Some people in Moorestown are just downright nasty.
Some people in Moorestown are kind and caring.
Evidence for both of these statements could be found swirling through Mo’town last week as superstorms of every kind continued to buffet us and knock us off our games. Hopefully, you experienced more of the latter than the former. Hopefully, your power is back on and all your personal devices are juiced up and ready to serve.
Our neighborhood, sometimes known as Roberts Park, was fortunate in that we had power and cable throughout most of Sandy’s visit. It wasn’t until Monday night that the cable finally blew, and I have to admit there was almost a sense of relief that I could finally wean myself from the drug known as "Weather Channel Saturation,” get up off the couch and do something constructive. Did anyone else feel this way? It was as if we were drugged and couldn’t pry ourselves away from the angry vortex of Sandy as it made a beeline for Jersey.
Even when Comcast finally clicked off Monday night, we sat on the couch, stupidly staring at the television screen for at least five minutes before one of us spoke. “What are we doing?” I asked my husband. We had inhaled hours of Jim Cantori in Battery Park, NYC, almost giddily showing us how high the water was likely to go. We were treated to Mike Seidel in Point Pleasant, blowing sideways as usual, the angry ocean roiling behind him. (A little sidebar to Mike: Why do you always get the worst assignments?)
So no television and no Internet. No contact with the outside world. There are worse things that could happen. We crawled out of our bunkers on Tuesday morning to a tree-strewn landscape that looked battered but in pretty good shape, considering the fact that our ‘hood, like most of Mo’town, is heavily treed.
Our next-door neighbors, who are older than we are but by no means elderly, had lots of large tree limbs and branches strewn on their property and needed help. Chain-saw kind of help. We geared up and started carrying what we could to the curb when, as if by magic, another neighbor walked down to help, followed by the neighbor of the hour, Bert, with his chain-saw in hand. Soon, our little cul-de-sac was vibrantly alive with neighbors helping neighbors. Even the young’uns in their rainboots, slickers and, in one case, a wee fireman in his premature-yet-appropriate Halloween costume, all pitched in, carrying twigs and branches to the curb. It was a beautiful thing.
On a national level, we were treated to another beautiful thing: the vision of President Obama and Governor Christie walking the tarmac together, taking in the Shore damage, working together with not even a whiff of bipartisanship. And even though the visual of them together was very Laurel and Hardy, it was heartening to know at a very critical time, they were both more than willing to put down the machetes and do the right thing.
This leads me to the nastiness, which preceded the storm, but continued to rage on during and after the storm. I refer to the race for town council and the people who post anonymously on Patch. By now, my political leanings are quite obvious, so I won’t even pretend not to be biased. But I’m going to say this again. I have not seen the Republican candidates slimed the same way the Democrats have been.
Not one commenter has called Victoria Napolitano a “vile snake” or a “stupid broad.” No one has referred to Phil Garwood as “Phil Deadwood.” Yet some very “creative” person, hiding behind an alias, is now posting on the Patch as “Greg Cucumber.” There is also a “Mark Limes,” someone who apparently thinks they’re being very witty. Note to the poseurs: You’re not being witty, funny or relevant. You’re being mean. And although these “commenters” have every right to exercise their freedom of speech, there is something very sad about the anonymous venom being spewed in this election. Here’s how most of the town feels about you guys: Either have the courage to own your opinions or shut up.
The municipal complex/library naysayers will also have to shut up, since town council, by a unanimous vote, has awarded an $11.1 million contract to Sambe Construction of Pennsauken to build a new town hall and municipal library. Correct me if I’m mistaken, but haven’t we teetered at this particular precipice before, only to be yanked back from the edge at the last possible second?
Meanwhile, my smartphone—also known as my calendar, my source for music, my lifeline—was not living up to its name during the storm. It didn’t want to take pictures, it cut out during important calls and it snoozed when it should have been peppy. Since I have no photos to share, let me describe the scene at the library during the aftermath of the storm.
Parents and children filled the children’s department, reading, playing with the trains, building with Duplos and using the computers. Ours is always a very busy department, so it was not the best indicator of how many in town mobbed the library seeking power, desperate to connect with family members or attempt to get any news on storm damage at the shore. People plugging in their devices, renewing library cards to use computers and reading newspapers were using every inch of space in both the adult areas and the teen corner. There were kids being tutored and people just grateful for a warm place to sit. In other words, it was as close to a community center as Moorestown has and a place of refuge. Regardless of our unfortunate 21st century dependence on devices, there is still an old-fashioned, human need for shelter from whatever storm we’re plodding through.
I am very grateful our library filled that function, post-Sandy, and you should be too.