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Letter from the Editor

by on March 29, 2017 10:00 AM

It was last April when I had first noticed it. When I signed onto Facebook and all these people I know had posted photos of their brothers and/or sisters and wrote some loving message about them.

It was National Siblings Day, something I didn’t know existed. At first I thought this was just another “Hallmark” holiday, something conceived to entice people to purchase cards or gifts.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against honoring siblings. I enjoy a good relationship with my brother. We fought when we were kids, but have since grown closer. I was the best man at his wedding and am the godfather of his older son; he was the best man at my wedding and is the godfather of my older son. While we don’t live near each other, we enjoy spending time together during holidays or when he comes in for the occasional Penn State football game. We even wrote a book together, The Great Book of Penn State Sports List.

Lately, sibling relationships have taken on more of a meaning to me, which is maybe why Town&Gown has the story this month, “Oh Brother, Oh Sister,” which looks at a few special sibling relationships in Happy Valley — including the two brothers on our cover, Cael and Cody Sanderson of the national champion Penn State wrestling team. A few years ago, one of my best friends lost his sister to cancer. Last year, my wife’s brother passed away. And, as I write this, it’s been about a week since my dad’s brother (my uncle) died.

It seems that no matter if your relationship with a sibling is a close one or strained, when they pass away, a part of you goes too. An inspiring story of how one woman is honoring her sister can be found in this month’s “Lunch with Mimi,” as Marisa Vicere chats with Town&Gown founder Mimi Barash Coppersmith about the foundation she started following the death of her sister, Jana Marie, in 2011.

In society, words and phrases such as “brotherhood,” “sisterhood,” “band of brothers,” and others are used to describe groups and people who have no familial relation to each other — think military, athletic teams, political causes. They’re used because of the weight of those words, “brother” and “sister.”

So perhaps National Siblings Day, which is April 10, is or will become a “Hallmark”-type holiday. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, because just like those others — Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc. — it is nice to have a day that makes you stop and think about the special people in your life.

David Pencek is editor of Town&Gown magazine, Town&Gown's Penn State Football Annual, and Town&Gown's Penn State Winter Sports Annual.
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