2012-01-13 / Letters

Missing ‘Red Door’ And Brother Tom

Dear Editor,

The Christmas season has just passed, and the Rockaway Community is really missing Brother Tom, and his Red Door Thrift Shop. We miss all the toys and unique items he used to pick up from donors to sell for pennies in his shop.

He used to sell expensive $50 toys for just $3 dollars. He used to make pickups from the rich and sell to the poor. His Red Door Thrift shop was a link between two worlds.

It linked the rich and the poor, and the old and the young. This community loved this shop so much, that sometimes people would leave donations outside the shop on the ground, and most of the time, even the thieves would not bother the merchandise, because the shop did so much good for so many. In the hearts of many, Brother Tom will always be a superior Holy Man! How do I know? I observed Brother Tom for ten years in his shop.

He treated the teens as if they were his own children. He was both a father and a mother to many. He showed great respect and kindness to all. I never heard him even scream at anyone for ten years. I never heard him raise his voice. He was such a gentle soul. When he was in the store, he used to sell imported antique crystals lamps that were worth $1,000 for $25 dollars. I used to work next to an antique district in Manhattan, and I advised him of the price range but he just did not care and still sold the lamps for $25 dollars, and sometimes $10.

There is not one corner of my apartment where I can turn, that I do not see something bought from Brother Tom. He is truly a Holy man. How do I know? One day I went to his shop late in the evening, and there was a tall statue of the Holy Enfant of Prague in the window.

It was one of the most beautiful pieces of sculpture I have ever seen. He explained to me that when Czechoslovakia was being bombed in the war that only the original of this statue survived in a religious square, and that this statue that I wanted to buy, was a replica of the original. I bought the beautiful piece. In the year 2009, the sculpture cried real tears. I was shaken and took a picture.

I woke up my teen children to make sure I was not going insane. I sent the picture of the crying statue to Rome. No one can convince me that Brother Tom is anyone other than a Holy man. In my 63 years as a spiritual person, I have learned the real characteristics of “truth”… it can be twisted, folded, and buried, but truth always rises again. Bless you Brother Tom, wherever you are. Please come back to New York and bring back the spirit of the Red Door, a thrift shop of divine charity.

JEAN JENKINS

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