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90-year-old twins have 'special bond'

October 18, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

HAGERSTOWN -- They shared a womb, childhood games of "kick the wicket" and, on Sunday, a big birthday party.

Earle McFerren and Pearle (McFerren) Markle-Spangler celebrated their 90th birthday a few days early with approximately 175 friends and family members. The crowd offered up toasts and good wishes amid music and dancing at Fountain Head Country Club.

"Not a lot of twins make it to 90," Pearle said.

Pearle followed Earle by 15 minutes when their mother, Myrtle (Hess) McFerren, gave birth Oct. 29, 1919, in a Ridge Avenue home in Waynesboro, Pa. The second baby was a surprise.

The twins spent their lives and careers in Waynesboro, until Earle moved three years ago to Chambersburg, Pa. He worked at Landis Tool Co., and Pearle was a secretary at several businesses, most recently at First National Bank.

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Earle and his wife, Ruthanna, enjoyed square dancing and ballroom dancing in retirement, while Pearle traveled on cruises.

"They actually started the Pen Mar Dance Club," Gerard McFerren said of his parents, Earle and Ruthanna.

"They did the tango and cha-cha," Pearle said.

Pearle said healthy lifestyles likely contributed to the twins' longevity. If one was sick as a child, though, the other one felt some of that pain, she said.

"It just seemed like we had a special bond," Pearle said.

Gerard McFerren and his wife, Michelle, described Myrtle McFerren as the "glue" that kept the twins' family together. Earle's side of the family now includes two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The siblings sat in armchairs to greet guests as they arrived. Both pulled people down for hugs and kisses, and Pearle teased her brother to "let go of the girls."

"It's just wonderful being with friends," she said.

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