In a time when reality television introduces us to mega-multiple births, yesterday's birth of quadruplets at WakeMed still makes the front page. In 1963, the front page of The News & Observer announced the birth of the Fisher quintuplets in South Dakota, the first surviving American quintuplets.
The babies, born two months early, were something of a surprise to Mary Ann and Andrew Fisher, already parents to five children, aged 3 to 7. They had learned only three days before, from an x-ray, that Mrs. Fisher was expecting quints.
"About a half hour after the doctor told her, she started crying and cried all night," said the father, 38.
As for himself, Fisher said, "I was shook."
Fisher said he seldom drinks coffee, but downed plenty of it and smoked two packs of cigarettes while awaiting the births.
"Keep a pot of coffee on the stove," he told hospital aides before heading home to give his other children the news. -- The News & Observer 9/15/1963
The boy was named James Andrew. The girls were all named Mary and received their second name some days later.
Mr. Fisher was a shipping clerk, making $80 a week. He had moved his family to a small farm where they kept a couple of cows to cut down on milk bills for the youngsters.
President and Mrs. Kennedy sent a telegram of congratulations to the family.