While friends may come and go, you’re stuck with your siblings.
Ed Lewis, 93, Kathleen Lewis, 90, and Joanne Curry, 83, are happy to be stuck with each other. The trio of siblings grew up together in Hershey, worked together and, today, reside on the same retirement community campus at Country Meadows of Hershey.
All three say they enjoy living at Country Meadows and spend time together as they are able. “I guess we like each other!” they agree with a giggle. Ed Lewis and Curry live in the same building and eat at least one meal together every day. Curry visits her sister in another building at least once a week to sit together and read the Sunday newspaper, and they talk on the telephone every day. They enjoy the convenience of living at the same address.
As the conversation unfolded, a warm, loving relationship laced with humor and practical jokes became apparent. When asked which sibling is the troublemaker, both sisters point at their brother, who seems surprised. He says, with a grin and a mischievous sparkle in his eye, “I did like to tease them.”
The siblings celebrated Thanksgiving together locally with family. They laugh as they recall holiday memories from childhood. “I remember one Thanksgiving when our whole family was together, there were extra legs on the table. My brother told me, ‘Don’t you know that some chickens and turkeys have three legs?’ I replied, ‘Yes, I know that.’ I was around five years old, and when I found out he was teasing me, I was crushed,” Curry says with a chuckle.
Sibling relationships are important. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, the quality of sibling relationships is one of the most important predictors of mental health in old age. Research shows that people who are emotionally close to their siblings have higher life satisfaction and lower rates of depression later in life.
“We are very fortunate,” says Kathleen Lewis about having her sister and brother live so close to her. She recalls childhood fondly. “I often think about growing up; we had a very good family life and were always very close.”
In addition to living together as children, the trio also worked together at Ed Lewis’ dental office in Hershey. “My brother was a dentist, and Joanne and I were dental hygienists,” says Kathleen Lewis. “We couldn’t have worked together if we weren’t close!” adds Ed Lewis.
Curry says her brother inspired her son to work in dentistry. “Ed was an influence in my son’s life. He went into dentistry and then medicine.” Ed Lewis adds, proudly, “And now he’s the head of maxillofacial surgery at the Mayo Clinic!”
Even though Curry’s late husband’s military career moved her family to cities far from Hershey, she always yearned to come back home. “I have friends and family here and that makes a difference,” she says.
The relationships enjoyed with siblings are typically the longest relationship in life, sharing the same parents, common memories and similar experiences. This shared history makes these relationships unique and invaluable.
When Lewis lost his wife this past May, he says it was comforting to have his sisters so close to help him through the grief. “There are other people I consider friends, too, but no one as close as them.”