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Dickeybirds

By Peter Heneghan
March 2006, Cardiff
A digital story from Capture Wales

One named Peter, one named Paul...

An identical twin, Peter was born in Dublin into a family of 12. Having a name like Peter is not so imaginative and neither is Paul, but put them together... and so began the soundtrack to Peter's childhood.

"Having names like ours was never going to make for a dull life? Peter is not so imaginative. Neither is Paul, but put them together and you are asking for trouble.

My sister had tried to convince my parents to call us 'Tom and Jerry', so I suppose we did get off lightly.

I have often wondered how my dad must have felt when my Mam broke the news that she was expecting - Twins!!! Three years later my youngest sister arrived bringing their grand total to ten.

One of my most disturbing childhood memories was watching my teacher, in the first week of school, flapping about on stage singing the nursery rhyme, "Two little dickey birds." Then began the soundtrack to my childhood. On discovering that Paul and I are twins, people often enquire about what it must be like. A few jokes about mistaken identity and telepathy would follow and the conversation would move on without the question ever truly being answered.

So what is it actual like to be a twin?

Having a brother like Paul is unique. It's having a best man everyday of your life: a person, who I can always rely on, who does his best to makes sure life runs smooth; grounding me when I need to stand firm and telling the bad joke when I need a good laugh. I would like to think I am the same to him.

As we grow up, we spread our wings, experience new worlds, new people and new cultures, safe in the knowledge that if needed we will be there for each other. .

Maybe there is some truth in that blasted nursery rhyme: Fly away Peter, Fly away Paul, come back Peter, come back Paul."

Peter Heneghan

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