Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach

Last weekend before Matt and I had to go back to work, we took a few hours and drove down to Galveston and Crystal Beach to see the damage done by Hurricane Ike.  Its been almost 4 months since the storm came in, but this was the first time we’ve been able to get down there.  Because we had seen so many pictures on the news and internet, we had an idea of what to expect, but its much harder to see it all in person.  I think it was harder for me to look at it than Matt because so much of my life was spent down there.  Between different family members, we had 5 beach cabins and all but one of them is completely gone.  All of the restaurants we used to eat at are gone, the grocery store is bad shape, and there’s not a gas station in sight.  Nana and Papa’s church is completely destroyed.  The only things remaining are some bricks, the baptistry (because it was sunken into the floor of auditorium), and the slab.

Anyways…about the trip…We started to see the destruction as soon as we got near the causeway.  You could still see debris along the highway.  Galveston looks bad, but it really doesn’t look any worse than I expected it to.  Lots of work is being done and lots of places have reopened.  We drove along the seawall, which is in pretty bad shape in many places, and we could see all of the piers that were washed away.  Somehow, the old Flagship Hotel that sits on a pier over the water is still there, though one of the front walls was ripped off and the bridge from the seawall to the hotel is washed out.  We boarded the ferry and rode across to Bolivar to see how it compared and it didn’t.  It looks like a war zone.  There is garbage and debris EVERYWHERE…literally.  Piles of debris line the highway and you can see stuff like mattresses, appliances, toilets, couches, etc…all mixed in with the lumber from the cabins.  We drove down each street that my family had cabins on and it was definitely hard to see.

These red pilings are all that is left of Aunt Joyce’s cabin.  In the picture on the left, you can also see a dryer…which I am thinking could be from her cabin.  Next door to her cabin was the cabin my grandparents owned when I was little.  There is absolutely NOTHING left of it…not even a piling.

This is the plot of land my grandparents cabin used to be on.  We sold it a long time ago, but there were so many family memories in these two cabins…squeaky fans, creepy bathrooms, no air conditioners, sunburns, and itchy couches.

The front of Vick and Katha’s cabin…the only cabin in our family left standing.  This cabin was built just a couple of years ago, so obviously it weathered the storm pretty well.  The slab is either gone or completely buried in the sand, their grass is gone, and the dunes in front are much smaller.  The only other damage than the front porch is some missing siding on one side, the stairs are gone, along with the garages and outdoor showers.  Everything inside is still perfectly in its place and there is a fine layer of sand EVERYWHERE…no big deal compared to what other people have to deal with.  And…Vick already has the building permit to start the repairs, so that is definitely good news.

The road behind Vick and Katha’s cabin completely washed out…

Bolivar Church of Christ…they have nothing left.  This is where my grandparents go to church.  They had just finished remoldeling and adding on to the building…I hadn’t seen it, but heard it looked great.  The sunken part at the front of the picture is the sunken baptistry in the auditorium.

the white tent is where the Bolivar Church of Christ is now meeting…

I walked up to this as I wandered around on the slab on the church and as I got closer and got down to look at it…I realized that it is a song book.  I found two of them…who knows how many more are buried in the sand around the slab.

close up of the song book

The famous Mama Teresa’s Flying Pizza…good thing we REALLY enjoyed it last time we ate there…

These are just the places that we could get close enough to and get some pictures.  We saw where Monica and Brad’s cabin used to be, but couldn’t get to it because of debris and sand and we drove by where Cecil and Catherine’s cabin used to be, but I wasn’t 100% sure that it was his land, so I didn’t want to take pictures of random property.  Tommie’s cabin and land I’m pretty sure is now in the water, and we couldn’t get to it either.  It was a sad day, but I’m glad I went down there.  I wasn’t shocked at all by what I saw, but it was very hard to look at.  Its also hard to think about how long it will take before it is rebuilt.  Matt says he thinks it will be 20 years or so…I will be almost 50 years old!  It makes me sad because our kids will never be able to have the memories there that I have.

Mother Nature’s power is just amazing, but what is more amazing is how God protects and blesses his people.  Yes, Bolivar Church of Christ lost everything, but they have not lost their faith or their attitude of service.  They’ve been down there serving the people and holding services for those who are left.  While I miss what is gone, I’m excited to see what Bolivar becomes.

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