Three babies born prematurely and not expected to live recently celebrated their 50th birthday.
Allison Dye Obermiller, of Layton, Margie McKinney, of Sunset, and Susan Swainston Fletcher, of Clearfield, were reportedly the first set of identical triplets born in Utah.
At the time, Sept. 16, 1963, there was another set of triplets, but not identical.
In an age when in vitro fertilization wasn't even a vision yet, the news of triplets shocked their parents.
The sisters talked about when their dad learned his wife was pregnant.
"My mom said to Dad, 'The good news is, it's not twins,'" Obermiller said.
"My dad was relieved, but then my mom said, 'The bad news is, it's triplets.' My dad said he was OK with that, as long as they weren't all girls with red hair, and that's exactly what we turned out to be."
The triplets rolled their eyes as they talked about their mother dressing them alike each day during elementary school, resulting in mobs of gawkers stopping them, making them late to school.
"People always wanted to line us up like a freak show," Obermiller said.
The girls rebelled in sixth grade, demanding to dress different from each other. Their mom acquiesced, but the novelty of their situation continues 50 years later.
"We still get asked all the time if we are triplets or sisters," Fletcher said.
"What irritates me to no end is that, no matter where you go, every day, people think they know you, stopping to ask questions, not realizing I'm not the sister they are thinking of."
Obermiller responded by saying, "It's almost like we don't have an identity."
Their parents still get them confused, especially on the phone. The women are grateful for caller ID, but there is nothing they can do about the fact that even their husbands can't tell them apart sometimes.
"Margie's husband walked up behind me once and kissed me, and I had to turn around and tell him he had the wrong gal," said Obermiller, who remembers the expletives he uttered when he realized his mistake.
Their lives have been unique, but the three wouldn't change it.
"It's like having my best friends with me all the time," Obermiller said.
Fletcher agreed, saying, "It's comforting knowing there are two other people who will always be there. We are proud of who we are, and we have come a long way."
It hasn't always been easy for them. Individual struggles pulled them apart when they were in their late 20s, but the bonds of sisterhood brought them back together several years later.
They each talked about a sense of intuition the three share, knowing when another triplet is struggling.
Fletcher talked about the time she showed up unannounced at Obermiller's door just as her sister was taking her husband to the hospital for a ruptured appendix and was wondering what to do with her kids.
Obermiller remembers another time when she felt dizzy and just knew one of her sisters was struggling.
"My doctor didn't believe me, but I absolutely felt it and knew," Obermiller said.
The sisters do prefer to enjoy their individuality, too, each with her own individualized tattoos.
"I was the first one to get a tattoo, so I could be different from them," McKinney said. "Then I could show my tattoo to someone if they didn't really believe I wasn't Susan or Allison."
They may share looks, but each has her own personality and character traits.
"When I look at them, I don't see me," Fletcher said. "I see Margie and Allison, and I don't see that we look alike."