Sep. 18, 1978 Harbor City Los Angeles County California, USA
Born in Longford County, Ireland. Gpa Tom was a man that had a wicked sense of humor and a memory that was long. He grew up on the old family farm with sister Bridgett and brothers Bernard, and another brother, for whom we cannot find the name. The missing brother left for WWI and was never heard from again and was assumed KIA.
He spoke with a brogue and could tell tall tales of the wee people and potato Mary, the Irish potato famine, and the dances that he would frequent to meet the girls and do a good jig. He told me that he had belonged to the IRA as a young man before he came to America. He arrived in America via NY in 19XX and became an American citizen. He only went back to Ireland once, 20+ years later. He worked at various jobs. He told me about being a truck driver and also working in the mines back east. He traveled westward and landed in California.
He joined our family after meeting Roma Mae Martinsen in Olive View sanitarium, in Los Angeles, while they were both there recovering from tuberculosis. Her three sons (Leonard Sherman, Jr., Robert Earl, and Richard Lee) were scattered as their natural father was absent as a merchant mariner. Amazingly enough, they both survived and upon their recuperation, and her divorce, they married by proxy in Tijuana, Mexico in the 40's (only my family LOL) and he raised her children as his own. He taught them a trade (tile setting) as they grew up. Two of the sons, Robert (Bob) and Richard (Rick) ended up becoming plumbers while Leonard (Len) went into the aerospace industry.
Gpa was a smoker and had a cough that could scare you. His feet were beyond ticklish and we would try to tickle them while he was snoring in his easy chair. You had to stand as far away as you could and then holding a straw from a broom, you would tickle his soles. He would wake up with a start and would try to smack you with the newspaper that was invariably in his hands if you weren't careful. LOL We of course, thought this was great fun. He thought otherwise. He loved Irish Whiskey and Guiness Stout. For years after he was gone I could open an empty bottle of Tillamore Dew that was (still is I think) in the bar and I could smell "him." He taught me to love Bushmills Irish Whiskey because it was "like drinking velvet" and he was right.
He loved working with his hands. Carving wood and building things, big or small. When I was a girl scout we had a boutique to raise money for a trip to Washington DC. We all sold something we made. We went to Tijuana and bought boxes and boxes of tiles. Then Gpa and I made trivets (hot plates) out of simple wood framing that he and I cut on his table saw. We routered the edges and made frames for the tiles. I sold the most of anyone at the boutique. I still have a couple in my cupboard as do other family members. There is even one on the table at The Monastery of the Angels (unless tragedy has taken the little trivet). So Gpa is long gone but things he made are still here. He did the tile work at the cabin at Hume Lake and it looks just as good today as when it was new. I cherish the hours and hours that I spent with Gpa in the garage making those trivets. He told me story after story and sat and listened to all that was important to a 13 year old girl.
Gpa loved corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, mush, soda bread, and always wanted (and got) the neck, gizzards and of course, "The Pope's Nose" when we had a turkey. It wasn't until decades later that I found out he was right. Those are some of the tastiest parts of the bird. Gpa was pretty smart.
My image of Gpa is that of a hunched man, bent over and never quite able to stand straight. His knees were shot from tile setting all those years and you could tell he hurt a lot when he walked. He was not one to take good care of himself. A lifelong smoker, he died after a battle with Emphysema. Gpa was old, long before his time. Had my daughter been a son, she would have carried his name. My brother Tom is named for Gpa. He is missed by many.
Burial: Cremated, Ashes scattered. Specifically: Scattered off his favorite fishing rock ("The Rock") in Hume Lake (Hume Lake, California)
Created by: Zen Record added: Apr 28, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26481501