PHS mascot: Phillips Blackhawks

Phillips High School
Alumni Association
P.O. Box 1710, Borger TX 79008

PHS mascot: Phillips Blackhawks


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Memories Shared in 2009-2012


Does anyone remember the time the gasoline truck hit the train?  We lived close by and didn't realize anything had happened until we heard the "booms" from the tires exploding.  We looked out and saw the big fire and everyone was being evacuated to the end of the street near Jolly Drug.  This was probably about 1957, maybe even earlier.
   Jolly Drug had the best cherry cokes around.  Mr. Jolly always watched us if looked at the comic books  - didn't want us reading them unless we bought them.
   I can remember Earl Smith tying a hood of a car to the back of his car.  It was turned upside down and we rode in it down Phillips Ave.  It was more dangerous than we were aware of at the time as the hood would sway back and forth, somtimes near the rear wheels of his car.
   Some of us girls got to go to Enid with the band while we were in the eighth grade since we were twirlers.  We were wowed with the attention when D. L. Malicoat showed us how to play poker in the hall.
   I can remember Miss Noel in biology class imitating an amoeba with her mouth and of course, Mr. George shedding tears when Stonewall Jackson died.  He always said that God had Stonewall Jackson killed so the North could win the war.  He also would warn us about marrying someone who had low standards.  Miss Dynes said we shouldn't get married - that anyone could get a man.  We wondered where hers was (didn't realize that wasn't an option to her). We were always amazed that Mrs. Thompson could cut the straightest line with her hands shaking like they did. Mrs. Forbus was the best math teacher ever.  Miss Harrell was always so nice to me, helping me to find a book she thought would interest me.  She and Mrs. Patman visited me in the hospital after I graduated and brought me a gift.  I was so fortunate to have Mrs. Sparks for English in the eighth grade - a very good teacher.  Mrs. Adams was so patient in teaching bookkeeping and shorthand.  I can remember Miss Moore in the fifth grade calling Cheryl Adams, Virginia Pirtle and me in after class and making us aware that our private "PAB" club made other girls feel left out. 

09-2: The video of Phillips Before and After is outstanding! 
I read several memories of the black dusters in the fifties, and I remember them well.  I'm guessing that they happened some time between 1953 and 1955.  We had these dusters two years in a row.  I especially remember the second one because it started raining during that one.  I think I was in Mrs. Willis' fifth grade classroom (about 1954) when the mud balls starting hitting those tall classroom windows.  You don't forget something like that.

09-3: We were taking a test in Mr. George’s class one day and he left the room for a few minutes, as he often did.  Ms. Noel came down the hall to get a mop out of the janitor’s closet in the hallway near Mr. George’s room to clean up a spill in her lab.  She whips open the janitor closet door and lo and behold, Mr. George was standing over the sink with it “whipped out” and was taking a wiz in the sink in the janitor’s closet, as he often did, so he wouldn’t have to walk all the way to the boy’s restroom and be gone from class too long.
I was a ’69 Sr. and the night before leaving for Colorado Springs for our Sr. class trip, R. W. and I were out looking for mischief, as we most usually were, and may have even have had a few brewskis, as we often were known to do.  Well, “Hollywood” Hawthorne had been assigned to be the chaperone  (i.e. “watchdog”) on our bus the next day on the way to C. Springs.  R. W. and I decided it would be funny if we could somehow make Hollywood miss the bus the next morning.  We decided to wait until well into the late night after the Hawthorne family was in bed and lights out, and we would go throw the switch on the outside main power box to Hollywood’s house.  We did, and the next morning everybody was on the bus, early as I remember, and ready to go, waiting on Hollywood.  Our hope was that we would leave him behind, but, one of the other teachers went inside the school and called Hollywood.  In about 15 minutes, Hollywood shows up as you might guess, with his always immaculately combed and greased hair extremely disheveled and looking like he had just gotten out of bed and thrown on his clothes.  He was pissed!!!  However, he never figured out exactly who turned his power off that night.  He just kept looking out over the bus that day on the way to C. Springs with a suspicious and “I want to get even look” in his eye.  We loved it!  I don’t think he ever found out who pulled that prank.  What fun!

09-4: I had forgotten about Coach Harris teaching.  I am sure I had him for some subject, but I have forgotten what it was.  Maybe World History.  I just remember him being the head football coach.  I would have liked to have seen him after I matured.  He was a good and wise man, I am sure.  Unfortunately, we ended our relationship on a bad note.  In the pre-season, just-before school started, summer football workout sessions of my senior year, I quit the team over a girl.  
I was the heir apparent starting offensive and defensive left tackle that school year (‘68/’69).  At the time, late summer ’68, I had my head in the clouds and was pretty seriously involved with a young lady.  Every time I made a mistake running a play in the late summer, pre-season, two-a-day football practices, Coach Harris would grab me by the front of my uniform and pull me into his face and get eyeball to eyeball with me and ridicule me over the “girl friend” and blame her for my making mistakes.  Well, as one might guess, most of us young men absolutely dreaded the long, strenuous, hot and miserable summer workouts.  In addition, I lived just south of Stinnett, 1 block inside the Plemons/Phillips school districts, so I had to be bused into Phillips and then back home twice a day for football practice.  All of that misery strung together just made the entire football practice ordeal almost intolerable, especially with my being “in love”.  So, all that coupled with Coach Harris’s harassment had me pretty much maxed out on the ol’ misery and stress scales that summer.  Well, one day I made a mistake on a play in practice, again, and Coach Harris kicked my rear end, literally, (can you imagine what would happen to a coach today that would try that?) and told me “You are gonna have to pick football or that girl, because you can’t do both. Now what’s it gonna be?”  I said, “The girl”, and turned and walked to the field house and dressed and went home, regrettably, never to return.  The heck of it was, I broke up with the girl two weeks later, wouldn’t ya know, but my youthful pride and stubbornness would not allow me to go back and ask Coach Harris if I could come back to the team.  I spent every Friday night home-game sitting out at the end of the football field (on Whittenburg Ave.??) in my car watching the games through the south end bleachers, too proud to go sit in the stands with the other fans and watch.  I would sit there alone and watch the entire game, full of regret for quitting and wishing I was on the field, for I knew I had blown a potential chance to play college ball at the University of Texas, which could have changed my entire life. 
I had gotten enough playing time during the ‘67/’68 school year football season that I guess I showed a lot of promise, because during our spring practices of ’68, or it may have been during the pre-school practices that fall, I don’t really remember for sure, but Coach Darrell Royal from the University of Texas showed up at practice one afternoon and visited with me and a few other guys on the team about possibly coming to Texas to play for him after we graduated. His visit was published in an article about Coach Royal’s recruiting efforts in Texas Football magazine that year.  Had I played ball that fall, it probably would have changed my entire life.  As it was, however, I ended up graduating PHS in the Spring of ‘69, getting drafted into the military about a year later and saw service in the Vietnam war and the 1973 mid-east war.  Fortunately, and by God’s grace and mercy, I survived both wars and was honorably discharged, and then with God’s divine guidance and a tremendous amount of my father-in-laws wise and gentle, persistent nudging, I took the opportunity to go to college on the GI bill.  It took me five arduous years, with a wife and two babies in tow, to get my Bachelors degree from the Dept. of Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University.  For it, God has blessed me with a financially rewarding and very interesting, good and comfortable life.  I have often wondered, though, how my life might have been different had a I played football my Sr. year at Phillips High School for Coach Harris.  You know, I eventually got over the hurt of the incident with Coach Harris and can honestly say, I never harbored any ill feelings toward Coach Harris, and as an adult, I could see the wisdom in what he was trying to do for me and the stupidity of the flash decision I made that late summer day in Chesty Walker Stadium.  I wish I could have seen him and visited with him as an adult.
Incidentally, Coach Harris was inducted into the Texas High School Coaches Association's Hall of Honor in July 1996, and retired from Tascosa High School in Amarillo.  Sadly, he passed away Feb. 28, 2007.  This link will take you to an obit for Coach Harris.

09-5  I enjoyed reading the comments about Coach Harris.  Coach Harris was an assistant coach under Coach Chesty Walker.  In 1956 I sustained a severe knee injury playing football.  During the drive to the Oklahoma City St. Anthony's Hospital, Coach Walker told me that I was his last official duty because he had decided to accept another coaching position and move on to the University of Washington as an assistant coach under Texas A&M's Jim Owens.  Instead of being in the hospital for a week, I was confined as an inpatient for about two months trying to overcome the infection and undergoing the mandatory rehab.  Coach Joe Means worked with me during those months and I never saw Coach Walker again.   
Sometime during the 1980s, my wife and I were shopping in a local Austin, Texas mall at Hickory Farms.  I spotted a very familiar looking gentlemen.  At the time, I was a business manager for a large group of physicians.  I thought the gentleman might have been a physician from my past healthcare employment.  I was in a quandry because I simply couldn't remember his name or where I had known him.  I introduced myself and asked if he was a physician.  He said, rather abruptly, "No, I am a high school football coach in Amarillo, Texas and I will never forget you because of your knee injury playing Phillips Blackhawk football!"  I was stunned and then embarrassed when he laughed and informed me that he was Coach Harris and that he was taking a break from a coaching conference.  We enjoyed a very pleasant, unforgettable conversation.  It had been about thirty years since my injury and I hadn't seen him since that glorious era.  I had physically changed dramatically and had two children attending the University of Texas.  I was amazed about his awesome memory about me and attention to detail.  It is true that sometimes we live in a very small world.

09-6 I am one of the few people who attended Phillips School, but never graduated. I attended grades K-3 at Phillips, before they closed. I can remember walking from 105 "B Ave" a few yards to the school. I can also remember my grandpa, Alivin Herman Brokob, parking his truck after he got off work out front of our house. Although he was tired after a long day at the valve shop, he would still have time to walk to the football field and throw a ball with me. I miss Phillips, and the comradery that seemed to encompass the residents there. As a child I remember going to all of the home games, and seeing the Hutchinson County Sheriff's Deputies who were always there. It was one of the reasons I chose to go into the profession that I am in. People in the Phillips community always respected their Sheriff's Office and each other. I wish my kids had a chance to go to a home football game in Phillips, to experience even a few minutes of solace, knowing that no one was going to shoot you or even say a foul word while in attendance. It was a sense of patriotism that I wish was still prevalent today. In any event I am a Blackhawk, and I hope that the continued support of memories past will enlighten and inspire those whose futures we are responsible for.

11-01 Becky Spradlin, Class of 66: I skipped school once.  My best friend, Steve McKee, was home ill with pneumonia.  I skipped class to go see him.  My next class was Chemistry.  My name was called over the speaker to come to the office.  Opps!  When I got to Mr. Kimmins' office, my mother was sitting there.  Twas not “pretty”.  BUT, it was worth it….got to see my best friend and be sure he was OK!

11-02 Mr. George is responsible for my love of history.   I read history books all the time.  I have two on my desk right now, "Helmet for My Pillow" by Robert Leckie and "Empire of the Summer Moon" by S.C.Gwynne.  Most folks are bored with history but thanks to Mr. George, I can't get enough of it. 

Has anyone mentioned his "Rainy Day Questions".     He was always mentioning a topic, usually the War of Northern Aggression, when he would stop and tell the class, "this would be a good rainy day question".  The one I really have no answer for is "Why did Fighting Joe Hooker charge up Lookout Mountain". Anyone have that answer?

11-03 In 1965 PHS presented a musical entitled “Girl Crazy”. Mrs. Roe was the driving force and I had the good fortune to work on that project. There were 2 leading ladies and 2 leading men. Becky Spradlin and Ralph Jackson were one duo while Judith Windel and Danny Dawson were the other. I did not have a part in the program but worked at borrowing the sets from Borger High School. Scott Sutphen and I laid them on top of Sutphen’s old BBQ catering van and tied them down. What happened during the trip back to Phillips is another story altogether. I wish Scott was around to laugh at that fiasco with me. Once back in Phillips, we all set about re-painting the background sets, etc.
One part of the play called for a gun shot. First, it was going to be a paper bag popped by hand. But I told Mrs. Roe that was lame and I could do the ‘real deal’ – and she agreed. I had a 16 gauge shotgun and I cut the end from a shotgun shell and dumped the birdshot out. Wow! Now that was realistic when I pulled the trigger offstage. But the interesting thing as I look back was (1) there was no reservation about a student bringing a real gun to school for realism, and (2) it never made the news, and (3) I kept that gun in my locker for several days – an unlocked locker – and no one gave it a second thought, or even touched it.
I lost a bet a few months back over the title of the musical.. I swore it was “Guys and Dolls”. The person I bet calmly opened a drawer on nearby end table and handed me the program from that event. At fingertip after 45 years! And I was wrong! I never pick up one of my shotguns today without remembering that episode…and I will be eternally grateful for having grown up on East 2nd St. in Phillips, Texas. Our own Camelot. Best regards to all of the PHS ex’s from California! Steve McKee PHS '66

12-01 As best I can remember, 55 or 56 years ago. That was my freshman year. I bought balloons and threw a few and then sold balloons at a little profit. Some one hit a bus, I believe and crashed in the top. Someone turned us it from the office building across the street. So everyone was lined up in the hallway of the hotel and Kimmins started the interrogation and of course, I confessed. They were going to send me home early until those who participated (dozens, I believe) were found out so no one was sent home. A few days later as you may remember the school supt. Lee Johnson had a heart attack and died.
The worst thing of the whole incident, other than the death, is that some upper classmen said that it was my fault he died. I will never forget the feeling.



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