Lake LBJ in the 60’s

 

During the 1960’s and 70’s, my parents were in the resort business in Sunrise Beach, on the shores of Lake LBJ.  I was a toddler when my family decided to build a place where families could come and have fun and get away from their busy lives. They called it Sandyland Resort, and many families came every summer to spend their vacation with us. Back then, small cabins and one stall boathouses dotted the Lake LBJ shoreline. Owning lakefront property was not an option for many families, so waterfront resorts were a popular way to vacation. Summertime was a very busy time, and we were often booked months in advance. Sunrise Beach was small, and labor to run a 7 day a week, 365 days a year business was really hard to find. So, my parents did what many did back in the 60’s – they put their kids to work.

My sister and I did everything from pumping gas at the boat dock to working in the restaurant waiting tables or helping in the kitchen. I was happy to have some money to spend that was all my own, but I was sometimes jealous of my friends who could swim and ski all day. My parents worked very hard, many times all day, every day, and they were not too proud to enlist outside family help. My grandparents were frequent helpers; it was a true family run business.

Our family life revolved around helping people enjoy their vacation with their children. Lake LBJ held them captive all day, and they did their best to experience all she had to offer. Fishing on the floating dock (an old fashioned relic from the past), swimming in the motel pool or lake, water skiing, or just riding around in their boat. In the evenings, they would cook in the motel kitchenette or eat in the restaurant while their sunburned children ran around them. It was a simpler time then, before cell phones and laptops made bringing work along a probability.

Times have changed, and resorts like my parents owned are few and far between. People still come to enjoy the lake – more now than ever, but probably at a lake house of their own or a lake rental. Families seek more privacy, and many want to own their own home for their children to enjoy for many years to come. Lakefront property is more appreciated and sought after, and is usually a good investment. Even during the economic downturn in 1992, Lake LBJ lakefront properties did not see a marked decrease in value. Our beautiful lakes are a very valuable asset and gift to the area, and their appeal will never diminish.

Sherrie Virdell

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