Wednesday, March 03, 2010

SAD DAY IN ST AUGUSTINE

Yesterday was a truly sad day for me - I attended the funeral of a very dear cousin of mine.  She lived in several different places on the east coast of Florida but I think she spent her happiest years in St Augustine.  She was 82 and had been ill for the past several years so she had moved to assisted living facility in Ponte Vedra Beach about 6 or so years ago.  She had declined pretty rapidly the past year and suffered several stokes in recent months.  Still the news was a shock . I had kept in close touch with her mostly by phone until she was moved to the nursing center and it was hard to get her on the phone. Sadly I had not spoken with her for several months.

 The service was held at the Episcopal church where she was a member for many years - her DD was married there in one of the most gorgeous weddings I have ever attended.  One of  my grandmothers sisters settled in St Augustine and raised her 4 sons there.  I have many cousins there and have spent many happy days and hours in St Augustine.  It holds a lifetime of dear and special memories for me.

It was raining, nasty, blowing and cold yesterday morning.  St Augustine is about an hour from my house.  My folks were supposed to be meeting me on the way and we would go together.  I was horrified when my mom called and said she was not feeling up to going.  I am SO not good with funerals - I knew I would not be strong with this one especially without my mom to hold me up.  So I decided I would not back out - I would be a big girl and go by myself.  I even stopped at Starbucks on the way to try and perk myself up.

The service was very formal as most Catholic/Episcopal services seem to be to me.  there were not many people there - so sad - Tears rolled down my face thru the entire service.  there was a quiet reception held after the service where my cousin (her daugher) had a video rolling of old family photos - OMG - I just lost it - seeing photos my grandmother and all her sisters - cousins - myself as a child - it was more than I could handle.  I just sobbed like a baby - it was rather embarrassing but I could not contain myself.  After the reception - I decided to walk down to the French Bakery where I spent many happy hours with my great Aunt, cousins and grandmother in years past.  Here is a shot of Charlotte St where the bakery is located.
Here is Cadiz St.  If you look closely you might can see the bayfront.  This is considered "old town" in St Augustine with tiny narrow streets which are still open to vehicles.

I just wandered the familiar streets rather aimlessly - the streets were quite deserted - so it was kinda like stepping back in time.  I walked down Palm Row - which I had always meant to do but never had - this is an awesome brick street with houses from the 1800's still in private residence.  that street is only open to residents and foot traffic.  Isn't it beautiful? - where I am standing is just across the street from the Lightner Museum which used to be a hotel.  It was built by the railroad barron Henry Flager and is across the street from Flagler College.   St Augustine is full of history and ghosts.  I must admit several times I felt like someone was watching me or following me on these deserted historic streets.  I chalked it up to too many episodes of Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures! 

I did visit a very neat place inside the Lightner Musuem - the Linen Room - it is owned by June an English woman.  I have found several treasures there over there years and always try to stop in if I have time.  It is where I bought my antique sewing table and Mom got a little schoolgirl sampler a few years ago.  I was looking for a homespun linen sheet that will become the base of a primitive applique wool bed cover from the new book Primitive Offerings by Maggie Bonanomi.  Luck was with me - I found one for a great price - I had been perusing Ebay and they were all over $100 plus I prefered to see what I was buying in person.

On the hike back to my car - I passed this sign - It attracted my attention because I live on Fatio Lane on what was once Laurel Grove Plantation on the banks of the St Johns River.  I am now curious about this name and will have to do some research to see if Fatio was somehow connected to Laurel Grove Plantation.  I know at one time Harriet Beecher Stowe's son owned Laurel Grove.  Fatio seems to be Spanish and on the museums website - there is more info about Louisa Fatio who owned and ran the boarding house. http://www.ximenezfatiohouse.org/our_history.html          here is a link if anyone cares to look around.

After leaving the historic area - I decided to go and peruse the LYS - she moved last summer and I had not seen the new shop.  It was pretty unexciting but I did manage to buy a pattern for a capelet and some lovely mohair yarn and some relatively inexpensive wool to make the cape.  I am such a yarn snob - I am now somewhat regretting buying this yarn as I have infinite stash that I could have pulled from to do this capelet.  Had I just bought the mohair and the pattern - I would have come out still under budget for a day in St Aug - instead I have now blown thru my mad money for the next couple of weeks.  Couple that with market purchases and I YAH YAH - I'm broke again.

Thanks for sticking with me thru my sad story and my journey around one of my favorite places in the area.  You can go and spend a day in St Augustine and feel like you were in Europe for a day.  If you have not been there - do put that on your bucket list.  It is a truly unique and beautiful place.  Until we meet again - thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments - I read each and every one and love to hear from you.

20 comments:

Cari said...

Mel - so sorry about your dear cousin. I loved reading your post...so sweet and tender. Just brought a big lump to my throat thinking about past memories. Thanks so much for sharing. Warm Hugs

Vonna said...

Firstly my sincere and most heartfelt condolences to you on the death of your Aunt. May she and all the souls of the faithfully departed, by the mercy of God rest in peace.

When I was a young girl we went to St. Augustine every year. We stayed always on Crescent Beach at the Four Winds Condos in E5. Every year... :) When I married we went every year until I got pregnant with the twins (in E5, LOL!). This year we're going again, this time we're staying outside of St. Augustine, but close enough to go into town daily. We're staying at Cinnamon Beach. I love St. Augustine, and being Catholic, it is a near and dear place to my heart. La Madre de Leche shrine and Nombre de Dios, the Spanish Bakery, all the great sights...can't wait to go again!

Rugs and Pugs said...

Mel ~
My heartfelt condolences. Your post was very touching.
Thank you for sharing your memories of St. Augustine with me. I was there only once ~ a couple of years ago ~ but did not get a chance to see all I wanted to see.
Pug hugs :)
Lauren

Terri(TerriBoog) said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Mel! Your Aunt sounds like a wonderful woman. I really enjoyed the tour of St. Augustine. I've never been there, but have read a bit about it and would LOVE to go there one day. The picture of the bakery street does look European! Thank you so much for sharing your sweet memories and the beautiful tour. My condolences to you.

Susan said...

Melody, I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin. Thanks for sharing your memories of her. And thanks for the wonderful tour of St. Augustine. My husband has been there and loves it, too.

Stef said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin. And it sounds like such a lovely area and I'm sure that it brought back many warm memories to you on such a sad day. Sending many hugs your way, Mel.

Jackie said...

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your dear cousin, Mel. Thank you for sharing your memories. Your pictures show many areas in St. Augustine that I'm not familiar with that I've never seen before. I need to do some exploring!

Loraine said...

Oh Mel,
So sorry for your loss of your cousin. I'm sure it offered some solace and peace going to the funeral, even though it was so difficult emotionally. It was brave of you to go it alone. My thoughts are with you. Don't beat yourself up about buying the yarn. You can remember your cousin each time you see it.
Love the pictures. I hope you are feeling better soon.
Hugs.

Katherine said...

Mel, I'm so sorry you're sad. Years ago Oprah said that people don't need your at weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties - they NEED you at funerals. That really struck me and I have lived by it ever since. I don't like going, but over the years I've realized that Oprah was right. Always, friends and family remember funeral attendance before they remember anything else. It sounds like you have a big, extended family and you are so lucky to have that and the wonderful memories of them. Just think how much comfort you gave to your cousin's daughter, being there - even sobingly. I'm so sorry it was so hard on you - being a "big girl" is sometimes like that. You did a wonderful thing for your cousin and then afterward, walking through town, a wonderful thing for yourself - wrapping yourself in warm, comforting memories. And if there was a ghost walking with you, it was someone who cared for and about you. We have a friend who retired to St. Augustine and hope to visit him and his wife someday - he's always telling me how beautiful it is there. Thanks for the tour, and whetting my appetite for the trip.

Nancy said...

I was giving you a hug while I was reading this Melody. I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin. You shouldn't feel bad at all that you lost it. That just shows how much you loved her and that is how your emotions dealt with losing her. I'm sure she was very special, and you are lucky to have had her in your life. St. Augustine looks like a place that could create very special memories. I'm glad you found the piece you were looking for at such a good price. Take care.

Sherry said...

I am so sorry about your loss. The pictures were just beautiful.

Margaret said...

Melody, I'm so sorry about your cousin. What a lovely post though. I enjoyed seeing the pics of St. Augustine. I've never been there and now I want to visit. If I ever get there, I will think of you.

Karoline said...

{{{Mel}}} I'm sorry for the loss of your cousin.

I enjoyed your tour of St Augustine, sounds like somewhere I would enjoy visiting.

Jean in Georgia said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin. It sounds like you have many, many good memories of her to comfort you, and those memories will be there as the pain of her loss fades. Big, big hugs to you. Penny sends gentle kisses.

Michelle said...

I have St. Augustine on my bucket list. I've always wanted to go there. I am so sorry for your loss. What a hard day, but what a lovely adventure you made of it. And what a nice way to remember, by going to the bakery and walking those streets again. Lovely!

Deb said...

Mel - I'm so sorry to hear of your beloved aunt! She sounds like she was just the most wonderful person. I do think that your pictures of St. Augustine were wonderful and what a nice way to relive some of the memories of her visiting there. My most heartfelt condolences Mel. May she live in your heart always.

Jeanne said...

Sympathies on the loss of your cousin Mel but aren't you glad you went. Funerals also honor the family left behind and you were not only mourning your cousin but lost years of childhood and bittersweet memories. My parents always took us to funerals even as children so we would get used to it and learn that attending if you can is "the right thing to do".

I have never been to St Augustine nor really seen much of FLA except for the land of the big Mouse LOL. I will put it on my list for sure as I love places of historical interest. Enjoy your new stash even if the budget is blown - we're all in the same boat I think on that.

Alma Allen said...

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your dear cousin, Mel. You are my thoughts and prayers. This must have been a very hard visit for you. I'm glad you had a chance to visit some of the places that held special meaning for you. St. Augustine sounds like a beautiful place.

I'm glad that you got to see pictures of times when you were young and were with your family. Makes the memories sweet. Wonderful way to celebrate your cousin!

Hugs to you,
Alma

ArchangelDecker said...

I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your much beloved family member. My sincerest of condolences.



Like another poster, I spent many days in St. Augustine and played in the Fort as a child. I have been to the bakery on Charlotte St many times, as my hips can attest to. Between that and the Spanish Bakery on St George St, I have ruined many a good intention! :)

Siobhan said...

Melody, I am so sorry that I'm late with my commenting. I was so sad to read about your loss. May the memories of her live on in your mind and give you comfort. Big hugs. ((((((((((Mel)))))))))

Thanks for sharing the pictures and information about St. Augustine. It's on my bucket list now... I love the history you shared!