February 5, 2014
I never told anybody this, but I was related to Daisy and Violet Hilton, the Siamese twins who were born joined by their hips and buttocks. My great aunt gave them birth but eventually sold them to her boss, who right away saw them as showbiz potential for big bucks. The girls were taught at a young age to be musicians. Violet played saxophone, and Daisy played the violin.
They pretty much toured non-stop in various vaudeville houses throughout the United States. One of the places they played in, the United Artists building located on 937 South Broadway, was a very important venue for them. It was at this point they discovered sex, which I might add must have been very awkward. They were 15 at the time, and Daisy had her first sexual experience with a stage-hand. Violet would close her eyes, and basically this is how they would operate when the other needs privacy. Of course they are always there, including bathroom duties, sex, and other private moments, but they worked out a system, even though it is not real, but to them they could project privacy by one of them by just closing her eyes.
As much as possible they tried to stay away from the pervs who were just totally turned-on by the fact that these identical twins were physically joined together. What people have commented on about them is their, of course, closeness. One would believe that there would be arguments, but they learned from an early age that they must compromise, and not think as an individual but them as being really one being. They weren’t of course, but like many in life, one doesn’t always have a choice.
Not surprisingly the girls were exploited by their owner, who was a queen bitch, and I don’t like to use that term, but I can’t think of another word for her. She pretty much kept all their money they earned and just gave them the basics with respect to food and comfort. But luckily nature won out as being teenagers they were obviously rebellious against their slave owner. Since they were in the public, they knew that she couldn’t really hurt them physically, because in reality the twins belonged to the paying public, and the public if they knew or seen evidence of abuse, they may not pay for this type of entertainment.
Violet fell in love with the general manager of the United Artist theater by the name of Joris-Karl Huysmans, a French man who is now better known as a novelist. His famous book “À rebours” set literary standards, but alas, didn’t sell. He relocated to America, after a successful career as a stage manager at various Parisian music halls. Although much older he fell in love with Violet. With a certain amount of time, he eventually arranged for the twins to leave their ‘owner’ and pretty much took care of them for the rest of his life.
Joris-Karl introduced the twins to the sounds of Louis Armstrong and New Orleans jazz. Violet and Daisy eventually focused on this new music and became obsessed in proceeding with an American version of French Hot Jazz music. They toured heavily throughout the years and became well-known in Europe. It was during this time that people forgot about them being conjoined twins, and started to admire their musical skills, and eventually they became jazz composers as well.
Things went downhill when a friend of their's. Peg Entwistle, jumped to her death from the Hollywood sign, located in the Hollywood hills. Peg, a stage actress, friended them while they were on the road as adolescent girls. She was the only nice person at that time, often smuggling food to them right under that bitch’s nose. Through Peg, the twins learned the importance of discipline, and that only hard work will somehow get them out of this horror show of a life. When some years later, Peg gave in to her depression about her life and world, leaving only a brief note saying “"I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.” The disappointment that was always in these two girls, who till then, kept it under wraps, finally feel the tug of the depression within their souls.
Joris-Karl, died, leaving the girls without a moral support. Eventually they lost interest in making music, and eventually became hermits. Living in the home they paid for, but made comfortable with Joris-Karl’s taste and natural elegance, the twins lead a life with the world outside totally closed to them.
In 1969, both twins were found dead in their home. Death it seems was caused by the Hong Kong flu, and Daisy died first, and it seemed that Violet died two or four days later.
I always regretted the fact that I never met the twins. A family can be blood, but also a significant distance from each other.