Last week the world lost a unique person.
Had I been a little younger, or Tom a little older, I’d probably have known Tom pretty well. As it was, I graduated from Baylor just about the time he arrived.
At a Baptist university like Baylor, it might seem strange to find yourself part of a group of the school freaks. Skaters, musicians, artists, writers, philosophers, stoners, goths, poets. But that’s how it worked out. At UT Austin, or maybe any other school, we’d have been a lot more average, but at Baylor we were the weirdos. We liked it that way. You could always go to the old fountain in the middle of campus (not there anymore — the fountain, that is) and find some of the crew.
When I arrived at Baylor in 1983, it wasn’t like that. There was no such scene. There were a few interesting oddballs, but no scene. Somehow at the beginning of my Junior year that changed. There was a sudden influx of people who didn’t fit in there, but fit in together. I was older than most of them by a good two years.
So by the time Tom got there I had graduated. I’d make frequent trips back to skate with my friends, and later to see my soon-to-be wife. On one of these trips I briefly met Tom. I am sorry to say I have no recollection of it, but Tom remembered. Apparently he was like that — remembered everything. Over the last few years we got to know each other a bit via Facebook, as part of that little community of friends, now connected by electronic means.
But still, I can’t really say I knew him.
I think that is my loss.