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Make that a double...

Aug 15, 2012 10:22 AM | 0 comments

Some pictures cry out to be shared, and this is one of them:

TRIPLE PLAYERS--The Yerves triplets, Tommy, Denny and Gerry, age 2 1/2...Brooklyn Eagle, Mar 9, 1953 

The Yerves triplets were born in the Bronx, but we do notice a Dodgers banner on young Denny's chest (or is that Gerry, or Tommy?) The fact that they are all wearing pinstripes might indicate a subtle preference for  the Bronx Bombers. In any event, this photograph got me thinking about our Brooklyn multiples, of whom we see more and more--and more. Twins, triplets and the rare quadruplets have always drawn press attention for one reason or another, and Brooklyn has certainly had its fair share of multiples, many with their own peculiarly Brooklyn stories. Here's one set of triplets: the Grodsky boys, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of 697 Gates Ave, celebrated their Bar Mitzvah together on April 11, 1925 at Congregation Sons of Abraham.

In 1922 the Kiolmowitz triplets of 433 Hopkinson Ave, Stella, Catherine and Isador attracted the attention of a well-heeled lady who offered their father $10,000 to adopt Isador. Philip Kiolmowitz, a baker by trade, refused the money.

The 1920s seem to have been a big decade for triplet reports. The Blickendorfer triplets of 59 Bushwick Pl, born in October 1921, added three to a brood already five strong. Their father "sighed...when he thought of the high price of shoes and clothes, for now he had eight children to support."

The Pagano triplets of 646 Hicks St (Brooklyn's "young Italian settlement") were born in August 1920. After the birth of two boys, their father summoned Dr. Joseph Belinda, who then delivered their sister, Concetta.  Dr. Belinda, perhaps  overwhelmed, called for help from Nurse Hannah O'Connell of the Baby Health Station at 49 Carroll St, who soon had the three infants nursing and in ship shape condition.

There's more! The Caporale triplets of 359 Rutland Rd, born in February 1937, made their appearance on Valentine's Day. Their father, a grocery clerk, remained optimistic in the face of this sudden addition to his existing family of three. "I'm sorry it wasn't four or five," he said. Their mother on the other hand said firmly, "There'll be no more."

DOUBLE TALK--The Twin Mothers Club of Brooklyn ...Brooklyn Eagle, Jun 19, 1949

Parenting multiples brings its own challenges, and seeking support from other parents going through the same travails is not a new idea. The Twin Mothers Club of Brooklyn, evidently a thriving group, held their annual picnic in Owl's Head Park in baby-booming 1949, attended by no less than 25 sets of twins. Twins, it seems, are a dime a dozen around here, and tales of the extraordinary accrete around them. The Yinger twins, for example, were born in Coney Island Hospital, on either side of midnight, New Year's Eve 1949. So Donnie Gene and Patti Jean might have been like as two peas in every other respect, but one was born in 1949, the other in 1950.

TWINS--BUT A YEAR APART...Brooklyn Eagle, Jan 3, 1950

Mrs Frances Cain, 23, of 604 Humboldt St,  gave birth to twin boys a day apart in 1925. Mrs Cain was herself a twin, her mother, Mrs Theresa Bruetsch was a twin, and her grandmother too was a twin--four generations of twins in an unbroken line!

The tendency of twins, even separated ones, to lead strangely parallel lives is highlighted in the story of twins Mrs Katherine Donahoe and her sister Mrs Winifred Murphy, both of 760 49th St, who gave birth in Prospect Heights Hospital on the same day in July of 1947. The attending physician had also delivered the mothers 33 years before.

Vincent Calicchio pictured below, of 87 2nd Place, is shown celebrating the birth of his third pair of twins.

FATHER AND TWINS DOING WELL...Brooklyn Eagle, Feb 17, 1946

And Mrs Jennie Gabel (below) looks ecstatic in 1945 after giving birth to her second pair of twin girls within 11 months. We can only hope that the mood lasted into the terrible twos and beyond.  Mrs Mary O'Donnell had already paved the way for her the year before, producing two pairs of twin boys within the year. The O'Donnells, who lived near Ebbets Field, joked that they were starting a rival baseball team.

TWO SETS OF TWINS IN 11 MONTHS--Brooklyn Eagle, Nov 26, 1945

While multiples draw press attention mainly as children, one pair of twins from East New York lived to cut their 90th birthday cake together, on Feb 11, 1952 (coincidentally, the very day on which a singleton we know drew her first lonely breath.) Mrs Kate Noteboom and Mr Michael Dulk were born in the Lower East Side but spent their childhood at 168 Schenck Ave in New Lots. "Uncle Mike" remembered a time when Schenck Ave was the only street in the area, cutting through grazing grounds and farmland.

SHARING A BIRTHDAY--...East New York's oldest living twins are shown...celebrating their 90th birthday...Brooklyn Eagle, Feb 11, 1952 

Our very own Brooklyn Collection twins, Jordan and April, began their tenure as assistants to the Outreach Librarian on June 5, 2002.

 Photo: Kristin Stith

 What a difference ten years makes!

Photo: June Koffi