Ceffie Haught's Story of Twin Soldiers - One a Special Penpal; The Other Her Husband
By Julie Perine on July 15, 2012
“Tim tells everyone it’s been 82 years; 41 for me and 41 for him,” Ceffie said.
Was it love at first sight? Perhaps so.
But Tim isn’t the first Haught who was the object of Ceffie’s affection. For months, she had been writing letters to his identical twin Tad, while the brothers – recent graduates of Washington Irving High School - were serving their country in the Vietnam War.
“A picture of Tim and Tad was in the Sunday paper,” she said. “Our teachers (at Notre Dame High School) encouraged us to support our local boys, so I asked my mom if I could write to one of them.”
The boys – who wore the same haircuts and expressed the same faithfulness in keeping their family updated on their military service – soon became known to their fellow soldiers as “Same Same.”
When Tad and Tim Haught were first drafted, their letters to home were upbeat and encouraging.
From basic training in Fort Knox, Ky., they would about marching enough to go around the world three times – or serving KP duty; Tim distributing milk and Tad serving pickles.
But even during those late-spring letters of 1968, Betty Dennison Haught knew there was ill fate ahead for one of her identical twin soldiers.
And she was right.
In March of 1969, Tad was killed in action while serving in Phu Loi, South Vietnam. Both boys had been members of the same unit – the 34th Engineers. Tad and some of his fellow soldiers had just finished clearing a mine field when he stepped into a culvert and was killed instantly by a mine explosion.
When a knock came to her door with a Western Union telegram delivering the ultimate dreaded news, she was distraught - but not surprised.
Despite the flood of correspondence between Tad and Ceferina Maditz, they had never met.
“Tad's letters were funny and informative. He talked about the work he did, things that went on at work and he sent pictures of himself and people in Vietnam. He sent me a necklace for Christmas and talked about how he looked forward to meeting me when he came home,” Ceffie said. “I was anxious to meet him. He seemed very friendly and had a great sense of humor. But that all changed on March 1, 1969. I never got to meet Tad when I got home from the Catholic basketball tournament, I saw on the news that a local boy, Howard Thaddeus Haught, was killed in the line of duty.”
Following that tragic accident, Ceffie met the family face-to-face.
“The first time that I met Tim was at the funeral home. On the night of the funeral, his mother called and asked if I would like to come over to their house. She said they would like to talk because Tad had written about all the nice things that I had written and sent to help him while he was in Vietnam,” Ceffie said. “That was the first night to the rest of my life. We talked and laughed and when I got ready to leave Tim walked me to my car and said, ‘Hey maybe we could go out sometime with my friends.’ A few days later, he called and we went out with his friends to the Carousel in Clarksburg. Tim went back to Vietnam for eight months and we wrote while he was there. He came home Dec. 5, 1969 and we began dating. We were married May 29, 1971.”
Betty Haught had suspected early on that Ceffie chose Tad – and not Tim - as her pen pal because of his unusual name.
Ceffie said that wasn’t the case.
“I chose Tad because I thought he had a bigger smile in the picture that was in the paper. But ... I look at that picture today and cannot tell any difference,” she said. “Maybe it was just meant to be that way. I believe from that moment, God knew that my part in this story was to give one boy with a short life some joy and another boy a lifetime of joy.”
Tim and Ceffie have made their home in Bridgeport. They are a good fit as husband and wife, Tim said.
“We think alike (poor us). Sometimes, we agree we are both right. We work well together on projects. She lets me have my way, I think.”
The Haughts have three children and six grandchildren, to whom they have devoted their lives, they said.
Susan Wood is a WVU graduate and occupational therapist at United Hospital Center. She and her husband Greg are the parents of 8-year-old Jack, 7-year-old Jenna and 4-year-old Jacie.
Amy Sweeney graduated from Fairmont State University and is a nurse in Greensboro, N.C. She and her husband Patrick have two daughters: Olivia, 5 and Ava Kate, almost 2 years old.
Gary, a WVU graduate and golf pro at Blue Hills Golf course in Roanoke, Va., where he resides with his wife Jennifer and their 12-year-old daughter, Anna.
Tad remains important in all of their lives.
“We haven't forgotten him. We look at baby albums and Tim tells our children and grandchildren stories of what he and Tad used to do,” Ceffie said. “He also told our children and now our grandchildren: ‘Be nice to your sister and brother because you never know when they won’t be with you anymore. Love them while you have the chance.’”
From what she’s learned through the years, Ceffie said the boys were weren’t really exactly the same - but still inseparable.
“From what Tim’s family has told me, Tad used to be the jokester, while Tim was more quiet,” she said. “They did almost everything together, especially things like flying control line model airplanes and free flight planes, riding motorcycles and fishing. His aunt says that now Tim seems to be both personalities – Tim and Tad in one body.”
In 2010, Betty Dennison Haught published the story of her sons. “Same-Same: My Twins Tell Their Vietnamese Story in Letters Home,” can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Same-Same-Twins-Their-Vietnamese-Letters/dp/1451286538
Pictured on the cover and far top is Ceffie and Tim on the night of their engagement.
Also pictured are Ceffie and Tim today and the two letter boxes which she has kept for four decades.
“The one on the left is Tad’s letters and the one on the right is Tim’s letters,” Ceffie said. “The picture in the middle is the one I chose from that Sunday newspaper that changed my life forever.”