Made in New Jersey…You talkin’ to me?

Map of New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Pa...

I never thought I would be writing about my home state, but here we are. Age, wisdom and the recent acts of a strong breathed woman named Sandy have conspired and swelled my soul until the words are bubbling over. It’s time to set them free, so here it goes.

I am from a small town in NJ called Lake Hopatcong, also known as Jefferson Township, a pure Jersey girl born and bred. I never really knew what that meant until I moved to the South and somehow quietly came to the conclusion, “ah, ok things are very different here, I am very different here.” An outspoken girl from Jersey thrown into a place where there are more Churches than I’ve ever seen. There are so many people blessing my little heart and not always saying what they really mean, I just wasn’t sure how this was going to work out. As it turns out most of the people I ran into are from New York and New Jersey. Say hello to the New South.

Sandy’s devastation has me reflecting on the strength and perseverance of the Jersey people and wondering if this is truth or part of a myth given to us courtesy of Jimmy Hoffa and Tony Soprano. Maybe because of the dense population of our state we have been pummeled by a few “Sandy sized” waves throughout our lifetime. Or, maybe because we live in the shadows of one of the fastest paced cities in the world, we have always had to run a little faster just to keep up and get up quicker when we fall–just sayin’.

We are a unique breed of people that really do use the horns in our cars, a lot. We drink “cawfee” and on occasion may suffer from a slight lack of patience, and we can be slightly quick tempered while cruising our overcrowded highways. The bottom line is we are built from sturdy stock and will rise from these ashes, stronger, if that’s even possible. We do bend, but we will never, ever break.

We say things like, “it is what it is, and not for nothing” and some of us really do say….”you talkin’ ta me” and “forgeta bout it.” We eat hero’s and drink sodas, but we are so much more than the stereotypes portrayed. We are incredibly candid and amazingly proud. You can search the world over and will never find people with as much realness of spirit as those found in that little corner of the world. We are fresh, Jersey corn and tomato fresh.

We will continue to band together and draw from our collective strength, we are Jersey strong. And yes, Virginia there is a placed called The Shore, not the beach, and most of us have spent our summers tossing coins into the big wire baskets that sit in the middle of the NJ Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway while en route to Seaside.

Stand strong, help is on the way.



Debbie Hope aka Full of Hope


5 thoughts on “Made in New Jersey…You talkin’ to me?

  1. Debbie, The words you have “set free” go straight to the heart of this Southern-born gal. I hope your friends and relatives in New Jersey (and I can imagine how many friends you have up there) can read your words. Inspiring!!

  2. Debbie – You covered it so well with your words. Getting power back Friday night, after 4 days without, makes you ponder the bigger things in life – and even made us, here in Jersey, stop and think – because as it got dark each night, without any power, there was little else to do but stop and think – something, we here in Jersey rarely take the time to do. And for the record, I beeped my horn this morning when the light turned green and the guy at the front of the line did not go! 🙂

  3. Well said. You have a unique experience and understanding of the shore.

    The Shore has become a home, a second home,and a home away from home for millions and the memories occupy a special place in all of our hearts. While structures come and go, tides change, and summer friends move away, reminiscing of seasons past keep the shore a vibrant place with its own cultural mythology. I want to capture those memories at

    Please, share your story!

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