Summer Water and Beach Activities

Original Airdate: August 9 (2011)

This is Living Stories, featuring voices from the collections of the Baylor University Institute for Oral History. I'm Kim Patterson.

During the scorching months of a Texas summer, there's nothing quite so refreshing as playing in the water or at its edge.

Wilma Buntin of Houston lived for five years in Galveston as a child. She recalls a favorite summer activity:

"We would go to the beach, and we called it bathing. My aunt brought her bathing suit. It was one of those old-fashioned, looked like a—a short skirt and had white—three rows of white braid around the bottom. It came just below her knees. She had black stockings that went up above her knees, and bloomers were under there."

Interviewer: (laughing) "Doesn't sound real comfortable."

"She had bathing—no—she had bathing shoes on, and then she had a bathing cap, as it was called. It looked like a dust cap. And if she had fallen down in the water, we wouldn't have been able to save her. (laughter) But the ladies at that time didn't swim. They even had puff sleeves of all things, so that that would fill up with water too.

"But we'd go down, and—and we'd beachcomb. Early in the morning it's easy to find the shells, and you can even find the sand dollars that are not broken. And if you pick them up carefully, why, you can have the whole sand dollars. So we'd beachcomb awhile, and then we'd bathe awhile. And then the water made us so hungry till we couldn't wait to get home, get a bath, and my mother always had a good breakfast for us."

Martha Howe of Waco remembers her summers at Oak Point, or Lacy Point, on the old Lake Waco:

"Everybody loved sailing. My father went to Culver and was in the—in the naval school. And Papa bought the boys a sailboat. And then Papa also bought them a wooden Hacker-Craft speedboat. And so they water-skied. And then over on the town side—that would be the east side—Papa had put pea gravel out into the lake so that you wouldn't get that old squishy mud between your toes. (laughter) And I remember—I was in diapers, and we would—we would swim there. And it had big cottonwood trees all around it, so it was shady, and it was wonderful. It was kind of like a little beach, but it was with Lake Waco water. (laughter)

"And Daddy would teach—taught us how to swim there. We had piers out into the lake. We had a wonderful person that worked for us named Sherman. He would fish on one of the piers, so we called it Sherman's Pier. But we would swim from the pier. And we had a canoe, and we had a speedboat. And so, yeah, we—we definitely took advantage of it. But that was when the lake was small."

Texas offers 15 major rivers, more than 150 lakes, and a gulf coast to consider for summer activities. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Web site provides recreation suggestions and safety tips for these locations at

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