Possibly my favorite thing about reading is that I always learn something new. Reading Alice McDermott's Someone last week was no exception. But I have to wonder why what I learned took me so long. Where have I been? First, a comment about this book: I really enjoyed it. It is what I call a 'quiet' book - no murders, no big drama, just a beautifully told story about one "unremarkable woman's unforgettable life".
What did I learn that I had never heard before? The term Irish Twins. Me, the person who has long read and identified with everything Irish! The definition of Irish twins is roughly, "children born in succession within one year." Just like the term "No Irish Need Apply", "Irish Twins" has a similar derogatory connotation from the tide of immigrants coming to America to escape the potato famine in Ireland.
Our family has had a few sets of actual twins in the last hundred years, beginning with Dad's Uncle Lawrence's Bernard and Bernadine in the 1920's. Thirty some years later, another of Dad's cousins had twin daughters. (His Uncle Leslie's daughter, Elvera.)
Here are those twins, Lois and Linda with their mother, Elvera, and my Grandma Bessie (Dad's Mom) off to the right side.
Twins continued with my brother's born in 1974. Yes, they turned 40 in January. This photo of them was always one of my favorites:
Ron with Andrew and Ruth with Lorrie.
My niece, Lorrie, would grow up, marry, and have her own twins, sons Aidan and Erick. The above picture was their birth announcement. They lived on Rose Garden Lane at the time. Cute and creative, huh? That's my niece.
So, while my brother has actual twin grandchildren, I have two sets of those Irish Twins - my oldest son's children, Zachary and Katrina:
Zachary was born September 10, '85 and Katrina was born the following August 27, 1986.
And my younger son's Ki and Kathryn. These two are exactly eleven months apart, September 14, '92 and August 14, '93. They really were mistaken as twins when younger.
So now that I understand what Irish Twins are, I'll be aware if there are any more in our family. Wonder what I'll learn new in the next book I read?
Addendum: After reading this post, Elvera's oldest daughter got in touch to tell me she also has twins - a boy and a girl. I have to conclude that twins do run in families, in our case, the Duncan clan. I also thought of another set of 'Irish Twins' - my cousin Glen's oldest boys, Kevin and Kendall born about 11 months apart.