1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

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A Reluctant Twin

What happens when your twin doesn’t want you to be the one she’s twinning with? You hold your head high, ignore the slight, and take comfort in knowing you have the most ruffles.

The seniors organized a dance with a local rock band for grades nine through twelve. During the mid-60s it was still cool to attend school dances and I couldn’t wait. I had a new dress. And it wasn’t handed down to me from my cousin.

A few days earlier Mom visited my Aunt Sophi and returned with a surprise from her. Aunt Sophi was my favorite of Mom’s sisters. Next to Mom, I thought she was the prettiest and most stylish. She and Aunt Mary K were each thin, so I identified more with them.

As a young teen I walked like a clod-hopper with my toes pointed outward. My Aunt Sophi tactfully showed me how to walk with one foot in front of the other, toes straight ahead instead of East and West. Once boys finally noticed I was alive they often complimented my graceful walk.

Yearbook photo of my dress while holding a Future Homemakers of America banner.

Yearbook photo of my dress while holding a Future Homemakers of America banner.

It wasn’t my birthday. For no reason at all, Aunt Sophi bought a dress and sent it home with Mom. It was a black and white hounds-tooth print, with white and black ruffles around the neckline and cuffs. It was the most beautiful and sophisticated thing I’d ever worn.

I called immediately. “Thanks Aunt Sophi. I absolutely love it. I’m wearing it to our school dance this Friday.”

“You’re certainly welcome, Dolly. I’m glad you like it.”

Mom dropped me off at school a few days later. I stood in line, paid my entrance fee, and got my hand stamped.

The normally bright lunch room/auditorium/old gymnasium/dance hall was transported to another dimension with muted lighting and crepe-paper decorations. Folding chairs ringed the perimeter.

I looked for Marcia and crossed the dance floor to sit by her.

“What a pretty dress,” she said. “Is it new?”

“Thanks, my Aunt Sophi bought it for me.”

“I wish my aunts bought me dresses.”

We got up and walked to an adjoining hallway where home baked refreshments were sold.

Martha, Nancy, and Stephanie intercepted us.

“See, I told you it was the same,” Nancy announced to the other two girls.

“Oh my gosh!” said Martha. “You’re wearing the exact same dress as Bonnie (name changed to protect the innocent).”

“Where is Bonnie?” asked Stephanie. “I can’t wait to see her face.”

Marcia and I scanned the room, no Bonnie. We bought our soda, cookies, and brownies. Re-entering the auditorium, we spotted Bonnie on the edge of the dance floor surrounded by several friends. I walked over (with straight feet) to show her my look-a-like dress and laugh with her.

Bonnie didn’t laugh. She was not ecstatic to have me as her twin.

“I can’t believe you wore my dress,” she accused.

Your dress? Hmmm.

“They aren’t exactly alike,” I pointed out.

Her dress had short sleeves; mine had long. She only had a ruffle around her neckline. Mine had ruffles around my neckline and cuffs. No one needed to tell me I just won my first ruffle-off.

Bonnie and her friends went into a corner, where she pouted. Marcia and I enjoyed the dance. I silently sent extra thanks to Aunt Sophi for choosing the version with long sleeves and extra lace.

Fast forward: I’ve encountered many other duplicates over the years. At an office Christmas party in the 80s, Nora and I were the two senior supervisors of customer support. We showed up in identical new dresses; hers was red and mine was green. We laughed it off and said dressing alike was a new requirement for our position.

Why, oh why did I wear this dress to a second wedding? Once was one time too many!

Why, oh why did I wear this dress to a second wedding? Once was one time too many!

One of my best college friends, Mary#2, and I once went on a double date intentionally wearing the exact same brown crepe dress-pants and cream wrap-around top. We smelled the same too; Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew.

Mary#2 and I once bought the same navy and white shoes, and stopped at Aunt Ann’s on our way home. Aunt Ann loved our shoes and tried a pair on.

“Would you mind if I bought a pair?” she asked.

“Of course not!” we replied.

The most memorable twin occasion was my cousin Ed Jr.’s wedding in the early 80s. I showed up wearing a short version of the bridesmaid’s silk fuchsia dresses, complete with poofy Princess Diana sleeves. Their matching fuchsia shoes were silk, mine suede.

Lesson learned: If you unexpectedly find yourself with a twin, get over it, have fun, and be grateful you aren’t both accidentally naked.

Now it’s your turn: Did you ever find yourself with an unexpected twin?

Related posts: Chapter Ten: Girly Boys

© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


23 Comments

  1. Mimmy Jain says:

    Yes, indeed. Twice. On one occasion, we both laughed it off and stuck together for the rest of the evening. On the other, my twin left early 🙂

  2. chsuresh63 says:

    That was a wonderful sign-off to an entertaining post, Mary! Psst – I still walk (waddle?) with toes pointing East and West 🙂

  3. suzjones says:

    Quite often at work. One of my colleagues has the exact same poncho like top except that mine is cream and hers was black. Then there were the days that all of the office staff simultaneously turned up wearing black and white. We laughed and called it our new staff uniform.
    Of course living in a small town where there are only one or two clothing outlets, you are bound to have twin occurrences. 🙂

  4. Such a great story, thank you for sharing. ajm

  5. Ralph says:

    When I read your posts Mary I am so reminded of “The Waltons” or “The Little House On the Prairie”. Your stories would make a fantastic TV series. xox ❤

  6. Can’t say I ever did – more a girl thing, I guess. As a rep. in London home counties in my twenties I was told I was the spitting image of another in my chosen calling. The customers we shared frequently claimed it was difficult to tell us apart. Now that would have been OK, but the other guy was called Mr. Duck, and – wait for it – he came from Aylesbury! If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…..

  7. Glynis Jolly says:

    Even though I think your schoolmate, Bonnie acted like a spoiled brat, I tried hard not to have the same dress in my closet, let alone on my person, as someone else. Because my mom liked sewing, I didn’t have to worry about it too much. Even if some other girl may have the same pattern of dress as mine, the changes of her having it in the same fabric was very slim.

    Your attitude towards the incident was right on. Make it a positive instead of a negative. ❤

  8. spunkybong says:

    Enjoyed reading this. Funny that folk like Bonnie have that reaction. I saw it once from the mother of a kid who turned up dressed exactly like my son. She had this look of having been violated in some way and muttered something like ‘how could you’ as if it had all been planned in advance. 😀

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Spunky, I’m trying to imagine what kind of outfit both a woman and your son would both be wearing. Each possibility brings a smile. And if it was within your power, I do think you might have done it on purpose.

  9. Elle Knowles says:

    Nope! And like you I never did see the problem with it!

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