Phil was my best friend in high school.  He was the oldest child in a family with five children that included a set of twin boys.  If Phil or his brother Bob talked to one of the twins, they just called him "Twin."  His parents were intelligent and permissive.  There were books all over the house.  I remember seeing Atlas Shrugged and Lady Chatterly's Lover and various thick volumes.  His mother was a perpetual student and his father was an engineer.  I don't remember seeing a television in the house.  It was a bit of a mess that I suppose was expected in a small house with five children and a mother who spent much of her time in class.

Phil was athletic.  He had been a quarterback on his junior high team but like me, he did not try out for the high school team.  I was a junior bowler and had been since the age of nine.  When he learned that I was bowling on Saturdays, he quickly taught himself to bowl and soon had his average up to my level.  We bowled in morning junior leagues in Norwalk at Norwalk Bowl (now Keystone Lanes) and Downey at Wonder Bowl, and Sunday evenings in Lakewood at Dutch Village.  We also bowled in two traveling leagues, numerous junior tournaments and arranged match games all over the state of California with our teammates Bill, Chris and Dana.  At Norwalk Bowl and Wonder Bowl we bowled with Peggy, the prettiest girl in the bowling alley.  Sometimes Peggy would travel with us on afternoon matches.

After graduating from Norwalk High, in June 1964, we enrolled in college at Cerritos JC.  We had several classes together and often carpooled to school and had our lunch at the local Jack-in-the-Box.  We continued to bowl leagues and practiced as much as possible through 1965.  Our grades suffered somewhat from a lack of attention to our studies.  Toward the end of our second year of college, in March 1966 Phil surprised everyone by dropping out of college and joining the marines.  The war in Vietnam was raging and Phil was ready to see some action.  I thought he was crazy.  I was planning to stay in college until the war ended if possible.  I saw Phil just one time after that when he was home on leave after completing boot camp.  He was in his uniform and he was very thin but he was quite proud of his accomplishment.  He was sent to the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Millington, Tennessee for additional schooling before his first assignment.

I graduated from Cerritos JC in June 1966 and had been accepted at Long Beach State (now California State University at Long Beach) for the last two years of college.  I remember that I was home in our back yard in August 1966 when my mother took a telephone call.  When she came out to the back porch, I knew that something was very wrong.  She told me that Phil had been killed in an auto accident on a weekend trip from Tennessee to New Orleans, Louisiana.  She gave me the details of the funeral and I started calling friends.  I called Peggy and asked her if she wanted to go and she said that she did.

On the morning of the funeral I picked up Peggy in Downey and we drove to the military base.  Many of our bowling friends were there and we were all standing in a field except for the immediate family who were seated. It was a full military funeral with a 21-gun salute that sent chills down my spine.  At one point, Peggy started to cry and Bill put an arm around her shoulder to calm her.  It was an open-casket funeral but the person in the casket did not look at all like Phil.  He had apparently gone face-first through a windshield and his face had to be reconstructed from a photograph.  After the funeral I drove Peggy home and did not communicate with her again until this year (2010) when we started to discuss our teenage years.

 When I graduated from college, I sent an announcement to Phil's parents.  His mother sent me a card with a check and a very nice note.  I wish that I had kept it.  I just remember the last part where she wrote: "This is what you get for being so smart."  [JAM 8/16/2010]