Longform

When you think of a new bridge opening, or a subway debut, or a highway inauguration, you think of Omero Catan. Or is it Michael Katen? For these two brothers, it's no joke. For them it's

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Omero disagrees. As early as 1936 he told a newspaper reporter that all he wanted to do with this Mr. First business is collect a scrapbook to show his family. "Someday my children and all my descendants will look back with pride and say, 'My ancestor was the first man to drive across that bridge.'" He has that book now A he has three of them to be exact -- sitting on a shelf in his trailer, keeping company with his rock collection. The first two bulging books are all Omero, clips blackened with age and glue that still show the genuine Mr. First crossing one threshold after another.

The latest scrapbook is different. The newest clips are primarily about Michael, and they just might give the impression that Omero did not act alone, that he was always accompanied by his brother. Omero and Michael: Team First. But if the Wisconsin movie, small as it may be, keeps Michael out, the preservation of Omero's legacy will be worth far more than the $50,000 he gave up with Hollywood. "There is only one Mr. First!" he shouts, his hands raised as if to fight. "That's not my brother. That's not anybody else. That's me. I am Mr. First!

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