communities.
Strangers helping strangers....there's no "Stranger Danger" in that....just a lot of love and support. Humanity - it's a beautiful thing.
Thankful for small things. Grateful for the help of strangers.