From the moment of my conception I was never alone.
Not only did I exist within the warmth of my mother’s body, listening to her heartbeat, voice and gurgling digestion, but I had a womb buddy.
My twin brother Francis.
How cool is that.
I grew up with all the advantages that three brothers and three sisters could give me. Not only did I learn to be bossed around by my two older sisters, I had endless opportunity to boss, teach, lecture and ignore my younger siblings.
Being a middle child, the butt of snorts of derision from my elders, never understanding the why of anything until years later, prepared me for a life of being comfortable with not knowing.
“But why did she get pregnant if she’s not married?” I would wail to furious “Shooshes!” as my sisters and mother watched “The Young and the Restless” after school.
My sisters would amuse themselves by asking me something they knew I didn’t know.
“So, what's the color of a women’s period, Donna?”
I’d sense a trap. I’d try and buy some time while they arched their eyebrows and smirked at me with arms folded.
Think Donna! What is the color of stuff coming out of a body?
Yellow? Red, Brown?
Damn I’m good. I lift my chin with confidence to pronounce my deduction.
“A period is colored green…like snot.”
“Like snot?” They howl in hysterics.
“You're so dumb!" I’d watch them laughing. At me.
“So what is then? What color is a period?”
“We’re not telling!”
The story of my childhood. Being laughed at, not knowing stuff, but pretending I did. Or pretending I didn’t care that I didn’t know.
What a gift.
The perfect training ground for a performer.
It taught me the first rule of show business. Never perform with children…or animals!