My mother called a little while ago to tell me that a friend of theirs, Tom Baumann, passed away. He was 60 years old. We don’t have much information now, so I am still not sure what happened. 60 is far too young, he’s the same age as my dad. His boys, Nick and Michael, are in their early 20s. Tom is my brother Nick’s godfather. When he and his wife, Leslie, found out they were having a boy, they asked my parents if it was okay if they used Nicholas, because they loved the name, but didn’t want to infringe. It was very cool of them, very sweet. When my siblings and I were little we saw the Baumann’s all the time. One of my early childhood memories is being in our house in St. Paul and Tom and Leslie were visiting. This was years before they had children, but they were always so sweet and attentive to us kids. I understand more now, how generous it was of them to give us their time and attention when I am sure they just wanted to hang out with their friends (my parents).
However, for whatever reason, Tom was being especially sweet to me and I announced to the room at large that I was going to marry him when I grew up. I was maybe 4? 5? Never mind the fact that his wife was sitting right next to him, I didn’t care. I had made up my mind that I would marry strong, tall, handsome Tom.
He was my first crush.
The Baumann family attended all of our family’s events (graduations, weddings, etc.) as we did for them. As the years passed, we didn’t see them as often, but when we did, they were exactly the same. Kind, generous, fun to be around. And Leslie still always teased me that I wanted to steal her man. Tom was a wonderful man, strong and tall and handsome, as I remember him. Also generous and loving, and friendly, very quick to laughter. I obviously had good taste.
My condolences to their entire family, I cannot imagine the pain and heartbreak you are all suffering right now. I will always remember Tom and think fondly of him; the first man I ever wanted to marry. Tom, you will always be missed.