0:00

LINDA GONZALEZ: The day of the storm we all gathered inside With nowhere to go, we settled in for the ride The sky grew dark, the wind getting strong The eeriness surrounded us, we knew something was wrong We looked out the window, the water starting to rise First on the street, then the sidewalk and lawn Then the cars were all covered (voice breaking). Could we get out at dawn? Calming the children when in our hearts we were scared Trying to smile but our emotions were flared Holding our breath that the water won't come in Wondering if the surge of water will end Eight inches to go before it comes to the door We all just kept saying, "Please, Sandy, no more" Then all of a sudden the water started to go down Watching houses and boats, floating down the streets of our town Refrigerators, stoves, watching machines, and sinks Mattresses, garbage cans, even propane tanks Pieces of wood from the boardwalk by the bay, we knew our little town lost its life that day At the light of day, half the town was 1:00taken by the tides And as we walked around, all you could hear were people's cries Going through rubble looking for something to see Hearing about people being swept away by the waves. You took away lives, homes, and cars, Hurricane Sandy You even took away Halloween. Sorry, kids, no candy. You took away everything that we possess. You made our lives a catastrophic mess But we'll get through it together. We'll right your wrong. When we all pull together because we're New Jersey Strong.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Thank you.

LINDA GONZALEZ: You're welcome.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's a poem written by Linda Gonzalez on the night of Hurricane Sandy.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: All right. Okay. We're going to start by, you're telling us your name. I'm going to record mine. I'm recording Melissa [Masey] and Mrs. Linda Gonzalez on Hurricane Sandy. Today is March twentieth [2013], I believe, and it is now 8:24. Can you please identify yourselves?

MELISSA MASEY: My name is Melissa Masey.

LINDA GONZALEZ: My name is Linda Gonzalez.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: If you don't mind, you can share your ages.

MELISSA MASEY: I am twenty-three.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Over fifty. (everyone laughs)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Roughly how long would you say you have lived here?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Seven years.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Seven years. I'm going to ask a little bit of questions concerning about the house and the prices. If it's uncomfortable for you, that's okay. We don't have to discuss it. What would you say the price of the house is?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Over three hundred [thousand] when we bought it. Now, nothing.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And how many rooms are in the house?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Twelve rooms.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Is there a reason why you chose to live in this area?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Because it's a quiet neighborhood, where everybody knows everybody and everybody is there for everybody. There is barely any crime. It's a nice, comfortable, quiet area. No traffic, no problems, no issues. You can leave your doors open and nobody will bother you.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and you're from out of state before you lived in New Jersey?

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, I've lived in New Jersey all my life.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How do you feel about New Jersey as a state?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, old New Jersey used to be wonderful. New New Jersey needs a little fixing. You know, everybody's got issues about New Jersey. I mean it's a great place to live. You're near the city. You're near the water. You know, the people are great. Taxes are a little high, and there's a lot of unemployment right now, you know, so it's a struggle to live in New Jersey.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Can you tell me a little bit about your family, like who lives, who's a part of your family, who lives here--

LINDA GONZALEZ: Oh, my husband and I have been together for over ten years and right now I have all my children living with me. My daughter, Cheryl, and her husband, Michael, and my three grandchildren, ages five, four, and two, and my stepson, Ernie Jr., and my daughter, Melissa, and her boyfriend, Sean.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Can you tell me about your occupation and what would you--

LINDA GONZALEZ: I am retired. I used to run a snack bar for Airport Plaza, Brunswick Zone for twenty-four years and then I had my own deli for five years.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And what would you say roughly your income bracket would be?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Middle. Middle income.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. So, you said you like the area because of, you know, no traffic and stuff. Do you think that anything else attracts you? Is there any attractions?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Oh, the water was my biggest attraction. I love the beach. I love the ocean. I love, you know, just being near it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: So that was--

LINDA GONZALEZ: That was my main draw to this area.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and you would say that's your main hang-out spot?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yes, yes. Whenever I need to get away from it all, I go down to the bulkhead and just watch the water and just relax.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, this is a little bit off-topic but how do you feel about The Jersey Shore, the show? Is it a good portrayal, do you think it's possible--

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, not at all. Not at all.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: You don't think it's positive for--

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, all those reality shows are ridiculous and Jersey Shore is the worst of them.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: How involved would you say you are within the community?

LINDA GONZALEZ: To a point. You know, I'm not actively involved with any of the clubs or anything. Right now my three grandchildren take up most of my time. But if anybody needed anything, I would be right there volunteering and helping out and doing whatever I could do.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, so not like politically involved or anything like that.

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, not at all.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. And I know you mentioned that the schools and the crime rate is low. Is there anything else, like any other representations that the community has? Any nicknames?

LINDA GONZALEZ: We're just the gateway to the bayshore.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, we're going to move from interviewing questions to actually begin to speak about the storm.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Okay.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: When did you first hear about the storm coming?

LINDA GONZALEZ: About a week before, I was watching The Weather Channel everyday to see if it was going to hit us, if it wasn't going to hit us, how strong it was going to be, how strong it wasn't going to be. You know, we've had a few hurricanes before, and we knew this one was going to be bad, but we didn't expect anything like what is turned out to be.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Wow. And so your first thoughts of the storm, at all? You said you knew it was going to be bad--

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, I knew it was going to be bad because there was just too many issues. There was the surge and there was the moon and there was the other storm and the very low pressure of the storm and all those features are just in the makings for a very bad storm. However, okay, we didn't expect to have six feet of water in front of the house. We weren't expecting the bay to be at our front door. We've flooded before--the roads, the general spots where it always floods. But it floods during high tides. But this area never, ever got any water before so we didn't really--we thought, okay maybe a little bit, maybe a little bit on the streets, but that would be about it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: You didn't have much flooding during Irene?

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, we had none. We had no flooding during Irene. We didn't lose our power during Irene. It was just basically a very big, windy thunderstorm.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How did you prepare? What would you say was the availability of supplies, with the wait in lines? How many stores did you go to?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, we prepared way ahead of time for this. We went and we got batteries, and the canned foods, and the bottled water, and just in case, because you always have to have that "just in case" supply. We figured enough for a week, because if we lost power it would be down for a week. So, as the storm started getting closer we thought, Well, maybe we should get some extra batteries because now they're saying if we lose power, we might be down for three weeks. So as we tried to get more, of course all the stores were out because everybody was buying everything up. Like stupid people, we went and stocked the freezers up thinking that it was going to hold, but it didn't. So, 2:00we did a general preparation. We did the canned goods and the bottled water. You make sure you have the toilet paper and the paper towels, the junk food, the chips, cereal, anything you could eat without necessarily milk or having to cook. Just in general.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Way more than us. Do you believe you had adequate warning?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yes, I do believe we had an adequate warning. However, like I said, there are people that have lived in town for seventy years and said that they've never ever flooded. Even with the severe storms of the past, the hurricanes of 1932, when, yeah, there was some flooding, but not to the point like it was during Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy was just a hybrid storm that just exploded.

3:00

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And what did you think of the governor's warning, the state warnings of evacuation?

LINDA GONZALEZ: The governor, I felt, was amazing. He warned people. He was to the point, direct, honest, that if you don't get out that we're not going to be responsible for you. We're not going to be able to get to you. So, the people that are definitely in those low lying areas evacuated. Some didn't and, unfortunately, some people lost their lives and some people tried to get out last minute and it puts a strain on everybody, but I think there was more than enough warning. More than enough warning. Especially for the barrier islands, and more of the low lying places, I mean, a lot of Union Beach was evacuated, right by the water. Nobody thought it was going to come in as far as it did. If I thought that, we probably would have been out too.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did your area have an evacuation warning?

LINDA GONZALEZ: We weren't under mandatory evacuation. We were under voluntary evacuation.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Did you make any preparations for your pets, your cars?

LINDA GONZALEZ: The cars, we just kind of put as high as we could on the property. We put them up on the rocks and pulled them as far in as we could. We didn't leave anything out on the street, because figured if anything was going to flood, it was going to be the streets, not, again, six feet up.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, take me to the day of the storm. Where were you, where was the first sights of the storm? Did you go to work, were the kids in school?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Okay, well, I would say--Well, it was on a Monday and my grandson only goes to school half a day, so the storm wasn't so bad until later in the afternoon is when it started getting bad. And pretty much at that point, everybody was home at that point, so we weren't really too worried about anybody having to get home. Once the storm started kicking up a little bit, the wind started, and the rain started, and around 7:30 [p.m.] is when the water started coming down the street and the police were out front and we realized--we went into the back of our property and the water was already all the way up to the street and the front of the property, it was already filling the street and starting to go up onto the sidewalk and the curbs.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did it rush in? Was it like a rushing--

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah. It was a matter of minutes--

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: It didn't creep in?

LINDA GONZALEZ: It was a matter of minutes that it started filling up. I would say to the point that it got to--what, probably about an hour maybe? About an hour before it got as high as it did, but at that point it was already starting to car's tires. You were stranded. You couldn't go anywhere. There was no way. Within ten minutes it was that high.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Wow, and most of the conditions of the weather was winds and was there a lot of rain?

LINDA GONZALEZ: The wind wasn't really the factor. I mean, it got really windy between--I want to say 7:30 and 9 was probably the worst that hit us in this area and we lost our power exactly 8:21 p.m. and you heard all the transformers popping all over the place because a whole bunch of them went at once. So, from--we had the flashlights on the table ready to go and the candles ready to go, because we knew at some point we were going to lose power. And actually we were one of the last ones to lose power. The last ones to lose it and the last ones to get it back.

(both laugh, inaudible talking)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did you have dinner that night?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah, actually, we did have dinner that night, I cook every night. We have family dinner every night. So, we finished our dinner and we were sitting down. We were actually playing cards.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: So you did everything as a normal--

LINDA GONZALEZ: As a normal--you know, we were trying to be as normal as possible because of the children, because they're a little nervous with storms to begin with, so we tried to act as normally as possible. But when the water started coming in, we were all very nervous.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did you go to sleep at all?

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, not that night. Not that night. I was up all night that night.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: All night?

LINDA GONZALEZ: All night. All night.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did the children, at least, get to sleep?

LINDA GONZALEZ: The children did. They went to sleep. We reassured them that everything was okay. At that point, they had no TV, there was no lights, so my son-in-law had put some glow-in-the-dark stars up on their ceiling. So, during the course of the day, had the lights on so at least they had some light in their room. And we had the little tap lights on the wall so they wouldn't feel like they were--they were our main concern, trying to keep them as comfortable and calm as possible. So, once we got them to sleep, we actually came downstairs and we started talking and we were playing cards, trying to make the best of it. We figured, okay, maybe a couple of days. We didn't think anything of it. We couldn't really see what was going on because it was dark, so we didn't know until I went into the bathroom in my room and noticed that there was a fire outside of my window and my daughter's car, which was four feet submerged under water, the top part of it was on fire. So my son-in-law grabbed the fire extinguisher and we went and put it out because at that point we didn't know. Should we go out? Shouldn't we? Should we try to put it out? You know, you don't know if there were any unknown live wires down, but you don't know what was floating out there. We saw fish out there. There could have been a shark in the water for all we know, because the water was up that high. So, he jumped in the back of the pickup truck that we had there in the bed, and leaned over and put the fire out. And he's a big boy, so he grabbed it and within three seconds he was out the door. So, that was a little hairy.

4:00

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Wow.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Around what time would you say that you could say that, Okay the storm has passed?

LINDA GONZALEZ: I'm going to say probably around eleven we were feeling a little bit--

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: 11 p.m. that night?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah, by about 11 p.m. we were feeling, Okay, the worst is over.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's funny because up north that's when it actually started to kick up for us. (laughter)

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah. I mean, the winds were going but it--we felt like, because the water started to recede at that point, because high tide was now over. About 9:30, the water started to come down. So, as we were looking outside, we noticed that the water on the garage was starting to go down a little bit. So, we started to relax a little. We knew it wasn't going to come in the door. We were so worried about it coming in the house, we were like, Oh my gosh, if it was six inches from coming in the door here, what must the bay front look like. And then as we said that, we saw boats going down the street, and rooftops going down the street, and mattresses, and people were walking with a child on his shoulder 5:00down the street because their house had been ripped away. It was just--you know, but you couldn't really see it because the night covered it all. So when the morning came, that was a whole new level of devastation and a whole new level of emotion that went with it, because it was just--

MELISSA MASEY: --it was gone.

LINDA GONZALEZ: It was gone. I mean, it looked like a bomb went off. Like, someone put a nuclear weapon and just blew it up.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: You pretty much answered the next set of questions, which were, What was going through your head the next day? Would you like to elaborate a little bit more?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, the next day we wanted to go see exactly what the storm did. So, we were all up early that morning. We had a little something to eat and we decided to go in shifts to go walk down because, again, we have the children, and we couldn't all go at once. We didn't want the children to see the devastation because they were traumatized as it was. My one grandson, every time it rains, he thinks the water is going to come in. So we started--we went out the back and we walked down the street and all I kept--I just kept shaking my head and crying I kept saying, "Oh my God." As we walked closer and closer to the waterfront, there was just nothing left. The houses were crumbled. Some houses were taken right off their foundation. There was just debris everywhere. I mean, you couldn't walk in the street without walking in a foot of mud and sand and debris and people's pictures and clothes and mattresses and sinks and refrigerators and stoves and wood and fiberglass. I mean, anything. It just--it took a house and blew it up for the whole beachfront area. It was just 6:00devastating. And then when we got to Union Avenue and saw the infamous half house--oh my God. I mean, all the beachfront was just totally, totally destroyed.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Is the half house still there?

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, they just finally ripped it down. They finally ripped it down. I mean, the pavement was cracked, the signs were bent in half from the surge of the water. It was just total, total devast--a concrete statue was broken. Concrete. Okay, a small concrete statute. The surge of water that had to hit a small, condensed concrete statue, I can't even imagine the force of the water coming in. I mean, seeing all the homes ripped and--you have an idea of the force of the water, but a concrete statue. That's supposed to be so solid and so--you know, a house, okay, it's big, it's going to fall apart. But that blew my mind. It absolutely blew my mind. I just can't believe--you know, it gives a whole new perspective of the force of water and the forces of nature.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: So, by the morning the water was completely receded?

LINDA GONZALEZ: The water was completely receded, we were able--I mean, it was just mud, and slush, and sand. It was just--it stunk and smelled like crabs. It was just horrible. And then you saw people coming back into town, that had gone for the storm coming back and, just, seeing their homes crumbled to the ground and the cries. And, What am I going to do? I've lost everything? That's all you heard. "I've lost everything. I lost everything." So I just feel so fortunate that we have our home. Yes, we lost eight vehicles. We lost everything in the garage. My husband lost all his tools. But we have our home, which is much more 7:00than most people can say, and we're just thankful for that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did you contact anyone immediately after the storm? The day after, was there anyone that you needed to get in contact with?

LINDA GONZALEZ: As far as, what, family members?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Yeah.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, I sent a text out to my aunt to let her know that we were okay. My brother, to let him know I was okay. And they tried to get a hold of their father. You know, just immediate people. And of course, we called FEMA and tried to get all the insurance numbers together and all that kind of stuff. Now the reality of it set in and now, okay, let's start picking up the pieces. Where do you start?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Where do you start? Can you elaborate on the little bit more on the damages you suffered?

LINDA GONZALEZ: As far as the damages to the house, they were minimal. We had damages underneath the house, like our pressure pump for the water and some of the water lines and some of the gas lines, and stuff that we had like storage down there. The water to the kitchen, the pipe broke. I guess something must have slammed into it, so my husband had to crawl under there and fix it. The air conditioner condenser that's outside was totally submerged in water. Everything that we had in the garage. My sister--my daughter and her husband's stuff that they had in storage. My other daughter, Melissa, all her stuff. My husband's brother had stuff that he was storing out there. Everything was just turned upside down, in a puddle of mud, gunk, and sand. So, tools and bedding and clothes and things that they've saved from high school. Any part of memorabilia you could possibly have. Pictures. And then, of course, was the eight vehicles 8:00that were totally--their engines were totally submerged in water. That was the biggest expense.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Was your cell phone working, because I know we had a hard time with our cell phones.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah, my cell phone was working. Thank God for Verizon. (both laugh)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: We had T-Mobile. (both laugh) We didn't have anything going on.

LINDA GONZALEZ: I didn't have any issues with my cell phone. However, a lot of other people--AT&T, my brother-in-law had AT&T, he couldn't get anything. So, I know a lot of people did have issues.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Yeah. So, roughly the next day, what did you do? I know you said you called FEMA. You began--the kids were able to shower. Did you shower? How did you--

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, the first day was mostly first getting over the shock of seeing what the town looked like. I mean, we were all devastated probably until--I'm going to say probably until early afternoon by the time everyone saw it, because we had to do it in rounds. And then we talked about it for a little bit. And then after that we started saying, Okay, first things first. So, okay, me being the woman of the house, mine was, How am I going to feed eleven people now? So, that was my biggest concern. My husband wanted to start cleaning out--taking stuff out of the garage. Actually, the first thing we tried to do, we tried to get the cars going. See, because we had torn some batteries out to we could see if we could at least get one vehicle running, but we couldn't. So, 9:00we were kind of stranded. So, my brother-in-law came down from up north and he was able to help us out a little bit and drive us up north so we could buy another vehicle. So, at least we had one car for eleven people to get around in. So, transportation was actually the first priority, because now my husband was worried about work. I said, "Right now, nobody is going to be working. It's going to be recovery." And then, of course, it was cleanup. We were trying to figure out what to do first. We didn't want to do really anything because we didn't know if we were supposed to before the insurance companies saw it. So, they were saying, Go ahead and clean it, just take pictures. You get two sides to everything. Some say, do it, some say, don't do it. But the town was pushing us to start cleaning up and start putting our stuff out to the street and they would come and scoop it up and take it away. So, during the next couple days that's what we concentrated on. My husband, mostly. He did almost everything. I 10:00guess the next priority was trying to save the food because we went and got an ice chest and from--well, we had pulled one out and we cleaned it up and we went and got some ice and pretty much packed everything from the freezers there, and whatever thawed first is what we cooked first. So, I got very creative making pizza on the barbeque because I couldn't use the oven. Necessity is the mother of invention, for sure. So, I took two pizza pans and barbequed pizza and they came really good. The neighbors going, Who's cooking, who's cooking? So, I think I made stew that night, too. We had meat that was thawed--

MELISSA MASEY: That's what Daddy ate.

LINDA GONZALEZ: --so, I threw a stew together. So, they ate very well. I was very fortunate that we didn't lose the gas or the water. If we would have lost that, then I don't know what we would have done. Then it would have been a very difficult stay here. We probably would have had to--I would have sent them up to their father's up north and see if we could get a hotel somewhere. But at that point all the hotels were booked, because of everybody that had lost their homes in the storm. So, we just figured we'd wing it and see what happens, and hopefully the power would come on soon. The town was keeping us posted on when they thought the power was going to come on. They said probably in a week. So, we're like, okay, we need to find a generator. That was the only thing we didn't prepare for because we didn't really think we were going to need it. We figured we'd be done a day, at the most. And, of course, nobody had generators because they were all sold out. We weren't about to pay fifteen hundred dollars for a 11:00generator. So, a friend of my husband's up in Pennsylvania had one. My husband first tried to find gas to make the trip to Pennsylvania. He went and got it, came home, hooked it up, and we had the power. (voice breaking) That was on the fifth day. What my husband went through--(crying) I'm sorry.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's okay.

LINDA GONZALEZ: If it wasn't for him, I don't think we would have gotten through it the way we did. He was just so strong and so determined to help, not just us but everybody. The neighbors, it's like, Where's Ernie? He's fixing somebody's boiler. He's helping someone clean out. He went to Pennsylvania to get gas. Because that's where we had to go twice to get gas. I don't think he slept much at all. He was just so strong. I mean, I didn't think I could love that man any more than I do, but I found a whole new love for him. I'm sorry. (crying)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: It's okay.

(inaudible, coughing)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you want to chime in?

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah, I didn't know I could talk. (everyone laughs)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, I'll chime in. I told my professor, I was like, Okay, I can distinguish your guys' voices, so I just have to do both of them.

MELISSA MASEY: I had no clue. I'm like, signing for her, the sirens outside, okay.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, so I think we'll go into your portion. Ready? Go ahead. Melissa.

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah. Hello.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: So, some of the portion you wanted to chime in and tell me about the storm?

MELISSA MASEY: Yes. During the storm when the water was about to come, you saw the cops receding back with the water. It was--they were going back into the town and they were--I can't.

LINDA GONZALEZ: As the water was coming in they were moving back, because they had their sirens on, warning everybody (crying) that the water was coming in. So, as it came in they had to keep going back.

MELISSA MASEY: That was just stuck in my head, I couldn't say it. Sorry.

LINDA GONZALEZ: And it was just--you know, they were saying, If you wanted to get out now, it was too late. Because that's how fast the water was--

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Was the water taking them back?

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, they had to keep moving back as the water was just--and they were only in front of the house for a few seconds because it just filled the--I mean the water came in fast, that if we wanted to get out, you couldn't.

MELISSA MASEY: That was my point to that. That's when I feel like it was time to seriously--we really have to take this seriously. The cops were backing up, the streets were filling so fast, and that's when it really got--

LINDA GONZALEZ: --the reality of the storm hit.

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah. That was--

LINDA GONZALEZ: That was overwhelming to see--

MELISSA MASEY: The cops--

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah, the bay water was just rushing in, and the police were like, There's nothing we can do now. So, they were just pretty much warning everybody that the water was coming. So, they were down the street--we couldn't even see them, and within ten minutes they were all the way down Florence [Avenue].

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, and how about for you? Your account of this--the storm, about what you saw, what your day was like, the day after.

MELISSA MASEY: The day after, I didn't go around the town with her. I went with my stepfather and we started in the front of the house and we went straight to the waterfront, and saw the condos--half of the condos were gone.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: The ones that are built up now, they were gone?

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah. Not the brand new ones, the ones on the side. There was a half of the whole side of the house--the whole side of the condo, gone. I mean, that's a very tall building that's--and you saw couches and you saw TVs and people just walking through the rubble. We walked down towards--what's the street that got really bad?

12:00

LINDA GONZALEZ: Down by Jersey Ave[nue]? Down there?

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah, by the house in the marsh.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Oh, well, that's all Union Ave[nue] down there.

MELISSA MASEY: Okay, so we walked down Union Ave[nue], by the half house and we look in the marsh, the swamps, and there's a full house--

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Still there.

MELISSA MASEY: --just knocked out.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Still there.

MELISSA MASEY: It is.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: We drove past it the other day.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: More than once.

MELISSA MASEY: It was--I just couldn't believe it and the guy's just standing there going, Did you see my house? Literally, it was unbelievable. We walked past Blue House and a crowd was around it and the whole bottom half was taken out and there were people stuck upstairs. And they were trying to figure out how to get to them and there wasn't any cops yet. There was just a crowd of people 13:00and screaming. All you heard was a woman screaming.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, the first day they were looking for people that were stuck in their homes, in the rubble. So, it was search and rescue the first day. So, we had actually gotten out before the National Guard or the police came in. They didn't come in until about maybe eleven or twelve o clock that morning, and at that point they were getting everyone off of Union Avenue. So, we were actually one of the lucky ones that saw--

MELISSA MASEY: That saw--

LINDA GONZALEZ: --all the devastation first hand because they were keeping people away from that, because they were trying to find the people that were either trapped in their homes, or bodies, or whatever the case may be. So, once that time came we all had to get off the main street over there. But, like I said, we were fortunate that we saw everything firsthand.

14:00

MELISSA MASEY: The VFW had puddles and ripped holes of ground concrete. It was--you could see inside everything. Jakeabob's was gone. We had--

LINDA GONZALEZ: Ron's Appliance was destroyed.

MELISSA MASEY: And we found the menu to Jakeabob's and we thought it would be nice to keep it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: You have it still?

MELISSA MASEY: I don't know where it is.

LINDA GONZALEZ: I don't know where it is either. I think I put it out to the apartment.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay.

MELISSA MASEY: We saw so much. There was so much in the street. There was so much just going on everywhere. It was horrible. We saw a trailer into a house. So, somebody's trailer was in somebody's house.

LINDA GONZALEZ: There was a boat in somebody's front yard down in--

MELISSA MASEY: It still is.

LINDA GONZALEZ: It's still there?

MELISSA MASEY: It's still there.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Where is this?

MELISSA MASEY: It's right--two blocks down, maybe. Two blocks.

LINDA GONZALEZ: The neighbor down the street goes, "Did you see my jet skis?" I said, "They went that way." (laughs) That's all I could tell him because everything was floating down the street so I said, "Your guess is as good as mine." And well, about one o'clock in the morning, at night, when I'm sitting here writing my poem, I saw the police lights. And I had gone to the window and there was a couple people walking and I said, "Is everything okay?" And they said that they got a call that somebody was trapped in one of the houses over here, so they were trying to see if they could find the person that was trapped in the house over here. From what I saw, there was an ambulance up front there. They did get the person out and took them away in the ambulance. But there was just a lot of search and rescue going on the next day--actually probably for the next four or five days. You couldn't go up to the waterfront for probably about 15:00three weeks. They had it sealed off, because it was just too dangerous. We were--I guess we were kind of stupid, taking a risk walking back there because we actually walked by the sidewalk by the bay and the pavement was cracked, like an earthquake. Everything was just lifted. So, I guess we really did take a chance. But I had to see it. It was just--I never again thought that I would ever again see a storm of that magnitude. Just the devastation that it did in this one little town, I could just imagine what the whole coast looked like. And it was frustrating because we didn't have the TV, we couldn't see everything that was going on and it was just helicopters going by all the time. We actually think we saw the president's helicopter one day and I thought, well, maybe he's going to come to the beach and see the damage, you know. And then when finally, getting the TV on and being able to see all the devastation, that was going 16:00through it all again. Because when they did the tour of the coast, oh my God. It was just--I mean, we were one of the hardest hit areas, but the whole coast was hit hard as far as I'm concerned. They said that we ranked in the top five of the hardest hit areas, but in my opinion, all of New Jersey was just totally devastated from this. Totally devastated. I'm sorry I took over.

MELISSA MASEY: No, no, that's fine.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, so how long were you out of power?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Three weeks.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, yeah--without the generator?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Three weeks.

MELISSA MASEY: The last ones on the block to get power back.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Were you cold? Did you have like--how were you keeping warm?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, luckily the weather wasn't too bad. It got cold a little later on. But we kept the pot of water going in here and my husband was able to get the hot water heater going. So, we did have heat but, again, we didn't want 17:00to push it because we're on generator here. We didn't want any issues. We like it cool, anyways. We're a cool family. We like it 65 degrees. Right now I have the window open. (laughs) I sleep with the window open and the fan near the window. So, it wasn't really as bad as we thought it was going to be. You know, as far as the temperature went. We managed to get warm. You know just layer up.

MELISSA MASEY: Let me tell you, we were around each other 24/7, though. Besides sleeping, we were right here the whole time. At night we had candles lit, the flashlight beaming up on the roof, just to give us some light. It was--

LINDA GONZALEZ: We played cards. We talked. And in some ways I think we came closer as a family. Sometimes it takes something like this to appreciate all those around you--

18:00

MELISSA MASEY: And what you have.

LINDA GONZALEZ: --and what you have and that's all we kept saying is, we're just so thankful we have our house. That was, like, just the biggest thing. And everyday there was the tractors going by with all the garbage and the dump trucks and the cranes and I'm like, Oh my God what are they doing up there? Are they tearing things down now? And I wanted to see it but National Guard was there and we couldn't go. And we felt bad for them because when it got cold they got cold--

MELISSA MASEY: We offered--

LINDA GONZALEZ: --we were bringing them hot chocolate, some food. We were there for them. "If you need to use the bathroom, come on in. If you just want to get off your feet for ten minutes, come on in." And the police from out of town--we had police from Las Vegas and Michigan and you saw all kinds of police cars. And these people drove here, because they were in their home state cars. And they were protecting us from looters, which there was some looting going on in town, 19:00and people, they'd get caught. But, you know, they did the best they could to protect everybody and I felt safe. Knowing that they were there, I felt safe.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: So how long before the stores opened, you got gas, mail?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Mail actually was, I'm going to say, probably about ten days, because where our mail comes from, in Keyport, that whole area was devastated also. So, you have to realize, we had to clean up before we could get back to normal. So, the priority on every town's agenda was to get cleaned up, so that you can drive your car on the street. You couldn't drive your car on the street, okay? Between the sand, and the debris, and the pieces of the pier, and people's houses and roofs. There was just--that fence over there was piled to the top 20:00with debris. It just got washed there. I mean, like I said, it looked like the town exploded. You could barely walk in the street, no less drive a car down the street. So, the first priority for all the towns around here was to clean up. At least to get the major roads open. They only let you go in and out on town one way. They had police stationed at the jug handles because the lights weren't working. I would say, for the most part, everybody pulled together and did what they could do to make everything as comfortable as possible.

MELISSA MASEY: I would say the stores opened about, maybe four--three to four days later. My store [Aldi's] was doing all the cleaning up and trying to get as much things as we can out. My sister's store, Target, was actually open. Amazing.

LINDA GONZALEZ: They had a generator.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Yeah. I talked to somebody--

MELISSA MASEY: They were letting people in. They couldn't use debit cards, but anything that they needed, they were letting it go.

LINDA GONZALEZ: They set up a cell phone recharging station for free. And her job was so wonderful, they actually took an account of everything that we lost and they actually gave my daughter a thousand dollars. They took seven people from the store that got hit the hardest and they tried to do for them. "Make a list of what you lost and we'll replace what we can." So, they were wonderful. The people in town were wonderful. Everybody was just trying to help everybody else out. Which is more I can say for the government.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. We're going to move into latter portions of the after. You said you called. Who did you call? Did you call the power companies first? Did you call the insurance companies first? I know you said you called FEMA?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, we called FEMA because they told us to call FEMA let them know--they want to know how many people were in your household, their ages, and they ended up putting twenty-eight hundred dollars into the bank to help us out for whatever we needed it for, and at that point it was for gas. We spent over three thousand dollars just keeping the generator full. I mean, it was crazy, trying to fill up the trucks, and--what trucks we did get, that we were able to get within the first week. We had, what, three vehicles the first week?

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah.

LINDA GONZALEZ: My husband went and bought a real crappy van, just to have something that would run and my stepson went and bought himself a very nice (laughs) Lincoln whatever.

MELISSA MASEY: Chichi.

LINDA GONZALEZ: We got chichi a car and we tried to look to get the children a car and they were like, Ma what about you? I said, "I'm the last one you need to worry about right now." Let me tell you, like I said, if it wasn't for the sale of my condo in Florida, we wouldn't have been able to do all that. I never spent fifty thousand dollars as fast as I did that week, replacing everybody's vehicles. But they had to get around. I'm going to say, after FEMA we called the insurance companies and couldn't get through to the insurance companies because it was busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. So, we finally got through to them and it took them maybe three or four weeks to come out. The car people were here before the home insurance. Geico was here within three days.

MELISSA MASEY: Which is understandable.

LINDA GONZALEZ: And they kept apologizing for the delays because it was two million people that lost their vehicles. They had people coming in from out of state, working. The house insurance probably took about three weeks before they got here. And I know there's some houses in town that still haven't had their houses--their insurance companies still haven't been out. And we're five months past Sandy now, so that's sad. I guess after that, it was still more cleanup. We're still cleaning up. There's still things that we have to go through. There's pictures. I lost my mother two years ago and my father twenty years ago, and thank God, the stuff that I had that was really important I had in the house, but I had everything that I wanted to keep out there. Right now I can't even go through it, I'm still too emotional. I can't go through the pictures and try to save something. (voice breaking) I can't do it, because it's sad enough 21:00of the memories and the picture and to have it all there with mud and sand on it is just heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking. So, I haven't even had the strength to go out there and do it. I know I have to at some point. I have two buckets of pictures I have to go through, and I just can't bring myself to do it right now. So, as far as the electric company and everything, they kept us posted, which I thought was great, because they were here working all the time. We actually--we were supposed to have power on Wednesday--I'm going to say on the twelfth day--and they didn't realize that they didn't change this transformer, which goes to our house here. So, when we called them they said, Well, you should have power. We're saying, Well, we don't. They came out and saw the transformer that they missed.

MELISSA MASEY: They didn't know we didn't have power.

LINDA GONZALEZ: They didn't know we didn't have power.

MELISSA MASEY: So, that's why it took so long.

LINDA GONZALEZ: So, we didn't have power about four days longer than we should have. So, like I said, that was the minimal dealing with it at that point. We were getting to be pros at it and everybody was saying, Well, we don't want the lights to come on (Gonzalez and Masey laugh) because we got used to it. We got used to a whole new way and it was actually--at some points it was kind of fun. But we're a crazy family, anyway.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Did you have curfew for the looting? Did you have any type of curfews?

LINDA GONZALEZ: They had, what, nine o'clock, it was?

MELISSA MASEY: I think it was earlier.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: You guys really had a tough one.

LINDA GONZALEZ: In the beginning, the first week, there was a five o'clock curfew. You had to be in your town before five o'clock--

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Oh, in your town.

LINDA GONZALEZ: --to get in. Otherwise, you were stopped and asked--you had to show your license, where you were going, why you were so late. People coming home from work, what are you going to do? But they stopped you and you had to show that you lived in town, and of course they would let you in. But they didn't let any outsiders in. There was so many people trying to tour the town, and they had to put a stop to that because there was just too much damage. Too much damage and too long to clean it all up. So until it was safe, which was about one month afterwards, is when they opened the town up again.

MELISSA MASEY: Nobody had any--in my mind, nobody had any right to come around and look that early. To see all the damage and--just let us clean up, get our houses back.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, people were curious.

MELISSA MASEY: I know, I just don't think--that's why they told everybody, only this town.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, it was just mostly because it wasn't safe.

MELISSA MASEY: And the looting,

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah, well--

MELISSA MASEY: That's what I was saying.

LINDA GONZALEZ: There was some looting going on.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's why you felt that--

MELISSA MASEY: That's why I felt like there's no business, and they were right.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: You felt like people shouldn't be touring.

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Especially after dark.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: So it wasn't a media issue, per say?

MELISSA MASEY: No, it was people. Everybody--everything is everywhere.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: I understand.

MELISSA MASEY: And you're trying to come through, and we don't know your intentions. Just let us recover. And I think it was brilliant, what they were doing. Everybody that was not from Union Beach, go back. Go. Because everything was wide open.

LINDA GONZALEZ: I mean, some people, their windows and doors were ripped off. In a lot cases, their houses--half their houses were gone, and they could still get upstairs, and take whatever they wanted. So, there was definitely a need for the National Guard to be here, and the curfew, and--

MELISSA MASEY: And they were constantly patrolling. Constantly, up and down every street. The police--

LINDA GONZALEZ: As I said, I felt very, very safe.

MELISSA MASEY: The police did their job.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's really good. So how was coping for you guys? How did you cope?

MELISSA MASEY: For me, being here with my mother, the strongest person in my life, it was fine. I had my nephews, my family. I knew everybody was safe. It was just the feelings for everybody else. That was--my heart goes out to them completely. But for me, myself, I know my family was safe.

LINDA GONZALEZ: We were trying to get that sense of normalcy. You know, that's what we were longing for, was to try to be, like, semi-normal again. I mean, okay, we dealt with the power being out and we dealt with the pizza on the barbeque, and we dealt with the steam pot, and we dealt with everything. But by the third week we were just craving for a sense of normalcy. Just to be able to go to work and come home and not have to worry about, okay what pile of garbage do we have to go through today? Just to be able to relax and maybe sit down and watch TV, and not cry when they see the TV on, because you're watching everybody else's devastation. And you still do. I mean, News 12 has had wonderful coverage of the storm, and they're doing a wonderful job, and they were in Union Beach a lot. A lot. They were interviewing people and making sure that Union Beach got the exposure. Because it's just a small town. You know, small towns tend to get looked over.

22:00

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: So it wasn't a sensationalized thing.

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, it was--

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: It was just devastation here.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Oh absolutely. This was a necessity. There were people that just started, hey, let's just start giving away whatever we can give away. People were doing it out of their homes. They were calling people they knew from out of state. We called our friend, Tara, who lives in North Carolina, she got a whole fundraiser together and shopped two trucks of stuff up to Union Beach, to make sure Union Beach got it first. She used to live here. She used to live in the area that got destroyed, down on Shore Boulevard. So, people--everybody gave what they could and did what they could and helped out as much as they could, and they just pulled together. The people did more than anybody. Than anybody.

MELISSA MASEY: Very strong people. Very strong people here.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah. That's why I wanted to live here. It's just a great town with great people. Like I said, everybody knows everybody. My neighbor went away for a week. She left her front door opened. Nothing happened. It's a quiet, small town. Nothing ever happens. You very rarely hear the police cars going through town. Once in a while you'll hear one, but there's no shooting, there's no crime. Very minimal. Very minimal. It's just a nice quiet town that's just is never going to be the same again.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: So, you're saying the community, they coped well, that it was a positive--

LINDA GONZALEZ: We did, we really did.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's good.

LINDA GONZALEZ: The people that volunteered down at the pantry and the schools and the kids--even the kids in school, they were carrying stuff. They were coming around, helping people clean out their garbage.

MELISSA MASEY: Yes.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Especially for the elderly. They knocked on the door, "Do you need help cleaning?" The lady across the street, she's by herself. She's in her sixties. She's not going to be emptying out her whole house. So, twelve of them went over there and got everything out that needed to get out.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's good. How long was school out?

LINDA GONZALEZ: School was out for--I'm going to say a month. The elementary school where my grandson goes had about two feet of water?

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah, it was--

LINDA GONZALEZ: And they were anticipating opening in January and now they're saying that they're not opening until next year.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: So they're completely closed?

LINDA GONZALEZ: They are completely closed down. They're doing clean up and renovation, whatever needs to be done. And the children that are going there, some are in Holy Family, some are in Keyport, and the Pre-K is over at the adult school that was closed down.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Wow.

LINDA GONZALEZ: So, they are totally displaced and these poor children, they don't understand, especially the little ones, why I was in this nice big school and now we're scattered all over the place. But they tried to do as much for the kids to give them the sense of normalcy. What they did for Christmas was wonderful. I mean, Santa was out on that truck every weekend and he stopped at every child's house and gave each child a toy, which pretty much lifted their spirits. Again, a sense of normalcy.

MELISSA MASEY: They didn't have Halloween.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Halloween was canceled. Who wants their kid walking around, seeing all this devastation? It's just--even if you wanted your kids to go outside. The day that I had to go pick up my grandchild at school, my other grandson was saying, "Grandma, what's all this? That house burnt." And he's only four years old. For him to walk through--I didn't want him to walk through all this devastation, but what are you going to do?

23:00

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Yeah. I know you said your husband was a great contribution to the community, with him helping. How else did you help the community?

LINDA GONZALEZ: He also--when we got the other van, he donated the van for them to use to bring supplies to other people. So, he pretty much gave up his van so that the town could use it, so they could disperse supplies throughout the community. That was huge, because they needed vehicles, because vehicles were lacking. He wasn't expecting anything in return for it. Here you needed it? Use it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And you had helped out your community, as well, by cooking, and with the grill and everything?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, again the neighbors--I said if they have everything and they have no way to cook it, bring it over here, I'll cook it for them, and give it to them. You just have to pull together. If everybody pulls together, you can get through it, and that's what everybody pretty much did. Like I said he was just--my husband was amazing. What he did for everybody, I don't know if anybody else would have done, to the extent that he did it. He's very--he does electrical and plumbing and construction, that's his line of work. So, when the next-door neighbor couldn't get their boiler going, he went over there. He found parts in the shop. He did whatever he could to help people get that sense of normalcy. Heat. Get hot water. Be able to take a shower. Those are important things. They seem so simple and we take them for granted, but they are so important. I mean, imagine if you couldn't shower for three days, no less three weeks. Okay? You understand.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Trust me I know, we didn't have running hot water.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Just to be able to--oh my God, do a load of laundry. That was just--

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: I imagine.

LINDA GONZALEZ: The things you take for granted. Everybody hates doing laundry, but we couldn't wait to do the laundry. (Gonzalez and Lawrence laugh)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: I understand.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Yeah.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, we're going to move to a different segment, which I know you guys are very passionate about, which is the government and FEMA and the help that they have been giving to this area. Would you like to elaborate on that?

MELISSA MASEY: This is all her. (Lawrence laughs)

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, like I said, with the exception of the original--what FEMA did, putting the money in the account, that's about all we heard from them. And pretty much everybody else around is either saying that they're giving them issues or, This isn't covered, that's not covered; your garage isn't part of your house, so that's not covered. People are saying, Well we pay taxes on that garage, so that garage should be covered. You find out all the ins and outs and all the--yeah, it's not a good thing. You think they're there, they're going to 24:00do all these wonderful things, and they don't.

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah.

LINDA GONZALEZ: There's always a way around it. There's always a way to get out of it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. This is something that I'm particularly interested it. Do you think that the whole of New Jersey prepared adequately? Do you think that they did all that they could to prevent such a catastrophic event? Was there enough dunes, was there enough levees around the area for--

LINDA GONZALEZ: I think they prepared as well as they could. Some towns don't have the funding. I mean, Union Beach, even, they built the dunes up, but they don't have the funding to do extraordinary things to prevent devastation like this. Most of these towns around here are broke.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And do you think that, being that you live in an area of water and, like, the houses on Union Beach, do you think they were raised high enough--not including the mandate now--but do you think they were always raised high enough?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, most of the houses around here, they're old. They're summer houses from way back when that these people never do any work to. Some of them are on ground level. As the town built--this house was built in 1975, and it was built four feet off the ground, because at that point we had regulations and stipulations that you had to follow. But the older homes that are on ground level, they were summer cottages that eventually became primary residences. So, no, those houses didn't have a chance. So, I agree that there should be some--obviously, you have to have a foundation in these kinds of areas. But at 25:00this point, to force people to raise your house eight feet off the ground? These people aren't going to be able to afford to do that. They're barely making it as it is. The taxes are very high in Union Beach. The flood insurance is very high in Union Beach, okay? If you don't raise it, your insurance goes up to ten thousand dollars a year. And if do you do raise it, you're taking out a two hundred thousand dollar loan that you don't know if you're going to pay back, plus a mortgage. So, most of the people are just, what am I going to do?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: These houses that they're requiring to raise six, and eight, and eleven feet for some people that I know, that's adding a whole floor. How is that helping the mortgage rates? What are people to do with that floor, because I'm pretty sure they don't want you to put furniture in it anymore, so--

LINDA GONZALEZ: No. They told our neighbor that if they put anything in that bottom level there--

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And how high are they requiring your neighbor to raise?

LINDA GONZALEZ: He had to go another six feet.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Six feet.

LINDA GONZALEZ: But anything that's below that --because he had a whole area below that --it's not covered. So if it ever happened again, it wouldn't be covered. If it ever happened again and he was helped again, he wouldn't be able to because FEMA only covers you one time for that household. So, if we have another storm next year and it hits and you apply for FEMA, you don't get anything. So, you have no choice but to have flood insurance. And then the flood insurance doesn't cover the garage and it doesn't cover this and doesn't cover that. Okay? It doesn't cover anything, other than if your house is totally wiped out. But if your garage and your cars and everything else that you 26:00have--nothing's covered. The only reason my daughter's car was covered is because she had comprehensive on hers. My husband had total, his car was covered. Liability doesn't cover it, and who can afford the insurance in New Jersey? They force people to take the least amount, and then when you need it, it's not there, and then the government is supposed to help you, and they say, Well, we can't help you. What are you supposed to do? Your hands are tied. People can only do what they can afford to do. Neighbor down the street, his house was on the bottom level. He said, "What am I going to do? I can't afford ten thousand dollars a year. I was barely making it now." The house is sitting there. He's gone.

MELISSA MASEY: A lot of people left. Had no choice, but a lot of people are not coming back.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Supposedly, the area's supposed to get built up. Who's coming it to build it, I don't know. What person is going to take charge of raising every home, if they're going to buy up the beachfront? Power to them, is all I can say. Stop by 408 Florence [Avenue], we'll give you our house, too. Make me an offer. (all laugh)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think the state could have done anything differently?

LINDA GONZALEZ: As far as preparation for the storm?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Yeah, or anything else.

LINDA GONZALEZ: I don't really think so. I really think Christie had everybody doing what they should have done. I mean, of course, there's always more you can do. If you--now with it done and over with, you think about what else I could have done and, of course, you're going to come up with a list of things you could of done. But again, it's something that we're going to learn from. This was a storm of epic proportions. It was the perfect storm. It had everything fueling it. Are we ever going to see anything like this again? Maybe, maybe not. The thing I think was the worst was the full moon. That was the final nail in the coffin, because your tides are raised three feet higher. So, can the governor anticipate the moon being full? No, he can't. If the moon wasn't full, I don't think we would have had half the damage that we had, to be perfectly honest. But, again, this is nature. There's no saying that, okay, you can't have a hurricane because its a full moon. It doesn't work that way. I think, as a whole, not knowing and having any experience to learn from this storm, from the past, I think we did as much as we could, to be fair. The next storm --if there 27:00is one --I think they'll be able to do more because now they've learned from Sandy. That's my general feeling.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Good, you answered a lot of my questions. (Gonzalez and Lawrence laugh) I know you said Channel 12 did a good job of media coverage. Do you think any other channel, like Fox 5? They have a terrible reputation (laughs)

LINDA GONZALEZ: I have no idea. The only one I watch is News 12 and The Weather Channel, because I don't like Fox 5 and I don't like ABC because they are only focused on New York. They don't give New Jersey any attention. Only if there was a major drug bust or a priest raping some kid. That's the only coverage they ever give New Jersey.

MELISSA MASEY: That'll be great on TV.

LINDA GONZALEZ: So--I'm sorry, I'm passionate about that. (Lawrence laughs)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: All right. That's okay.

LINDA GONZALEZ: News 12 is a New Jersey station and they give New Jersey the coverage it deserves.

MELISSA MASEY: Yes.

LINDA GONZALEZ: And that's why they were here, to make sure Union Beach got the exposure that we needed, to get help.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And what do you think about Obama and Christie?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, let me tell you something. I've gained a whole new respect for Governor Christie.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's my next question.

LINDA GONZALEZ: A whole new respect.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: (laughs) You're good.

MELISSA MASEY: She is. (Lawrence laugh)

LINDA GONZALEZ: He--I never really liked the man; however, how he handled the storm, and--I'm sorry, but--didn't take any crap from anybody, and made sure New Jersey got and needed--whatever it needed, it got done. And he is on the President. He is on--Where is all this money, that supposedly fifty billion dollars is supposed to go to New Jersey, well where is it? When are you going to start dispersing it? We need help. We need recovery. He's on top of things and I give him all the credit in the world for that. Obama? There's too much--unfortunately the President is figurehead. It's everybody else running and saying where the money's going and doing. He's not going to say, I don't care what you people say. Give Union Beach money. It doesn't work like that. So, what can you say about Obama? His hands are tied. His people have to get together and start doing something to help everybody out.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And what do you make of his appearance in New Jersey, in the area? Because I don't think he came to Union Beach.

LINDA GONZALEZ: I don't know. He came to New Jersey, but he didn't come to Union Beach and I personally think he should have visited every town. He should have visited every town, in New Jersey, on the coast. Especially on the coast. To talk to the people, so he had a full understanding of what people were going through.

MELISSA MASEY: Not just seeing it on TV, but see it up close, and--

LINDA GONZALEZ: I mean, I know he went by in a helicopter, and I know he can't be in a million places. We saw the presidential helicopter, so I know he was up there. But it's not the same thing as getting down on the ground level. If Bon Jovi can do it, the President should be able to do it. And Bon Jovi did it. So, I'm sorry, but that's how I feel about that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What do you think about the response of the rest of the country?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Wonderful.

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah.

LINDA GONZALEZ: I am telling you, we had police from every state here. We had people from out of state that we know from out of state, What do you need we'll get it to you. The whole country--that's what I'm saying, the people of this country did more--

MELISSA MASEY and LINDA GONZALEZ: (at same time) --than the government--

LINDA GONZALEZ: --and that is my final statement about the government. (Gonzalez and Lawrence laugh)

MELISSA MASEY: Absolutely.

LINDA GONZALEZ: The people are what made us get through it, because they pulled together and they got us through it.

MELISSA MASEY: They slept in tents outside of the firehouse.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. What about you, Melissa? Anything you want to add? Your mom's doing a good job.

MELISSA MASEY: She is amazing. She's taking all the words.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay.

MELISSA MASEY: I mean, we discussed this together, so everything that she is saying is basically our story. It is.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. How has this shaped your environmental views? Do you think that you need to be more green?

LINDA GONZALEZ: You know what? I really don't think that the storms had anything to do with being green. I mean, other than global warming and they're saying all that, and the ice caps melting, and this--I mean, as far as having solar panels on the--hey, it would have cost me ten thousand dollars to replace them because they would have blown away with the storm. Okay, we would have had power a little sooner, but I really don't--I don't really think that going green has got anything to do with preparing for a storm like Sandy. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. I think all the wires should be underground, like in Florida.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Oh, that's a good one. I never heard of that.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Florida, you don't see a power line anywhere. They're all underground.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: I never knew that.

LINDA GONZALEZ: I think we need to refigure the utilities of this country, but, however, look at New York and Staten Island and where the Statue of Liberty is. All the power is underground and it got flooded, so, you know. (everyone laughs) But Florida has hurricanes all the time, but they don't lose power. Very rarely do they ever lose power.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: I never knew that. Wow.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Very rarely, because it's underground.

MELISSA MASEY: I'm moving there. (Gonzalez and Lawrence laugh)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Does this make you feel like you want to change, like, move out of the area at all? Do you feel like you want to move?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well--

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Because of the water?

LINDA GONZALEZ: It's really got nothing to do with the storm factor. I just don't think the town is ever going to recover.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's why you want to move--

LINDA GONZALEZ: I don't think it's ever going to be the way it was. I don't think we're going to be able to afford to live here anymore, because taxes are going to go up and insurances are going to go up. I mean, my insurance is come due in May and I'm afraid to open the envelope at this point, because I know it's going to be triple of what we're paying now, and we're just not going to be able to afford to live here. My husband makes good money. He works hard and he makes good money, but we're just making it now. If it goes up, I just don't know if we're going to be able to stay here. It's got nothing to do with the fear of the storm or anything. It's just, are we going to be able to afford to live here?

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Are there any other precautions that you think you will need to take? Or that you would--

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well we set the garage up, flood-free. We've raised everything.

MELISSA MASEY: And moved the cars.

LINDA GONZALEZ: And if a storm ever does hit that's got even a six-foot surge, we're going to move the cars down street, down into the old Bradley's parking lot. So, we will take more precautions if anything comes up the coast that's even half of what Sandy was. Because you don't want to go through that again. As far as preparation and everything, we won't do anything more than what we did. We'll be here, riding it out with Sandy, because we're family and we stay together.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. The last segment is just to wrap up. Have things returned to normal?

LINDA GONZALEZ: For the most part, yeah. My grandson still freaks when it rains. He says "Water! Water!" He's afraid the water's going to rise again. So, he's going to need some help dealing with that.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: But does that affect the bath?

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, because bath time is fun time. So, he doesn't have a fear of water. He's just afraid of the storm. Whenever it gets cloudy out he says, "Oh, storm cloud." And then the water. So, for him I don't know. Hopefully, he'll forget in time. He's five, he's young.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Can you tell me the ages of the children again?

LINDA GONZALEZ: My oldest, Tristan, is five. Gabriel is four, and Austin is two. So, Austin won't even remember it. He just takes things in stride. Gabey just wants to know everything. You know, like why did that house burn down and why is the debris all over and why did we clean the toys in the backyard, Because there was gunk all over them? He's the "why," he's in the "why" age. And Tristan's pretty simple, but he has fears because he's older.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: And he's the one with the fears?

LINDA GONZALEZ: So, he's the one with the fear of the water rising every time the storm comes. For the rest of us, I guess things are pretty much back to normal. But it's always something that's going to remind us of it. Like I said, I have to get out to the garage out there and go through the pictures and--it brings it all up all over again. I see a police car at three o'clock in the morning, going by, and I remember the police cars going by, the night of the storm. So, you always have a flashback of it. But it's not going to change who I am or what I believe or what I feel. If anything, it just makes you stronger.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Are there any changes to your daily life, apart from the children being dispensed in different places?

LINDA GONZALEZ: No not really, things are pretty much back to normal.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's good.

LINDA GONZALEZ: As much as they can be. The kids are all working and I'm watching the children and things are normal. We wake up in the morning, we do what we have to do, we gather at night at the dinner table. We do what we have to do.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you view your community different?

MELISSA MASEY: Stronger.

LINDA GONZALEZ: I think we have really grown as a community. What went on was just amazing. People cooking Thanksgiving dinners for other people and handing them out, and people from our other community, Keyport--which is very close with Union Beach--their priest coming over and handing out gift cards for us. People from Pennsylvania coming and knocking on our door and giving us fruit baskets.

MELISSA MASEY: Texas. I mean, everywhere.

LINDA GONZALEZ: The people in the community, I guess the Christmas tree on the corner of Jersey and Shore is the best story--

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: The Hope Tree.

LINDA GONZALEZ: The Hope Tree.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: I was reading about that earlier.

LINDA GONZALEZ: The Hope Tree. I think that's one of the greatest stories. And actually, what Chi Chi did, too--not Chi Chi, Gi Gi, I'm sorry. With taking the doors and making the doors now her tables and Jakeabob's.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Jakeabob's, I've heard about that, too.

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah, it's great.

LINDA GONZALEZ: I think that's wonderful. Like I said, everybody just got stronger. We just got stronger as a community. I just hope that we can stick it out. I just don't know how long we're going to be a community for. I really don't, because people are just saying, "I can't do it anymore. I can't rebuild. I can't do." There are houses that are still in the same shape they were in the day after the storm.

MELISSA MASEY: Yeah.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Because the insurance companies haven't called, or they don't have enough insurance, or they can't afford to rebuild, or they're not going to be able to afford the insurance. So, they just packed up and left. There's going to be a lot of those. There's going to be a lot of those.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: As cheesy as it sounds, are there any changes on the outlook of the world? Your view of the world?

LINDA GONZALEZ: No, not really. I mean, the world as a whole, the people, the people in the world--Sometimes it takes a disaster like this to realize, because I used to say people are horrible. "I hate people. I hate people." I used to say that all the time. And then one person would come around that would restore my faith in the human race. And it would make me have hope all over again. Well, this storm gave me hope as a nation, because we came together nationally. The whole country came to our rescue and that gives me hope. (voice breaking) It gives me hope.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. Are there any changes to your political views?

LINDA GONZALEZ: No.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: From Christie or anything.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Let's not even go there. (laughs)

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. So, can I talk about the election? Were there--I mean it was two weeks after Sandy. Do you think it made an impact on the election? Do you think the hurricane in itself made an impact on the election? Like people feel, like, compelled--

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, let me tell you what the general feel of the community was, because there was a lot of talk about it. (Masey laughs) People were afraid to put a new person in office because they didn't want things to get screwed up. Because he started it, let him finish it. Kind of like, with the wars. There were presidents that stayed in office during a war just because they didn't want things to change. Okay, so I guess you can kind of look at it--this was Mother Nature's war and Christie, himself, wasn't going to vote for Obama. He wanted the other person. And he changed his views because he didn't want it to change. He didn't want somebody else coming in and say, Well that's what he was going to do; I'm going to do differently. So, in a way, I think the storm did have an impact on the election.

28:00

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Do you think that it'll affect the governor election? Like, I know your views were changed for Christie.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Definitely. I definitely think it will change locally. Absolutely.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. We're going to wrap up in a few. Okay. As the wrap-up portion of the interview, I just want to ask, is there anything you would like to tell the children, the grandchildren?

LINDA GONZALEZ: Well, my grandchildren, just that if they ever say they're going to say they're going to have a storm of epic proportions, to listen to it and take every necessary precaution. And just remember to pull together as a family and a community and be there for each other and be strong. I mean, I raised my children to be strong, independent people. But when you have a disaster like this, you have to be loving and giving and they are very loving and giving. They 29:00would give their shirts off their back to anybody who needed it. But just be there for each other and love each other and just remember everybody's going through it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Melissa?

MELISSA MASEY: That was perfectly put.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay. If you want to give a final message about the storm, what would it be?

LINDA GONZALEZ: (sighs) Final message about the storm. Well, Sandy, you took us down, but we're up again. (laughs) You can't keep good people down. You can--we always feel like we're being tested, you know? God tests us, and nature tests us, and we won. Because I think we're just stronger. So I guess, in a way Sandy made us stronger. She took us down but we're okay. We got through it and we'll 30:00be okay.

MELISSA MASEY: New Jersey Strong.

LINDA GONZALEZ: Family strong, too. That's a very big part of it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: What will the legacy of the storm be?

LINDA GONZALEZ: I am going to say the surge of the water.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: That's just what everyone will always remember?

LINDA GONZALEZ: The surge of the water is what everyone's going to remember. Like I said, we've had wind, we've had rain, we've had Nor'easters, we've had hurricanes. We've seen the wind we've seen the rain. We've never seen the water come up to your front door. And that will be its legacy, the surge of the storm.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, did I miss anything? Is there anything that I might have not discussed, that you think should be very, very important?

LINDA GONZALEZ: We really hit on everything. No, not really. I really think we hit on everything. I can't think of anything else. I mean I can think of a million--I could tell you a million stories about people, but (Lawrence laughs) you know.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Another time. (everyone laughs) I'll come back another time. (laughs)

LINDA GONZALEZ: Like I said, it made me proud to be a New Jerseyan. How everybody just was there for each other. I was very proud of everybody. It gave me new faith in the human race.

MELISSA MASEY: Look at what you are doing. It's amazing what you and your school, your class--it's amazing and I thank you so much.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: No, we're thankful for your--

LINDA GONZALEZ: We're thankful for you doing this, because, like I said, New Jersey doesn't get a lot of attention.

31:00

MELISSA MASEY: And people need to know. People need to know everybody's stories and not just what they're seeing on TV, but deeper, and you guys are getting very deep. And that's beautiful, that's incredible.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Thank you.

MELISSA MASEY: Thank you.

LINDA GONZALEZ: You see the devastation, but you can't see the heartache on TV. You can, but you can't. Until you hear people's stories, you can't even imagine what they're going through or what they went through. It's just amazing. It's amazing what you guys are doing and we thank you for it.

TRUDI-ANN LAWRENCE: Okay, thank you, guys. I'm going to end this recording at 9:53 p.m.

end of interview

0:00 - Poem written by Linda Gonzalez on the night of Hurricane Sandy

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:The day of the storm we all gathered inside

Segment Synopsis: A poem written and read by Linda Gonzalez on the night of Hurricane Sandy

Keywords: Cars; Children; Emotions; Halloween; Houses; Hurricane Sandy; New Jersey; Night; Poem; Sandy; Strong; Surge; Town; Water; Waves

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445°N, 74.170°W

1:59 - Introduction

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:We're going to start by you telling us your name.

Segment Synopsis: Trudi-Ann Lawrence introduces Linda Gonzalez and Melissa Masey.

Keywords:

Subjects:

2:37 - Brief Biography

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Roughly how long would you say you've lived here?

Segment Synopsis: Trudi-Ann introduces Linda and her daughter Melissa Gonzalez and they give a brief biography.

Keywords: Bayshore; Beach; Children; Community; Crime; Daughter; Employment; Grandchildren; House; Jersey Shore (TV); Lived; Middle income; Neighborhood; New Jersey; Occupation; Ocean; Price; Retired; Schools; State; Taxes; Unemployment

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445°N, 74.170°W

6:40 - Preparations and expectations for the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay, we're going to move from interviewing questions to actually begin to speak about the storm.

Segment Synopsis: Linda Gonzalez discusses preparing for the hurricane by shopping for nonperishable foods, water, and batteries. She also discusses her expectations and thoughts before the storm.

Keywords: Adequate warning; Batteries; Before the storm; Cars; Evacuate; Expect; First thoughts; Flood; Flooding; Governor; Irene; low pressure; Power; Preparation; Preparations; Prepare; Prepared; Stores; Storm; Surge; Voluntary evacuation; Warnings; Water; Weather; Weather Channel

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445°N, 74.170°W

11:24 - The day of the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Take me through the day of the storm.

Segment Synopsis: Linda Gonzalez shares her experience on the day of the storm and the effect it had on her family.

Keywords: Boats; Boats in street; Bomb; Car; Cars; Children; Concern; Conditions; Dark; Devastation; Dinner; Emotions; Fire; Home; House; Monday; Morning; Nervous; Night; Normal; Passed; Police; Power; Rain; Rush; Sleep; Street; Water; Winds

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

17:41 - The next day

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:What was going through your head the next day.

Segment Synopsis: Linda Gonzalez and Melissa Masey discuss their experiences walking through the aftermath in Union Beach and the emotional reaction to all the damages their town suffered.

Keywords: After the storm; AT&T; Cars; Cell phones; Children; Contact; Damage; Damages; Debris; Devastating; Devastation; Expense; FEMA; Force; Fortunate; Garage; Gas lines; Half House; Home; Horrible; Houses; Immediate; Issue; Lost; Morning; Mud; Perspective; Pipes; Recede; Street; Thankful; Town; Union; Union Avenue; vehicles; Verizon; Water

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

23:51 - Priorities after the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:So, roughly the next day, what did you do?

Segment Synopsis: Linda Gonzalez talks about prioritizing after the storm.

Keywords: Car; Cars; Clean; Clean up; cleaning; Cook; Food; Gas; Generators; Help; Insurance; Insurance companies; Love; Neighbors; Pennsylvania; Power; Power outage; Power was out; Priority; Recovery; Stranded; Strong; Town; Transportation; Vehicle; Work

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

29:42 - Police involvement / destructive aftermath of Union Beach

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Do you want to chime in?

Segment Synopsis: Gonzalez and Masey’s thoughts on police involvement, the aftermath of the town, and Masey's account of the storm.

Keywords: Boat; Coast; Cops; Devastation; Half house; Helicopters; Home; House; Jakeabob's; Jakeabob's Bay; Jakeabob's Off the Bay; Magnitude; National Guard; New Jersey; Police; President; Receding; Rescue; Rubble; Search and rescue; Storm; Street; Stuck; Town; Trapped; TV; Union; Union Ave; Union Avenue; Union Beach; Warning; Water

Subjects:


GPS: Jakebob's Restaurant Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.451, 74.169

38:38 - Living without power / stores / getting mail after the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:So how long were you out of power?

Segment Synopsis: Gonzalez and Masey talk about living without power, looting, support from stores, and mail.

Keywords: Appreciate; Car; Cell phones; Clean up; Cleanup; Cold; Come together; Debris; Family; Garbage; Generator; government; Help; Helped; Hot water heaters; House; Job; Keyport; Looting; Mail; National Guard; out of town; Police; Power; Protect:Protecting; Safe; Stores; Street; Target; Thankful; Together; Town; Weather

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

43:56 - Insurance and power company involvement / FEMA / recovery

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:We're going to move into the later portions of the after.

Segment Synopsis: Gonzalez and Masey discuss power and insurance companies and FEMA involvement. Also, looting curfews, cleanup, and outsider curiosity.

Keywords: Busy; Car; Cars; Children; Clean up; Cleanup; Curfews; Damage; emotional; FEMA; Gas; Geico; Generator; Help; home insurance; House; house insurance; Houses; Insurance; Insurance companies; Looting; Lost; Media; Memories; National Guard; Outsider; Pictures; Police; Power companies; recover; Replacing; Sandy; Town; Union Beach; Unsafe; vehicles; Work

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

51:19 - Coping after the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:So, how was coping for you guys? How did you cope?

Segment Synopsis: How Gonzalez and Masey coped after the storm, also how the community of Union Beach coped as a whole.

Keywords: Community; Cope; Coped; Coping; Family; Feelings; Fundraisers; Garbage; Help; Helped; Helping; Home; Kids; Mother; Necessity; Neighbor; News; News 12; News Twelve; Normal; Normalcy; pulled together; Safe; School; Sensationalized; Small town; Strong; Together; Town; TV; Union; Union Beach; Work

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

55:18 - Union Beach school / helping the Union Beach community

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:How long was school out?

Segment Synopsis: Gonzalez and Masey talk about the school system in Union Beach after Sand and also coming together as a community.

Keywords: Children; Christmas; Community; Devastation; Family; Grandchildren; Halloween; Help; Helped; Keyport; laundry; Neighbors; Normalcy; pull together; School; Scools; Supplies; Together; vehicles

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

59:14 - FEMA aid / New Jersey's preparation as a whole / raising houses to prevent flooding

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:We're going to move into a different segment, which I know you guys are very passionate about, which is the government and FEMA and the help that they have been giving to this area.

Segment Synopsis: Linda Gonzalez talks about FEMA involvement, New Jersey preparation as a whole, flood insurance, taxes, and whether things could have been done differently.

Keywords: afford; Area; Christie; covered; Damage; Dunes; Experience; FEMA; Flood insurance; funding; Garage; government; ground level; Help; high enough; Higher ground; Home; Insurance; Issue; learned; Levees; loan; Moon; Mortgage; Nature; New Jersey; older home; Preparation; Preparations; Prepare; Prepared; Sandy; Storm; summer houses; Taxes; Tide; Tides; Union; Union Beach; Water; Worst

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

67:28 - Media coverage / government involvement

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:I know you said Channel 12 did a good job of media coverage, do you think any other channels like Fox 5

Segment Synopsis: Gonzalez and Masey discuss New Jersey in the media, Governor Christie's involvement, and President Obama's involvement in aiding New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.

Keywords: ABC; Christie; Coast; Coverage; Fox; Fox 5; Fox Five; Governor; Governor Christie; Helicopter; Help; Media; Money; New Jersey; New York; News; News 12; News Twelve; Obama; President; President Obama; Recovery; Storm; Town; Union Beach; Weather channel

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

70:37 - The country-wide response / Gonzalez's environmental views

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:What do you think about the response of the rest of the country?

Segment Synopsis: Gonzalez and Masey discuss the people of the country coming to the aid of those in need and environmental views.

Keywords: be more green; Country; Environment; flooded; Global warming; government; Green; Hurricanes; New York; out of state; people; Police; Power; Power lines; Preparing; pulled together; Response; Sandy; Staten Island; Storm; Together; utilities

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

73:35 - Cost of living after the storm / precautions for the future

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Does this make you feel like you want to change like move out of the area at all?

Segment Synopsis: Gonzalez and Masey discuss price of living during the storm and storm precautions for the future.

Keywords: Cars; Coast; Cost; Family; Flood; Garage; Insurance; Money; Not going to be the same; Precautions; Preparation; raised; Recover; Storm; Surge; Tax money; Taxes; Together

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

75:28 - Changes to daily life / strengthening of community togetherness

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay, the last segment it's just to wrap up, have things returned to normal?

Segment Synopsis: Gonzalez and Masey discuss the changes of daily life and the growth of the amount of support shared within the Union Beach community.

Keywords: afford; Changed; Children; Community; Daily life; Hope Tree; Insurance; Insurance companies; Jakeabob's; Jakeabob's Bay; Jakeabob's Off the Bay; Keyport; Kids; Normal; Outlook; Pennsylvania; Police; Rebuild; reminders; Storm; Union Beach; Water; Young kids

Subjects:


GPS: Jakebob's restaurant Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.451, 74.169

79:50 - Outlook on the world / political impact

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:As cheesy as it sounds, are there any changes on the outlook of the world, your view of the world?

Segment Synopsis: Linda Gonzalez talks about her worldview after the storm and the impact Sandy had on the elections and politics.

Keywords: Barack Obama; Christie; Come together; Disaster; Election; Hope; Hurricane; Local government; Mother Nature; Obama; Outlook; Political; Politics; Together; World

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170

82:28 - Final message / legacy of the storm

Play segmentSegment link

Partial Transcript:Okay, um, as a wrap-up portion of the interview, I just want to ask, is there anything that you would like to tell the children, the grandchildren?

Segment Synopsis: Gonzalez and Masey’s final thoughts on Hurricane Sandy as well as the legacy the storm will leave behind.

Keywords: advise; Children; Community; Family; God; Grandchildren; Legacy; Love; Mother Nature; Nature; New Jersey; New Jersey Strong; Precaution; Sandy; Storm; Strong; Surge; Surge of the storm; Surge of the water; Together; Water

Subjects:


GPS: Union Beach, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.445, 74.170
Search This Index
SearchClear