Geary, Thomas
Manuscript Diary of Thomas Geary, of Danvers, Essex County, Massachusetts, 1938-1944

12mo, 154 pp., entries dated 3 February 1938 - 6 October 1944, bound in brown leather, five year diary format, with five entries per page (one per year), text block separated from binding, binding worn, scuffed, torn at edges, entries are written in pencil and ink, in a legible hand. While the volume is a five year format diary, it was not kept in strict chronological order, with entry dates ranging over a seven year period (1938-1944) rather then five. Not all available entry days on each page were used, with a good number left blank, but of the 365 pages, there are entries on at least 154 pages. Some entries even run over into the next day entry for the following year dates.

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The front flyleaf of the diary has the name "Anita Marie Tassinari" written on it. However, the diary was obviously kept by a male and we find the name of "Tom Geary" on the title-page. However, on the page for January 22nd, the words "Anita, 89 Lafayette Street, Marblehead, Mass" is written. An Anita E. Tassinari is found in the 1940 Census living at 89 Lafayette Street in Marblehead. She was born in 1928, at Salem, Essex, Massachusetts and shows up as a 12 year old in the 1940 Census in her parents' household. She was the daughter of George N. Tassinari and his wife Mary A. Branchinni, of Italy. Her father owned a retail fruit and vegetable business.

 

Since the year is not written on the page for January 22nd where "Nita" is mentioned, we can only assume the writer met Anita sometime between 1938 and 1944, the years of this diary and when Anita would have been between the age of 10 and 16. Geary and Anita became lovers.  There is a date of 26 January 1942 when our diarist writes of "Nita," which would appear to be Anita Tassinari. She would have been 14 years old. He writes:

 

"26 January 1942. Nita called from Hoffman's,[I] met her at 7:30. I hadn't seen her for 20 days. She looked very lovely. She seemed kind of strange to me at first but before long I had my arms around her, and we were talking and laughing in our old fashion. I had almost forgotten how sweet she was to make love to. I could never completely forget. We were on the floor in each others arms most of the night. I kissed her more than usual. She let me go further with her than usual. She is still somewhat of a puritan, but I am gradually breaking down her barrier. She was more responsive to my caresses, and kisses. She really can give me a thrill that a cheap girl couldn't.  We had a very good time. I could make love to he forever. She said if Homan stayed out all night, I could sleep with her. Boy! I do get a thrill from kissing her, and hugging her. She didn't protest too much when I ran my hands along her legs and thighs, she would squeal when I pinched her thighs and I also tickled her stomach and ribs and chest. I left with a good by kiss at 11:45."

 

The diary writer is Thomas E. Geary (1922-2013) of Danvers, Essex County, Massachusetts, the son of Michael Thomas Geary and his wife Gertrude. Thomas served in WWII and the Korean War with the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged. He reached the rank of Sergeant and received the fourth Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medial, signifying the fifth time he had been decorated with the Air Medal and was awarded to Technical Sergeant at 21 years of age for "meritorious achievement" while participating in numerous bombing attacks against military and industrial targets deep within the Reich and enemy installations in the path of the Allied armies in Western Europe. The diary appears to recount some of his time in the military as we read when he first was sworn into service, had to say his goodbyes to his sweetheart Nita and left home for training:


"31 January 1943. Went to Boston with 35 other draftees to take a physical. I passed with flying colors, 2 was perfect in all tests. I as sworn into the army with six other guys from Danvers, out of 35 only, 15 passed the test, they were really hard. I was there from 9 -5:30 pm"

 

"11 Feb 1943. Dolph, [Toot] & I went to supper at Tassinari in Marblehead. Had a very good time...I talked with Nita; I kissed her good bye in the pantry. She said she'd miss our love trysts at Hoffman's as much as I would. I know now what it is to love. I'd do anything for her. She promises to write to me often. She showed my bracelet gifts to her mother. To my great surprise she was very pleased. Leaving my sweetheart is just about the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It would take a war to make me too."

 

"17 Feb 1943. Left Ft. Devens at 4:20 today on a troop train, passed Greenfield (M at 5:30 PM. Landed in Miami Beach in the Air Corps Feb 19 6:30 pm. Staying at the surf Club Hotel."

 

Earlier entries in the diary show where Geary had received flight training, apparently on his own, before his military service:

 

"19 May 1939. Took a flying lesson in Beverly Airport "Cub."  All I did at first was to put my hand on stick and my feet on rudder pedals until we got up about 1,000 feet, then Thompson showed me how controls worked. He climbed, dived, and banked and turned, than he leveled out and told me to fly it with nose on horizon and using tips level. I did keep it straight and had to keep giving it right stick to counteract the high wind. It was a very "bumpy" I flew it...he opened the door. We flew over the ball park and the kids said they saw me. We circled over Rialside and Riverside also, I got some swell pictures. Thompson lapped and turned and I flew it home but he landed it. Dick came with me."

 

On the front flyleaf this 19 May 1939 episode was written down to be Geary's first flight lesson. He also has a half dozen other dates written on the front fly leaf for other flight lessons and the amount of time he spent up in the air. When checking the diary for these dates, we find descriptions of his flights that he made.

 

"23 August 1941.  Took a lesson with Les Allen. After 20" of making landings and take off's (3 in all); I soloed. I took off and landed north the first time. He didn't like my flight pattern, so he took it around once. Landing N.W. on grass. Then I took off south on runway and came around to land on grass.  South I did good on landing as takeoff. Then I took off west and I landed good. Then he told me to take off West and land without any help on my landing some planes were landing N & S so he climbed again N. and cut the motor. I landed it S. on grass. He asked if I had my physical. I said yes. I took it to East end of field and stopped it on edge of runway. He got out without a word. and told me if I undershot the field or bounced too high, to gun it. I then took off west and climbed straight to 500 then I turned and when I reached the airport I had 950 feet I cut gun early and glided on to Wesbar Lake, and [civils] on I undershot and gunned in t twice and made a swell landing on the runway. I taxed it down the runway and onto the apron near the office. My feet shook on its pedals, but I was really scared. I made a wide gentle turn using the throttle at 100 feet."

 

Geary writes of seeing "Bob Hope" in July of 1940 playing skits at the Metropolitan in Boston, Massachusetts.


A number of other entries in the diary recount his relationship with the young "Nina." All of these entries usually describe a romantic encounter:

 

"21 Aug 1942. Mrs. Tassinari went to Boston and didn't come home till 2 PM. I drove up and met Anita at 10:30 AM. Only Rico & George were home. They went out and Anita sat on my lap on the big chair. I kissed her at will. We petted and I had a swell time when I found I couldn't find her heart beat. I certainly stretched her blouse & bra. I have to tickle her on her stomach & ribs. She certainly loves my kisses.

 

"22 Aug 1942.  Parked up Pritchard's with Anita for 3 hours. I really did some real kissing and hugging. We really had a swell time. It's still hard to believe she doesn't give any other boy a tumble, and I had no trouble at all making love to her. She cooperated 100%."