Happy Birthday Phil…

By: openheartproduction

May 03 2012

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“We know one another’s faults, virtues, catastrophes, mortifications, triumphs, rivalries, desires, and how long we can hang by our hands to a bar. We have been banded together under pack codes, and tribal laws.”– Rose Macaulay

Today my younger brother Phil is 56…5th of 7 kids in the Ambrose brood. He and I were those “middle”
kids that weren’t part of the “Big kids” aka the Holy Trifecta. Rita, Mary Anne, and Tony came…Bam, Bam, Bam…a kid every year….and we weren’t a “little kid” like Joe and Lorrie. So we always had that middle thing going that in a way bonded us.

I didn’t feel the need to “mother” Phil like I did with Joe and Lorrie. I remember Phil being cute and every summer my vision of him was always shirtless, sweaty, and brown as a berry. I will admit…it pissed me off that he had this beautiful tanned skin and I was walking around in full  armour of tees shirts over my swimsuit to protect my pasty fair skin… I some how managed to get a burn through the tee shirt too. I just hoped that just once he know the agony of trying to sleep with Noxema rubbed all over   a sunburned back… all the while shivering in a 100 degree bedroom. hah

I was always fascinated by Phil’s imagination. He would play for hours in the sandbox with his army men and little cars. He would have his own world going in the sand and his mind. He could be content playing alone or trying to stay up with his brother Tony. Poor kid… I think I remember Tony and Billy ( the neighbor kid) tying Phil’s hands and legs down and collecting ants and dumping the collection of ants all over him. I think maybe they had watched too many Tarzan movies. I think Phil was always hoping Tarzan would come save him for the “warriors”

Phil was a kid that always had to get the last word in…I tried to tell him to just shut his trap or he was going to get his ass in big trouble…but he never learned and was usually in some sort of hot water for “sassing” back. Dahh I tried to tell him.


Phil was never really tall or big but over the course of his freshman and sophmore year  of high school he shot up to 6′ 3″ and was quite an athlete that earned him a full ride to play football at the University of Iowa. We were all very proud. I came home to visit and go to one of his games his first season. That fateful day…He injured his knee that ended his football career before it really had a chance to start. Needless to say he was devastated. He didn’t let that stop him from continuing on with his education and his love of sports. He chose to be a teacher and coach…taking after our Dad.

He is married with 3 on the most incredibly, brilliant, athletic and lovely daughters. It has been fun to watch him take joy watching and guiding them through life, sports, education….and his MOST difficult part of being the father of 3 daughters…BOYS! hah I reassure him that he and Lisa have done a great job raising Hannah, Emma and Grace. Relax and enjoy!

He is a good man that has battled back from adversity to help guide many a kid as a teacher, coach and now Principal. Ray and Vera are looking down smiling upon you today Phil. Thanks for being an odd ball loner middle kid with me. I love you.



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