August 2, 2002
Brick Airplanes Can Fly

Hey, it's not all sad. Dad would be very proud of his children if he could see us now. David and I are living happily ever after. I have just started teaching again, and I have discovered a new self in all these years that have passed since my last full time teaching appointment. And Dad has a gifted son also. My brother Tom Thompson was born in July, 35 years ago. Tom is a designer and a builder.

I remember when he was one-year-old in Michigan, we played house in a refrigerator box. When he was three or four, and he lived in Pittsboro, we went tromping around a nearby pond in our boots. The mud around the pond was like quicksand, and it sucked his boot right off.  I remember the day when he turned five. He was climbing up the outside of the metal railing on the cement stairs to the second story of our apartment building. When his mother objected, he declared "I am five! I can do this!"

I remember his Superman cape. When he ran, it would fly out behind him. Once, we made an airplane out of a desk top and an army sleeping bag on the living room floor. When he was seven or eight I tried to build a fort with him on the slope in back of our house out of wood scraps and sticks, but our materials were insufficient to meet our needs.

He used to design all kinds of army vehicles and flying machines out of Leggos. "Brick airplanes," Dad called them. When he was in high school he drew blueprints for an architect in Chapel Hill. In college he won a prize for photography.

In 1995, Tom was in the army. He was a Forward Observer for the Artillery, and he was in charge of a lot of expensive (many millions of dollars of) equipment. Soon after Tom got out of the army, he started working for a Building Contractor in Chapel Hill. He was a project manager, and he built houses. Now he is in business for himself, and he is licensed to do smaller projects, such as cabinets, windows, decks, and kitchens. His goal is to become a fully licensed Building Contractor and build houses.

I am so proud of my brother! Look at what he designed and built! I wish you could see the details, like the rosettes. Anyhow, if you need some fantastic cabinets in your house, I know the guy to build them for you.  [see the pics of Tom's work]

--Jesse Thompson Eustice

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Besides Tommy's section of the site, the following pages are also related to Jesse and Tommy:
Blurred Time "The Sleeper": the aftermath of Jesse and Bobbie's car accident
Mike Craver's "Visiting Tommy"
Roots of the Red Clay Ramblers:
Fuzzy Mountain String Band: Jesse's mom, Bobbie, recorded with Rambler Bill Hicks and others
Hollow Rock String Band: Tommy and Bobbie Thompson named this band for their community
Listen to Tommy and the Red Clay Ramblers from Rambler (1992) as you read Jesse's letters
"Black Smoke Train" (Real Audio) preview courtesy efolkMusic.

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August 2, 2002