EDMOND — Before sisters Shonsy Sybert and Rennay Smith meet for lunch, coffee or the occasional shopping outing, one calls the other to make sure they're not wearing the same outfit.
“It almost happened today,” Smith, 65, said with a laugh. “I called and said, OK, I'm going to wear my dark blue shirt.”
“And I said, nope, wear something else, I already have that on,” said Sybert, 60.
In addition to wearing the same clothing by accident, the sisters have an uncanny way of finishing each other's sentences.
On a warm Tuesday afternoon, the sisters sat cheerfully in Sybert's home in Edmond's Chimney Hill neighborhood.
Their blond hair was done in similar styles. Both wore cropped pants and lots of jewelry.
The home is one of many in the neighborhood that their father, Harold Trumbly, built years ago.
“He was a strong man. He did things his way until the day he died,” Smith said.
He had surgery in 2008, and the doctor told him he had only a few days to live. Trumbly stretched the days into months and died a full year later.
“He said, ‘No one is going to tell me when and how I'm going to die,'” Sybert said. “And that was just like him.”
The sisters said they leaned on each other for support when their father died and during other times of hardship throughout the years.
“When I was younger I didn't like her,” Smith said. “She was as cute as a button and spoiled. And of course my mother made me take her everywhere I went — on every date I went on.”
“You'd just drop me off somewhere,” Sybert reminded her.
Most often the girls would go to a roller-skating rink near their home in north Oklahoma City.
“Those days you didn't sit around and watch TV all day. You went outside and found something to do,” Sybert said.
Trumbly was a working-class man of German descent. Their mother, Laura, was a homemaker with American Indian roots.
“We didn't know we didn't have much because we had so much fun,” Smith said. “It was a great childhood. Our parents were strict but loving.”
Growing older, closer
It was at the roller-skating rink that Smith met her future husband, Doug, after a friend of his dared him to introduce himself.
The two hit it off and married soon after. Smith traveled with her husband to Georgia, Japan, Tennessee and Florida when his military duty called for them to move.
“That first year was hard. I'd call my mom crying, saying I couldn't do this. She'd just say, ‘Yes you can; you'll be fine.' Then I'd call Shonsy.”
A year after Smith married, Sybert married her high school sweetheart, Richard.
With a limited budget and little time to plan, Sybert used some of her sister's wedding decorations as well as her gown.
“I didn't mind. It was a gorgeous dress, and she looked beautiful,” Smith said.
Each sister has two daughters and several grandchildren. They live just minutes apart and get the entire family together during holidays. Their mother and brother live in the same neighborhood.
“We try to make these memories and traditions for our children. I don't know if they'll continue them after we're gone, but I hope they will,” Sybert said.
Smith said her daughters often ask if she and Sybert fought as children.
“I tell them of course we did. I didn't like her when I was young,” Smith said. “But I'm so thankful for her now. I think, in general, siblings get closer with age, and thank God for that, because the older we get the more we need people in our lives who love us.”