Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 22, 2019

Diesburg and twin

The Diesburg Brothers were not friends as children, but are now much better friends as adults.

Photo provided by Professor Jeff Diesburg

Professors Share Details on Life as a Twin

Chloe Leckrone


While they may have had quite different experiences with their siblings, for both faculty members Stacy Erickson-Pesetski, professor of English, and Jeff Diesburg, associate professor of art, growing up with a twin certainly shaped who they are. Erickson-Pesetski and her sister, Sara, are identical, and while Diesburg and his twin brother, Adam, have never been tested to see if they are, in fact, identical, anyone who looks at a photo of the two together can clearly see the similarities.

Diesburg grew up in Northfield, Minnesota, though he moved around a bit when his father was working to gain his Ph.D. in Ames, Iowa. His parents later divorced, which meant Diesburg spent a while in Oregon with his father as well. Diesburg has two siblings: one younger brother and a twin brother, Adam. When his mother was pregnant, she did not know she was having twins. “The doctor told our mother there was one child with a hydrocephaly— basically, a baby with a giant head,” Diesburg said. But as it turned out, there were two babies. Diesburg said that being a twin was not uncommon in his family, however, as they have a higher than average instance of twins.

Growing up, Diesburg and his siblings fell into the clear categories of oldest, middle and youngest child, as Diesburg was born over an hour before Adam. Over the years, he and Adam became more different. They were not friends as adolescents and fought regularly. Because they were so close, both as siblings and physically—they always had to share a bedroom—Diesburg and Adam felt pressure to differentiate themselves. “We spent our entire childhood up through high school fighting for personal identity,” Diesburg said.

To Diesburg, the differences between him and Adam are quite apparent. He described Adam as being more “aggressive and charismatic” than he and his younger brother. “The Diesburg personality is strong; we all act similarly,” Diesburg said. “But Adam is the most intense among us.”

They have many similar interests as well; both brothers have always enjoyed making art, though they were still competitive with each other growing up. Looking back now, Diesburg can also identify a shared interaction pattern that he and Adam had. “If I had an idea or I had come up with a new thought, I would pitch it to him and we would go back and forth until one of us had convinced the other one, so that we would have this agreeing worldview,” Diesburg said.

Erickson-Pesetski was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Both of her parents were teachers, which could explain why she and her twin sister, Sara, both ended up as teachers as well. She and Sara were the typical twin stereotype. “We were instant best friends,” Erickson-Pesetski said. “We’ve always been really close.” As identical twins, they would joke about fraternal twins being “fake twins” since they do not look exactly alike. Erickson-Pesetski and her sister’s similarities transcend just their physical appearances, however. Both are English teachers and grew up loving to read and take trips to the library, which brought them even closer together.

Erickson-Pesetski could come up with very little that was different about her and Sara. They have very similar interests, including reading and running, and even share the same profession. One contrast between them is that Erickson-Pesetski is “a little more obsessive” than her sister. Sara also dislikes shopping and never buys clothes for herself, so Erickson-Pesetski takes it upon herself to buy clothes for both of them.

Diesburg and his brother have a much more amiable relationship today. “I’m better friends with my brother now than I ever was growing up,” Diesburg said. They both still make art, though Adam now lives on the West Coast, works as a dentist, and has taken an interest in bonsai, something Diesburg has never been into.

Erickson-Pesetski and her sister remain incredibly close and text each other every day. The two have not lived in the same state since college, and it always makes her sad to leave her sister when she has to come back home to Indiana. “It’s still weird to me that we don’t live close to each other,” Erickson-Pesetski said. “But I think that as we’ve lived separately, we’ve become really alike.”