From the family photo shoot out at the lake
Lake Conroe holds a special place in all of our hearts because my dad worked on the lake for 30 years. After he left active duty (Navy) in the 70s, he managed a marina for a while on Lake Travis in the middle of Austin, Texas. My brother Gerrit was born there in 1974. A while later, he ended up working on Lynnhaven Marina in Virginia Beach, VA, while it was being built, and I was subsequently born in Norfolk, VA. Before I was two we had moved back to Texas, this time to Conroe, for my dad to manage the marina at Walden on Lake Conroe. From my earliest days I remember spending what seemed like every waking moment at either the Yacht Club pool, a condo pool, or the marina.
The Walden Yacht Club – other than swimming, we often ate here, my brother’s rehearsal dinner was held here, and I gave a piano concert here when I was 16.
Looking over at the Yacht Club from our condo balcony
Sometimes we would stay overnight at the condos or lake houses of people my dad knew (or maybe would rent one for a day or two), but most of the time my mom would just pack up the gear, the food, and the kids, and drive the 20 minutes out to the lake first thing in the morning. Often my dad would pop in for lunch on his break to see us at whatever pool we were at for the day, and we’d end the trip with dinner together after he got off work – either at the pool with food my mom had brought or some quick pizza place, and always long, long after the sun had set. Many a night I fell asleep in the front seat of my dad’s work truck with my head on his lap on our drive home. Most days my shoulders and nose were peeling from sunburns. My bangs never quite laid flat because my hair was always drying all slicked back from the pool water.
A view of the marina from our condo balcony (his office was in the brown odd-shaped building to the left of center)
Another shot of the marina, and the Yacht Club is off to the left.
As we aged, and the long months at the pool changed to just summers at the pool, the draw of the lake changed as well. We would frequently use the water toys rented by the marina (for free of course!) like paddleboats, sailboats, skiboats, and the like. They even had a huge party/houseboat docked at the marina that we jumped off for fun. Some days we’d play with friends all day in the houseboat (it was two decks high and had a dance floor and kitchen) – just listening to the Top 40, eating snacks, and swimming in the lake, never untying it from the pier. By this time my mom was working, so if we wanted to go to the lake we’d spend the whole day by coming and going with my dad. Around when I was 10 years old, the changing times meant the needs of the marina and the resort were shifting, and they no longer required a fulltime marina manager. My dad moved on to selling real estate, still at Walden though. I had begun to play tennis as well (my parents had always played), so through the junior high and high school years the Tennis Club also became a hangout. My brother was a lifeguard each summer during high school and college, too, at the Yacht Club, and he even worked at a neighboring resort on the lake in their lawn crew taking care of the golf course. It was fun having Lake Conroe as our playground while still living in our modest home in Conroe (most of the homes and condos at the lake were second homes for the pretty-well-off set.) We spent probably a third of our lives out at the lake – most of it together as a family – even on in to our college years. It was not until a few years ago that the last families we knew with homes and condos moved away (hence ending our ability to borrow pools, patios, and boats) and my dad finally stopped selling real estate out there. It’s still a place where his name is known, though, and the connections for our family will always be strong there.
Flags at the Yacht Club
a good shot of the Yacht Club pool with me and Robin
When we started planning our trip to Texas, we knew it would still be hot, so my parents called around trying to find out if waterparks or pools were still open. Eventually, it occurred to me that we could just rent a condo out at Lake Conroe for a few days, and then my brother’s family and my parents could come out for the day to hang out and swim. We ended up in a beautiful spot which far exceeded everyone’s expectations (especially since we probably hadn’t seen inside one of the condos out there for 15 years!) They had done some beautiful upgrades, and we had plenty of space.
Looking at the condos from the street
“The Lodge” – the complex where we stayed
Looking at The Lodge from the Yacht Club
Here are a few pictures of the interior of the condo:
We went out Sunday afternoon for a quick swim with Gerrit, Robin, and their girls before a family photo shoot. The plan was to swim at the Yacht Club pool for a bit and then jump into our nicer clothes, with my parents meeting us there as well for the session.
My brother Gerrit with his two daughters
Gabriel again, not quite “braving” the water, but fully prepared instead for danger!
- Liesl again
The pictures were quite painless and turned out so nicely! They are going to be Christmas presents for my parents, and of course my brother and I will put them up in our homes as well 🙂
The family pictures – with Gerrit’s family, our family, and my parents
After the pictures we all had a quick Mexican dinner at a restaurant near the lake, and then Grandma and Grandpa came back to the condo to stay the night with us.
We swam the next morning after my run – just at the small condo pool this time. After lunch and naps, we resurfaced and enjoyed the Yacht Club pool in the evening.