Our hearts go out to everyone in the Tri-State Area. At DrapeStyle we have a very special connection to the area, especially the Jersey Shore where several of us are from and we still spend a great deal of time there. The one important truth that I keep reminding myself us is the resilience of the American People, especially those from New York and New Jersey.
It is easy to forget that hurricanes, major hurricanes are frequent along the Central Atlantic Seaboard. As I child I was a witness to several. I also remember my grandmother showing me photos of the storm that hit Long Beach Island in 1962. My Family has had a home on LBI since the early sixties and in the late fifties my grandfather would often spend weekends in the fall on LBI duck hunting. He was there in 1962 when a storm nearly wiped the island away. Although not considered a hurricane, the storm of 62′ cleared nearly all of the home off the island. Of course, when these homes were built they weren’t built to today’s building codes. Almost none of the houses were built on pilings and most were used as weekend bungalows or hunting cabins. After the storm of 1962 building codes required homes to be built to much higher standards and piling requirements were made code.
Our LBI Home is in Ship Bottom. We’re at the center of the island in a working class neighborhood. Not nearly as popular as Beach Haven and not as cosmopolitan as Love Ladies but it has been our family retreat since the mid-sixties. My father bought the home after we had rented it for a couple summer weekends. The owner just asked if he was interested and after an exchange of about $6,000 our family owned an LBI home. My dad often laughs that, at the time, he had no idea what the house was worth – or that he could have bought a beach front or bay front home for maybe $500 more. Didn’t really matter and still doesn’t. My childhood was spent at that home and most of my happiest memories are there.
Nearly half of a century after after my parents purchased the home it is still as much of a part of my Families DNA than ever before. My children now consider LBI their summer home and although we live on the west coast, not a mile from the beach, they can’t wait until we travel back to LBI every summer. For them, LBI is the beach.
The little shack that we spent the summers in when I was a child was replaced by a new home in the mid-1980’s. The original home that we named “The Aussie” was the “original” LBI Home. What it lacked in amenities it certainly made up for in character. No heat, no air-conditioning and a screen door that I can still hear slapping shut when I think about it. Every inch of that house had memories attached to it. Memories that I hope I never forget.
Time will pass for this disaster and homes will be rebuilt. Neighbors will become closer and communities will thrive.