Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tom!

Today is my oldest brother's birthday. If I had to choose one word to describe my brother Tommy it would be motivated. Tommy always seemed to me to be a go-getter. Tom would set a goal for himself, and then he would avidly seek it. He may not have always attained it, but his determination throughout the pursuit was tenacious. I've always admired his dogged persistence.

Tommy is seven years older than I am, and we weren't particularly close growing up due to our age difference. We certainly didn't share the same friends, and I think to this day our interest lie in different areas. Tom worked hard to achieve a successful career and a prestigious position as a union representative which keeps him busy traveling and hob-nobbing with big shots and politicians. My position consists of hearth and home. But we both have a shared past, and we share a deep abiding love of that past. Our memories differ in that he was older, and most of his childhood experiences were involved more with my second oldest brother John, while most of my childhood memories are shared with my sisters.

It's funny the things that stick in your mind though. I remember both my older brothers playing football, I can still see them in their football uniforms. I remember them playing handball and stickball in the street, I remember that they hung out with a nice group of neighborhood kids, and I remember that it was a big group of neighborhood kids. I remember that Tommy was smart, I remember that he made me laugh a lot, and I remember that I could make him laugh too.
I remember when he got his first job that he was very generous to me. I remember if I wanted something, I went to Tommy and asked him to buy it for me, and he never refused. In particular I remember when I was about twelve, there was a pair of shoes in the window of Thom McCann's that I wanted, and I asked Tommy for the money (they were fifteen dollars which was a lot of money back then!), Tom not only gave me the money to buy them, he also gave me the car fare!

I remember Tom always used to say to us younger kids "I'll buy if you fly." He was talking about treating us all to Carvel ice cream, if we would walk there and buy it, he would foot the bill! I don't remember how often he treated, but it seemed like a lot, so I'd say it was at least once a week for quite awhile.

I remember reading in his graduation autograph book that 'Moon River' was his favorite song, and I remember being happy that we shared a favorite, for at that time it was my favorite song.

I remember my Mom telling me the story of Tom's first day of school in Kindergarten, she said that she peeked in the window and Tommy was building with some blocks and another boy came over and knocked them all down and started taking the blocks away, she said Tom just backed off and watched the boy play with them then. My Mom said Tommy went over to play with some cars, and the same boy came and took them away from him, and Tommy just stood and put his hands behind his back and watched the boy play with the cars.
Tom, if you're reading here, do you remember that day, that incident? I wonder if that event had something to do with your career choice, sticking up for 'the trod upon'?

I remember being so sad when Tom joined the Marines, and I remember that nothing at home really seemed the same after that anymore. By the time he came home two years later my brother John had joined the Army and was in Viet Nam, and soon after John came home Tom got married and moved out, and then my sister Marybeth married and moved out, and then it was my turn. Thinking back, Tom leaving for the Marines marked a turning point not only in my life but in the life of our family and our home.

Tom moved away from our hometown many years ago, and for years he lived out in Colorado, a few years ago his job relocated him and his family back to the east coast, but he still lives about five hours away by car. When my Mom and Dad were ill, he would make the drive up here on weekends once in awhile. It was always good to catch up with each other and to reminisce about the past.
Our visits now are infrequent, and we're not involved in each other's daily lives, but we have grown closer over the last few years, and we keep in touch through e-mail, and he's good about phoning everyone. My sister said she just spoke with him yesterday and he said he'd be up our way in a few weeks, he'll be driving his two grandsons up to spend a week or two with my sister-in-law (his ex-wife), it will be nice to see the boys and spend some time with them as we don't get to see them that often either.
My sister also told me that she told Tom about my blog, so Tom if you are reading this ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

You have always been very good to me and I love you very much! Enjoy your special day!


  1. How interesting, do an excellent job at sharing your family history and in such an absorbing way, too!

    And I would like to wish Tom a very Happy Birthday, too and many more!

    blessings and hugs,


  2. Oh, Marcy, we're both night owls! You're up very late tonight too. Is everything okay?

    Thanks for your nice compliment and thanks for your good wishes for my big brother!
    'Love you!

  3. Both of you are nightowls...I guess I'm an up before dawn chickadee...I will not call myself a rooster!

    Your family memories were sweet Eileen, very entertaining...hope your brother has the joy of reading is possible to email him the whole post! :)

    I didn't have brothers...but did have an uncle only 6 years older, that moved here from Viginia to attend college, when I was 12. He lived with us and was like a brother to my sisters and me!

    This weekend was I read all the past posts of most of our village bloggers! It's nice to read even more of who we are!

    Happy Birthday to Tom!

  4. This was a very nice tribute to your brother Tom, Eileen. He' sounds like a special person and if he reads this, Happy Birthday Tom!
    I know how much you will be looking forward to and prepareing for his future visit Eileen. I expect Tom will have a birthday party to look forward to!

  5. Okay, Diana, now you've put Eileen on the spot...she's got to do a birthday party. Tell you what, how about if you bring the popcorn, I'll bring the cake, Wanda can bring the set ups (people in storybook land have almost magical abilities) and the rest of the villagers can bring balloons and good singing voices!

    Yes, I was up waaay too late and today I will be zombie Marcy, but no apprehension in church for announcements or readings as sleepiness causes total lack of concern there except for the trying to stay alert part!

    blessings and hugs,


  6. Hi there-

    Lovely sentiments about Tom. And Thom McCann's and Carvel?? Did you grow up in my town?? :-)
    I so enjoy reading about your family.

    Love to you

  7. I hope your brother has a happy birthday. I enjoyed reading about your memories. He reminds me of my oldest son Brandon.

    Oh, by the way, I remember Thom McCann's.....and Buster Brown they still make them?

    Have a good week.


  8. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TOM!!! You old man, you!!!

  9. Wanda, you are an early-riser! I would sleep in every morning if I could, but most mornings Ray wakes me up when he's through with the shower (which is around 6:15-6:30), but on some weekends I do sleep late.
    And I used to take naps when Jayden napped, but he doesn't anymore, so I don't either!

    Thanks for the idea about emailing Tom the post!

    And I do that sometimes too, Wanda, late at night I'll visit and read back on some blogs.
    Sometimes I start confusing everyone's stories though!

  10. I'll answer the twisted sisters in one comment ~ isn't that right, Marcy, that Diana is trying to rope me into a party now! What's up with that? Seriously, Di, I might not even get to see him, sometimes he just drops the boys at my sister-in-law and then he turns around right away for the trip back home! But sometimes he stays with my brother next door and then he'll stop in by me and we get to visit. I'll have to email him and see what his plans are this trip.
    Marcy, I am feeling like a zombie now, I'm starting to run out of steam!
    Loved both your blogs today!

  11. Gail, we're in New York, and we had Thom McCann's and National Shoes in our area, and Carvel Ice Cream was just a few blocks from our house (it still is!). Thanks for stopping by. 'Hope you're having a good weekend!

  12. Hi, Sandy, I remember Buster Brown shoes too (the little ad song still runs through my head...'Does your shoe have a boy inside? What a funny place for a boy to hide...' I could write out the whole thing I know it by heart! Crazy the nonsense that sticks with you!), I don't think it's around anymore either but I'm not sure.
    I really enjoyed your post today about naming your boys.

  13. Excuse me, Diane, but we are not that far behind him, so please stop calling Tom and 'old man'!! I was thinking last night of you asking him if he's going to retire.
    I think he thrives too much on his job, I can't see him retiring. Talk to you during the week.

  14. It would be interesting wouldn't it, to know if that kindergarten experience influenced his life's work! I also think it's interesting how we become closer to our siblings as we grow older. And those experiences that we didn't think much about when we were young, are important to us now.