PEMBERVILLE - The similarities between a set of identical twins from Pemberville are downright uncanny.
|Identical twins Karol Heckman (left) and Karen Fahle (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Karen Fahle and Karol Heckman not only look and sound the same, but they both married their high school sweethearts, worked in the same office at BGSU, got eyeglasses at the same time, and went gray at the same time - "the exact same time," Heckman stressed. On multiple occasions the two have gone shopping separately, only to come home with the same purchases of clothing and even draperies.
For nearly 75 years, the twins have been leading strangely similar lives.
"We are truly blessed," Fahle said.
The blessings began when the twins were born Aug. 12, 1937, to Dennis and Lois Dewyre in their home on Bridge Street in Pemberville. The couple, who already had one son, Jim, wasn't expecting the birth to come six weeks early - and had no idea that two babies were on their way.
The twins still have a yellowed copy of the original bill from Dr. Vincent Stephenson, who traveled from Woodville to help with the delivery. The doctor normally charged $35 per birth, and gave the Dewyres a deal of $17.50 per baby.
Since the twins were premature - with Heckman weighing 3.5 pounds, and Fahle emerging 15 minutes later at 4 pounds - Stephenson had to build an improvised incubator. He sent out word among neighbors that every available hot water bottle was needed to keep the babies alive.
"Anything to keep us warm," Heckman explained.
That was the beginning of two lives linked by more than just sisterhood.
Seventy-five years later, the two women are remarkably close. As they sat in Fahle's backyard earlier this week, the twins rocked together in their patio chairs, finishing each other's thoughts.
They both married their high school sweethearts from nearby Webster school. Karen married Dale Fahle in January 1956, and Karol married Dick Heckman a month later. The four first met as teenagers at a gas station and lunch counter in Pemberville after the twins finished choir practice. Over ice cream and chocolate fizzes, the two couples fell in love.
It worked out well, with Fahle having a driver's license but no car, and Heckman having a car, but no driver's license.
Their husbands, the twins said, have adapted well to having wives who spend so much time together.
"I think Dick and Dale decided years ago not to fight it," Heckman said.
The women worked side-by-side in personnel at BGSU for 21 years, "in the same office, which was tons of fun," Fahle said. The pair retired in unison as well.
They know their relationship is "wonderfully weird." They frequently get together with mutual friends for lunch. They enjoy traveling together, going to antique markets and were glued to coverage of the latest royal wedding in Great Britain. They share similar food tastes (nothing too spicy), like watching cooking channels, turn their noses up at beer, but enjoy an occasional margarita or Bloody Mary.
"We enjoy the same things, and we have everything in common," Heckman said.
The women go to the same hairdresser and dentist. And both still cling to their clip-on earrings.
"We're probably the only ones in the world," Fahle said.
"And we have no plans to get a tattoo, either," Heckman added with a smile.
Both women admit to being worrywarts.
"We can share all our secrets," Fahle said. "We tell each other things that we wouldn't tell another soul in the world."
The twins swear they have never argued with each other - at least since they have been adults.
"You've never heard a cross word," Heckman said.
Despite wearing identical clothing until they reached adulthood, the "girls," as they are called by family members, claim that they never switched identities as children.
"No, we never did anything bad," Fahle said, smiling.
There were slight differences in school, with Heckman being more athletic. "I played basketball, but she was always much better," Fahle said of her sister.
There are a few differences in the women.
"She's the cook," Fahle said pointing at her sister.
And Heckman is Lutheran, while Fahle is Presbyterian. But that's about as controversial as it gets.
"We're not terribly exciting, are we," Heckman said.
Townspeople still get the twins mixed up, but the women try to just go along with it, rather than embarrass anyone. Because they are so close, the twins can usually pull it off, "till they ask church questions," Heckman said.
A party will be held for the twins, who are turning 75, on Aug. 11 at 6 p.m., at 5601 Ohio 105, Pemberville.