updated 08/08/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 08/08/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Today, 95 years, 18 Presidents and a total of six husbands later, Faith, Hope and Charity are still in Texas, at the Holiday Retirement Center in Sweetwater, and are, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the oldest triplets in the world. "It's a wonderful life to live that long," says the once-divorced, thrice-widowed Charity, who does most of the talking for the three. "You just know that you're living, and you're enjoying it."
Charity, who still gets a chuckle out of quoting the verse from 1 Corinthians that goes, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity...but the greatest of these is charity," attributes the trio's longevity to their "old-timey life" in West Texas—"working hard in the fields, picking cotton." Later, never straying far from their hardscrabble roots, they worked in the Sweetwater area, where Faith ran a family-style diner, Charity had a beauty parlor, and Hope helped both of them out.
Always close—Charity once sent look-alike Faith off on a date in her place "and he never did know the difference"—the three continue to rely on one another. Of Hope's three offspring, a son and a daughter survive. Faith's two children have died, as have Charity's, one in infancy, and a son, Philip, who drowned at 14. But though they've had their share of sadness, says Charity, "it's still a good life. We play dominoes. We play every kind of game you can think of, old-fashioned games."
In the retirement home, the three have separate rooms—and for a very good reason. "They still fight," says Clara Tyler, the center's activities director, "just like sisters."