There is nowhere in the US more special to me than Long Beach Island. I have been going there most of my life. It’s where I would run to in college for fun and music and where I go now, as an adult, to escape. Its beaches were always pristine, despite the massive crowds which turn the 19 mile island into a sardine can each summer.
Once LBI gets into your soul and grabs on, there is no escape, which makes the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy so personally devastating at this moment in time.
LBI is my haven, my paradise, and when I see it ripped to shreds and sunken under water, it breaks my heart. However, I know its history. I know each and every restaurant that’s opened and closed for the last 35 years. I have watched many sunsets and sunrises along its shores. I have been there before when the bay met the sea but nothing like the grip of Sandy.
Everyone I know survived. Everything I cherished is probably gone…..almost. You see, the Islanders, even the part-timers like me, we won’t let LBI go under. We can’t because if we do then a piece of us dies as well.
As someone in the Twitterverse said, it’s a tiny island with a big heart. It will take time. It will need money and lots of it. Yet, I know as sure as I breathe that LBI will rise again, like the Phoenix, as it has done in decades past. It has to, I wrote part of my memoir there, “Amalfi Blue,” because it is so much a part of me.