Kids see silver lining in wake of Superstorm Sandy

Casey Sullivan of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. was reunited with her cat Monkey after she had to leave the kitten while her family was evacuated due to superstorm Sandy.
CBS News

(CBS News) POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. - In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, nothing has mattered more than trying to find a kitten named Monkey -- at least not to 12-year-old Casey Sullivan of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. On Monday, her family had to evacuate without their cat.

"Because we can't bring pets everywhere we go, so we had to leave them, hoping for the best," Casey says.

And that's just one example of the ocean of worry that has swamped so many kids on the coast this week. It started, ironically, on Sunday, when parents told their kids not to worry.

"I definitely yelled at my dad a lot," says 11-year-old Michaela Sless, of Margate, N.J. "I said, 'I don't know who to trust, you or the weatherman.'"

Michaela says her parents ignored the mandatory evacuation.

"I said, 'If it's a mandatory evacuation then why aren't we leaving?'" Michaela says.

Fortunately for them, as Michaela documented, the water peaked just shy of "I told you so."

A few blocks away, worry didn't strike until the next day, when 10-year-old Alyson Doyle went for a walk and saw the neighbors' houses -- much worse off than hers.

"It's people's homes and now they don't have their homes," Alyson says.

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On the positive side, from all this pain, some goodness is emerging. After a week at home without electricity, some kids are actually reporting a renewed appreciation for their moms and dads.

"Our family has been together so much that we are actually talking a lot," Michaela says.

The power outage is also generating some change in Alyson. She's been seriously reconsidering her electronics addiction.

"I think I'll be outside more of the time," she says.

Most kids we talked to found some silver lining.

"Now you know how other people feel when they don't have a home," says 13-year-old Kerriann Sullivan.

Matthew Hill, 16, says, "Actually, it's changed me a lot. It makes me look at life differently -- what I have, you know?"

Casey, the girl with the lost cat, got back in to see her house Thursday. The place was trashed, but the water stopped just short of the kitchen counter -- which had turned into a kitchen island for a little kitten named Monkey.

Count that as one more survivor, and one less thing to worry about.

To help victims of Sandy, donations to the American Red Cross can be made by visiting Red Cross disaster relief, or you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, e-mail us.

  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.