If you asked Omahan Mary Skradski about her twins, you could get five different answers.
Mary, 91, has a bunch. Five sets, actually.
Here's the lineup: She has a twin son and daughter; twin grandsons; two sets of twin great-granddaughters; and one twin great-grandson and great-granddaughter.
Ages range from 22 months to 61 years.
They all live in the Omaha area, and they gathered this month for a first-ever photo of all of them with Mary.
Mary got her hair done the morning of the photo and wore a new sweater. Ranny Povondra, Mary's daughter and one of the twins, said her mother is so proud of her family. Mary teared up after the photographer snapped the pictures. There were plenty of hugs.
Even though all the twins live in the area, it was tough getting everyone's schedules in line so they could meet for the photo, Ranny said.
“We pulled it off,'' she said.
Family members gathered at 2 p.m. — right during nap time for the two youngest sets of twins.
The photographer tickled the chins of the little ones with a feather duster to keep them in a good mood.
Ranny gave her mother a photo collage frame for Christmas and will fill it with family snapshots. The picture of Mary and the twins will go right in the middle.
It's a blessing, Ranny said, that her mom is still around to see the latest generation of twins born just two years ago. Her grandkids are still having babies, so more twins could be on the way, Ranny said.
Fraternal twins can run in families. That's because family history affects the tendency for a woman to release more than one egg at a time at ovulation.
Among Mary's five sets are four sets of fraternal twins.
Dr. Carl Smith, chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said even though fraternal twins can run in families, the count in Mary's family is unusual. He said it's rare to have so many sets of twins one generation after the next.
Mary grew up in an Italian family in Omaha's Little Italy neighborhood. Her husband, Nick Sr., was Croatian and also grew up in Omaha.
Nick and Mary had four children: Ranny and her twin, Nick Jr., and their brothers, Steve and Joe.
They raised their family near 42nd and V Streets, near Morton Park. Mary was a good Italian mom who never wanted anyone to leave the house with an empty stomach. She was known for her double-crust pizza and spaghetti and meatballs.
Nick Sr. worked at a South Omaha packing plant and died of a heart attack in 1978 at age 59. He didn't live long enough to see any of the twins of the succeeding generations.
Ranny said her dad would have been very happy with how the family turned out. Mary has 13 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren, with one more on the way.
Ranny said her mom loved telling a story from her wedding day in 1946.
As Nick and Mary drove away from the church, everyone noticed a sign someone had stuck on their car that turned out to be quite true: Watch Omaha Grow.
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» The rate of multiple births in the United States has jumped dramatically in the past two decades. The rate of twin births increased by 70 percent between 1980 and 2004. About one-third of the overall increase is due to more women over age 30 having babies; women in that age group are more likely to conceive multiples.
» More than 3 percent of babies in this country are born in sets of two, three or more; about 95 percent of multiple births are twins.
» Fraternal twins, which are more common than identical twins, develop when two separate eggs are fertilized by two different sperm. Fraternal twins can run in families.
» Identical twins occur when one fertilized egg splits and develops into two fetuses. Identical twins have the same genes, so they generally look alike and are the same gender.
Source: March of Dimes