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 2013-2016

Remembering incinerators: We had an incinerator strategically placed in the middle of the alley behind our houses and next to the garages. That location allowed you to go out your back door from either street and “share” one incinerator with lots of houses. When little, we used to play Army and would throw empty hair spray cans, etc in the fire and wait for it to explode, thus simulating in-coming artillery shells. It was also always a dangerous place since small animals and snakes liked the heat it generated. My mother would not empty the trash without taking a hoe with her for the rattle snakes. When all the dogs in the neighborhood started barking at night, you knew there was a skunk or porcupine by the incinerator getting warm. I guess with all the dangers associated with these, people now would not let their kids anywhere near one; we just thought it was a normal way of life. Oh yea….they were great for warming you up when taking a break from a snow ball fight. I remember the “camp department” crew coming with a tow truck, turning off the gas to the incinerator, then hoisting it up with chains to empty it at the dump. Most of the time there would still be stuff burning/smoking as they drove off with it. I always wondered how many small fires they started on the side of the road or someone’s yard due to debris blowing out of them while on the way to the dump?

The trip to West Texas [State in Canyon, March 1957] is a big memory of a lot of snow. I know Mother said later that she said as we left on the bus that she should have sent me with a coat. Anyway our meal as I recall it was, fried chicken, chips, apple and a cookie. I remember looking out of the window at the truck bring the sack lunches but do not remember who brought it.

I remember vividly the Blizzard of March 23, 1957. We had finished most of our performances when the snow began in earnest and the winds were fierce. It was eye-opening for us seventh graders to be stranded in a college dormitory [2 to a single bed], though many girls had gone home for the weekend and those who stayed were tame by later standards. I believe one of the college girls lent me some jeans to replace my petticoats.
I think it was the National Guard, or perhaps the Red Cross, who brought us our first real meal in more than 24 hours, but I remember bologna sandwiches, rather than fried chicken. It tasted good to me. We were in Canyon two nights. By Monday morning it was bright and sunny and the snow melted quickly.
I'd almost forgotten the sheriff's car with the handcuffed criminal, but now have a hazy recollection. [one school bus stopped to pull out a sheriff's car that slid into a ditch due to the icy road; this provided most of us with our first view of a criminal in handcuffs] More engraved in my memory is the picture in LIFE magazine of the body of a young Boys Rancher draped against a barb-wire fence. He braved the blizzard to walk to see his girlfriend, but he didn't make it.

The snowstorm I remember well. I thought it was UIL [district contest for band and choir solos and ensembles] because I was accompanying several soloists. My dress was pink with the requisite petticoats, and the day we left was filled with sunshine. But the storm struck, and there we were in the middle of this surprise adventure. The vending machines were even exciting to me. The storm roared as the wind blew across the plains with brute force. But we were safe inside with some great college kids; here we were with borrowed clothes and a story to tell the ages.

I remember it well since it happened during my first band contest in Canyon when I was in 7th grade. We left Phillips in short sleeves with most of us dressed up for either band or choir contest. The storm hit while we were en route greatly adding to the time it took the school buses to arrive. The bus I was on stopped to pull a sheriff's car out of the ditch. I remember looking down and seeing handcuffed prisoners in the back seat of the car and thinking 'those are real criminals!'.
What we all thought would be a one day trip to Canyon and back turned into 2 nights away from home with no extra clothes, no toothbrush, no food until the second day except what we could get from the snack machines with our limited funds in change, sleeping 2 to a twin bed in the dorm (luckily, the college was on spring break).
When we arrived back in Phillips I remember being amazed that even with rapid melting, the snow drift in my back yard was taller than the roof over the bank of garages. I had never seen so much snow!

15-1 Remembrances of Home Ec from some recent emails:
Decorating our house one Christmas, doing small flower arrangements, and being told (when I knew better) that we had to baste seams because the sewing machines couldn't sew over pins.
Those two piece suits we made and jelly roll or could be chocolate, whipping cream drenched with chocolate sauce!  I made the latter for years when I entertained for bridge. 
I don't remember cooking anything that I would ever make again and my memories of sewing consist of taking a zipper out of a skirt multiple times. It's a wonder I ever found a husband!!
I am grateful to have had a teacher who insisted I learn so many sewing techniques that have helped me have
wonderful success on many projects. I loved sewing even in high school.  I even got some of my spending
money when people liked some of the things I had made for myself and wanted something similar.  They would go pick their fabric and then paid me to sew it for them.  When I got married I made my wedding dress and later when our daughter got married I made her wedding dress also.

15-2 First off let me tell you how very much I have enjoyed your web site – I just accidentally happened upon it – had tried to look up Tom & John Pharmacy (not really expecting to find anything) and from there I found your site – The last time I went to Borger (1995 I think) to see kin I wanted to drive to Phillips and they took me but told me it was all gone – that was the first I knew of it – so sad – I have lots of memories – I can remember on Friday football nights my dad would close the drug store early and we would all walk to the stadium. 
My name is Dorinne Moss Lykins and I was born at the Pantex Hospital on 13 January 1938 – Dr. Brooks – my birth certificate from the hospital says I was born in Whittenberg TX and the one I rec’d from Austin says Phillips !  Anyway, my parents owned the Tom & John Pharmacy across the street from Goodwin’s grocery – Tom Moss was my uncle and John Moss my father – I attended Frank Phillips Elementary School – Mrs. Pickens 1st grade and Miss Martindale 2nd – In February of my 2d grade year we moved to Roswell NM (and I have absolutely no idea why and by the time I realized I’d kinda’ like to know the reason there was no one left to ask)  My best friend was Deanna Lou Hatley and her younger sister Janet Kay. 
When my mother & dad married there were no houses to be had as all were company houses so they had living quarters in the back of the drug store – I lived there the first year of my life and then they bought a little house – it sat on a huge open area with only one other little house on the far corner – was only 1 1/2 block from the drug store and the Baptist church was right across the street.
The store was the Tom & John Pharmacy and was probably started in 1935 or 1936  - then we moved to Roswell New Mexico in January or February of 1946 – my folks married in May of ‘36 and I was born in January of ‘38 – then my brother Bill born in ‘44 also at Pantex hospital and dear old Dr. Brooks – he was such a nice man.  My father, John Layton Moss, was born 20 November 1908, in Dyer Arkansas  and died 12 April 1970 in Monahans TX – Daddy was the pharmacist – Uncle Tom just a partner – he was born 27 November 1902 – later left the store and went to work for Phillips 66 – then transferred to Phillips in Kansas City MO – and was there until he died (not sure of that date) His wife Lucile and their only son Thomas Charles Moss born 05 August 1940 there at Pantex and now lives in California.
The Scott’s were a family – think the mother’s name was Norma and she had a son and daughter – he’s the sailor in the picture with me – and yes Goodwin’s grocery was Red&White and Mr. Goodwin was the best ! Back then cranberries were loose and you scooped them into a bag – but  I just loved them and would reach up and get some and eat them raw – he always thought it was funny – a little kid liking sour cranberries – Rountree was also a family that lived there – think they had a daughter named Carolyn – the only thing I remember about the beauty shop is mother getting a permanent and sitting under that machine with all the wires attached to her head – I have naturally curly hair so I never had to go through that and I don’t remember the café at all – For awhile my folks would let me go across the street to watch the movies – usually a Western – until the day I came back to the drug store chewing gum – Mother knew I didn’t have any when I left and they finally decided it must have been on the seat and as I watched the horses gallop across the screen I must have pulled it off and put in my mouth – Needless to say they washed my mouth out with everything in the drug store!
My brother and I were both born at the Pantex when it was located just close to our house – Later in 1944 or 45 Dr Brooks took my tonsils out but the hospital had moved to the other end of town – I was a little princess in the drug store – all the guys flirted with me and I flirted right back – one young man – E.P. Reedus (not sure of the spelling) anyway was in the army and wrote me “love” letters all the time – My folks taught me to make change before I started school and I would sit on a stool at the front register and sell gum and candy – I can remember when there would be an explosion at the refinery lots of people would gather in that vacant space by our drug store and wait for news – a coupla’ times we had to evacuate the town and go into Borger -
Church – at one time the Methodist church was nearby as I have a certificate of something from them – but then it moved (we didn’t have a car) and the Baptist was right across the street so I attended Sunday School and Bible School there – actually we were Presbyterians (and still am) but the closest church was in Borger.
MERCY – I just got a shock – clicked on pictures and then 1940s and guess what – the picture of the 1944 1st grade dress up party – that’s me in the front row holding the doll !  Mary Ann Campbell is next to me and behind her is Nancy White and then Deanna Lou  Hatley – I’ve got that same picture somewhere. Small world!

15-3  I was given my first “A” grade (ever) by Miss Noel in her Biology class of 1960. She told me that she knew I was a lot smarter than I put on and that she expected me to make an “A” from then on. That’s when I discovered that thinking was not only easy, but a lot of fun, too. I sure wish I had told her. 

I also wish I had told Carolyn Brown that her advice to return to school at Phillips High in 1959 was a real life changer, so I’m doing that right now. Thanks Carolyn!!   Rex Avara Class 1961

16-1 "If you want to succeed, if you want to compete, you must do everything required of you and then just a little more." (J. Irving Kimmins).

I heard this, just like many other Phillips kids, in high school assemblies for years. He was adamant that being average was wasteful, a cop-out. If we wanted to be more than just average we had to bust our tails; we were obliged to go beyond the limits. At first, this sounds like something we would hear from our parents. "Work hard, strive for success, do more than you have to do," and most of us did hear that at home in Phillips. Whose parent would say to a kid, "Strive to be average?" We got the encouragement from our parents, from our friends parents, from adults we didn't even know and, most importantly, from our teachers and guys like JIK.

They were pragmatic. They knew what it took. Most were born and lived through the Depression. They understood deprivation. My mother told me about putting cardboard in her shoes in college to fill the holes worn by walking to school each day. There was no question in our parents minds that their kids would do better than they did. We were the beneficiaries of that culture. The work ethic of Phillips kids is still the high-level standard for many companies. Nobody works as hard at their jobs as we do. If the boss says, "Be here at 7:00," we show up at 6:00. Better to be an hour early than 10 minutes late. Most commercial enterprises loved to get Phillips kids because we worked hard and did not complain. We just lowered our heads and pushed forward.

Phillips graduates had the highest enrollment rate and graduation rate from college per capita in Texas for many years. We had more degreed graduates than any high school in the state for years. Why? Simple. We were bred for success.

Think about it. Every song was rehearsed over and over until presented at the concert. Every step of every march of the band was done again and again until it was perfect. Every play on the football field was run until every player was sick of it. Every cheer was gone over by the cheerleaders over, and over, and over. We worked our tails off, and all that hard work, persistence, determination and appreciation for the work all the others did became, well, normal. Our children now reflect our own work ethic. My kids are over-achievers. My grandkids are, as well. Their peers ask them, "Why do you work so hard?" The answer is, "Because that's what my parents did; they always worked hard."

Average for us is never an option. We will always go beyond the call. You see, that's what Blackhawks do. Les Skinner '66


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