out on Rockaway *updated

I first heard of Rockaway in Marc Cohn’s song Perfect Love from his self-titled album. Many songs on the album are specifically set in New York. Every song is perfect, including one called True Companion. I fancied it about my romance with Ed, an unexpected blessing in the middle of my life. I have found my true companion in him, and now we share a home and a life.

Earlier this summer, while Ed was visiting his parents in PA, we had our sewer back up into our basement, “brown” water (as opposed to “grey” water, that which drains from sinks and laundry) overflowing all the bathroom fixtures, soaking into the walls, carpet, and furnishings of our downstairs family room. It was awful, messy, and a hassle.

And it does not compare to the devastation currently experienced by folks who live in the path of Sandy. Loss of power is hard enough, more so when it is cold – food goes to waste, you live in the dark, you can see your breath indoors, children fuss and whine.

But to combine these – the destruction that waves of water leave in houses and stores and streets, with the loss of basic comforts, the loss of community resources, the loss of home and safety and dignity – this is heart-breaking.

There are stories of communities rallying together, looking out for each other. There are also stories of looters, fake utilities workers, and a stretching of resources so thin that some areas have seen nearly no help at all.

Areas such as Rockaway.

People are starting to notice – there are articles on the heavy.com and New Yorker sites, among others.

Local people, with direct insight to the depth of the problem and the significance of the need, are collaborating to bring hot meals, blankets, diapers, and candles into the areas most affected and most ignored.

This is what they are doing in Rockaway.

With help, with community support, with reconstruction aid, with a return to safety and security, Rockaway can begin to rebuild, to again become that place of romance and nostalgia, that place where people live and raise their families, a place where perfect love can flourish.

Right now, that looks a long way off. The path of reconstruction will be awful, messy, and a hassle. There are things we can do help.

These folks are doing something RIGHT NOW – on the ground, direct, immediate.

The Red Cross will continue to respond to this and other disasters.

We can all keep in mind that there but for the grace of God (or simply, grace) go I. We are all in this together.

If you can, please help today.

Here is an excellent, updated list of ways to help, throughout New York’s boroughs, with names and contact information.

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