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Anita and Oleta: Identical twins celebrating 86th birthday

By Galen Hawes -- ghawes@news-star.com
Anita and Oleta, identical twins, turn 86 on July 18.

Identical twins Anita Kimball, Harrah, and Oleta Stone, Shawnee, are turning 86 on Saturday, July 18. And while they’ve always been close, this year’s birthday celebration will include plenty of social distancing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anita is older than Oleta by 10 minutes.

Their parents, Emily and Clarence Parker from the Wellston area, were unaware that they were having twins. Mother Emily went into labor and had Anita with her husband, Clarence, and one of their daughters helping in delivery. Their dad was shocked when Oleta was born because they truly did not know that they were having twins.

According to Oleta’s daughter, Faye Stone, Anita was not given a name for three days because they were not sure if she would make it because she was so much smaller. Oleta was known as the big one and Anita as the smaller one. As they both grew up, Anita grew into herself and was no longer known as the small one, she said.

Anita and Oleta are very close. Although their family has always thought that they were a lot alike, Anita is more outgoing and Oleta keeps to herself, Stone said, and when they were younger Oleta would push Anita out in front to avoid being the first to talk to someone.

When Oleta and Anita were in school they would try to trick the teacher by switching chairs and only their close friends were able to tell them apart by their glasses.

Stone said the twins' mother made their dresses out of the old flour or feed sacks when they were younger, and they always wore their hair alike.

“They both played basketball in high school and they talk a lot about barn dances,” Faye Stone said, adding her mother would watch while her aunt danced.

Anita was always out driving while Oleta would help her mother with younger children and in the kitchen.  Oleta turned out to be a good cook and Anita passed the drivers test. Oleta did not until after her husband later taught her how to drive.

Emily was a stay at home mom and Clarence served in WW I as a runner and delivered messages. Clarence’s helmet was hit with a bullet and he spent his last year in the Muskogee VA hospital from shellshock. He passed away when the twins were nine, Stone said.

The nine siblings, from oldest to youngest — Weldon Parker, Lorena Grissom, Leota Belcher, Mildred Martin, Melvin Parker, Anita and Oleta, as well as Curtis Parker, who passed at nine years old from meningitis and baby sister Anna Thomas. The twins are the only survivors of the nine children today.

Oleta and her husband, Glen, raised their children on a farm east of Shawnee, while Anita and her husband, Aubrey, lived in Harrah and kept a garden.

Oleta and Glen Stone were just shy of being married for 50 years when Glen passed away and Anita and Aubrey Kimball were married for 67 years.

Each twin had five children. Oleta and Glen had three boys and two girls while Anita and Aubrey had three girls and two boys.

One of Anita’s daughters was born on March 2 around midnight and Oleta had one of her sons the morning of March 3, so their children almost ended up with the same birthday.

“When my siblings and I were all real young and could not say Anita, she said I am a needy person so just call me ‘Aunt Needy,’” said Stone.

“My father got them confused one time and gave ‘Aunt Needy’ a necklace that was meant for mom,” said Stone. “Another time they went on a double date with dad and Uncle Aubrey. My mom and ‘Aunt Needy’ tried to trick them by switching seats but Uncle Aubrey and dad saw them, so they turned it around on the girls and went to kiss each other's girl.”

Anita was a stay-at-home mom while Oleta was a nurse for 15 years and then was able to be a stay-at-home mom.

“We have been blessed because my mom’s oldest sister and baby sister lived with us before they passed,” said Stone. Uncle Aubrey lived with us before moving to Belfair of Shawnee and Aunt Needy lived with us for two years after losing her husband at Belfair of Shawnee.”

One of their most memorable moments with each other was when Oleta and Glen were blessed to go to Ireland and they invited Anita and Aubrey to travel with them for two weeks because Oleta and Anita began to miss each other.  After their kids grew up, if one went on vacation, they both did.

“In the last three to four years I have noticed that Aunt Needy is high strung and carries on conversations and mom will sit back and not say as much,” said Stone. “Their eating habits are also different now because my mom taught us how to raise meat and had fresh biscuits ready for dinner when I was younger and Aunt Needy preferred canned biscuits.”

Stone noted that both twins were excellent quilters until arthritis started to prevent them from doing so. Oleta and Anita both taught their children how to sew, garden and can vegetables.

“This year my mom insisted that she wanted 86th birthday pictures because she said that they never saw themselves reaching their 86th birthday,” said Stone. “They only had one brother who lived until the age of 87.”

Saturday, Anita and Oleta are celebrating their 86th birthday with some of their close family, but will be social distancing.