Old St. Augustine was similar in some ways to the Savannah in that they are both very old, historic cities, whose histories cross paths through settlement and development. Both are cities with gorgeous historic downtowns that make the visitor forget that each is still a city with the challenges that cities face. For example, driving into Savannah, we saw our first homeless tent city on a highway offramp. Homelessness is much more visible in these cities than it is at home in Connecticut. I have heard of places at home where homeless gather to receive food and services, but I have never seen a tent city.
Our first evening in St. Augustine the girls and I were approached by a young girl, perhaps 16 or 17 years old, asking if she could have some of our ice cream, for she had no money for her own, and had been wanting some for a very long time. I had already finished mine, so we scooped some of the girls ice cream into my empty cup and shared it with her. At first I was confused. But then I saw her approach a larger group of teens and sit down on the street with them. It was then that I realized this group was probably made up of teens who have left home for one reason or another. This was upsetting to my girls who have never really had a reason to consider why teens run away. I had to explain that sometimes home is not a safe place. Sometimes services don’t work and sometime the system fails those it is charged to protect.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
The Fountain of Youth