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