The lockstep of their boyhood and adolescence is forever. That seems the rule. Brothers sometimes can drift apart, growing at different stages, but twins? The food was the same food at the same time. Every day. Every meal. The clothes were the same clothes, Grady Mae dressing her identical boys until they were 12 in identical outfits, but sewing a different color thread inside each shirt and each pair of pants in an attempt to avoid arguments about possession. The experiences were the same experiences, matching steps taken on the same paths, tests taken under the eyes of the same teachers, lessons learned at the same time.
"We always slept in the same room," Horace says.
"We pulled our beds right together," Harvey says. "That's how we slept every night. Right next to each other. We'd hold each other's hand during storms."
"I always wanted to know where he was," Horace says. "I wouldn't go to sleep unless I knew he was next to me. I'd wake up in the middle of the night, edge my foot over, just to feel for his foot. To know he was still there."
Life in Sparta was rural and basic. The countryside was a playground without fences. There wasn't much money—Grady Mae and her husband divorced when the twins were small; an older sister and a younger brother also were among the children in the small house—but if you don't see a lot of people with a lot of money, how do you know you need it? Horace was known as the quiet twin. Harvey was more outgoing. They were two slender kids, growing out of their clothes at the same time, Horace always in the lead, Harvey soon to follow. They had none of the terrors of big-city living, the neighbors being quick to report any transgressions they spotted.
This did not mean that there was no trouble. Twins can find trouble without finding anyone else. Did they have fights? They fought each other everywhere. Every day. Every way. The best one ended when Harvey took a kitchen fork and stuck it in Horace's...well, stuck it in the meat of Horace's nine-minute-older backside. Grady Mae was not home, so Horace simply left the fork in his rear end as evidence. Harvey pleaded with him to remove the fork, please. Horace said that evidence was evidence. Grady Mae caught sight of it and went for Harvey with the switch. Horace suddenly was pleading with her not to hit his brother. He said Harvey really didn't mean to stick that fork in his backside.
"We're in the NBA," Horace says. "The first time we played against each other, I'm going in for a dunk. Harvey comes from behind and just hits me upside the head! Wipes me out. I didn't know what hit me. Someone says, as we're running down the floor, 'Horace, that was your brother who did that.' I say, 'He's done a lot worse than that.' "
Through everything there was the constant confusion, the fare of all Haylcy Mills movies ever made about twins. Which was which? Who was who? There were not a lot of tricks, but a few. One twin once went to a class for another. One twin said that he had done his own chores and that the other had not. Little things. There also were touches of that psychic connection that twins supposedly have. One seemed almost eerie.
"We were about 12 or 13," Horace says. "I had a dream one night that I had been given a new Corvette. I was driving it everywhere. I woke up and told Harvey my dream. He said he'd had the exact same dream."
"The only difference was that his Corvette was red," Harvey says. "Mine was yellow. Same dream. Same night."