By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 12/11/2017
Occurred: 11/1/1961
Topics/Keywords: #Florida #St.Augustine #Autobiography
Milestone: #Residence
Page Views: 857
The year we moved to St. Augustine, Florida.

We moved into the house at 312 St. George Street in St. Augustine, Florida, in November of 1961.

312 St George St, St Augustine, Florida

It had four bedrooms, one of which was a converted upstairs porch (my sisters, Louise and Mary Joan, slept there), and a converted downstairs porch (my room).

Mom visits my room. Note the window into the rest of the house, and the famous hi-fi. Grampa

My grandfather, Vernon Brown, usually held court in the living room. In this photo, he is wearing the goatee that so upset my grandmother. He was suffering from a bout of some kind of senility (years later identified as an electrolyte imbalance) and read Gone With The Wind over and over—and, each time he did, he would grow the goatee and draw one on his photo. Gramma would cry and erase it, then hide the photo until he shaved off his goatee.

In spite of Grandpa's growing dementia, he was much loved by my sisters and me. We enjoyed spending time with him; he taught us to play checkers, and never tired of telling us stories and listening to ours.

Louise and Grandpa.

At one point, Grandpa decided to leave his retirement and become a shoe salesman. For some reason, it never occurred to him to buy the shoes wholesale; he ordered several hundred dollars' worth from the Sears Roebuck catalog, then placed an ad in the St. Augustine Record for someone to actually go door-to-door and sell the shoes, which a woman answered. Gramma had to follow him around, canceling the order and trying to explain to the poor woman that she hadn't been hired, after all.


Fortunately, we didn't live in the kind of house where the kids can't play. We had the run of the whole place. Often, the living room became transformed into some sort of doll house or space ship.

Mary Joan plays with her dolls in the living room. Mom's room

Mom's room was upstairs, at the front of the house. You had to go through it to get to the girls' room, so, fortunately she didn't seem to be interested in much privacy.

The house was just a few blocks from historic, downtown St. Augustine, providing plenty of opportunities to play in ancient buildings and exercise my growing interest in photography. Here is probably my first photo of a sunset.

Sunset over the Matanzas River.