Melissa Joiner Steyer, Leslie Coleman, Barbara Chatham, Wayne Joiner and Isabelle holding one
of Melissa’s boys.
with the death of her father and trying to come
to terms with the responsibility ahead of her.
“The bathrooms still had ‘Whites Only’ on the
door. We walked past piles of things that Sam had
collected or was going to repair. It was an amazing
“Isabelle traded us mooring for Ron’s small
repairs around the marina. It seemed that a dear
friend had put in a good word for us.
“As the days passed and the tides came in and
out ... there was always an old leather boot that
came in on the high tide. Day in and out the boot
washed up under our dock, lodging under the
mangroves for a time and then leaving on high
tide. Why would this boot keep showing up in the
same spot every day? It was odd enough to
notice. It turned out to be Sam’s boot. Ron and I
looked at each other and understood the
meaning. We fell into the mornings, days and
nights of Whidden’s Marina for many years.”
Isabelle’s grandson was named Sam for his great
grandfather. His mom, Melissa, spends her days at
the marina with her infant son, Wyatt, while Sam
is at kindergarten. Her mother and Aunt Barbara
depend on her capable assistance.
Shades of Sam Whidden’s love and humor shine
through when Melissa says, “It’s not easy, either.
One of them is blind and the other one is
Editors note: Since this story was originally published
in 2003, both sisters have passed on. Barbara
passed away on March 12, 2012 and Isabelle
passed recently on June 20, 2018.