That little transistor radio my wife had picked up in the Christmas Tree Store that I thought was worthless turned out to be our lifeline.

For the 10 or so days that we were without power and heat, that little radio brought us closer to the reality of what had just hit us.

Just sitting there listening to the radio.

And the images, which were word-painted in our minds, were striking.

The Friday after the storm hit, I remember sitting in our cold living room listening to Big Joe announce that New Jersey 101.5 was about to simulcast the televised Sandy benefit.

And there we were, riveted, just sitting around the radio.

It was moving hearing the voices of so many neighbors, friends, and relatives describe their plight.

I’ll never forget the voice of one woman. I believe she lived on Staten Island (and lived is the proper tense); describe how Sandy washed away everything she had.

Her cry would still reverberate in my head to this day as she wailed: “this was supposed to be my retirement home…I have nothing now….where will I go!”

The horror of the past week – brought home as we sat around the radio.

The soundtrack of the night included a moving version of Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” among other performances that all brought home what we were all feeling.

Shock and despair: as we sat around the radio.

It was as though we were placed into some time machine and sent back to 1939. Images of destruction, passionate pleas for help and raw emotion were all coming out of that little red and tan box.

The little red and tan box my wife bought in the Christmas Tree Store that I thought was useless was our connection to the world.

And painted a grim picture – but also one of hope to hear how friends and neighbors were rallying around each other.

All conveyed through that one little box – sitting around the radio.