Twin 90-year-olds celebrate birthdays in Frankfort
By Casey Toner firstname.lastname@example.org September 29, 2012 9:24PM
Twin Sisters Julia Vanderweel, left, and Ann Mamak, show off a photo book they each received during a 90th birthday party with their family at Aurelio's Pizza, 9901 W. Lincoln Hwy, in Frankfort, IL on Saturday September 29, 2012. In the photo on the cove
Updated: November 29, 2012 1:15AM
It was a party for the ages when two identical twins celebrated their 90th birthdays together with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren Saturday in Frankfort.
Ann Mamak, of Tinley Park, and her sister Julia Vanderweel, of Mokena, were the toast of the occasion hosted at Aurelio’s Pizza, 9901 West Lincoln Highway.
“It’s the biggest thing in the world,” Mamak said. “Everyone has their ups and downs, but this pays off for all the bad times. You don’t mind getting to 90 with these kinds of blessings.”
Their family rented a back room for the event and set up a table with a ceremonial “90” cake, helium balloons stamped with “90” and two photo books that trace their long and rich lives.
The two women — who turned 90 on Thursday — grew in Bartlesville, Okla. They moved out to Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood to find work after graduating high school. While in Chicago, they got married, had families, started and finished careers.
Following their retirement as inspectors with International Harvest, the two women moved out to separate but nearby suburbs.
Mamak resides in Clearview Condominiums and Vanderweel lives in the Grasmere subdivision. While they live apart, the twins remain close and talk to each other on the phone multiple times everyday. In their spare time, they both enjoy reading books and watching the Bears.
“I’m very content, although my health isn’t all that well,” Vanderweel said. “But I’m still around, still moving.”
And it’s not like they’re without family to keep them company.
Mamak has a boy, John Mamak; a girl, Carol Kinsella; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Vanderweel also has a boy, Jim Vanderweel; a girl, Jan Rauch; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Both women remarked that seeing the family all at once was a treat.
“We couldn’t wait to see them all together,” Vanderweel said. “It’s rare to see them all at the same time.”
The gathering was all the more remarkable for the family members, who expressed their joy for the matriarchs.
Mamak’s granddaughter Andrea Lacny said the twins are “two sassy ladies.”
“We’re thrilled to be here together to celebrate their birthdays,” Lacny said. “It’s not often you hear about 90-year-old identical twins.”
It appears Mamak and Vanderwheel’s lineage will continue as Vanderweel’s 5-year old great-grandchildren, Sydney and Anna Seliga, also are identical twins.
“I’ve always watched Grandma and her twin sister and how close they are,” said Leanne Seliga, mother of the young twins. “It’s been nice seeing (Sydney and Anna) grow up and seeing how close their bond is to each other.”