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Published September 14, 2013, 04:16 PM

South Dakota quintuplets turn 50 in Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — The first known surviving quintuplets in the United States were born on Sept. 14, 1963 in Aberdeen.

By: Associated Press, WDAY

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — The first known surviving quintuplets in the United States were born on Sept. 14, 1963 in Aberdeen.

The Aberdeen American News reported that the quintuplets, four girls and a boy, were slated to celebrate their 50th birthdays Saturday in Aberdeen.

Mary Ann, Mary Catherine, Mary Magdalene and James Andrew also were slated to attend the wedding Saturday of their sister, Mary Margaret.

The quintuplets' mother, Mary Ann Fischer, died in December at age 79. Andrew Fischer, 87, still lives in Aberdeen. The couple divorced in the 1980s. They had 11 children.

James Fischer of Fargo, N.D., says it's the quints' first birthday without their mother. He said the time since her death has been difficult.

He also said he's grateful for all of his siblings and he doesn't divide them into groups of six and five.

"It's really hard to imagine myself as an only child," James Fischer said. "And I can't imagine not being a quint, never ever having them in my life. It's just a natural thing."

Originally, nurses at Aberdeen's St. Luke's Hospital dubbed the babies A, B, C, D and E.

The Fischer quints' successful arrival turned an international spotlight on Aberdeen, as news media swarmed the hospital and the Fischer's modest farmhouse.

Mary Ann Fischer, in her hospital bed shortly after giving birth, got a telegram from President John Kennedy. The Saturday Evening Post featured separate photos of the babies on its cover.

Mary Catherine "Cathy" Bales said she understands it's significant to be part of the first set of surviving quintuplets born in the U.S.

"I don't consider us any different, though," she said. "We're just like anybody else, working and trying to make a living."

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