My Twin Cousins

Brenda S. Brown

Ronald and Donald were cousins on my mother's side of the family.  They were twins but they did not look alike and certainly did not behave the same way. We visited them at their home usually once a year to attend a family reunion; the boys were my age and they had one sister Linda, who was two years older.

When I was twelve, we bonded during our spring-time journey, we walked and toured the historic downtown area and they took me to see the massive swimming pool near their home.  Before we left that evening, they asked their mother if I could come for a longer visit and Aunt Clair arranged with my parents for a weeklong visit during our summer vacation.

The Griffith family lived in a massive white ante-bellum home; it was built on an immense large corner lot at the end a quiet street near downtown Carrollton.  There was a large apartment on one side of the house where the older Mr. and Mrs. Griffith resided; they were my maternal great-grand parents.

In the center of the house was a gigantic wooden staircase; a huge front and back porch, and there was also a smaller staircase that served the back part of the house.  Their living area was downstairs and most of the massive bedrooms were upstairs.  Looking back, several more families could have resided in that enormous house.

Donald was much taller and heavier than Ronald.  Donald played baseball and was a great swimmer;   Ronald was an honor student and he loved all kinds of music.  As far as I could tell, they were complete opposites.  When we went to church Donald sat in the back of the balcony and got in trouble for not paying attention.  Ronald sang in the choir and could play the piano.

Late one afternoon we set up their cumbersome hi-fi set in one of the front rooms and began listening to Ronald's 45 RPM record collection.  Donald soon bored of the activity and left to go play baseball with some friends. Ronald put on a favorite record and he and his sister began to dance.  It did not take long for them to offer to teach me the latest dance steps.

Daddy had already taught me to ballroom dance so I learned quickly.  By the time my visit as over, I had nearly forgotten the jitterbug and was enjoying doing the shag.  I think about my twin cousins every time I hear the Everly Brothers sing "All I have to do is dream"; that was Ronald's favorite song.

So, what happened to my twin cousins?  They both attended college and then found jobs.  Donald went into the construction business and contracted for a telephone company while Ronald became a florist and eventually opened his own flower shop.

Sadly, the twins apparently did have one thing in common; each one died while in their early forties as a result of a hereditary heart disease.


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