Happy birthday times 2, plus 90
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- In 90 years, Raymond Piasky and his twin sister, Ruth Pysher, have missed celebrating their birthday together only once, and they don't plan to let that happen again.
Pysher came all the way from Salt Lake City to celebrate No. 90 with her twin, who is 5 minutes older. She had lived only a few blocks away from Piasky until a year ago, when she moved to Utah to be near her son. They missed celebrating No. 89 together because of the move.
The two were born in Old Forge, Pa., near Scranton, on April 7, 1912, the middle of three sets of twins born to Harriet and Ted Piasky.
"My mother had six children in 45 months," Piasky said.
"They were married in June and the first set of twins was born the following March," Pysher added. "We were born the following April, and 17 months later the third set was born."
Quite a shock: "When the first set was born, my mother thought it was great," Piasky said, chuckling. "When the second set was born, she thought it was nice. When the third set was born, she said, 'I want to die.'"
A boy and a girl made up each set of twins, and they all grew up in a frugal home.
"In our house, the first one up was the best dressed and the best fed," Piasky laughed.
Their father was a railroader, and their mother's two maiden sisters lived with the family in the early years to help care for the six babies.
Piasky moved to Youngstown in the late 1930s.
During World War II, Pysher said, "I came for a visit and stayed."
Their older brother also later moved to Youngstown.
West Siders: The twins lived on parallel streets on the city's West Side in houses with the same number. Living only a few blocks from each other enabled them to continue the family birthday tradition begun when they were children: a family dinner followed by cake and ice cream.
They celebrated the same way Saturday night at a Boardman restaurant surrounded by four generations of family.
"We had a big party with about a hundred people on their 80th," said Piasky's daughter, Miriam "Butch" Nachbar of Lancaster, Pa. Motioning to her father, she said, "He was in a daze after that, so we thought we better not do it again."
"That was the shock of my life," Piasky said. He said he was also surprised to open the door this week to find his other daughter, Ruth Jane Gray, who lives in California's San Fernando Valley. He didn't know that both of his daughters had planned to celebrate with him this year and that the family had arranged for Pysher to fly in for a weeklong visit.
Pysher's sons -- one lives in New York, the other in Salt Lake City -- weren't able to make the trip.
Will the twins celebrate together again next year?
"I don't know. It depends on how he behaves," Pysher joked.
"I can't wait till she leaves," Piasky responded with a smile. "We just argue like the devil."
The siblings constantly bantered back and forth in jest.
He likes Polish food -- kielbasa and pirogi. She doesn't.
"She doesn't know what's good," he said.
"He's a good brother," Pysher said, shaking her head. "It hurts me to say it, but he's a good brother."
Although he didn't say it, it was clear Piasky thinks the world of his sister.
Families: So far, there are no other twins in the family. Pysher gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, but her baby daughter died from sudden infant death syndrome.
She has two sons and seven grandchildren.
Piasky has two daughters, five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.