by Bob Gaetjens
Looking at the projected path for Hurricane Sandy as she churned through the Atlantic Ocean in the south before she headed north, it became clear to me someone close to me was going to get hit.
Whether she took a turn to the northeast and continued feeding on the warm Gulf Stream water or hooked left and slammed the East Coast directly, I had family in her path.
A northeast path would have slammed Nantucket and Cape Cod, where my father lives with my step-mother. They've been through several hurricanes in the past and knew how to prepare a house in its path and what type of damage was likely.
As it was, they had a turkey dinner and a completely normal evening Oct. 29, the night Sandy stormed on to the coast. The winds did get into the 70 mph range, though, which is unusual but not unprecedented.
My brother, on the other hand, was hit squarely by "Frankenstorm."
He wasn't in Atlantic City or any of the other coastal towns in New Jersey that were devastated by the storm, but he was in lower Manhattan just far enough away from Battery Park that the lobby of his apartment building didn't flood.
My brother seems to have a knack for being in the Big Apple in tough times. Eleven years ago, he was in the financial district when the Twin Towers fell, and had to force his way into a street front store to escape the cloud of dust caused by the towers' collapse.
Fortunately, my brother's street was never flooded and he was able to get up to Midtown where there was power and food. I think he actually had a date Oct. 30. But the prospect of having the ocean wash through the downstairs of one's home is pretty scary. For awhile, I wasn't sure his building would be spared.
There have been lots of times when I've contemplated living on the coast. There are many pluses -- the water, the beaches, the economy which feeds off some of our country's great port cities, the great historical and cultural centers in those cities -- but then something like Sandy happens.
While big, destructive storms are more common in Florida than New England, Sandy is proof no shore is safe from the ocean's wrath.
For all of Ohio's crummy, drizzly November and (let's face it) March weather, I'm not sure I'd trade it for the uncertainty of living in a coastal area, as appealing as that would be in other ways.
Having family there can be unnerving enough at times.