QUINCY -- As their four sons grew up, Anne and Clint Gibleon tried to hide the fact that they are quadruplets as much as they could, hoping to offer the boys a life as normal as possible under the unique circumstances.
Through junior high and high school, few of their teachers knew the Gibleon boys were "quads." Most people do not recognize that the 18-year-old boys are quadruplets. They aren't identical in appearance, and each has a distinct, often contradictory, personality that sets him apart from his brothers.
Chase is the "country" one in the family. His maturity sets him apart from his siblings, who are seldom serious and crack jokes whenever the opportunity arises, often at each others' expense. Chase works in agriculture, enjoys hunting and is working to obtain his CDL.
Even though a conversation with any of the Gibleon boys essentially is a series of hyperbolic one-liners, Brock is the standout comedian of the bunch. Anne said most everyone at Quincy High School, from which all four boys recently graduated, knew who Brock was. He sets himself apart by wearing glasses -- every other family member has contacts -- and he has followed in Clint's footsteps by enlisting in the Navy. He will leave for boot camp in two weeks.
The other boys are focusing most of their digs at Brock now, while they still have time. The rap music video he made is a prime source of abuse from his siblings.
Hunter is the quietest of the "multiples," as he refers to himself and his siblings. He has worked at a grocery store for the last two years -- each of the boys had to find a job at a different business when they turned 16 -- and is mulling over the idea of going to college. He always assumed he would be the first one to move away, but Brock may have beaten him to the punch.
Brenten is an endless stream of sarcasm. Most of what he says must be taken with a grain of salt, but when he needs to, he can shift into a more serious demeanor. He plans on attending John Wood Community College and wants to work with children in some capacity, likely as an elementary educator.
When Anne and Clint conceived, quadruplets were the furthest thing from their minds. Anne received a fertility treatment but no in vitro fertilization before she became pregnant. They originally thought they were having triplets -- overwhelming in its own right -- but found out a couple months before she gave birth that it was quadruplets.
When they were born, the Gibleon boys were the first quadruplets in Quincy in almost a quarter-century
Each of the boys weighed less than three pounds when born. Hunter spent his first few days in the intensive care nursery at Barnes-Jewish Children's Hospital in St. Louis, and the other three were taken to the neonatal unit. It took a couple months before they were able to come home.
"We just got used to doing four things at a time," Clint said of raising four boys who are all the same age.
When they were younger, Anne recalled, she used to dress the boys in identical outfits when going out in public, which made it easier to keep track of her sons in crowded areas. She jokes that, raising quadruplets, any time a mistake was made, it was quadrupled.
School was tough for the family. Helping their sons with their homework when they each had their own class schedule and workload became near impossible. When each of the boys walked in graduation -- Chase and Brenten actually graduated early in December -- it was quite the accomplishment.
"All four names got called," Anne said, beaming. "The last six months have been tough, trying to figure out what the next step is."
The Gibleons' efforts to raise their children normally seem to have worked. The boys' interests are those of the typical teenager -- video games, girls and hanging out with friends. Each has his own group of friends, but there is some overlap between the groups.
"We've always had each others' backs," Chase said, "but as we've grown older, we've developed different personalities and kind of went our separate ways."
Being a "multiple" has its ups and downs, Hunter said. For instance, when dining out, it is nearly impossible to find a booth to seat the entire family. On the other hand, there are always enough people around to fill a two-on-two basketball game.
"It's normal from our standpoint," Brenten said. "People are always asking what it's like, but we don't know anything different."