We are cousins, born less than a month apart.

Jeanne’s mom and my dad were the eldest daughter and youngest son of Italian immigrants in a blended family of ten children.

And we hadn’t seen each other FOR DECADES until reuniting briefly last September at her mom’s funeral in New York.

A couple of weeks ago, Jeanne called me. She’d been talking with my dad and asked him for my contact info. We hadn’t visited very long at the funeral and she wanted to reconnect.

So she called to ask me if I would consider coming to visit her in Florida sometime. Perhaps, soon?

“As a matter of fact”, I replied, “I’m in South Carolina right now, and a drive to Florida to visit would be delightful!”

So, I made my way to the outskirts of Jacksonville for the weekend.

I left South Carolina on a sunny and chilly Friday morning.

As I got closer to Jacksonville, things got cloudy and ominous and wind and rain threatened to overwhelm!

Obligatory palm tree photo

I got to Jeanne’s late afternoon. I brought my things into the guest room and settled in. Jeanne and I picked up our conversation while getting dinner ready.

After dinner, Jeanne pulled out some family photos to share and we continued talking and laughing and catching up until quite late.

Our grandmother with her first two children, Anne and Mario
My dad with his eldest sister, Anne
Anne & Ed on their Wedding Day

Saturday was forecasted to be sunny and quite breezy. We made a plan to visit historic St. Augustine and Atlantic Beach.

After breakfast, we packed for the day and made our way North, to Atlantic Beach, first.

I enjoyed meandering the boutiques to shop.

Jeanne and I bought cute, cheap rings for each other to mark the occasion.

Then we had an inspired lunch at North Beach Fish Camp.

To Atlantic Beach
Very windy, looking North up Atlantic Beach…
…And looking South

After lunch, we drove down to St. Augustine and found parking near the Historic District, our destination.

We walked along the Castillo de San Marco and all around the Historic District.

In front of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine
A pretty boutique doorway
Trinity Episcopal Church
An Episcopal Church, established here during the British occupation (1763-1783)
Sign says: The oldest wooden school house in the USA, St. Augustine Florida
We spent the afternoon walking and walking, then finally had a seat for dinner at Al’s
Gateway to the Castillo de San Marcos
In front of the Fuente de los Canos de San Francisco at the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center, a gift from its sister city in Aviles, Spain.

I had such a lovely time catching up and I’m so glad we were able to reconnect! Early on Sunday afternoon, I packed up my car for the drive back to South Carolina.

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