By JOHN T. WARD
Like their neighbors, the DeScenzas saw their North Beach home of 34 years, and an adjoining cottage, flooded and heavily damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
One week later, Dave’s wife, Nancy, a longtime member of the borough school board, succumbed in her 10-year battle with breast cancer.
But on Memorial Day, DeScenza, his daughter Nicolette, and his brother John put in a full day’s work under the sun restoring their regulation bocce court, across Ocean Avenue from his year-round residence.
“The neighbors kept asking when we were going to bring it back,” a cheery DeScenza said. “Sometimes, they asked without words,” he added, miming with a shrug and upturned hands.
The court, a regulation 91 feet long by 13 feet wide, runs along the sea wall in what used to be a railroad right-of-way. You probably wouldn’t know it was there if you weren’t a walker or runner on the public sidewalk that separates it from the sea wall. Unless, that is, you happened to catch sight of a game as you drove along Ocean Avenue.
At midmorning Monday, as he raked out sand from the court, DeScenza said it could be back in playing shape as soon as noontime.
Sure, there was still lots of work to do in the houses, DeScenza, said, but it was time to get the court back in shape.
At 4 p.m., redbankgreen returned to find the crew still out there, carefully packing and leveling the synthetic green cinders that lie atop a bed of oyster shells to form the playing surface.
The DeScenzas were still looking forward to an evening of cold beverages and bocce, that night and anytime the weather permits, Dave said.
Anyone is welcome to use the court as long as no litter is left behind, DeScenza said.