While their journey was tearful and filled with sorrow because of the loss of Jeanne’s parents, it was also filled with emotion because of the graveness of need in so many beachfront communities in the surrounding area.
Last week we ran the first part of Mary Anne’s story. This is the second, and most important part of the saga ... because it tells readers how they can help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.Mary Anne recapped her journey for the Boca Beacon.
“Jeanne and I stayed in the condo for four nights without power or hot water. We were able to get firewood and burn many old papers to keep the place reasonably warm. The neighbors with generators let us take hot showers and one couple had us for dinner. Upstairs was dry so we slept up there as she attended to the funeral arrangements and we, along with some family members, cleaned the house and packed up their belongings. Marie was 66 and Walter 89, so there was a lot to go through.
“While I was still in Staten Island, I did have to go out for supplies so I got to see some other parts of the island. I headed for Midland Beach, a place I spent many summers growing up. The city had turned the beach and parking lots and ballfields into staging areas for FEMA, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and armed forces along with FDNY, NYPD and SDNY (sanitation). The fields were turned into a massive pile of garbage so they had somewhere to bring hundreds of households worth of garbage. The side streets on that end of the island were cut off completely with downed power lines, cars strewn everywhere and everything coated in the dark sand from the beach. A huge sinkhole claimed a restaurant across from the beach. The schoolyards were turned into makeshift supply centers and clothes hung from all the fences so people could just walk in and find warm, dry clothing. Many local churches and synagogues set up along the street with cleaning supplies, food and hot drinks. Back in the Great Kills area, there were boats stranded up to 1/4 mile inland, many still attached to their docks. Some streets were closed off because groups of boats got stuck on them. They took chunks out of the second stories of houses as they went past, riding the waves. It was truly a surreal experience.”
When Mary Anne returned home on November 7 it was with mixed emotions. She wanted to stay and help Jeanne, her best friend from childhood. While she had missed her husband and dogs, she knew there was much more work to be done in her friend’s parents’ Staten Island home.
“I just wanted to stay and help Jeanne,” said Mary Anne, “but honestly, the devastation is so vast I wouldn’t even know where to begin to help anyone else.”
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