As a child, I loved the original Parent Trap, starring Hayley Mills, where identical twins switch places in an effort to reunite their divorced parents. Nowadays, a guilty pleasure is watching the 1998 remake of that movie, starring the yet unspoiled Lindsay Lohan. What fun to play switcheroo tricks on people! How cool to have someone who looks like you, thinks like you, is always there for you!
Twins are not so unusual today—the rate of twins grew by 76 percent between 1980 and 2009, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, the fact that there are six sets of twins among the 62 first graders at Markham School is worth a double take (See Holly Schultz’s story, Double Bubble )
Even though multiples are fairly common these days, twins still fascinate people, including me. The first twins I knew were my Washington School classmates, JoAnn and Janet Datesh, who looked and dressed exactly alike. Only their mother could tell them apart, so the rest of us called them “Twinnie,” which they hated. When I saw them two years ago for the first time in ages, I still was not sure who was who. They graciously pretended not to notice.
My college roommate’s brother, Steve, two years behind us at Miami University, was an identical twin and became my good friend. I didn’t know his brother Tom, a Capitol University student, at all. But on the rare occasions I see Tom, I treat him like he’s my good buddy. Tom, to his credit, takes my familiarity in stride. Must happen to twins all the time.
The only identical twins I never mistake are my onetime classmates, “The McHale Twins”—now Rosey Cross and Kathy Valasek. In high school, I had no idea who was who. Later, when Rosey lived in Mt. Lebanon and taught school in Upper St. Clair and Kathy lived in Upper St. Clair and taught in Mt. Lebanon, it got even harder—the look-alikes could blindside me in either community. Inexplicably, through long years of friendship, I have learned to tell them apart and appreciate their individuality. I never mistake one for the other and can’t figure out why some of our mutual friends are confused. That must be how mothers of twins are, only even better.
Not all the twins starting out at Markham are identical—there are fraternals, and even a couple of boy/girl pairs. Still, as I think you will see in our pictures, each pair shares a special bond—sort of an X Factor—that is likely to last a lifetime.
Good luck little twins. Enjoy being special, and if the rest of the world calls you by the wrong names, or can’t remember who likes vanilla and who likes chocolate or who plays soccer and who plays lacrosse, please don’t take it too hard. We think you’re awesome—and we’re trying.