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Double the fun: Clubs, kids and each other
PARIS - The old chewing gum jingle said “Double your pleasure, double your fun” and with twin sisters Marilyn “Midge” Leighton and Gloria Sawyer its double delights as well.
Q: Where were you born and where were you brought up?
A: We were born in Livermore Falls, but brought up in Auburn.
Q: Do you have many siblings?
A: Just each other.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: Dad worked in the paper mill and later in Auburn mother worked in the office of a shoe finishing company and then day worked there too. Then he worked as a shipper at Libby Mills.
Q: What was it like growing up?
A: Midge: It was fun. We had a good time growing up and did fun activities. When we were old enough we were allowed to walk to the library. We took music lessons too.
Gloria: It was good growing up. During high school to make some money we played piano at dancing schools. That was fun.
Q: Was there anything you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: Midge: I always wanted to be a nurse and ended up being a teacher. I think I wanted to be a nurse because of the white uniform and white cap. I didn’t think about the messy side of nursing.
Gloria: I always wanted to be a teacher, though I thought about it as teaching younger children and ended up teaching high school.
Q: Where did you go to school?
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
A: Midge: Probably, but I don’t remember the police coming to the house so I guess it wasn’t too bad. We never tried the twin swap games like some twins do.
Gloria: I can’t remember any.
Q: What have you done for jobs?
A: Midge: Our first job was at Peck’s running the elevator. I was also a Personal Shopper there filling orders that people called in. For our birthday one year when we were at Peck’s we both went to the jewelry counter to get each other a gift. Even though we went a different times we both picked out the same charm bracelet only one was gold and the other was silver. When I taught high school I taught at Jay, North Yarmouth Academy and Gorham High School. I taught Business Education just as computers were coming in.
Gloria: As Midge said we worked at Peck’s doing whatever job they wanted us to do. At one point I worked in their music department and that was really nice. I taught a Bridgton High School and later did cooking for the Norway Nursing Home and Creative Living. I also worked at the South Paris Library for a number of years.
Q: When and how did you meet your spouses?
A: Midge: I went to Gloria’s house and he was a guest of her husband’s. We hit it off and started dating.
Gloria: The first weekend teaching at a new location I was invited to a get-together and that’s where I met him.
Q: What did you do for work when you got married?
A: Midge: I was teaching in Gorham.
Gloria: I was teaching in Bridgton.
Q: Anyone ever said you look like someone famous?
A: Midge: No, but my mother named us after famous people. I was named after Marilyn Miller, a movie start and dancer.
Gloria: And I was named after Gloria Swanson.
Q: Did you do much traveling?
A: Midge: Off and on chaperoning kids on school trips and Gloria and I have done a lot of Maineline tours.
Gloria: We were always together, so we went to the same places.
Q: What place did you find the most fascinating and why?
A: Midge: Louisiana, traveling up the Mississippi on a paddle boat. That was just great!
Gloria: For me it was the trips to New York City. We went in December and saw the Rockettes and the decorations in the stores and all the lights.
Q: Did anyone ever influence you to the point of changing your direction in life?
A: Midge: I guess my Aunt Ethel, who taught at Westbrook High School.
Gloria: That would be mother, who insisted that we take piano lessons.
Q: Do you collect anything or have any hobbies?
A: Midge: I collect too much! I have about a million cookbooks and I do a lot of knitting.
Gloria: Not so much on the cooking because I did so much, but I love to knit.
A: Midge: AARP, Phalians, Ladies Circle at the First Congregational Church, Retired Teachers Association, the book club at the South Paris Library and the Extension Service.
Gloria: I belong to the same organizations as Midge.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: We’re both reading Wonder Years in our book club.
Q: What subject do you wish you knew more about?
A: Midge: Nothing particular.
Gloria: History because it fascinates me.
Q: What is the one thing you would not give up?
A: Midge: I couldn’t give up my church stuff. We do a lot and we were not doing that we’d just be sitting at home.
Gloria: My family, especially times we are all together like Christmas Eve.
Q: What is the one thing you would happily do over again?
A: Midge: I would teach. It’s so gratifying when you have success with the kids.
Gloria: I would have a big family again.
Q: Do you have any children?
A: Midge: No, but I did have a foster son for 10 years.
Gloria: I have six children, but Dennis and Nancy have passed away. I still have Marcia, Kenneth, Brenda and Philip.
Q: What is the best memory this interview brought back?
A: Midge: What it was like being you; the jobs and playing piano.
Gloria: The trips we took and the play we saw in New York.
Q: Last day on earth, what would you do and with whom?
A: Midge: I would go out to eat with Gloria. I’d prefer it to be Maurice’s, but I’d be happy with MacDonalds.
Gloria: I’d contact all my children.
Q: What scares you the most?
A: Midge: Being sick and not being able to function like I do.
Gloria: Same as Midge.
Q: Any Heroes?
A: Midge: There are a lot of people I admire.
Gloria: I think my sister is my hero. She has encouraged me to do some of the things we’ve done.