Exasperated, our mother threatened to give us to the butcher for sausages

Family Fortunes: It was almost extravagant to give birth to twins during the Emergency

One Christmas, one twin ordered a train set and the other a Meccano Set. Poor Santa could not distinguish one sleeping twin from the other and alas gave the wrong gift to each.  Photograph: istock

One Christmas, one twin ordered a train set and the other a Meccano Set. Poor Santa could not distinguish one sleeping twin from the other and alas gave the wrong gift to each. Photograph: istock

 

Early in the war – January 1940 – my mother, rather extravagantly in the light of the shortages of the time, had twins.

Her life was disrupted in these early days, she claimed, by the twins’ agreement (who subsequent history shows never agreed about anything) to set up a roster so that when one twin had cried himself to sleep the other took over.

When we were three or four we had exasperated her so much she threatened to give us to Dan Loughner – the local butcher to make sausages and so, when next in town shopping, we refused to accompany her when she went into Loughners to buy meat.

During the war, the Emergency to us, there was rationing, which included clothing, and stamps were required so it was not easy to replace damaged or worn out clothes.

This did not occur to young boys who found delight in sitting , on a warm summers day, in melted tar on the road and twirling around in such a way as to completely ruin recently purchased trousers!

They fight about everything!

At a later stage, one Christmas, one twin ordered a train set and the other a Meccano set. Poor Santa could not distinguish one sleeping twin from the other and alas gave the wrong gift to each.

It would be easy to solve this by exchanging gifts you would think. Not so! The twin who got the train was quite happy with it whereas the other wanted to change. The outcome is shrouded in the mists of time.

In secondary school weekly reports were sent home reporting progress, or otherwise, to be signed by a parent and returned. Our English teacher was also passionate about gardening and every boy who helped in the garden got high points in English.

Again, poor teacher, could not tell which twin helped and solved the problem by giving high points to both.

Many, many years later, on returning from a day on the mountains, the daughter of one complained to her mother – “they fight about everything!”

Oh, the joy of twins!

We would love to receive your family memories, anecdotes, traditions, mishaps and triumphs. Email 400 words and a relevant photograph to familyfortunes@irishtimes.com. A fee will be paid

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