By Julie Short, Carolina Designs –
It’s exciting to discover loyal customers who’ve consistently rented from Carolina Designs Realty for 15 years, but it’s the heart-warming reason why that really captured our attention. In this day and age, life’s twists and turns often result in relocation. For girlfriends who met at a church group in Pittsburgh, these relocations resulted in members moving away, yet wanting to remain connected.
This story begins in 1997, when they all agreed to an Outer Banks reunion. The women were to meet in Duck in September, with some friends agreeing to travel from as far away as Colorado and California. What began as a one-time trip has now turned into their 15th year annual reunion. Their commitment has remained consistent, except in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel’s timeline coincided with their reservations.
They call themselves the “Duckies,” a name taken from the location of their first reunion. It started with 8 friends, but as other friends have joined, the number has increased to 11. Over the years, they’ve settled into a comfortable routine. Night one is pizza delivery, unpacking and lots of hugs and chatter. One member, Donna “Duckorator,” then transforms the home with dozens of unique duck items collected over the years. The next morning the “Hunter/Gatherer” crew heads to the store to shop for the week. Everyone is assigned a night to cook, but one night is always set aside for dinner on the town.
The friends range in age from 44 to 81 years. As they’ve increased in age, they’ve added a new routine called “Organ Recital,” an opportunity to recite which organs are still functioning and those in need of repair! They’ve also added some additional home amenities, including a private pool and elevator. The rest of their time together is free-flowing and includes searching for matching t-shirts, wine tasting, site seeing and local Outer Banks events.
As with most of our lives, their fond memories are laced with some sadness. To date three members have passed away, but that hasn’t stopped this steadfast tradition. With each loss, a family member has sent ashes to the reunion and a lovely new tradition began. A paper boat was created, filled with ashes and released into the Atlantic by the hands of loving and cherished friends.