|Our store-bought birthday cake, circa 1964.|
Being a twin meant you always had a competitor and a friend. Janet and I competed relentlessly, which was a good thing I guess because we always tried to outdo each other in terms of schoolwork, so the competition made our grades better. Back in those days, parents got to request who they wanted for a teacher for their child, so in grades 1-6 (there was no kindergarten back in those days), we were always in the same classroom. We could also keep an eye on each other that way, and should one of us made a misstep, the other could gleefully report it to Mama.
|Our 1964 Birthday bash. Left to right: Randy Bottoms, J.P.|
Hicks, Terry Nichols, Terrel Scroggins, Mary Hutchens, Me,
Jannet McDonald, my sister Janet, Brenda Owens, Cindy
Douglas, Terri Watkins, and Ida Mae Smith
I mentioned our competitiveness as a factor in our school work, but it was also true that we greatly benefited by studying together. We really did help each other, and if one of us didn't understand how to do a math problem, the other could most often explain it. Mama had a blackboard mounted to the wall in the bedroom, and we would spend lots of time at that little board working math problems.
|A more traditional Birthday cake. Twelve|
candles...that's two people turning six.
Well, over time the competitiveness began to lessen, and although we did occasionally argue, we were most of all friends. I really believe that there is a bit of an "ESP" connection between twins, because we often were amused when we would start to say the same thing at the same time. In Junior High and High School, we seldom had the same classes and began to become individuals more than "the twins."
Oh, and that store-bought birthday cake. Daddy got it for us; it seems like it came from Ward Ice Cream company in Fort Smith. We had a big party that year. It must have been an unusually nice January day, because we were outside with only sweaters, evidently.
When we were 16, on January 18, 1972, our first niece was born. Sandy Yates Swanner is my brother Phil's daughter, and now there are three birthdays in the family on January 18th.
And now, as I write this, I'm preparing for my 55th birthday. My wife has a present for me that she has been hiding in the car, and has had to move it already twice to keep me from seeing it. She doesn't know that just seeing her in my life everyday is the greatest gift I could ever ask for. Across the street, my mother-in-law is even now preparing a feast in my honor that we'll all share tonight. My stepson Ross and his wife Maegan are about to become parents in a few weeks, and Marilyn and I can hardly wait to meet our little Kate. Ross, who racked up a series of awards at Arkansas Tech including Outstanding Male Student, is now applying his leadership skills to the teaching profession. My brilliant step-daughter Laura and her husband Kip live in Little Rock, where Laura is a doctor completing her residency in OB-GYN. And I, I'm just soaking up blessings like a sponge, so fortunate to be at this place in life right now, and happily reliving pleasant memories on this little blog. Please excuse me now; I have candles to blow out.