I’ve been going through some of my old letters, documents, and keepsakes of Tom, and found some artifacts/documents that relate to previous posts. These include a program from the Stairway of the Stars performance in 1981, in which Tommy performed a fiddle solo; also a hand-drawn map that Tom sent me showing the route of his “final bike ride” during his senior year at Samohi; and a flyer that Tom produced for his bike repair business in San Luis Obispo in 1991.
Below is the front of the program for Stairway of the Stars in 1981. Tom was a sixth grader at the time, not quite 12 years old. (If you click on the image [once or twice], you can enlarge it and read it more readily.)
Tom signed the inside of the program in his best sixth grade cursive (below). His music teacher, Sherm Plepler, is also listed on the program below. (Click on the image to enlarge.)
Six years after Tom’s performance at Stairway of the Stars in 1981, he was a senior at Santa Monica High School, getting ready to graduate in June of 1987. In a previous post, I described his “Final Bike Ride”, which was part of his PE class as a senior. The ride started at the Boy’s Gym at Samohi, took him through Santa Monica to Will Rogers State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains, and then back to Samohi. Below is the hand-drawn map that Tom mailed to me to show me his route. (Once again, if you click on the image once or twice and enlarge it, you can read it more readily. Also, note that on Tom’s map, north is more or less at the bottom of the page.)
The last document, below, is a flyer that Tom made to advertise his bicycle repair business in San Luis Obispo. Tom started this business after graduating from college in 1991, and he put his usual energy and enthusiasm into it. He discovered, however, that the market was too “soft” to be profitable, regardless of his effort, skill, and enthusiasm. Eventually he ended up moving to Santa Barbara, where he started a career as a real estate appraiser — the career he worked in for the rest of his life.
Tom was 42 years old when he passed away, but when I think of him lately the images I see in my mind, most often, are of the 11-year-old fiddler at Stairway of the Stars; the exuberant 5-year-old riding his Big Wheel; the young skateboarder cruising the sidewalks of Santa Monica and Venice; or the high school boy headed for Will Rogers on his mountain bike. These images flash, like a kaleidoscope, before my mind’s eye. Even though such memories inevitably rest in the soft glow of the past, they occasionally break through in flashes of momentary brilliance. When that happens, for a moment, the boy we remember and love is at our side again.