Sandy survivors sticking it out in heavily battered Long Beach

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The Isaacses quickly began moving their belongings as high as they could. They saved the silk kite that they bought in China when they adopted their then-infant daughter, Mallory, who is now 18 and a freshman at SUNY Farmingdale, where she lives in a dormitory. They also saved Mallory’s collection of model landmarks, which she crafted out of cardboard. Ralph put her models of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Empire State Building atop the tallest cabinet in their family room to make sure they stayed safe.

By midnight, the water had receded, and the Isaacses were sweeping any remaining puddles out their front door. Mallory came home shortly after the storm with three friends from school to check on her parents and to help clean up.

Staying put in Long Beach

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has pledged money to help the Isaacses rebuild, but flood insurance will have to cover the lion’s share of the damage, which will surely run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Now the couple are waiting for preliminary insurance checks so they can begin work. They look tired.

Ralph’s former colleagues at Lawrence Middle School described him as a happy man, with a wide smile and a quick wit. He normally speaks boisterously, they said. But now he talks in a quiet voice, and he is unshaven.

“He is the most giving man in the world,” said Ellen Shurgan, a longtime colleague from Merrick. “He never said no to anyone. There’s no one like Ralph in that respect.”

Long accustomed to being the one to give help, Isaacs, a 50-year volunteer with the Long Beach Fire Department, is now the one in need of aid, which bothers him.

But, he said, he and his wife received a good piece of news last Friday –– a sublet that they could rent had opened up on Broadway. It was only a studio, but it would do until their home is repaired, which could take months.

And, Isaacs said, he and his wife have no plans to leave the City by the Sea.

“There’s a saying in Long Beach,” he said. “You’ve got to have sand in your shoes” if you live here. “I have sand in my shoes. I grew up here. The neighbors are nice. It’s a nice neighborhood.”

And, he said, “I love the beach.”

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