Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Some Good Twin Stories

Now that I’ve talked about what I don’t like in the media when it comes to twins, let’s talk about what I do like.

I’ll start with a movie. Now normally, I don’t like remakes. For the most part, I can’t stand it when they change the story in anyway, but there are a few exceptions (all of those Disney remakes) where I prefer the newer version and one of those remakes has twins in it!

The wonderful remake in question is “Escape to Witch Mountain.”
In the original, Tony and Tia were siblings but not twins, in the remake — they’re twins, and that’s just the beginning of the changes done in the remake. But those changes work! It’s a fantastic story. As much as I like the original, I really love the remake. Nice job Disney. :)

Now for some good books about twins. :)

One story I’ve read that I liked was “Jacob Have I Loved” by Katherine Paterson. This is one story that doesn’t have any stupid changing places or evil twin/good twin junk and it does deal with something that can be an issue for twins.

I came across this book in high school and I really enjoyed it. Not that my twin ever stole love and attention from me, I’m not even the older twin, but there was that issue with wondering if I was the evil twin. Sometimes I did feel unloved and unwanted especially by my father, so this book spoke to me.

It resonated with me so well that even after all these years later I haven’t forgotten that book, which I’d checked out of the school library. So much so that I recently tried to see if, I could find it again. I wasn’t even sure that I remembered the title correctly, but I did!

Amazon has it in both paperback (used) and reader form. I finally own a copy! I can’t wait to read it again.

Katherine Paterson got it right, and I’d like to thank her for a job well done. :)

A second good book with twins in it is “The Harbor of His Arms” by Lynn Bulock. This  is a Love Inspired novel that I’ve read several times, not because of the well written twins in it but because it’s an engaging story, which is of a widow mother of twins who needs protection and gets it from an old friend of her husband’s and well, it is a romance, so they fall in love.

I guess I could copy the blurb from the back of the book to say more, but I’d prefer to talk about how well written her sons are. I would hazard a guess that Bulock knows such a set of twins because she got them so right! And cute. :)

I really love how the boys finish each other’s sentences, and even better, they had different personalities. It’s an excellent job inside a well-written and engaging romance. Nice job, Ms. Bulock. :)

Another good story with twins in it is “A One-of-a-kind Family” by Holly Jacobs. I was to the bottom of page 22 when these lines started:

“She showed Anna into the living room where there was a man who looked remarkably like Liam Franklin. More than remarkably like him — he looked exactly like Liam. They were twins.”

And I thought wow! The hero and his brother are identical twins, yet she gave them different personalities!

And yes, I knew that right away, because you see, Liam (the hero) hired Anna (the heroine) to help him with his brother Colm who was mentally a child. I have to admit it’s a sad reason they’re different, but still, Holly Jacobs did it! This Harlequin Super Romance is a very sweet story despite the sad backstory. Nice job, Ms. Jacobs. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Thousand Words Times Two

Today I’m continuing my posts about funny conversations, though this one isn’t necessarily about being a twin it did come about because, well, I am a twin.
To set the stage, our father was a shutterbug, even a semi-pro photographer, so as a kid we got our picture taken, a lot. I can remember when we were seven or eight visiting Grandma’s house and there were numerous other people there, lots of Dad’s cousins. The whole mill included several sets of twins and someone suggested getting a picture.
Dad got out his camera and arranged us. The oldest two sets (including the only boy set) sitting on Grandma’s couch and the youngest two, which included my sister and me, kneeling in front. I can remember posing for the picture, and I can remember glancing over at my sister just as he snapped it. Because we didn’t live with Dad, I don’t remember seeing the picture until several years later.
Five or six years after that, our older sister’s boyfriend mentioned a friend of his was going to a birthday party he’d heard about and we could go with him. From what I understood, we’d be crashing it, but we’d be welcome. Wanting something to do that night, I went with my older sister. (All three of us girls may have went, I don’t remember.)
The hosts, birthday girls, yes twins, held the party in their front yard, but at some point I asked permission to enter the house to use the bathroom. As I was going back outside, I glanced over a display of family pictures in the hallways as I walked past them, then stopped short.
In the middle of the display was a picture of four sets of twins, the two oldest sets in the back and the other two sets kneeling in front.
I was still staring in shock when one of the birthday girls came looking for me. I asked her who was in it.
She said, “I remember we’re all cousins, well except the youngest set, their dad is our cousin. I think he took the picture.” She pointed to the oldest set of girls and named them, then said, “I don’t think I’ve seen the boys since. I don’t remember them, or our cousin’s girls, but Mom might.”
I pointed to me in the picture. “That’s me. Dad took it at Grandma’s place.”
Needless to say it was rather funny getting invited to a stranger’s party only to find out they were your dad’s cousins, first cousins no less, and they had a picture to prove you’d met before.

As an addendum, with the advent of Facebook I’ve come in contact with several extended family members who I really only know because I can trace our family ties. One such young lady on Facebook I friended knowing she was part of the family but unsure where she fell in our extensive tree. Then one day she posted a family picture and the mother in it was ever so familiar. I asked her if she was the mother of one of the three daughters in the picture. The young lady said she was one of the daughters. Yeah, I know exactly who her mother is, more or less. One of said twins whose birthday party we crashed all those years ago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pet Peeve #3

My third complaint is that it seems when the media does any story about twins they go with identical twins. There doesn’t seem to be as many stories on TV and in print about fraternal twins. I even once met a woman who was a fraternal twin who informed me that more than once growing up, someone had told her that her and her brother could not be twins because they weren’t identical.
She’s the only one that ever told me that, and I do know other fraternal twins, including relatives, so it isn’t a big problem, but it does exist. And when I first thought about writing on this topic, I was thinking I didn’t know of many stories with fraternal twins.
Until, of course I remembered Dick Francis. He has two such novels, both with the same main character, Kit Fielding. He has a fraternal twin sister and you can meet both of them in Break In published in 1985 and Bolt published in 1986. I’ve read these and I particularly like the relationship between Kit and his sister, wonderfully portrayed. Of course, I haven’t read a Dick Francis I didn’t like. (I also happen to like his son Felix Francis too.)
On top of this, Konnie informed me Tamora Pierce has a character named Alanna in a series of hers, and this Alanna has a twin brother. I also recently watched an interview with the actress playing the twin sister of the character accused of killing his wife in the movie Gone Girl.
From what they said on TV, Gone Girl is a book too, though I can’t say I’ve read either this book or anything by Tamora Pierce. Konnie tells me Pierce does seem to know twins, but, with apologies to my fantasy reading (and writing) twin, that’s not going to induce me to read the stuff. (Give me a break, I have read Chronicles of Narnia and her fantasy and I’ve seen a cartoon version of The Hobbit. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a lot.)
Except all of the aforementioned stories, excluding The Chronicles of Narnia, are of male/female fraternal twins, is anyone out there aware that fraternal twins can be of the same gender? Think about it folks, all the examples I’ve given are either of identical twins or of brother/sister sets, and I can’t think of any stories that have fraternal same gender sets. Can you?
I do know of one (ridiculous) movie, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as twin brothers, which is a good start, except they ruined it by the script calling for everyone talking about how alike they are and how they supposedly can’t tell them apart. The trailers turned me off. If you can’t tell the difference between DeVito and Schwarzenegger, you’re blind as a bat! Ergo, the movie was ridiculous.
Why do the people of the media find it necessary to pretend two completely different actors are identical twins? This is worse than having one actor playing both twins. Frankly, I can see the need for having one actor play identical twins, their only other choice is to find actual identical twins to play the parts, which I’m sure isn’t always possible, but when there are two actors playing the parts, let the characters be fraternal! Don’t pretend they’re identical.

Don’t you agree any other way, is just insulting our intelligence?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Who Are You

Over my lifetime I’ve had some memorable conversations having to do with being a twin. Some I’ve mentioned before, when people recognized me because they knew my twin. But I can think of two really funny conversations because I’m a twin.
During most of my high school years I lived near a small college but moved away before I graduated. After high school, I returned to that college and, as expected ran into friends I hadn’t seen for at least a couple of years.
One day I was walking across the quad and spotted a young man. I knew immediately who he was, well more or less. You see he was a twin too.
One of the Nielson boys my sister had befriended in eighth grade and we both liked him. The other, well, let’s just say he and I were oil and water.
I stopped to talk. “Hi. Long time no see.”
“Yeah. How have you been doing? Where’s your sister?”
“Fine. She’s back home. How’s your bother?”
Our conversation continued giving some detail as to what our respective sibling was up to without ever saying their name.
I personally was getting frustrated. I knew I’d have to tell Bonnie I’d seen one of the Nielson boys and she’d ask me which one but at this point our exchange had given me no clue. At no time did he mention his brother’s name, and I had hoped he would. Though in hindsight, I never once mentioned my sister’s name either.
I finally realized I couldn’t stand there talking much longer and made some indications I should be leaving. He agreed with me. I’m not even sure which one of us suggested giving greetings to our respective siblings first but I know we both did. But that still posed a problem. I still didn’t know which twin he was.
I finally decided I needed to ask and apparently he’d come to the same conclusion because we said in unison. “Now who are you?”
We literally heard gasps all around us. It was so funny I couldn’t help laughing even though I’d been talking to the Nielson boy I couldn’t stand. We exchanged a laugh and quickly parted ways while agreeing to convey our messages to our respective siblings.
Then not long after that I was walking towards home and found the path blocked by three people in conversation. One young man had his back to me but I could see the faces of the couple he was talking to. I knew both of them, again from eighth grade.
I peeked around the man I didn’t know, saying, “Hi.” Letting my presence be known.
My two acquaintances brightened at my appearance, hugging me and gushed with enthusiastic greetings, which, like the Nielson boy, included asking about my sister.
After several minutes of polite inquiry into what my sister and I were up to they both deemed they must be courteous and introduce me to their friend so the young lady asked, you guessed it. “Who are you?”
The completely stunned expression on the poor man’s face was priceless and of course his first response was, “Don’t you know her?”
I believe it was my male acquaintance who explained it. “But there’s two names for that face.”

Sometimes, it can be funny being a twin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pet Peeve #2

My second pet peeve about twins in the media is stories about twins switching places. The first one of this variety I can think of is, of course, Parent Trap, but that’s because I’ve seen that one. However, in browsing through bookstores or the library I’ve come across tons of stories about either one twin replacing the other or someone mistaking one twin for the other.
And I hate them not because there is no way I could ever fool Konnie’s family (even though I know I can’t) but because the one, and only, time we ever tried to switch places I was completely lost stepping into her classroom, even though she showed me around in advance.
I’ve read blurbs, and only blurbs because I refused to read the book, where the main character moves to wherever her twin had been living and takes over her life, including her twin’s significant other, without anyone figuring it out! We’re talking unplanned, she got dragged into pretending her sister wasn’t recently murdered in order to find the killer, and her sister’s love interest is one of the suspects.
Now come on people! Konnie and I once planned for weeks to switch places on April Fool’s day and I lasted at most five minutes before her teacher figured it out. I promise you, if a mere teacher can figure it out that fast, a love interest should be able to, especially if they were serious. Or at least I would hope such a person could, which brings me to the second scenario: someone mistaking one twin for the other.
Okay, folks, that does happen. It happens a lot, but I’ve seen blurbs (again not reading the book, because I hate the concept) where it’s some idiot sleeping with the wrong twin. Really?
When Konnie and I were in high school we took a class called Marriage and Family, and one day the teacher instructed the class to individually make a list of ten things we were looking for in a mate, and then rank them in order of importance. Near the end of class, the teacher started around the room asking each of us to share our top priority.
When she reached Konnie, Konnie turned to me and I faced the teacher and said that we couldn’t decide if religion or being able to tell us apart was the most important.
The teacher said, “Considering how religious you two are, I would think religion is paramount.”
My response?
“You’re not a twin.”
And that really said it all. Around that same time, our father had walked past the kitchen and entered the living room. When saw me watching TV, he demanded to know why I wasn’t in the kitchen doing the dishes, as, he insisted, it was my chore that week. Konnie came charging to my defense, drying her hands on a towel as she did, because she was doing the dishes, per her assignment.
That wasn’t the first time he made that mistake either. And don’t get me started on our youngest brother who insisted on calling us both by Konnie’s nickname. As for the oldest of our brothers, I honestly think he mixed us up just to irritate me, but I promise the mix-ups were annoying especially when our Stepmother could tell us apart easier than our mother could.
We had discussed the subject before and after that class. Thanks to the stepmother/mother situation, we knew telling us apart wasn’t a matter of being related, truly caring was all that mattered, ergo we wanted to find men who truly cared.
And I promise that is what we found.
I admit the first time my husband (okay, I’ll admit it, his name was Tom), ever saw Konnie, he said, “Hello, you must be Konnie, where’s Bonnie?”
And this was only days after our first date!
The first thing Konnie said that day, after he left, was, “Now he’s a keeper.”
Yeah, I kind of noticed that one already. J
When it came to Konnie getting married, well, I was in Norfolk, Virginia where Tom was stationed at the time, and Konnie was in Tacoma, Washington. We’re talking right around the time that Iraq invaded Kuwait and (okay let’s just get this over with) Jerry (yes our husbands’ names were Tom and Jerry) was also in the Navy, stationed at Bremerton.
Because of the situation he was told to get ready to ship out at a moment’s notice and they decided to hurry up and get married before that happened. I didn’t even have enough time to plan the trip, let alone find the money to pay for it. So the first time he saw me was sometime later, when their oldest daughter was an infant, and he arrived home from work to find me on their couch holding their daughter; he took one look at me and said, “Well hello there, nice to meet you, where’s my wife?”

So, I honestly think this is a case of where: “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” comes into play. Not even identical twins can do it, and I think the people in the media should stop trying to tell us they can!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I spent most of my growing up years with my sister somewhere near me; to the point that everyone I knew was fully aware I had a twin. Then halfway through our junior year in high school we moved, to a new state and a large city with its huge high school.

Then one day it happened. A friend in PE commented I’d changed since that morning. After clarifying she meant what I was wearing before dressing down for PE wasn’t the same clothes I’d had on when she’d seen me before school started, I had her describe what I’d been wearing, which of course was what my sister was wearing that day.

The whole conversation was funny, and has brought me much enjoyment over the years, but her question on learning I was a twin was logical. She asked how to tell us apart.

Logical, but hard to answer. After all, we are identical.

Since then I’ve had dozens of occasions when people I knew learned I was a twin. Now I understand people asking me questions about my sister. I also understand saying you’re a twin doesn’t give anyone much information beyond the fact your mother had two kids in her womb at the same time and you were one of them.

So while I can understand the questions about my sister the usual gamut of them is perplexing me.

To illustrate my point is my most recent encounter with someone learning I’m a twin. Granted this is someone I’d just met. But in the course of our conversation sisters came up and I mentioned mine− well, at least the one.

I’ve had this conversation enough that I rarely just say, “I’m a twin,” because it doesn’t give any real information. I generally say, “I have an identical twin sister.” And if I don’t, I manage to slip that uniquely definable word into the conversation somewhere, mostly because it should answer a lot of questions.

You see one of the first questions I’m asked is what my sister looks like. My co-worker asked to see a picture of her.

I don’t carry hers around. I wouldn’t think it’s necessary.

The mere definition of the word identical should make it obvious that seeing one of us means you have a pretty good idea what the other one looks like.

As I mentioned in my last post, it has happened, and on more than one occasion, where someone I didn’t know called me by name simply because they knew my sister, and knew she was a twin and she couldn’t be where we were; and correctly assumed I was her double. Then there are all the times we were mistaken for each other.

So why do people ask what she looks like or ask to see her picture?

Seriously? What don’t you understand about identical?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pet Peeve #1

What I really hate is stories about twins, not all of them, just most of them. The first kind of twin story I hate is the evil twin.

These stories bug me because, growing up, they were all over the place, not only in books but also in the movies and TV. They were so prolific it got to the point that I questioned if I was the evil twin. After all, it seemed to me like everyone thought for you to be twins one of you had to be evil and one good. And quiet, shy, peacekeeping Konnie was certainly not evil, whereas my temper is — well, quite honestly, horrible.

Then again, people labeled both of us goody-two-shoes.

I remember once watching an episode of Colombo where the killers were a set of twins. I was thinking it was an excellent episode until the end of the show where one twin — I can’t remember, she either killed or attempted to kill her sister. It started out so well and then it was still the evil twin story. UGH!

Listen up people. Twins, particularly identical twins, who are what the media is obsessed with, are more in common than they’re different.  

Look at us. How do we differ?

Let’s see:

In looks, well, yeah, we’re identical.

In personality — okay, clearly we are not quite the same. She’s shy, I’m not, and I do have a temper, but when it comes to things we like and dislike — well I’m not much into fantasy, which she is, and I’m more into sci-fi than she is, but we both read, and write, romance! We even prefer the same type of romance, either sweet or inspirational.

And when it comes to political views, we rarely disagree, and we have the same religious views.

The big differences really the fact that she has a husband and five kids and I’m childless widow and that certainly has nothing to do with our genes.

And yes, we are mirror twins. Please take to into account that she’s a soprano; I’m an alto. She’s, well, a natural lefty. Having grown up in an era where teachers insisted on teaching all children to use their right hand, she eventually figured out how to do it, so she’s ambidextrous. And I’m right-handed. In other words, I’m right dominate while she’s left dominate. We’re mirrors.

And I think I illustrated it quite well in my blog post of July 9th, titled Choosing Twin-ness. And I’m telling you right now, that mirror exercise was dang hard once Mr. T paired us with other members of the group!

The thing is I have never met a set of twins where one was good and other bad, not one. And folks, twins, especially identical twins, run in my family. Yet to go with the media’s take on the issue, this is common. People, I don’t think it even exists. What you do think?