Brought up around story tellers and having heard all kinds of family history tales, it was only natural that Tom Fiske would someday apply them to paper. First he had to make a living, get an education, and raise two children, in that order. Along the way he wrote very funny business letters and an occasional serious article or two for magazines.
Then Tom had to break both legs and lie on his back for five weeks while the surgery wounds and the broken bones healed.
It is amazing what one thinks of when he has nothing to think about for five weeks. In Tom’s case he was fixated on what his grandmother had told him over fifty years before about the murder of her father when she was only a year old. Tom didn’t even know his great grandfather’s name. But he knew where to look for it—a small green book called Genealogy of the Grover Family, which another ancestor completed in 1903.
With that little book in hand, Tom began a new hobby of genealogy in which he set out to prove or disprove the tales he had been told over the years. Most of his father’s people were Yankees who settled Rhode Island in the 1600’s, while his mother’s people were mostly Southerners who settled Virginia in the 1600’s, so there were enough records to go keep his curiosity going.
Tom wrote first his “duty” books—stories about people in his family who paid with their lives for what they believed in (A Courage Place and A Time to Heal). Then he wrote about WWII cousins he knew, paying homage to their courageous service (Full Duty). Finally he wrote a book just for fun—about time travel (Time Out of Joint).
While teaching school, Tom told many family stories to seventh grade students as time allowed. The kids wanted them written down so he published them in a book called Four on the Floor in honor of a brother who blew his toe off with a shotgun. He also wrote many genealogical articles for Heritage Quest Magazine, becoming one of its contributing editors. He still contributes to Genealogical Helper Magazine. In his spare time, Tom found a way to return to his boyhood hobby, Ham radio and is now AA6TF.
Next, Tom revised and otherwise updated the 1903 Grover Genealogy and is currently at work on a small history about Caltech and WWII. Caltech is the great technology institute in Pasadena, CA. Dduring WWII it shut down many of its teaching facilities and made rockets for aircraft while building the Naval test facility at China Lake in the Mojave Desert. Then it assisted with the atomic bomb.
After that Tom began a book about a touchy subject in two countries. He tells about the man who wasn’t there, a space medicine scientist from America who helped the Soviets with their Cosmonaut program and no doubt saved many lives. Strangely enough, neither the US or the Russians will admit that it happened. But there are enough scraps and pieces of evidence around from various U.S. agencies that the story can be pieced together. Besides, the scientist was a friend of the author. He had relics of his nine years of travel to and from the USSR during the Cold War. The name of this uncompleted work is The Insider: NASA’a Man in Baikonur.
As there are more years to live there are more books to write. Tom said recently, “The best way to end the obsession of writing a book is to begin another one.” The following pages list and describe several of Tom’s atrocities against literature.
In each book, the artwork, sketches, and covers were created by the talented artist Caleb, who hangs in artwork in a gallery in St. Petersburg Florida. He has always been willing and able to not only construct a web page or two, but also to provide the art needed for the words. Often he included his own small jokes with the drawings.