A little bit about Tom's relationships with his sisters is worth writing about, if only for the close and highly supportive relationship he had with them. Both Maliane (Molly) and Katherine played a significant role in Tom's life, being the most supportive of their brother wanting to become a Hollywood actor, and playing the role of caregiver at the end of his life when he was in the advanced stages of scleroderma. Molly was born around 1906, three years younger than Tom, and Katherine was born around 1916, thirteen years younger than Tom. Having two younger sisters must have been a delight for Tom, and it was even possible that Tom helped look after and care for Katherine as a baby, helping to feed her and even change her diapers. Such a loving, caring relationship between the two of them would prove beneficial to Tom when he was diagnosed terminally ill in the mid-1940's and in need of care by 1952 when his resources were running dry.
As the story goes, Molly believed in Tom's potential as an actor and helped him achieve his dream by allotting Tom her hard earned fifty dollars so he could travel to Hollywood in 1923. Fifty dollars sounds like a lot of money and was back then, as it could go a long way for a young man starting out on his journey to the west coast, picking up the odd job in between to help pay his way.
It was Katherine who noticed how handsome Tom was becoming, when the young siblings would be walking around Hamtramck. Even in his teens Tom was turning heads, just like a movie star. Like Molly, she also encouraged him to become an actor. Having such supportive sisters must have been a tremendous boost for young Tom, a shy, unassuming boy on the brink of adulthood, ready to hold the world in his hands.
By the time Tom returned home to Michigan at Katherine's home in 1953, he was clearly in need of personal care due to his illness, which his sister lovingly administered to him. After all, they were closest to each other, trusting each other to a degree where no concern of harm would ever arise. That is what makes for a special family relationship.
|From left to right: Molly, Tom, Katherine, and brother Frank|