Vera aspired to be a singer like her hero, Edith Piaf, but only sang quietly in the wee small hours of the morning when her Siamese twin Mildred was asleep. From the very beginning of their lives, Mildred got the most attention. Vera was timid and often neglected. Mildred played tenor saxophone at family gatherings while Vera bobbed her head listlessly, dreaming hacksaw dreams.
Mildred played first chair in the school band, and was voted most likely to succeed; in the yearbook photograph Mildred is smiling brightly while the side of Vera’s glum head can be seen escaping from the frame.
The final band concert of the year came along, and Mildred had a solo at the finale. Vera snuck a hammer in a pocket on her side of their shared slacks, knocking Mildred out cold just before the solo. Instead of attempting the sax, Vera had her chance to show everyone the incredible voice she had. She burst into a rendition of “Always”. She received a standing ovation. Mildred eventually woke up as a swarm of people surrounded them.
“Mildred, we didn’t know you could play sax and sing…” a friend said in astonishment