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HOLDEN BEACH—Three sisters in their 90s recently enjoyed the reunion of a lifetime.
Oldest sister Wanna McAnally, 97, middle sister Delle Martin, 94, and baby sister Frances Robinson, 91, recently converged for a visit at Robinson’s oceanfront vacation house, “Turtle Trail.”
They said it was the first time in a long time just the three of them had had a chance to spend a few days together.
Year-round, Robinson lives in Jamestown, McAnally lives in High Point and Martin lives in Eden.
“We were all born in Hemingway [S.C.],” Martin said. “We lived there until I was about 9.”
Then they moved north with their parents to Eden—Eden, N.C., that is—which used to be known as Leaksville, they said.
When it comes to beach vacations, for years the sisters used to travel to Myrtle Beach in the state where they were born. Then a friend recommended Holden Beach.
“We came to Holden, fell in love with it, and stayed with it,” McAnally said, seated recently with her sisters in the living room of the cottage creatively decorated by Robinson and her daughter.
Fish placemats adorn the walls, which also hold an original poem and tribute to the sisters’ beloved vacation spot, “Ocean,” written by Robinson’s daughter, Kathy Johnson.
A painting of sand buckets by Johnson hangs over one of the room’s blue-and-white-checked sofas, which hold colorful pillows.
“We like it—it’s fun,” Robinson said.
What do they like about the beach?
“Everything,” said Robinson, who goes by the nickname “Frank.” Her older sisters joke that’s because their parents were hoping for a boy by the time their third daughter was born.
In the past, they used to visit the beach for about six weeks in the spring and six weeks in the fall. But they said they don’t do that anymore.
“The steps are a little hard to make,” Robinson said.
Their last, latest beach trek was in July “so the three of us could be together for a short time,” McAnally said.
They said it was the first time for them to be together since they were children.
“By ourselves—just the three of us,” Martin said.
What did they do?
“Talked,” they said.
“It’s just been wonderful,” McAnally said.
What did they talk about?
McAnally, who turns 98 on Thanksgiving, said she talked about how tough it’s been to be the oldest sister and how she “always had to be the example.”
“I think it’s worse to be the baby when you have to look up to everybody,” said Robinson, who turned 91 in June, drawing laughter from her sisters.
“ ‘ Why can’t you be like them?’” she recalls frequently being asked by their elders.
Their other activities during their beach stay included “shopping mostly,” they said.
J. Huffman and Shallotte are among their favorite places. They said they also have discovered a “neat little gift shop” in a 1940s-era home next door to Thomas Drugs on Main Street.
As for dining out, McAnally recently went out to celebrate her great-granddaughter’s 12th birthday.
Archibald’s, Provision Company, Main Street Grill and Inlet View Marina at Shallotte Point are among favorite places where the sisters enjoy dining during their beach visits.
At the beach, “I sit on my porch up at my place,” McAnally said, referring to her own beach house at Holden Beach.
Robinson said she sits on her own porch at Turtle Trail.
“We sit up on this place and watch the beach,” Martin said. “It comes to us.”