I got a phone call this morning. Right as I was getting in the shower. It sounded suspiciously like the voice my dad used when he pretended to be my Great Grandpa Frank. I should back up. I sent a letter on Monday to the grandson of Barlow Phillips, who is alive, still, and living in Marshall, which is the next town over from Battle Creek.
This morning, he called me. And he sounded like my dad. But older. He is funny and smart, so whip-smart. His son is in Memphis, weirdly. He didn’t know much about the family, contrary to what my Uncle B. thought. But he said one thing interesting.
His dad got his job at Fort Custer after World War I through Hildreth Phillips. He wondered if that was my grandpa. My grandpa would have been ten. Now, we Phillipses are precocious, but I doubt any of us are getting folks government jobs at ten.
But the other Hildreth Phillips? The one I have wondered about whether he’s related to us or if it’s just the coincidence to beat all coincidences? He would have been in his forties.
I can accept that there might be two unrelated Hildreth Phillipses in Michigan at the same time. I suppose. I cannot accept that the one Hildreth Phillips got a relative of the other Hildreth Phillips a job AND that his son would be under the impression that the Hildreth Phillips who got him a job was related to them, if they were not, in fact, related.
The other Hildreth?
The great-grandson of Asa Phillips. I suspect Hildreth’s grandfather Jonathan may have been Luke’s brother.
But more than that, I loved that Barlow’s grandson was funny and charming and sharp. I love that he sounded like my dad. It felt like a different possibility for growing old as a Phillips.