Trio celebrates landmark birthdays with famous car

Jessica Coker
Destin residents Sarah Marshall (driver’s seat), Joanne Bourque (passenger seat) and Jeanne Pierce (backseat) smiled for pictures in a 1935 Ford convertible the day before their birthday party at The American Legion.

Celebrating milestone birthdays gave three local ladies more of a reason to party this Presidents' Day weekend than usual.

The American Legion Post 296 in Destin was the place to be and be seen on Saturday night for the birthday party of Sarah Matthews, Joanne Bourque and Jeanne Pierce. Matthews and Bourque were both turning 80, while Pierce — "the baby of the group", was turning 75.

Although the ladies technically don't all share the exact same birthday — Matthews' birthday is Feb. 17, Bourques' birthday is Feb. 14 and Pierces' birthday is Feb. 4, the friends decided that joining their birthdays would make for an exciting party.

The ballroom of the American Legion filled up quickly on Saturday night as dozens of friends and well-wishers gathered to wish the trio a happy birthday.

Slipping into his blue suede shoes, local musician J.W. Evans warmed up the guests with his Elvis Presley act before the weekly karaoke started. The birthday girls did not sing, although, Matthews did try her hand at stand up comedy for the very first time.

The birthday girls met with The Log on Friday afternoon — the day before the big party — to take pre-party pictures at the Legion.

Posing in a tan 1935 Ford convertible owned by fellow friend and legion-member Leon Van Atta, the ladies joked about their age in comparison to the cars' age.

"We're a bunch of 80-year-old ladies in a 78-year-old car; it will make a good picture," Bourque said.

"He won't let us drive it though," added Matthews.

Van Atta said that the car actually hasn't been driven in three or four years, but this isn't its first time making the pages of The Destin Log.

"Bob Hope rode in the Destin Christmas parade in this car," boasted Van Atta.

Pierce said she's been celebrating her birthday in Destin since 1968 "dirt roads and all," and she'll continue to for the rest of her life.