September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike has affected (effected?) my family in more ways than most people realize. Sure, I am a Texan...born and raised, and I will NEVER ever claim to be anything but that.......but I am also a beach bum. My mother was raised in Beaumont, Texas, a city that is about 90 miles away from Houston. She would spend her weekends and summers on the beach, and thank goodness she instilled the love of the ocean in all four of her children.
I remember every summer we would go to Crystal Beach, TX for two weeks. We would pack up our cars and make the 5 hour drive to the Texas coast line. We would wake up at the butt crack of dawn and get out on the beach... stay out there until about 12, go in for an hour and make lunch, then go back out at 1 and stay out until was the life. I am being honest when I say many people thought we were crazy... why drive 5 hours to the Texas coast line...when you could drive just a little bit further and enjoy the Florida coastline. Why?, because we had history there. We grew up with my mom's best friend's children, we created friendships with these families that will last a lifetime. My mother knew people that had beach houses there, we had the exact same beach house for more than 10 years, and this.....this place became our summer home. Every summer we experienced a new and exciting adventure....whether it was traveling to Galveston to shop on The Strand, hanging out at our beach cabin playing rummy all day because it was raining, or driving my dad's truck at 14 up and down the Crystal Beach didn't matter. This was our vacation....our time to be away from the drama of living in a small town. Spending summer vacations at the beach I experienced a lot of firsts...I remember driving for the first time, having my first crush, getting my first sun burn, eating my first piece of seafood, writing my first letter to friends back home, taking my first sip of alcohol, watching the most beautiful sun set that I have ever seen, playing my first game of volleyball, , building my first sand castle, creating a "float" that won 1st place for the 4th of July parade, the first time I actually loved a dog, the first place Walt and I traveled to other than our hometowns... my point is this place...this wonderfully, majestic place that I have so many memories from might just be ruined tonight. I spent every summer at the beach from the time I was 5 until I was 22. EVERY SUMMER. I have a lifetime of memories just from that one place. Bonfires, parades, sunbathing, cookouts, the best tomatoes I have ever eaten, scary movies, karaoke, limbo, Stingaree, Mama Teresa's Flying Pizza, late night parties at the Broussard's...the memories are endless.
Officials have said this: At 600 miles across, the storm was nearly as big as Texas itself, and threatened to give the state its worst pounding in a generation. It was on track to crash ashore early Saturday near Galveston, the same site that suffered the nation's worst natural disaster when a legendary storm struck without warning and killed 6,000 more than a century ago.
Please pray for all of the Texas coastline. Pray that we will have more than memories to hang on to.
I was 6 my brother was turning 5 and we were at our beach cabin, celebrating our birthdays.

It's always fun to bury your brother, right?

Just chilling on our beach cabin couch with our dog, Puddin. Don't you love the glasses?

I think I was all of 14 here... with a seatbelt on, driving

This was the summer before 9th grade... we thought we were so cool

Just another night at the local karaoke/limbo restaurant...that night my brother got hit on by an 80 year old woman!

On the way to Galveston...summer before Junior Year.

About to go eat at our favorite restaurant, Stingaree!

Just having a great time on the beach with all the fam + Ryan... one of my mom's best friend's kids... who ended up going with me to my senior prom.. see.. I'm serious about the connection here! (oh and don't worry, my brother, far right, is holding a soda can, not a beer)

Summer after my senior year and after Poco's freshman year (of highschool)

Celebrating our birthdays (19 and 16)

Walt' s first trip...summer before Senior year of college... (21 and 22)

Visiting Katie and Rick in Kema before Eric and Angela's wedding


Kim said...

Found your blog when I googled Crystal Beach. I can so identify with your thoughts...we've gone to Crystal Beach for the last nineteen children's summers have been full of memories with our family there - their grandparents, their aunts, uncles, cousins...I am just so sad. We live north of Dallas and spend the year planning for our time there. This is so much more than a news story. I am praying but know that it may just not be the same for many, many years. Kim Jordan, McKinney, TX

SZipser said...

I loved this post. I loved going to the beach with your family for 2 years also. I hope all is ok there. There are so many memories of that time. BTW, wish I was still that skinny as the pic above!

Momma said...

Mer, this is beautiful!

Rebecca Parker said...

My mom emailed me your blog and as I read it tears filled my eyes. We have been going to Gilchrist for over 20 years for summer vacations, Spring Break and Labor Day weekends. There were 20 of my family members there for Labor Day weekend this year. We had to evacuate for Gustav, but I had so much fun as always. I have always said Gilchrist was like my second home. My son has gone every year since he was born, he will be 13 in November. I'm glad we were able to eat at Stingaree and Mama Teresa's while we were there and I hope that all of the wonderful people of the Bolivar Peninsula will be able to rebuild. My heart goes out to all of those that have lost everything and loved ones.

Ryan B said...


Truly touching hun! Just reading that makes me remember all those times! And although it makes me sad to see my cabin in such terrible shape, I know as soon as they let us, I'm back down there rebuilding it and we'll make it better than new! We'll have to add new memories with new friends and new family, like Walt.

I love you and all your family for thinking about our family and friends that lost something to Ike, and make sure to keep in touch.