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Sister Hood

Sisters in the same town makes for a good life for these people



Some grew up here. Some moved here because the other was here. Some moved here because they love this town. But they all call Ridgefield home and love having their sister close by.

They get mistaken for each other 
When identical twins Kathy Shaw and Kerry Molyneaux grew up in Ridgefield, they pulled off the twin-switch prank at school. Today, they still get mistaken for one another. “People will wonder why I’m not talking to them,” says Shaw, “until I tell them, ‘No, I’m not Kerry.’” Oftentimes, the sisters run into each other at the same place or realize one left a spot just before the other arrived. “I was at Club 24 and they said, ‘You’re back?’ and it wasn’t me,” says Molyneaux. “Sometimes we’ll send each other the same texts at the same time,” adds Shaw. They have always lived in Ridgefield, except when they went to college (together), and now live a quarter-mile apart. Molyneaux actually lives in the house the twins grew up in. “I couldn’t imagine it any other way,” Molyneaux says.  

They love this town
Karina Towne first came to Ridgefield to attend her sister Mariela Winter’s bridal shower in 2007 at the home of Winter’s aunt-to-be. Two years later, Towne and her husband were househunting nearby and returned to town for a Chez Lénard hot dog and ended up buying a house. It wasn’t until early 2011 that Winter and her husband were ready to buy, and when they did, they chose a house in Ridgefield, just a mile away from the Townes. Winter remembers falling in love with Ridgefield right away. “After the shower, I went to Main Street and loved it. It was the town we always wanted,” she says. Having her sister here added to the appeal. Towne works fulltime, while Winter is a stay-at-home mom. So, with different schedules, they see each other about once a week. They find living so close to each other benefits their young kids, too, who act more like brother and sister. In fact, Towne’s daughter often asks her Aunt Mariela to come pick her up early from daycare. And when Towne’s and Winter’s middle sister, who lives in Glastonbury, went into labor in the middle of the night, the two Ridgefielders could easily hop in the car and ride up together. “It works,” they both agree.

They’re teammates 
Carol Gardell moved to Ridgefield in 1985, while her sister Nancy, who is seven years younger, was still in college. After Gardell and her husband had three kids, Nancy would often come up to babysit. Then in 1993, when Nancy (now Schneider) and her husband moved here and had three children of their own, it was Gardell and her kids who were there to help. Schneider even used one of her nieces as her nanny, and says she never hired outside babysitters because of the cousins. The sisters say they have always been close, especially now that they have raised their families two miles apart. One of their favorites pastimes has been rooting on each other’s kids, who now range in age from 14 to 27, in their hockey games and as hockey teammates themselves for the Hericanes. They have trained and competed together in triathlons and half-marathons. The sisters even recruited their parents to move to Ridgefield from New Canaan, making it very easy when their three out-of-town brothers visit. “We’re very lucky,” says Schneider. 

They’re neighbors
In 2005, Trish Gracia was visiting her sister, Cheryl Marczak, in Mimosa, when Marczak mentioned the house two down from hers was for sale and empty. They went over and peeked in the windows, Trish says about the house that she and her husband eventually bought, which is visible from the Gracia’s. The sisters, 13 years apart, have three children apiece, and everyone enjoys the close proximity. Gracia says she loves that she can just walk over to the Marczaks’, especially during family holidays. “It’s wonderful to know there is family close by. It’s like a security blanket,” adds Marczak. 

They work together 
Sisters Jen Canning and Kirstin Cerulli also grew up in Ridgefield, and about a year ago, they decided to go into business together. They started Vision Accomplished, a PR firm, working out of an office that is equidistant from both of their houses. Canning says she is the creative one and Cerulli is more business-minded, but “she and I have come up with the same idea, same comment, or reaction to something, which is kind of funny from a biological standpoint.” Sisters working together could be risky, but they say it works. “We know we can argue about something and then get over it,” says Canning. “We have constructive debates,” adds Cerulli. “We compliment each other well.”

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