Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Caldecott's Grave and Our Lady of La Leche (a guest post by Miriam)

May 21, 2023:

On Sunday morning all of us were supposed to go to the older part of Saint Augustine, but that didn’t work out very well. Because of the stomach bug that we got right before we left for Florida, we all took turns being sick, and today was Rachel’s turn. We were planning on making our way to the ferry at Fort Matanzas today, but we decided that maybe that wouldn’t be the greatest idea, considering Rachel was feeling nauseous the entire day, and going on a boat, with nausea, not a good combination. So instead we spent the morning and afternoon in downtown Saint Augustine (and the surrounding area).


We started our adventure by visiting Randoph Caldecott’s grave (it was very close to downtown). We struggled to find his grave, and drove around the entire graveyard before finally getting out to try to walk to his grave. We found it quite easily after getting out (there were signs that said “CALDECOTT”, leading all the way there, we just couldn’t see it from the road). We took some pictures, realized that Mom and Dad were matching [pictures of that forthcoming], which was quite funny, and headed back to the cars (stopping to look at a huge grasshopper first).

[Mom edit: Caldecott (of the Caldecott Medal, an annual award for most distinguished American picture book for children) came to Florida (from England) on a health trip, hoping the warm climate would help cure his sickly nature. Unfortunately, he took a turn for the worse and ended up passing away in St. Augustine in 1886, shortly before his 40th birthday. We thought it was fitting that we were all feeling poorly in St. Augustine as well.]

[Mom edit: Phoebe literally ate a handful of dirt of Caldecott's grave, so if she doesn't become an artist or something...I want my money back.]

[Mom edit: Here's cute Miriam]

[Mom edit: Andrew and I weren't the only matching ones. Phoebe and Alexander both wore the Bluey shirts that Phoebe picked out while on a shopping trip with Daddy.]

Our next stop of the day was the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, the first shrine to Mary in the United States (first built in 1609). The parking lot was very confusing, but we finally figured out how to park. On our way into the parking lot we noticed a peacock just sitting there, so we went to go see it closer without a car between us. But the moment we got close, the peacock ran away into the street, under the fence, all to get away from us. 

It ended up screeching while we were making our way toward the actual shrine, because it got stuck outside of the fence (maybe if it hadn’t walked under the fence it wouldn’t have gotten stuck!). We were able to get closer to a peahen though. She was inside the fence and didn’t crawl under it to run away from us. 

One of the stations of the Seven Sorrows of Mary

[Mom edit: There were many little statues around, such as St. Francis (below), as well as the Seven Sorrows of Mary, and Father López).

[Mom edit: The BZA trio had been fighting all morning, so I had them read The Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, which was on a sign nearby. I don't know if it helped, but at least it momentarily distracted them.]

The shrine itself is pretty small, and not the original from 1609 as it was destroyed by the British 120 years later in 1728, and was rebuilt in 1875. The walk was relatively shady, so it was a nice break from the hot Florida sun.

After we got out of the wooded area where the shrine is, we walked around a lake. At one end, there was a huge metal cross that was built in 1965 to celebrate the city’s 400 year anniversary. 

Statue of Father López

But Phoebe was not interested in the cross or the statue around the cross. No, no, no. She wanted the “wawa” in the lake (water). While we were looking at sea turtles that had come in with the tide (they had barnacles on their shells which was cool), Phoebe was trying to jump into the lake, wriggling out of Dad’s arms (to jump in the lake), and trying to take off her clothes (so she could put her swimsuit on, because why else would we be by water?). 

She has not yet learned how to take off her clothes yet (thank goodness), so she just put her arms up and screamed. When Mom said, “She just wants to get into the water,” Phoebe stopped screaming and said, “Bup!” (which is how she says yes).

Phoebe taking yet another break while walking across the bridge

In order to get back to the cars, we had to cross a bridge over the lake, and what would have been a 30 second walk (it was a very short bridge) quickly turned into 5 minutes of screaming, crying, wriggling, sticking legs through the railings, almost having to rescue shoes from the lake, and lots and lots of “No, Phoebe!”. We finally made it to a bench in the shade on the other side to figure out our plan for downtown. But, the dirt on the ground—why wasn’t it in the garbage can? Phoebe quickly remedied that [scooping up handful after handful of dirt and trying to get it into the can, but mostly spilling it all over herself], and soiled her clothes in the process. 

Finally, we made it back to the car, saw our friend peacock who had made it back in through the open fence a little bit down the road, and started on our very short drive to Old Town.


  1. Nice work miriam

  2. Nancy also would start to strip if she was near water, when she was Phoebe's age! So I am not surprised.

  3. Thanks for sharing these interesting bits about your trip, Miriam! I enjoyed reading about your finding the Caldecott grave and seeing the shrine and turtles! I'm sorry the 30 second bridge walk took five minutes of crying and such, though. :)