While not quite a grandmother figure, Mrs.
Crowninshield played an important role in the
sisters’ childhood. She paid for ballet lessons and
she sent them to camp in Maine. They visited her
home in Marblehead, Mass. She provided
opportunities that they would have otherwise
But by their fourth year at the Academy,
Isabelle and Barbara were in separate dorms.
Isabelle was in the Latin Club and busy with high
school activities. Barbara felt left behind and was
tired of the strict routine. They still saw each
other at meals and on weekend outings, but they
were ready for high school at home in Boca
The Whidden sisters attended high school with
several familiar islanders. Dick and Babe Darna,
Bobby Sullivan and Cappy Joiner were their
classmates. Barbara and Donald Joiner (Isabelle’s
future husband) were named the King and
Queen of the Halloween Carnival in 1952.
Basketball was the island’s best team sport, and
they had cheerleaders.
In the early 1950s the island kids didn’t mingle
with the Englewood kids or the young tourists
who visited The Gasparilla Inn. Isabelle and
Barbara maintained friendships with some of
their Tampa schoolmates, including Mary Alice
King, who currently lives in Boca Grande. They
spent a good amount of time at the Boca
Isabelle with a tarpon much larger than her
(above) and the Marina (then seafood market
as well) in its prime.
Grande Hotel with their lifelong friend, Martha
Leemon Turner. Her family owned the
Hav-a-Tampa Box Company.
Isabelle dated Donald Joiner after graduation,
and within a year they were married. They moved
to Gibsonton, Fla. while Donald worked on the