Greenwalt, who with photographer Taro Yamasaki had reported on the quints' birth (cover story, Feb. 15), also had to stifle her own mothering instincts. "The hardest thing was not to help with the babies," she says. "I had to record how the parents did it. I couldn't feed or cuddle when the babies cried, and it tugged at my heart just to stand by." She and husband Bill, 51, a foundry representative, have two daughters, Ginger, 25, and Christine, 24. "Mine were 13 months apart, so I really did have two babies for a while. But taking care of five babies is just incredible."
Assistant managing editor Hal Wingo says Greenwalt's "insatiable curiosity and talent for winning people's confidence made her a perfect matchup for the quints story." Born Julie Ehlendt in Dearborn, Mich., the eldest of five children, Greenwalt briefly studied art in Honolulu, where she was a 1957 Miss Hawaii finalist in the Miss America pageant, then earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy and communications from the Jesuit-run University of Detroit. Before joining PEOPLE, she worked as a model, ocean liner waitress, TV writer and producer, and as a part-time reporter for LIFE magazine.
Covering the quints, Greenwalt says, reminded her of her own hopes as a young bride 26 years ago. "When I was first married," she recalls, "I wanted to bake biscuits, sew and have 12 kids. I'll never have my dozen, but at least I got the chance to see what it's like having five. It's tough, but it's also sweet."