They were twins: Pushpa and Prema, unidentical. They were my classmates for a year and a half at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus in Batu Pahat, Johor.
They introduced me to Malcolm Saville’s Lone Pine Adventure series and lent me Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, before I got my own copies. Until I met them, I had no idea there were other books besides Little House on the Prairie. I tried to get them to read Anne of Green Gables, but they weren’t interested.
I think about them from time to time, and today because I have been re-reading the few Lone Pine books I own. I was very taken with them at eleven or twelve, and obviously am still fond of them now, at nearly fifty, but I admit I feel mostly morbid fascination these days, and wonder if, after this read, I should send them on their way.
I know when I was a pre-teen, I liked the hint of romance between the two ‘couples’ Jonathan and Penny, and David and Petronella (Peter). Penny the redhead was my favourite and I was jealous, on her behalf, of golden-haired, angel-faced Peter. I used to re-write scenes from the books, and in version of the stories, both Jonathan and David vied for Penny’s affections. Poor Peter didn’t care much. She had her pony Sally (much better than either of the boys – I see that now).
With this re-read I am finding Penny insufferable, although she is still much more bearable than the twins, Dickie and Mary, whom I have never been able to stomach.
I have now re-read Saucers Over the Moon and The Gay Dolphin Adventure, and am currently re-reading The Secret of Grey Walls. I wish I had a copy of Rye Royal, which I think I’ve read before because I can remember the cover really clearly (when I was twelve there was no internet so I would not have seen it online). However, I can’t remember the story. By the way, don’t you think that cover could be used for a Mills & Boon romance novel? The way Saville dwells on the relationship between Penny and Jonathan (and Peter and David), I’m sure he wanted to write romances.