THEY wear the same shoes, same jewelry and same hairstyle.
And they share the same passion for Butler basketball and volunteerism.
Such is the lock-step, unified life of Hope natives Pam and Pat May, 61-year-old identical twins who have lived together all their lives, including during college at Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tenn.
They both taught briefly in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., then both worked in administrative assistant posts at IUPUI for 33 years.
And when they retired in 2010 and moved back to Hope, they shared one simple, unfettered resolve.
“We decided we still want to be involved in the community here,” Pam said.
“And we knew we had strong organizational skills from our jobs,” Pat said, “and we didn’t want that to just waste away.”
Moreover, they want their community involvement to highlight one point perhaps as much as anything.
“I think that organizations and companies are really missing out if they’re not using older workers,” Pat said.
They returned to Hope to help take care of their 85-year-old father, Bob May. Like his daughters, he remains active in the community, working part time as a tax accountant in Columbus.
“But I can’t keep up with them,” he said.
Pam and Pat have a part-time volunteer schedule, but it sounds like a full-time commitment:
n Assembling training manuals for Columbus’ Developmental Services.
n Shopping for groceries for the local Turning Point Domestic Violence Services.
n Reading with second-graders as part of the Book Buddies program.
n Nurturing students from underprivileged homes as part of Central Middle’s School’s Rebound class.
Plus, they sometimes squeeze in other activities, such as helping at a food booth at Hope Heritage Days in September.
Generally, their efforts stretch from 15 to 20 hours per week. When they considered their time involvement recently during a break, they smiled mischievously.
“We always said if we were going to work eight hours per day, we’d get paid for it,” Pat said.
They both broke into laughter. Yet, they remain serious about maintaining a balance in their life, and regularly devote one weekday to
“Friday is our play day,” said Pat, referring to visiting friends in Indianapolis or elsewhere.
The 1969 Hauser High School graduates picked their volunteer opportunities from a monthly column in The Republic, and from guidance from friends. On a recent Tuesday morning, they sat in Central’s Rebound class with eighth-graders, and frequently leaned forward earnestly to hear their sometimes shy or mumbled conversation.
Both twins’ face softened when one girl from a broken home mentioned she would like to see her fractured family back together. And they literally broke into applause with other adult volunteers when they heard several students recently boosted their grades.
Teacher Lois Steele said the Mays have made a major effect.
“Some of these kids have no grandparents in their life,” Steele said. “So, it’s invaluable to have people like them — happy, kind people who can show the students healthy relationships, and show how sisters can get along.
The twins approach their volunteer positions like they would a job, working to improve to be the most effective volunteers they can be. For instance, to build better bridges with the youngsters, they recently got up to dance with the kids when a band visited one of their meetings.
The two even have begun watching shows such as the Grammy Awards to acquire pop-rock music knowledge for easier conversation. They toss around names such as Katy Perry, Foo Fighters and New Direction as if they just finished a series of downloads.
But as much fun as they are having at their current assignments, Pam and Pat say that they are open to new opportunities.
“We’ll do this at least for another year or two,” Pam said. “Then, I don’t know. Then we may want to switch and try different volunteer things.”
A look at Pam and Pat May
LIVE: In Hope, where they were born.
CAREERS: Both spent 33 years as administrative assistants at IUPUI. Pam worked in the school of technology and Pat worked in the school of physical education and tourism management.
VOLUNTEERISM: At Developmental Services Inc., Turning Point Domestic Violence Shelter, Book Buddies, and Central Middle School’s Rebound class.
OTHER INTERESTS: Two book clubs and water aerobics.