POTOMAC -- This is the story of twin sisters who married twin brothers and who throughout their lives had a tendency to buy lots of things together, including household appliances.
The almost parallel lives and the penchant for buying Kenmore appliances landed identical twins Isobel and Elizabeth Ricketts of Potomac a spot in a nationally televised Sears ad campaign that began airing recently.
"We've always done similar things," said Isobel, who lives next door to her twin and her husband, Mackall, in matching split-level homes.
She is married to Martel -- Mackall's identical twin. (Isobel's split-level house plan was reversed from her sister's so that they could run back and forth easily, both women said).
One Christmas, the twin husbands, who are retired partners in the same CPA firm, bought the twin wives twin dryers.
And those dryers put in a little more than 30 years of heavy-duty work for the families, each of which had three children.
But about a year ago, the twin sisters realized the twin dryers had seen better days.
"We both went out to buy new dryers," said Isobel. "For some reason, they tended to give out at the same times. We just went shopping together."
Isobel and Elizabeth saw an announcement for a contest in the Sears store asking for people to submit stories about their experiences with their Kenmores.
They entered, recounting their dual stories of their washers, dryers and other household appliances that bore the name Kenmore.
They didn't win the contest, but several months later they were contacted and asked if they would appear in a television commercial.
"We wanted to feature them in a national ad because we thought their situation was a good example of the value that Sears products offer their customers." said Perry Chlan, a company spokesman.
When the initial offer was made, the two couples weren't sure what to do.
"We had to talk it over," said Isobel. "They [the husbands] were more reluctant to do this than we were."
But the foursome agreed and on May 17, a full production crew -- with a truckload of equipment and 40 people -- pulled up in front of their homes around 6 a.m.
After nearly 14 hours, the crew got what they wanted and packed up and left.
"I couldn't believe the amount of work that went into it," Isobel said.
The 30-second script was relatively simple, but "we kept flubbing our lines," she said.
All of the people on the production crew -- from the cameramen to the makeup artists to the caterers who provided the noon meal -- were wonderful to work with, the sisters said.
The only thing that bothered them is the crew's decision to shoot parts of the commercial in the basement laundry rooms, a jumble of storage, tools, work areas and grand children's toys.
"The room you hate the most is the one they wanted to see," said Isobel.