It’s so strange when you catch sight of someone else in your own face. When my sister and I were growing up you’d probably say that we weren’t the least bit similar. Although we were very close, friends as well as sisters we weren’t alike in personality or appearance. I was older but in many ways, once we had grown out of being little girls, my sister took the role of the eldest. I was forgetful, absent-minded, got excited about odd things which diverted me from what I was supposed to be doing or where we were supposed to be going; my sister was given the tickets, the passports, the money, she kept an eye on the time and the direction we were supposed to be going in. Although I do have a practical side and I’m quick thinking and look for solutions, she was practical in a different way, a more everyday way. Me and my sister
To look at us you would see our family history; I was an Elsden, I was a Walford – she was an Allen and a Matthews – so we each had something from our mum and our dad’s side. I was dark, she was fairer, I had brown eyes she had grey-green, I tanned as quickly as anything, she had fairer skin. I was chunky and broad-shouldered, she was slimmer and slighter. She was stubborn, I was eager to please, she was determined, I was easily diverted and had a tendency to give up – on some things. I was interested in reading and studying, interested in pursuing my education, she was more interested in practical things – although she did way better than me in exams despite how hard I studied and worked for them.
With my two children I see aspects of myself and my husband in both of them, but I also see aspects of my parents. I also see them as me and my sister – one is dark and one is fair, but both have green-grey eyes. One is interested in academic pursuits, one is practical – although both did well academically. There are aspects of their character which reflects me and my sister. They do of course have physical and character traits of their father – but as an only child, he didn’t have a sibling to be different from or similar to!
Last week when I was visiting my sister in her care home, I had to do one of those tests where you stick a wand down your throat and up your nose – the first time I’d had to do it. I looked in the mirror, and suddenly I saw my sister looking at me. I had never seen such a likeness between us before, but suddenly it was as if she was me! It was quite a shock, and when I went in to visit her – at a distance of course, and masked and gowned and gloved, we did have a chuckle at the idea of the Elsden twins. I suddenly remembered, when we were younger – particularly when we were in the swimming club, we were known as the Elsden girls. I wonder if we always looked more like each other than I realised?