Tribute to the Long House at Singing Sand’s West, Crystal Beach Texas

September 16, 2008 at 8:19 pm 32 comments

When I was a kid my parents had always wanted a beach house… it only took them around 30 or so years to make that dream possible. I remember being a kid and having my folks take us to Galveston to stay in various hotels… It was part of the best things I remember about growing up.

They choose putting their kids through college as a priority… and for that I am thankful. But their dream would have to wait until we were grown.

About 4 years ago they bought the view you see below. It was a great little house in Singing Sands West on Bolivar Peninsula. True it is a community fitting of a Jimmy Buffet song… but I like Jimmy buffet.

Here is the house itself. It wasn’t front row, but it was only about 900 feet to a very private Texas beach. Unlike many spots in Crystal Beach it was not easy to get to by car, so it was left alone by much of the drive on traffic. (Only holidays would bring enough traffic to have cars on the Singing Sands West section of beach)

Just like my childhood, the kids you see below got to make the beach part of their lives. My dad lived at the beach house part time, so unlike many of the homes that got very minimal use, ours was always pretty busy. We had just learned where to get a dozen live blue crabs for $7 at Joe’s in bolivar… things were pretty swell.

Unlike many people that own “vacation homes”, my parents were not lawyers, dentists, retired oil field workers, etc. They were hard working Americans (Fed Ex courier and Flight Attendant) that made sacrifices (When Dad was alone he would only air condition one room of the house to be able to afford the electric bill accumulated by the me and my kids when we came to visit). They organized their life so they could benefit from the sort of “heaven” only those of us that worship the Texas Gulf Coast know.

Stop and hang your feet in the waves… pop a top… see if you can relate.

I am sure it will be back one day, but we don’t know when. Below you can see a photo of the neighborhood as it is today. My parents house would be in the vicinity of the houses with the “red roofs” but it is gone. Wiped clean.

If you would like to explore the devastation yourself here are a couple of links that will let you see neghborhoods and photos in crystal beach: you Jake and Abby)

It’s hard to believe that the picture below is the same neighborhood I know…. An atom bomb may have been nicer. I pasted in two more photos at the bottom so you can see and match up a few of the houses. To me it is unreal.

Now compare that picture (you can enlarge it) with the photos from below…. Wow.

I guess what I wanted to communicate mostly is that property was lost, but it is more than that.

Dreams were lost (or postponed).

Be gentle and caring to those that may have lost their dream for a little while. Know that they may have also lost neighbors… That they may also have lost belongings that are worth more than money… Know that they worked hard to have this opportunity (and are thankful that they got it)… And, that in no way would they have ever thought they could be “wiped completely off the map”.

This is what a dream looks like:

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32 Comments Add your own

  • 1. inkoluv  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    sad. i know the longs will have a new place so start dreaming. it will be sooner than you think.

  • 2. Ebardt  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Powerful! Don’t give up on the dream though!

    It’s just another obstacle that’ll make the rewards that much sweeter!!!

    Live to Live!

  • […] Tribute to the Long House at Singing Sands West: a very moving firsthand account of just what it means to lose a house you’ve worked for your entire life. […]

  • 4. Ed Schipul  |  September 16, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Wow, very moving. Your parents worked very hard to create a place to have that time together as a family. Those times were awesome and that “this is what a dream looks like” video, just WOW!

    It’ll come back. You are one of the most positive people I know. If anyone can turn this into a good thing, to help them rebuild, it’s you Aaron!

  • 5. Fayza  |  September 16, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    The future? It’s going to be bigger and better than ever. Keep your chin up.

  • 6. dean philpot  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    We’ve stayed at singing sands for a week once.thank you for sharing your memories.

    One day we’ll have power.


  • 7. Jerri  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I know you loved that place. Sorry I never got to go. Don’t give up on living the dream though!

  • 8. Sue  |  September 16, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    I had heard from our Texas relatives that Crystal Beach was destroyed! Seeing these pictures just makes it so real. I am so sorry! *hugs*

  • […] -> Crystal Beach And one family’s tribute to their beach house, and why it meant so much -> Tribute to the Long House at Singing Sand’s West, Crystal Beach Texas LongStation __________________ – Shannon Moore Your Host @ […]

  • 10. But I know I am lucky. « I’m Awesome.  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:17 am

    […] in full force left and right. Numerous saddening tales of punctured homes, burning landmarks, and destroyed dreams complemented the continuing epidemic of dwellings without power or water. Was this really […]

  • 11. Shannon Moore  |  September 17, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing your poignant words and the sobering images with those of us who have been struggling to process the events of the last week. I hope your folks and all who loved the places that have been impacted can rebuild and reclaim their homes, livelihoods and their dreams. Keep the dream alive, for yourselves, your family and the next generation.

  • 12. Liz  |  September 17, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Man I’m so sorry for your loss. We also lost a beach house on Hamilton just a few houses down. My parents were also ordinary working people who built it from the ground up and invested a lot of time and money to have their dream there. They are both now passed and had left the home to us kids. So sad to think it’s now gone. Now its just stilts and a floor, which is a lot more than most. I hope everyone has insurance and a place to stay. Good luck with everything.

  • 13. Tara Angelle  |  September 18, 2008 at 1:01 am

    Just sold the big one @ 3584 Tarpon Way (beach front) Glad and Sad @ the same time. Lots of good memories. We are still walking around in shock. God Bless You All and we will be praying for you.

  • 14. Imelda  |  September 21, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Aaron, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss.

  • 15. Neal  |  September 21, 2008 at 7:45 am

    I have been enjoying Crystal Beach for over 40 years, as i’ve had numerous friends & family with cabins there! While I, personally did not own a property there, I empathize and feel a great loss! I just feel empty….very sad indeed!!

  • 16. Lisa  |  September 22, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. We too are a family who were living that same dream. Only our dream began about 45 years ago.
    My father-in-law, Sonny Duplant, built our cabin out of used lumber that he had salvaged from old houses. His sons and family and friends worked many hours over the years to make the cabin what it was for us – just like home. That was the only way working class families could afford a cabin. You can only imagine how old our windows and much of the lumber was.
    Needless to say, she couldn’t stand up to the winds and waters of Ike. The place we once looked so forward to going to is now gone.
    If you followed the road across the highway toward the bay you would have found our cabin. “Singing Sands North” – We were what you called “on the Bay side”. We loved our little piece of paradise. If you turned on the road by the water tank – you know – the litle Miniature Blue Astrodome, we were the last cabin at the very end.
    Over the last 45 years probably thousands and thousands of people have passed that cabin on their way to the end of the road to fish or crab or just look at the tugboats passing in the canal. If the tide was high, they turned around in our driveway to come back to fish another day. Many birdwatchers also found our own little bird sanctuary there.
    I haven’t been able to find any clear pictures of our cabin – I mean pilings – because we were the only cabin at the end of a long road and no one takes pictures north of the water tank. If anyone out there knows where we can see some – please let me know.
    Our camp is gone but we have our lives and our memories –
    God Bless you all!

  • 17. Charles  |  September 23, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your parents.

    The dream may be gone, but it will never erase the memories you have!!

    Keep your heads up and keep moving forward. This is just a test of your strength, that will hopefully bring your family closer together and make it stronger.

    Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

    Charles Hancock.

  • 18. Dan Keeney, APR  |  October 2, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Aaron: Thank you for this moving memorium. I have been pretty course in my assessment of those who chose to build or buy a home on an unprotected sandbar. I remain concerned about those whose choice of real estate put undue burdens on government and hope that we can prevent rebuilding on property that is likely to be taken back by the Gulf waters in decades to come. But this provides a personal perspective and I appreciate and value it.

  • 19. Suzy Chapman  |  October 17, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Just wanted to thank alll of you in the Singing Sands and Singing Sands West area for your support at DeCoux’s Pub and Restaurant & Hamilton Real Estate. I grew up watching SSW as a field and picked berries there. What is special about the neighborhood is the size of the lots and the respect that the neighbors have for each other and the beach. I know that this is such a special subdivision because many of the properties are still owned by the families that bought back in the 80’s.

  • 20. chris  |  December 2, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss, I don’t understand why the homes are not insured by the government? Isn’t that just why we have governments in the first place, tp protect the dreams of those who work the hardest? I am very sorry to see those pictures 😦
    Just a question from a dumb Canadian who dreams of the sea as well.

  • 21. Vaillant  |  May 13, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Beautiful house. I always wanted to live by the sea and these pictures are great. We don’t have such places here but I wish we had.

  • 22. Bart Cart  |  May 25, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Dozen live blue crabs for $7?! That’s crazy! I want to live there!

  • 23. smiley  |  June 12, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Wow, this totally puts a truly personal twist to the work my husband and our church were doing this week there in Galveston. Ike hit close to home for all of us Texans, and this is definitely one of the more heart-wrenching stories. I am so sorry to hear of your family’s loss, but thankful to hear that no one was hurt/injured/etc. Know that there are many out there working hard to help those in need, restoring hope and energy into their dreams & lives once again. I pray those dreams will be fulfilled for you & your family once again. Keep persevering…

  • 24. web design in miami  |  June 23, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Beinig from florida myself, I have witnessed first hand what you’re going through. Stay strong, be tough and My prayers go out to You, your family and all those in similar situation. I pray that one day, the postponed dream will come true. You just have to stay strong.

  • 25. Zegarek  |  July 21, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I’d love to have a beach house though the tought of taking care of it and dropping by from time to time just to clean up and fix stuff seems like too much for my lazy self 😉

  • 26. Miami Web Design  |  July 30, 2009 at 6:36 am

    I grew up in Crystal Beach Texas. I really miss it and try to visit often. I’m a big Jimmy Buffet fan as well.

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September 2008



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