Return to the Barrier Islands

by Preconceived Noceans

I couldn’t post this yesterday in observance of Thanksgiving. I wanted it to be a happy day for all. But now that its over, I wanted to show people what to be thankful for.

As I watched my grandfather watching the huge claw machine devour and take away all of the furniture, floors, walls, and belongings from our home, my heart broke a little. It was no doubt one of the heaviest moments in my life. “Thats my shit,” said my grandfather as our china cabinet was crushed and lifted into the a dump truck. I felt just as crushed as the china cabinet.

Tuesday morning we finally got the go ahead for residents to return to their homes on the barrier islands. As we drove over the Mantoloking bridge (which was a new inlet after the storm), I couldn’t believe the devastation  Houses were still in the bay, there were maybe 50 houses on the beach and bay by the bridge that were no longer there. As we got to our house, I noticed debris covering our whole yard and a 30 foot boat that had drifted a block or two parked sideways in between our house and our neighbors. When we stepped into the house, the smell of mildew and low tide hung in the damp air. The carpets were still wet from being flooded more than three weeks ago. We spent the next two days completely gutting the bottom floor of our house. New furniture was thrown to the curb, a brand new kitchen that my grandfather worked so hard on to install just a few months ago was ripped out. Complete devastation.

But fortunately for my family, this was their second home. And even better, the house was standing. There are so many families who lost their one and only home and I cannot imagine that feeling of losing everything. My heart and thoughts go out to those people who spent Thanksgiving day in tents or shelters without a home.  I took a drive with my Uncle Paul down to Normandy beach, and the destruction there was incredible. Beach front homes had the oceans literally come through them and blow out the whole foundation and first floor. I had never seen such devastation to such a beautiful and happy place. A group of homes called the Osborne Camps separating our house from my uncles had burned to the ground.

Hoping to get back down soon to get some more footage. Most of these stills were taking through the window as we were driving because it is hard to stop and walk around. The National Guard is doing a wonderful job keeping people safe and I have to respect their requests to stay by your home and not venture into places you don’t belong. Hopefully in the next few weeks the tension loosens and I will have a little more access to acquire better footage and stills.

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