Part one was about my brother Phil's life as a child. I left off with him beginning High School as a very troubled teen, constantly in trouble and doing drugs.
Half way through High School our Mother passed away after her very long battle after having an artificial valve placed in her heart. Her body finally rejected the artificial valve and there was nothing back then (1972) that doctors could do. Mom's death changed our family forever.
While I went immediately back into rehearsals to reprise the role of El Gallo in "The Fantsticks"( I had played the part in repertory the summer before) , Phil continued his downward spiral. I was in turmoil but worked through it by getting back to work with even more determination. Phil reacted by getting into more trouble, smoking cigarettes and pot, taking pills, and lots of alcohol.
When our father remarried just 5 months after our mom's passing, Phil and I both reacted with horror. I moved out but Phil was stuck. Dad sold our home in Arcadia and moved to Fullerton, California. Phil had to change schools. That could have been a fresh start but Phil only became even worse. My father couldn't deal with him and called me to say that he was going to put Phil in foster care. Today I'm not sure if that was an idle threat or a foregone conclusion. Either way, I couldn't allow that to happen. I moved out to Anaheim and took Phil in as my roommate. It was the only decision I could make.
Phil was graduated at the end of his junior year (an interesting way for the school to get rid of a trouble maker). Once away from school he seemed to straighten up and I breathed a sigh of relief. I was in college and working as a directory assistance operator so I didn't have a lot of time to supervise my kid brother. It was every man for himself time. My relief was short lived.
On my 20th birthday, I was taken to see a musical at The Schubert Theatre in Century City. Nothing could have made me happier. When I arrived back to our Orange County home, I found Phil completely out of it with two empty bottles of over the counter sleeping pills on his nightstand. It was only 5 days before his 18th birthday and we had been looking forward to getting Phil a place of his own so I could move closer to U.C.L.A. Instead I took Phil to the hospital where he was admitted to their psychatric unit. No matter how much love I gave Phil, no matter how much help I offered, I couldn't heal the hurt he felt inside. I had to get out. I secured him a chance to live with our Aunt Ruth Lee and proceeded to pack up and move back to Arcadia.
After Phil's release from the hospital, he moved in with our Aunt, stopped drinking and doing drugs, and got a Realestate license. As always, I was hopeful. As always, I was disappointed. I forgot to mention that our father passed away shortly after Phil moved in with me. Another factor that had very different effects on the two of us.
When Phil began slipping into his old patterns, my Aunt decided that they would move to Hawaii. They left. I went on a 3 month tour of "My Fair Lady" and then I moved to NYC. After a year, Phil parted company with our aunt and followed me to New York. He stayed with me for a month or so and found himself a place to live. He was surviving by being a prostitute. A call boy not a street hustler. By this time I simply stuck my head in the sand and kept out of Phil's business. There is so much more to that part of the story but....
Phil spent a year in NYC and moved back to California after a failed attempt at a relationship. When I finished my last show in New York, I moved back to California too. Phil bounced from one car rental agency to another. He got bored so easily. I don't think he ever kept a job for more than 6 months. Somehow he always kept a roof over his head. We remained close and spoke by phone every day. Phil continued to have an on again/off again relationship with reality. He never did use that realestate license. He also never gave up the drugs.
By 1985 I had been with a partner, Paul, and Phil had been in a major car accident that wasn't his fault. He received a $113,000.00 settlement and proceeded to blow it all within a year. Oh Phil. You wouldn't let me help you with all that money. Things went from bad to worse in 1986. Phil was shooting up cocaine and his health was failing. My crying and begging him to stop fell on deaf ears.
Well, there is going to have to be a part 3 to this story. Give me a few days and I will bring this to a conclusion.
Peace and Love,