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Bonding Together for Ninety-Six Years Physical, Emotional Links Unite Twin Celeste Native Sisters

By Carol Ferguson
Herald-Banner Staff

Ira Turner sat close by her twin sister, Inez Taft, during the party last week for all October birthday celebrants in Park Haven Nursing Center.

That's not unusual, however, for the twins have always been close to one another--both physically and emotionally. They will celebrate their 96th birthday on Friday.

"They bond like this," said Ira's daughter, Shirley Jones, holding up her hand with two fingers entwined. "The farthest they've ever lived apart was six miles, and that was during their married lives."

The sisters were born in Celeste to Myrtle and "Wash" Johnson. Ira is about four or five minutes older, she claims with a smile, "...but I don't remember."

Out of seventeen children in the family, they are the oldest living siblings. The others are a brother, Byron Johnson, 92; Beatrice Copenger, a half-sister, 80; and Joyce Marie Smith, 73.

Ira and Inez both married farmers. Ira's first husband was Frank Glasscock, and nine years after he died, she was married to Charlie Turner. Her children are Glenda Rice of Emory, Joyce Coleman of Huntsville, Alabama; and Robert Glasscock and Shirley Jones, both of Floyd.

Inez married Clifford Taft, and although they had no children, "She claims Ira's children," Shirley joked.

The twins both worked for Haggar Slacks for about thirty-five years. They loved sewing so much that after retiring they continued to sew bonnets and quilts, selling them at flea markets in Canton, Bonham, Emory, and McKinney.

Cooking was also a specialty, but "...Nez (Inez) could make the best cakes, and Ira made the best pies," said Shirley.

The twins have dressed alike their entire lives, they said, and on the day they were interviewed, both were wearing identical pink tops, blue trousers, and white athletic shoes.

Shirley recalled that when she was growing up, if her mother (Ira) went shopping and found a clothing item, she liked, she always bought two.

Being identical twins is an invitation to play tricks on friends, and Inez and Ira did their share. One of the family stories involves Inez's date arriving at the house before she was ready, Shirley said. "Aunt Nez told Mother to go to the door and play like she was Nez. It turned into a big joke."

At Hunt County Fair time, the sisters entered the Twins' Contest beginning in the 1970's, and they consistently won awards for being the oldest set of twins.

"Twins definitely run in their family," said Shirley. Ira and Inez's mother had three sets, and two present-day granddaughters and a grandson also have twins.

"We've been lucky to be together--never apart much," the sisters agreed. "And our husbands got along, too."

Apparently the twins' thoughts also follow a similar pattern. Asked what was the best part of being a twin, Ira didn't specify anyone thing, but smiled and said, "It's just wonderful."

Inez hadn't heard the question, but when it was repeated for her, she gave almost the identical answer, "It's wonderful!"

(Picture, October 28, 2004, The Greenville Herald Banner)

Submitted by Sarah Swindell

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