I have been writing back and forth with a WWII vet named Mitch. He has many an interesting tale to tell, and I am passing along the newest to you. This is not about the war, but about his growing up with his twin. He is a product of the depression, like many of my readers, and I think you will appreciate his accounts:
What it’s like being a twin:
On April 1, 1923, it had snowed all night at our little farm in southern Minnesota. Dr. Morris could not get to our place to deliver the baby so a midwife who was a neighbor close by came. (Note from MJ: this reminds me of the story of my own birth but only my grandmother was in attendance). Nobody knew there were going to be twins, and of course the sex was never known ahead of time back then. So, it was a big surprise when I arrived for my mother to discover another boy delivered couple of hours later. Now our family consisted of seven.
Two weeks later my father built a roaring fire in the furnace and one hour later my mother smelled smoke and called in a general alarm for help. This consisted of ringing the hand crank telephone continuously so everyone on the line would answer. She called the alarm, needing help, and everyone responded. The house was saved and we were able to return to live in it.
At about the age of four, my twin and I were playing in our sandbox when I grabbed my twins’ shovel and when he tried to grab it out of my hand I hit him over the head with it. As blood came rushing out, my mother heard the screaming and came running. But instead of tending my brother, she took off after me. By now, I was safe under the porch where she could not reach me. At last, she returned to tend my injured brother who still carries the scar.
Clifford and Clyde were always quite a curiosity and we soon discovered everybody got our names mixed up. After 80 years, when we both moved into an adult community in Florida, this name problem took a little getting used to again.
We learned, growing up, everything was shared equally. Nobody ever knew whose clothes where on whom. Being very poor caused my mother much work keeping our clothes, including our socks, mended and patched. How our family kept us looking the same all through the growing-up years—same color shirts, pants, sweaters, etc, was somehow accomplished.
Once we started school we found ways to disrupt our classes. Our teacher had to keep order during lunch breaks. We brown-sacked our food and ate it in our own room. One time, we twins were giving our teacher a hard time and, as she chased us down the hall, we took refuge in the boy’s room. Our teacher screamed, “You think you are little angels!” My twin screamed back, ”That’s right! We are already sprouting wings!!”
Yes, we were naughty little rascals and what one didn’t think up the other did.
Sharing everything continued as we entered high school and when we started driving we even shared the same car. It worked out OK until I started dating. I would leave for the weekend to visit my girlfriend and my twin was stuck with all the chores, which consisted of milking three cows and tending the other animals. I think my twin still resents this period. The good result for me, I became engaged to this lovely girl and alter married.
After high school, we both migrated to the city where we obtained gainful employment. Wow! What a wonderful life, earning enough money to buy everything we needed. So, after sharing our Model A Ford for a while, my twin finally purchased his own car, and I was able to trade the Ford in for a new 1941 Chevrolet.
Sharing everything was now over. My marriage, and soon after, Pearl Harbor, finally made us independent of each other.
My twin was sent to the Pacific Theatre and I was s sent to the European Theatre of Operations. We did not know about a Twin Provision, which allowed twins to be kept together in the service. Had we known this we may have even been sharing the same foxhole.
The hot summer day I was married we went into the churchyard for pictures, and one of my new wife’s boyfriends (who had been drinking), came by to cause trouble.
When my twin discovered what was going on, he located the local policeman who arrested the troublemaker and put him in jail to sober up.
Yes, it was handy having a twin brother and it really was a sad time when adulthood separated us.
My dear mother always worried about this and if she were alive today, she would be very happy to learn that after 80+ years we both live in the same adult community in Florida.
Mitch will continue his experiences. He and his twin are now 86.
Blessings to my Waynedale friends,
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