My Amazing Grandmother

My grandmother passed away Wednesday night.  She was 93 years old.  She had 9 children, 14 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.


Here is an excerpt from her obituary:

Pauline would eventually meet her future husband, Lieutenant Michael Toms, on a ship heading for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where they would both survive the infamous attack on December 7, 1941.


Also, here is a joke that she told at Thanksgiving or Christmas a few years ago:

Two guys were sitting in a room in their nursing home with the door open.  Some women in the nursing home thought the men weren’t getting enough excitement and decided to run past the door naked.  The men saw the women streak by out of the corners of their eyes.  One of the men asked the other, “Did you see that? What were they wearing?”  The other man responded, “I don’t know, but it needs to be ironed.”


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Pauline Evelyn Toms (1922-2015)


Posted on November 6, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hello,

    I used to work with your grandfather, Mike Toms. I worked as an MPE mechanic for the USPS and Mike was an MPE mechanic as well. I worked with him at the Tapley Street Annex in Springfield, Massachusetts.

    Mike was a very honorable man. I was the first female mechanic in the Postal Service and my first assignment was at Tapley Street. I was treated absolutely horrible by almost all of the other male mechanics (simply because I was a woman, “taking a job away from a man who had a family to feed,” and life was unbearably miserable because of them).

    There were two very bright spots in my tenure there. One was Howie Collette, and the other bright spot was your grandfather, Michael Toms, and I worked with both of them for many years. He treated me with dignity and utmost respect. I loved him very much for showing me such kindness.

    I met Mike’s wife, your grandmother, once when she came by to drop something off for Mike. She was especially kind, and I remember her as a very polite, majestic woman.

    Mike used to talk about his Pearl Harbor days when I asked him about it. His story about all the bloodshed and destruction was bone chilling. I marveled at how well he withstood that horror. Every year, without fail, Mike would make the trip to join the other veterans who survived Pearl Harbor.

    I just wanted you to know that I greatly admired your grandfather and how he made my experience at the Tapley Street Annex bearable. He also never failed to show me or teach me things I needed to know in order to do the job, but more importantly, how to do the jobs safely.

    Thank you for allowing me to share my fond memories of your grandfather, Mike Toms, with you. There is a sweet spot in heaven for him and your grandmother. Both were very majestic and honorable people and treated me with unbelievable kindness. His teachings allowed me to progress in my career as an MPE mechanic all the way up to USPS Headquarters as a Technical Training Instructor in Oklahoma.

    With fond memories,
    Kathleen Williams (then Kathleen Devol)
    Norman, Oklahoma

    • Wow. Wow. This is a very pleasant surprise.

      I forwarded this to my mother and she remember his going to Oklahoma for training. She even found a letter that she wrote to him while he was in Oklahoma while they were cleaning out the house on Dickinson street.

      I love hearing stories about my grandfather as I only knew him when I was a child and he passed away when I was 11. If you have any other specific stories about him, I’d love to hear them!

      Also, out of curiosity, how did you find this post?


      • Howdy,

        I watched a documentary on the couple who captured the only color film video of the attack on Pearl Harbor. As I watched it, I recall Mike telling me about those terrible hours. I noticed that they briefly flashed a newspaper clipping of those evacuated in Hawaii and those who were reunited. I backed the video up and froze it at the clip. They only highlighted the couple’s name on the clipping (but there was dozens of others), but I also noticed that the article was continued on another page. I read that clipping, trying to spot Mike’s name there, but it wasn’t listed in the video. The second page of the article wasn’t even shown. So, I set out to hunt that clipping down so I could see if Mike was listed. I never found the second part of the clipping, but I did notice on a deeper search that your column came up with his name and his wife’s name. That is how I happened upon this blog, and I was overjoyed when it was “the” Mike Toms I was looking for. So, I thought I’d pen a note to let you know how special your grandparents truly were.

        I’ll be getting back with more stories. My gosh, where do I begin?


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