Wednesday, August 31, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

     September 1 is my mother's birthday and I take this opportunity to publicly wish her a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Every birthday she would get a card specially made by my twin and me. I have kept up the tradition and for sure Janine's name is still listed with the words 'looking down from heaven' beside it.  This year I have decorated the card with things that Janine and I were big enthusiasts of - birds and flowers from around the world.

  Here are also some pictures of Mom over the years.                  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

       As I approach my mom's birthday on September 1, I have decided to post again this special tribute with a few changes! I wrote it earlier this year for Mother's Day. I am blessed to have such a wonderful mother.



    From the early age of 13 years old I have only had one parent, my mother, Kathleen Naomi Haughton-James ( nee Lindo).  She became a widow on August 14, 1975, when my  father Harry collapsed and died of a heart attack while performing his duties as a Councillor in the St.Mary Parish Council on the tropical island of Jamaica.

    Since that fateful day I have been amazed at the strength that she has displayed when she encountered what I call the valleys on this journey called life. It is not that she did not display sadness for the loss of her husband when she was only 47 years old but managed to have the strength in holding it together and taking care of her family. It was a strength noticed not only by her family. I can never forget the words that someone said to her shortly after my father's death - "Mrs. James, there are so many beautiful things about you, but probably the most beautiful of them all, is your ability to take knocks."

     The person who said this died some years ago, but little did he know that come October 16, 2008 mom would have suffered yet another blow, that of the death of her youngest child and my identical twin sister Janine.  Again she showed all the signs of loss and it was more difficult then as she was now a lady in her 80s.  However again she held it together and was a tower of strength for me. I keep saying to her "God certainly knew how important it was for you to have been around when Janine died." We have been through our trials together and her strength has helped to pilot me through my darkest hour.

     Of utmost importance is her strong Christian faith which has never faltered despite the circumstances that she has encountered. This has been such a good example for me who in turn leaned on this faith to carry me through the most challenging period of my life. I am truly blessed to have her as my mother.  Every day I give God thanks for giving me such a special mother.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

               It is a time of excitement for me as I am a big sports fan. Yippee!  The World Games are on in Daegu, South Korea! Over the years Janine and I have been big fans of these games. You would see us seated in our living-room with our eyes glued to the television taking in the events.

        As Jamaicans excelled on the track we would cheer and oh what a thrill it was when we saw the Jamaican flag held aloft by fans or making its way up a pole as our national anthem was played.  I will never forget the joy Janine shared with me a few months before her death in 2008 as she watched every moment of Jamaica's exceptional performance at the Olympics.

         We have always been big sports fans paying close attention to athletics, football, cricket,  netball etc. We watched and listened  to sports newscasts  and sports programmes so much that we knew even some of the results and names of  top personalities in games that we were not necessarily big fans of.
           Well, there was some disappointment today when our top athlete, Usain Bolt, was disqualified in the men's 100m race. Anyway Jamaicans had something to cheer about as another Jamaican, Yohan Blake, won the race and became the youngest world champion ever over this distance. 

        Sports certainly teaches us life lessons. It makes us realize that nothing is certain in life and  the winner is only known after the event. Anyway I hope Usain will bounce back. As one of my favourite quotations states "It is not whether you get knocked down, it is whether you get back up." - Vince Lombardi

          If there is one game that I would like to learn how to play and get some good exercise in the process, it would be lawn tennis. I tried table tennis in the past but just for a little fun. If you are a sports fan, which game is your favourite? Is there a game that you wish you played or are currently playing?  

Thursday, August 25, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James
Judy ( left) & Janine ( right)
        A few days ago I got a wonderful surprise when I received this picture from my first cousin Marlene Bryant, a professional photographer who lives in Massachusetts, U.S.A. Janine and I were very family conscious and always happy to receive visits from relatives. We got a special treat when Marlene visited as she would be armed with her special cameras ready to take pictures of us and our family. I have several pictures that she took of us over the years but it was the first time that I was seeing this one. 

       Janine and I enjoyed roaming around our farm as Marlene captured pictures of us. Here we were seated beside a breadfruit tree. We loved pictures taken in the midst of nature.

         I shared this picture with my Facebook friends and it brought back quite a few memories of our high school days. For one it reminded me that many years ago we wore our watches on opposite hands. Our former schoolmate Celia who is keen commented on this ! Others remembered that Janine was always the one with the bright smile. Sophia even remembered that one of us had a scar. Oh, that was me! This was a slight scar I had after a cut above my right eye when I was very young. However it faded with time so was hardly seen by many!:) Another friend Marjorie said she could vividly picture the days when she saw us waiting for our ride home.This picture was indeed a pleasant surprise!

Monday, August 22, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

        Yeah!  This is Blog Post 100 and it is just under 6 months since I started this Blog.  I  got connected to the internet shortly after my twin sister's death in 2008 and I remember my cousin Audrey in New York suggesting that I start a Blog then. I was not in the frame of mind as yet and furthermore there was still quite a bit to learn about using the internet!

          I have been a Freelance writer for many years and just about every writer's publication that I receive stresses the importance of a writer having a Blog. Well, I finally took the plunge in March of this year and decided it would be about issues that I am very passionate about - being twins, becoming twinless and the many interests that my twin and I shared.

          It has been a difficult journey but I am happy that I have not only been able to look at the sad times but the good times.  I actually started the Blog with a poem titled 'BEING TWINS' which summed up the life that my twin and I shared for almost 47 years. In these posts I have covered a wide range of subjects.

           I want to thank the many persons who have visited this Blog, those who have become Followers and those who have written comments. So far I have had visitors from 114 countries. I know many of these persons are not twins or twinless twins, yet they have shown interest in my posts. As the saying goes "Gratitude is the right attitude."  I look forward to your continued support and welcome many more Followers and comments. Until we meet again on Blog Post 101, Take care and greetings from my 'Island in the sun - Jamaica!"

Friday, August 19, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

        This is a question that we often have to answer when filling out some profiles or answering questions by friends, relatives etc.  In my last post I wrote about the mystery books that my twin sister and I liked during our childhood.

          Over the years we read a wide variety of books and every now and then some friends would mention Danielle Steel as one of their favourite authors. Janine and I then decided to start reading some of her books. The titles that I can recall right now are "Kaleidoscope," "Secrets" and "Now And Forever."  We both found her to be a very good author and decided that we would definitely read more of her books.

           When Janine died there was actually one of Danielle Steel's books here waiting to be read. However it was over 1 year after her death before I managed to read it. At first I read many inspirational books, books on Twin Loss etc. Then suddenly one day while going through some things I came across the book. One word in the title struck me. Here is the title, "THE HOUSE ON HOPE STREET." I wonder how many persons can guess which word was it. If you guessed 'HOPE,' you are so right. 

           I started reading and I wondered if I made the right decision as I was scared of anything  with the slightest hint of sadness. Nevertheless I pressed on and was happy that I read it as it had a happy ending. As Danielle Steel so aptly said about this book "The House on Hope Street is about learning to live again after you think life is over.  It is about cherishing small miracles and believing in big ones.  It is above all about hope."

          These days I have been busy reading Blogs, newsletters, magazines etc. but it is about time that I also find time to read some novels again even if it takes longer than usual.  Remember I must also find time for writing!

         Well, there is yet another Danielle Steel book waiting to be read!  It came all the way from my Australian cousin Christine and what a wonderful title it has - " Safe Harbour."  Even more impressive for me are these words at the top of the book " Believe in Happy Endings."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

       Some persons may think that this mystery that I am writing about is who is Judy and who is Janine in our baby pictures. You are wrong! I am here thinking about the days when Janine and I just loved reading mystery books. Actually this trend started when we were quite young as we were big fans of the Bobbsey Twin series.  No surprise eh?! Twins would have to be in there somewhere and there were 2 sets of fraternal twins featured, Bert and Fran and Flossie and Freddie. 
       We eagerly looked forward to receiving these books from our mom especially among our birthday and Christmas gifts.  Speaking of the Bobbsey twin books, I did some research and found out that 72 books were published from 1904 - 1979, then a separate series of 30 books were published from 1987 - 1992. That means that there were a lot of them that we did not get to read! Anyway I found it interesting that the ones we read were written under the pseudonym Laura Lee Hope but the author's right name was Edward Stratemeyer. However it is believed that some of the books were written by other authors.  

     As we got older we started reading the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series as well as Agatha Christie novels. As a matter of fact we even watched some episodes of the Nancy Drew Series on television. I have not read a mystery book in ages but I can remember that whenever I read one I could hardly put it down as I wondered what would happen next and how it would all end!

Monday, August 15, 2011


"Go within every day and find inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out." - Katherine Dunham

"Patience, persistence and perseverance. A little more each day, a little better each day." - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

"Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it does not get you anywhere." - Anonymous

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." - Les Brown

"The three Cs of life: choices, chances, changes ~ You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change." - Facebook Status Shuffle

"When life takes you to places you didn't imagine you would be,doing things you didn't think you could do, hold on with both hands and say WOOO HOOO!" - Facebook Status Shuffle

"Never settle for anything less than you deserve...don't let anyone define you. Make your own definition." - Facebook Status Shuffle.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


  By Judy Haughton-James 
      August 14, is another anniversary of the day that my father departed this life.  Recently Mom and I were going through some scrapbooks and we came across this poem that was distributed by someone on the day of his funeral. I wish I knew the man or could even find out his name now. My father was a very popular politician and had a large funeral. Nevertheless although I was only 13 years old when he died I remember seeing this man distributing the poem at his funeral. I wish I knew who wrote it. Anyway my family and I are truly grateful for this wonderful poem that he wrote based on the words COUNCILLOR HAROLD HAUGHTON-JAMES. This is definitely the father that I knew and will always remember!


Councillor Harold Haughton-James
Outstanding senior citizen many sided too
Under the banner of brotherhood did unite
Noteworthy path-finder by day by night
Continued with patriotic qualities in His might
In the service of the community always
Labored relentlessly throughout life's days
Loyal Local Leader suddenly you're silent
O cruel tragedy triumph over the prominent
Rare beloved Mayor died on duty so lament.

History shall uphold your example in esteem
And posterity shall honour although you're not seen
Riches of ideal high are treasured than gold
On footprints of the noble there's measures untold
Late Great Caretaker we tribute to you pay
Death brings separation as you pass away.

Humility's crown doth mark thee for its own
And without fear or favour led in your town
Unfinished though your task you braved the storm
Great be your reward on that Holy morn
Honesty's policy displayed with delight
The ages testify of its perfection over right
O mortal consequences will baleful end
Never shall man be immune; be it foe or friend.

Jamaica laments much and St. Mary in particular
As many gather on this sad day to pay respect and honour.
Melancholy's mountain of pity today we share
Eminent and able character tributes declare
Singular man of Sandside hail "Martyr of St. Mary dear."

Friday, August 12, 2011


      It was so great to see this video posted by a member of the Facebook group 'GRIEVING SIBLINGS.'  What a week this has been for me!  I have experienced a lot of pain etc.  However this song has certainly lifted my spirit, especially after visiting my twin sister's grave on Tuesday. 

      Well, there was some good news also! As was in the case in June I was informed this week that I was top member for July at Savvy 24 Seven, a social network for professionals! Life has its ups and downs but as one of my favourite Facebook Status Shuffle quotes states "We cannot change the cards we are dealt in life but we can change how we play the hand."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

      Yesterday after having a terrible toothache in the morning I rushed off to my dentist. I am not among those persons who dread going to the dentist but still I do not eagerly look forward to going there. However I almost ran into his office as the pain was so bad. 

       Early in the morning I kept thinking about November 4, 2008, my first birthday without my twin sister. She died on October 16 and was buried on November 1. Of course that was not a birthday that I was in the mood to celebrate. I decided that it was going to be treated like just another day and suddenly I called my dentist and made an appointment.

        I got up on that birthday morning and headed off to the dentist. Being in the dentist's chair, getting injections and a filling was so fitting for what I considered a day of torture. The dentist did ask me some questions about Janine and her death but I made sure not to mention that the day was in fact our birthday.  

        Although I have been to the dentist since then, these memories raged in my mind yesterday  but with God's help I managed to be strong. I was determined that despite having an extraction and some discomfort I would stop at the cemetery and visit her grave on my way home. I stayed there for awhile and was relieved to see that some artificial flowers that were put on her grave in December 2010 still looked good.  I know that my sister's spirit is not in that grave but I will never forget the words on her tombstone " I THANK MY GOD UPON REMEMBRANCE OF YOU." Philippians 1:3

Monday, August 8, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

Souvenir Plate which we got for Mom while on a school trip
       Last Saturday, August 6, Jamaica celebrated its 49th year of Independence. As always it brought back wonderful memories of  the Festival events which provided a great deal of excitement for Janine and me over the years.  Although we did not live in Kingston, the capital of our country, or a major town we did not miss out on the celebrations. We would be glued to the television and radio for live and delayed coverage of the big events as we enjoyed Jamaica's culture in all its glory.

       The Festival Song or Popular Song competition was our No. 1 favourite.  We would eagerly listen out for the contestants every year and watch the videos to decide which one we would like to win.  Like many Jamaicans we often gravitated to the ones with the fast moving mento beat and patriotic lyrics. On the night of the finals we would not go to bed no matter how late it was as we anxiously awaited the announcement of the winning song.  There have been many good songs over the years and it was always a big treat for us to hear the radio stations play a line-up of the winners at Independence time each year.  Our favourites included those by Eric Donaldson, Roy Rayon, The Astronauts and Stanley and the Turbines.

     Jamaica has good singers in every genre of music so it came as no surprise when in 1987 a Gospel Song competition became a part of the celebrations. This competition delivered a variety of inspirational songs coming from new gospel singers who could rival many of our established gospel singers. 

       The Festival Queen Contest where representatives from all the parishes vied to become Miss Jamaica Festival Queen was yet another favourite.  Year after year each parish queen was given an opportunity to showcase her cultural awareness, talent, creativity as well as knowledge of her parish and country. Whenever each queen graced the stage this was an opportunity to boast the best gowns made by Jamaica's designers and seamstresses.

       There was a time when dressing up in the fashion for Festival was a must for many. Janine and I did get dresses made in some of these fashions and I remember our favourites were those years when calico, stripes and polka dots were the fashions chosen.

       It was also good to watch the various competitions in song, dance, drama, speech, painting, craft, sculpture, culinary arts etc.  This is when the best from every parish would proudly strut their stuff. Mello-Go-Round would eventually be the big family event where the winners in speech, dance, traditional folk forms and music would give us an excellent package of entertainment.

       The big finale was always the Grand Gala on Independence Day where you would see a huge float parade, culminating in a grand affair at the National Stadium showcasing marching bands, costumed groups, effigies of former leaders and cultural icons, dance groups, choirs, folk groups, popular singers and much more.  All in all it was a time of great celebration. These wonderful memories will certainly live on!

Friday, August 5, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

      If anyone ever asked Janine and me what is your favourite music hardly a second would pass before we would shout REGGAE!  We just love this fast pulsating beat that originated right here on our Caribbean island of Jamaica in the 1960s. Bob Marley died 30 years ago yet he is our most recognized reggae singer. When you hear his songs you can't believe that they were made so long ago as they are still relevant today.

      It has been a proud moment to see how this music has gained international recognition topping charts from time to time and even being used in foreign films and commercials. It has also been part of the entertainment on many top shows.

      Reggae has become a sensation for decades now.  Over the years Jamaicans who have held prominent positions on foreign charts include Boris Gardener, Sophia George, Ken Boothe, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Shaggy, among others.

     It has made such an impact that singers from other countries have made reggae songs which became quite popular. A big hit in 1972 was Johnny Nash's song 'I Can See Clearly Now.' It stayed 4 weeks in the No. 1 spot on the Pop charts. Way back in 1990 when Janine and I wrote an article titled "Reggae and its future" for the Daily Gleaner, the British group Beat's international reggae song "Dub Be Good To Me" went to No. 1 on the U.K.national charts, while UB 40's 'Kingston Town' made it to the No.4 spot.  Both songs were also successful in the Netherlands as they became No.1 hits there. 
       For many years Reggae Sunsplash drew large crowds of visitors to our shores and Jamaicans to enjoy some of our top reggae singers and groups as well as some foreign performers. In recent years it has been replaced by Reggae Sumfest which has also become a big event on Jamaica's entertainment calendar every summer.

      When it comes on  to favourites I must say that Janine and I have had so many over the years -Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Beresford Hammond, Jimmy Cliff, Marcia Griffiths, Freddy McGregor, Shaggy, Rita Marley etc. I could go on and on and on!

      These days I am also among many persons who like to hear our gospel singers singing songs to a reggae beat. You feel the spirit every time! I also like what is now called dancehall reggae. Give me reggae any time in its many forms!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Ackees now bearing on the tree in our backyard
            All our lives Janine and I have lived on a farm in a rural area of Jamaica so ackee trees abound where we are. Right in our backyard there is a big ackee tree which was never planted by anyone. It obviously sprung up from a seed that had fallen there.  As a matter of fact it has weathered many a storm. In one instance it was badly damaged while heavily laden with ackees.  We even thought it would not survive but survive it did and my family and I have enjoyed our national dish, ackee and salt fish, at different times of the year.      
        This dish has always been a favourite meal for Janine and me.  For many it is a wonderful breakfast but we have enjoyed it for breakfast and lunch.  We have it with roast breadfruit, fried breadfruit, boiled bananas and green or ripe plantains.  Strangely enough we were never among persons who enjoyed it with rice.
       Above is a picture of a few ackees on our tree which has just started to bear again.  Ackees should only be picked from trees when the yellow fruit with a black seed is clearly visible in the scarlet pod.  There are a variety of ways to prepare it. Most times it is boiled and cooked with seasoning and salt fish. However some persons have even experimented with it by eating it with something other than salt fish. We have enjoyed some of these dishes but ackee and salt fish was always No. 1 for Janine and me and will continue to hold that top spot for me and my family.
An opened ackee as featured on a souvenir

Monday, August 1, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

     This week is what I call Jamaica Week here on my Blog as we celebrate 2 national holidays - Emancipation Day (August 1) and Independence Day (August 6). I will discuss some of the Jamaican things that number among favourites for Janine and me.

       One of our favourites is Jamaica's national bird, the Jamaican Streamer Tail Hummingbird. For several years he has not been seen in my area. I can remember the days when he was a regular visitor to our garden. Some years ago Janine and I were so surprised when we saw one sitting on the front gate of our verandah. Unfortunately he did not linger around long enough for us to take a picture. 

        I keep hoping that one of these days this bird will come my way again. Recently I have been lucky where hummingbirds are concerned as twice I have looked through my kitchen window and seen what seems to be the female of the species lingering near a papaya tree in our backyard. Again she was gone in the flash of an eye.

       I am sure in some areas of Jamaica others are having a chance to see this bird. Visitors to our island may not get to see him live and direct but for sure there is no shortage of souvenirs with this national symbol.  Above are two candlesticks that I have featuring this bird.

       If a hummingbird comes in close proximity you will have no doubt as to how he got his name as the vibrations of his wings make a humming sound. Wing-beats are said to range from 50 to 200 per second.  Interestingly his heart beats over 1,000 times per minute.  An unique feature is his ability to fly backwards and up and down like a helicopter; a skill attributed to his well-developed flight muscles.

      John James Audubon, the great American naturalist, described hummingbirds as "glittering fragments of the rainbow" and no better description befits our national bird. Popularly known as the "Doctor Bird" his plumage is vivid iridescent emerald green which shines gold or electric blue in the brilliant sunlight of our "Island in the Sun."  His head, beady eyes, small feet and 8 in. - 10 in. long tail feathers are all black, while his narrow wings are golden-brown.

      Like others in the hummingbird family he feeds on insects and nectar.  An easily tamed bird, it is a delight to watch him feeding from a tilted bottle of syrup set up by bird lovers. It is about 3 in. long excluding its tail and you will only find him in Jamaica.


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