The Phillipses

November 14, 2015

My Uncle Bud’s sister married Richard Phillips. We called him Uncle Dick, and considered his and Aunt Phyllis’ six kids our crazy, fun-loving cousins, but the whole wonderful clan was not really official, in the absolute relative sense, because my Uncle Bud is technically an outlaw…. my uncle by virtue of his having married my dad’s sister, my Aunt Ellie.

Still…inlaws or outlaws, we’re all part of a great big extended family, technically, bloodly official, or not.

Loved all the Phillipses (including and especially the “Bobsie Twins”–Grandma Hilda Johnson (Uncle Bud’s and Aunt Phyllis’ mom) and Aunt Lil, more or less identical twins, as dear and sweet as they come). They were a huge, ragingly musical bunch. Gatherings at their places in San Diego, Pasadena and the Tehachapi mountains were loud, rambunctious affairs. Aunt Phyllis was a warm, nurturing, gracious hostess who prepared expansive spreads of food that were eye popping–things we never had in our house like jello salads with marshmallows and towers of baked goods. Uncle Dick and Aunt Phyllis have passed away, but their six kids–Susan, David, Jeff, Patty, John, and Jamie (maybe in that order!)–are still around and full of stories and life and humanity.

It’s a few days past Veteran’s Day, but I thought these two photos that John posted on Facebook a couple days ago were worth sharing.

Dick was a commander in the Navy. He was born in Southern California, graduated from USC, and spent a good part of his career in the Navy. At one point, he served in a public relations capacity for the Pacific fleet. After the Navy, he worked at JPL as the public relations director. My guess is he was good with people… which is consistent with the whole Philips clan!

Here are the pictures John posted:


John’s beloved dad is the tall one “with the hairy legs,” (John’s words). Third from left, big smile. In his post, John said it was just after the war.. WWII, I’d guess.

Handsome as ever.

Here is a photo with General William Westmoreland:


~ ~ ~ ~

It’s a few days after Veterans’ Day, and a the day after the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. It leaves me with questions about our world, the relations between nations, religions, people. The need for power and dominance. Or the drive, insistence just to be right. What happens in the souls and consciences of people that drives them to passionate and compassionate action but in some cases to barbaric acts of inhumanity. And what is the need for and the role of global peacekeeping forces, national militaries and even local law enforcement that keep people in line or on one side or another of a border–physical or ideological or spiritual.

No answers (well, a few), but just heartache.