The wall on the left is part of the Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph. The house on the right is now a bed and breakfast, but in the late 1940s it was the home for Mary and Lin Barker, my mother’s sisters. They had a flat on the second floor overlooking the nuns’ swimming pool. Across the hall from them was the artist, Carl Austin. They became good friends.
Not long after the war, my mother came down to St. Augustine to visit them and wound up staying. Her husband was a B-29 pilot flying out of China who had died when his aircraft was shot down over Japan. His parents never accepted that he was dead, making it difficult to stay in Tennessee. She took advantage of the G.I. Bill to buy a small house on Palmetto Street in the Lighthouse area of Anastasia Island. Mary and Lin joined Marjorie and her daughter, Link.
Carl Austin painted portraits of Mom, Maura and I. When cleaning out the Barker house in Georgia after all the Barkers had passed away, we also found a number of watercolor sketches of the Barker girls and Link. They are very special treasures.
Carl returned to Illinois to take care of his mother. He returned to St. Augustine in the early 1990s. His health was not good and it would not be long before he also passed away.
Mary Katherine Link, the oldest daughter of William Booker Link and Amanda Randolph Link, was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, 6 August 1850 but most of her life was spent in the vicinity of Thomasville, Cheatham County, Tennessee. As the oldest daughter in a rural farming family, she had many responsibilities. She accepted her role with grace and was both practical and thrifty. She began teaching at a young age, a career that spanned forty years. She taught at Cheatham County schools and offered subscription tutoring when needed. After her brother, Samuel Albert Link, opened the Link School in 1900, Kate taught there.
A member of Mallorys Church, she was involved in both Sunday school classes and programs for the Missionary Society. She was also a successful business woman who used her earnings to build a small house on the Link property.
Miss Kate passed away on July 27, 1917 in Thomasville, Tennessee. She is buried at Mallorys Cemetery in Cheatham County where you will find a monument listing most of the Link family, including her.
Marjorie Barker was born January 3, 1920 in Chattooga County, Georgia. Her father called her Tot and although he would die before her second birthday, her nickname stayed with her the rest of her life. Growing up during the great depression and losing her first husband in World War II was tough but it only made her stronger.
Today is the 98th anniversary of her birth. Happy birthday Mom. We miss you.
Thomas Albert Barker – a salute to a very special uncle on Veterans Day.