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Ray and Jane Cunningham were among the original homeowners on Figure Eight Island, building their house in 1974. It became their getaway home, a place to enjoy coastal living. Ray loved to fish with Jane and his kids. Whether at the beach or at a lake, Ray liked to waterski on a chair. Above left: The fishing was usually good, like the time Ray landed this big one. Jane recalls another time when they caught about 30 fish in a net. She filleted them all, and cooked a couple. “They tasted awful,” she says. “Very oily and nasty. We then found out they were menhaden.” Above right: Bocce ball was a favorite game. Ray, at left, plays with his niece’s husband, John Kinney. Right: Ray with his and Jane’s daughters, Susan Owen and Beth Wood. residents weren’t expecting children asking for candy. “There weren’t many houses back then for trick-or-treating,” Owen says. “I got a Coke, pickles, a piece of pizza. That was one of the most random Halloweens. I’ll never forget that one.” Cunningham remembers her fair share of weathering danger-ous seasonal storms. “Some hurricanes we’ve had really seemed to make a bee-line for Figure Eight,” she says. One in particular threatened to cause serious damage to her precious home. “One year, my husband and I arrived at 3 p.m. and a sign said ‘You must evacuate the island by 4 p.m.,’ so we ended up stay-ing,” she says. “We mopped up water from the floor for hours, and I’m so glad we stayed because there could’ve been really serious water damage.” The home is full of displays of Cunningham’s knack for creativ-ity and her one-of-a-kind art pieces, created over the years. “I love North Carolina shells — they are such a treasure. I used to collect them and I made a few shell mirrors,” she says, remembering how her crafting and collecting hobbies began at the beach. She fashioned the head-boards in her house, covering many of them using a stitch-ing technique called trapunto to outline the pattern of shells to make them appear three-dimensional. She has painted everything from lamps to her own clothes, covering up stains with floral designs. She takes household 17 www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM


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