By Dennis Minich
On Sunday, “the Brewster twins,” Ruth May McKee and Ruby Ann Jaynes, celebrated their 90th birthdays together, even though their birth anniversaries are actually a day apart.
Ruth was born at 11:45 May 20, 1930. Ruby followed 30 minutes later giving her a May 31 birthday.
“We had good parents who taught us to respect our elders. This is the reason Ruby has to mind me,” McKee said.
The fact the siblings were born on separate days is only part of the surprise their parents experienced.
“Our mother didn’t know she was having twins, so everyone was surprised,” McKee said.
McKee weighed in at four pounds and Jaynes at five.
“When we were born, we were so small, they put us in a shoe box on the oven door to keep us warm. We were born on a farm just three miles down the road,” McKee said.
The two have lived next door to each other since the mid1960s.
The two started school at West Union before moving to Freeman and graduating from high school in 1948.
Ruby married Harold Jaynes in March, 1949, while Ruby moved to Warrensburg to go to college. She received a degree in education and was a teacher.
She and Eugene McKee were married in April 1951. Ruby and Harold were married for 68 years and Ruth and Eugene were married for 59 years.
Jaynes has three children, six grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and another on the way. McKee had two children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
McKee marveled at the advances they have seen in their lives, but said they were born at a great time.
“We grew up in the best of times. Our parents loved us and our neighbors and friends took care of us. There is so much greed in the world today, it’s a shame. It is a shame more mothers can’t stay home with their kids,” she said.
McKee also noted that when asked for the secret to their long lives, she credited advice she received from her mother.
“She gave us three very good rules: First, don’t drink liquor or smoke; Second, love the Lord and go to church and third, she said there are two cracks on your body which should never show. I’ll let you decide what two she was talking about,” McKee said.
She added they followed the advice, having given their lives to the Lord at age 14 and have been longtime members of the Freeman Baptist Church.
Sunday’s birthday celebration was marked by many family members gathered in the front yard of the home “on McKee’s corner,” three miles east of Harrisonville. Because of COVID-19 concerns, friends paraded by in cars, stopping to greet the birthday girls.