Ulf Bergerud is sitting alone in the apartment he shared with his twin brother Bjørn until recently.
– We had grown so much together. You can imagine that you take a root and divide it in the middle.
The identical twins Bjørn and Ulf have had a very special life together.
They have never been married. They have no children. They have had each other.
“Our little country” on TV 2 was to make a program about this special cohabitation, and that the two had shared almost every day for 83 years.
But this year did not turn out as Ulf and Bjørn had imagined.
I KNOW «OUR LITTLE COUNTRY»: «UNTIL DEATH SEPARATES THEM AD» HER
Art and classical music
During the cohabitation, the two twin brothers have transformed the apartment at Sagene senior center into something resembling a museum.
All the walls are covered with original paintings by famous artists, everywhere are exclusive porcelain figures from home and abroad, and you can hear the sound of no less than 17 antique clockworks.
They both had an interest in art – and in recent years they have built up an impressive collection.
In addition, both Ulf and Bjørn have loved classical music all their lives.
Face to face
In the bedroom, their beds were long, each with its own wall. Every night they lay face to face and talked until they fell asleep.
Now there is only one bed left in the bedroom.
– Bjørn had cancer, and the cancer it had had in the skeleton, Ulf says.
The twin brother Bjørn died at home in his own bed in June.
After that, life became difficult for Ulf.
– I feel a terrible emptiness. It feels like the whole wall is gone, everything is gone, he says.
Had Bjørn still been alive, he would have completed the reasoning. That’s how it was to talk to Ulf and Bjørn. One is happy to complete the other’s sentence.
But now it’s quiet.
According to Ulf, he and his twin brother never quarreled, even though they also had their differences and peculiarities.
Bjørn was a morning bird and a-man. Ulf is a b-human.
Bjørn was responsible for the breakfast. Ulf took care of the dinner.
Ulf wrote the shopping list. Bjørn managed the finances.
Childhood with a pair of shoes
Ulf and Bjørn were born in 1936 and grew up on Torshov in Oslo with an older brother and mother and father.
Those were bad times, and at times the two twin brothers wore a pair of shoes, which they shared and wore every other time.
As children, they were often sent to Hudøy holiday colony by their parents during the school holidays.
They were there for two months almost every summer, and were fine.
The mother liked to dress them up in the same clothes. Neither the family nor the neighbors could tell the difference between them.
– We were a little rabagaster. I remember we were called “Knoll & Tott”, says Ulf.
Ever since then, they have always been each other’s best friends. No one has come between them.
But Ulf says that Bjørn was once worried that they would split up.
That was the time he got engaged.
– Yes, I got engaged. But that did not happen then. I do not quite know what happened, says Ulf.
– Bjørn he did not like that I was doing it, because it separated us a little, he thought.
Her name was Gerd. But I do not remember so much more.
– And it was not so long, so forget it, laughs Ulf.
A year of longing
After that, the two twin brothers worked together in different places. They went to sea on the same boat as the galley boys, and they ran a laundry together.
The one the time they lived apart was when Ulf had to move to Larvik due to work – but even then they had daily contact, by phone.
They lasted a year apart. So was missed too much.
– Then Bjørn quit his job in Oslo, and moved to Larvik with me, says Ulf.
About 20 years ago, they moved back to Torshov in Oslo, where they grew up. In the district, they have been a familiar sight driving around in their two motorized driving donations, in similar clothes.
Both had problems with their legs some years ago, due to a nerve disease they discovered almost at the same time.
With Bjørn, it started with him “losing” his right big toe. While with Ulf it started in the left big toe. The doctors determined that it was polyneuropathy.
– We could go a little in the beginning, then it just got worse and worse. But it stopped here, says Ulf and points to his leg, a little below the knee.
– At least it started the right way, so to speak. It is better that it began in the legs than that it began in the head. Right?
On the small table in the living room is a Bible. For many years, they have both been an active part of the Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Vossegata, Torshov.
Faith has given them security, Ulf believes.
– There are many who believe that there is no meaning to life. But we found out early on that it is, he says.
– We believe in a resurrection. It gives me great hope and it gives me great joy.
– So you’re sure you want to see Bjørn again?
– Yes. I am.
A unique life
Maybe it is this conviction that he will one day meet twin brother Bjørn again, which has made Ulf get back some of the spark of life when TV 2 meets him again, after some difficult months alone in the apartment.
– Yes, I have been banned, he says.
– But suddenly the bad thoughts can disappear. I can instead think that I am happy with the life we have had together. That we have lived together in thick and thin for 83 years.
– We have had a unique life. It feels good.
Watch «Our little country» on TV 2 on Sunday at 22.15 or on TV 2 Sumo now