You exuded cool.
We all wanted to be you.
And now you’re gone.
NOTES: With great sadness I learned yesterday of the loss of a classmate. Tom Nicholas grew his hair long and sported leather jackets before any of the rest of us. He seemed to float above the traditional cliques and intrigues of high school.
Tom was cool without being a jerk.
His passion was rock and roll, and he pursued it with zeal. He got good, Really good. Played in some bands. Cut some records.
When Tom’s band Estus put out its self-titled album in 1973, it included Marc Bell on drums. Bell would go on to play in the Ramones for 15 years as Marky Ramone.
Tom would never make it big– like fill-stadiums-big — but he could play guitar and sing like crazy.
THE DAY TOM SETTLED THE MATTER
My most vivid memory of Tom was from the only all-class meeting of our senior graduating class of 1970. (I first wrote about this incident in a post last March.)
We were debating a motion to eliminate Honor Stations, a tradition that recognized the male and female student who best exemplified one of 4 qualities: Most Industrious, Best Citizen, Most Courteous, and Best Sport.
This was the fall of 1969, and revolution was in the air. The class immediately before us had voted to eliminate the position of Miss Fair Marshall, as it was considered a sexist relic of a bye-gone era. Now there was a push to finish the work of our predecessors and eliminate Honor Stations as a musty vestige from the past.
There may have been a person or two who spoke in opposition to doing away with Honor Stations. Most of our classmates were still fairly conservative.
But I distinctly remember the debate ending after Tom stood up.
Tom strode forward, leaned into the microphone, and pronounced with authority, “We have a word for this. It’s called ‘ego-trip.’” (That exact moment is preserved in the photo at the top of this page.)
That pretty much sealed the deal. Honor Stations were ego trips. The question was called, and the motion overwhelmingly carried.
The Class of 1970 had finished the work of the class that came before us. We had killed off the Honor Stations and drained the pomp from “Pomp and Circumstance.”
But, for better or worse, I’m pretty sure that never would have happened had Tom not spoken up.
Rest in peace, dear classmate.