In fact, Rakestraw lives on a sort of wooded compound, surrounded by her children and other immediate family members.
Simpson and Rakestraw retired last week within two days of each other.
Rakestraw retired from WellStar Paulding Hospital, where she wore many hats for 35 years, primarily serving as Hospital Administrator Mark Haney’s administrative assistant.
Simpson retired from Hiram High School as a guidance counselor after working in education for 30 years and teaching at Hiram for the last 11. After living in Florida for many years, Simpson moved to Paulding County in 2001 after visiting her sister’s family for many years.
“Everybody migrated, really, because of Stephanie and her husband [the late Bernarr Rakestraw],” Simpson said.
The pair has always been close.
“We’re kind of joined at the hip,” said Simpson.
The sisters’ father was in the military, so they moved around a lot growing up, starting school in Turkey and graduating high school in Japan.
They both moved back to the states for college, attending the University of Maryland.
Rakestraw said they always loved being twins and being close to each other.
“There were no downsides for us,” she said. “We used to play pranks on people and switch out. Even now, looking at old pictures, we can’t tell who’s who.”
Simpson and Rakestraw said their children are the only ones who can tell the difference in old photographs.
The sisters said they are looking forward to spending more time with grandchildren and great-grandchildren in retirement.
Rakestraw has five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, and Simpson has four grandchildren.
“I want a hug from each of my grandkids every day,” said Rakestraw. “If I don’t get it, I’m not going to be happy.” To celebrate retirement, the two are planning an 11-day cruise across the Mediterranean, stopping in Italy, Turkey and Greece.
In addition to spending time with family and traveling, the two said they were also looking forward to donating their time by volunteering.