A Tiny Peek at Tommy

Here’s postcard 17, which depicts on its front the pontoon bridge in Willemstad, Curacao. It is sent to a Thomas C. by his grandmother and addressed with a very clear address.

This one was harder to process than you’d expect, given the clear name and information I had. The 1968 directories of Irvington, NJ are not available, and Grandma didn’t give me any clues about her residence or name. But I am nothing if not dogged when I fall down one of these rabbit holes, and I found them, y’all. There aren’t that many Thomas C.’s in the country, and I just kept experimenting with guesses and demo family trees until I found them.

The only definite reference I can find to Tommy C.’s existence is in his mother’s obituary, so I can’t even tell exactly how old he was when he received this card from his grandmother. But he definitely existed. His parents were named Thomas and Joyce, and in 1955 Joyce took a trip with her mother Agnes and used this same address on her immigration papers. It is interesting that she did this while still unmarried but 13 years later lived at the same address with her son. Her obituary also doesn’t mention a husband. So I’m suspecting the marriage may have not lasted all that long.


Tommy had four grandparents, of course; his father Thomas was the son of Irish immigrants. But if I were guessing, I’d guess that this card came from Grandma Agnes S. Partially that guess is fueled by the above-mentioned address situation that makes me suspect Tommy lived with his grandparents. But also, Agnes and her husband John appear to have been relative globe-trotters for people both born within miles of where they died. I found records of their travels in the Caribbean and to and from Europe throughout the 50s. I can’t find much in the 60s and nothing about this particular trip, but it sounds like they were well-off and liked cruises.

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