Beach house destroyed, but memories will last forever


Gazebo Photo by courtesy of WXChasing

The arrow points to where our beach house once stood on 37th Street.

I first visited Mexico Beach over spring break in 2008, when I was in Mrs. Kathy Larsen’s kindergarten class. I went with Madeline Davis because she had a beach house there.

My family and I instantly fell in love with the small town and calm beaches. We have been every year since.

Four years ago, my grandmother, Mrs. Melaine Hardwick, bought a beach house in Mexico Beach right next to the public pier. I had helped her pick which house to buy.

It was just across the street from the first beach house I had visited. It was a small, two-bedroom townhouse. It wasn’t on the beach, but within walking distance. My grandmother, who lives in Barnesville, had renovated the kitchen and the back patio. She also expanded the front porch.

My favorite part about Mexico Beach is that it is not well-known. The beaches are calm and very large. The ocean is also relatively clear. It is always easy to find a spot to set up on the beach because there are not as many tourists.

I have made many friends while in Mexico Beach. I have been to the pier many nights to watch the fishermen. Many people fish for sharks off of the pier. This is where I met my friends Kada and Kasey Milne,  and their cousin Carlie Burnham, who are from Cullman, Ala., a small town near Birmingham.

I was watching the news covering the hurricane. I saw places on national television I had visited last summer.”

— Carson Simmons

Their beach house was just down the street from Madeline’s former beach house. Many times, we stayed out on the pier until 2 a.m. waiting for a shark to bite.

They have caught many sharks out there; this year they caught a 12-foot tiger shark off of the pier. One time, I went out on the boat with them to a nearby beach, Crooked Island, and I caught a baby Atlantic Sharpnose, about 3 feet long.

Over the years, I have introduced many of my friends to Mexico Beach. The summer after sixth grade, my sister and I invited Sophie Waldrop to Mexico Beach. The next year, we invited Harriette Ann Bowden, Kacey Cross, and Sophie Waldrop. We took the six-hour trip down to the panhandle and all piled in my grandmother’s two-bedroom house.

Even though it was a little crowded, we had a great time and went back the next year. All of my friends fell in love with the beach as well and began to look forward to it for the next coming years.

Last month, when I heard that Hurricane Michael was headed straight towards Mexico Beach, I was in disbelief.

I did not realize how strong the almost Category 5 hurricane was going to be. On that Wednesday night, I was watching the news covering the hurricane. I saw places on national television I had visited last summer.

It was weird hearing the name of Mexico Beach on TV, since it was unheard of before the storm. Around 7 p.m., my mom came upstairs.

She told me that our beach house was gone. I was expecting just the roof to be gone, but it was much worse than that. My mom sent me a picture of the street where our house used to be. The only thing left was the foundation. Kada texted me and asked how our beach house was, and I could not even text her back because I was in such disbelief. I was in denial of the whole situation.

Later, an aerial video from above the town was released. The only thing left of my house was the foundation. Kada’s beach house was the first one that was still standing on her side of the street. The entire pier was gone.

The place at the end of the street where I used to get ice cream, Tommy T’s, was demolished. Gulf Foods, the little grocery store down the road, was destroyed.

I feel as if part of me is gone. Although the house was destroyed, I will continue to visit Mexico Beach. My grandmother will most likely rebuild or get a new house.

It will never be the same, but it will always be my favorite beach.