During the years of the Farnham Chronicles, i.e., the high school years, there was one person who played a very significant role in our lives. His name was Tom Tyra but we called him "Tippy." Tippy was the guy who brought The Band into our lives. He was at our house constantly, along with his younger brothers, Jim and Alan, aka "Meej and Noodle." These 3 were the closest thing we had to brothers, although there was a little more than sibling affection at times. Tippy used to joke that he and my sister, whose nickname is "Bippy," would get married so that Tippy and Bippy could have kids named "Ira and Myra Tyra. No middle names necessary."
Tippy was the type of guy who was always, ALWAYS having some sort of adventure. He used to walk in the door saying, "You'll never guess what happened to me!" And he always had a good story that would have us roaring with laughter. There's so many Tippy stories I wouldn't even know where to start.
We had a redwood hot tub in our backyard and Tippy loved to come over and soak in the hot tub. Didn't matter if we were home, he was pretty much family and could come and go as he pleased.
We spent a lot of time at Tippy's house as well, which was easy since it was jsut around the corner from our house. Tippy's room was covered with a collage of pictures. He had cut out of a magazine the life-size eyes of John Travolta and he would move the eyes around his room and it became a game while we were in there (getting stoned) to try and find Travolta's eyes.
When my parents divorced and put our house up for sale, Tippy was devastated. He used to steal the "For Sale" sign that was in front of the house in the hopes that if there wasn't a "For Sale" sign, nobody would know the house was for sale and then nobody would be able to buy the house and we wouldn't leave him. Sadly, the house did sell and Tippy was out of town when we moved out. He returned from his trip, not knowing we were gone and he had let himself into the backyard as usual and undressed and slipped into the hot tub, as usual. So Tippy's sitting there soaking and all of a sudden this lady comes out of the house and starts screaming at the big nekkid guy in the hot tub. "Who are you?" she screamed. "Who are YOU and where are the Perkins'?" Tippy screamed back, trying to cover himself. Poor Tippy found out the hard way that we had moved and he had just met the new owner of 3521 Farnham Avenue. Tres awkward to say the least.
After we left Farnham, our family lost touch with almost everyone from that time of our lives. Several years later, we reunited with Tippy at a friend's wedding. We spent hours reminiscing and then the next night we all had dinner together and laughed and laughed and laughed and did the "Do you remember?" game.
A few years after his 30th birthday party, Tippy passed away after a long illness. And with his death, an era, the Farnham era, came to a close.
Today would have been Tippy's 49th birthday. I think about him a lot and smile at the memories of our Tippy.