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At 96 Years Young, Ashby Ponds’ Identical Twins Continue to Amaze

January 19, 2016

(Ashburn, Virginia) — According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published at the end of 2015, twin birth rates recently hit a new high in the United States—33.9 sets of twins per 1,000 births, totaling 135,336 twin births in 2014.  Research indicates that various factors may be at play, including a mother's age and changing IVF guidelines.

In 1919, there were 16,316 live twin births reported in the United States, according to an annual birth statistics report distributed by the U.S. Bureau of the Census—many fewer than what we see today.  That's the year that identical twins Irene and Arlene were born in a small farming town in Pennsylvania on November 16.  Today, at 96 years young, both Irene and Arlene living life to the fullest along with their husbands at Ashby Ponds retirement community in Ashburn, Virginia.

The oldest siblings of six, Arlene and Irene have always been close and have always looked strikingly similar.  Known as "Das Bubs" ("The Twins") in the Pennsylvania Dutch community where they lived, they were regularly mistaken for one another.

After high school, the two moved to the D.C. area together and during World War II, both started working government positions—Irene with the War Department and Arlene with the General Accounting Office.

After Irene was married, she and her husband settled in Virginia. Arlene, who was then working as a nursing assistant, lived just across the street in the Virginia Hills area of Alexandria.  Six years later, Arlene was also married. 

In 2009, Irene and her husband made the move to Ashby Ponds.   A short time later in 2011, Arlene and her husband followed, moving in just one floor away.  Today, Irene and Arlene are virtual celebrities at Ashby Ponds—they have even been the inspiration for one resident's poems and prose over the years.  The two can also often be spotted on a treadmill or in a fitness class throughout the week at the community. 

So what's their secret?  It's simple: be happy, have a sense of humor, and marry someone nice! 

The following is a poem written by Ashby Ponds resident Bob Olander for Arlene and Irene on their 96th birthdays on November 16, 2015.

About Ashby Ponds: Ashby Ponds, one of 18 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia (approximately 30 miles west of Washington, D.C.).  The community is home to over 1000 residents and more than 120 resident-run and resident-driven clubs and groups, an indoor pool, a fitness club, transportation services, 24-hour security, and flexible dining options. More information about Ashby Ponds can be found at