This is my healing journal.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tom C's Page

Yesterday, Pastor Walt in church was preaching on Romans 12:10. He talked about how we should all be devoted to each other for the cause of Christ and how we should give honor to one another. He then suggested that we should honor those who have blest our lives in a particular way by telling them how much they have blest our lives.

The following is a re-write of a story I had written in my newsletter a while ago about Tom C. who I have known over thirty years. Tom, because of all you’re going through, I thought it worth putting up here. I plan on using my blog for the next little while to talk about friends who have blest my life, since I’ve talked on and on about my family and how I’ve been blest by them..

"Re: Long time" was a subject line I was coming across several times in my in box that particular day, as I was going from latest to earliest, looking
for any personal Email. It was people on the MSB list, and I found myself going "Re: long time who?" Then, I found it, and my heart nearly jumped into
my throat. "Long time" was the subject line. But, it was the name, Tom C. that made me stop.

Tom C., my fellow classmate, who left around the same time I might as well have left MSB completely. Tom C., the one person I wish I had thanked
for being there for me, even though we both ran in different circles of friends.

I sent a brief on list reply, as I thought about those times.

There was the time I proceeded to call Carol, one of the girls in our class a very bad name, because she would not slow down for me when we were running
around the track. I remember feeling miserable about that almost immediately.

To give a bit of background -- That year the school for the blind had combined all middle school classes together into one huge program, which meant
we had to do everything in mixed classes. Home-ec was my course after that fateful gym class.

When I walked into the class room, the only available seat was next to Tom. "Great", I thought, as I slipped into it. You see? At that time, Tom
and his two friends were known as our class's "bad boys", and I thought they obviously would pick sides with Carol.

The minute I sat down though, I sensed Tom wanted to talk to me. I turned to look at him, and he indicated without saying a word "Later". But, I remember
feeling extreme peace in that indication. It was not until the teacher had given me the ingredients for whatever we were working on, that Tom turned to
me and said quietly, "You have nothing to worry about". I asked him if he was sure about that. He then went on to say, that he was pretty sure Carol
was upset at another kid for sticking up for me.

After that, I remember going through the motions for the rest of the class. Yet, every time I felt myself start to slip into worry mode, I could almost
hear Tom tell me not to worry, and I knew he was keeping an eye on me for the rest of the afternoon.

The next day, everyone kept saying stuff to me about the upcoming fight with Carol, except Tom and I think Larry. Larry was not one of the "Bad boys",
even though he constantly found himself in trouble. He, in reality was one of my best friends. So, I knew he would not say anything to me regardless.
But, when Gary and Kevin started picking on me, with Gary being the loudest, I broke down. Miss Manning took me down to Mr. Tutt's office, along with
Carol. But, as I left the room, I could almost feel Tom's eyes on me again, assuring me.

Fast forward about six or seven months later, when we were having our end of the year gym track tournament. I, was paired up with Tom to run the 440
tandem event. Both of us received our share of ribbing about that. But, I'll never forget what Tom did. The day before the event, he hollered over
to me, and when I approached, it was to get the pep talk no one else had ever given me when running the tandem race. I knew then, even if we didn't win,
I was going to be okay.

The day of the event, Tom again talked with me, never once using the words don't or quit or no.

The object in the 440 yard tandem or a quarter mile run is for the sighted person to lead. The blind person however, needs to push to keep the sighted
person's momentum going in the event.

I'm pretty sure it was our beloved guy's gym teacher, who we all called Coach, who hollered for the teams to run. I remember holding on to Tom's elbow
for dear life at first, as I tried to match his pace. Every ounce of energy in me wanted to scream, "I can't!" However, I remembered, that even though
he may have picked on me mercilessly in class, Tom never had not yelled for me to quit, and I had never done that to him. I could not let him down at
any price.

When we got the last hundred yards, I felt Tom start to slow down, and I tried my best not to slow down as well. Then, he realized what both of us
were doing and hollered, "Come on! It's not far! We can do this!" And, with a burst of energy neither one of us knew was there, we finished!

I don't remember if we won that day or not. Our team lost overall though, through no fault of our own.

Had we both stayed at MSB, I'd like to think in an alternative universe, we would have both probably been team captains. I, for girls track and he
for wrestling. However, the next year, both of us could see the school taking a drastic turn. I started going to Okemos High part time that year, and
I'll never forget the day when something in me snapped and I said something in class about something. Tom was sitting next to me in that class, (this
time because of a stupid seating chart Mrs. Cordon had). I think what I was complaining about was the fact I was in a social studies class in both schools.
Tom then turned to me and asked, "Bea, what are you still doing here? You don't belong here." My response to him was just as inspired as my comment had
been. "I don't know!" Tom then told me to get out while I still could, neither one of us realizing it would be him who would leave and go full time
the following year.

Tom did come back; I think it was the second day of our tenth grade year to visit. I remember him hollering at me and asking if I was glad I was back.
My answer was non-committal enough, because I didn't realize it was him. When I did, I nearly turned around and hollered back, "No Tom, I'm not! I wish
no one had convinced me to do track another year!"

Tom's on list response the next day, caused me to write down most of what I recorded here, to him privately especially the thanks I had always wanted
to give him. The next day, I received an invitation to look at something he had written on his blog. What he wrote was a public thank you back to me.

When Mom passed away, I knew there were people in my life I could count on to help me through that time. Tom was one of those people. If I wrote him, I received an Email back, assuring me everything I was going through was normal, as he had lost his mother at around Christmas time. He also asked more times than most if I was okay, and for that, I’m totally grateful.

Tom, I honor you, because I know anyone who considers you a good friend, is someone you will either watch their back, or give them a helping hand up. Bless you for who you are in those people’s lives you have touched.


  • At January 28, 2008 at 9:01 PM , Blogger Suzanne R said...

    How wonderful for you to have a friend like Tom C.! I wish I had friends that went back to high school, although I do have friends that I have known for a lot of years during adulthood. Then there are friends like you, Bea, who I haven't known all that long in reality but who I feel I have known for much longer than the actual time. You are the same kind of friend as Tom C. is. Thank you for that.

  • At January 30, 2008 at 1:44 PM , Blogger Tom C said...

    Thank you for the honor of your friendship, Beatrice.

  • At January 31, 2008 at 7:53 PM , Blogger Healing Song said...

    Tom, all I can say is FFL. You know what I mean!

    Suzanne, time doesn't matter. What matters is quality of time put into friendships, whether it's long or short. The quality of that time is the most important thing in establishing friends for a lifetime. I, like you, am honored to consider you a lifetime friend, though we've only known each other say maybe about a year? Don't know when we actually started corresponding on lists. But, if this is the ride it's turning out to be for life, I'm honored to consider you one of those friends!

  • At February 1, 2008 at 5:11 AM , Blogger ImperfectNerd said...

    Friends can be so incredibly necessary. I had very few indeed until I met Gail Slaughter, and through her, you, Bea, and Bert, and how wonderful Christmas and cookouts at Gail's became for me, because you would bring your guitars and sing, and could always remember me just from my voice from the very beginning. As they say in the song, "Thank you for being a friend.".......Michael

  • At February 1, 2008 at 9:31 PM , Blogger Healing Song said...


    Those were the days. I will get up and look at your blog soon. How well I remember those days at Gail's house.

  • At February 1, 2008 at 11:04 PM , Blogger ImperfectNerd said...

    Good deal, Bea. Keep smiling!

  • At February 2, 2008 at 8:35 AM , Blogger Healing Song said...


    You might want to actually go to Tom's blog and take a look at something. Not to critique too much here. However, I clicked on a couple of entries and they were pics. If you want blind people to visit your blog, take the time to describe the pictures, in case they click on those pages. Not to cause your head to swell here, Tom. However, you've gotten better at that. Email me Mike and I'll send you his link. For that matter Tom, I'll send you Mike's blog link and if you want, go into the comment section and leave a few descriptions, so he can understand what I mean here. (I know. I need to put up a blog role. DOn't know how to get that accomplished.)

  • At February 2, 2008 at 5:45 PM , Anonymous ImperfectNerd said...

    Bea,I just sent a reply to Mary Taitt responding to a very image-laden poem she wrote called "geraldine the frog tamer". I asked her if she and I might possible cooperate on a blog aimed specifically at the blind reader. I'd like to call it "Unseen but Not Unfelt." That would give us a place to concentrate on poetry. What do you think of that idea?

  • At February 2, 2008 at 10:01 PM , Blogger Healing Song said...

    Mike, either poetry or short stories. It's a good idea.

  • At February 3, 2008 at 8:58 AM , Blogger ImperfectNerd said...

    Ok, DONE! http://ubnu.blogspot.com
    "Unseen But Not Unfelt"
    stories, poems, and verbal images.
    Thanks for getting it started, Bea!


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