I was planning on writing up something else entirely. I was supposed to be writing about Pro Wrestling and Hulk Hogan making an unexpected move to TNA Wrestling, along with Eric Bischoff. This was supposed to be a fun, lighthearted, goofy little blog post.
Instead, I’m saying goodbye to ANOTHER friend.
Those who’ve been reading my blog for a long while know that I used to work at St. Louis Christian College and that I’m a graduate of the school as well. While I was a student there, there was a member of the faculty named Tom Wallace. His wife’s named Linda and she ran the bookstore right up until this semester. She was laid-off at the same time I was, when SLCC’s budget hit the red. When Linda and I were both still working there, I’d find some excuse to go over to the bookstore EVERY DAY to say hello to her (and Deb) and chat for a while. As recently as TODAY, I saw Linda, who interviewed for a job with the company for whom I now work this morning. All things considered, I’m glad I got to see her with her spirits up.
I’m unclear on the timeline…but somewhere after her interview, Linda went home and started making diner. Tom was downstairs exercising. Linda walked downstairs to find him unresponsive. 9-1-1 was dialed, but he could not be revived. Today, Tom Wallace died of a heart attack while his wife lovingly prepared him food he would’ve loved eating. It’s incredibly sad. It’s not real to me yet. My jaw literally dropped when I read it on Facebook. I actually hesitate to post anything about it because I just can’t believe that it’s actually true. It’s just shocking.
Tom, as I said, was a faculty member at the school while I was a student. We didn’t have much direct contact as it pertained to my education, but he would always say hello when he saw me and he knew my name for absolutely no reason other than that it was important to him to know it. That’s a good man.
One day, Tom arranged for me to play a gig in Litchfield, Illinois in a fund-raising thing for SLCC. I haven’t always done right by SLCC, and I’m not necessarily the first person they’d choose as the poster-boy for their Alumni Association…but I was touched when Tom asked me to do that. I still had the long hair at the time and Tom was one of the few—if not only—faculty members who ever asked me to do something like that. Most of them, I think, wanted to keep me OUT of the promo-materials based on looks alone… I hope I did him proud. (I regret that I never told him how much that meant to me as a student.) I drug my friend Cody along to play congas, and we did about a half-hour to forty-five minutes. Tom was there. He was complimentary, kind, considerate (he made sure I got paid for mileage and made sure the church got us something to eat, as well), and even though I’m not sure the stuff I played was quite his cup of tea, he applauded at all the right times. He was exactly the kind of man you want in your audience. He was exactly the kind of man you want in your LIFE.
The world sucks a little more without him.
I could say more…but I’m starting to bum myself out, and I kind of want to stop writing. I guess that the measure of a man isn’t how much you CAN say about him, it’s how much you have to leave unsaid for fighting back the lump in your throat.
Rest in peace Tom. I don’t know why you had to leave here so early…I just know Heaven’s luckier than we are.