- Three sets of quadruplets were born in eastern Iowa this past year. The familys gathered recently in the Gazette photo studio for each set's portrait. The four babies at left are (from left to right,) Alyssa, Kara, Lindsey and Ashley Grady, the eight and a half month old quadruplets of Dan and Kim Grady of Cedar Rapids. The center four babies are Andrew, Allen, Aaran and Kassidy McCalmant, the two and a half month old quads of Debbie and Jerry McCalmant of Cedar Rapids. The grouping of four babies at right (from left to right) are Chad, Amanda, Katie and Emily Eastridge, the eight and a half month old quads born to Mike and Jody Eastridge of High Amana.
I came across a framed copy of this photograph depicting 12 infants wearing Santa hats while cleaning out the photo studio a few weeks ago. Even though I knew nothing about the children, I wondered what had become of them.
Seeing as I didn't come onto The Gazette photo staff until August 2000, I didn't really make a connection that they were, in fact, three sets of quadruplets that were born in 1998. KCRG Manager of News Operations Mike Wagner filled in the gaps for me. I thought he was just going to thank me for presenting him with a genuine Tabasco necktie that I saved from the dumpster after cleaning out the studio dressing room. A few minutes later, an email with a link to a Dec. 25, 1998 article about the three sets of quadruplets.
After that meeting, the wheels were swiftly set into motion. News research analyst John McGlothlen did some digging and was able to get contact information for all three families. Features writer Meredith Hines-Dochterman had the difficult task of making contact with the families and convincing them to be a part of the 14-year update story. Read Meredith's story here.
The schedules of the families didn't mesh for an all-in-one-shot reunion photo so I photographed each set individually. I assembled the three photos into one using Photoshop.
I missed sitting in on the interview with the McCalmant quadruplets since I was still setting up my makeshift photo studio but watching how Andrew, Allen, Aaran and Kassidy interacted with each other on the photo shoot was fun to see.I made it a point to attend the interviews for the Eastridge and Grady quadruplets. It's interesting that the Eastridges and the McCalmants have kept in contact through Facebook even though the Eastridges are located in the Peoria, Ill., area. After the Eastridge's photo shoot, the teens wanted to stay a little while until the Grady quadruplets showed up for their photo shoot. They haven't been in contact with any of the Grady quads.