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Ten twins: Family blessed with five sets of twins

Elaine Tisch of Alexandria (left) has a unique family that includes five sets of twins. Pictured above (bottom left) is Tisch’s niece, Glori French, holding Tisch’s great-granddaughter, Rosie Lays. To her upper right is Glori’s twin, Lori Bartunek, holding Rosie’s twin, Sophie. Tamra Matsuda (bottom center) holds her twins Hunter and Eli. Directly behind them, (left to right) twins Brady and Katelyn Cuffel sit next to their grandmother, Paulette Brackin, and her twin, Claudette Howick. (Contributed)

With twin daughters, twin nieces, and three sets of twin great-grandchildren, 91-year-old Elaine Tisch of Alexandria can definitely claim she has a unique family.

When the family got together to celebrate Elaine’s 90th birthday, it was a little hectic.

“It was chaotic because there were so many little kids,” said Tamra Matsuda, granddaughter of Tisch and the mother of twin boys.

Three of the five sets of twins are younger than 10, causing the chaos, but the family was more than willing to help out.

“Because there were so many older twins, we always had someone holding babies,” Matsuda explained.

Matsuda admits that twins can be a handful. Fortunately, Tisch stayed with her for the first six months after her boys were born to help take care of them; juggling two babies was something she knew how to do.

“It brought back memories of all those years ago when she had her twins,” Matsuda said of her grandmother.

Tisch’s twin daughters, Claudette Howick and Paulette Brackin, are now 66. Her twin nieces, Glori French and Lori Bartunek, are 50. Claudette has two sets of twin grandchildren – Eli and Hunter Matsuda, age 3, and Rosie and Sophie Lays, age 2.

Paulette has one set of twin grandchildren – Brady and Katelyn Cuffel, age 7.

All of the twins except Glori and Lori are fraternal.

“What we’ve noticed with the twins is a lot of opposites,” noted Tamra, mother of Eli and Hunter.

According to Tamra, the twins have obviously different personalities.

Claudette loves the outdoors and is messy, while her twin Paulette is more fond of the indoors and neater.

Tamra says this contrast is common with all the twins in the family. If one is active, the other is less active. If one is outgoing, the other is shy.

Despite their differences, Tamra said the twins get along great.

Twins in the family skip every-other generation, a pattern that the family traced back five generations.

“Every time one of the girls gets married, they hold their breath and wonder if they’re next,” Tamra said with a laugh.

Despite their jokes, the family feels truly blessed.

“It’s definitely a gift from God that He’s given our family,” Tamra said.