I had the opportunity to revisit St. Augustine, Florida last weekend. My sister, Sandy and I were attending writer Connie Mae Fowler’s workshop in Summer Haven- only a short drive from America’s oldest city, so we thought- too close not to visit-again. St. Augustine has always been a personal favorite of mine, carrying from wild pirate imaginings of my youth through heartaches and tragedies later in life. With walls and streets so ancient, a few more tears go unnoticed in their centuries of tragedy.
This trip was different- quite peculiar- and not just because it was the first sans children in 7 1/2 years (yes, I called alot and missed them terribly), but this visit we went to places I had never been before- and this time I found out that I was a time traveler- eat your heart out, Dr. Who! I do not speak of visiting a museum to go back through time- but it was such a visit that made me realise I had really travelled through centuries…yes indeed.
Sandy and I went to the Colonial Spanish Quarter a blustery Sunday morning. The air with wind chill factor was in the low 30sF. Brr- and as we stepped into the living village- modeled on a Spanish settlement in the 1700’s in St. Augustine, where a blacksmith hammered iron, a fire burning beside him, chickens ran about in a winter’s bare garden, surrounded by cypress and orange trees, I felt a weird sense of belonging. We made our way to the scribe’s house in the far end of the settlement, and past the blacksmith’s fire. I peered through the open shutters- wooden beds, pottery as kitchenware- tools- I was seeing my Corfu. I must say, aside from when I saw that advert in the movies- a full screen ad of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, never before have I been hit with such Kepkyra nostalgia. Everything around me, even the cold air, screamed of long winter nights spent in Tritsi, and huddled by a fire, trying to keep warm. This is 1700’s St.Augustine, and I was living it in the 1990’s? It was then I realised I was a time traveller. Everything here was familiar- not museum familiar, but daily life familiar- collecting wood from down the mountain- any wood to keep a fire- the only source of heat, burning- fetching water from the local spring…the smells of wood fires, of loose chickens, of someone cooking a pot of stew over the fire. Dressing in layers and layers of old clothes just to get some warmth- and so it was here, in the Colonel Spanish Quarter of St. Augustine, a 1700’s settlement, that I discovered I have lived a time traveler’s life.
The Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum is found at 29 St. George St in Old St. Augustine. Open daily 9am to 5.30pm