That’s Tommy Egan, above. Another Riverdale character. He didn’t make it into FJM, but it wasn’t because he didn’t warrant a mention. He was part of the older crew – he’s about two years older than me. He was fun to hang with, drink with. Shoot the shit with. Always nice to us younger kids.
I don’t think he was born in Riverdale. I don’t recall him at St. Maggies. I think he was a high school transplant. But he was all Riverdale.
He always reminded me of the actor Charles Bronson. He was naturally muscular through his gene pool. Always wore tight white t-shirts, cigarette pack in its short sleeve, blue jeans, and his dark hair was always a little greasy looking. That was intentional, not from poor hygiene. A style choice.
He had a quick laugh and a good sense of humor. He was a natural bad ass but he wasn’t a bully. I always felt safe when he was around us younger guys. You just knew that he wasn’t going to let anything bad happen to us. Serrano shared with the OFC that Tommy once took out an asshole with an axe that was coming for Joe.
Riverdalians look out for each other.
I have two distinct memories of Tommy from our youth.
One was a Friday in the early 70s. I was walking up 254th Street towards Riverdale Avenue, heading to my job at Daitch Shopwell. I heard a car horn and heard a female calling “Tommy.” I turned and saw Tommy E sitting behind the wheel in a rag top caddy, top down. Beside him was Terry “Goose” Gans (who did make it into FJM). Someone else was sitting in the back seat by themselves. It might have been Gary Typher, but I can’t be sure. Goose yelled out that they were going to a massive concert upstate that was going to run all weekend long. She said, if I wanted to go, I could just hop in the car with them. Goose was a cutie. I looked at Tommy and he nodded to let me know he was cool with it.
A cross roads.
I knew if I went, my boss, Pete Neary (also the basis for a character in FJM) would have kicked my ass and fired me. My parents would have probably kicked me out of the house. So I pussied out.
I watched them drive across Riverdale and up towards Goose’s apartment in Netherland Gardens.
The next memory was years later. I was a lawyer heading into the Bronx Supreme Court building on the Grand Concourse and I was running late. I didn’t have my lawyer’s ID card with me so I had to stand in the long security line to go through the metal detectors. The Judge was not going to be happy.
Suddenly, I heard Tommy Egan. “Hey Mac, what are you doing here?”
I turned and saw Tommy E dressed in his Court Officer uniform, but I remember he was wearing a boss’s white shirt.
I told him I had a calendar call and he took me by the arm and walked me past the huddled masses and past the metal detectors. I remember he had a grip like iron, and understood instantly that this was the grip he had used when he walked many a perp from the courtroom to the holding cells.
I made it to the courtroom on time.
Now I haven’t seen Tommy in decades, but he stayed in touch with Serrano and Stein from the OFC, so I got updates. They are going to his service.
Sorry to get this one. My prayers are with Tommy and his family, who I heard were all with him at the end. That’s perfect.
Tommy Egan made my childhood just a little more magical. I have a candle burning for him on my wall.
Vaya con dios, Tommy.
Well, now its time to go to work.
But first a kitty cuddle, some rounds and some torture.
You fine, five readers go out there and wrap up your work week so Friday is all freed up to make your weekend plans.
Say a quick prayer for Tommy E. He was one of the good ones.
And have a great day.
I had my own Tommy in high school. He was one year younger but looked seven years older. He, a minor, walked into the coffee shop like a man, and my best friend and I got high with him for the first time in our lives. And when a bully tried to mess with me, he offered me his screwdriver, because, legally, it’s not a weapon. He knew those kinds of things.
But like your Tommy, all things come to an end, and all that’s left are some golden memories and a little smile on our faces that can’t be bought in any store.
Now you just told that story like a writer. Well done Vincent. Now turn it into a full blown story or maybe a novel. You got the skills and the stories. I’m sure your Tommy would be thrilled to be immortalized in that manner.
Tommy was one of my favorite people. Godspeed Tommy
Terry: I’m sure you were one of his.