You hear a lot about the importance of diet and exercise, but at the end of the day one can never underestimate the value of good genes.
Friends and family came together this week to help twins Doris and Lois Barto celebrate their 90th birthday — or it’s possible that they were just looking for health tips.
Whatever brought nearly 115 people to the party held at Fairbrook United Methodist Church on Sunday, it was definitely not a Bible school program — which is what Doris Barto was told when her family had her set aside a block of time that afternoon. She even helped cut fruit for the occasion.
It was a suprise worthy of nine decades spent as daughters, mothers, grandmothers — but perhaps most importantly — sisters.
Most people spend their lives looking for a partner, someone with whom they can share not only an adventure or two, but also all of the quiet moments in between.
Doris and Lois Barto came into the world with that key relationship already established.
Even during their days as students growing up in Pine Grove Mills, teachers often had trouble telling them apart.
Doris Barto said that some teachers abandoned attempts to properly identify each twin all together, and she still remembers what she was told by one former instructor in particular.
“No matter who I call, you answer,” Doris Barto said.
Eventually it was easier just to go with the flow. They twins didn’t bother to correct people who mixed up their names — a manuever they’ve continued to deploy into their 90s.
“You get accustomed to things,” Lois said.
Telling the twins apart didn’t become any easier with age. Each worked at different bank branches in Centre County, volunteered at the local Presbyterian church — and married a pair of brothers from Pine Grove Mills.
Not even their daughters are clear on how a pair of twins ended up marrying within the same family. When asked how they managed such a coincidence, Doris and Lois simply shrug.
The twins raised their families within walking distance of one another, an arrangement that made for a tight-knit clan.
Years later, children and grandchildren have left the nest, but the twins continue to see each other for family meals and holidays.
“It’s good to be alive,” Doris Barto said.