Monthly Archives: March 2013

Homemade Video of Port Monmouth during and after Sandy

Rachael E (video owner) personally took this video and images between Lydia and Port Monmouth Road and from Wilson Ave to Main St including Monmouth Ave and Brainard Ave

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Keansburg Amusement Park Ruins

Jesse Herbert, creator of this video, dedicates this video to the town in which she has taught in for years.

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Getting their voices heard…

It is hard to truly express how I am feeling about this entire process. While it was only two months ago that our project was born, it has been an adventure from day one. Not only was I able to meet five interesting and captivating classmates, but also a professor with an impressive resume and a passion for our project. As a resident of Port Monmouth my entire life, I felt a strong connection to Super Storm Sandy. While each of us is learning the process of interviewing and the methods of capturing the oral histories, it has been an enlightening and overwhelming process all at once.  Each classmate offers a different perspective and insight into the project.  Working together every step of the way, we have started down the road of capturing the stories of the Bayshore area residents. Utilizing my connections to my hometown, I have worked to set my classmates up with interviewees.  My family, friends and neighbors have the stories and my classmates and I are able to preserve their voice and include them in history. What we are doing is important and we are aware of how hard and trying this process is, but we are committed to creating an archive. We are committed to preserving the stories of how one day forever impacted the lives of these residents.

On the 21st of March 2013, a meeting was held in Port Monmouth entitled “The Port Monmouth Flood Project”.  Hearing of this meeting, I extended the invitation to my professor and my classmates.  While it was meant to be an informational meeting about a great deal of money allocated to the rebuilding process of Port Monmouth, it did run off track at times with questions and comments from understandably upset and emotional residents.  While it was interesting to experience this meeting as a resident of Port Monmouth my entire life, I found seeing the reactions of my classmates and professor to be more intriguing.  This meeting offered an insight into the raw emotion and anger of the residents and the frustrations they are still feeling as a result of Sandy.

With my professor speaking to the meeting coordinator ahead of time, we were given a few minutes to speak in front of the residents about our project.  With my professor introducing our project and handing the microphone off to me, I was given a chance to not only explain the project but also exhibit my passion for such an important process.  I was received well and even given a round of applause by the residents, with the coordinator remarking about how touching it was to see a young lady have so much to say about capturing history.  As a result of our brief presentation (if you will), we were approached by several residents who wished to be included in our project, offering both their stories and their pictures. It is quite hard to capture the emotion I was feeling as these residents approached me and knowing that I had the power to make their voices heard. I intend to include all of these residents, and whoever else wishes to be involved in our project.  While we have merely started down this road, my classmates and I are committed to our project and will work to make our interviewees heard.

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The Beginning of an Oral History Project

I can say I have lived through three hurricanes while living here in America. Irene had a major impact on our area but not as damaging and devastating as Sandy. When I heard about the oral history project I immediately signed up. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into but I knew it involved people, the hurricane and being a part of documenting it. I got involved in the project because I know Hurricane Sandy had a major impact on the state. Once I got to the class and was told what was expected I was a little apprehensive but still excited nevertheless. Tackling the process of where we should interview was the most intriguing and tedious process at the same time. I know it’s sort of a contradiction but I’m a walking contradiction myself so hey! Anyways, I learned the difference between the Parkway and the Turnpike thanks to my classmates. The second part of creating the grounds for the project was what we are looking for in terms of diversity of the project. I remember finding out that one of my family’s favorite spots (Keansburg) was on the lower socio economic scale whereas, me as a tourist would have never imagined it to be so. Brittany and Mary being from the area contributed a great deal with offering insights about the towns socio economics, those affected by the storm, and other various information as well as compelling stories. So far, I’ve thought the hardest part of the project was coming up with the questions but now I am beginning to think differently as we move into the interviewing stage. My next post will speak about the interviewing process. Keep looking out for more posts!

The first sights of Sandy in my hometown.

This was pretty much the only damage on my block. I live in North Jersey

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Preparing for the Interview Process.

Oral history, like any other discipline has strict guidelines and procedures. As a relative newcomer to oral history, I have more experience analyzing primary sources rather than actually taking part in the creation of those sources. Learning the craft has been a complex yet enlightening experience. A certain level of responsibility comes along with the task of documenting history. To ensure the validity of this documentation, it is important to follow standards that maintain credibility. Working with actual real people adds another level responsibility. When you relive events, especially traumatic events, you also relive how you felt at that time. This brings forth the question, how do you ethically deal with emotional people? Our task as oral historians is to most accurately capture an event in history through transcribing interviews with people who lived through the event. Strong emotional reactions however can change how someone may retell that event. This is why oral history standards are so important: to best create an environment of objectivity. To prepare for this I also took part in this project as an interviewee. Sitting on the other side of table I experienced what participants in this project will go through. It truly does bring out emotion. Our project especially has to focus on this as Hurricane Sandy victims have being through severe trauma. It has been a truly enlightening experience learning how to balance creating an accurate primary historical source, while at the same time doing justice to the stories of Sandy’s disaster victims.

-Arij H. Syed

Reflection

During the Storm I was living in Union Beach and I had family members living in Keansburg, two of the three towns we will be focusing on. While I personally had a traumatic experience, that is a story for a different post.

Last weekend I took a trip to my family’s home in Keansburg and it was depressing to see the shell of a house that is taking forever to fix and even the shell of a town.

What was the kitchen

What was the kitchen. Taken by Brittany Le Strange

This was my families kitchen, the room that took the biggest hit. Walking through the house brought on memories of better times spent with my family. Especially all the times spent in the kitchen baking with my cousin.

After walking through the house we drove through the town and it was like driving through a ghost town. So many houses with the orange stickers symbolizing that they are unlivable.

Destroyed houses in Keansburg, NJ. Taken by Brittany Le Strange

Destroyed houses in Keansburg, NJ. Taken by Brittany Le Strange

 

Taken By Brittany Le Strange

Taken By Brittany Le Strange

These are houses around the corner from my family. This is where the dune broke letting the water rush into the town more rapidly. The houses are all destroyed and empty left abandoned. This is months after the storm and not much has been done. Makes one wonder how long it will be before real progress is made.

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