“Will the impossible—accept the inevitable” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

David and Mark Wilson by © Lori Maloney

“David called me with an idea for their shoot…their grandfather, who is described as having been “strong as an ox”, died at only 38 from ALS, leaving his beloved wife, who was pregnant, and their four children.  Heartbreaking.  David wondered if we could shoot an homage to their grandfather using a treasured photograph of him together with one of David’s vintage cars…what a privilege it was to help honour the man these brothers never knew but deeply respect and the family legacy that has endured.  D&M, despite the -20s temp that day…it was so fun!  My thanks to you both for all you put into getting this shot done!  With gratitude.” – Lori M

Image © Lori Maloney

An Interview with David and Mark

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

David. When Mark and I were about 12, Mark had made an off the cuff comment to the effect of “wouldn’t it be cool to get a pie in the face…” Mum took that literally and while we sat with our guests in the backyard waiting for cake my sister and one of her friends came out pies in hand – Mark got ploughed – he had his back to the door. I saw them coming and suffered only a glancing blow… Mark was really mad. I ate the chocolate cream pie off my shirt and waited for him to cool down and come back to the table for cake. Mum felt bad. In retrospect, it is a great memory. Even for Mark. I think.

Mark. The ill-fated “pie to the face” 11th birthday. Although it was meant well, I was embarrassed and had a bit of a tantrum. I hopped on my trusty bicycle and took a long ride to cool down. I can look back at it as a fond memory with a good laugh, but was I ever upset at the time!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

David. I have been blessed with wonderful Birthdays all my life – but spending Birthdays away from my brother when I was in University were always hard. Compounded by the fact that every year for four years straight, I had a final exam on my Birthday.

Mark. A soccer incident left me on crutches two days before my birthday, but we already had a nice dinner planned. I had to get up a few steps and just about took a fall, putting some weight on the very tender ankle. Although it was very swollen and painful, I made it through the dinner, but the memory is not a pleasant one.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that surprised you most?

David. My amazing wife Ingrid surprised me with a trip to California for my 40th Birthday to attend a Datsun Car show – and my brother and wife and kids tagged along. The car show was great, but the highlight of the whole trip was taking my young Daughters to Disneyland to ride “It’s a Small World” Uncle Mark rode along and we all shared in the wonder and amazement again.

Mark. My brother had a large painting commissioned of my motorcycle that was later in an accident. I have a number of pieces of art, but it has always been my favorite. Each time I walk by the painting, I “see” it and have to smile!

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

David. I am spoiled and always eat well on my Birthday – but I love Angel food cake with Strawberries and whip cream.

Mark. My mom usually gets my brother and I each a cake, mine usually a lemon chocolate. I don’t insist on anything but it is always nice to have that tasty cake!

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

David. Nothing rivals spending the time with family. I still get wonderful home made gifts from my baby girls – 6 and 8 – so I look forward to waking up to a chorus of Happy Birthday and a collection of creatively wrapped crafts and drawings. The day needs to include dinner with my Brother. My best friend.

Mark. Being with the two people that were there at the beginning, my mother and my brother.

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

David. Being a twin is the greatest gift I have ever received and the tradition of spending our birthday together is something that I always treasure.

Mark. As a group we go to dinner and have a nice meal. We generally have a couple friends as well but there have been few times when at least the close family wasn’t able to share a meal.