Heather and Kelsey Dietrick
Heather and Kelsey Dietrick

MARY ELLEN: Do you play with dolls?
HEATHER DIETRICK: Sometimes Barbies.
KELSEY DIETRICK: We share, but we keep our really special ones to ourselves.
MARY ELLEN: How many Barbies do you have?
KELSEY DIETRICK: More than one hundred.
Susy Todd Eft and Sandy Todd Rollo
Susy Todd Eft and Sandy Todd Rollo

MARY ELLEN: How did it feel to be Queens?
SANDY TODD ROLLO: It was better than we ever thought. The best part about it was we could be Queens together. The only place it could ever happen would be in Twinsburg. Because everything else in this world is for one person.
SUSY TODD EFT: We could experience the joy together.
Clint and Kent Lauhoff
Clint and Kent Lauhoff

MARY ELLEN: What's the worst trick you played on each other?
CLINT LAUHOFF: We were driving, and we got pulled over because we were speeding, and he was driving, but he didn't have his license with him, so he used my driver's license, and when he was getting ready to sign the ticket, he was going to sign his name, but he scratched it out and signed mine.
MARY ELLEN: Nice brother.
CLINT LAUHOFF: Yeah. So I got the ticket, but I wasn't even driving.

Clint and Kent Lauhoff
Clint and Kent Lauhoff

MARY ELLEN: What's the worst trick you played on each other?
CLINT LAUHOFF: We were driving, and we got pulled over because we were speeding, and he was driving, but he didn't have his license with him, so he used my driver's license, and when he was getting ready to sign the ticket, he was going to sign his name, but he scratched it out and signed mine.
MARY ELLEN: Nice brother.
CLINT LAUHOFF: Yeah. So I got the ticket, but I wasn't even driving.

Jennifer and Karrie Jones
Jennifer and Karrie Jones

KARRIE JONES: We pool our money and we don't buy each other presents on birthdays. And we don't exchange gifts for Christmas.

Frederica and Francine Lynch
Frederica and Francine Lynch

FREDERICA LYNCH: I've been divorced five years now.
MARY ELLEN: And Francine, how long have you been divorced?
MARY ELLEN: You both got divorced five years ago. That's amazing. For the same reason?
MARY ELLEN: Because your husbands were cheating?
MARY ELLEN: Since Frederica was a better student, did you sit in on some of Francine's classes?
FREDERICA LYNCH: Right. Because, see, she didn't like dissecting ... I loved biology and chemistry. She didn't really put herself into it.
MARY ELLEN: So Francine didn't like to dissect animals.
FREDERICA LYNCH: No. Whereas I liked to see what was inside of them.

Larry and David Demonet
Larry and David Demonet

MARY ELLEN: Have you ever thought what it would be like to lose your brother? What you would do if your brother died? Would you feel terrible?
DAVID DEMONET: I've never experienced it, so I don't know.
MARY ELLEN: Joanne, how come you married Larry and not David?
JOANNE DEMONET (wife of Larry): Larry's neater than David.
MARY ELLEN: Is it hard for you having both of them live with you?
JOANNE DEMONET: Oh yeah. I cook for both of them. I do their wash. I do everything for both of them. I got two husbands! I only sleep with one.

Jill Ayers and Jean Burk-Ujvary
Jill Ayers and Jean Burk-Ujvary

MARY ELLEN: Are you both married? 
JEAN BURK-UJVARY: Yes. We're both married to Bobs.
MARY ELLEN: That's an incredible coincidence, isn't it?
JEAN BURK-UJVARY: Yes. My husband is just like my sister, and her husband is pretty much like me.

Casey and Corey Washer
Casey and Corey Washer

COREY WASHER: Well, when we took those pictures two years ago, we had just gotten into crosses, but me and my brother have converted to different religions.
MARY ELLEN: So what religions did you convert to now?
COREY WASHER: I converted to Buddhism and my brother is converting to Judaism, but it takes a long time. Anyway, we both have a lot of the same bad habits.
MARY ELLEN: Like what?
COREY WASHER: The bathroom is always really messy. We always forget to do a chore when our Mom tells us to do it. We sometimes forget to do our homework on time. Stuff like that.
CASEY WASHER: We slurp our soup.
COREY WASHER: Yeah. We slurp.

Christa and Erica Verbas
Christa and Erica Verbas

BERNADETTE VERBAS (mother): I have an older daughter, she's two and a half years older than they are, and I've always felt a closeness to her because she needs me in a way that a child needs a mother. They (the twins) console each other, they back each other up, they're their own support system. They're a unit. And I kind of sometimes ... I'm more... I don't know. .. It's more like you're put here to referee or... When my older daughter has a problem, she comes and tells me. When one of them has a problem, they tell each other first. And one of them is likely to ... Christa is likely to say, "Well, Erica told me." That kind of thing. It's kind of unusual.
MARY ELLEN: So Erica has the freckle on her lip.
BERNADETTE VERBAS: When they were three, that's when the freckle emerged. They were in pre-school, and the preschool teacher was so thrilled to see this freckle come out, so she could tell them apart, and she made such a fuss about it, "Oh, Erica with the freckle; I've got it now." I overheard them talking. They were three years old. . Erica said to Christa, "I have a freckle; that's how I know I'm not you."

Tabitha and Tiffany Good
Tabitha and Tiffany Good

MARY ELLEN: You fight about clothes? But, how can you fight about clothes if you have the same clothes?
TABITHA GOOD: Because, what she likes, I don't like, and I have to wear it anyway.

Sarah and Tina LaValley
Sarah and Tina LaValley

MARY ELLEN: In an ideal sense, what would you wish for them?
ROXANNE LAVALLEY (mother): That they help each other stay healthy, cover each other, and do what's necessary for one another.
MARY ELLEN: If you had it another way, would you have wished they'd been totally 100 percent healthy and normal kids? ROXANNE LAVALLEY: Yes. When they were born, well they were premature ... I was hoping that they were normal, but it happened that they are not, so I was disappointed, but I'm happy that they fought and lived.
MARY ELLEN: So you're happy you have them.
ROXANNE LAVALLEY: Yes. The doctors, after they were born, they didn't think they would live at all, and twenty-four hours after they were born they were doing very good, and they... Okay, after they were born they kept losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight, you know, and the doctor was like getting really scared, getting worried, you know, and they had to feed them through the IV for I think maybe a day or two, or something like that. But after they'd lived for twenty-four hours, the doctor said, "These girls are strong fighters; they really want to live."
MARY ELLEN: Did that affect them mentally at all? Or are they caught up?
ROXANNE LAVALLEY: They're not up to a ninth grade level. I think they're at a second or third grade level.

Jocelyn and Corrinne Botta
Jocelyn and Corrinne Botta

MARY ELLEN: Are you going to have more kids?
SHERRI BOTTA (mother): I would like to. My husband says no. He says get another donor if you want more. [LAUGHS] They want a little brother, and they tell everybody "we're going to have a brother," and people are always like, "Are you pregnant?" "No." My husband is like, "we don't need any more." I think he's afraid we'd have two more girls. They talk a lot, like ALL day long .....

Kayley and Kaitlyn Bradford
Kayley and Kaitlyn Bradford

MARY ELLEN: How do you come up with the ideas for the costumes?
MIKE BRADFORD (father): Maybe just my background, growing up. Street-like stuff. Hookers, prisoners.
MARY ELLEN: If you had them as hookers, next year what would they wear?
MIKE BRADFORD: Just that bikini kind of thing. Probably a little float with a pole in the middle, with a thing, a garter ... is that what it's called, a garter... for the money. . . Or maybe, if not that, the old-fashioned strippers. You know what I'm talking about, with the feather hair?

Kari Eilerman and Kate Schwieterman
Kari Eilerman and Kate Schwieterman

KARl EILERMAN: I don't know. We've always looked so identical, and suddenly when I got pregnant everybody could tell us apart. It was just hard, me gaining all that weight and her still being the same size that she was.

Jeremy and Jacob Taylor
Jeremy and Jacob Taylor

MARY ELLEN: Do you like the same food?
BOTH: Yeah.
MARY ELLEN: What's your favorite food?
JACOB TAYLOR: Fried chocolate.
MARY ELLEN: If you each had a wish, what would it be? Jacob? I'll give you three wishes, Jacob. What would your three wishes be?
JACOB TAYLOR: A million dollars.
MARY ELLEN: That's one wish. If you had a second wish, what would that be?
JACOB TAYLOR: A mountain of chocolate.
MARY ELLEN: And your third wish, what would that be?
JACOB TAYLOR: A 1960 Chevy Camaro.

Miguel Angel and Marco Antonio Peralta
Miguel Angel and Marco Antonio Peralta

MARY ELLEN: Have you ever tricked a girl?
MIGUEL PERALTA: Well, yeah, if I have sex with one then I'll call my brother and he does, too, and then ....
MARY ELLEN: Does the girl know?
MIGUEL PERALTA: I don't think so, but it could be ....
MARY ELLEN: How do you do it? Do you go to the bathroom?
MIGUEL PERALTA: Exactly. I go to the bathroom, and then my brother is there, too, and just ready, and then he just goes for it.
MARY ELLEN: What do the girls think?
MIGUEL PERALTA: They probably think we're like Superman or something. "Okay, fine, I'm done," and then after he, I don't know, is finished with the girl, then I'm in again. So for her it's just like….

Rosalin, Marlene, and Amber Bruss
Rosalin, Marlene, and Amber Bruss

MARY ELLEN: What's it like having triplets?
JANICE RUBLE (mother): There's been a few times where I had to lock myself in my room, lock myself in the bathroom, say, "Leave me alone! I'm your mother! Get away from me!"
MARY ELLEN: I've asked all the adult twins this question. Have you ever thought of what it would be like to lose one of your sisters?
AMBER BRUSS: I don't know. We decided that we wouldn't be the same. I mean, we'd have to see what would happen. We'd still be strong, we'd have the other. It's not like when you lose a twin, and the other one is gone. With triplets, you always have one other.
MARY ELLEN: If you had three wishes, what would they be?
ROSALIN BRUSS: I'd wish to see my Uncle Johnny and my Grandma and my Grandpa lust one more time, and give them a hug and a kiss. To have the perfect family, no arguing, everyone would lust get along. And not to gain weight or have any blemishes, and to have long hair.

Paula Mathis and Polly Mathis Wasdin
Paula Mathis and Polly Mathis Wasdin

MARY ELLEN: If you had three wishes (say it together) what would the first wish be?
POLLY WASDIN: To die together. We got so much attention when we were young. Because if you're a singleton, you don't really stand out, but with us, being twins and having red curly hair, everybody made a really big fuss over us being, you know, so alike. And Mama and Daddy always dressed us alike. It was funny. They couldn't tell us apart. They had to write our names on the bottoms of our shoes and pictures, so they would remember who was who.

Yolanda and Charlana Jeffreys
Yolanda and Charlana Jeffreys

MARY ELLEN: Who makes the decision?
YOLANDA .IEFFREYS: I do. Sometimes I tell her to do the dishes. That's all.
CHARLANA JEFFREYS: Yeah, I do dishes. Sometimes she don't do dishes. She lazy. She be upstairs sitting on her bed.

Jim and Jeff Thiel
Jim and Jeff Thiel

MARY ELLEN: Are you best friends?
JEFF THIEL: Best friends and worst enemies.
MARY ELLEN: What kind of thing would make come to blows?
JIM THIEL: Dumb stuff. "Why didn't you take the trash out? Why didn't you do this? Why didn't you do that?" It's like being married. Because you know each other long enough that if you want to push each other's buttons and get a reaction, you can.

Melanie and Michelle King
Melanie and Michelle King

MARY ELLEN: Do you ever fight?
MICHELLE KING: One day she was wearing one outfit... Our rooms are across the hall. And she came out to go to school, and I was wearing the same outfit, and we both got mad at each other, and so we both went in our rooms and we both changed into completely different outfits, and we came out and we were dressed alike again.

Lydia and Daniel Miller, with Joanna and James
Lydia and Daniel Miller, with Joanna and James

MARY ELLEN: You have eight children.
LYDIA MILLER (mother): Yeah. I really love kids, so I wouldn't mind having another set. I've always admired twins. There's something special to me, and I feel so blessed that the Lord has blessed me with twins. It's like a double blessing.

Jessica and Kelsey Anderson
Jessica and Kelsey Anderson

MARY ELLEN: So when you grow up and have children, do you want to have twins?
BOTH: Yeah!
KELSEY ANDERSON: But Jessie and me aren't quite sure that we want to get married. We want to live together. JESSICA ANDERSON: I don't know what they'll have for a job, and I don't know which one of us is going to go to work.

Ned and Fred Mitchell
Ned and Fred Mitchell

MARY ELLEN: Tell me about your special bond.
NED MITCHELL: Well, we both are Vietnam veterans. We both was there together. We were there for each other the whole time we was in Vietnam. You know, a lot of people started feeling homesick, but we never did. We guarded each other's back the whole year we was in Vietnam. We were just very best of friends. Always best of friends. I don't know any other way to put it. You just can't get between us. Our mother says as children we were so close, one of us used to chew the orange and the other one would spit out the seeds.

Lakeasha and Takeasha Edwards
Lakeasha and Takeasha Edwards

LAKEASHA EDWARDS: Well, her face is bigger. Her nose goes up; mine goes down. Her cheeks are higher, and my smile is wider. She's a little bit bigger than I am as far as weight.

Diane Wilke and Elaine Smith
Diane Wilke and Elaine Smith

MARY ELLEN: Is there anything bad about being a twin?
DIANE WILKE: Oh, when we were growing up there was one bad thing. People would give us one present and say it's for both of us. They used to treat us like one person. We were brought up kind of strict, and we never said nothin'. If people gave us one jewelry box, then [LAUGHS] we would just share it. People have a tendency to treat twins as one person.

ldesha and Mikayla Preston
ldesha and Mikayla Preston

MARY ELLEN: Idesha, you said it's not good being a twin because on special occasions you have to dress alike.
IDESHA PRESTON: Yeah. Because it's just like…. All of a sudden we go somewhere, like every weekend, and I get sick of dressing the same as her. It's just that we have our own different styles, and by showing what you wear it shows your personality! Just wearing the same things, you kind of get tired, and you want to show some personality, because if you keep wearing the same thing It's just that we have our own as your sister, they think you have the same personality and they'll treat you the same way and sometimes you get tired of it. But I really look up to Mikayla, and she shows me the person who I could be.

Erin and Erica Cunningham
Erin and Erica Cunningham

ERIN CUNNINGHAM: My second wish would be to ... oh, man, let's see ... My second wish would be ... Oh, I don't know. This is really hard. I would have to say my second wish would be to own a hot new Porsche and to be President, because that would be really neat. I don't know. That would be something awesome that I would love.
MARY ELLEN: You like Porsches.
ERIN CUNNINGHAM: Yes. Oh, I love Porsches. But definitely, to own a hot new Porsche and to be the President of the United States. That would be awesome.

Jonathan and Jeremy Mitchell
Jonathan and Jeremy Mitchell

MARY ELLEN: Why do you think the girls like you better, Jeremy?
JEREMY MITCHELL: They said I look better.

Carolyn Boggs and Kathleen Hunter
Carolyn Boggs and Kathleen Hunter

MARY ELLEN: What was the bad thing about being a twin?
CAROLYN BOGGS: I cannot think of absolutely anything. Other than, as we start to age, looking at each other and saying, "Unh-oh!"

John Reiff, twin brother Bill died November 5, 2000
John Reiff, twin brother Bill died November 5, 2000

MARY ELLEN: What was it like for you the day that he passed on?
JOHN REIFF: Oh my. It's beyond words. I told them that when the time comes, they let me know, and on the Sunday morning, they called me at about 8:30 or 9 o'clock, and I went up there right away--it's only about four miles from here and I went into his room, and he lay there, and his head was still warm. And I kissed him, I did.
MARY ELLEN: The other day you said to me you're going to see your brother in Heaven.
MARY ELLEN: What are you going to say to him when you see him in Heaven?
JOHN REIFF: Of course, he won't have no pain; neither will I. So there won't be no sense in asking him how he's feeling. But I'll just tell him how glad I am to see him again, and I'll be with him the rest of eternity.
MARY ELLEN: So the two of you were so close?
MARY ELLEN: So you really didn't need to get married, because you kind of took care of each other.
JOHN REIFF: That's right. We had a friendship between us. But we wanted to marry twins, and some of the twins was way too high-class for us, for one thing.
MARY ELLEN: How would you decide between you and your brother, which girl to marry if they were twins?
JOHN REIFF: The youngest one would marry the youngest one.
MARY ELLEN: Did you sleep in the same room?
JOHN REIFF: Oh yeah, we slept in the same bed.
MARY ELLEN: As older men, did you sleep in the same bed?
MARY ELLEN: To the point before he passed away.
JOHN REIFF: Yes. It's a good old-fashioned bed we have. We still have the beds that my mother and father used.

Bruce and Brian Kuzak, who have cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, with their nurses, Teresa and Tillie Merriweather
Bruce and Brian Kuzak, who have cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, with their nurses, Teresa and Tillie Merriweather

MARY ELLEN: How do you think, in a sense, being twins made their disability easier for them to bear? That they had each other?
LAURA SRSA (sister of Bruce and Brian): Oh yeah. And they are definitely connected. Definitely.
MARY ELLEN: This is a terrible question, but I'm sure it's something you think about all the time. Do you think if one of them passed away that the other would not survive?
LAURA SRSA: Yes. Oh, definitely. And Bruce has a heart condition where he's got something wrong with one of his valves. So we were told that eventually, when he dies, he will die of heart failure, and of course, no one knows when that will be, and they can't do surgery for him--they said they didn't think he would survive the surgery. So you think about that. What will happen when one dies? Will the other one lust die, too, of a broken heart? You hear about that all the time with married people. I got to have a normal childhood, go on vacations with my family and do all that kind of thing. And I got to be the baby for nine years. Then they came along, and I think I was mature beyond my years. And totally accepted that this was Brian and Bruce. As a family, we never had any of those hopes, "Oh, gee, maybe some day they'll walk or maybe some day they'll be cured." We never talked like that. We just accepted them.
MARY ELLEN: Is it nice for you and your twin sister to work with them? Tell me what you love best about working with them.
TILLIE MERRIWEATHER: I can connect with them because I'm a twin. If my twin isn't around, I know how I would act. I wouldn't eat and everything. The compassion they have for one another, we have the same. The love that we have for one another... They can't show it like we can show it, but they do show it by the way they touch and feel each other. Like, they sometimes grab their hand, and one of them will feel for the other one.

Spencer and Skyler Szybkowski
Spencer and Skyler Szybkowski

MARY ELLEN: So who's smarter?
MARY ELLEN: Tell me why Skyler is smarter.
SPENCER SZYBKOWSKI: I think he was born first ... The first one who comes out is the smartest one, and the second one who comes out is not that smart.
SKYLER SZYBKOWSKI: I got the smarts, and he got the strong. Anyway, one time my mom dressed us up for a picture. Spencer didn't want to go on Tuesday to the photographer, so they put me in Spencer's clothes and they just took me again.
SPENCER SZYBKOWSKI: That was Skyler's plan.
SKYLER SZYBKOWSKI: Then when my Mom got the yearbook, and then she saw me ... Because I had a mosquito bite that year, and then she was like, "That's Skyler two times!" Then it happened last year, too, when they put two of me last year, but Spencer took his picture, but they made a mistake and put me in there twice.

Don and Dave Wolf
Don and Dave Wolf

MARY ELLEN: How would you feel, Dave, if you were to lose Don?
DAVE WOLF: It would be ... Don and I have been together all our lives, really. We've pretty much always worked at the same places, and now we live in the truck. But I know that if he did die before me, that I would see him again when I went to be with the Lord. Because I know that we both know Jesus as our Savior, and when we die, we're going to be with him. And if he goes before me, yeah, it would be very painful. I would miss him. But in the same sense, I would know that I'd be reunited with him again.

Mackall and Elizabeth Ricketts and Martel and Isobel Ricketts, two sets of twins who have been married for fifty years
Mackall and Elizabeth Ricketts and Martel and Isobel Ricketts, two sets of twins who have been married for fifty years

MARY ELLEN: How did you meet Elizabeth and Isobel?
MACKALL RICKETTS: [LAUGHS] We met them at the Arthur Murray dance studio. Foxtrot and that kind of stuff. Not today's kind of thing.
MARY ELLEN: Was it love at first sight?
MACKALL RICKETTS: Oh, no. I don't buy that kind of stuff.
MARY ELLEN: How did you decide whether you were going to be with Betty or Isobel?
MACKALL RICKETTS: Well, just because when we walked in there, you know, there was two of them and two of us, and one had to dance with one and one had to dance with the other, and it kept on going the same .... That's the way it went, and it stayed that way. So it was by accident. From the first time, it was just by accident.
ISOBEL RICKETTS: We have lived next door to each other since 1963. First we lived separately from each other, and we thought about it carefully, and decided we would be better neighbors for each other than any other neighbors, and besides, our children genetically are brothers and sisters, as you know, and so we thought it would be nice for them to grow up together.

Shane and Shawn Riggins
Shane and Shawn Riggins

MARY ELLEN: So you both pick the same outfit to wear the same day.
SHAWN RIGGINS: Sometimes. And we have even purchased clothes separately. But it might be the same color shirt.... If I choose a blue shirt, he might go to the same store and choose the same color shirt. We even purchased the same gift at Christmas one year. It was a multi‑colored sweater, which made it even more unique that we picked the same one. And when I opened up the gift first, I started laughing, because I really couldn't believe that he had chosen the same gift. And when we opened his gift, we both just started laughing. Because I didn't even know he had been to that store; he didn't know I had been there. But we chose the same, identical multi-colored sweater, and we had tons to choose from.
MARY ELLEN: Shawn said how terrible it would have been if he'd lost you. What would you do if you lost Shawn?
SHANE RIGGINS: Well, I really believe that we probably would take our last breath together.
MARY ELLEN: From the time you were little children, were you really close?
SHANE RIGGINS: We've always been close. We always knew that we always had each other, And I always tell other twins that. When I see little twins together, I always tell them that in this life, you always have each other, and to take core of each other and to always love each other. I tell every twin I see--those younger twins--that, "You always have each other." There's nobody in the world who will ever understand you or know the real you like your twin. Because the bond starts from conception, in the womb. You form that bond that no one else can ever share. It starts in the womb. I often tell Shawn, "I met you before our mother did; I know you."

Roy and Amanda Tesmer and Rhianna and Troy Tesmer, two sets of twins who were married in 2001
Roy and Amanda Tesmer and Rhianna and Troy Tesmer, two sets of twins who were married in 2001

MARY ELLEN: What's it like, twins marrying twins?
RHIANNA TESMER: It's absolutely wonderful. You're married to your best friend, and you have your best friend living with you, too. It can't get much better than that.
MARY ELLEN: Do you guys ever fight?
TROY TESMER: Well, we wrestle around a little bit to blow off stress and stuff like that. But we've never, ever gotten into a fistfight or anything. But we got the babies to sleep the other night, and just between Rhianna and I and Roy and Amanda, we had an hour-long sock fight, threw socks at each other, so we kind of ran around the house and were blowing off steam that way. But we get along just great.

Ronald W. and Roland W. Crummel
Ronald W. and Roland W. Crummel

MARY ELLEN: So you're both politicians?
RONALD CRUMMEL: Yes. In local government. Township.
MARY ELLEN: Are you both Republicans?
RONALD CRUMMEL: Yes. Is that obvious?
MARY ELLEN: Well, you look like Republicans.
RONALD CRUMMEL: Yeah, we're the white guys. I know .
MARY ELLEN: So when you were teenagers, did you like the same women?
ROLAND CRUMMEL: Yeah, to the extreme that we would fight over one, and we'd make such asses out of ourselves that neither of us would be successful in getting a date with the young lady.

Dondre and Derrick Johnson with their sisters Tomakco and Tomekco Webster
Dondre and Derrick Johnson with their sisters Tomakco and Tomekco Webster

MARY ELLEN: What was it like having two sets of twins? That's amazing!
MARY ELLEN: Was it wonderful?
MARY ELLEN: Were you surprised?
MARY ELLEN: Was it hard work?
GRANDMA WEBSTER: Yes, it was. Heh-heh.
MARY ELLEN: Was it fun?
GRANDMA WEBSTER: No, it wasn't.

MARY ELLEN: How about with girls? Did you play tricks on girls?
MARY ELLEN: Tell me one.
DON DRE JOHNSON: In Houston, back in '92, I can remember when we was leaving our mortuary school, we went to the house, and this girl, she loved my brother, and so he was in there, he was doing his thing with her, and then he went to the bathroom, and then I was already in the bathroom, so I snuck out and went in there, and then she come and say, "You got bigger." [LAUGHS]
MARY ELLEN: So she caught you.
DONDRE JOHNSON: No. She said, "You're much bigger now; where do you get all that energy from?"
Viagra wasn't in back then.

Steve and Jeff Nagel
Steve and Jeff Nagel

MARY ELLEN: Do you tell each other that you love each other?
STEVE NAGEL: Oh, yes. All the time.
JEFF NAGEL: And it's funny, because we do it so naturally. Like, we'll be at work or whatever, and he'll go, "I'll see you" and he'll go "I love you," and I'll be sitting there at work, and I don't want people to hear, and I'm like [WHISPERS] "I love you, too."
STEVE NAGEL: It's funny, because I'll hang up the phone when I do that, and some of the ladies at work say, "Was that your wife? That's so sweet." And I'll go, "No, it's my twin brother." And they all laugh about it.

Bessie Boyle and Dimitria Williams with friends Doug and Don Spence
Bessie Boyle and Dimitria Williams with friends Doug and Don Spence

DIMITRIA WILLIAMS: We have the same taste.
MARY ELLEN: What kind of clothes do you like?
DIMITRIA WILLIAMS: Well, stuff that's kind of outstanding.
BESSIE BOYLE: Different.
DIMITRIA WILLIAMS: Well, in our town, a small town, we're considered the best-dressed in town.
MARY ELLEN: Did you ever play tricks on people?
DOUG SPENCE: Oh, absolutely. We played tricks all of our life. I don't know if you know anything about being in the service and on-board ship, but we were on-board ship four years together, and because we looked identical, wearing the uniforms, of course, if I had to go to shore for a particular reason, and I had the duty, not a problem--just swap l.D. cards. I was Don; he was Doug. Just swapped the I.D. cards.

Jenna and Meredith Spivey

Jenna and Meredith Spivey

JENNA SPIVEY: My sister and I have our own language. It's really weird. It's a subconscious language. My mom says that since we were babies, we'd talk in our sleep to each other and, like, respond ... [LAUGHS] I have no idea what it is. My mom's recorded it, and it's like gibberish. But I'll sit up in bed, and I'll say something in my sleep, and then she'll talk back to me, and we'll just talk back and forth.

Annette and Valerie Risenburg
Annette and Valerie Risenburg

ANNETTE RISENBURG: I think my whole family is very close, but Val and I are much closer than everybody else. Like I said, I tell her everything. That's why she's my worst enemy, too, because I tell her everything. She has so much stuff to blackmail me with, it's not even funny.

Clifton and Charles Cherry
Clifton and Charles Cherry

CLIFTON CHERRY: I was more into short women and he was into tall young ladies.
MARY ELLEN: So you never liked the same women?
CLIFTON CHERRY: Well, I mean, we don't see anything wrong with changing our attitude or our mind about that. I would prefer a short woman, but he likes what he calls "amazons."

Rachel and Raquel Meachem
Rachel and Raquel Meachem

MARY ELLEN: Who's the oldest of the two of you?
MARY ELLEN: By how much?
RACHEL MEACHEM: Fifty-seven minutes.
REGINA PRICE-MEACHEM (mother): They have two different birthdays.
MARY ELLEN: They do?
REGINA PRICE-MEACHEM: Yes. Rachel's birthday ... the one you spoke with, her birthday is September 17th, and Raquel's birthday is September 18th.

Drew and Dustin Snyder
Drew and Dustin Snyder

MARY ELLEN: Tell me what's different about your personalities.
DUSTIN SNYDER: He's more funny. I'm more curious.
MARY ELLEN: So who's the most bossy?
DREW SNYDER: Probably my brother.
MARY ELLEN: If you had to make a great wish for your brother, a happy wish, what would it be?
DREW SNYDER: That he'd be less bossy.

Kelsie and Kiara Walter
Kelsie and Kiara Walter

MARY ELLEN: As I remember, one of them was more easy-going. Is Kiara more easy-going?
TERRI WALTER (mother): Yeah, Kiara is a little more easy-going. [LAUGHS] Kelsie is real uptight, and she's got more of a boyish outlook. She would rather not comb her hair or do her hair up pretty or wear pretty things, where Kiara, she's all female. She wants her hair done, braided, and her nails done, everything...
MARY ELLEN: Were you surprised when they told you that you were going to have twins?
TERRI WALTER: Yeah! I told the ultrasound lady she didn't know what she was talking about! [LAUGHS] She'd better get somebody else in there because she didn't know what she was talking about. Yeah, it was a big shock.

Cydney and Alexandrea Boyington
Cydney and Alexandrea Boyington

MARY ELLEN: Who's smarter, you or Cydney?
MARY ELLEN: Why are you smarter?
ALEXANDREA BOYINGTON: Because I know lots more stuff that she doesn't know. I know how to snap my fingers, and math is easier for me, and I can ... I can ... I can whistle better.

Terry Piekarz and Kerry Ehrhardt
Terry Piekarz and Kerry Ehrhardt

MARY ELLEN: What would you do if you lost Terry?
KERRY EHRHARDT: Honest to God, I don't know. I don't know if I'd be able to go on. I had a dream about that a long time ago: I lost Terry, but every day she came to me as an angel. So she was helping me get along. And one day she came to me and said, "I'm sorry, but I have to go now; you have to do it on your own." And I woke up and I was crying hysterically and... Oh, I don't even want to think about it!

A Calvin and Keith Robinson
A Calvin and Keith Robinson

MARY ELLEN: So you go out and shop for clothes and… Tell me why you dress alike.
CALVIN ROBINSON: Basically because we like messing with people's minds.
MARY ELLEN: What's most alike about the two of you?
KEITH ROBINSON: Our sick humor.

Linda Coppage and Brenda Roche
Linda Coppage and Brenda Roche

LINDA COPPAGE: Well, back in Ohio, if you weren't like the star football player or the star cheerleader, it was like the guys and girls just did everything together--went to dances and that sort of thing. But Brenda dated ... I didn't even go to the senior prom.
MARY ELLEN: You're kidding.
LINDA COPPAGE: No. She did. It almost killed me.
MARY ELLEN: Who did she go to the senior prom with?
LINDA COPPAGE: I can't even remember what his name was. She did everything before I did, got married, had her children, but I guess she was ready in her twenties and, evidently, I wasn't. But I'm glad I waited until I did.
MARY ELLEN: She got married before you?
LINDA COPPAGE: Yes, she did. Five years before I did. That wasn't good. My cousin had to shake me because I was crying hysterically. "Linda," she said, "you just have to face reality; she's leaving you." I thought I lust couldn't go on. It was horrible. Absolutely horrible.
MARY ELLEN: Are you competitive about clothes?
LINDA COPPAGE: Yeah, she's more into clothes, and I can't stand when she has something I don't, so I have to go and buy it. Isn't that very immature at our age?
MARY ELLEN: No! It's female.

Russell and Ralph Scott
Russell and Ralph Scott

RALPH SCOTT: Never been married, either of us.
MARY ELLEN: And you always dress alike?
MARY ELLEN: When you pick out clothes, who picks out the clothes? Do you go out shopping for clothes together?
RALPH SCOTT: Yeah, we both pick them out.

Pete and Art Beardsley
Pete and Art Beardsley

PETE BEARDSLEY: The last time we got in a fistfight, that was probably... oh, maybe ten years ago. We had a farm out in Pennsylvania; we worked in the steel mills and our closest neighbor was a mile away. We got in a fistfight over a girl, and we fought all night long, you know, we fought until we were tired, and when we were done in the morning, we had to drive each other to the hospital. We had broken ribs and dislocated shoulders, and we didn't even realize ... I imagine we were half-stiff, too. But we didn't even realize why we beat each other up so bad.
MARY ELLEN: So you often like the same women.
PETE BEARDSLEY: Oh, yes. Oh, we've always ... I think pretty much any woman that we've had, we've shared.
MARY ELLEN: Who's the better lover?
PETE BEARDSLEY: I don't know. It depends whose wife you ask. Know what I mean?

Cayla and Mylee Simmermon
Cayla and Mylee Simmermon

MARY ELLEN: Mylee, tell me something that's different between you and Cayla.
MYLEE SIMMERMON: Oh, I don't know. I can't think of anything.
TERRI SIMMERMON (mother): The doctor they've gone to, he'd had a lot of twins, but he'd never seen…It just drove him crazy, because they have the same growth spurts, they had the same ... He'd start counting their freckles to see if he could find a difference in the freckles so he could tell them apart, because it just drove him nuts, because he'd never had twins he couldn't tell apart. It's eerie. You pick up little things. But lots of times you think you know their personalities, but they kind of take each other's personality so much, it's really hard!

Marie‑Michele and Caroline Ambrosia
Marie-Michele and Caroline Ambrosia

MARY ELLEN: Did they have their own language as kids?
ELIZABETH AMBROSIA (mother): They did when they were tiny, yes. When they were real little. Real funny words. And they'd laugh. And they still do. They go off giggling. I don't know what they're ... I tell them, "Girls, you can't do that; that's rude; people are going to hate you."
MARY ELLEN: Don't you feel left out?
ELIZABETH AMBROSIA: Yes, I do! But I got used to it.

U Cora (Sweet) Clukey and Lisa Sweet
Cora (Sweet) Clukey and Lisa Sweet

MARY ELLEN: When you were growing up, they said you were the smartest?
CORA (SWEET) CLUKEY: Yes, they said I was the smart one and she was the pretty one. It is kind of hard being compared to somebody all the time.
LISA SWEET: I take it kind of lightly. I don't know ... Like I said, I think it gets to us only very rarely, and when it does get to us, it's really not a big deal, and it's something that we sort of work through and we talk about it, and we say how we're being silly or being ridiculous, that that's not the way it is. Like, how could I be prettier than she is when we're twins!? And I don't know about the whole smart thing. I just chose a different path. I feel I'm as bright as she is, but I just chose a different path in my life.

Walter and David Oliver
Walter and David Oliver

MARY ELLEN: Walter has bigger ears?
DAVID OLIVER: Do you know why he's got bigger ears? He was playing with them when he was a little kid. He used to fondle his ears all the time!
MARY ELLEN: Why don't you think you married?
DAVID OLIVER: Because girls have ignored us.
WALTER OLIVER: More or less.
DAVID OLIVER: More or less, they've ignored us all our life. We weren't together always. I went to college for three years, and I dated four-five-six girls, but none of them were interested in me at all--even in 1960. And 1960 was the last year I dated a girl.
MARY ELLEN: You haven't dated a girl since 1960?
DAVID OLIVER: No. Maybe in '63, one.
MARY ELLEN: And how about you, Walter?

Mindy and Michele Nelson
Mindy and Michele Nelson

MARY ELLEN: So Mindy, what kind of secret would you tell Michele?
MINDY NELSON: I have a crush on her boyfriend.
MARY ELLEN: So what do you think about that, Michele?
MICHELE NELSON: I don't care.

Alice Heck and Agnes Nash
Alice Heck and Agnes Nash

MARY ELLEN: That's great. So you love each other a lot?
ALICE HECK: Very much.
MARY ELLEN: But do you tell each other you love each other?
ALICE HECK: Oh, yes.
MARY ELLEN: What do you say?
AGNES NASH: "I love you, sissy."
ALICE HECK: "I love you, sissy."
MARY ELLEN: And do you hug each other?
ALICE HECK: Oh, definitely.
AGNES NASH: And we kiss one another good night every night.

Elizabeth and Zoe Wagoner
Elizabeth and Zoe Wagoner

ELIZABETH WAGONER: Most of the time, the guys that we like have crushes on Zoe first, and then if she doesn't like them that much, then she'll like reject them and they'll go to me.
MARY ELLEN: Elizabeth, does that make you feel bad?
ELIZABETH WAGONER: No, because sometimes it happens the other way around.
ZOE WAGONER: We don't really fight that much. We have a rule.
MARY ELLEN: What's your rule?
ZOE WAGONER: If she likes a guy and I like the guy, then we don't date the guy.

Adam and Hayley Polen
Adam and Hayley Polen

MARY ELLEN: And Hayley, what do you think is good about being a twin?
HAYLEY POLEN: You always have somebody to play with if your friends are sick.

Khadijah Hakeem holding Yasminah and Yasriyah Au
Khadijah Hakeem holding Yasminah and Yasriyah Au

MARY ELLEN: Tell me about the identity thing, and how you're going to make sure that they have their own identity.
KHADIJAH HAKEEM (mother): Well, I've been doing a lot of reading, and just from other twins of all ages and knowing how important it is that they can identify themselves as individuals, and not just as twins. Even now, I call them by their names all the time, and I encourage other people to do so, too. Not "twins." Although they are twins, and we do that as well.

Riley and Emily Shultz
Riley and Emily Shultz

MARY ELLEN: What kind of stuff does Emily like to do?
RILEY SHULTZ: Emmy like to play dollhouse....
MARY ELLEN: What do you want to play?
RILEY SHULTZ: I want to play ball.
MARY ELLEN: But emotionally. Who bosses who around?
EDIE SHULTZ (mother): Who's emotionally stronger? Probably Emily.
MARY ELLEN: She gets him to dress in her tutu.
MARY ELLEN: But does he get her to do boyish things, too?
EDIE SHULTZ: Oh, sure.
MARY ELLEN: Like what?
EDIE SHULTZ: He'll get her... We have a fireman outfit for her. The year before they dressed like firemen, and they rode in his little metal fire truck. So he'll get her to do some things like that. Other times, he'll do all the yard work, he's raking, and she's sitting with her little legs crossed looking at the sun or the trees, picking at the grass, and he's in the garden hoeing ....

David and Stephen Qualkinbush (right) with David's daughters Jamie and Jodie Qualkinbush (left)
David and Stephen Qualkinbush (right) with David's daughters Jamie and Jodie Qualkinbush (left)

JODIE QUALKINBUSH: We're both dating guys right now, so we'll both go our ways on the weekends. But up until last year, we never spent a night away from each other. We were twenty years old before we spent the night away from each other.
MARY ELLEN: What would you wish for your brother?
STEPHEN QUALKINBUSH: Oh, gosh. I wish he'd outlive me.
MARY ELLEN: Why did you say that?
STEPHEN QUALKIN BUSH: Just because I think it would be hard to handle.... That's a selfish thing, really, but I think it would be hard to handle if he didn't.... But also for his family. I guess since I am no longer married, I just think that he's got more people that need him!

Beth Whitaker and Judith Fischer
Beth Whitaker and Judith Fischer

MARY ELLEN: What is the worst thing about being a twin?
BETH WHITAKER: Being mistaken for her all the time.
MARY ELLEN: What's it like being a twin?
JUDITH FISCHER: I guess my best way of explaining it is it's your best friend and worst enemy all rolled into the same person.

Jennifer and Emily Carp
Jennifer and Emily Carp

MARY ELLEN: Jennifer, you would like to be a singer--can you sing?
EMILY CARP: No, she can't.
JENNIFER CARP: I'm not bad!

Kate and Sarah Shields
Kate and Sarah Shields

SARAH SHIELDS: I'm not bigger. I'm just stronger. I'm the cool one.
MARY ELLEN: What do you mean by that?
SARAH SHIELDS: I don't know. [LAUGHS] I'm cooler than Kate.
MARY ELLEN: Do you think that, Kate?
SARAH SHIELDS: We have a whole bunch of different activities and stuff. I do figure skating, cheerleading, and tumbling, and she does, like, nothing.
KATE SHIELDS: I'm the artist. I got my art permanently inducted into my school library.
MARY ELLEN: Really? That's great. And Sarah's the athlete.
SARAH SHIELDS: Yes. I was at the Hallmark Skaters Championship last night. It was on NBC. I went to it, and I was on TV.

Jerri Kennedy and Kerri Storz
Jerri Kennedy and Kerri Storz

JERRI KENNEDY: I think she looks older
KERRI STORZ: She just thinks she looks better.
MARY ELLEN: What's different about the two of you?
KERRI STORZ: She used to be wild, and I was very into church. Then when we got older, we became similar.

Jordan and Joseph Basinger
Jordan and Joseph Basinger

MARY ELLEN: Do they play together?
KAREN BASINGER (mother): Yes, and they fight together.
MARY ELLEN: Does it ever come down to a fistfight?
KAREN BASINGER: Oh, yeah. They'll sit there and hit and kick until I come break it up.

Harvey and Elliott Caplan
Harvey and Elliott Caplan

HARVEY CAPLAN: I went to University of Maryland, and he went to Drexel, up in Philadelphia. At any rate, I had met these twin girls and we dated them one time, and we switched who we were with, and we're not 100 percent sure whether they switched or not.... Heh-heh. We may have been with the same one. We wouldn't have known.
MARY ELLEN: If you can think of one thing that's not good about being a twin, that you didn't like or don't like about being a twin ....
ELLIOTT CAPLAN: I suppose when we were younger that it was sharing everything. We had to share everything. Our birthday gifts generally were something that was shared. When toys came, they were toys to be shared. I remember that. Sometimes I just wanted my own.

Lisa and Debbie Ganz
Lisa and Debbie Ganz

DEBBIE GANZ: I think that most people are born into an "I" world, and Lisa and I were born into a "We" world. The whole world is fascinated by identical twins, and twins is a fraternity that we're born into. It's not like people getting together for a computer convention where they all acquire a taste, where they all like computers. We were born into this world as twins, so we have a mutual understanding and compassion for everyone who is a twin.
MARY ELLEN: What kind of things do you fight about?
LISA GANZ: The way the other one looks. It's a reflection of who we are. The way she chooses....
DEBBIE GANZ: It's like looking at yourself. I'll give you an example from college. I liked a guy on campus.... This is years ago. And Lisa was going out on campus, and she wasn't dressed up. She was in sweats.
LISA GANZ: Debbie was actually sick. So what she did is she made me dress up because she knew I'd see the guy, so that if he saw anybody that remotely looked like her, which would be me....
DEBBIE GANZ: I didn't want him to think I looked disgusting.

Michael and Matthew Gragnani
Michael and Matthew Gragnani

MARY ELLEN: Who's a better athlete?
MATTHEW GRAGNANI: Michael says he is, but he's not. I let him think that just so he can feel special.

Brad and Brian Daniels with friends Sarah and Susan Borisuk
Brad and Brian Daniels with friends Sarah and Susan Borisuk

MARY ELLEN: Tell me one thing that's bad about being a twin.
BRAD DANIELS: You always got somebody there who looks exactly like you, and knows exactly what button to push to annoy you really bad.
MARY ELLEN: Are you competitive?
SARAH BORISUK: Ohmigosh, yes, we are. Mostly about sports, and stuff like that. In our sophomore year in high school, we got in a fight in gym. Our teacher actually had to like break us up, because our teams were competing against each other.


It has always been very important to me to know the people I photograph. When I was taking the photographs for the twins book there was no time to interview my subjects because the schedule was so rigorous. In November and December of 2002, I called just about every single twin (and triplet) in this book. These conversations gave me a better understanding about what it's like to be a twin (or a triplet). Here are some of the highlights from our conversations.