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In Print: On News Stands Now


by Tumbleweed Smith

Debra Riggs is the official keeper of the twin registry in Big Lake, a city of some 2,800 people in Reagan County. The small town needs such a person to handle all the news about its twins, since Big Lake has a number of them. In fact, it is way out of proportion when you compare it to numbers of twins in other communities.

'People move to town and they either have twins after they get here or they bring twins with them or they let us know that they are a twin,' says Debra. Big Lake has 129 sets of twins in the registry that dates back to 1889. 'Currently there are 17 sets of adults with one or both twins living in the community and we have 15 sets of twin children in residence. '

The registry is in a huge notebook filled with newspaper articles, photos, accomplishments and activities of Big Lake twins. It also contains one set of quadruplets and one set of triplets, (Debra's backdoor neighbors). She keeps the registry up to date.

'Our oldest set of twins in the registry is the Colter twins, who were born in 1889. Our oldest current residents are the Wilburn sisters who were born in 1925. They married brothers. They're both widowed now, but still active in our community. '

At one time, Big Lake had two sets of twins named Hamilton who were not related. They were next-door neighbors.

'The mothers of the Moore twins, the Vetter twins and the Rogers twins were all in pre-school together in 1971. The Ramirez twins were born on Thanksgiving Day. My twins are the only adopted set of twins in town that we know about. The Anaya twins were named Adam and Eve. The George twins were born on 7-7-77. Five students of the 1953 Future Homemakers Club of Reagan County High School had twins. I was able to track them all down and get information about them. One or two of them went on to have twins of their own.'

It is not unusual to have two or three sets of twins in each grade level in Big Lake schools, which have a total enrollment of less than a thousand students. One famous Mom in Big Lake is Marilyn McReavy Nolen. She gave birth to her twins at the age of 56. Twins are born in Big Lake nearly every year.

'Our new postmaster is a twin. One of our coaches' wives came up to me at church one day and said 'I think someone told me to tell you I'm a twin.' ' Debra started keeping the registry 18 years ago when her twins were born. Sharon Farmer Jones, who now lives in Midland, started the twin registry in 1987. She has twin grandsons born in Greenwood in 2005.

People in Big Lake can't explain why there are so many twins there. Must be that rare and special Big Lake water.

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