Joe and Kathleen Cirminello went to the hospital on November 1, 1944 forewarned – she was likely carrying twins. Dr. John Ullery at Philadelphia Lying-In Hospital decided to perform a C section, and what he saw surprised him: “I never saw so many hands and feet in my life!”
Sixteen hands and feet, in fact, all connected to four children, the Cirminello quadruplets. Newspapers reported the first recorded birth of quadruplets by C Section. The infants, weighing in at 3 pounds, were not ready to go home. That gave mom and dad time to plan. The family was living in a 3-room apartment in Upper Darby; bigger space was needed. In January, 1945 they bought a 3-year-old 4-bedroom house at 25 Schoolhouse Lane in Broomall for $9,000. The Quads came home to that house on February 5th , three months after birth, by which time they had more than doubled in weight.
So who were the Quadruplets? In order of birth, they were Maureen, Kathleen (for mom), Eileen and Michael. When mother Kathleen had been told to expect twins she thought it would be nice to have her family all at once. But four infants for the first-time mother was overwhelming.
Three years later she said, “Taking care of the quads isn’t getting any easier. They’re full of mischief and do a lot of crying and quarreling and ganging up on each other.”
In 1948 they made a return trip to Philadelphia to meet Santa for the first time, in the family’s new station wagon. Dad had accepted a job offer in Washington DC, and so in early 1949, the Quads left Broomall for good.
So where are they now? Mom and dad are gone, but I think the Quads are still alive at age 78. The name Cirminello is a relatively easy one to search, but the trail went cold after the mid 1950’s. I found them in high school – but they had changed their names. I suspect that the family tired of the publicity of being “Quads,” and sought some privacy so the children could grow up without the constant attention. They each married, had children, and spread out across the country. I considered trying to reach out to them, but then thought better. If they went to such lengths to maintain their privacy, I am willing to respect their wishes. But it is fun to remember the Quads of Broomall!
For more on the history of Marple, visit the Marple Historical Society website and Facebook page, and join the Society to keep up to date on coming events: www.MarpleHistoricalSociety.org.