One spring afternoon I was stopped on Perry Street by a slightly buck-toothed man, who introduced himself as George Phillippi. He said his family had sub-let the 2nd floor at 67 Perry for the summer and he believed that my family lived on the 4th floor. At this time he was a struggling commercial artist, working free lance for peanuts. He had a wife Bobbye and two daughters Robin (10 yrs old) and Elsa (8 yrs) They were to remain my friends until Bobbye's death in the 1990's. Probably much better friends to me than I was to them.
Every week George made a batch of spaghetti sauce and that's what they ate all week...sometimes my father joined them. Bobbye and I would play Jo Stafford records and read her daughters comic books, especially the love story ones. When their sublet was up they stayed on. They were my pit stop after a night out before I made the climb upstairs. At one of our all house costume parties George sewed me into a 1920's dress. The party’s were the Phillippi apartment, us and Bobbie Sickelianos on the 5th floor.
When my sister died in 1951, I was sitting in their apartment and Bobbye drove me out to my Uncle Mikes to be with my father. Bobbye was my best friend. We always stuck by each other...never disapproving of the others actions. We could go years without seeing one another and go right back friendly as ever.
Eventually they moved up to the theater district somewhere and then Bobbye's mother died and they moved to New Caanan, Ct. I spent a lot of time there as romances and marriages crashed around me. They put up with lots of tears.
Every Sunday George would buy two copies of the New York Times so we could each have a crossword puzzle. I would sit on Bobbye's bed while George worked at a table and we watched wrestling matches and 77 Sunset Strip. By this time George was sharing an art studio on Madison Avenue with two other commercial artists and his career was picking up. He took the commuter train to the city ever day in his gray suit and button down shirt, then I fell in love again and didn't see them for a while.
The next time we connected they were living on 6th ave and Waverly Place and I was working at a paper goods place on Hudson Street and I was pregnant. They insisted that I live with them and when they moved to 76th and Broadway I went with them. George bought me ice cream sodas and gave me $10. a week allowance...one of his kids? He also took me to the hospital, where I had my son. The father paid for the hospital but when I hemorrhaged the following week George paid for it. I lived with them until my son was 6 months old.
I got married for a second time and only saw the Phillippi once in a while...they moved to a loft on Spring st in So-Ho. George now had long hair, a beard and hippy clothes and was the head of the commercial art dept at an art school similar to Visual arts, but I can't remember the name...think it closed long ago. When George died Bobbye moved to Holyoke Ma and I was in Boston so I visited her a lot....she died in the 1990's. Her Daughter Elsa adopted her three cats and Robin took her car and drove it back to Washington State where she lived.