Double the Fun

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They looked so much alike the day I brought them home from the hospital, I had to paint Jan’s fingernail red to avoid mixing the two of them up. After all, I didn’t want to make the mistake of feeding one once, while the other was left hungry.

Throughout their lives my twins looked so much alike that people have always had trouble telling them apart. This enabled them to play tricks on people.

Once when they were in second grade, they switched classes on April Fool’s Day. Jan had to take a spelling test for Joy, and Joy was made at Jan for missing a word that Joy knew how to spell.

Once when my twins were 14 years old, Joy did what so many other people had done to the twins all of their lives: she mixed the two of them up. But how is it possible that one twin could get herself mixed up with the other twin? It happened like this:

One day I had taken my twins shopping at the May Company. On this day, as on every other day since their birth, they were dressed alike. They were adorable in beautiful long, white dresses and large floppy-brimmed hats.

I left the two of them to shop for clothes while I went to another part of the store. They somehow became separated and Joy wandered the store looking for Jan.

Finally, as Joy stepped off the escalator, she saw Jan out of the corner of her eye, in the distance off to the left. She waved as Jan waved back at her.

Relieved to have found her twin, Joy hurried over to where Jan was standing -- and found herself looking into a mirror between two racks of clothing.

Helen Hampton is a member of the writing class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. It is held off-campus at the Norwalk Senior Center.

Helen Hampton