I talk about him all the time. For those of us who knew him well, we are still talking about him.
But for unknown reasons, I find it hard to write about him. I suppose its because I must face the loss of my brother, my friend, Craig Schwartz who passed almost 2 years ago. Perhaps, it's because I'm still grieving. He was, and will always be, my 'pledge brother', a bond, that was forged some 40+ years ago. He married a Sigma Pi Little Sis (even though the 'program' was not a dating service). Her name is Sandi. I call her 'Sister Sandi". And so by pledging Sigma Pi all those years ago, without knowing it, my family was growing --- for I was gaining Brothers and Sisters along the way.
I could write about his absolutely funny sense of humor, his calm demeanor, his laugh. I could write about how he battled cancer and faced his own passing with a 'peace that passes all understanding', or the nights that I barely remember in the 'ice box', or the trips we took to see him and Sandi at their home in Lancaster, PA. I can tell you this --- he loved Beta Tau and all those memories (and he had a good memory).
And so there are many stories to tell -- but I thought I'd share just one, a very personal one. We knew that Craig's time in this world was drawing near. My wife Janet, also a Little Sister, decided it was time for our final visit. We drove to Lancaster. Craig was conscience and excited about our coming. We stayed a few nights and then knew it was our time to say goodbye. How do you say 'goodbye' to your Brother ? What words do you use ? What will comfort him and you ? Difficult stuff. As I walked to his bedside, I kneeled to get closer to him.....and then the words came in the form of an old Sigma Pi song, which we both knew and recited responsively.
"Over smokes and coffee hail Sigma Pi,
All true friends and hearty we stand for one another,
Why fear tomorrow ?
Blue Shall be the Sky,
So here's to the good cheer,
We're all true Sigma Pi"
Life is a funny thing. You've know someone for over 40 years and your 'last words' are a song from an old torn and tattered black book. Now that's Brotherhood.
Pledge Class - Fall 1974 (the best class ever)