It was the year that Halloween wasn’t. It was 2012 and Superstorm Sandy had pummeled the Jersey Shore. It decimated Sea Bright and destroyed low lying parts of Rumson. Fair Haven was a bit war torn and powerless.
Beach cabanas landed like Dorothy’s house to the Witch of the East on West Park lawns. Boats were hoisted by surging water onto dock tops and back yards. Gunning Island, in the Shrewsbury River, was loaded with the moored belongings of Sea Bright and Rumson people. Trees were downed. Transformers exploded.
Sea Bright residents were homeless. The beach was in the road. Sea Bright Rising began with some good-hearted burger flipping by Woody’s owner Chris Wood and chef Onofrio Moscato. The U.S. Army National Guard was parked in the Sea Bright municipal lot. There was no electricity.
There was a curfew. At nightfall, people scurried back into their homes, if there was anything left to go home to, like moles burrowing into cold, still night. Things were awfully dark. And Halloween was cancelled. There was no treat in Sandy’s trickery, just in the kindness of those who were good neighbors.
“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.” ~ L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
A lot of heart is what the Rumson girl everyone knew as Kit Rowett had. A lot of people loved her — some who even only knew her for a moment. I guess you could say that this impish-grinned, twinkly-eyed Wizard gave her heart to the Tin Man.
And, boy, did he cry. He smiled a lot, too. This Tin Man, embodied as the many loved ones who had a piece of Kit’s heart, smiled a wide, collective, rust-proof smile on Saturday as a celebratory goodbye was bid to the Jersey girl loved and lost on Sept. 19 after a valiant battle with cancer.
It wasn’t the Addams Family, but Sunday’s Fair Haven Halloween parade certainly brought out a lot of creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky friends and neighbors for a little marching and celebrating of the season of the witch, pumpkin, ghost and anything else of a fall haunting ilk.
Jetty rocks are piled. Sand is raked and plowed into a vertical dune-like stretch down the beach. Trucks are digging, pulling and plowing sand. The relatively new boardwalk that earmarked a piece of a beginning after Superstorm Sandy’s wrath is demolished. The Where Angels Play playground has been dismantled. It’s what Sea Bright Public Beach and north and south of it look like on any given day lately. Sea Bright beach rebirth has begun.
It’s not a typical time of the year for fishing off the end of the Fair Haven Dock. Yet, Wednesday wasn’t a typical fall day, either.
Call it nature’s little overpour of summer. And no one was in a hurry to clean up the spill into the cooler season. The sun was bright, the leaves were turning and falling, and the Navesink River was beckoning the warmth and reflection of the sun and the solace of some lone fishing.