It was a celebration!
A Lansing, Michigan family surprised their 90-year-old twin matriarchs with a birthday party, The Lansing State Journal reports.
On July 23rd, twins Leola Watts and Cleola Crawford brought their 90th birthday in surrounded by friends and family. While the twins aren’t exactly sure if it was their 90th, truly believing that July 23, 1933, is their correct birthday, it’s the only birthday they’ve acknowledged, celebrating it every year on July 23rd for the last ninety years. A mixup would come while applying for Social Security benefits but both sisters say they chose to believe their own mother over the shoddy record keeping of the 1930s which has their birth date as June 23, 1932.
“My mother told us and we always celebrated then but our birth certificate says a different year,” Cleola Crawford explained.
Some years, they have even celebrated twice. Whatever the correct date, they recently bought in 90 with a bang. A surprise party to remember, the event was held at the Delta Community Center in Lansing Michigan, with many of the 100 or so guests matching the twins in their purple ensembles.
Five generations showed up for the big day with both sisters flanked at a grand table surrounded by their children as the family shared their well wishes and prayers for the twins. Alfred Christian, son of Crawford, read a special scripture in honor of his mother’s big day. The sisters said they were absolutely surprised and a bit overwhelmed.
“I was wiping tears,” said Crawford.
The next day the family got together for a cookout, the twins donning yellow and purple shirts complete with the names of all of the twins that come from their lineage. In total, the family has 10 sets of twins throughout the generations. Only half of the sets of twins were able to attend the festivities but they did make time for a family photo which they intend to make a tradition. Watts and Crawford are the oldest of the surviving twins.
Watts’ daughter, Lenore Costa, said her mother and aunt are an inspiration. Growing up, Leola Watts and her husband Jonathan were community activists who made sure the Lansing NAACP had office space for free. The couple often gave back to the community, helping to register voters and donating regularly.
The family came together to give back just a little of that same love. The event was complete with cake and decor galore, and the celebration was topped off with a special letter of recognition from President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
“We are honored to join your family and friends in wishing you a happy birthday. As you reflect with pride on the cherished memories you have made throughout your life, we wish you health and happiness in the year ahead,” The Bidens wrote
Throughout their nine decades of life, this moment was by far one of the special highlights, both sisters saying they are still in good health and appreciate having each other if nothing else.
“[It’s a beautiful thing, to be a twin] …It’s two people, together always,” said Crawford.
“The secret is being in God’s hands,” added Watts.
Happy Birthday Mrs. Leola & Cleola! Because of you, we can!
(l to r) Twins Leola Watts & Cleola Crawford. Photo Courtesy of Nick King/Lansing State Journal