Maybe it’s time to talk about my other brother.

The one who’s my twin. The one who’s not really my brother.

Seventy-three years ago today, at the old Jay County Hospital on Arch Street, in the Hilinda Haynes maternity ward named for my great-grandmother, a couple bundles of pink flesh made their first appearance on the face of the earth.

I arrived first, I have been told by my twin/not real brother, by about eight hours.

Stephen Wayne Ogborn, son of Chet and Donna Ogborn, showed up later the same day. (If he’s going to tease me about being eight hours older, I ought to be able to tease him about being late to the party.)

Our mothers, so the stories go, shared a room at the hospital.

I was the third of four children. Steve was to be an only child.

And that was to create some friction at times.

“My grandmother,” he told me once, “hated your mother.”

Now, that’s a pretty harsh thing to hear. Everyone loved my mother, or so I thought.

Turns out that when the two of us — Thing 1 and Thing 2? — were brought in to be nursed, Steve’s mom, Donna, asked my mom, Sara, for advice. After all, my mother had experience in these matters.

All well and good, except for the fact that Steve had the distinction of being the first grandchild.

So, when Donna took her baby home and grandmother arrived to help, there was a problem. Steve’s grandmother would offer advice, and Donna would respond, “Sara already told me that.”

Without meaning to, my mom had supplanted Steve’s grandmother in the advice-offering role.

Fast forward half a dozen years and we’re in elementary school together.

And even then it was clear that Steve was cooler than I was.

He was the guy to get into a slugfest with a new kid on the playground. He was the guy who was “going steady” with someone in fourth or fifth grade.

I was the guy tapped to umpire the playground ballgame because neither team really wanted me on their team.

We stayed friends, of course, and that pattern continued into junior high.

Neither of us had ever heard of a Venn diagram, but if you had drawn one it would have been clear. One circle was mine. The other circle was Steve’s. And the amount of overlap between the two circles of friendship fluctuated over the years.

Steve was a runner. I wasn’t.

I was messing around with poetry. Steve wasn’t.

Steve was in the brass section of the high school band. I was trying to “manage” a high school rock group.

I spent the summer after high school doing odd jobs at the bowling alley. Steve pedaled coast to coast on his bicycle with a group from Taylor University.

You get the picture.

After high school, we went our separate ways.

And occasionally I’d hear a dispatch from my twin.

I’d hear he had been selling electric typewriters for IBM.

I’d hear he was working in telecom in Guam.

I’d hear that he was actually going to carry the flag for Guam in the opening ceremony at the Olympics.

And then, one day, there was a call on the intercom.

“There’s a guy down here who says he’s your twin but not your brother,” the voice said. “Should I send him up?”

I recognized his voice before he was up the stairs.

Was it some sort of magical connection back to the hospital the day we were born?


But it was a friendship renewed and reborn and strengthened.

We talked about our lives, our families, our mistakes, our regrets and the things that mattered to us as the years roll on.

And I have to say, if you are ever lucky enough to have a twin who is not your real brother, enjoy it and savor it and keep that connection alive.

Happy birthday, bro.


Note: My real brother, Steve Ronald, has alerted me to an error in last week’s column. I mistakenly referred to Steve as captain of the Portland High football team in the fall of 1958. In fact, he was co-captain with Bob Bash, who passed away earlier this autumn.