Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Yin and Yang 2

My memories of grade school were of always protecting Konnie, however, I never thought her shyness would cause me any difficulties once we entered junior high. Though honestly, I didn’t really experience any glitches in seventh grade, since that year, the only guy who ever talked to me in the halls was the president of the student body who, for some strange reason took a liking to me on sight.

He just didn’t realize until around the middle of the year that two girls were ignoring his come ons. But I didn’t have a problem.

The first time I realized I had a problem with Konnie’s shyness was in eighth grade. That wasn’t until several months into the school year when I entered my third period class and a ninth grade boy in that class didn’t say hi to me for the first time all year. For next several days, every time I tried to catch his eye, he looked away.

I so wanted to know what was wrong, but my fourth period class was completely at the other end of the three-story building, I barely had enough time to make it to class before the tardy bell rang, and I never saw Greg (the guy in third period) at any other time during the day.

Then, a few days later, instead of fourth period, there was an assembly. Since there was no fear of a tardy bell, I stopped him before he left the class, and asked why he was mad at me.

He told me that he’d seen me in the halls the other day and he said hi, but I ignored him. I looked him in the eye and said, “When and where?” worried I had inadvertently not seen my friend.

He told me between sixth and seventh period down by the gym. I sighed with relief. “That wasn’t me.”

“It was too. I swear!”

I told him exactly where my sixth and seventh period classes were, both on the opposite end of the building as the gym. He repeated that he was sure he saw me; I smiled and said, “I’m a twin. And she has gym seventh period.”

He groaned and apologized.

After school that day was the first time I gave Konnie my, “If a guy says hi, say hi back because I might know him,” speech. And I really enjoyed moving to that smaller school in ninth grade simply because everyone knew both of us, there was no chance of her offending some guy friend of mine, and I didn’t have to worry about Konnie roaming the halls. Then we moved.

Fortunately, none of the guys at this school took offense by me apparently ignoring them. They asked me why sometimes I smiled and said hi while other times I looked down, blushing.
I told them, “That wasn’t me.”

They didn’t want to believe me, but a couple of friends who knew us from church were present for that conversation, and they backed me up, which started the discussion on how to tell us apart. I said, “If the one you see says hi back, it’s me, if she doesn’t say hi —”

And on of our church friends said, “You both say hi to me!”

“She knows you!”

“Well, how do I tell you apart?”

“Jeez, you see us together first thing in the morning. Figure it out!”

Anyway, despite it being a bigger school, I didn’t notice any huge problems with how shy Konnie was, but all that taught me one thing. If someone I’m sure I don’t know says hi as if they know me, I ask them how they think they know me.

And I’ve got a few fun stories of doing just that.

Anyway, that’s what being a twin is like for me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yin and Yang

The one saving thing for me growing up was having my twin by my side most of the time. Then we hit middle school, with different classes and very few of them together. For the first time in my life I had to navigate the halls of school on my own.
And this is where we first ran into a big problem.
I would walk down the hallway blithely ignoring greetings from strangers, guys, because I was far too shy to talk to them only to have Bonnie later come up and bop me on the head because I’d ignored a friend of hers.
I don’t remember such incidences in eight grade then in ninth grade we moved to a small school. The minute we walked in the entire student body knew there were two of us so we had no problems with mix ups until we moved again.
This last school was the largest yet. Here I handled it the same way I had in seventh grade, much to Bonnie’s dismay. I simply ignored greetings from any guys I didn’t know. So when her friends asked why sometimes she ignored them she had to respond. “Those times it wasn’t me.”
Of course by then she’d already given me the ‘if a guy you don’t know says hi to you he’s probably my friend so say hi,’ lecture several times. I never did.
Then there was the previously mentioned incident in P.E. class where my friend asked how to tell us apart.
After thinking about it a moment, I said, “Well, if you know her and see one of us in the hallway and say hi and get no response you have me. And if you know me and see one of us in the hallway,” I paused. “Well, you still don’t know which one you have.”
“That doesn’t help me. I know you.”
Bonnie always figured if she didn’t recognize someone saying hi to her than they must think she was me so she was friendly back. Me? There was no way I was talking to a stranger, especially a strange guy, so Bonnie’s friends got ignored. A lot.
But that is the yin and yang of being twins. One tends to be the quiet shy one and one tends to be the outspoken one. For us, I’ll gladly accept that I’m the quiet one.
I’m the one who quietly accepted walking past a guy friend of mine every day between second and third period passing at the drinking fountain so close I could touch him without ever saying a word.
I could end the story there but actually one day, at an after school drama activity, he mentioned to me that he hadn’t seen me in a couple of weeks and asked where I’d been. I told him where and when I saw him every day, saying, “Look down once in a while.” The next school day he was looking down as he came around that corner. He didn’t miss me anymore.

You would think I’d learn to speak up after that, but I’m still the quiet one. And though I’m not as shy now, I’m still the quiet one. I think it’s a twin thing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Staying Connected The Twin Way

Okay, each year in the month of November is the online writing challenge  and I participate. Now Nano (as it’s called) is a well-organized event that even includes real time meetings in the real world called Write Ins, and this past Saturday I attended one such event.

As the meeting was winding down, and everyone was gathering their equipment, the leader of our local group said, “Now don’t forget to backup your work on a flash drive,” then went into a story, which happened to a guy in our group a couple a years ago where, near the end of the month, he lost his entire manuscript.

While the other ladies present all promised they had flash drives, but my first thought was, “Dang, I need to email K.De,” (my twin’s nickname) and the next second it struck me how out of place that would have sounded had I said it out loud.

But it wasn’t out of place. As loving sisters, we want to help each other, so we save copies of each other’s manuscripts on our computers as a backup.

It is also why a few days ago as it neared my bedtime and I hadn’t seen Konnie online all day, I called her, just to make sure everything was okay. And she’s done the same for me.

Back before we entered the modern internet world we kept in touch with periodic phone calls, which we never planned or expected, but I can’t tell you how many times I was busy when the phone rang and I told my husband something on the lines of, “Tell her I’m busy.”

The first time this happened, he stared at me. “Tell who you’re busy?”

“Just answer the phone!”

Of course, when he did answer, it was Konnie. I knew it was.

I can even remember a couple times when I asked my husband if he thought we could afford me calling Konnie when the phone rang and I said, “Never mind,” then answered her call.

My husband rolled his eyes heavenward and muttered, “Oh brother.”

And I drove him up the wall a few years ago when some work our landlord did at the back of our house knocked our phone line down. We were without phone or internet for four days and that whole time I fretted, “Konnie’s trying to get ahold of me!”

Of course, by this time we’d been married long enough that Tom didn’t try to tell I couldn’t possibly know what Konnie was doing clear in another state. He simply kept reminding me we’d done everything we could. The phone repair people would come on Monday. But, boy, that was one miserable weekend!

Now days I have cell phone, and I programmed her number with a special ring tone. If you hear music coming from my cell, it’s Konnie. But I do still have a landline. This is a fancy job that will vocally tell me who is calling, but even before that system kicks into action, I already know when it’s Konnie calling. Technology can’t trump genes! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


What’s it like being a twin?
Yeah, people actually ask that.
I’m always tempted to ask them what it is like being a singleton. And before you say anything along the lines of normal, remember our frame of reference is different.
Let me illustrate being a twin. I’ll start with twin telepathy.
I can give lots of illustrations of us using our telepathy, here are just a few. The first one is the first time anyone suggested we could use our connection to cheat. It was a teacher.
No, he didn’t suggest we cheat.
Our high school biology teacher separated his students for tests, no one beside or in front of or behind anyone else, so no one could glance at anyone else’s paper.
He explained this, counted the students, and then said, “We don’t have enough seats.” He counted again, then picked up his briefcase and walked over in front of where Bonnie and I sat. “You could cheat even if I placed you in opposite corners. So, you can stay here, just turn your backs to each other and I’ll put my briefcase here.” Which he then placed on the table between us. Then of course we proved we wouldn’t cheat when she couldn’t get mitosis and meiosis.
Then a couple of years later in another class, our teacher had split everyone up in the manner our biology teacher had wanted to, including Bonnie and I ending up several rows apart. As students finished their test they handed it in and left the room. Finally our teacher stood in a row of chairs between where Bonnie and I were still working and ask the last three students if we were done yet.
The young man stood to hand his in.
I said, “Just double checking my answers.”
Bonnie said, “I can’t remember the answer for number five.” (Okay, I’m not sure which number it was now, but I know she was specific then.)
I glanced at my paper. “Oh, that’s easy.”
She said, “Oh, yeah.” And apparently furiously wrote the answer or so I’ve been told. (Remember the teacher stood between us.)
Our friend who hadn’t left yet pointed and said, “Cheat! Cheat!”
The teacher said, “Yeah, but I can’t do anything about that kind of cheating.”
And that is the only time we have ever cheated on a test. Well, at least that I know of.
Then there are all the times I’ve called Bonnie’s house and my brother-in-law answered. The conversation went something like this.
Bonnie in the background: “Tell K.De I’ll be right back.” (K.De is my nickname.)
Tom said, “What makes you think it's K.De.”
Me laughing. “Because it is. And I heard her.”
My point is twin telepathy is real. Bonnie has mentioned it in her posts. And it happened to me, earlier, before writing this post, I was sitting at our kitchen table with a guest and I heard a phone going off. Mind you there are five cell phones in my house with similar rings tones and four of them were in the far reaches of the house. But without error, I knew it was mine, because I knew it was Bonnie calling. No caller ID necessary.

And no. It wasn’t our shortest conversation ever.

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?