By Judge Gregory O’Brien
Although new author Tom Gilfoy has lived much of his life in La Cañada Flintridge, his first book is about his early life in nearby Sunland. Titled “Growing Up in Sunland and Other Short Stories,” the hardcover book includes many historical pictures of the area, stories about Lake View Terrace and memoirs of Gilfoy’s early years working in the woods and logging camps of Northern California.
When asked why he waited so long to publish his first book, Gilfoy said it was out of deference to his friends and relatives. “This way they don’t have to worry about me living long enough to write another book and making them read it, too,” he explained.
The Little Landers Historical Society in Tujunga has been given exclusive rights to sell this first edition of the book, and it is to them that all income from sales is being donated.
Advance praise of the book includes this review by the Hon. Gregory O’Brien, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge (ret.) and former president of the California Judges Association:
“Lawyer Tom Gilfoy’s regular feature columns once published by the Sunland-Tujunga’s Voice of the Village newspaper are a fond but faithfully unembellished collection of adventures from his youth in the 1930s and ’40s in a once semi-rural patchwork of homes and groves now turned to an extension of suburban Los Angeles. Gilfoy recalls the voices, talents, idiosyncrasies and values of his family, friends, classmates, coaches and iconic old-timers who influenced his development, as well as the innocent, often humorous, sometimes dangerous mischief he and his pals caused or encountered as true 20th century Huckleberry Finns.
“A clear and professional journalistic style and careful attention to historic and topographic detail will engage readers in a joyful discovery or remembrances of such common pastimes as hiking, swimming, camping, auto daytrips and baseball in a time before computers. After a more recent visit to his boyhood homesite, the author reflects, almost sadly, ‘Once our old river rock house was gone, nothing from my childhood remained — the walnut trees, the old barn with the basketball hoop, the chicken coop with the chopping block where our grandma used to chop off the heads of the chickens, the goat pens and shed where we milked the goats twice a day — all these memories were now buried beneath [an] asphalt parking lot.’
“Buried, but not lost. Gilfoy recalls that as standing on the old Little League field, the recollections emerged up through his shoes — and, most fortunately for us, out through his pen. This is not just another family legacy retold by a paterfamilias writer wannabe. It is a well-organized literary collage that captures exactly the tempo, pastels and people of a small town in an innocent suburban America that once was and will never be again.”
Books may be purchased at boltonhall.square.site.