Switching Places

K&K youngsters
Then: Kandy (on left) and Kerry hang out at the Taquamenon Falls in the YOOP with their family sometime in the 1980s wearing unfortunate matching “bloomers” made by their loving grandmother.

I am an identical twin. And, yes, we have switched places. Just once. In 6th grade, when we were so exactly identical that the world was ours for the taking.

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Above: Kandy (on left) and Kerry hang out at the May 2016 GTWoman Luncheon with outfits that are not identical and that they actually like. 

It started because our cousins in the Yoop kept asking us if we’d ever switched. To be honest, we were the goodiest pair of two shoes you could find and we were shocked at the mere suggestion of it.

But the seed was planted. What would it take to mastermind such deceit?

Not much, it turned out.

By our 6th grade year, it had become something of a mystery to our Grandpa Nelson why we hadn’t switched places yet. Why not? he would ask, his eyes lighting up with glee at the potential of having a stunt double.

So it was all but a dare put out to us by our very own grandpa: We would switch classrooms. Mr. Solowiej and Mrs. Craker would be our hapless victims, fish in a barrel.

The plan was hatched: We’d switch at 2 p.m. on a Thursday with no tests or assignments due. We wouldn’t tell anyone. Our friends, especially our friends, would screw up the whole operation if they saw it going down. Better to make this an inside job, our first and last.

We wore identical outfits, fixed our hair the same and had only one defining characteristic: tiny little stud earrings. One set green, the other blue. Our mother kissed us goodbye unaware that her sweet twins had gone evil in the night.

We were a mess of nerves all day as we sat in our respective classes awaiting the designated time. At 2 p.m., we both asked to use the bathroom. And, because we were always so good, we had no doubt our teachers would say yes.

We met in the hallway.

Well. Should we?    

It was the moment of (in)decision. We almost didn’t follow through but then we raced to the bathroom, confirmed how identical we looked in the mirror and high-fived. Off we went to each other’s room, sliding into each other’s desk, completely sure this would get us expelled.

But we both went undetected. Without a hitch. For first 10, then 20 minutes. We started to relax into our role reversal, feeling invincible and brave and undercover. What else could we get away with after today?

Which is just when my (Kerry’s) teacher announced a spelling quiz. Complete and utter panic ricocheted through my chest. Should I just take the quiz and hope I didn’t ruin my sister’s grade? No way. Kerry was the unforgiving type.

Instead, I raised my hand and asked for yet another bathroom break. Which I was granted without question, my good reputation serving me again, even as I lied for the second time that hour.

I raced across the hallway to the other room and flagged my sister down from the doorway. Finally Kerry looked up and almost flipped out. Were we busted????? She casually (frantically) asked for her second bathroom break and came out.

“What!!!” Kerry screeched in a whisper.

“You have a pop quiz!” I said.

“What!!!” Kerry screeched in another whisper.

And then we started rolling with giggles. Our deception was over and we were happy to be going back to our normal, safe, true identity. For added flair, when we saw Mrs. Mayville coming down the hall, we split up like Bonnie and Clyde, out of sight before she got to us.

After school was over, after Kerry had aced her own test, we decided we had to tell our teachers what we’d done, the guilt too much.

But when we confessed, we got the surprise: They did not believe us. In fact, refused to believe us, laughed us out of the room. It was hard to feel invincible after that.

That was the first and last time we switched places. To this day, we are still mistaken for each other on the street, at work, at school. It’s an innocent mistake and we get it. But if you CAN tell us apart, we instantly fall in love with you. Believe us.

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