the active age
It was snowing that night in 1921 when a doctor rode out to an Oklahoma farmhouse to help a couple expecting their first baby.
Everybody was in for a surprise.
Laurine Endres (now Moeder) arrived first, followed three minutes later by Florine (now Seely). Someone joked that Florine pushed her identical twin out and has been bossing her around ever since.
At 5.5 pounds each, they slept in a couple of dresser drawers.
Not long after, an oatmeal company put their photographs on its box, promising their parents free product until they reached the age of 2. Laurine and Florine were written up in the local paper as the “oatmeal twins.”
By the way, they’d sure like to find one of those boxes.
“If you can find one, I’ll give you a hundred dollars,” Florine says.
They grew up outside Okemah, Okla. “We milked cows, fed chickens, cut wood for the fire,” Laurine recalls.
They never pretended to be each other, although two fellows who they double dated accused them of it. “So we walked home,” Florine says.
Opinions differ as to just how much other trouble they got into. Laurine recalls Florine swiping her clothes and giving her an unauthorized haircut. “I never got in trouble,” Florine says.
They both lived in Los Angeles for a while. Laurine married a western Kansas boy and had several children while Florine served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II before getting hitched and starting her own family.
Laurine made her way to Wichita some 65 years ago. Florine lived in a few other places before eventually settling here, too. Laurine had 10 children and Florine five, so there are dozens of grands, great-grands and great-great-grands to dote on. They were active in Catholic churches and schools and volunteered at the Lord’s Diner. They would take juice drained from fruit cans there and add sugar to make a liqueur called “Bounce.” All their grandchildren know how to make sauerkraut.
At 85, Laurine took a turn around a pond on water skis. In 2016, they were chosen as honorary masters of ceremony of the annual Okemah Rattlesnake Roundup. They each chopped a head off a snake. Both drove and lived on their own until moving into Park West Plaza a couple years ago. They enjoy playing cards, bingo and dominoes. They like people and don’t mind attention. Although back problems have caused Florine to lose a little height, people still get them confused at times.
Family members helped the twins celebrate their 98th birthday last month. Laurine says having a look-alike who’s also your best and oldest friend meant “we trusted each other more.”
“You and I didn’t ever get upset with each other, did we?” Florine adds. “I didn’t.”