Thursday, November 8, 2012

Down the Shore...

In New Jersey when you live inland, as we do, and you go to the beach, you say that you are going "down the shore".  People who live there "live down the shore".  When you are there, you are at the beach and if you live there you say you live at the beach...but for the rest of us, it's "down the shore".  And as the song goes, "Down the shore everything's alright".

For New Jerseyans going down the shore brings up thoughts of the ocean, of course, the boardwalks.  There is always this anticipation that happens when you get there...I think it starts in your teens when you go down the shore with your friends just on any old night of the week and there are tons of young people everywhere and the idea that anything can happen--you can fall in love, you can make a friend, you can meet your soul mate, you can drink or hang out under the boardwalk or ride thrill rides on the board walk or just strut your stuff on the board walk, or if you have a cool car you can drive around and show off.  There is this thrill in the air, this excitement, this matter what else is going on in your life, if you grew up here "down the shore everything's alright".

When I was younger we went to Seaside.  After the prom, everyone got rooms in Seaside.  After graduation, everyone rented houses in Seaside.  Seaside was the one town where you only had to be 18 to rent a house, everywhere else you had to be 21.  So, Seaside was filled with young, drunken teenagers.  It was a place of beer thrones and hookups.  It was a 24 hour party 7 days a week.  It was a blast.

Like most people who grew up here, I have so many memories of Seaside Heights.  My favorite ride is the Centrifuge...a Scrambler in the dark with music blaring.  By the end of a week there with friends we would know the people who ran the ride and they would let us make song requests and play whatever we asked for.  We would ride all night.

Seaside was the place to go when I was a kid.  Most New Jerseyans were annoyed at the mockery made of it on that stupid show Jersey Shore and were quick to point out that most of the jerks on that show were not from here at all, but were from Long Island or State Island or someplace else.

When we take the girls to the beach, it is normally to Island Beach State Park, which is just below Seaside Heights.  Island Beach was wiped out.  Several of our neighbors own homes on Long Beach Island, which is just below Island Beach...we have been waiting with them all week as they anxiously wait to hear how their shore houses are.  The police have said they can not check on all of the houses.  We will be accompanying our neighbors to the beach tomorrow to see the damage to their home and help them clean up.

I am so thankful to all of you who have sent messages and called and tweeted to see if we are okay.  We were without power, cable, internet and cell phones for 8 days, but it's mostly all back now.  I think God protected us from the images for a while.  We heard on the radio but we couldn't see it and maybe that was a blessing.

Our town has been amazing.  The police, the DPW, the town officials have really reached out and helped everyone in need with water, ice, hot meals, blankets.

We are thankful to our neighbors who let use their water because we have a well that needs electric to run.  We are thankful to our other neighbors who let us shower at their house when our water heater broke.  As much as this all has been a struggle, there have been priceless times spent playing games or drinking coffee in front of our neighbors' fireplaces; hugs and conversations.  In this day and age so many of us are so busy with our own lives that we don't take the time to really get to know our neighbors.  I was thankful to have that opportunity and that we have such awesome, wonderful neighbors.