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19Aug 13

Twins in the 1940s

My father is a twin, born in the 1940s, a time when ultrasound was a faraway dream and his mother, Nelma, ‘knew’ there were two babies inside her but doctors could not confirm if this was a reality.  She gave birth to my uncle first and told the doctors, “There’s another one in there!”

“Don’t be silly, dear” said the doctor.

But 90 minutes later, my father arrived and my poor grandmother managed to lose her eyesight for several days (something to do with high blood pressure).  She told a story that the only way she could tell the boys apart was by touching the little beanies they were wearing to keep their bald heads warm.

Back then, twins were something of a rarity – particularly my father and uncle who were known as ‘mirror twins’…the rarest kind of twin.  One was left handed, the other right handed. One had a left side part in his hair, the other with a right part, and so it goes.  When I look at photos of my dad as a child, I often ask him, “Dad, which one is you?” and he will always reply, “I wouldn’t have a clue.’!

I wish my grandparents had been alive to see me with my twin boys too.  Although, sometimes, I get the feeling they are not very far away.




One comment

  1. I was blind for a while after my daughter’s birth. You’re probably right about the blood pressure: I had preeclampsia/eclampsia-started to have a seizure and that’s when I went blind. If your grandmother had high blood pressure, she could have had preeclampsia; it’s more common with multiple births. I had miscarried a twin earlier. It’s called “cortical blindness” – I believe it means that your eyes work perfectly but the part of your brain that receives the message is not functioning.
    I enjoyed your story. Congratulations on your own twins! I taught mirror twins in a class once. They claimed they weren’t identical since their mother could tell them apart, but nobody else could! It’s funny that your father couldn’t recognize himself in pictures. Somehow I thought the twins themselves would always know for certain.


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