A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

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My Birthday is Here. Yuk. Well maybe not.

Posted by: Kathy Fleming in Speaking Directly

I am only five years away from 50. Some might think I'd be shy about talking about this. Not so. I find I am more comfortable with myself the older I become. It is fine with me to be 45. I would not trade it in for 22. Maybe 28...Maybe 32...but no...I think not.....hmmm?

We have a Florida’s LH Association meeting the next day and are planting a tree here in memory of a dear friend, Gene Oakes who led that group. The plaque we are placing says "Gene Oakes, Light Seeker." As president of the Florida Lighthouse Association he was a light seeker. So along with our lighthouse volunteer Barbara Hamel, and Eddie Conlon, Tree Medic and a group of Gene's family and friends we will plant an oak on the light station (what else?) where the shadow of the lighthouse would fall on it and point to it. One day we hope the tree can help return the favor and cast it's own long shadow. Gene would like that.

At the same time my husband’s mother is struggling with the last days of her life. She was a strong person too. A native Floridian, her dad was a fishing guide in the keys. She lived in a small Spanish-styled house on 8th street in Miami. It's still there, but her plants are long gone. When hurricane season came they just boarded up the house and lived there with the boards on the windows. She was Rosie the Riveter in Miami during WWII. She made airplanes, at one time she knew every piece of a B-39 bomber. I think that's the one. She had five babies. My hubby is the youngest. She is a fabulous person.

It seems to me that we've lost and are losting lots of fabulous people. We all face times like this. Times of loss and times of memories. Times of renewal are there too, a tree planting, the telling of as story, the holding of a memory.

We are starting a project on Shrimping. Shrimping is tied to our local lives and the flavor of our existence. Ed Long is writing a book about Shrimping and the families who lived here. We want to help him as we can. We want to save those stories. What do you think about this? I think saving history and especially maritime history is a chance to think about men and women who were very strong and also revolutionary.

The shrimping industry changed the way we live and became a part of our culture. We would love to hear your story about the sea or salt or fishing or shrimping or growing up in Florida. Let us know what you think. And thanks for listening to me or rather reading my bloggin.

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