Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Robert Pulsch, May 16, 2013

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is Brittany Le Strange. Today’s date is Thursday, May 16, 2013. The time is 10:12 and I’m interviewing Robert Pulsch.

Segment Synopsis: An introduction to the interview with Robert Pulsch.

00:00:17 - Brief biography

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Partial Transcript: Um, and how old are you Mr. Pulsch?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch talks about taking over his father's plumbing business. He also states that his father gave him and his wife a lot of land as a wedding gift on which Pulsch built his house.

Keywords: Bedrooms; Business; Children; Construction; Daughters; Family; House; Lived; Middletown; Neighborhood; Plans; Rhode Island; Rooms; Son; State; Virginia; Work

00:03:55 - Living in New Jersey

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Partial Transcript: What do you like about living in New Jersey?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes his younger years going to the swimming pool for fun. He also tells about being a volunteer fireman.

Keywords: Beach; Belmar; Community; Firehouse; Fireman; Helped; Houses; Involved; Living; Neighborhood; New Jersey; Ocean; Pool; Port Monmouth; Port Monmouth Fire Department; Sandy Hook; Seabright; Seaside Heights; Shore; State; Town; Volunteer; Water

00:08:00 - Schools / community events

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Partial Transcript: What are the schools like around here?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes the schools in his area. He recalls that his aunt was a teacher when he was younger which affected his behavior then.

Keywords: Area; Bayshore; Beach; Buses; Children; Community; Crime; Flood; Highway; Houses; Middletown; Neighborhood; Neighbors; Port Monmouth; School; Teacher

GPS: Middletown, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.396294, -74.093367
00:11:12 - First word of the storm

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Partial Transcript: When did you first hear that the storm was coming?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch compares Hurricane Donna and Hurricane Sandy stating that Donna was more violent, therefore, he didn't take Hurricane Sandy warnings seriously.

Keywords: After the storm; Basement; Beach; Bridge; Business; Car; Community; Cook; Doors; Fire; Fireman; First thoughts; Flood; Floors; Food; Hit; Home; Houses; Hurricane; Hurricane Donna; Keansburg; Lived; News forecast; Police station; Port Monmouth; Port Monmouth Fire Department; Stores; Storm; Town; Weather

00:16:07 - Preparations / warnings

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Partial Transcript: How did you prepare for it?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes preparing for the storm with a generator and having his family together. He also states that he believes there was adequate warning for the storm yet he decided not to leave his home.

Keywords: Adequate warning; Boats; Business; Cars; Children; Cook; Daughters; Doors; Evacuation warnings; Fire department; Generators; Highway; House; Lights; Morning; Neighbors; Prepare; Radio; Son; Storm; Street; Supplies; Warning; Water

00:19:58 - Day of the storm

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Partial Transcript: What did you do the day of the storm?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes raising his tools and his furniture before the water came in. He also was still able to cook because of his gas stove.

Keywords: Beach; Boats; Building; Damage; Dinner; Dunes; Flood; Furniture; Gas; Hit; Home; House; Hurricane; Immediate; Information; Job; Night; Ocean; Power; Radio; Signs; Sleep; Son; Storm; Water; Wind; Work

00:23:50 - Next day / damages

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Partial Transcript: What went through your mind the next day when you woke up?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch discusses his cellar being fully submerged in water after the storm hit. He also describes his losses, including some expensive power tools.

Keywords: Damage; Daughters; Debris; Floors; Gas; Generators; Heat; Home; Horrible; House; Hudson River; Kingston; Lights; Mess; Newport; Outside; Respond; Rhode Island; Salvaging; Services; Son; Storm; Surge; Union Beach; Washington; Water; Wind

00:27:48 - Mood of the community / cell phone service

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Partial Transcript: Can you describe, um, the mood of the community the next day?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes how beside themselves his neighbors were after the storm. He also mentions the Red Cross helping, as well as the Mennonites.

Keywords: Bedrooms; Cell phones; Church; Clean; Community; Contractors; Cook; Daughters; Faith; Help; Houses; Hurricane; Mennonite; Mood; Moved; Neighbors; Ocean; Pennsylvania; Red Cross; Seabright; Service; Sister; Verizon; Work

00:32:24 - Managing after the storm

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Partial Transcript: How long would you say the power outage lasts?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes how quickly stores reopened in his area. He also mentions the long gas lines and finding a gas station in New Brunswick with no gas lines which was extremely rare at this time.

Keywords: Cars; Cell phones; Children; Damage; Debris; Flood; Gas lines; Gas shortage; Gas stations; Generators; Highway; House; Job; Kids; Mail; Moved; Port Monmouth; Power outage; Princeton; Property; Son; Stores; Storm; Street; Water; Work; Working

00:36:40 - Clean up / insurance

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Partial Transcript: How long did it take for, uh, trash to come pick up, they start up again?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes how horrible of an experience he had with his homeowners insurance. Fortunately, he was able to receive money from his flood insurance.

Keywords: Adjuster; Boats; Clean up; Construction; Electricity; FEMA; Flood insurance; Garbage; Generators; Help; Highway; House; Insurance companies; Lights; Middletown; Money; Power companies; Quickly; Son; Trash; Working

00:42:39 - Coping after the storm

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Partial Transcript: Did the authorities implement any protocols or curfews in the area?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes the unfortunate story of a former neighbor of his. He also discusses the toll the storm took on his family.

Keywords: Beach; Boats; Building; Community; Contractors; Cope; Coped; Curfews; Emergency; Houses; Income; Job; Money; Morning; Papers; Plans; Property; State; Street; Water

00:46:32 - Response from FEMA

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Partial Transcript: Did you feel safe in the community with all the looting and everything going on?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch talks about how the police worked around the clock after the storm. He also feels FEMA was a good source for help.

Keywords: Borough; Building; Cars; Community; Contractors; Contributors; FEMA; Floors; Furniture; Generators; Highway; Home; Insurance companies; Lights; Living; Local government; Looting; Middletown; Money; Neighbors; Organization; Police; Response; Safe; Seabright; Town; Work; Working

GPS: Middletown, Nj.
Map Coordinates: 40.396294, -74.093367
00:50:10 - Preparation of New Jersey

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Partial Transcript: Do you feel New Jersey prepared adequately?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch believes that New Jersey was not prepared for the storm. He does state that FEMA and other organizations were the ones who were prepared.

Keywords: Boardwalks; Dunes; Elevation maps; FEMA; Federal government; Flood; Freak occurrence; Horrible; Keansburg; Middletown; Money; New Jersey; Port Monmouth; Prepare; Prepared; Prepared adequately; President; State

00:54:23 - Media coverage / opinion on the governor and president

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Partial Transcript: How did you feel about the media coverage? Did you feel it was accurate or did you feel, did you feel represented by them?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch praises both the president and the governor for their involvement. He also was amazed at the response from the rest of the country during their time of need.

Keywords: Accurate; Barack Obama; Boardwalks; Business; Changed; Chris Christie; Country; Coverage; Economy; Experience; Federal government; Governor Christie; Hurricane Katrina; Job; Keansburg; Levees; Media; Morning; Port Monmouth; Prepared; President Obama; Rebuild; Response; Sandy Hook; State; Taxes; Teacher; Union Beach

00:58:51 - Other storms / returning to normal

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Partial Transcript: You said you have lived here your whole life. How would you compare this storm to other storms that have come through?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch discusses the plans in his area that are being prepared in case of future natural disasters. He believes that global warming had a big part in the occurrence of Hurricane Sandy.

Keywords: Environment; Firehouse; Floors; Global warming; Home; Houses; Hurricane; Hurricane Donna; Hurricane Irene; Job; Lived; Money; Normal; Seabright; Storm; Thanksgiving; Water

01:04:21 - Changes to daily life

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Partial Transcript: Has the storm changed anything in your daily life?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch describes his views on the impact of the storm on the presidential election. He also mentions that a lot of the people affected stayed because of their roots there.

Keywords: 2013 election; Boats; Building; Changed; Community; Cost; Daily life; Election; Federal government; Governor; Houses; Job; Money; Outlook; Political; Presidential campaign; Salvaging; Storm; Vote; World

01:07:27 - Message of the storm

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Partial Transcript: If you wanted to give a message about the storm, what would it be?

Segment Synopsis: Pulsch talks about giving a message to the politicians about money. He also mentions that Hurricane Sandy was still in the newspapers in some form seven months afterwards.

Keywords: Devastating; Hurricane Sandy; Legacy; Message; Middletown; Money; Storm; Taxes; Union Beach; Vote