drtype on Frank Wiggins Trade Schoo… Stephen Coles on Frank Wiggins Trade Schoo…
I am honored to be here because Phil became my best friend in 1934. We met on the steps of the local branch library. He told me that he was born in Foochow, China. I was invited to his house expecting to see Chinese parents. They were medical missionaries who had to leave China because of the revolt against foreigners. Phil acquired his
demeanor from the loving parents and two sisters, Grace and Emily.
During his elementary school years he was addicted to reading comic books and would spend many hours standing at the local drug store reading the latest editions. For some reason his parents enrolled him in a special opportunity class at the Vernon Avenue Elementary School for one semester; probably because they thought him to be lagging in his studies. I believe this was training for his unbelievable power of concentration in later life. In those days he had to cross town by street car to get to class.
Our elementary education was mainly at the Van Ness Avenue School, and then John Burroughs Junior High School where Phil received his first inoculation of printing ink.
During the summer session of 1943 we enrolled in Frank Wiggins Trade School to learn the Linotype.
In the summer of 1946 Phil and I were part of a church trip to Mexico with a group of 16 young people from the Hollywood Congregational Church. He was the only one who didn’t get the “turistas” because his father gave him preventive medication.
Dr. Lewis was very influential in my joining the Congregational Church.
After summer was over we entered Los Angeles High School where they also had classes in Linotype operation as well as producing a daily newspaper. At time of his life he met Lois, the love of his life.
Both of us were lucky enough to have A.T. Vaughan as our printing teacher as well as a mentor that affected both of or careers. Dr. Lewis went to see him and ask whether Phil should proceed with a career in printing
Upon graduation Phil entered Oberlin College and lost interest and then transferred to Los Angeles State College. I was enjoying my senior year at UCSB College when we both received “greetings” from President Truman. Phil had been called to Fort Ord where his reading concentration paid off. He was thoroughly absorbed in reading something while sitting in the latrine. When he finished and went back to the barracks and everybody had been shipped out–he had been bypassed once more. He was assigned to picking up cigarettes around the post bakery for one month. He got through basic training and was only one in his outfit that didn’t go to Korea. His next assignment was driving a pickup truck around the base and tacking up the daily news.
He was assured that he was going to ship out like the rest of his outfit, but he was sent to Fort Huachuca on the Arizona-Mexican border where the newly weds
lived on a neighboring ranch. Once again he was threatened to be shipped overseas– to Greenland, bypassed he ended up in Weatherly, Texas until his service time was finished.
Fortunately, we caught up with each other at Camp Roberts and that’s another story.
Phil and Lois were married while he was in the service.
Both of us received teaching credentials and worked for the Los Angeles City School District and then both of us went into the printing business.
Many years ago when the International Printing House Craftsman was very active they
published a list of the members who were in the “hell box”. In other words those who had passed away. Phil Lewis bypassed that place and went to a special place in heaven
instead. He had a living history of bypassing.
The rest of you who knew him can fill in the rest.
Composing room foreman for the day at the Los Angeles Times. I had been setting on the Linotype for over 2 years.