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.