The ‘other you’: Readers’ stories of mistaken identities

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“Philip” was not depressed and not in denial about being depressed.

Really. The 58-year-old Lewiston man felt fine. His doctor’s office, though, would not hear it.

“We don’t just make this stuff up,” huffed the receptionist who’d called to confirm an appointment to treat his depression.

• Bradley S. would hear from parents irate about their kid’s bad grade. Up one side of him, down the other. What the heck kind of a teacher was he anyway?

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Well, not one at all.

Bradley is a mason.

“You’ve got the wrong dude,” he’d say when he could get a word in.

• Dick Grandmaison heard from his mortgage company wanting to talk about his boat loan. Dick did not have a boat.

Another case of The Others.

The Other Dick, the Other Bradley, the Other Philip — people with the same first and last names, sometimes even same middle initial, and sometimes living in the same town. The result? Mistaken identity, occasional frustration and sometimes not-meant-for-them choice words.

“I’d tell my wife, ‘Somebody just chewed my a** out,'” said Bradley, 41, who lives in Lisbon. “I’m not a teacher, I do bricks.”

The teacher is a Bradford, not a Bradley, but to parents staring down an “F,” that didn’t matter. The ugly calls have tapered off — “I’m assuming he’s retired” — but he still gets mail for a third Bradley who lives three streets over, same last name.

Grandmaison was in New Jersey in December 1966 when he met the first Other. He’d been in basic training at Fort Dix. A sergeant handing out transportation assignments for holiday leave asked Richard A. Grandmaison to step forward. Two men did. Both were going home to Maine.

“The sergeant stepped back and mumbled some obscenity because he assumed we were pulling his leg,” Grandmaison, 68, of Lewiston, said.

He sorted them out by serial number and sent the men on their way.

Shortly after, Grandmaison got a letter asking for proof of insurance on his boat loan. He told the lender, that’s not my boat. Sure, right. They wanted to meet with him anyway.

“We determined that they had confused me with another Richard A. Grandmaison,” he said, who was, as it turns out, a third Richard Arthur Grandmaison.

Strange, Grandmaison said, given that the last name isn’t so common and all three are about the same age.

Donna Douglass, a physical therapist from Wales, has gotten double-takes introducing herself to new patients, particularly men in their 60s. The other Donna Douglas — with one “s” — played Elly May Clampett on “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

“I assume, since it’s mostly the male gender that notices the association, that perhaps they were smitten with her when they used to watch the show when it was on TV,” said Douglass. “I often come back with, ‘Don’t I look good for my age?'”

Douglas is 78, Douglass 45.

A few years ago, when a nurse called “Dupill” in the doctor’s office waiting room, 87-year-old Henry Dupill followed her into an exam room and sat for his blood pressure and vital signs.

Then the doctor came in and declared, “You’ve got the wrong Dupill,” he said.

Funny, until Dupill got thinking: “What if I went to have a leg cut off and they cut the other leg off instead?”

At his next visit, a nurse told the Rumford man he’d grown 2 inches and lost 60 pounds. Only he hadn’t. It was the Other in his chart.

Philip, he who was not depressed, told the doctor’s office that he knew of another fellow in the area with the same name. They must have meant to call him instead.

“She said, ‘We don’t make mistakes, it’s you,'” he said.

When he tried to sort it out in person, he got nowhere.

“Even though I threatened to sue, my namesake’s symptoms and treatments kept showing up in my chart,” Philip said. “Once I read that I had recently been discharged from an inpatient psychiatric facility that I’d never heard of.”

He left the practice two years ago, tired of the mix-up. That wasn’t, though, the end of Other Philip. The men also use the same bank.

“One day I got a notice of inactivity for the account of some political group of which he’d been treasurer, with the account number and everything,” he said. “When I took the notice to the bank to show them, they eyed me suspiciously even as I was trying to explain the situation to them. Once they figured out I wasn’t a con artist, they tried to blame the post office! Yeah, right. It’s their fault for delivering the thing to the address on the envelope.”

kskelton@sunjournal.com

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