In the the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the most disruptive, devastating storm that I have survived, I have so much to be thankful for. As a current resident of Maplewood, I was astounded by the kindness of the Maplewood community as myself and most of the town dealt with no power, temporary loss of transportation, travel plans gone awry, and many other traumas due to the storm.
In particular, there were several community organizations and businesses that I would like to publically thank.
1) The Maplewood Memorial Library - What would my family and I have done without the warm, inviting, electrified library? Maplewood is extremely fortunate to have such an amazing library, staffed with caring, knowledgeable librarians and professional staff. The Maplewood Memorial Library was a refuge for us; we charged our phones and computers, read, talked to other people in the community and were briefed on the current situation by the mayor and other officials.
2) The Maple Leaf Restaurant – Just as the library gave us access to information, the Maple Leaf provided us with nourishment. The Maple Leaf provided us with warm meals and the owners and staff are truly like family. We are so grateful for this Maplewood institution.
3) Valeriya Tuz - Valeriya, who works for Techne Media, Inc. (Hologramophone, Inc), and Quark Inc., allowed people like myself, who needed the Internet to do work, use the conference room on the third floor of the Bank of America building. The room was warm, equip with outlets and wifi, and was quiet. Valeriya Tuz was so incredibly kind to all of us. She and her husband own Techne Media, Inc., the maker of a pixound (http://www.pixound.com/main.html) app that translates color into music turning any photo into a musical instrument and she is also a piano teacher (http://www.valeriyatuz.com/).
4) Anthony Garubo Hair Design Group - The generously of this salon astounded me. The salon offered to wash our hair for no charge and then provided us with dryers. What an amazing gift it was to have clean, shiny, dry hair when we could not dry our hair at home. Thank you, Anthony Garubo - we will remember this.
5) King's Supermarket - I could never leave out King's when thanking businesses in town. King's was up and running the day after the storm. Thanks to King's we were able to buy produce and other staples to help us survive the post-storm. The staff was always friendly and unbelievably calm during everything.
As a side note, having lived in cities all of my adult life (Philadelphia and Rome, Italy), I have grown accustomed to walking everywhere. Therefore, during the early post-Hurricane Sandy days, I was so happy to see people walking all around Maplewood. I understand that people were walking out of necessity, but it really was so nice to see so many people walking.
Many of our Maplewood friends have been so kind to my family and I. They have generously invited us to come over to stay warm, have tea, watch the election, use wifi, charge devices, and stay at their house until we get our power. These gestures will never be forgotten.
The post-storm clean up and power outages are not over yet, but I am very comforted by the kindness, good will, generosity, and strength of my neighbors in Maplewood. Thank you.