IHS in the Community
After the Storm: Real Life Tales of Hurricane Sandy (Updated)
December 3, 2012Irvington High School
October 29th, 2012 @ 8:53 pm
My mother and I stared at each other. Both scared but neither wanting to admit it. My dad was stuck at his job in New York where all the flooding was happening. My phone beeped signaling it had a 43% charge to it. Metal clangs echoed through the house. Debris from other people’s houses was hitting the side panel of our house.
Text messages were flying in my mailbox, everyone was worried and asking if the family and I were ok. I had to keep the message responses short. Who knew when the next time I would be able to charge my cell phone would be?
My neighbor Samara and I went into town to get breakfast for our families. Dressed in steel-toed work boots, coats, gloves, a scarf and a hat, we descended the stairs. Further down the street, three trees were uprooted, lifting parts of the sidewalk with them.
My friend and I climbed over the fallen trees and avoided the live wires that swung helplessly above. Irvington Center looked like the Stock Market on Black Friday.
Still no lights but luckily I was was able to charge my cell at my mom’s friend’s house. It was crowded there. Her family came to stay with her until their lights came back on. Investor’s Bank was still closed. Not like I needed any money (note extreme sarcasm). We all went to Super Stop and Shop whose shelves were completely empty. We bought a few items we needed but sadly not everything. My friend and I took pictures of the empty shelves even though we weren’t allowed to. The manager was a very angry person……...
I realized after about sitting 2 weeks in the dark, that I took electricity for granted. We had no heat, no lights, no television, no phone and no computer. Out of habit I flicked the light switch up walking into the different rooms of the house.
My father came home briefly but was quickly sent back to work. The MTA needed to get the trains up and running and my father and his co-workers are the ones who fix them. I remember my dad saying that, without electronics, teens would have no choice but to bond with their parents to make sure they wouldn’t go crazy from boredom.
I remember dad holding the lantern up to my face and staring at me. He said he hadn’t really looked at me in a month and wanted to see how much I’ve changed. I have to admit my parents were a lot funnier than I gave them credit for.
Spending time with them when there were no distractions, when there was no rush of one of us needing to go anywhere, it was actually…fun.
By Rasheedah Byrd
In my household, my family and I were more confused than frightened. You see, I live in an apartment building and never have I ever lost power due to any natural disasters so the idea of possibly losing power never came to mind. I went outside, using my cell phone as light to guide me through the hallway, to see if the rest of the block had power.
Peering through the lobby’s window, exactly what I feared occurred; the whole block was pitch black. I’ve lived on Chancellor for 9 years and never have I seen anything like this, Sandy definitely left her mark in the city of Irvington.
I returned to my house and reported the news to my family, who in return shook their heads and immediately made claims of being bored, (mind you that 10 minutes hadn’t gone by yet). After killing the battery on my phone by using it as a flashlight, my night also became boring. With zero electricity, not even a candle, I was forced to retire to bed early and question about the day to come.
The remaining days were nothing less than boring, dark and oh, did I mention boring? I tried to stay out the house as much as possible, but with my friends lacking electricity, and all businesses being closed, there weren’t many places to visit. So, what I decided to do was buy some Uno and playing cards and invited my friends to come to my house and play. I made sure they came over early and leave before it got dark (which was a 4 o’clock).
Going a week and three days without power wasn’t that bad. My friends and I grew closer without the disruptions of electronic devices. This also occurred with my family. When my friends would leave, my family would play Uno by candlelight, it was the first time my family came together and actually had fun. Bonding with my family that week provided me with moments I will never forget. Thanks Sandy.
Just when I thought maybe Sandy didn’t completely screw me over, Amir, my older brother, cut his leg on a HUGE piece of glass while taking out trash, as a result he had to go to the hospital to get stitches.
When he returned my father mentioned that my brother mentioned that he needed gas for his car. Mind you, that there were only two gas stations open in Irvington and they had ridiculous lines, like ones that ended five blocks away from the gas station, requiring an approximate 3-9 hour wait (or that’s what it felt like). No one in my house was in a rush to wait in those ridiculously long lines in the freezing cold.
For days, my house went without gas, until I finally decided to take the gas can and get gas for Amir. When I asked him for the money to get the gas he gave me ten dollars, ten dollars! That’s not even a half of a tank, but I guess some gas is better than no gas right?
If that wasn’t enough, people were trying to cut the line and cars that were waiting in line were trying to get their gas cans filled as well. Immediately there was uproar at the gas station, which resulted in legal involvement.
When it was finally my turn at the pump words cannot explain the amount of relief I felt. Even though I was miserable in that gas line and freezing my butt off, it was worth it because I helped Amir in his time of need.
When it came to finding food, only two fast food restaurants were open, Popeye’s and KFC. The line for Popeye’s went all the way up Springfield Avenue in Irvington, leading into Newark. The line for KFC was long, but not as long as Popeye’s.
With no electricity and food going bad in everyone’s homes, people had no choice but to get one or the other. As I went to the laundry mat, (that had electricity) I felt sorrow for the people who had to wait in these ridiculous lines. Little did I know that later on that day I would become one of them.
Jasmine, my sister-in-law craved some KFC. I mentioned how long the line was, but that didn’t seem to faze her. She was determined to eat KFC. As we got to the drive-thru, I knew automatically that we were going to be in this line forever. Jasmine assured me that this line was going to be quick, but that was a definite lie.
With her children begging, yelling and complaining in the back seat, it felt like forever, and I just wanted it to end. I regretted ever deciding to come and wished I was home in my candle lit room reading a book.
At this point in time, I couldn’t wait for everything to return back to normal. I missed charging my phone in my house and not in my friend’s car, I missed reading my book in real light and eating a home cooked meal. I hoped every day that power would come back on.
Hurricane Sandy has destroyed a plethora of homes and lives of people whose paths she has crossed. Some people have died and others have lost everything. All things considered, I believe the township of Irvington got the best part of the storm.
Yes, trees were knocked over and some houses were destroyed but Irvington suffered zero casualties and we were truly blessed. From Hurricane Sandy I learned that I definitely took advantage of electricity and should appreciate it more.
I learned that just as easily material things can be gained, they can also be taken away. My family is not as horrible once you get to know them (lol), but I definitely understand them better now.
By Nelly Sekyere
By Chelsie Riche
Every time someone brings up the questions about my the hardships that I experiences during Hurricane Sandy, I always catch myself looking at them with a dubious countenance, and queerly laugh to myself.
My reaction to the question is not because I found the situation to be funny, but knowing that I have dealt with far worse things in my life, Hurricane Sandy simply felt like a distant memory just a few days after it occurred. I guess my reaction is understandable for I did not face the devastating disaster that many had to face involving Hurricane Sandy.
On Monday night, October 29, 2012 at around 6:30 PM most of the houses in the town of Irvington lost power, including my house. At that moment, I simply did not worry, for I truly believed that the electricity would come back in a few hours, if not then the next day.
That night I went to sleep early, unable to do anything in the dark. I was quite confident that the next morning I would wake up and everything would be back to normal. How wrong was I?
I then realized how serious this was. I quickly got my phone and started texting some of my closest relatives and friend asking if they were okay. One after one and day after day, everyone replied to my text and I felt a sense of relief and gratefulness.
The next day, no electricity. The day after, still nothing. People became desperate, calling their friends, asking if they got their electricity back, and many of us were angry.
For six days I was locked in the house in the darkness, but to me that was not a problem for I was raised in a country in which we did not have electricity 24/7. I was rather lucky because I still had hot water and the gas stove worked perfectly fine.
The problem that I found difficult to deal with was how cold it was in the house. At that moment, I begin to really think of what it means to live your life to the fullest. Having no electricity, no internet, or cable was nothing, it was the cold that was my only suffering. I felt like I was slowly dying in my house every time I moved.
But I’ll be honest, after a few days I was a bit annoyed that I was not able to do my homework, or use the time to apply for colleges or scholarships. I even begin to question myself, what was going on? This is America! No one should be going through things like this.
Then, I realized how ignorant and selfish I was with the situation, and became angry with myself. I should be stronger that that.
I have relatives who live in places where they have not seen electricity for months or even years. I have come to appreciate life even more after I learned that thousands of people lost their homes and hundreds lost their lives, and, to this day, hundreds of thousands still to not have electricity.
It all seems foolish now, my worries and my “hardship” during Hurricane Sandy, because I am one of the ones who still has a home, and my family and friends are all alive, and guess what? I got my electricity back on the sixth day!
By Jeff Moise
During Hurricane Sandy, the most difficult hardship I experienced was the power outage. There was no power for about a week. There was no hot water and it was very cold inside of my house. It was also very dark which forced us to rely on candles for light.
Fortunately, my house was not destroyed. Some people were not as fortunate. For instance, a tree fell on my neighbor’s house which forced them to evacuate.
I helped my family with food. My mom, sister, and I went to the store so that we could get some junk food to eat. It’s not healthy but we filled our bellies for the day.
I learned from this experience that bad things are always going to happen in life. I already knew this but I didn’t really think much of it. To be honest, the hurricane opened my eyes to this harsh reality.
By Angelique Jeter
Hurricane Sandy took place on the evening of October 28, 2012, hitting the East Coast with great force. The storm took everyone by surprise.
The worst part of Sandy was her aftermath though. She left about 3.5 million residents of the tri-state area without power, including my family and I.
With no Wi-Fi, TV, or radio, our cell phones were our only way to communicate. So my sister and I had to make it our duty to find somewhere to charge our phones every day. We used car chargers, stores, friends’ houses, church outlets, etc.
Since our refrigerator wasn’t on, all of our food spoiled. Since it spoiled, we had to throw it out. With our refrigerator being useless, we had to live off of canned goods.
To be honest, it was really boring being in the house with no television or Internet. I listened to music all day, and when I wasn’t listening to music, I was either eating or talking with my family (my mother and sister). We spent a lot of quality time through the disaster.
Local gas lines were miles long. I couldn’t go see my best friend and she couldn’t come see me, due to the lack of available gas. We had no way of contacting each other. My cell phone’s service was very spotty and when I did get a call, my battery would lose a lot of power. I really missed her, but I’m glad she was ok throughout the devastation.
On my block, a house had a huge tree resting on it. Just around the corner, people had trees on their houses, blocking them from getting out and some broke through the roof and were lodged in their houses.
Trees took down power lines, leaving them tangled between branches and leaves. My family and I were truly grateful that are house was untouched.
Finally, the evening of November 5, 2012 I got my power back. PSE&G was working on what looked like my neighbor’s power line, but it turned out that we all have the same line. I was really happy when my power came back on.
This experience taught me a few things about life. First, electricity has become a very important necessity of our modern day life. Second, appreciate the little things, like the fact that you have lights, or a refrigerator to keep your food from spoiling, because not everyone has those things. So be grateful, someone else is out there worse off than you.
By Breman Bookhart
On Monday, October 29th at around 8:00 PM, my power went out. I figured it would happen sooner or later. However, I wasn’t anticipating the wind to blow in a window from my front porch. For years I’ve heard and seen the affects of hurricanes on television but, experiencing it was completely different.
For over a week my power was out. Nonetheless, it came back on Wednesday, November 7. It was a huge relief. Over the course of the storm, my family and I had to stick together. We played games such as Spades, Monopoly, Scrabble, Game of Life, and others. My brother and I went to a local store to buy ice for our coolers. We stored our meals and other food products in the coolers in order to preserve them and keep them cold.
In order to preserve my phone’s battery, I went to my spiritual grandmother’s home. It was cold and windy when I went. People walked outside in sweats and slippers. I didn’t really feel and specific mood. I just went with life and tried to adjust. It wasn’t easy. I sometimes just wanted to lie down and sleep thru everything. But, I had to learn to just go with life and trust in God. He always provides.
At my relative’s home, it was warm. It had lights. It was the exact opposite to my home. After staying for an hour or so I left. It was very dark outside. A lack of streetlights intensified the darkness. I couldn’t even tell if someone was where I was standing. The entire neighborhood was in a state of despair.
You can really see who your true friends are. Some people had generators and refused to allow “friends” of theirs to come for heat and power. People show their true colors during times of crisis. I learned to remember to show compassion. Although I know people will choose to be selfish on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean I have to adapt their personality traits.
By Jane Nwekeze
On Monday the 29th of October 2012 at around 8:00 p.m., the power went out in our apartment because Hurricane Sandy was ravaging New Jersey.
The first thing everyone in my family felt was bored because we had nothing to do. It was freezing in my apartment and my family members and I had to wear jackets to go to bed.
On Tuesday the 30th of October 2012 when I went outside, I realized that a tree had fallen on our power line and also on a nearby house. I had never seen anything like this.
With no power, I read several books to keep myself from being bored, but it all proved useless. Instead, I decided to travel to Woodbridge, NJ to stay in with a friend. We had to do something to keep warm because we couldn’t stand the cold.
My brother was having a difficult time with the loss of power. “I can’t stand this!” he proclaimed. “There is no power and I can’t live without the Internet or television.”
As for me, going to Woodbridge was a good choice. I played video games and watch movies when I got to the house. The power came back on in our apartment about a week later on Monday, November at around 6:00 in the evening.
To tell you the truth, I wished I had helped people through this crisis, but I couldn’t because my family and I were just trying to survive, just like others. In the end, I really learned a lot from Hurricane Sandy. I learnt that a person should always be prepared because anything may come your way.
By Ayonna Wideman
On October 29, my family and I were hit by the worst storm I had ever seen. Hurricane Sandy began at around 7:00 p.m. in Irvington, New Jersey and knocked out my power. PSE&G was called and power was promised to be returned by November 2.
In the meantime, I would try to charge our family’s electronics at the local pharmacy. We also transported our frozen food to a nearby family member’s house with power.
During the time without power, I babysat younger family members who didn’t have power or school while their parents still had to report to work after the hurricane.
I was also able to see how the hurricane hit businesses around the area. Some families were forced to drive all the way out to Trenton just to avoid a mile long line for gas, whether it was for their cars or their generators.
As a result of Sandy, I’ve learned that, while a hurricane may devastate a community, it can become a time when families join together and help one another. I think Hurricane Sandy brought us closer together.
By Stephan James
On the day of October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the majority of the East Coast. The devastation caused by the hurricane left many people without power or shelter.
While many people around the state suffered a great deal of hardships, the difficulties that I experienced during the hurricane were really not that much. Where I stayed during the storm had power because, fortunately, in the city of East Orange, much of their electrical delivery system has been built underground.
On Monday October 30, 2012 at around 9:30 p.m., the most damage that was done to the place I was staying was a badly damaged fence and tons of broken tree branches.
The day after the storm, I received a phone call from my cousin. He called at 8:30 a.m. During the conversation he said, “Steph, my power is out. Do you mind if I stayed with you for a few days?”
Wanting to give him a helping hand, I said, “Sure.” My cousin and his family joined us.
While having family at the house, we did a lot of fun activities, such as play video games, monopoly, scrabble, and many other activities. Having family all together brought lots of joy to me and was a very fun experience.
After a few days had gone by, the family that stayed with us decided to go back home to see the aftermath of the hurricane. From this experience I have learned how fortunate we are to have what I have, because you never know when your precious belongings may leave you forever.
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