I was born an identical twin. Mostly, it was fun to be a twin. Total strangers would come up to me and hit me on the upper arm and say, " Oh, so you're being a snob today! I know you saw me; you looked right at me" . also, people tended to think we were exactly alike in character but I was a bit more shy than she was and came on slower while my twin was more boisterous.

My twin was born close to 20 minutes before me. Our personalities were very different. The lady who tended to us while our parents worked told me my twin got all the initial attention because she was so active and responsive, while I just lay there quietly as if I was in deep thought thinking about something important...[I probably was! ]

She told me her heart went out to me from the first because of this trait.I stayed in close contact with her until she passed on. I was 23 and pregnant with my daughter at the time. Edna referred to my son, (born 6 years earlier) as her grandson and told me she would not get to meet my daughter because she would not be alive by then. I didn't want to believe her. I was due in four months.She had congestive heart failure, which I did not understand at the time. She died a couple of months before my daughter was born.

On the second day I was home from the hospital, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my husband, all lights in the rest of the house were off. My daughter gave a piercing scream from the bedroom as if she had been frightened by something. I ran toward the bedroom and as I got to the hallway leading to it, It felt like I'd bumped into someone I had not seen. My husband told me I yelled out " Edna! " just before I fainted. My husband said our daughter had quieted down while he was dealing with me and when he checked on her she was sleeping like an angel.

I will always be convinced it was Edna, the wonderful woman who raised us, there to see her " grand daughter" . And since infants are so psychic soon after birth, my child was startled by someone she didn't know. I regret only that my reaction was so extreme because I think she might have manifested again had I not reacted so.

I have enjoyed quite an eventful life, a full social life, people from all walks of life. My profession allowed me to relate with the public and many of them became friends.

I am retired now, and much less inclined to the hustle and bustle of a heavy social life. I have settled into a contented state of existence some refer to as solitude although I retain several old friends with whom I share many of the things I've always enjoyed doing. I am not lonely. There were times I felt lonely in a Crowd or among people with whom I related often...One of my poems is on the issue of feeling lonely in a crowd. I surely have known that feeling.

I think feeling lonely is related to being around those with whom you share too few values. We all change as we age. I think when people change and adopt different values, they also require different friends. So people drift away from each other. But anyone I have ever loved, I still love; only now it's their memory that's loved. I think of them often and enjoy through memory, the wonderful times we shared. I have found that it's not necessary to be in close proximity to appreciate and savor experiences shared.

So far, my memory is fine and I love to recall my halcyon days in the sun sipping Pina-Coladas and playing Pente with friends under a beach umbrella...or dancing the night away, or sharing jokes around a campfire, or fishing off a bridge piling, or being in an overloaded canoe in a river narrow enough to swim to shore if necessary, or sailing my 14 foot wet sailboat all over the bay, from Tampa to the St. Pete. side and back, or partying.I can tell some great stories about the times I would go to a Halloween party at which I knew only the hosts. Some of the costumes were hilarious and memorable.

Sometimes we'd have friends with a truck waiting for us at the St. Pete side. They preferred to fish from the bank, so all were pleased with the overall plan, set up if it got too late before we set out. I loved to tempt the fates, but not too much and...I made it out of all my experiences alive! And with wonderful memories. But....I just recalled an escapade I had with a friend who owned a home fronting the Withlacoochee River. We got the bright idea of heading downriver to a place owned by an elderly couple who also lived on the river.It was already dusk so we knew it would be dark before we reached our friends. They promised to hold lanterns up for us to be able to identify their place. It turned out to be a moonless night. It got so dark on that river we could not see where the river ended and the sky began or where we were on the river. Every time it curved, we headed straight to the river's edge and had to shove ourselves away from the bank and return to the middle current. I shudder to think of the tree branches our heads brushed up against! We kept running into tree branches barely out of the water and I don't know how we didn't capsize that canoe. I asked my friend what were the sounds and grunts we kept hearing and she said, " alligators." My heart almost stopped knowing this. They may have been saying to each other, " Look at these two fools out on the water..." for all I know.

Well, obviously we made it and I have good cause to appreciate that elderly couple, now deceased, for being willing to wait for us holding their lanterns and then driving us back to my friend's place. Otherwise we would have sailed into oblivion ~ because my nerves would not have held up much longer.

So, now you know what an irresponsible, fun-loving jerk I was as a younger woman. But sometimes we grow up.

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