Archive for Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Seeing double

November 21, 2006

When Tonganoxie High School had its annual homecoming festivities last month, students dressed up for a week, following a different theme each day.

One day was Super Hero Day, and another was Twin Day. Many of the costumes were inventive.

But for 14 students, Twin Day was just another day. And they didn't see much point in putting effort into their "costumes."

That's because each of those students has a twin.

Tonganoxie High boasts seven sets of twins: Rebecca and Rachel Bogard, Megan And Melissa Pratt, Jenna and Jamison Bloomer, Daniel and David McIntosh, Chelsea and LeShae Miller, Deven and Dylan Howe and Katie and Laurie Chenoweth.

Megan and Melissa Pratt

Perhaps Megan and Melissa Pratt have that special twin telepathy.

When the sisters were in kindergarten, they were asked to draw pictures as part of a class exercise.

The twins, sitting in separate classrooms, drew the same thing -- a Christmas tree with lights in the same places.

But the siblings discount any notion that they're sending telepathic signals to each other.

"The only reason we know what each other's thinking is because we've been around each other so long," Melissa said.

There also are distinctive differences between the two sisters, who are juniors at THS.

"Her glasses are different than mine and her hair's a lot longer," Megan said. "And I'm a lot louder."

Melissa pointed out another difference.

"I'm an inch taller," she said.

And Megan had this to say about growing up.

"I was always the bad kid; she was always better in everything," Megan said.

Like many twins, Megan and Melissa are asked repeatedly whether they're sisters.

"Everyone always asks whether we are," Megan explained. "Her softball coach thought she was two years older than me. Then he asked whether we were sisters."

Melissa said they have some fun with people when they ask the burning question: Are you twins?

"We'll just be sarcastic and be like no, not at all," Melissa said.

Megan added, "I don't even know her; we just look alike."

Chelsea and LeShae Miller

The Pratt sisters field plenty of inquiries about whether they're twins, but sophomores Chelsea and LeShae Miller don't get that question much.

The paternal twins do not look alike. In fact, LaShae is noticeably taller than Chelsea.

LaShae is left-handed, has blue-green eyes and has "average grades," she said.

Chelsea is right-handed, has brown eyes and wears glasses and has the better grades.

"Most people don't really know we're twins, unless we tell them," Chelsea said.

One THS teacher didn't catch on for some time.

"I had a teacher who didn't know we were twins the whole year," LaShae said. "She came up to me and said, 'I didn't know you and Chelsea were twins,'" LaShae said.

That's not a problem for LaShae.

"I'm honestly glad we're not identical, because you can be your own person," LaShae said.

Sometimes the siblings say things at the same time, but they're more attuned to what their mother is thinking.

"It's not really us reading each other's mind," Chelsea said. "We read our mom's mind."

The siblings moved to Tonganoxie from Shawnee when they were in fourth grade. After roughly seven years in Tonganoxie, the Miller sisters still surprise people when they find out they're twins.

"I think when people think you're twins, they think you're alike," Chelsea said. "But we're totally opposite."

Daniel and David McIntosh

It's not uncommon to spot twins together. But that's a rarity for Daniel and David McIntosh.

One brother attends high school classes half of the day, while the other attends classes the other half of the day. They're seniors at THS.

When they're not in school, they're attending classes at an area technical school in Kansas City, Kan., or working in Bonner Springs.

"I'm usually with my son more than anybody," David said of his infant boy.

Daniel, who has a broader face, has a little facial hair on his chin, while David has more facial hair.

"And I shave," Daniel said with a laugh.

The brothers used to wear matching clothes. But if the twins show up these days in similar clothing, it's an accident.

"We're not little anymore," David said. "It's not cute."

They're clothes aren't identical, but the brothers do have a knack for, out of the blue, singing the same song at the exact same time.

"It's freaky," said Daniel.

The brothers also have been known to develop unexplainable marks on their bodies that resemble a cigarette burn. The marks never are painful, but always seem to appear at the same time, whether on a leg or a finger.

It would seem apparent that the two are twins, but some co-workers haven't noticed.

"We'll work with people for three months, and people still won't realize we're twins," said Daniel, who works in the same department as his brother at Wal-Mart. "We've been working there since April and people still don't realize we're twins."

Daniel, who is a volunteer with the Tonganoxie Township Fire Department, plans to join the U.S. Navy. David plans to continue his education in the field of heating and cooling.

Jamison and Jenna Bloomer

Sorry, they're not identical.

Yes, Jamison and Jenna Bloomer are twins, but Jenna noted that she wasn't an identical twin to her brother, Jamison.

That would seem obvious, but the two have had to field that question before.

"They'll ask a dumb question like, 'Are you identical?'" Jenna said. "Well, obviously we're not."

The siblings, who are sophomores at Tonganoxie High, have a knack for finishing each other's sentences.

"I don't think it's a sixth sense, it's because we live with each other," Jenna said.

"We say a lot of the same things, too," Jamison said.

Jenna and Jamison said they get along pretty well. And they enjoyed growing up as twins.

"I think it's fun," Jenna said. "We're friends with the same people, so we all hang out and stuff. And we can help each other with our homework and stuff."

Katie and Laurie Chenoweth

Maybe it's a new version of "The Patty Duke Show."

The 1950s sitcom paired "identical cousins" Patty and Cathy Lane. Actor Patty Duke played both characters.

Katie and Laurie Chenoweth, THS juniors, have been known to tell people who ask them if they're twins that they are cousins.

"Really? You look exactly alike," Katie said, recalling a response.

The twins have differing appearances. Katie has long hair, while Laurie wears braces.

"People say our personalities are way different," Laurie said. "And we just look different, I think."

Katie and Laurie compete in cross country at THS. Part of the season Laurie ran varsity, but had to battle shin splints later in the season. Katie later moved up and ran varsity this season.

The sisters said there's not a heated rivalry between them on the cross country course, but Katie recalled how things were when she and her sister were younger.

"We had to have everything equal" Katie said. "For Christmas we had to have the same number of stuff, because I was always jealous."

That's not the case these days, but the siblings proved to be slightly ornery.

They mentioned, straight-faced, that they were conjoined twins. Laurie started to point at a scar where they were joined before surgery separated them.

A couple minutes later, with wry smiles on their faces, the girls admitted they were telling, well, a fib.

Deven and Dylan Howe

They might be the most difficult set of twins to tell apart at Tonganoxie High.

Freshmen Deven and Dylan Howe said there wasn't a definitive way to tell them apart, but people who know them eventually figure out who is who.

"After awhile, they get it right," Deven said.

The brothers are on the cross country team at THS. Unlike many other sports, cross country uniforms normally don't have numbers, so it's difficult to distinguish between the two.

However, their mother, Lana Howe, said there is a way to differentiate between the two. Dylan is slightly taller than Deven, she said.

Rachel and Rebecca Bogard

Even if you call them by the wrong name, Rachel and Rebecca Bogard are likely to respond to a question.

"Growing up, we learned to answer to both, just because you're so used to being called both names," Rebecca said.

Friends can tell the two Bogards apart, but family gatherings such as reunions, can be an adventure, as some family members still have difficulty determining who is Rebecca and who is Rachel.

"It's just a normal thing; we're used to it," Rebecca said.

There is a way to tell Rebecca from Rachel, though. Rebecca has a mark near her chin, while Rachel does not, proving that each has her own identity, which the sisters say is important.

"We like being twins, but we like being separated," Rachel said. "We're not the twins that have to have the same friends and the same everything."

And wearing the same clothes at the same time doesn't fly with the Bogards.

"When we get dressed in the morning, we put on the same shirt, and I say I'm wearing that, and she says, 'No I am,'" said Rebecca.

Like any twins who look quite similar, the Bogard sisters have the ability pull a switcheroo on people -- making someone think that Rachel is Rebecca and that Rebecca is Rachel.

The sisters still are contemplating whether to play that joke on an unsuspecting victim before they finish high school. They are seniors at Tonganoxie High.

"We've talked about it since seventh grade, but we've never done it," Rebecca said. "We'll probably have to do it before school gets out."

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