Tag Archives: Victoria Ramey

They’re Twins, They’re Girls, They’re Identical

We came back and we lived in Waltham [Mass.] for a year. Steve a year of internship at what was then Waltham Hospital [now Boston Children’s at Waltham]. Then he did residency at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, where he had done that externship.

It was during that time that I got pregnant again, and so we were pretty sure that—we found out we were going to have twins. That was kind of unexpected. It did come from my grandmother; [she] always used to tell me that she had a miscarriage that would have been twins if she had carried them to term. My aunt always wanted to have twins and never had them, but my cousin did have twins. She had fraternal twins and our twins are identical. They say that that isn’t so much a part of your heritage as fraternal twins are. At any rate, we followed the twin tradition.

My mother thought we should have a boy in the mix, so when Steve announced—and we thought we would, just because that was most—statistically that was most common. Then we had two girls [Kimberly and Stephanie]. He called up my mother and said, “Guess what? We have two girls!” And she said, “Oh, no!”

[Dawn]: Did she?

[Heidi]: Yeah.

[Dawn]: I love it because she came outside and she said, “Your mom had two girls.” And I said, “Oh, no! I wanted a brother.” And she scolded me!

[Stephanie?]: She had done it herself.

Anyway, so then we moved. When Dawn and Heidi. . . .

[Victoria]: How many years between you [Dawn and the twins]?

[Dawn]: Six.

Dawn is six years older than the twins and Heidi is two years older than the twins. The twins were 14 months and Dawn was in second grade—is that right?—when we moved out to South Dakota?

Steve Duncan Girls, 1982

Heidi, Dawn, Kimberly, Stephanie, Christmastime, 1982

[Dawn]: Yup.

Heidi was. . . .

[Heidi]: Toddling.

Not in school yet. And we lived in South Dakota for five years [1977–1982] and then we came back to the East Coast, raised our support and went to Angola. Dawn was in seventh grade and Heidi was in third grade and the twins were in first grade when we went to Angola [1983].

Then gradually they all—I homeschooled them in Angola. Dawn left in tenth grade to go to Ben Lippen School and Heidi wanted to go sooner because she didn’t want to do all the work that Dawn was doing in school.

[Heidi]: She had to do homeschool in ninth grade and it was just like uuuggghhh.

[Stephanie]: That was back when homeschooling was in its infancy and you had no options except the University of Nebraska.

We had University of Nebraska, a high school course from the University of Nebraska.

[Stephanie]: GED, basically a GED course.

Heidi went off when she was in ninth grade to Ben Lippen. Then we came home on furlough and lived in Sumter, South Carolina, for four months in a colleague’s house when the twins entered school. They weren’t too keen on being at Ben Lippen, but we said, “Try it.”

[Kimberly?]: [can’t hear] We were like kicking and screaming.

We said, “Try it.” We were on furlough. We stayed there until Christmastime and then they came home with us for Christmas break. Then they went back and stayed.

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with interjections from Kimberly, Dawn, Heidi, and Stephanie (Steve’s daughters) and Victoria TJ Ramey’s wife; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • Which grandmother was it who had the miscarriage?
  • I’m thinking Heidi went to Ben Lippen in 1988 and Kim and Steph went in 1990. Is that right?
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T. J. Ramey Tells His Family History

I am T. J. Ramey. I am Kathryn’s youngest son. And the T. J. stands for Taylor Jules. Of course Taylor was after my grandfather Taylor A. Duncan. Jules was a compromise between my mother and my father. I didn’t think too much of it, but anyway I got stuck with it. K?

TJ Playing the Moonlight Sonata in the JAARS ChapelVictoria, my wife, and I, we’re living at San Antonio, Texas. I retired from Montsanto Company after 29 years. I kick around a little bit on the piano when I have an opportunity, which I haven’t in the last year, just about.

For some time I was building Appalachian Mountain dulcimers. I was taught by a master dulcimer-maker by the name of Robert Mize. At the time of his death, he had instruments in 35 foreign countries and one in the Smithsonian Institute. I have just about retired from building dulcimers. In fact I’m going to be selling the equipment that I have in my shop because I have my house in Canyon Lake up for sale right now.

I’ll let Victoria tell you about herself except I will say Victoria lost her husband of 46 years marriage very suddenly. And that was approximately six months before I lost Rene very suddenly. Neither one of us thought we would ever marry again. We both became involved in a grief-share program at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. John Hagee is the minister. We firmly believe that the Lord Jesus Christ brought us together. We have no doubt whatsoever of that fact. We’ve been married now for a year and three months [Jan 2014], is that right?

[Applause]

We are very, very happy. We have a very good time. I don’t know Spanish. Sometimes she doesn’t know English. But she does much better at English than I do at Spanish. So sometime we have a little miscommunication. We have to stop and figure out what we’re talking about.

Sister Patty. Brother Jim passed away in ‘95. He was 66 years of age. Walter—James Walter but everybody called him Jim. He was the smart one in the family. He had the PhDs, several, from Columbia. He was 66. He was born in ’28, I know that, but I don’t know the month or the day. Patty is February 17th and she was born, what, six years before me or five years after Jim because there’s 11 years difference between the two of us. And she’s 80 now. Well, I say she’s 80. She’ll turn 80 next month. She’s married to Butch Levien, has been for 25 years. No, more than that.

[Victoria]: She’s a lovely person and she said that she’d like to be here, but because of the condition of her husband, she cannot do it. He’s 89. They are always happy. You can see their smile in their face all the time. He is adorable and she is an angel.

Butch is a World War II veteran. He marched, at one time when the Third Army and his outfit joined Patton on the assault, on the attack on Germany, he was with Patton then. He said he was quite a guy.

J. A. [stood for] Jewel Atwood. He was J-e-w-e-l and he did not want Mother to give me that name. He said he never did like it. That’s where they compromised and came up with Jules. I thought that was worse.

I have a son Douglas and he is 49. And I have a daughter Pamala who is 53. Pamela has two kids. The boy is Tony and the girl is Lori Beth. Tony has two and Lori Beth has three. They’re in Houston. I don’t see them that often.

I do not remember meeting Birdie [Taylor’s first wife; T. J.’s grandmother], but I’m sure that I did. I was, I know, very small at the time. I remember going out and spending a couple of days with Will Reader, who I think was her second or third husband. She was married to a Fisher after Grandpa and I don’t know which one was second and which one was third. But I remember going out there as a kid and spending a couple of days with Grandpa Reader. I remember that I slept in a big ole bed in the same room with him. And I woke up in the middle of the night. He had taken off a white dress shirt and he hung it on the bedpost. I woke up in the middle of the night and it scared me to death. I thought it was a ghost. That’s funny how you remember things like that. I do not remember being around Birdie. I’m sure I was. I just don’t remember it.

That was somewhere out in the area of Fern Creek. Out in the country. Out in the sticks. Fern Creek, Kentucky. [Speaking to Victoria]: By listening to me, they know I was born and raised in Kentucky.

story told by T. J. Ramey to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014; recorded and transcribed by Dawn [Steve’s daughter]

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  •          Do you recall other stories of Birdie with Taylor, Fisher, or Reader? Do you remember other visits to her/them?
  •          Do you recall other stories of Kathryn and J. A.?
  •          Can you share other stories of Kathryn interacting with her mother and/or father?
  •          Can you tell us other stories of Kathryn’s brother Paul?
  •          What else can you recall of Fern Creek, Kentucky?