Grateful After Sandy

Firefighters in chest high water putting out house fire in my coastal town on the south shore of Long Island during Sandy 10-29-12 Credit: Caryn Jenkin

One of my favorite circa homes in town

Yep, my car is under that tree

My friend  Gail, from high school, posted the following quote on Facebook last week by Albert Clark.  “In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.”  Despite the unusual circumstances that many people have experienced in the Northeast, I am glad, and it has to do with gratitude.

The last two weeks have been challenging but in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy I have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I am grateful that I no longer live in the house on the water that I resided in for eight years that took in three feet of saltwater and debris from the canal.  I am grateful that the big red oak tree on the corner fell on my car and not my house.  Speaking of my house, I am thankful that it didn’t go up in flames during the storm like three homes in my town and the 80 homes in Breezy Point in Queens.  I am grateful that I was only without power for a week compared to those families that still do not have power.  I am thankful that I live in a generous community that has reached out to so many in need which turned into a lesson for my son that didn’t require any traveling.

The first couple of days after the storm, I had no idea about how the storm affected neighboring communities in New York City and New Jersey.  Once the power and cable resumed, I was shocked and saddened when I turned on the television and read stories online.  I quickly realized that many of the places that my son and I visited just this past summer like Coney Island, Atlantic City and Cape May were on the list of the devastated communities.  I also learned that the HMS Bounty, which we boarded on Memorial Day weekend sank in Sandy’s wrath in of all places off the coast of the Outer Banks where we spent a week only two months ago..

The crew of the HMS Bounty was so friendly and made it fun to learn about maritime education.  Fourteen crew members were saved, but sadly Claudene Christian was not saved in time, and neither was the captain, Robin Walbridge.

HMS Bounty in Greenport, New York (the tall ship’s home base) this past May.

These revelations made me pause with sadness, but at the same time, I realized how grateful I was that we were able to experience these places before Sandy erased the historical charm of America’s first and longest boardwalk in Atlantic City or America’s First Amusement Park in Coney Island.  Also, I  am grateful that the crew members that we met on the HMS Bounty are safe after enduring what must have been an unbelievable frightening experience at sea.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk this summer.

Coney Island this past summer – grateful for the memory of such a happy day.

Coney Island after Sandy.  The electronics that made the Wonder Wheel go around sat under water.

I also look forward to Ellis Island and Lady Liberty opening again after repairing the significant storm damage. The Statue of Liberty was illuminated this past Friday offering a beacon of hope to all those that are picking up the pieces of their lives.

Visiting Lady Liberty before she was closed for renovations and from superstorm Sandy.

I pray for all those that were affected by what was

dubbed as the “perfect storm.”

and hope that they still can find something to be grateful about

and once again experience happiness.

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