Margo and Kevin Candeloro
It was getting close to Margo’s due date—and it was getting close to the twins birthday as well. Jamie and Maddie had been a delight for their parents as toddlers, even if it did get a bit hectic at times. Margo had to take frequent naps so that meant Kevin put in extra daddy hours. It was lucky that he worked at home, continuing to write his well-received novels.
Life was to become not just hectic, but almost frenzied at times, because Margo gave birth to twins again, this time both girls.
The babies were named Margaret Lenore and Mallen de Santis. Margaret was named for Margo's paternal grandmother and Mallen (pronounced like "Allen" with an "M") was named for Kevin's paternal great-grandmother who had come to Atlanta from Italy many years ago. It was decided that Margaret would go by the nickname "Marnie" rather than Margo.
“No ‘Little Margo’ for her,” Margo vowed, “That would make me Big Margo. No sir, no way.”
It seemed to their parents that almost immediately the older twins were ready for their birthday.
“I never dreamed children grew up so quickly,” Margo remarked to Kevin.
With the new babies in the nursery, Maddie and Jamie were moved upstairs. They didn’t mind, they loved their new bedroom and they weren’t afraid to be up there without Margo and Kevin because they had each other.
Every day Maddie seemed to look more like her namesake; her grandmother Madeleine Ferguson. Margo had hoped she would be blond like her father and, indeed, Maddie’s hair was blond, but it was actually platinum like Madeleine’s had once been. Jamie had brown hair like Margo and seemed to be an even combination of Kevin and Margo so far. But he definitely looked like a Ferguson around the ears.
Maddie was an energetic and cheerful child who thought even an early morning thunderstorm was something to celebrate. She couldn’t wait until it was time to go to school and she could wear her new raincoat and splash through the puddles. Jamie was turning out to be more pragmatic and slower to show his feelings, and was perfectly content to play quietly while they waited for the school bus.
With the twins in school there soon began a parade of youngster who came for play-dates or even impulsively simply decided to get off the bus with the twins. Mindful of the parents, Margo or Kevin immediately called them to let them know where their children were.
One of the first little visitors was the sweet-tempered Kirstie Burb:
One morning when Jamie and Maddie left for school Margo had to plan an extra nice dinner; Jamie's classmate Loni Faye Hammond was coming over after school. Her mother and Margo had talked on the phone and made the play-date ahead of time. Both of the children had been requesting this for a while.
Jamie was quite taken with the effervescent Loni Faye, while she was as charmed by his elfin ears as she had been with his cousin Robby’s. Jamie whispered that he got them from his Grandma Ferguson, but you couldn’t tell she had pointed ears because her hair covered them. Loni Faye found this grandmother with ears like an elf or maybe even an alien quite fascinating; first Robby had told her and now Jamie had confirmed it. She hoped once more that she would meet Grandma Ferguson someday. During the course of the afternoon and early evening Maddie got to know Loni Faye better and the two outgoing girls hit it off. They would become fast friends in the months and years ahead.
Kevin was the one who usually helped Maddie and Jamie with their homework, but he and Margo shared duties with the babies. Meanwhile, now that the babies were here and when she could manage it, Margo worked in her greenhouse. The plants and her fruit trees had been sadly neglected during her pregnancy. It took a while but she was finally able to bring them back to life, although one or two pepper plants ended up in the compost bin.
Cousin Robby Blackford was a favorite with both of the twins. He was older than them and they accepted his every utterance as gospel. This was just one more reason he was especially fond of Jamie and Maddie. It was nice to be looked up to and applauded. He loved his little brother Ryan who also thought Robby was the greatest, but a toddler’s point of view was not the same as his cousins’ considered opinion.
When Heath Ottomas was their guest all three of the kids colored after supper, but then Maddie went off to take one of her interminable bubble baths while Jamie and Heath played Rock, Paper, Scissors out on the back porch.
Kevin said to Margo, “If she takes this long in the bathroom when she’s a child; what will we do when she hits her teens?”
Even though their days were busy and long, Kevin and Margo were happy that they now had the large family that they’d dreamed of when they were first married. Would there be more children? They had not yet decided.
One Saturday in October Margo was hurrying her family through their lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches. Earlier that day Kevin had helped Jamie with his homework while Maddie played with the blocks. She was an earlybird and had already completed her schoolwork. Margo was hurrying them because her sisters were going to arrive any minute. They rarely had time to get together, all four of them, so, when she heard Gillian was pregnant, Margo said they should all have a gabfest at her place.
When the girls arrived, Maddie was already fishing at the pond, but Kevin and Jamie were just finishing up. As he made his way to the front door to join Maddie, Jamie gave a shy smile to his aunts. He knew all of them, of course, but so many grown women in the room made him a little jumpy, although he thought they smelled really good. They were all looking at him with encouraging and fond smiles and were telling him to catch a lot of fish, but that didn’t make him any less apprehensive. Kevin had greeted the women warmly but he had to laugh a little as he cleared the table and prepared to go upstairs and paint. He thought to himself; that’s okay, son, too many women in a room sometimes even make grown men feel a little overwhelmed or perhaps just overstimulated.
When they had the living room to themselves the girls talked on many subjects; husbands, children, recipes and fashion. Even current affairs were discussed with varying opinions. Eventually, though, they knew they would get to the latest gossip in town. Debbie, the youngest sister at seventeen, and the only unmarried one, was a fount of information on that, while Gillian, Margo and Holly were now all too busy with their children to know who was seeing who. Of course, most of her information was hearsay, but she had access to what the others thought was a fairly reputable teenage grapevine.
Around three in the afternoon Margo served cheesecake to her sisters and called Kevin to come downstairs and join them. It was her sister Gillian’s recipe and she hoped it tasted okay. Gillian was the ace chef of the sisters, but their sister-in-law, Lori, was jockeying for position. Her mother had been a chef and had her own cooking show at one time, so maybe it gave her an unfair advantage. Gillian didn’t feel that way, though, she’d never been a snob about her cooking. It was after that Kevin suggested he get a photo of the sisters out in front of the house.
From left to right, the beauteous Ferguson sisters:
Holly Lomax, Gillian Blackford, Margo Candeloro and Debbie Ferguson
An hour or two later Holly left for home. Gillian went in to help Margo with the babies when they woke up and then Margo had to check out her sister’s pregnant belly.
“I predict a baby will be arriving soon,” she said with a grin.
“Wow, what a psychic, Margo!” she looked over at Debbie and winked, “Come’on, kid, I’ll drop you off at Mom and Dad’s.”
The all sister get-together was over, but the girls had decided they would have another one soon, and this time invite their two sister-in-laws, Lori and Allyn.
Next update: Shep Ferguson Ch. 7 The Rest of the Clan Pt. 4