Every time my cousins and I hear a train, we say "there goes Grandad". Now when I hear the train I will think, "there goes Grandad and Tom"
My sweet wonderful cousin Tom just passed away. He loved trains, he loved telling me about Grandad's experiences as a Conductor and Brakeman on the Nickel Plate RR.
Tom has been ill for 2 1/2 years. I am relieved he is no longer in pain, but my heart aches to know I will never hear his wonderful bounding voice, laugh at his joyous sense of humor or share a quite evening with him.
Please pray for his loving and devoted wife and children.
Here Tom and his wife are on the steps of 1515 where for many generations our family has had their pictures taken.
This was taken the week I took possession of 1515 after our families 31 year absence. It was the week of our family reunion. It was the week Tom found out his life would never be the same.
Each of the 8 cousins all got keys when they came to 1515. Tom was so thrilled to get his. As he walked in the house it was truly and experience to watch him walk through the house, at one point he laid his hand on the plaster wall, closed his eyes.........the place is our heart.
Luckily over the next 2 years it was not his only visit. He and his wife and daughter came and stayed one weekend. The two of us stayed up and talked to wee in the morning. I knew how lucky I was to have that precious time with him all to myself. We talked about the house, the history, the family and the "what if" that was ahead of him.
My cousins and I drove to Chicago last summer for his birthday. See, he got a RR hat and his brother got a top hat......see they played "circus" at 1515 when they were kids and they broke the chandelier!
There were reunions, we played baseball, we saw each other at weddings, we saw each other at funerals.
This is 7 of us at his Mother's funeral....my brother was missing. It seems there is always one of us missing.
Now we will never be whole again.
But the time we did have was splendid.
Tom holding court with his kids and cousins at 1515
Tom and I with his sister Deb and Grandad
same dining room 1970
Tom and I with my brother and his brother on the front
porch at 1515
Here all the cousins minus John who was in Vietnam
Us having fun with my Dad
Thank goodness for pictures, I have memories but pictures just help add to the true memory of the event.
This coming weekend is my birthday and our biannual "cousins weekend" at 1515.
I don't know if we will be there or not, but no doubt we will be together.
There will be tears, there will be stories and there will be laughter.
I sometimes wonder if buying 1515 when we did was for a reason I did not know at the time.
It has brought our family back together.
I just hope as Tom enters heaven and sees our loved ones, he is able to tell them, we are still united, we are still all in love with one another.
Grandmother and Grandad at 1515
He can tell them...........look what all we accomplished.
Perry Thomas Willmot