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'Almost twin' sisters are never far from each other

Boegli sisters - now Jan Law and Alice Furey - haven't strayed far from their Metzger roots


by: BARBARA SHERMAN - ALMOST TWINS TIMES TWO -- Looking at an old family photo are Jan Law (left) and Alice Furey, who were born 15 months apart; also on the patio are Jan's son Alex (left) and Alice's son Eric, who were born three days apart.Alice Furey and Jan Law are two peas in a pod.

The sisters, who are 15 months apart in age and often mistaken for each other, grew up in Metzger and live close to each other - Alice, 75, in Summerfield and Jan, 76, a couple blocks above Summerfield on Little Bull Mountain.

They also share the same wacky sense of humor, able to crack a joke at just about anything and make fun of each other.

"We both have new hips, so now we're the hip-hip sisters!" Alice said. "And we're 'Tigard-holics.'"

They were both born at the "old" St. Vincent Hospital and grew up on 71st Avenue, behind Tigard Fred Meyer on nearly one acre.

Alice has no qualms about admitting that she was the sister who misbehaved as they grew up, noting, "After my parents had me, they didn't have any more kids!"

When neighbors baked, Jan got angel food cake and Alice got devil's food cake, according to Alice. "She's the sweet sister - I'm the brat," she added.

Growing up in rural Metzger was a far cry from today, according to the sisters.

"In those days, we had no garbage service, and all the garbage was burned or buried," Alice said. "Mama recycled cans. We had rabbits and chickens, and I had two horses - I loved them. I was the outdoor girl and did the outdoor chores."

Jan added, "I was the indoor girl. I could happily live in a downtown condo, and I ended up on a 'farm.' Our neighbors had sheep, we made one lamb a pet and named him 'Lambie' and watched him grow up. The neighbors slaughtered him and gave us some lamb, and we sobbed at dinner and couldn't eat it.

"We got eggs from the chickens and sometimes ate chicken, but Daddy very discreetly killed them."

The girls earned money picking crops. "Everyone started out picking berries, and when they got older, they picked beans," Jan said. "When all our friends started picking berries, our mom said no at first, and we were upset."

But thanks to the jobs they held while growing up, "both of us had nice bank accounts when we married," Jan said. "We opened our bank accounts at 11 and 12."

They eventually moved on to bean-picking near McMinnville, spending the summers working beside their classmates and learning songs like "Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall."

"We had a beautiful childhood," said Jan, and in fact, their friends joked that they lived in "Metzger Heights."

"We walked all the way to Metzger Grade School down at Locust and Oak streets," she said, with Alice adding, "We got a bus the last year."

Their dad was on the Metzger School Board, and the family attended Metzger Church.

by: COURTESY OF JAN LAW AND ALICE FUREY - SOUL SISTERS - Alice (left) and Jan Boegli in their pigtails pose in the front yard of their Metzger home.At that time, Metzger Grade School included grades one through eight. "Mrs. Denny - part of the Denny Road family - was our favorite teacher," Jan said. "And we had pigtails until we were 14. We couldn't get our hair cut until we could do our own pincurls."

A cousin who was a hairdresser finally cut Jan's hair and gave her a perm that turned her hair into a giant fuzz-ball. "I wanted to be Shirley Temple with all the curls," Jan said.

"This was a different time, and we had easy fun. Everyone had the same things. Our mom worked at Meier & Frank and got a discount on cashmere sweaters."

Alice added, "We got one pair of new shoes each year and a new coat every other year."

And Jan recalled, "It was cold walking to school in the winter, and we had to wear long thick socks with garters. As soon as we got around the corner, I rolled them down to my ankles."

Jan spent her freshman year at the "old" Tigard High School, now the site of Value Village in downtown Tigard, and after the "new" THS opened on Durham Road the next year, Alice graduated in 1956 with the first class to attend the new school all four years.

"I keep in touch with friends from high school," Jan said. "We meet once a month at the Bridgeport Royal Panda. I'm one of the few who stayed in Tigard… "

" …And kept her sister here," Alice added.

Jan, who graduated from THS in 1955, married Bruce Law in 1956 when she was 19, and in 1961, they moved to 10 acres on his family's property on Little Bull Mountain.

"Bruce's father built the house up the hill, and Bruce had a huge rhododendron nursery," Jan said. "In the '70s, a recession hit, and people helped each other. We would put rhodies in a truck and go sell them on 71st, and we sold them in Seattle too.”

Jan worked for many years at Portland Community College as a secretary in various departments, and after she retired in 1998, she stayed on part time as the senior volunteer coordinator, a job she still enjoys.

Meanwhile, Alice attended Oregon State College for a year before starting work at the University of Oregon medical school (now Oregon Health & Science University), where she met her husband.

(As a side note, Mary Woodward, who has a Tigard elementary school and garden named after her, did the flowers for both of the sisters' weddings.)

As life went on, the sisters continued to do everything almost simultaneously.

"I called her and said I was pregnant with my first child," Alice said. "She cried and said, 'I'm pregnant too (with her third child).'"

They had their sons three days apart, and the boys grew up like brothers and celebrate their birthdays together.

Alice worked for Tarbell Realty for 10 years and then went to work for Red Lion for 15 years doing a variety of different jobs until "I worked up to director of laundry for Red Lion," she said.

Alice later divorced and with her sons grown and on their own, "Jan said to me, 'You should move to Summerfield.'"

Alice added, "I wanted to be on the golf course, and I didn't want to mow a lawn.”

Alice is active in Summerfield, serving on the architecture committee and in the Neighborhood Watch program.

The sisters do many of the same activities, including volunteering at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

"We con each other into things all the time," Alice said. "When she was president of the volunteer guild, which has 800 members, she got me to volunteer in the ER and surgery waiting area."

Now they both spend all day Monday volunteering at St. Vincent.

"We do things like take patients to their rooms, offer them warm blankets, and wipe down the gurneys and wheelchairs," Alice said. "We provide coloring books for the kids and make them feel comfortable."

Jan added, "In a word, we placate."

They both are active at Calvin Presbyterian Church, where Alice lauds Jan's involvement: "She's a deacon and reads the liturgy," she said.

In addition, Jan volunteers with Broadway Rose Theatre Company, while Alice, who loves to sew, makes tiny outfits and blankets for premature babies born at St. Vincent who don't make it.

Another joint endeavor - although not on the same days - is volunteering at the Discovery Shop, an upscale resale store in the Willowbrook Center that raises funds for the American Cancer Society.

The Discovery Shop is one place where their interests differ: Alice irons clothes in the back room while Jan is out in front helping customers. "I'm a people person," Jan said. "You couldn't pay me to be in the back room."

The sisters agree with Jan's sentiment that "there are a lot of good people in Tigard who volunteer." Alice added, "That's why we've stayed here."

In fact, for all these years they have heeded one of their dad's favorite expressions, "Busy girls are better girls."

Alice added, "Our mom volunteered for everything that came around and took us with her. I'm sure she's up there watching us to make sure we keep volunteering!"

Alice has two sons and a granddaughter, and Jan has a daughter, two sons and three grandsons.