The Day the Music Died for Me, June 19, 2002

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Story of the life of my late husband Tom, who died from bladder cancer in 2002. He lived a very hard life. Rode motorcycles, took the rap for a murder he didn't commit, and was exonerated 12 years later from death row.


Today is my 10th anniversary that I mourn the loss of my late husband, Tom "Pervert" Wicklace. 1945-2002.  The hurt has started to die down, more so than 10 years ago. But it still hurts very much.



Tom or as I like to call him "Pervert" which he was known by in the biker community of Tampa, Fl, was a great guy. What we had was a Romeo & Juliet love affair.


He spent 12 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit for a club he whole heartedly believed in. They told me after his death that he was a "stand up con". He took to the grave the name of the person who committed the crime he was willing to die for.  To me that means trust & loyalty.


I met him when he was released from prison.  He stayed out of the club after that, but supported them & the Hell's Angels until the day he died.  


He had friends in many places. He was welcome at every biker event from Hell's Angels to Outlaws, because of the type of person he was & what his beliefs were.  


He was framed for the murder of a 16 year old boy for a drug deal that went bad.  I later learned the truth.  And I would have stuck by him no matter what.


He supported red & white. I supported black & white.  And they all supported us when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2001. They all had a joint benefit for him. We had a large crowd of 1% bikers who came from the states of FL, GA & VA to this benefit. 


Most people would have shuddered. OMG, enemies abound. I can tell you this, I have never seen such a large crowd of 1% bikers who hated each other, all pitch in, come together & support us in our hour of need. Everyone donated money for chemotherapy & for radiation treatments.  A great time was had by all. Citizen bikers as well as 1% bikers made that day one of the happiest days of my life. 


Because I so hope. Hope that he might live longer through their donations.  Hope, that maybe, just maybe, all the clubs would finally come together & work together to make our biker community stronger & make changes without trying to kill each other.


It was a ground breaking event; it was seen on Born To Ride Productions nationwide. About how the clubs came together for another biker in need. Spoken were the words stating that this is the first time, an event took place where there was no animosity present.


The benefit took place right after 9/11/01.  We were all in a state of shock from that day as well.


Our country torn apart by foreigners. Yet this day, was a remarkable one, because the clubs united for one person & kept their differences to themselves.


Pervert was the one who taught me to fight more for what I believed in. He taught me to walk among my enemies & to forgive the hurt and pain I had been feeling for so many years against them.


He was feared by many, for what most thought he had done. He was loved by many as well.


He was a tall proud man. 6'4" tall & weighed around 240# when I met him. He died the same height but weighing only 130# thanks to the cancer.


He came out of prison & took the first job he could. He worked for a bank courier.  I worked as  a traveling nurse working in Orlando, when we first met.


He was an arrogant asshole. He took my handicapped parking spot and shoved his old shovelhead into the disabled parking space. It was my designated space at the Born To Ride Saloon.  So I parked in it, hoping his piece of crap shovel would fall down. And he ran up screaming at me for pushing his bike out of the way.


The next day some guy came up to me at the bank 40 miles away, nicely dressed talk about my goldwing. Yes, the same bike I still ride today.  Had no idea who he was, but he was damned sure gorgeous. He also talked about my "ornaments". Nipple rings that can be seen thru a sheer blouse.  I had no idea who he was, but he mentioned he knew I rode a Honda.


He walked me to my car & we talked for awhile. He was a gentleman.


Two days later, the same old grumpy shovelhead rider was screaming at me at the BTR Saloon again. That was on April 13th, 1998.  God, this guy was so full of himself.


We both entered the bar. I on one side, he on the other side. He whipped out his genitalia & placed it on the bar, the same time I whipped out my boobs breasts and did the exact same thing, across the room. We both were served our drinks immediately and two mutual friends thought we belonged to together.


An hour later, Kim, the college bimbo, was all over him on his lap trying to get him to dance. He seemed tired and upset and I for some reason, being the rebel I am, ran over, pushed the bimbo off his lap and sat down. It was that moment, that that nice gentleman from the bank's smile hit me. It was from that moment on, that I was with that man until June 19th, 2002, holding him in my arms, letting him go home to heaven where he now belonged.


That day changed my life.  Oh yeah, he was still an arrogant asshole, but he was my arrogant asshole.


We spent 4 wonderful years together. he was my soulmate. He taught me it wasn't the color on your back that made you who you are, for the person's personality comes from within.


He joined me in my vending business.  He came out to my travel nursing assignments and slept in hospital beds in rooms made up for me to look like hotel suites.



He rode next to me bitching about my loud stereo while I bitched about his loud pipes. I couldn't hear my stereo riding next to him, his shovel head was louder than any noise I'd ever heard before.


And the friends we made. We never discriminated between the clubs. We went to all events.  I know, his friends only took a liking to me because I was his old lady. I accepted that.  But he was truly friends with those I rode with.  I think it had something to do with the respect he received from many of them in prison.  


He was a kind man and generous to a fault. Lousy income but our bills were always paid. I was an Emergency Room Coordinator in a local hospital in Tampa, FL, and my job provided some of his health insurance.


But the Pervert I knew, wasn't the mean guy, everyone else was afraid of.


For 4 years straight, I received 1-2 dozen yellow roses on his pay day. Didn't matter what the occasion was. I'd come home to work to find 12-24 yellow roses scattered all around our home.  He was poor. My first diamond necklace was bought at a pawn shop. It had 29 small cut diamonds in it. It represented his first showing of love for me. I wore it all of the time. My 2nd diamond was a very small heart shaped one to match the necklace. Another 29 stoned ring from the same pawn shop.  The 3rd ring was our wedding ring. And he threw the box at me, then told me he was no longer buying me anymore diamonds, as he screamed across the house telling me how much he loved me. It was his last gift to me.  And I still have the rings and am hoping soon to lose enough weight, so I can put them back on.


He was different, I was different. He was all about Harley's and well, I'm all about something on two wheels with a stereo and lots of luggage.


I'd seen him on the news or on "Current Affair", and written up in the media for his part in a murder.  I've seen him being exonerated for the crimes he didn't commit. I saw the check from the state of FL, he took and ripped up to mail back to the state and within the letter he told them to shove it where the sun don't shine. We really could have used that money, but he was too proud to take blood money from the state.


Instead, he got the check back and sent the money to MN to his dying uncle living in a nursing home. The nursing home needed more money to care for the gent, so that huge state of FL check was sent to care for his uncle, he hadn't seen in over 50 years.


Why was he called "Pervert"?  Oh yeah, he loved to tease the women at the biker bars by pulling out his genitalia. If a bimbo wanted a ride, out came the "Willie". I never saw him ever give another woman a ride bitch on the back of his scooter.


For years, he always wanted me to ride with him. Ugh, I like riding on the back as much as I do, the thought of a lobotomy. But I gave in. After he had his first surgery, I said ok. I said ok 3 times. There's something painful about riding bitch on the back of a 78 shovelhead with no suspension or shocks.  Thank god the rides only lasted 8 miles before the bike would break down.


He always wanted to get rid of my goldwing and get me something else. But we always had bills to pay. The year I broke my neck, was the same year he was lying in bed crying, writing in pain. I thought I'd never see a big man cry like that. 


A rush to the Emergency Room where I was in charge to my favorite ER doc, confirmed what I thought was going on for a long time. The next day after surgery, I was devastated.  Stage 4 cancer spread throughout his bladder into the bladder wall.  He started the chemo, radiation & had his bladder removed. We had no cancer insurance. I refused to give up and let him die on me.


The biker community all stepped up to help pay the bills. It didn't pay all of the bills, but my own ER dept also chipped in as well, and the hospital I worked for did pro bono work to start with.


He and I spent the last 6 months of his life at St. Josephs' Cancer Center. We had our own little suite there, you might say. He was too much for me to care for alone at home.


So we moved into the Cancer Center together.  And that's when I learned more about who your real friends are when the chips are down.   Those that claimed to be the very best of friends, were never around. Those that were acquaintances, came around the most to help out.  Those that were my closest friends were there for my well-being, trying to get me to take time for myself. HE was my whole world. I could never leave him, EVER.


But I did take an hour or two for a bike night, to show support for those that supported us before the dying stage took place.


And back to the cancer center to spend the night. I gave him his meds, fixed his PICC line, bathed him, sang to him, lied in bed watching tv with him. Pushing him in wheelchair with my daughter, to go outside to smoke MJ to cure the pain and nausea and telling the hospital security to back off as he was dying.


When the chips were beginning to melt, the room was filled with bikers from all clubs and walks of life. He had that kind of personality that they all came to say goodbye.  


He was my life. He cared for my daughter. Taught her about car maintenance. Should have taught me it more at the same time.  She told him everything she couldn't tell me. 


He also sold pot in the state of FL. Prison sentence if you got caught. Unlike CA where you can grow your own, no siree. He didn't care. He lived on a pound a week.  I get buy on an ounce a month now. But he figured if the state wanted him again, they could come and get him.


He had kids he loved and grand kids he adored. And an ex-wife who always called to talk to me. What's wrong with that picture?


He started out in St. Paul, with a bike club called the Hell's Outcasts. Then he went into the carnival business and traveled their circuit for years.  He got married, had 4 kids. And then took off for parts unknown. He had a birth twin brother he'd never met.  I always tried to find the guy. I did find one guy who could have been his identical twin who runs a hotel in Santa Clara, CA.  Spitting image of him. Met this guy in 2008, who was also adopted.  


Well, it's 10 years now, june 19th, 2002, was his calling to go home to heaven. Jesus needed another warrior.  He was brain dead two days before his heart gave out. I refused to let a bunch of interns poke holes in him and wanted him no longer to suffer in pain.



He was 56 years old when he died. Two months short of his 57th birthday. 



It was because of his love for me, that I learned to forgive not to hate any longer. It was because of him, I let others into my heart. The color on your back doesn't make you who you are. YOU make you who you are.



I have become tolerable of others, because he saw the good in everyone.  



He wanted me to go back for my masters in nursing to "make something of myself".  He pushed me to work harder to help others, in a way, I had never done before.



I no longer have that shield up and no longer discriminate against other colors of the rainbow, because I've learned to accept who they are, not what their patch stands for. Their politics are NOT mine. 



He taught me to forgive those I've hated for years.  And I will be forever in his debt for teaching me his wisdom.



But he will be forever in my heart for the love he showed me and my family and was always there for me.



Ah yes, besides the yellow roses, I got a bag of M & M's every Friday as well. I blame him for me going off of my diet.  He knew I had a love affair with chocolate. 



 Our funniest moment together was at a Ryan's Steak House I think in Orlando. He went to the bathroom & I was only charge for two senior dinners. I was still under age 50 & was upset that they thought I was an old person!!



My worse moment was on the back of that damned shovel head bouncing up & down.



My best moment, was the day we had a big blow out and I hauled ass on the I-275 doing 80mph on my goldwing  and blew my rear tire.  I made one phone call. He came & got me with his buddy's trailer. Held me in his arms telling me he loved me.  Love does wash away the hurt.



So here's to you Thomas Michael "Pervert" Wicklace. Born August 15th, 1945, died June 19th, 2002.  You were my hero. You made my days worth waking up for.  



And his final kiss came to my left cheek, the day he was cremated. It woke me out of deep sleep. He used to kiss me every single day with a kiss to my left cheek before leaving for work. His last kiss was the most important one in my life, as it would BE his last kiss.


Submitted: June 20, 2012

© Copyright 2020 RebelRuthi. All rights reserved.

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Sam Catlin

Thank you for sharing. I am the daughter of a loyal man who passed before his time. Your story brings me nostalgia! ~Daughter of Jim Catlin: Hells Outcasts St. Paul, MC 1968~1995 Rest easy daddy

Mon, July 8th, 2013 1:25pm


Your dad may have been friends with my husband thru Hell's Outcasts. He had me searching for friends about a year before he died. Glad you enjoyef my story.
Rebel Ruthi

Mon, July 8th, 2013 6:50am

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