Born on the same day 100 years ago, Lorena Hinkle and Gillie Anderson could almost be twins.
They do share a few characteristics - a soft halo of white hair, pale blue eyes and strong teeth.
“I’m just looking forward to meeting that lady, my twin,” Anderson said from her third-floor apartment on Rockwood Boulevard earlier this week.
Across town, still living in her own house, Hinkle also was anticipating Wednesday’s lunch date with Anderson.
“I call her my twin, you know,” Hinkle confessed with a pixie’s grin that showed off her antique ivories.
Teeth brought the two centenarians together Wednesday. Their dentist, Bryan Anderson (no relation to his patient), wanted to reward them for their longevity and dental hygiene.
For growing up in an era without fluoride-treated water, the two have a remarkable number of real teeth, he said. Back then, they brushed their teeth with baking soda and salt, and only went to a dentist for emergencies.
Gillie Anderson has about half her teeth, and Hinkle only has four teeth missing.
“They both have enough teeth that I can take them out to lunch,” Anderson said. “I don’t have to blend it up.”
So Anderson hired a limousine to pick up his two patients for a trip to the Spokane Club for a birthday lunch, although technically their birthdays were Nov. 20.
“I’ve never ridden in a limousine before,” Hinkle told Gillie Anderson after she settled into the blue crushed-velvet interior of the luxury Lincoln Town Car, equipped with a television, radio, telephone and cocktail bar.
“We had to get to be 100 years old so we could do that,” replied Anderson. “Oh, what a nice time!”
The two remarked on the unseasonably mild weather as they got acquainted, and then shared some common memories from their childhood.
“We didn’t have a lot of toys,” Hinkle recalled.
“Oh no! We only got one toy, that was it,” Anderson said en route to pick up their dentist.
Hinkle figured she must have been about 16 when she saw her first car. She once got a concussion when tossed from her uncle’s Model T as it swerved to miss a dog, then broke a wheel on a culvert.
Anderson also had a painful memory from her 16th year when she went to a dentist for a toothache.
“He drilled it out. And they didn’t have that Novocain and that stuff,” Anderson said. “I came home and said, ‘I’ll never go to a dentist again.”’
But she did. During one visit, the dentist had to ask her husband to hold her arms down while he drilled, she said.
Then her daughter, Maxine, married Gerold Lamers, who later became a dentist. Lamers treated Gillie Anderson and Hinkle until his retirement in 1988. Bryan Anderson took over his practice and his patients.
Gillie Anderson and Hinkle visit him regularly, but not like they did Wednesday.
Chauffeur Thomas Lyons pulled up to Dr. Anderson’s office and the dentist boarded the limousine bearing rose and orchid corsages for his two guests.
“Are you hungry?” Anderson asked the ladies.
“I’m starved,” answered Gillie Anderson. She placed a frail hand affectionately on his arm, her fear of dentists long gone.
“Oooh, I’m not a very big eater,” Hinkle said, with another infectious grin sparking twinkles from behind her cat-eye glasses.
“Sir, Spokane Club?” Lyons asked.
“Yes,” the dentist answered.
“Very good,” Lyons replied, and whisked the new friends off for a gourmet meal of chicken and dumplings and baked Alaska.
“These ladies are 15 years older than the building,” marveled Cutters Dining Room executive chef Ray Delfino as the entourage was seated in a plush setting. “And this is an old building.”
Hinkle turned out to have a hearty appetite, and ate most of her meal. The “twins” chitchatted throughout, and left each other with promises to keep in touch.
Gillie Anderson fell promptly asleep in her easy chair after the chauffeur delivered her home, her daughter said.
“It was a delightful day,” Maxine Lamers said. “They were tickled to see each other.”
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