Tag Archives: Sandy

Once a Beach Front home now in the swamp

This home in Union Ave / Front St. in Union Beach was once facing the shore. It has been pushed so far back off the foundation it is in a swamp. It hasn’t been moved since I’ve been there.


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The Time is Here…

At this moment my classmates and I are sitting on the train on our way to the Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region conference in College Park, MD, to present on this project. There has been so much work done to get to this point and it is finally here.

We have learned all about oral history and how to create it. The last two weeks has been spent conducting our interviews and if I was nervous for that I don’t know how to describe my feelings about presenting in front of a large group of people.

As nervous as I am I am just as excited to be able to share our projects and even my own personal experience; even though I am terrified of getting emotional in front of a room of strangers. Sandy may have been months ago, but to me it is like it was yesterday. To this day driving around the neighborhoods I get choked up at how empty it all seems. Every time I hear the sound of rushing water I get a panicked feeling and the memories; of sitting on the stairs watching the water come into the house, come flooding into my head. We were in inches of water in less than five minutes and it wasn’t long before we were staring down at almost four feet of nasty dirty water. We watched as our possessions floated in and out of the rooms and as the furniture was picked up and flipped over in the water. We waited and waited for what seemed like forever for the water to go down and when it did we were left with a mess. I’m still not sure what was more traumatic, sitting in the house watching the water rise and dealing with the mess and loss of possessions or going out and realizing half the town and surrounding communities were gone. Houses were just taken away, ripped right off the foundation.

This is just a glimpse at my experience and I am getting emotional just thinking about it. Tomorrow I will be sharing more information with a number of strangers and I can only hope that my adrenaline will kick in and my brain won’t have time to process the emotion that comes along with the story and trauma.

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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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