Tom Sheehan, in his 92nd year, just published his 44th book, The Grand Royal Stand-off and Other Stories from Pocol Press. In submission process are Poems Found from Fallen Pages, A File for Ruby and Lost Poems Found Anew. He has multiple works in Rosebud, Literally Stories, Linnet’s Wings, Frontier Tales, and many sites/magazines. He served as a sergeant in the 31st Infantry in Korea 1951-52 and graduated from Boston College in 1956.
I’m a Townie, from way back, born on March 5, 1928 at No. 3 Bunker Hill Avenue, Charlestown, Massachusetts, directly across the street from the U. S. Navy Yard, where berthed for history’s sake is Old Ironsides, the U.S. Constitution, on which my father, a U.S. Marine at the time, often served as COQ, Charge of Quarters, and where my mother would often wheel me over to that ship in a carriage for him to tend me while she went shopping in City Square..
On my shelf still stand a pair of bookends made from her once-rotting hull, and they still knock me silly with history’s glance every once in a while, like every time I turn around; part of history, me and them, pieces coming back at the slightest glance, the past moving toward me in a continuous process.
As we grew, I started at Charlestown’s Kent School; first grade with Miss Finn (no first name ever used}, who once sent a note to my mother saying, “Please don’t move away before I have taught all the Sheehans,” there being two others beside me and sister Pat, classmate, at that time. We still have the note in our collection of things treasured, notes from comrades, from favoring teachers, scrap books on athletic games in my younger days, the tonnage of memories.
But my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth King Sheehan, eventually a bookbinder for some 60 plus years at Ginn & Company, who came here at 11-years old from Ireland and took her arrival day as her birthday, throwing history under the shovel for that singular stand.
She used to bring uncovered books, failures in the production line, to our personal Charlestown library, allowing us to be book-read very early in the education game, and thus for all our years of schooling and kindling our deepest pleasures.
But it wasn’t enough for that dear lady, who by bus to stop to bus ended up in front of a realtor’s office after she told the driver what she was looking for. Three days later, we moved into the third-floor apartment of a three-decker in Cliftondale Square in Saugus, Mass., like it was millenniums away from Charlestown
We spent the years of second-grade to fifth-grade there, with Marleah Graves in the second grade (and for whom the school is now named), with Mrs. Stone in third grade, Myra Beckman in fourth grade, Miss Chase in Sweetser School fifth grade, Miss Dorr in Roby School’s sixth grade.
Then that grand old lady up and bought two side-by-side houses just out of Saugus Center and right near the site of the First Iron Work in America, today a National Park, in view of my favorite window from my favorite chair, a site I worked at for parts of 8 years before and after military service in Korea 1950-52, and at Boston College, 1952-1956.
Out my back window, still in history’s lap, lies Appleton’s Pulpit, where a metal sign says. “Major Appleton of Ipswich made a speech on this rock denouncing the tyranny of the Royal Governor, Sir Edmund Andros. A watch was stationed on the hill to give warning of any approach of Crown Officers. Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentery Committee. 1636-1936.”
It is said that Major Appleton was hidden from the troops in the oven of a woman’s house at the end of what is now Appleton Street.
I lived in one house until I was married and we moved into the older house, built in 1742, in 1956, raising six children there, losing two boys on this long passage, and another son has made the top rung elsewhere, and one cares for me now in these late years, cook, chauffer, and guardian.
Meanwhile, in intervening years, I tore this old house apart, wall to wall, floor to ceiling, making two rooms into one, constructing cabinets and countertop, moving a cellar door at a 90-degree angle which took it out of site, adding exposed, carved beams in ceilings, all touching the house with a taste of the past and a look to the future.
Over the years, prior to my first computer, I had five typewriters in different rooms, each with a story or a poem started on a page still tucked into the machines, constant reminders of dreams in process.
With the advent of the computer, an early Apple, and then this machine, I have written and garnered more than a thousand entries (poems, stories, articles), one site alone in Oregon carries more than 800 stories and poems, one site in Ireland with more than 100, one site in England with 136 and counting, and hundreds and hundreds more of singular site entries as I gear up here for my 94th year, the Good Lord willing.
Another stunning piece by Tom
Swan River Daisy
River Water Larceny
Driving on the Sausage Run
Farenheit,Electricity and a Flexible Flyer
The Mount Carmel Raid
Last Call For a Loner
John and Andrew, Philanthropists
Evan Stalworth’s Wealth of Words
Notes Pinned on a Returnable Container
The Chocolate Kid
Skink, the Town Drunk
Letter to the Lost
Michael and the Final Fix
Decisions on the Ipswich River
The Craterville Catastrophe
The Tale of Trot and Dim Johnny
The Catch of the Day
Plumbeck the Fiddler
Comet With a Nasty Tale
Silas Tully, Mechanized
Knickers On The Loose
Beau Geste Murtaugh, Veteran of Wars
Eddie Smiledge, Houseman
Meeting Max Cargo
The Boy Who Dug Worms at Mussel Flats
The Back Side of Sight
Leaving for Viviers
The Hermit of Breakheart Woods
The Lobster That Wouldn’t Sleep
A Soldier’s Crusade
The Innocence of a Lakeside Interruption
Death in the Shadows
Comes a Prisoner Bound in Rags
Retaliations Soft Reply
The Boatyard Gang
Two Characters Caught up in Shantytown
Chapter Reaching for a Novel Part 1
Chapter Reaching for a Novel Part 2
From One War to Another without Choice
At a Loss for Words