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Maugansville twins reminisce in shared space

November 08, 2007|By JANET HEIM

MAUGANSVILLE - Meredith Murray and Muriel DeCosta are no longer mirror images of each other, but they still can finish each other's sentences.

The 92-year-old identical twins once shared a bedroom growing up in Brockton, Mass., 30 miles south of Boston, and are roommates again as residents of Charlotte's Home in Maugansville.

While their memories of more recent events are fuzzy, they both light up as they share childhood stories. They remind each other that they were born on their mother's birthday, May 16, in 1915.

Their parents were Eva and George McDevitt. George was about 12 years older than his wife, but lived to age 90 and outlived her.

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The story of their cat, Kewpie, having a large litter of kittens seems to be a favorite.

"We had a cat, Kewpie," DeCosta said.

"She had loads of kittens and we'd have to find homes for them," Murray said.

"They were adorable," DeCosta said.

Murray had two children and lived in Maine for a time with her second husband. Her son is deceased, but daughter Jean Anders lives in Hagerstown. Murray also has two grandchildren.

It was Anders who moved them to Washington County about seven years ago.

"They had a nice childhood," Anders said.

DeCosta, who married later in life, had a daughter, who is deceased, and has three grandsons who live in New Hampshire.

As children, the twins had an older sister who took care of them while their mother worked at Edgar's department store.

Murray was born first and has always been the dominant twin, Anders said. DeCosta will follow her sister's lead, such as crossing her leg if Murray does.

"She's my standby. She takes care of me," DeCosta said with a big smile.

DeCosta, who suffers from memory loss, is easygoing and helps calm her sister down when Murray's dementia takes over.

The girls graduated from high school a year apart - Murray in 1933 and DeCosta in 1934. Both were stricken with mumps, measles and scarlet fever, but DeCosta didn't recover as quickly as her twin and had a hard time catching up with her schoolwork.

"Muriel was always thought of as the fragile twin. She had rheumatic fever as a baby," Anders said.

Murray worked in a factory during World War II, then as a telephone operator. DeCosta worked in the office of a shoe factory, then in the toy department of S.S. Kresge's.

"You wonder how long Muriel would have lasted without Mom. I told them they would never be separated," Anders said.

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