Did you know I’ve got a twin brother? Yeah, he’s the older, by about 15 years. Other than that, and the four siblings born between him and me – yeah boy, we’re fraternals.
Altogether I have five siblings; all older; Len, Sharon, Tommy, Cathy and Gail. We love each other but we don’t have very much in common, except, I guess, for Len and me. He was born in early 1955, a baby boomer by any standard, and I was born in the fall of 1969, the last gasp of the decade that defined his generation. I don’t remember ever sharing a house with him; by the time I was old enough to remember, he was grown and gone. My earliest memory of him is a small framed picture in the living room, a newspaper clipping announcing his entry into the armed services. The Air Force sent him overseas and we got back hilarious letters telling of Turkish customs that seemed so exotic to our country sensibilities.
Elton John had a song out about that time, Daniel, which tells of a traveling older brother. There’s the hint of a backstory, a mystery; the singer is torn between missing his brother and wanting his happiness. I associated that song with my own absent brother so strongly that even now, over 30 years later, I still can’t extricate the two. I don’t think I’ve ever told him.
My brother is back now – back from Turkey, back from his travels, back in my life. We talk sometimes, and it’s always a joy. For two people raised in different eras, in different households, with utterly divergent paths in life, we have an extraordinary amount in common. We have a similar sense of humor and sense of the absurd. We each have unrealized artistic ability, though he has more natural talent than I do. We hold similar (unpopular) religious and political beliefs. Our minds run along the same paths. We like the same music, the same comedians. We’re thinkers in a family of doers (that sounds insulting – both ways – but it isn’t meant to). We get each other. Our mother jokingly refers to us as Alpha and Omega, which bemuses him and tickles me.
So, okay, he’s not really my twin. That’s all right; he’s a swell brother and a great friend, and he doesn’t know what he means to me.