by: Maureen Wlodarczyk
Three months after Hurricane Sandy, at a time of year when the Jersey Shore is normally taking a long winter’s nap and the rest of us are hunkered down counting the days until spring, the daily efforts and daunting struggles of recovery and rebuilding go on. The holiday season was anything but “merry” for so many people but acts of random (and not so random) kindness and the continuing charitable generosity of the people of New Jersey said a lot about who we are and the likelihood that we will not lose interest in our neighbors or the challenges they continue to face. In fact, there is a history of Jersey people rallying to the aid of others stricken by natural disasters.
As we ponder global warming, rising ocean levels, and weather phenomena with names we vaguely (if at all) knew a few years ago including “tsunami” and “derecho,” it turns out that multiple tantrums by Mother Nature occurring in a short period of time are not unprecedented. In April 1906, Italian volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted, killing scores of people in Naples just 11 days before the massive San Francisco earthquake killed thousands.
The citizens of Hudson County were quick to respond to both of those tragedies. Local Italian-Americans organized relief collections to provide financial aid to those affected by Vesuvius. A wide array of disaster relief fundraising was mobilized to raise funds for the devastated people and institutions of San Francisco.
The ladies of St. Mark’s Church, Van Vorst Square, sent the rector of St. Mary’s Church in San Francisco, destroyed in the quake, a complete set of vestments embroidered in white and gold thread in a design of roses and vines. These ladies, members of St. Mark’s Senior Embroidery Class, had done the stunning handiwork themselves, making their generous gift all the more significant. Continue reading Hudson Then . . . Again-1906 Disasters and Charity