Phillip Wright smiled and leaned back in his metal deck chair outside of the general store in Talkeetna. Phillip originally was born in Great Falls, Montana. His mother was Stacey, and his father was Michael. Growing up, life was not all that bad for Phillip, with two sisters named Marie and Allison. Phillip also had one brother, Mason. When I had asked Phillip what brought him to Alaska, he said that we must start from the beginning.
Phillip grew up with both of his parents but when he was ten his father was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer. Michael died suddenly in October of nineteen eighty-seven.Â Phillip was very close to his father as a child and was devastated when he passed. Phillip said, â€œI never really got over his death, I had a very hard time with everything from washing the dog to getting good gradesâ€. However Phillip did say that life goes on, and he made it through high school. Phillip said he had a hard time in high school and was not about to go to college.
Meanwhile he described the concern for his wellbeing felt by his mother â€œShe just wanted to see me happy and at that point in time I just couldnâ€™t be.â€Â At that point, she had arranged plans for the summer after his graduation. Phillip said, â€œAt the time it felt like Mom was shipping me away to California, when really it was probably the best thing for meâ€.
Staceyâ€™s plan had been for Phillip to spend the summer with her brother, Dallas and that Phillip could get a job on the docks. Her plan worked well because Phillip became so enthralled with life on the docks he spent almost every waking hour there. After only a few months on the docks Phillip was already feeling better and getting more involved with everything. Phillip noted, â€œThe docks fascinate me so much, just all of that energy that flows through the people while they do their job is so amazing to meâ€. That energy is what he became addicted to. He never left the docks; his career flourished as a fisherman and from there he slowly moved up the ranks to a captain. This twenty year climb was in his words, â€œThe best way to put some hair on a manâ€™s chest.â€
Just recently Phillip moved to Homer, Alaska to work on the docks. He is visiting Talkeetna for a couple of days to just lay back and take a break, and get away from it all. Phillip enjoys his work and feels forever grateful to his mother. He said, â€œIf not for Mom, I donâ€™t know where I would be today, or if I would be still here. Thanks to her I also found the beautiful land of Alaskaâ€. Phillip leaned back and just smiled as the sunlight poked out from the clouds above the general store.
By: Eden Hartung