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Siamese Twins Joined At Head Move Out on Their Own

December 28, 1988

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ It was only natural that at age 39, twins Yvonne and Yvette McCarther would leave their mother, who lovingly taught them to think of themselves as individuals.

So the women, Siamese twins joined at the head, wonder why anybody else would find their decision unusual.

″I’m 39, and I always said I was going to move into my own place by the time I was 40,″ said Yvette. ″I mean, when you get to be in your late 30s, you just decide - it’s time to get your own place.″

Yvonne agreed.

″I only wish I’d gotten around to it before - I love it, being on my own,″ she said.

Medical science calls the women craniopagus twins, the rarest kind of Siamese birth. They have separate brains and personalities, but share a bloodstream.

Their mother, Willie McCarther of Compton, taught her daughters to think of themselves as separate beings, and they’ve learned the lesson well.

Last year, they took classes at Compton Community College, creating a stir they greeted more with bemusement than anything else.

Their new home is a tiny apartment in suburban North Long Beach with one bedroom that rents for $510 a month, paid for with close budgeting of government checks.

One the top of their television set is an autographed photo of Ronnie and Donnie Galyon, 37, the only other known pair of living adult Siamese twins joined together.

The Galyons tour with a circus, as the McArthurs did in early years in order to pay hospital bills. Their mother ruled out surgery to separate them, fearing one would die.

Yvette said it took her weeks to find her new apartment.

″I saw one in Compton I liked, but it was so expensive, I told the guy it would have to wait till I got married,″ she giggled.

″Better see if he’s got a brother,″ deadpanned Yvonne.

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