I have many very clear, and very happy memories of growing up on the Jersey Shore. My extended family convened every summer weekend in a tiny bungalow at Seaside Heights. Aunts, uncles, parents, siblings and cousins would claim various corners to sleep in. My cousins and I grew through the stages of sharing outdoor showers to sharing late night secrets and teenage worldviews.
Summer days at the Jersey shore offered the rhythm of predictability. Go to the beach, kill time with whoever was there, read a lot of books, pack up and get back to the house in time to help with dinner. The big event of every weekend was the late night trip to the boardwalk. My brother and I would be given a minimal amount of money with which we could buy tickets for rides and play games in pursuit of that summer’s most coveted stuffed animal.
The Jersey shore is a suitcase full of memories for the may tourists who have experienced it, but it is the lives of the people who built their homes and businesses there. For those people, Hurricane Sandy’s damage is still being felt even as the headlines fade. It’s generally accepted that there will be an emotional cost with the loss of your home and belongings. However, it’s also becoming clear that the financial repercussions will be far-reaching and substantial.
It’s been months since Sandy struck and the recovery is tediously slow. Many homeowners are still unable to enter their homes because the roads have been washed out. Driving through neighborhoods shows orange stickers on the doors of one house after another indicating they are unsafe for occupancy. Parents and children are still in evacuation shelters that have become infested with mice and roaches. Living in public housing means dealing with over flowing toilets, and days without hot water or food. When the electricity goes out the elderly and infirmed are marooned on upper floors of buildings.
It ’s also becoming clear that not all home and business owners will be able to afford the cost to rebuild. The current political landscape in our country, and our highly debated national debt, created a delay in approving federal aid to NJ that was only resolved last week.. This now means the businesses that are the backbone of Jersey shore commerce will not have time to rebuild before this year’s tourist season begins. While these locals will not have their seasonal income, they will also be facing many increased expenses. New building codes will mean higher costs to rebuild homes. Insurance costs will increase due to new flood zone mapping, and taxes are going up. The effort to recover from this disaster is clearly long term.
I got involved in StudioLiveTv.com’s “Fitness for Action” campaign to help these people who are being forgotten in the press and stalled in our political process. I will always feel a connection to the Jersey shore from my childhood and I’m grateful for my memories that survive Sandy’s destruction. These people didn’t only lose their homes and their livelihoods, they lost the foundation of their life. A yoga class can’t rebuild a neighborhood, but it can help reestablish a sense of community.
StudioLiveTv filmed my “Finding the Strength at Your Core” class and has posted it on their site at www.studiolivetv.com/sandyrelief. You can make a donation to the Sandy Relief fund and take this class, or any of the other wonderful classes that were contributed.