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1962: Recalling the Great March Storm, 50 Years Later


SINCE 1950
Long Beach Islands Original


62 Storm Memories

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Courtesy of Ed Kaes, Jay Mann

Images captured by eyewitnesses of the noreasters destruction tell a striking, telling and haunting tale.


Memorial Day 1962 - We Must Build on Memory of That Storm

By MARGARET BUCHHOLZ A half century ago, in the rst summer issue of 1962, Beachcombings led off with a progress report on recovery from the devastating Great March Storm less than three months earlier. This noreaster damaged or destroyed about two-thirds of the homes in Harvey Cedars, leveled Holgate, broke through the Island in three places and washed away most of the Island beaches. ooking back over last year s Memorial Day issue, we noticed that we had started the 1961 season with a report of the northeast storm in early April, which, at the time, we thought a bad one. It is ironic that a year later we must repeat this. People have said to us, Forget the storm, look ahead, but to our mind these do not go together. We shall certainly look ahead, but we shall not forget the storm of March 6. In looking ahead, and building for the best season ever we have found that the summer seasons successively improve we must build on the memory of that storm. What it must mean to us now is the opportunity to improve the Island, to powerfully strengthen our beachfront and, more specically, to push for a long- awaited and federally backed ood insurance. We live and work with two constant sounds, by day the drone of bulldozers, earthmovers and other reconstruction equipment by night, the pounding of the ocean. Now the ocean is calm and gentle and the equipment strong and powerful. They are reconstructing our beachfront, pushing up dunes and forming new dune lines to hold the ocean back. Restoration and reconstruction are the key words. The whole Island, with the exception of hard-hit Harvey Cedars and Holgate, is ready for the summer visitors. Debris has been cleaned up, roads have been cleared, and tourist facilities are in operation. One motel owner, demonstrating the confidence felt on the Island, has added 18 units to his bayfront motel. When friends tried to book a room two weeks ago on a Saturday, there were none available. Vacationers will be surprised and delighted at the clean, wide, white beaches; some are better than ever because the storm brought new sand to the surface. It is reported that the shing is better also and if the number of cars with poles on the roof and the crowds at the shing clubs are any indication, the reports are correct. This is a result of the marine growth torn from the ocean bottom during the storm. All businesses are operating. Almost all of them are located on the Boulevard and had only to contend with water and mud, which was quickly cleared away. The Ships Wheel, which washed away in Harvey Cedars, is partially rebuilt and has a sign out reading, Open for business Memorial Day. It opened on June 17th. The Sink r Swim Shop, also in Harvey Cedars, was completely sunk and the remains cleared away. Sink r Swim reopened in Haven Beach a few months later. Real estate ofces report that va-

Courtesy of Ed Kaes

MAKE WAY: Bulldozers and tractors worked all during the spring and summer for LBI to recover from those dreadful days in March; summer vacationers came as usual.

cationers who previously stayed in Harvey Cedars have not deserted for other communities. Mayor Reynold Thomas, operating out of a temporary borough hall (it was destroyed in the storm), said that the main road would be oiled by mid-June. This hard hit town is taking great strides toward rebuilding. All homes must now be built on pilings, this method having been found to best resist oodwaters. The town is allowing property owners who lost their homes to put trailers on their property, a temporary measure to give these homeowners a summer at the shore. The trailers must be gone by November. Of the approximately 350 homes in Harvey Cedars, about 200 were destroyed or severely damaged. Sand was 3 to 4 feet deep over most of the town. At the south end, the rushing water had uncovered stumps of the cedar forest that was destroyed in the 1821 hurricane. Water mains were snapped into pieces. Federal emergency funds were granted to the borough for the restoration of public facilities.

Some, but not many, homeowners sold at distress-sale prices. Harvey Cedars has established a planning commission which must make some hard decisions on whether certain beach properties should be set aside as parks in order to build up and preserve the natural terrain. One only has to look to see that no beach land was set aside for public space; the demands of the private sector dominated. But the borough did set aside for public use the land that is now Sunset Park. Much of the rubble from destroyed buildings is buried there. Up and down the Island, the burning question was what to do with the beaches. The LBI Conservation Society conducted a panel meeting to discuss the pros and cons of bulkheads vs. sand dunes. The Loveladies Property Owners met to discuss the rehabilitation of the beach. The Long Beach Township commissioners proposed a $3.1 million bond issue to build a bulkhead from Ship Bottom to Beach Haven.

Fifty Years Later, Theyre Still Here Remembering

Jackie Sparks, Beach Haven Gardens ifty years ago, Jackie Sparks left for work on a rainy March morning nothing too unusual, just some wind and ooding. That same afternoon, she left her job at Prudential in Linwood with a carload of girls to head home, totally unaware of the misadventure that lay ahead. The rst clues came in the form of the hail, snow, lightning and rain they encountered on the drive home. When they reached Parkertown, Sparks friends father commandeered her car keys, informing them that three men already had died Long Beach Township Commissioner Kenneth Chipman, Police Chief Angelo Leonetti and Robert Osborn, who were all in a truck that overturned in a ditch. Eventually her father found her, Sparks recalled, and she stayed with several different families until she

could get a pass to return to the Island. At rst, passes were issued only one per household. Her family was lucky; they didnt have much damage on 90th Street in Peahala Park, between the bay and the ocean. But Sparks remembers seeing a house in the Boulevard in Ship Bottom, a house in the bay in Harvey Cedars, sand and debris everywhere, and the unnerving sight of suitcases adrift at the end of her street. It was nerve-wracking to see on TV the beached (Navy) ship in Holgate and John Coyle on TV in Harvey Cedars, who had lost his home and the rst Sinkr Swim shop, she recalled. She gures she was off-Island for more than a week, because she got her return pass after March 11. For several weeks following the disaster, State Police regularly stopped cars on the Causeway to check for passes,

she said. Sparks was stopped many times on her way to and from work. They didnt want every Tom, Dick and Harry coming over here, looting, she said. In the midst of all the surreal imagery and confusion, Sparks can remember that her mother, wanting to protect her from the scenery, advised her: Dont look. Dont drive around looking for destruction. In the aftermath, Sparks seems to recall, the Islands economy didnt suffer too gravely; she had started working at Howards Seafood Restaurant the restaurant she and her husband, Kingston Sparks, now own together in 1960. In the summer of 62, business didnt seem to be too negatively impacted, she said. Debbie (Spiotta) Hunter, West Creek We had only lived in Beach Haven for one year. I was in rst grade. I do remember our family and my

cousins, who had a trailer in Holgate, leaving the Island in a huge emergency vehicle with big tires. We spent one night at Southern Regional High School, and a family in Barnegat took us in until we could return home. The National Guard wound up staying at our house in Beach Haven. Even though we were close to the bay, our home did not get flooded. I also remember the destroyer ship that ran aground in Holgate. Having been through that experience, whenever we are told to evacuate the Island, I listen! Better safe than sorry. Ellie Ollivier, Beach Haven My husband, Al, and I had decided to stay on the Island during the storm. He was busy rescuing people with one of the Beach Haven re trucks. The ocean was roaring, waves were as high as houses, and
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Supplied Photos

Wright House Stood Its Ground in 62 Storm

HOT SEAT: Clarence Winklespecht, a good friend of Albert and Hilda Wright, had a Harvey Cedars house on Burlington Avenue that was among many wiped out in March 1962. The blow did not wipe out his sense of humor. The toilet was found on an island in Harvest Cove. FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE: The back of the Wrights house is seen a week after the storm. The couple credits the solid brick and cement porch with taking the brunt of the raging ocean water, saving the home from destruction. DOWN AND OUT: Several weeks later, a nearby Harvey Cedars home is engulfed in ames, set are to reduce it to rubble so someone could start afresh, according to the Wrights. BRINGING BACK MEMORIES: Fifty years later inside the house that weathered the wind and ood, Albert looks over pictures of the 62 Storms impact on his Harvey Cedars neighborhood. HOME SWEET HOME: Albert and Hilda enjoy the back yard of their Harvey Cedars home that survived the 62 Storm. The back porch is a welcoming feature to this day, shaded beneath a modern, elevated deck.

Photographs by Ryan Morrill


A Rare Birds-Eye View Of Storms Aftermath

By CAPTAIN JOHN T. KOEGLER uring March 1962, a very unusual weather system formed off the Eastern Seaboard, developing into a super-sized noreaster. The storms center was located almost 1,000 miles from the coast. Its power exploded as it drew energy from the hot Gulf Stream A northeast storm that far offshore is extremely rare. Yet despite its great distance from the coastline, it impacted much of the Eastern Seaboard, from Cape Hatteras to Maine. Virtually all coastal towns, even those far up rivers and considered a safe distance from the shoreline were ravaged. Long Beach Island was only one of many coastal communities to be smashed. For nearly four days straight, the winds never dropped below 30 miles per hour, with winds gusting to hurricane-force. Closer to the storms center, ferocious winds spawned 40-foot swells. Pushed shoreward by powerful northeast winds, the long-period waves surged onto the coastline and never backed off. The shoreline didnt see a low tide during the next ve tide cycles. Without low tides to reduce the height of the ooding ocean, each high tide cycle was greater than the previous one, a phenomenon known as stacking. The bays also lled to far beyond ood stage. LBI was battered from both the ocean and the bay for days on end. The two met at a number of narrow points on the Island. My parents owned an Island house. They were concerned because their neighbors had fled the Island just before it went underwater. They described the beachfront storm damage they had seen before they evacuated as horric. Winds were forecast to subside on the fth day. Hoping to check the family house, my brother and I left Pennsylvania before dawn. As we neared the Causeway bridges, a New Jersey State Police roadblock prevented our approach. NJSP ofcers explained that despite the improving weather, it was not possible to travel on the Island. Saltwater still covered all the main roads. They explained there was no way to be sure the roads were safe to drive on until the saltwater drained from the roads. We retreated to our car to discuss options. Just then a returning Army 2ton truck stopped at the roadblock. I walked up to the truck, hoping to speak to the driver. I eyed the water line on the trucks fenders. It was chest high! This water height conrmation ended our quest. The water was too deep to even consider driving to the Island. We headed back toward Pennsylvania, unsure of what to do next. We called the neighbor who had asked us to check his house. They lived in Lansdale, close to Route 309. After we explained the problem, he suggested

we rent an airplane from the local airport. He called and booked a plane for us. We were amazed to see the airport grass was snow-covered. The runway was dry. The Beechcraft style plane had a low wing design. It had been in a hangar and was ready to go when we arrived. We ew directly to LBI. The adventure began at the Barnegat Lighthouse. The pilot was great. He offered to y the plane at an angle to the ground. This provided our right-hand seats with a clear view of the Island without a wing in the pictures. This greatly improved what we could see. He stated the northeast winds were behind us, providing a tail wind. But the strong winds made the ride bouncy. As we rst looked down, we were traumatized. Most beachfront homes were gone! We quickly approached North Beach and Loveladies. Not only were their beachfront houses missing, but in some areas all houses between the ocean and the bay were gone! Here and there an occasional foundation and a few telephone poles were all that pierced the ood. Some blocks were intact, followed by blocks with nothing. What we viewed through our cameras viewnder could not be comprehended. We saw former beachfront houses located too close to the oceans waves. Often the next house was more than 100 feet away. On some streets, the third house from the beach was the only house that appeared undamaged. Almost all of LBIs 22 miles of beachfront homes had been eliminated! Many of the second-from-thebeach homes had also been destroyed. Occasionally a house was sitting half submerged in Barnegat Bay. As we approached Holgates water tower, an unbelievable mirage came into focus. South of the last jetty was a huge U.S. Navy destroyer sitting on the beach. Monster waves were still smashing into it; waves were climbing vertically up its side. Despite the oceans fury, the destroyer appeared intact. How could a 400-foot destroyer end up on an LBI beach? Our plane circled the destroyer for a better view. Incredible! We next flew along the bayside, looking for landmarks we could identify. First the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club and then Morrisons Marina (then known as Priestlies or Bill Howes) in Beach Haven. Our boat, the 43-foot Miraamy, had been blocked for the winter. We did not see it. Was it still there, or had it oated away? The plane banked and ew up Second Street, heading toward the beach. We were stunned to see so many boats had oated off their winter storage cradle. The super-high tides plus the erce northeast winds had rst launched them and then pushed them across Second Street. These boats were jumbled together against the rear of the Dock Street bars, the Acme and the Antlers. The Lucy Evelyn schooner gift shop came into view. It was still

Photograph by Bernard Buck, courtesy of John W. Staats

WINGING IT: The powerful force of the weather during that fateful week in March 1962 knocked houses around like gamepieces on a Monopoly board.

surrounded by water! Her masts appeared upright, but she appeared from the air as if she was bow high. We continued the bayside trip. Crossing the Causeway, we loaded lm and rewound the 8mm movie cameras to get ready for a second beachfront pass. The beachfront houses destruction could not be comprehended. North Beach was gone. In several places, the ocean was washing over the Island with every wave. Some beachfront homeowners had invested major money to be protected by big, wooden bulkheads. It was impossible to understand how so many of those bulkheads could have been wiped out. The tall pilings looked like lonely toothpicks and appeared totally out of place. Their supporting structure and bulkhead boards were all missing. It was evident that few bulkheads had been constructed well enough to protect the houses. We saw houses were on top of garages, their neighbors porch or an open sand dune lot. It was too much. Even from 300 feet above the beach, the ocean waves looked monstrous and menacing. What had the waves heights been during the storms peak? We began our second trip down the beachfront. The water towers were the landmarks. Long Beach Boulevard was still under water. A few houses sat on this roadway. The Long Beach Township municipal building looked lonely. Beach Havens beachfront playlands two buildings seemed intact. These buildings were so near the oceans pounding waves that it was hard to imagine their interiors being whole. Most houses had appeared undamaged from the air. Later, when viewed at ground level, their rst oor was missing. Their furniture and any contents that had not oated away were strewn around their yard. The new Beach Haven oceanfront bar and restaurant appeared intact. As we neared Holgate, it was evident

that this town had been decimated. The big, white Coast Guard station appeared undamaged. Stricklands huge, new Holgate Marina had been erased. Its stored boats were all missing. The shop building no longer existed. The marinas pilings were also missing. In the distance against several bay islands high shrubs were a few boats. Where had all the stored boats gone? The huge Navy destroyer was sitting on the beach awaiting its fate. We ew up the bay to get a better view of our family and neighbors houses. They appeared to be on their foundations. But at 100 miles per hour it was impossible to determine their condition. I was delighted to see the Hudson House intact. After crossing the Causeway, we turned back toward Fort Dixs restricted air space and the airport. We entered a narrow sliver of airspace that permitted our direct return to the airport we had left more than hours before. While the plane purred along, we picked up the empty lm canisters we had dropped while changing lm. All the empty cartons were soon lled with exposed lm and canisters. Our birds-eye view of LBI was beyond anything we had ever experienced before; there was no doubt the Island had been dealt a terrible blow. It was so much worse than anyone had reported. Later, even the oldtimers could not recall a more devastating storm. What would the insurance companies cover? Their future waterfront coverage became an issue that would forever change how waterdamaged properties would be covered in the future. Many of our lms details became viewable only this year. I had four rolls of 8mm lm transferred to DVD format. The DVD computer software pause button could freeze a single frame. For the first time, we could study and understand the small details that we had missed watching the lm at standard projection speed. Despite the horror we had felt, we were delighted we had seen and recorded a piece of Island history.


Supplied Photos

STAIRS TO NOWHERE: At debris elds everywhere, it was hard to decide where to begin to pick up pieces and put lives and homes back together after March 1962.

Still Here
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the ocean was washing over the end of our street. An Army DUKW (a sixwheel-drive amphibious truck) pulled in front of our house and evacuated us my children, Alan, 7, Judy, 5, Dan 3, and me to the rehouse. We felt like cattle as we were herded onto the back of the army truck and were taken to Southern Regional High School. Everyone was wonderful. I was teaching third grade at Beach Haven grade school that year but still not allowed back on the Island for three days. What an unbelievable sight when we nally got back. Our home was ne, but we saw lots vacant, where homes had been, parts of homes in the middle of streets, appliances, debris everywhere what devastation! Charles Moffett, Beach Haven I was a member of the Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Co. and the Beach Haven First Aid Squad at the time, as well as a teacher at Southern Regional High School. My home then was on Engleside Avenue. I was fortunate to have both heat and electricity throughout the storm. Around 6 a.m. Monday morning, I got up to say goodbye to my mother, who was headed to Florida for a brief vacation before reopening her local grocery store for the coming season. It was cold and it was raining. She left our home, and I began to get ready to go to my teaching job at Southern Regional. Then the re siren went off. The tide was rising rather quickly, and the re trucks and ambulances had to be moved to higher ground (the vacant lot where Veterans Bicentennial Park is now.) My mother made it to Florida, not knowing the fury she left behind or

the damage to her business that was to follow. Some teachers living on the Island left early enough to get to Southern Regional. They became part of the team of workers who looked after the evacuees from the Island for the next few days. Most of my time during the early part of the storm was spent shuttling those who needed to be moved to a safer place. One of those was the home of Ralph Parker in Beach Haven Terrace. On a humorous note: While (I was) sitting in the ambulance on Engleside Avenue by the Park at night, a possum came scampering out from one of the nearby houses looking for a dry place. Jack Elliott, Little Egg Harbor Long Beach Island wasnt the only beach town where the storm impacted families lives forever. Our family lived this moment of time, Elliott writes. Its so hard to believe it has been 50 years. At 20th and Ocean Drive in Sea Isle is a lot covered with bushes, tall grass and some wildowers. Jacks brother Harry Elliott had purchased this corner lot in 1946. Jack was 16 at the time. Together with their dad, uncles and friends, those men built not just a summer house, but a base for fond family memories that included the aroma of fresh-fried doughnuts, the Ocean City boardwalk, swimming in the saltwater pool at Flanders Hotel, Johnsons popcorn, milkshakes and dancing at the Chatterbox. That house, like so many others, ended up in the bay after the noreaster of 1962. The mighty ocean met with the bay, Elliott writes. We could see the dormers in the roof, peeking out of the bay, but we still have lots of great memories from good old Sea Isle City.

Beverly (Stewart) Reitinger, Brant Beach My family lived on 104 Old Whaling Lane in the Dunes during the storm in 1962. My mom, brother, younger sister and I were in our house when the storm hit. My dad, Robert Stewart, was off on business. When the storm surge began, he begged an oil truck coming onto the Island to give him a ride to our family. No cars were allowed, so my dad left his car in Manahawkin. The truck left him off on the Boulevard, and he walked the rest of the way through the wind and rain. My greatest recollection is where the water surges met. We were one house in off Beach Avenue. The ocean and the bay met at Beach Avenue and rolled back toward their origins. This caused huge waves and current rolling down the street. My father was civil defense, so we immediately lled bathtubs with water and pulled frozen foods to put in the refrigerator. We also cooked what we could and found ashlights and candles. Luckily we had a working replace. After the rst aftermath, the street was no longer visible, but with huge mounds of sand. Two of the homes by the ocean were tipped into the sand where manhole objects were visible. Luckily there were no oceanfront homes, or they would have been washed away. (They are there now, though!) The funniest recollection I have is my dad and I (being a 13-year-old girl) watched this boat oating down Beach Avenue. Being heroic, we decided to tie it to a telephone pole to save it from damage. Only later, after wind and more water surge, the boat didnt fare too well. My parents owned at this time two duplexes on 17th Street in North Beach Haven. They were back one from the ocean. They became oceanfront for many years. My

aunt and uncle owned two duplexes on the ocean, and one of their homes had their daughters wedding gifts stored on the rst oor. My brother and father helped get these gifts out while the wind and water was blowing ercely. In hindsight, that was really stupid. At one point, a helicopter flew over our home and asked if we wanted to be evacuated. Unfortunately there were too many of us. We were later taken by truck (I think it was an open-bed truck, but Im not sure) to Southern Regional. At this point, my dad was able to retrieve his car. The people all over the mainland were coming to everyones aid and opened their homes. We ended up in Tuckerton with a lovely family that housed us for a few days until we could get a hold of our relatives. When we returned, our home was not damaged, but the street and everything surrounding us was completely buried by the sand. Greg Canellis, Tuckerton It was March 5, 1962, my fifth birthday. Being (I was) an only child, my mom and dad had a small birthday party for me that evening at our tiny bungalow home in Tuckerton Beach. While I blew out the candles and ate ice cream and cake, I recall my dad kept anxiously looking out the window, obviously concerned about the storm outside. While I was lost in my festivities, I didnt notice my parents packing some overnight belongings. We eventually left that night to stay with the family my father worked for in Tuckerton. I know my mom and dad were not prepared for what we found when we returned to our tiny home a day or so later or what was left of it. At 5 years of age, everything was a new
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Courtesy of Ed Kaes

INSIDE OUT: Houses tore open, causing contents of rooms to come spilling out. Support beams gave way, crushing whatever lay beneath. Some clung to whatever belongings they could salvage.

By THOMAS A.J. LYNCH JR. n early March 62 I was 20 years old and living at home on Broadway in Barnegat Light with my parents. I had just nished my day of bait clamming on the old dragger Seagull and had unloaded clams into a refrigerated box truck at the dock. Little did I know that in a few days there would be no electricity, the clams in the truck would perish, and the Seagull would sink at the dock. Everything as we knew it was about to change. My girlfriend, Dona, was over for dinner the night of March 6. Later Mom said water was coming into the utility room. That was the start of the March 62 Storm. I tried calling Donas mother, who had a home in Loveladies. No answer. The phones were out. However, I was able to take Dona home in the morning. On March 7, there was plenty of wind, rain and water on the roads. Some houses in Loveladies were in trouble. Some had washed away. Roads in Loveladies were starting to wash away. Barnegat Light was in fair condition. The town still had roads and most homes were still OK, but there was no electricity, and most of the town had no fresh water. On March 8, there were no roads left in Loveladies, Harvey Cedars, North Beach and Surf City. There was no electricity or water, and heavy damage to houses and property. The ocean met the bay in Harvey Cedars, creating a new inlet in the gas station area. The telephone company building washed away. Reynold Thomas, owner of Barnegat Bay Dredging Co., pumped

sand back in and restored the breach. Thomas was one of the many heroes. He really was a great man. Now you could get through Harvey Cedars to Barnegat Light as well as to the south end of Long Beach Island. My boss, who owned the Seagull and party boat Albatross, lived in Toms River but also had a summer house in Harvey Cedars. I had to call to tell him his summer house had washed away. It was very hard to do. Donas dad chartered a helicopter to come to Loveladies and rescue Dona, her mother, sister, dog and cat. The helicopter pilot wouldnt take the dog and cat, and Dona wouldnt go without them. My dad, Capt. Tom Lynch, had a charter boat and took Mom, my brother, sister, Dona, her dog and cat, and good friend Lilian Tum-Suden to the mainland. This is what a lot of people did. It was hard to live without electricity, heat and water. I stayed in Barnegat Light and went to work for the boroughs public works. Henry Tum-Suden was in charge of the water department. We were busy capping off broken water mains on the ocean side of Long Beach Boulevard, trying to get water back on. I really lucked out as I stayed with Mr. Tum-Suden and he had a gas generator for his whole house. We had heat, electricity and water. Also, the rehouse had a generator, as well as the Coast Guard station. Supplies were brought in by boat or helicopter. Martial law was in effect for the whole Island. You needed a pass to go from one town to another. Roads and utilities were beginning to be restored. By June, most of the Island was back in action.

By DONA LYNCH hip Bottom was one of the first towns opened after the 62 Storm. Many homeowners opened their homes for the yearround people who had lost their homes or were not allowed back in their homes. We were not allowed back to Loveladies, so we stayed in Ship Bottom. The Army Corps of Engineers rolled out metal roads in North Beach, Harvey Cedars, Loveladies and part of Barnegat Light. These temporary roads probably were used on the south end of the Island, too. The rst day of the storm, March 6, started like any other. I got up and got ready to go to Southern Regional High School. Our bus driver picked me up, and by the time we got to Barnegat Light on the route, he said he didnt feel good about the day (it was very still). He said he was going to drop us back off at our houses on his way off the Island. Thank goodness he did or we all would have been separated from our families for at least three days. When Tom brought me back to my moms the next day, we could drive only so far as roads were bro-

ken or washed away. We had to do a lot of walking. As we walked, we saw beachfront homes half washed away, but mugs still hung on hooks in exposed cabinets so strange. We saw the remains of a house slide into the ocean. My mom had taken in an oceanfront family: a mother and five children. Their home was on stilts and rocking at the time, although it eventually survived. The womans two older boys and I went to all the summer homes on our street that my mom had the keys for to get all their canned goods. We were hoping to nd items with juice or liquid as we didnt have water. Also, Tom went back to Barnegat Light to get water for us. Tom truly was our hero. He and his dad were our knights, but instead of a white horse, they had a white boat, the Christie. Fifty years later, Tom is still the love of my life. And our daughters still live by the water, Lacey in Barnegat Light and Cherie in Tuckerton. We retired by water, also, in Florida. For me, young and in love, March 62 was a very exciting time. For our parents, it was the scare of a lifetime. Dona Lynch lives in Sebastian, Fla. Beach Island. People were busy working and making a living. The Island was being rebuilt. Let the good times roll! Thomas A.J. Lynch Jr. lives in Sebastian, Fla.

On July 28, 1962, I married Dona. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, also. The great thing that came out of the storm was the biggest building boom that ever happened on Long


A Post-Storm Scheme Led To Life Lesson

Boys Will Be Boys
hen the Great March Storm hit the East Coast in 1962, Larry Oliphant of Manahawkin, whose grandfather ran the old gristmill and built the Old Stone Store, was a sophomore in high school. We got a week off of school, he remembered. Beach Haven West was just being built then, and Mill Creek Road was dirt. As two curious boys, he and his friend Eddie Nickel (a former re chief in Stafford and Eagleswood townships), whose father had the plumbing business on the point where Pet Agree is now, went to explore the ooding conditions and see if they could make their way to the beach. The boys moms were best friends. Anyway, Eddie and I decided we were going to get to Long Beach Island after the storm. So we put on waders chest waders. We tried to get down Bay Avenue, but they wouldnt let us across. They had guards there, some make-believe cops well, I got one of their hats, so they couldnt have been too bad got the badge, threw the hat away, but anyway. So Bay Avenue was a no-go. But the boys knew they could try another route: Mill Creek Road. The tide was still up really, really deep, so we were gonna try to walk on the sidewalks. You know where Jonathan Drive is now? Well, that was just being built, so we were gonna walk down that, and get around the cops, cuz they were there in the woods, and then we were gonna come out on the Morris Boulevard bridge and go to the beach. Were going down the sidewalk where Jonathan Drive was, and we pulled out a couple of these big survey stakes, for feelers. When we got to where you know where Marsha Drive comes across? Well, when they were building that, they dredged through there. That was the new Beach Haven West Boulevard. Well, we got to that point right from here to the end of this table and there was no bottom. They had dredged about 14 feet deep, and we had these poles. Were walking now, like the sidewalks width, in water up to here already, and with waders. If wed gone overboard, I wouldnt have been here probably telling you. Thats as far as the boys got before they had to quit for the day. But they went back later, after the tide had receded a bit, so they could nd a way to get around the woods. Where the adult bookstore is now located, he said, that ditch wasnt there along

Supplied Photo

STRANGE DAYS: The way the storm activity shifted earth and sand around made coastal property look more like a moonscape.

the edge of the woods. Also, he recalled, the owners of that little gas station on Bay Avenue lived in the house across the street. Anyway, we come out behind their house and got over the bridge to the Island. Well, we got as far as The Dutchmans. When we got there, all that piece (of property) where (Wally) Chapmans marina and all is, that whole north side of Bay Avenue was full of stool ducks and boats, and all kinds of stuff. We started gathering all this stuff up, so we never went to the beach. We didnt care; we found tons of stuff! Oh, God, we had those big racing life preservers with the neckpieces on it, about 20 to 30 stool ducks, and, if you know where that house is that they got fenced in there now on the Causeway thats falling down, well, next to that was a garage. So we found some garbage cans, we lled these garbage cans full of stool ducks and all kinds of contraband that we found, took steering wheels off of boats and stuff. To us, we were into building boats, and it was contraband, it was free so we hid it. Little did they know that Al Tonnesons dad, Axel, over at the bait shop, was watching with binoculars. After the storm, they convinced Oliphants mom to go back with the car to pick up the loot, but it was gone. Sometime later, Larry and his mom ran into the Tonnesons at the grocery store ShopRite, formerly Grants, where Value City Furniture is now. Oliphants mom said, You know, Axel, that wasnt very nice, what you did to those boys. And he looked at her and he said, Libby, it wasnt theirs, was it?

A Memoir of the 62 Storm

By SUSAN SCULLY y mom and dad, Hilda and Albert Wright, who are 85 and 91 years old respectively, still remember the 62 Storm like it was yesterday. I was only 5 years old and remember standing in the kitchen of our Hamilton Township home when Dad got the call that Long Beach Island had been hit hard. It was Clarence Winklespecht. He and Ott Daniels had gotten on the Island via a dump truck the day after the storm but could get only as far as Bergen Avenue because thats where the ocean now met the bay. Clarence told Dad he didnt see any houses where the Harvey Cedars Marina once stood. That meant that Clarences and Otts houses were gone, too. Worse yet, Clarence didnt see much standing across from the marina, where our house was located on Cedars Avenue. My parents were devastated. The following day, Dad received yet another call from Harold Appleby. Harold had own over Harvey Cedars in his plane and told Dad that there still was something standing there, but he wasnt sure it was on the foundation. About a week after the storm, Dad got on the Island. His father was the superintendent of the Acme on LBI at the time, and he had secured ofcial paperwork so my dad could go on the Island with the National Guard. Dad boarded a military truck in Ship Bottom. They were headed to the Harvey Cedars and Barnegat Light firehouses to drop off food. They dropped Dad off where the

Harvey Cedars Marina had been and said they would pick him up in three hours. Dad walked straight across Harvest Cove to our house on Cedars Avenue. Our end of the cove was all sand. Unbelievably, our house was still standing and had minimal water damage. This was probably due to the brick porch my dad and friends had built in October 1961 on the entire back of the house, which faced the ocean. When the ocean broke through, it most likely hit the brick porch and ltered around the sides of the house, saving it from being washed away. Throughout the next couple of weeks, Dad would make several trips to LBI, bringing an assortment of buns and pastries from his father-inlaws bakery to the displaced workers of the Harvey Cedars Borough Hall now being temporarily housed in Ship Bottom. Each time he made his way to our house and worked to make it livable once more. The nal touch was hooking up the gas range to one of many propane tanks that he found washed up next to the Harvey Cedars Bible Conference. Dad also retrieved his and Clarences garveys, which amazingly ended up intact at the Bible Conference. To this day my parents are still happily living in that little clammers shack on Cedars Avenue that weathered the noreaster of 1962. Pictures of our house can be seen in the before and after shots of the storm published in the December 1962 issue of National Geographic. Susan Scully lives in Ewing, N.J.


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By PERDITA BUCHAN he Best Exotic Mar igold Hotel (Random House, soft cover) has recently become a major motion picture starring old favorites such as Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Old is the operative word here, as novel and lm follow the relocation of a group of British oldsters to India. In her best seller Tulip Fever, author Deborah Moggach explored the t ulip mania of 17 t h -century Europe. In The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, she takes on something less glamorous but as desperately desired: an appealing place to spend ones last days on Earth. If tulips were exotic to the denizens of Amsterdam, India is just as exotic as a nal destination for a group of British pensioners. The Marigold Hotel is actually a rundown bungalow in the city of Bangalore which in the lm becomes the more photogenic Jaipur. Sprawling Bangalore is a mix of high tech, high rise, bazaar and slum, with little left of the legacy of the Raj. The plan for outsourcing old people is hatched by Dr. Ravi Kapoor and his cousin Sonny, a slightly shady Bangalore businessman. Ravi, a doctor with the British National Health Service, wants nothing to do with India. He is happily Anglicized, living in Dulwich with his English wife, Pauline. However, he does desperately want to get rid of Paulines father, Norman, who is living with them, having been kicked out of a series of retirement homes. Norman is a

selsh, crude and randy old party who almost burns the house down by leaving a pan on the stove while he goes out to buy a porn magazine. Persuaded to try the Marigold by visions of lush Indian girls, Norman arrives along with a full cast

The fun continues all day, starting at 10 a.m. with a Valhalla Pirate Meet and Greet photo opportunity. A Pirates Tools of the Bloody Trade workshop follows at 10:30 a.m., then Pirates Tale of the Flying Dutchman at 11 a.m. At 11:30 a.m., watch a whip show and cannon demonstration; at 2 p.m., a Scurvy Mutineers show breaks out, then a Pirates Pistol Duel at 2:30 p.m. There are a Pirates Pub Sing-along and Radio Disney AM 640 Grand Prize giveaway. All-day events include face-painting, crafts, shopping at a pirates marketplace and boat rides on Tuckerton Creek. Pirate grub also is available. Spend the day and live the life of a plundering pirate. Regular admission applies. Enjoy clams, oysters, scallops and shrimp fresh from local seafood markets during the two-day Baymens Seafood and Music Festival, June 23 and 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., presented by the Jersey Shore Folklife

Center. Family activities include carving and boat building demonstrations, crafters, vendors, music, food and fun. The festival was voted one of the Top 10 N.J. Outdoor Festivals by NJ Countryside Magazine. Check with the Seaport for admission fees. The annual Red Wine and Blues Festival is planned for June 30 from 3 to 8 p.m. Enjoy a tranquil evening on the boardwalk along Tuckerton Creek and sample wine from some of New Jerseys nest wineries. Live blues music complements the mood. Crafters, vendors, food and boat rides are part of the experience. Special admission may apply. Fall is a busy time at the Seaport, so if you are here for an extended autumnal season, check out the Antique and Classic Boat Show on Sept. 8 and 9., offering two splendid days of classic wood and fiberglass boat exhibitors, demonstrations, workshops, vendors, crafts, food and maritime activities. For more information, call 609-2968868 or visit Pat Johnson built at ground level, on a concrete slab. The lagoons were dug with no bulkheading of any kind. The bungalows were mostly sold to people from outside the area, as summer vacation homes. To add insult to injury, there were reports of looting in the aftermath of the storm. In hindsight, it bafes me how the developer who, I understand, took his prots and moved to Florida was able to get away with building those homes at ground level. Surely, it was common knowledge to any local ofcial that the whole bayfront area was prone to ooding during severe storms, especially the dreaded noreasters. It just goes to show the nonexistent zoning or safety codes of the day. No doubt, building street after street of plywood shanties kept a lot of the locals working, as did the house raising campaign that followed. Our house was raised and rebuilt, but my father did not live to see the nished result. About six weeks after the March Storm of 1962, he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 49. My mother and I often wondered if the stress caused by the devastation of our small home was a factor in my dads early demise. Fifty years later, I still have vivid memories of the devastation and still harbor many unanswered questions about the ethics of those who approved the building of homes at ground level in an area known for frequent ooding. crown, he added. LBIfest is presented by the alliance, which is comprised of local business owners who are dedicated to making Long Beach Island a year-round attraction for visitors and locals alike. We really want to excite the locals about (LBIfest), too, said alliance cochair Stacey Fuessinger. Sometimes even a lot of them think theres nothing to do on the Island. If we get the locals involved during the shoulder season, that will really help the community, she added. For more information about the alliance or LBIfest, visit Kelley Anne Essinger

Storm Story
Continued from Page 38

of characters supplied by various twists of fate. Most of the Marigold residents are single women. Muriel Donnelly, for one, has lived all her life in south London, but south London has changed. Burgled twice and nally mugged, she ees the city to stay with her devoted son Keith, only to discover that he is in some kind of trouble and has disappeared. Evelyn Greenslade has decided to take a chance on India on
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and exciting adventure for me. But even I could see the utter devastation everywhere. Some large object had oated and crashed through the large picture window that was a common feature of the Tuckerton Beach bungalows. Our living room sofa and other articles of furniture had oated and come to rest in twisted heaps far from where they belonged. The water line measured about 4 feet along the walls, which would have been over my head then. There was a thick layer of black muck everywhere. The one thing I recall vividly was the horrible smell that you simply could not escape from. I remember the sad expressions on my parents faces as they tried to shovel the black muck from the oor into buckets and painstakingly cart them out of the house. I recall, since I was so young, there was nothing for me to do there, and nowhere to go to escape the sediment, debris, wretched odor and lth. I was upset over the loss of a couple of favorite stuffed animals that I had. As a diversion, and an attempt to get me away and occupy my mind for a bit, my mother drove us up and down the streets looking for them, to no avail. At that time, all the homes in the Tuckerton Beach development were

Bayview Park
Continued from Page 28

will take place on Saturday at 6 p.m. Registration costs $15 before Sept. 15 and $25 on race day. Sunday will consist of a Triathlon/Duathlon at 7:20 a.m. sharp. Registration before Sept. 9 costs $70 for the triathlon and $60 for the duathlon. Registration on or after Sept. 9 costs $85 for the triathlon and $75 for the duathlon. Pre-registration for triathlon relay teams (three members) costs $95 and $65 for duathlon relay teams (two members).

People are looking for fun things to do with their families, and thats what were trying to provide, said Bakum, while adding that if it werent for Mayor Joseph Mancini and Commissioners Ralph Bayard and Joseph Lattanzi, none of these activities would have been possible. Bayview Park is a gem, and we want to use it to enhance the Island and its visitors experiences, she said. For more information about the upcoming events at Bayview Park, visit or call 609-361-1000. Kelley Anne Essinger

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special deals and discounts offered all season long at local businesses. For a complete list of participating enterprises and their specific deals running April 1 to Dec. 31, visit lbifest. com/2012wristbandpromo. The wristband promotion is really a win-win-win, said Kerzner. We started out just trying to make it protable for the hospital. But then we said, Wait a minute, lets make it a win for the person buying it and a win for the retailer selling it. Its a triple

It Could Happen Again!


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