I was born and raised in New Jersey, and like many of my fellow New Jersians, I spent most of my childhood summers at the Jeresy Shore in Lavalette, which was close to Seaside. Even my father’s family spent their lives spending time in Lavallette each summer. Our family had stayed in the same house on Washington Street for years and years. There is even a rumor that my great-grandfather died in that house. Whether that is true or not, I may never know, but what I can say about my summers spent in Lavallette is that I formed bonds and memories with my family that I will never quite forget. Hording candy with my cousins from Ben Franklin. Taking breezy night walks on the boardwalk. Riding bikes around the bay. Eating pasta and butter at the kid's table. Putting on the play ‘Peter Pan’ for the adults (I was Tiger Lily). That one storm where my cousin said she fell off the toilet due to the extreme thunder. When my cousins and brothers and I jumped on the beds pretending the floor was lava. Those fights I got in with Kendra, my closest friend in those summers, and making up an hour later. Blasting music from the porch and heckling passerbys (nicely). Selling painted seashells, friendship bracelets, and lemonade in front of the house (We needed to make candy money).
Here is what out house looked like before Sandy hit the shore:
(My cousin Jill in front of the house about a year ago)
And now after:
(Photo from Lavalette's website)
The house that we filled with our memories was relatively spared by the storm. For the rest of the shore, for the people who live there all year long, the people who made their life a part of the shore, Sandy had a devastating effect on them. One of the images that sticks in my mind the most that I’ve seen of the shore is this:
(From Restore the Shore's Facebook Page)
Seaside’s famous boardwalk destroyed by Sandy, and many resident’s livelihoods along with it. It isn’t just about the memories everyone made there- it’s about a cultural aspect of Jersey life, a place where people live and work, and contribute to the state’s economy. People are out of homes and jobs, and trying to do their best to fix what they were left with.
#COMM30Sandy is an online class project for the Media & Society class at Lehigh University, taught by professor Jeremy Littau. You can donate to our campaign at this link, and for more information you can email Prof. Littau at firstname.lastname@example.org.