Can’t Have Ice Cream Without Whipped Cream

twins at a restaurant Akwelle Vallis [35552091]

We used to throw our Barbies out the window — then we’d put them on neat little piles of sticks — in the back yard — and burn them.  They were witches–bad witches.  We weren’t exactly the good witches — putting nails and sometimes glass in mud pies and throwing them at that ugly boy — the one everyone called Little Man.  His real name was Howard. Such seemingly shy little girls who anxiously tore up napkins in restaurants but then foolishly risked life and limb swinging around the flag pole — after school — going higher and higher and higher—trying to outdo each other– while waiting for our dad to pick us up.  He was always late.  But he brought cookies or churros or that Chinese ginger-sesame candy he’d get from — I’m not even sure where.

Our dad kept a journal.  I only started reading it after he died.  I still look at it from time to time. His handwriting was always nice — memorable — beautiful — elegant, really.  Took my twin sister forever to get his signature down.  But once she did — no more after school gym class for us. Until our dad found out– and started picking us up–everyday– after school–for Squash lessons instead.

Our dad’s journal is like a cookbook — richly detailed with the hows and whys and ups and downs of his life.  He was the youngest of 4 — a surprise baby — but he felt loved and wanted by the whole family.  His mother was 50 when she had him.

Our dad was tall for his age–always looked much older– and was curious about everything— especially this one — worldly girl named Jackie — who lived upstairs.  She was 18 and he was 11.  Eleven!  He would race home — everyday — after school — to meet with Jackie. Upstairs. This went on daily–DAILY–until our dad left home for the Marine Corps at age 21.

No wonder he kept us busy everyday after school!





Not exactly night and day–but we are different.  I’m usually, but not always– the guinea pig–the one who tries new things first.  If all goes well– then my identical twin sister, Akwelle, might give it a shot.  We have completely different interpretations of everything.  We are more like complementary opposites–competitors, even.  We absolutely do not complete each other–as some might think.  We are individuals who just happen to look alike– twins.



Our mother, Alberta,  has come a long way since her stroke– last January. She is recovering well–but she still compares herself to the self she was before.  She has always had trouble sleeping.  But since the stroke–it’s gotten worse.  Tossing and turning at night-staying up–anxiously  wondering when she will see improvement.   My mom’s doctor suggested she take a magnesium supplement–an hour or two before bedtime.  He said it would ease her into a more relaxed state–for a more restful night’s sleep.




The magnesium supplement is working out well for our mom.  She still has to go to the bathroom a few times a night–but she is less restless, more at ease.




The other night– I was curious. I wanted to try the  magnesium supplement.  I told my twin sister, Akwelle, my plan.  “I don’t think that’s a good idea–given your sleep history,” Akwelle said.  My sleep history– what sleep history?  I had no idea what she was talking about.  Your sleepwalking! she said.

I had forgotten all about my sleepwalking episodes–once or twice in childhood– a few times in college and then once or twice after that.  Maybe 5-6-7 times total.  I have that under control– I don’t even think about it anymore.

Actually, by the time I told Akwelle my plan, I had already taken the magnesium.  And– I was already sensing a change.  Yawn, yawn. I was feeling  very relaxed. Akwelle’s concerns did not even rattle me  as  I settled into a cozy, sleepy zone-dropping into a calm ocean of marshmallowy fluffiness–down, down, down–all thoughts exiting my mind–  gone–blissfully asleep.



The next night– Akwelle tried the magnesium supplement.  She said she had a great night’s sleep.  Only– she dreamt she was the neighbor boy.