ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JANET HAMOUS
If you’ve attend an event at the Hillsboro Middle School this past year and thought you were seeing double, don’t panic-you may just be seeing one of the school’s five sets of twins.
“You don’t realize how many twins are around until you have twins,” said Curtis Frick, father of twins Troy and Tina.
But Hillsboro Middle School has an abundance.
For every 1,000 children born, 29 of them will be twins, according to the National Center of Health Statistics. That’s a little less than 3 percent of the population.
For a school the size of Hillsboro Middle School, you’d expect to have five students who are twins. The school has 10.
Twins Tyler and Michael Suderman and Troy and Tina Frick are eighth-graders. Jessica and Jenesa Klose, Maria and Julia Loewen, and Alex and Meghan Jost are all in the seventh grade.
New teachers initially struggle with the twins, but eventually they figure out who is whom.
“It takes about a week for them to get our names straight,” Michael said.
“Once you learn our personalities, our personal features come out more,” Tyler added.
“People will say, “I can’t tell you apart,” Maria said. “But she’s five inches taller than me and has glasses!”
Many adults often give up and call the twins by their last names.
“And then we both come,” Michael said.
“It used to be fun to confuse people,” Jenesa said.
Now that they are older and have developed their own personal styles, they are less likely to be confused in person. But the phone is a different story.
“Our voices sound a lot alike,” Michael said.
Julia chuckles when she remembers a call she once received where the caller, thinking she was Maria, asked, “Is Julia still being a jerk?”
The caller was surprised when she said, “This is Julia.”
When you’ve lived your whole life as a twin, it’s hard to imagine life any other way.
“We don’t know what the benefits are because we don’t know any thing different,” Tyler said.
Having a playmate who is always around is one advantage of being a twin.
“He used to make me play boy stuff with him,” said Tina, speaking of Troy.
Troy admitted he played dolls with Tina “once.”
One of the best things about being a twin is sharing clothes, Maria said.
But dressing alike is definitely uncool, according to the twins. And when they accidentally dress alike, they have an agreement that one of them will change clothes.
They are surprised at how often it happens.
“We wake up, open our doors, and look at each other and we’ll be wearing the exact same thing,” Tyler said.
Some people believe twins have the ability to share thoughts, but Maria said that is a myth.
“We don’t have brain waves,” she said. “You can’t pass thoughts between each other.”
But they admit they have a special relationship with their twin. They often think of things simultaneously.
“We call things at the same time,” Troy said. “Paper, scissors, rock usually settles it.”
And they are so close that they sometimes forget whose memories are whose.
“She thinks she did it, when it happened to me!” Jessica said.
Their biggest complaint is one shared by all siblings who are similar in age-having to share things.
“The worst thing is when you go shopping and don’t get as much,” Michael said, laughing.
“We have to share birthday presents,” Maria said.
The other problem is the financial drain on their families caused by having two children of the same age.
“Everything costs more,” Tyler said. “Our parents have to pay double.”
The twins also get tired of the extra attention they generate and the silly questions they are often asked.
“People ask us if we are identical,” Tina said.
Her twin, Troy, is male.
Even the twins who don’t share their appearance find that being a twin creates confusion at school.
Troy said he has been excited to hear his last name announced over the loudspeaker as a winner in a sports event, only to find out the announcer meant Tina.
Paperwork gets switched , too.
Nevertheless, the twins are disappointed they are usually placed in different classes in school.
“They always split us up,” Tyler said. “It’s kind of sad. We have the same friends, and usually most of our friends will be in one class.”
“Now we are only in one class together,” Tina said.
They are looking forward to high school where they will be able to take more classes together.
Most of the twins have other brothers and sisters.
“We’re loners,” Maria said, “but we’re adopting.”
Julia said they were pleased when their parents said they’d like to adopt a set of twins.
Meghan and Alex are also only children.
“Our kids were the first set of IVF (‘test-tube babies’) twins born in Kansas and made their television debut at about a week old,” said Cheryl Jost, Meghan and Alex’s mom.
“That seems sooooo long ago.”
Although they have nothing to compare it with, the twins agreed that being a twin was an experience they wouldn’t want to trade.
“There isn’t a downside,” Troy said.
“I tell my mom she should have another baby so she can have twins again,” Jessica said.