Real World x5
The Pisner quintuplets have graduated from the University of Maryland–three from College Park, two from Salisbury–and come home to Olney.
Two hundred fifty of their closest friends came to the graduation party.
Now there are eight cars in the driveway. Four apartments' worth of furniture fill the garage and basement of the five-bedroom house.
The quints have added a fiancée and three girlfriends to the mix. Then there's the dog who arrived shortly after the kids left for college. On a recent weekend, every bedroom was filled, and there were so many people sleeping on couches and floors that it looked like a shelter.
"When they all moved home, it looked like the house exploded," says their mom, Pam Pisner.
Pam and Dan Pisner have survived life times five since Devin, Ian, Shira, Michael, and Elliot were born 22 years ago. Back then, fertility treatments were new and multiple births were rare. The Washingtonian heralded the arrival of the Pisner quintuplets in the October 1983 issue, and we've followed their progress from toddlers to teenagers up through college.
While the quints' birth was a victory for infertility experts and neonatologists, the years since have been a triumph for the Pisners themselves.
The family handled five kids in college the same way they handled each new challenge: Everybody worked, and nobody complained. The five all graduated from the University of Maryland system in four years, and–thanks to grants, scholarships, and jobs every summer–each ended up with only $17,000 in student loans.
When they were young, Devin, the first born, led the way. Birth order doesn't matter anymore.
Fourth-born Michael will be the first to marry. He got engaged to Angie, his high-school sweetheart, in May. The proposal was a Pisner production–Michael lured Angie to the movietheater where Ian works. He had arranged for special slides to flash on the big screen. The last one showed Michael, down on one knee, holding out the engagement ring. The rest of the family was waiting in the wings to congratulate the couple as soon as Angie said yes.
Elliot, the "runt of the litter," is now the tallest and was the first to get a job. He's a computer analyst with Terrapin Systems.
Shira started work as a meeting planner for the International Dairy Foods Association a few weeks later. "I love to keep things and people together–I've done it for my brothers my whole life," she says.
Michael and Ian are looking for jobs in graphic design. Devin majored in photography and hopes to pursue it professionally.
All five plan to live at home for a while to save money. That's fine with Pam and Dan, who missed the excitement that a house filled with young people creates. Sometimes it seemed so quiet that Dan would call Angie, who lived down the street, to come over for dinner.
The quints have come a long way from the tiny infants with numbered shirts who greeted the world in 1983. Four years of college allowed them to explore their differences; at various colleges they were not labeled as "quints" and had room to grow as individuals.
But they are united in their admiration for the parents who raised five kids with a lot of love and not much money. Pam is a management analyst at the Food and Drug Administration, and Dan does consulting from home.
"I started realizing in ninth grade that there just wasn't enough money for everything," Elliot says. "So I started working so I wouldn't have to ask them for stuff."
"I don't know how they did it," Shira says. "We have the greatest parents."