If you heard the news that Isabelle Marranzino died last month, at age 86, it might not have meant much. Her name was not well known.
But when you see this picture, you realize instantly that you knew her.
We saw Isabelle and Martha Marranzino — “Dusty” and “Honey” — often around Westport. They dressed alike, every day.
Most of us assumed they were twins. They were not. They were sisters, born 3 years apart. They had 4 older siblings.
They lived together, in rooms with matching chairs. Their twin beds — in the same room — had the same stuffed animals. Over each bad was a crucifix. In between was a photo of Frank Sinatra.
They kept to themselves, enjoyed each other’s company tremendously, and made us smile.
They lived in Westport for nearly 40 years. They served Assumption Church as housekeepers for the clergy. They lived a quiet life, filled with faith and friendship and love.
They had a moment of fame in 2000, when Staples graduate Hillary Frank profiled them on Ira Glass’s “This American Life.”
Listeners learned that Dusty and Honey worked together all their lives: first in sweatshops, then in a home for the elderly, finally at Assumption.
Dressing differently, they told Hillary, would mean “betraying each other.”
They said of their lives, “this is what was meant to be. As long as we don’t hurt anyone, or break a commandment, it’s fine.”
“This American Life” ended with Hillary’s description of the sisters lying in their beds each night. They would make plans for the next day. Always, they talked about what they would wear.
Dusty and Honey had a special relationship. They were, Hillary said, “like best friends on a sleepover that never ends.”
Except now it has.