Lives Shared

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    NEWTON-They were born together, grew up in the same house, and even got married on the same day. They have spent life side by side and recently on a sunny fall day, they came together to visit the home of their infancy. Recently, 81-year-old Hazel Cosner and Helen Lehmer, who once shared the maiden name LaBarre, attended a tea in their honor at Café Pierrot on Sparta Avenue, the building in which they grew up. "We've been trying to get together with them (the twins) for over a year and a half now," said café employee Kathy Nifenecker, who has been searching for the history of the café for quite some time. In 1930, at the age of seven, the twins moved into the Sparta Avenue home. At the time, their house was one of only a handful of buildings in what is now Sparta's central business district. "Back then, Lake Mohawk had not been developed," said Hazel about her childhood years. Because Sparta High School did not yet exist, when the twins became older, they attended Newton High School together. At the time, they became the first majorettes in the school's history. When in their early 20s, both Helen and Hazel had significant others added to their lives. The popular Sparta duo decided to get married on the same day. The wedding was held at the Sparta Presbyterian Church right next door to the café, where the reception took place. "Everybody in Sparta wanted to come to that wedding, but we weren't millionaires," said Hazel. "My mother had to tell people that we could not afford to invite everybody." Today, Helen, who still lives in Sparta, and Hazel, who lives in nearby Newton, continue to have a great deal in common. The two couples routinely visit one another, and go out to dinner every year to celebrate the anniversary of their Sept. 14, 1946 wedding day. Although people no longer confuse the two by sight, their family members still have a tough time properly identifying the two women when speaking on the telephone.