Two sets of twins, four friends for life

Greater Lowell pairs born on same day — in same hospital — grow up together

From left, Terry (Laferriere) Levasseur, Aline (Doyon) Chasse, Dolly (Laferriere) Fisette and Alice (Doyon) Chicoine enjoy breakfast at Bobola’s for their 78th birthdays. Terry and Dolly and Aline and Alice are identical twins born on the same day at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lowell.(SUN/Meg McIntyre)

DRACUT — One of the booths at Bobola’s Restaurant on Lakeview Avenue seemed to be in especially bright spirits Friday morning, with frequent laughter emanating from the table.

And it’s no wonder — the women seated there were celebrating four birthdays simultaneously.

On Feb. 21, 1942, two sets of identical twins were born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lowell. A few years later, when they were five or six, they met in elementary school and became fast friends. And on Friday, Terry (Laferriere) Levasseur, Dolly (Laferriere) Fisette, Aline (Doyon) Chasse and Alice (Doyon) Chicoine feted their 78th birthdays together with a late morning breakfast in Dracut.

It’s not necessarily an annual tradition, though the women have celebrated their birthdays together on and off throughout their lives, they said. They’ve talked about having a big party for their 80th, but said this year they wanted to make sure they met for breakfast for their 78th.

“We’re getting older, and we might not be here,” Levasseur said.

The Laferriere twins as children (Courtesy photograph)

The four friends, who all still live in the Greater Lowell area, have never lost touch through all these years, and still see each other frequently to play cards or take a dip in Chicoine’s pool. They’ve been through most of life’s milestones together, from birth to marriage, with all of them getting married the same year at age 17. Their children were even born around the same period, the women said.

When people hear about the origins of their friendship, “they can’t believe it,” Fisette said.

They talked and joked as they ate their breakfast Friday, reminiscing about days gone by over orange juice and Keno. Chasse and Levasseur — the “older” twins by about an hour and just two minutes, respectively — sat on one side of the table across from Fisette and Chicoine, at times talking over each other and laughing as they amicably disagreed over the details of some of their shared memories.

Growing up in Lowell’s Little Canada neighborhood — the area around Aiken Street near where LeLacheur Park now sits — the four of them got into plenty of trouble, they said, like the time as teenagers when Chicoine convinced them all to go for an unauthorized swim in one of Lowell’s many canals.

Asked which of them was the biggest troublemaker, Chicoine swiftly raised her hand, prompting laughter from the whole table — and she had no shortage of stories to back up the claim. Chasse said her sister was always getting the two of them into hot water with their parents.

“My mother says to me, ‘Go make the beds.’ I go in — I did my side. I didn’t do hers,” Chicoine said with a laugh, pointing to her sister. She remembers telling her parents, “Well, I don’t sleep on that side.”

Both sets of twins noted people had a hard time telling one sister apart from another when they were children, even their parents. They would sometimes wear different colored ribbons or name badges to help people keep them straight, they said. Levasseur noted that she and Fisette wore matching clothes up until they both married.

The Doyon twins as children (Courtesy photograph)

The women’s faces were bright and animated as they revisited their old memories Friday. The friends said they hope to continue meeting on their birthday for years to come, perhaps making the breakfast an annual outing.

“We’re happy that we’re together,” Chasse said.