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Tommy J turns 70!

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Tommy J turns 70! - Page Text Content

BC: To Be Continued April 22, 2011

FC: 70 Years in the Making | Thomas A. Jerdon

1: "He had the bluest eyes, lots of blond wavey hair and dressed so sharp. He wore pointed Italian type shoes and was a great dancer." - Louise | Dear Tom, There's been a lot of UP'S and DOWN'S in the 45 and 1/2 years we've been together. But, you're still the ONE and ONLY ONE I'd want on the other end of the Titer Tater. Love, Louise

2: MEMORIES OF MY DAD Two of the biggest spiritual events happened to me this year. I remember my baptism & my father performing it & then laying his hands on my head & confirming me a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints & giving me the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I vaguely remember that there were some issues, something about the forms missing & having to make last minute phone calls. We practiced the baptism several times before & I was so nervous. I was so happy afterwards, especially because my father performed the ordinance. The other was when I was so sick & had to stay home. My father came & explained to me about the healing of the sick. He asked if I wanted a blessing & I said that I did. I remember him & another man came & put oil on my head & gave me a blessing. I fell asleep that night & woke up the next morning all better. It was one of the first miracles in my life. Dad supported me in every sport I played. He was there hitting tennis balls with me, playing basketball, baseball, whatever, we played all the time. My best memory is the year I got the hoop in the driveway of the Lana St house. Dad got some buddies & then dug the hole at the edge of the driveway & then put a heavy steel pole and hoop up and filled it in with cement all in one night so that when I woke up on my birthday I would see it. What a special birthday. What great memories of playing on that court with my dad, the free throw contest, one-on-one, & him always saying “Purdue for two”. I also remember him getting upset when my friend Kevin & I would play baseball in the front yard with a tennis ball. We would hit it over the guy’s house across the street & he had big front windows. We would also use the side of the garage as a back stop to pitch

3: against & we were ruining the decorative trim & the stucco. One day he brought home this white plastic ball with open slots on one side of it. He said it was a wiffle ball & showed us how to throw it & make it curve. It was game on from there. We loved it, even though we could not hit it across the street anymore & it was so light it did not damage the wall of the garage, but we loved throwing it & making it move. Dad & I used to go after each other in a pitcher’s duel. I was always Nolan Ryan of the California Angels. Maybe Dad took it easy on me, but striking him out to win the game was a great feeling for a kid. MTC, August 1984 – The last person to hug me before my family left was my father. He gave me the biggest hug ever & said how proud he was. Insert tears here. What a very special man, I could not imagine my life without him. I Love You DAD! Tom Jr.

4: When Kinsi & Tristan got married, you called & had a conversation with Tom welcoming him to the club of “parents of married children”. You told him a joke that I have never forgotten – Daughter calls her parents & says she won’t be able to make it home for Christmas this year. Parents are disappointed, but say they understand. Son calls parents & says he won’t be able to make it home for Christmas this year, Dad replies, “well that’s probably just as well because Mom & I haven’t been getting along & are going to file for divorce.” Son calls sister & sister calls Dad very upset & says both her & her brother will be home for Christmas & asks that they please do not do anything until they get to town. Dad hangs up the phone & yells to his wife, “both the children will be home for Christmas & we don’t even have to pay for it this year”. Ha ha ha. I love your sense of humor & how you always take the time to call your children, personally. I really admire the way you show your obvious love & support to your family. You have a gift of making each child & grandchild feel unique, special & important to you. I love watching you play with them. There have been many times when I knew you were “worn out” & the children wanted you to play a game, or read a book, or go for a walk & you could have easily put them off 'til another time, but instead you indulged them saying, “I just don’t know when we will be together again.” What an inspiration you are to me! You are the “story book grandpa”, master of “night walks”, favorite golfer to caddy for, ballroom dancer, best friend, & the list goes on and on. You were the “father” in the temple at our wedding when my father couldn’t be there, you blessed one of our babies, you’ve shared countless words of wisdom & counseled us when asked, you are my husband’s hero & so very dear to me. You are the kind of grandparent we hope to be. We certainly are far from perfect, but you certainly do love us perfectly. Thank you! I love you, Ginger

5: Dear Grandpa, Happy Birthday! Thinking back I enjoy my memories playing basketball with you in the backyard and being the caddy on golf trips. You convinced me to do rowing and to this day it is by far my favorite sport that I am so glad to have been a part of. I have great memories of the times we spent together and hope this birthday is a great one. Love, Kinsi

6: When I was 6, I came to visit you and Grandma all by myself. Kallan and Macy came and spent the night. We were playing dress up and pretending to be princesses and brides. You came out of your room dressed up in a suit coat and hat. You were the groom. We drew straws and the person who got the short straw (the loser) was the bride. I can't remember who had to be the bride, but it wasn't me. ha ha ha. We had a pretend wedding ceremony and it was so much fun. You also came to the tea party Grandma had for me. They didn't have anything for men, but you still dressed up in a ladies hat and shawl just like the rest of us. I always loved it when you played with us and you always made us laugh. I still love going to your house to visit. I love you, Grandpa. Love, Attiana

7: Hey Grandpa! You’ve done a lot for me over the years, and I just want to let you know of some of the memories I’ve cherished all these years! First off, you’re the reason I have a signed Vladimir Guerrero baseball cap in my drawer (still in mint condition, of course!) that I’m hoping will one day be worth a lot of money! I remember walking up to the vender and buying the hat, then waiting anxiously in line, not really caring who signed my hat as long as it was signed, while you waited up the steps so we could find our seats. I also remember the shirt you bought for me, and how you explained to me who Vladimir Guerrero was. I remember running excitedly back to you and I’m pretty sure I even offered the hat to you because I felt bad you hadn’t gotten something signed. Ever since then, the Angels have been my baseball team even though my love for baseball has dwindled. I remember you teaching me how to golf in your backyard, and the frequent golfing trips we used to take with my dad, and also those summer afternoons spent hunting flies and just hanging out. My favorite memory, by far, is my 6th birthday when you took me to the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park. There were so many things I wanted to do that day, and I’m pretty sure we did most of it, and you did a great job making it a very special birthday for me. I also remember how on the ride back to the airport when it was time for me to return home how we pretended we were in a military fighter plane and all the other cars were enemy planes, and you played along because I was only 6 years old. I can’t wait to see you again and make even more memories I will cherish for the rest of my life! Love, Tajj

8: Dear Grandpa, Happy Birthday. I hope this is the best one ever. I love hanging out and spending time with you. I especially like to have conversations with you. I hope I am able to hang out with you again soon. Love, Traegen

13: It was our first Christmas in Paso Robles in our new house on Lana St. This must have been in 1975 and I remember waking up to see a brand new bike next to the tree. At first I wasn't sure if it was for me, I don't ever remember asking for it and Tommy was older and it could have been for him. I remember dad telling me it was mine and the joy I felt as a kid was overwhelming. I don't recall ever believing in Santa Clause and even though they tried to tell me it was from him, I knew it wasn't. I remember in the 2nd or 3rd grade my dad telling me if my grades were good he would take me out of school for the day and him and I would have a day alone together. As promised he did and he took me to San Luis Obispo with him. He took me to a really cool book store and bought some of my favorite books, choose your own adventure books. We went to the toy store, took me to the arcade, we had lunch together and ran a few other errands he needed to do before calling it a day. I remember how great that day was just him and I. In the 4th grade I was a screw up. I hardly did a thing the entire year. Apparently the teacher told my parents if I didn't complete this boat load of work the last day of school they would hold me back. My dad showed up that last day and sat with me all day to ensure I did the work and didn't get held back. School was out and the teacher was still waiting on me to finish. Dad never gave up on me and even though we made the teacher wait just a little longer to start his summer vacation, the work got done and I was able to go on to the 5th grade. There is so much more but the best memories for me as a youth are of the family trips we took together, my parents involvement in Scouts, my dad's involvement in little league, the volunteer work they did with the schools. I remember my parents singing and performing together at different church events and thinking how great they were. The great memories go on and on. - Kurt

14: Tom- I remember being very nervous meeting you and Louise for the first time that New Years Eve of 2002. But you and Louise were so sweet and warm that I was able to relax and just be myself. You always have a kind word to say and always have perfect comedic timing (I think that's where Kurt gets it). I couldn't ask for a better father-in-law and I appreciate every day you're in our lives! Happy Birthday! Love, Melanie

15: Grandpa, I have so many great memories of us together from when I was little when you would take me down to the river bed to collect paintballs to lassoing lizards in the back yard. You would always let me crush the aluminum cans because I loved the crusher thing in the garage and you taught me how to shoot a basketball. You came and supported me at my cheer competitions and you got me hooked on Target pizza. Going on trips with you like Hawaii and San Diego will always be some of the best times I've had. Thank you for everything you've done. I love you and Happy 70th Birthday. - Kallan

16: Papa, I remember when I was living with you, we went up to Vegas to go see Grandma. We would always go get ice cream from Baskin Robbins or Sonic almost every night. I remember that same trip we were there for Fathers Day, you and I went over to the mall and ate at a Mexican Restaurant then just walked around the mall a little and just bonded. We always have fun when we are together, and I'll never forget all the fun times. Thanks for everything, Papa! - Macy

17: Tatumn & Papa

20: Here I am. I should be paying attention to this lecture on nervous system infections, but this is one of those times when I sit back in disbelief that I am actually sitting in this lecture hall in the first place. I can’t help but think back to the journey that has helped me get here. I can’t help but reflect upon the role that you played in helping me achieve this dream which has now become reality. It’s funny to look at who I am today and see how you have influenced me (for the good of course). I think about all the things I love in life, my hobbies and interests and I can see how these things evolved from the experiences I had with you as a child and a teenager. My love of the outdoors, camping and hiking all began with the family overnighters to the beach, backpacking in Northern Nevada (thanks for carrying my pack on the way down), all the high adventure and scouting overnighters that you shared with me. No doubt these experiences and memories have fortified my love for the outdoors, and appreciation for nature and so many wonderful memories I hope to be able to share with my own sons. It’s no surprise that each of your sons became lovers of sports. It just goes to show the powerful influence a father can have on his sons. Your love for college football and basketball, track and field, the Angels and golf has now become my love. But it wasn’t just about watching sports. Being involved in sports has provided me so many other skills and attributes that I may not have otherwise developed. When it comes to sports, there is one thing that meant more to me then anything else. Your attendance. I think back to all the different activities, teams I played on, sports I participated in, and I can’t recall one time when you weren’t there. You always made the effort, drove whatever distance in order to see me and sometimes not see me participate. That meant more to me then you will ever know.

21: Believe it or not, even my career choice was influenced by you. You are a wonderful example of service and always willing to help others. Seeing such actions from you growing up helped me realize I wanted to do the same. The work ethic you helped instill in me, even though I hated weeding, has helped me to stick with and achieve my career goals. I know your example of hard work and service will continue to benefit me in the years to come. I could write a book about what a wonderful father you have been and continue to be to me. The accounts of your influence and teachings are endless. Just know this, every person I end up helping will be someone you help. Every life I am able to save will be a life you helped save. Every memory I am able to create with my sons will be memories you helped create. And so your legacy will live on and on and your reflection will be seen in every good thing I am able to achieve and do. So, until I can afford your red Corvette or get you a round of golf at Augusta, my whole hearted thank you will have to suffice for now. Thank you, Dad, for all you have done and continue to do. I love you very much. - Jacob

22: Tom has led an amazing life that just keeps getting more interesting. With his seemingly calm demeanor, he can deceive people into thinking he's just an ordinary guy, but he's not. It seems like every time I talk to him, I find out some other interesting thing that he's done or is doing. He served in the Navy, he was a parole officer (that alone has many a story behind it), he was a volunteer forest firefighter, he ran in a marathon, he was an avid dance club goer. Once while I was still teaching elementary school, we came to visit for the holidays and I discovered that my sixty-something-year-old father-in-law was reading the Harry Potter series. Who knew? We would later take him to see "Platform 9 3/4" just for kicks. I love that he has such diverse interests and is willing to go out and be active. That must be what keeps him young at heart. Tom is the most golden hearted friend. He is the type to go out of his way and bend over backwards to help a friend or loved one in need. His service at church, in the neighborhood and in his family set such a wonderful example for the rest of us. He gives of himself freely, without thought of recognition. Sick and ailing neighbors, children in the local schools, Scouts, you name it. He looks for ways to care for others, and is loved all the more for it. I love you, Tom! - Stephanie

26: Dad - We all know age is nothing but a number and your soul has become more youthful than I have ever seen. How blessed I am to have you give me a foundation to build myself as a woman, a mother and an overall good human being. You’ve taught me so much, from shooting a gun to fixing cars to just living in this hard world. You definitely taught me strength and have empowered me to be fearless. I’ll never forget when you let me drive the van in New Harmony and even though I couldn’t see over the steering wheel, you gave me the courage to keep going and I did keep going because you made me feel safe. Thank you for loving and protecting me no matter what. I love you! Cameo

27: Grandpa, I love that every year you take me fishing and camping together. I like when we go to sleep when we camped in the truck and you would pop jokes about those "marmots". When I hang out with you I always feel happy and cheerful. Love, Xander

28: "A man's age is something impressive, it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man's age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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  • Title: Tommy J turns 70!
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