there's no other love like the love FROM a brother."- Astrid Alauda
|My grandparent's house in the background. It sat on Lake Michigan...we had our own beach. Menonminee, MI|
|Tom, daughter, Melissa; Mara, his wife; his youngest daughter, Jennifer|
As teenagers, we bought, and shared an old '56 Chevy from our Dad. We used jet fuel as gasoline for the car thanks to Tom. He worked at the airport. When doing preflight checks on a plane, the fuel line had to be drained to make sure all the air was out of the line. Rather than dump the fuel on the concrete, Tom drained it into a Coke bottle, and then put that fuel in our car. It was so nice since it helped our pocket book by not having to buy so much gas.
Anytime we were together, he always quizzed my about the "idiot" lights on the car dashboard. (Generator and Oil lights). He'd ask, "What would you do if this light came on?" One time, while I was driving back to College, a light did come on. I was trying to remember which light it was that you had to stop right away, or you could keep going. I did figure it out right, and it saved me.
For a couple of kids (teens and early 20's), we traveled together a lot...in an airplane. Tom was the pilot. Sometimes I'd take over flying, and he'd take a little cat nap. He'd always tell me what heading to stay on before he'd doze off. When he'd wake, he would ask where we were. I never knew. I only knew that I'd kept it on the heading I was told to. I am terrible with directions...it kept me from getting my pilot's license. There are no road signs up in the sky, and I was afraid I'd get lost. Tom would try to show me how to navigate, but I was, and still am, pretty hopeless when it comes to directions.
I am the sole survivor of our little family. Our mother died, at 27 years. Our Dad at 64 years. Tom was 32 years.
|Our mother, and Tom|
|Me, Tom, and our Mom|
|Our Dad, and Tom|
|Tom, Dad, and me|
|Tom, me, and Dad. This was the '56 Chevy that we drove as teenagers. It was like driving a tank.|
|Me, Tom, and our dog...we had 2 Collies actually.|
|This was taken in Menominee, MI|
|Oh my goodness. I can remember what fun times we had with this little car. When we were too big to sit inside, we would drape our legs over the sides, and push each other.|
He flew my family to Texas so they could come to my Wedding.
|Tom, Jennifer (daughter), our Dad (F.S. Norcross III), Melissa (daughter), Me, Warren, Pat and Bob Norcross (my dad's brother and wife...so our uncle), seated Mara (Tom's wife), Terry (half-brother)|
He and Mara were there when my first son, Mark, was born.
|Mara, Mark, Tom|
|Tom and Bart|
|Tom on the wing of the Lear Jet he flew|
At one time, Tom was the youngest pilot with the most ratings. He would call me at all hours of the day, or night telling me he was passing overhead, or to see if I wanted to go to a concert, or a ride.
He could be so thoughtful, and so frustrating. I was terribly mad at him for dying. I know it is not rational thinking, but he was so much a part of me, and my life. I felt abandoned. I was mad at God as well for taking him from me. They say time is healer, and it is true to a certain extent...but sometimes the scar tissue that is left from the wound, still hurts. I think the stories help make things better. Memories are good. At the Balloon Festival, I saw many who knew us both. We shared stories about Tom. Doug and John Ranson, who I have not seen in years, both came into my life just a few weeks, and days ago. We swapped a lot of stories,too. I think these encounters were "handfuls on purpose" dropped into my life at this time, because God knew I would need them...as a healing balm...specifically this year. 30 years...today...I remember. I will never forget.
Thomas Allen Norcross
July 16, 1952- Oct. 4, 1984