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Kimberly Blackburn grew up at the Jersey Shore but has been living near her husband’s family in Joliet, Ill., for the past four years. She described feeling "helpless" over the past week from 750 miles away as she viewed devastating images of the communities she holds dear: Belmar, where she went to high school and took her senior class picture at the 5th Avenue Pavilion; Seaside Heights, where she’d always pick up a pizza from Maruca’s; and Point Pleasant Beach, where she constantly hung out with friends and even worked on the boardwalk one summer during college.
"It’s like someone washed my childhood away," Blackburn said. "That’s how it feels. It’s like this storm literally just came and washed it all away."
She now treasures photos of her young daughters taken at Brick Beach over Labor Day weekend, the last time she visited home. And while she believes New Jersey will rebuild the boardwalks and piers "bigger and better than ever," there will still be something missing.
"They can never take the memories away," said Blackburn, briefly breaking down. "But it’s never going to be the same."
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC
Associated Press writer Kathy Matheson in Trenton contributed to this story.
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