The Good Ole’ Garden State

New Jersey shaped who and what I am. Growing up in Jersey gave you all the advantages of New York, but you were in its shadow. Anyone who’s come from here will tell you that same story. – Jon Bon Jovi

For some, this entry may be a little late, but as the cliche goes, “better late than never.” I was born and raised in New Jersey, so you may think I am biased while you read this, and if you do, good. I will happily be called biased in this regard.

It is common knowledge that New Jersey suffered tremendous destruction during last weeks hurricane. Hurricane Sandy. For many, this would have been it. Time to pack up the bags and go somewhere else. Let’s call it quits.

The effects of Hurricane Sandy are still being felt throughout New Jersey. Some people are still finding themselves without power. The remnants of downed trees and downed power lines are still evident. Houses are damaged and some personal property may be damaged beyond repair. Along with this the boardwalks, the symbol of New Jersey, have been torn apart, leaving nothing but pillars and a few planks in the place where tourists once walked.

The boardwalk is a devastating loss. It is where I have had all my memories of going “down the shore.” It is where I spent the weekend after my junior and senior proms. The place that I traveled to with close friends on warm summer days. I cannot help but feel that the boardwalk will never be the same after it has been destroyed. The tireless heralding of vendors attempting to sell their over-priced, over-rigged games to the boyfriends of girls who would like nothing more than to leave the boardwalk with a stuffed animal that was won by her sweetheart won’t feel right. The worn-out planks will never be the same to me because the memories that I have made on the New Jersey boardwalk are broken, battered and lost somewhere out at sea.

The boardwalk will be back though.

If there is one thing I have become damn sure of, that is the kind of attitude that you will find in anybody from New Jersey. Maybe we are stubborn, and some may even call us stupid, but when it comes down to it, our stubbornness is solely from the ideal that the way people in New Jersey do things is the way that things should be done. It is frustrating to some, and sometimes may be downright irritating, but it is who we are. We are steadfast in the beliefs that we have been exposed to since birth. We don’t role with the punches, and when push comes to shove, we shove back. Mother nature will never be able to ruin the New Jersey state of mind or be able to crush the New Jersey spirit.

We are not “guidos” like the cast of MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore.” I have also still yet to hear any New Jersian refer to “New Jersey” as “New Joisey.” People from New Jersey are on the same playing field as any other person throughout America. We work hard, enjoy our free time and are much more courteous than we are made out to be. We live in the most densely populated state in America in a peaceful, sufficient manor. There may be times when the hustle and bustle of everyday life makes us come off the wrong way, but it is never personal. We live, we love and we laugh just like anybody else. We call this state home and value and cherish it just as any other person would value the place that they come home.

At the end of the day, New Jersey will recover. It is what we do and will continue to do.

I live in New Jersey now, which always gets a bad rap here and there, but I must say, I enjoy living here too. – Paul Muldoon





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