Not So Sure About the Jersey Shore

This weekend was the first "summer" weekend that I spent at the Jersey Shore.  Have we restored the shore? Well...

Somethings are very much the same.  Like the traffic on the parkway heading home late this afternoon.  Will never understand it.  Backed up, slow down to a snail's pace and then suddenly...boom...we are off doing 65 (or dare I say more)...and then slow down to a snail's pace again for several miles only to see the traffic ease up and back to 65 again.

I went to the beach with my son on Saturday.  It was crowded.  It was hot.  The surf was refreshing...the flies (west wind) not so much.  Despite their annoying bites, it was a lovely and relaxing afternoon.  My son got to build sandcastles and kites (At the Stronger Than The Storm Kits and Castles event in Lavallette) early in the day and got to jump waves and build and destroy more sandcastles in the afternoon (at 4th Avenue in Normandy Beach).  The water was cold, but refreshing.  It was a typical Jersey Shore day...

...Almost.

As "normal" as things are, some are not the same and never will be.

I went for my morning walk.  There were a lot of for sale signs out.  For me, the one that hurt the most was in front of the house of a family friend.  This small, lovely home on Normandy Lake is where my late brother learned to crawl.  It is where the NB1 was docked (the very first registered Sanderling in Normandy Beach).  I know it hurts my friends Linda and Bonnie to have to sale the home that their father bought and their mother so lovingly took care of.  But I understand the costs of renovation is impossible for many.  (I won't even get into the discussion of insurance here...I don't think I have to).  The house may be sold, it may be torn down, but that spot will always hold meaning for me.

I continued onward.  I saw a house raised in the air.  Lifted, as required for flood insurance (which I know many will forgo...even a tiny house may cost over $50,000 just to raise).  The house was high in the air.  It looked like somewhere between 8 and 10 feet.  How could it not stand out among the small homes that surround it.  It may be different elsewhere, but the Jersey Shore I know and love was made up of small houses that were mostly just one story.  With a few bedrooms where you packed as many family members as you could.  Air conditioning was a luxury, but the love and laughter was always in abundance.

Walking, walking...past empty houses.  Sure there were houses with cars on the stones (we don't have driveways...we have stone pebbles in front of the houses where we put as many cars as we can).  But there were more with out.  There were PODS and dumpsters and Johnny On The Spots.  There were empty patches were there once were homes.

I walked the length of Normandy Beach...both bay side and beach side.  The bay and beach are both still beautiful.  But there are houses buried in the sand.  Half houses, partial houses, and dunes that go high in the air.

I spent more summers than I care to count going to the beach on 7th Avenue.  Today, that section, along with 6th Avenue is fenced off.  Further down on 5th there is no gate, but dunes that only a fool would climb (and I am sure that there are plenty who do...not knowing what destruction they have wrought).  I miss 7th Avenue with a vengeance. And the fact that there is only one "open" beach in Normandy (that is only one life guard stand), explains why 4th Avenue was so packed yesterday...although not as packed as you might expect it to be on a hot summer's long holiday weekend.

Businesses are back and running too.  I got my morning coffee fix at Wawa (store 949) and as usual had to wait on line.  But there were only 2 cashiers working and on a "usual" summer weekend there would have been a line with 4 cashiers working.  Lasolas market (http://www.lasolasmarketnj.com/) is open, but there were actually parking spaces in the lot.  The A&P in Ortley Beach is open, but the McDonalds next door is shuttered.

I am thankful that my son will have some sense of normalcy this summer.  The determination of Sherri Paris means that  Marine Science Camp is up and running (http://www.marinesciencecamp.com/).  This will be his third year and he loves it.  In reflection of the destruction of last fall, the camp has added a new topic, severe weather and coastal erosion.  An important topic to say the least, but sadly, one can just look around and still see the results.

So is the Jersey shore back?  Yes...but it will never be the same.




Comments

  1. Glad you got to go...it's going to take time that's for sure. Was the water clear and safe? I'd still worry about debris in the water.

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