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Memories of Aprils Past

April News. While scratching these lines to you, I just noticed the date. My parents and those nearly of their generation would have been aware of April 12, 1945, just as my generation knows where they were, what they were doing upon learning that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

Many young people had only known one president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He had been elected to four terms as president.

His favorite getaway place was a small house at Warm Springs, GA, and on that day he was sitting for a portrait by Elizabeth Shoumatoff when he complained of a headache and slumped forward.

The picture was never finished but it was a romantic likeness. At the time Roosevelt looked, by all accounts, thin and sickly.

Having a president suffer a medical emergency was a problem. Add to that, having the president's former mistress in the room was another.

Lucy Mercer and FDR reunited after an absence of a number of years. Strangely the reunion was arranged by FDR's daughter, Anna, but had not regained the “heat” of the past. Miss Lucy had few detractors and insiders felt FDR needed to see a cheerful face now and then.

Still, something had to be done with Miss Lucy, and the Secret Service took care of that.

Eleanor Roosevelt arrived by air late that night.

As a student at Berry College, my father served as Miss Martha Berry's student driver and was at the wheel of her Ford when prominent visitors toured the campus.

FDR's mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt but known as “Miss Delano,” spoke her mind and didn't care who heard it. She referred to FDR's wife as “Old Eleanor” and was short of kindness towards her daughter- in-law. Another slippery date is the murder of Mr. Tom Howard in St. Joseph, MO, on April 3, 1882.

My grandfather, also Joe Phillips, kept newspaper clippings of news of interest.

He was ten years old when Billy the Kid was shot by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881 and eleven when “That dirty rotten coward shot Mr. Howard.” continued from page

The coward was Bob Ford and Mr. Howard was actually Jesse James. As strange as life can be, Joe's older brother Bomar Phillips ran away to New Mexico and in 1904 became Sheriff of Otero County. In 1906 an article in

The Alamogordo News mentioned Pat Garrett as the sheriff of Chaves County sitting on the northern line of Otereo County. The terms of Sheriff Bomar Phillips and Sheriff Pat Garrett overlapped, and it is for certain the two lawmen bumped holsters.

Garrett was born just across the state line in Chambers County, Alabama, and left to make his future the year Uncle Bomar was born in 1869.

Pat Garrett lived two more years, dying from gunshot wounds in 1908. Uncle Bomar died in Mexico in 1935.

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Arrington Bomar Phillips

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