The story

A lot of people have been asking me what happened this month, and it’s a hard story for me to tell verbally.  It’s not so much that it hurts to talk about it, although it does hurt a great deal.  It has more to do with the details of the whole story having become blurred in my mind (in many cases, this happened almost immediately).  It has been easier for me to get it right by pecking away at a draft, and coming back to it as I remember more and better.  If memory serves me, the following account is accurate

My brother and best friend, Phil, died sometime early in the morning of Friday, February 10, 2006.  This has been the most difficult event of my life, and I am sure my mother, father, and Aleta, Phil’s wife, would say the same thing.  Phil and I were close, particularly during the last 15 years or so.  He became content once he got a job doing what he truly loved to do, which was flying airplanes.  Phil found his greatest happiness, though, after his daughter, Ella, was born nearly two years ago.  I had never seen him as happy as he was when he had Ella.

I spoke to Phil that Thursday afternoon.  We were discussing a trip I was thinking of taking, and the feasibility of using one of his airline tickets.  He was in Dallas at the time, in the cockpit.  We had a short but pleasant chat, and then he had to take off.  He called me back when he landed (I now know he was in Fayetteville, Arkansas).  He sounded good, but he was tired.  That wasn’t unusual for the pilot/husband/father.

The next morning, I woke up at about 5:00.  As usual, I took advantage of the peaceful morning by answering emails, entering data, and surfing the web.  My cell phone rang well before 7:00.  I did not find the phone in time to answer it, and the caller did not leave a message.  The number did show up on caller ID, however, and it was an area code I did not recognize.  Five minutes later, the phone rang again, and it was from the same number.  I answered the phone.

A youthful southern voice said, “Is this Andy Calder?”

I replied, “Yes, it is.  May I ask who is calling?”

He hesitantly stammered, “This is Lt. Thad Shaw, with the Arkansas State Police.  Are you related to Phil Calder, the pilot with American Eagle?”

“I am his brother,” I said.  “Why?”

At this point, the cop sounded like he may have been about 20 years old, and he may have been reading a script off of an index card.  “I am sorry to inform you that Phil passed away last night.”

I did not believe Lt. Thad Shaw, but I don’t remember exactly what I said.  I asked what happened, and he said they did not know.  My brother was found dead in his hotel room, he told me.  I think he said they would have to do an autopsy, but I’m not sure I remember that right.  I thanked him for making such a difficult call, and hung up.  I still did not believe Lt. Thad Shaw.

I paced around the house for a few minutes.  I was alone, because Julie had gone to Florida for the weekend.  My mind began to race.  My first thought was that this was Phil’s all-time lamest prank.  It simply wasn’t funny, and I knew he could do better than this.  Certainly, the boundaries of good taste would not have prevented my brother from pulling a stunt like this, but I know he was much cleverer.  I was intensely hoping he had simply stooped to a new low, but the whole thing did not add up.

I called the cop back.  He assured me that this was real.  Lt. Thad Shaw gave me some other phone numbers to call, numbers of detectives, medical examiners, and American Eagle executives.  I copied them down and hung up.

I became numb.  I became a lot of other things, too, but I don’t know the words that describe those things.  I don’t think those words exist.  Images of my brother flashed through my mind.  I still did not believe Lt. Thad Shaw.

On the odd chance that Lt. Thad Shaw may have been right, I quickly realized that I needed to pass the ugly information along.  Without a doubt, I was about to perform the most difficult task I had ever been charged with.

I called my mother’s brother, Michael, who lives in South Carolina.  Michael is very close to my mother, and he is, for better or for worse, very good at this sort of thing.  Our conversation was short.  I told him what happened, and I asked him if he could pass it on to my mother.  Admittedly, this was a tall order, but I didn’t think I could do it myself.  I knew I had to call Aleta, and I anticipated that to be a tough phone exchange.  I just didn’t think I could handle both calls.  Michael agreed to call my mom.

As it turns out, I had to tell both Aleta and my mother.  My mother had driven up to York to visit Aleta and Ella that morning, and she had just walked in the door.  When I first told Aleta what happened, she didn’t believe me.  Why would she?  I still didn’t believe Lt. Thad Shaw.

Within a couple minutes, she became convinced.  Obviously, Aleta was shaken by the news.  She had news of her own, however: Aleta told me she was pregnant.

She then gave the phone to my mother, so I passed the message on to her, as well.  My mother, too, was quite moved by the news.  We all cried into the phone.

My father was unreachable that morning.  I think he went out without his cell phone.  I was told that Liz and Irv would wait for him in the apartment. 

I spent the rest of the morning trying to figure out how to get to either Baltimore or Arkansas as quickly as possible.  My first urge was to go to Fayetteville.  Aleta had made some calls down there, though, and it sounded like the police were not going to let us see my brother just yet.  The whole thing was under investigation.  They said we would have to wait until the following week.

The people at American Eagle facilitated a flight to Baltimore for me that afternoon.  I made a few calls to my friends and the people I work with in Jackson.  They assured me that they would try to find substitute bass players for the gigs I would miss.

I also called Sandra, my old friend.  Sandra lost a brother some years ago.  I realized that I was feeling things that few people could begin to understand, and she was someone who could.  I also needed a ride to the airport, and I felt I could try to talk to her on the way.  We were able to do that, but I was more or less in shock, and I don’t remember much about what we said.

My flight was delayed several hours in Jackson.  I waited in the airport, barely hearing the gripes of distraught tourists trying to get home.  It was weird.  I wasn’t frustrated or anxious, but I wanted to be with someone familiar.  Mainly, I wanted to talk to my brother.  I was oblivious to what was happening around me.

Finally, my plane arrived, and I got as far as Chicago.  I missed my connection by hours.  A person from American greeted me when I got off the plane, and explained that I would have to catch the first flight out in the morning (I am accustomed to this sort of thing: flights are routinely delayed and cancelled in and out of Jackson Hole).  He also told me that they had gotten a room for me at the hotel in the airport, so I wouldn’t have to leave O’Hare.  That part of the ordeal certainly was easier than I expected.

I checked in, and ran into a couple guys I saw in the Jackson airport who were trying to get home.  They were frustrated with the situation.  I was hungry, and I really needed some company, so I asked them if they wanted to join me for a bite to eat and a beer.  They had the same idea, so we headed down to the bar.  We talked about skiing, music, sports, and New York.  They were New Yorkers, and they possessed all the curiosity and persistence that characterize that sub-culture.  I was immensely relieved to have company, and I didn’t want to ruin the situation by telling them my story, but they kept asking about the specific reason for my journey.

Eventually, they couldn’t help themselves, and they pressed me for an answer.  We had already paid the bill, so I told them what I was up to.   I’m sure they immediately regretted asking.  One of them hurriedly got up and went out to have a smoke.  The other guy stayed for an uncomfortable few minutes, and we all said good night.  I told them that I appreciated the company.

I didn’t really sleep that night.

I got up and caught my flight.  My parents picked me up in Baltimore, and we drove to York.  Aleta’s parents and brother were there.  It was a tough day, but it felt good to be together. 

Everything in that house has been affected by Phil.  The building and all of its contents are reminders of Phil, and his belongings, works-in-progress, and every-day reminders are everywhere.  To say that this is Phil and Aleta’s house means much more than it simply being the place they own and live.  They made it into their own home, with its own memories, and the time and effort they put into the project cannot be measured.  The remodeling, the home theater, the furniture that had recently been moved from my Grandparents’ place, the clothes in the closet, the cd collection, the boots by the door, the lawn mower, the pictures on the wall, the food in the refrigerator, and, most of all, his wife and daughter, amount to pieces of my brother.  They are what remain of Phil, and when I was around them, Phil was all I could think about.

My parents had to leave Saturday night.  It would have been tight quarters, and I think they needed to be alone together.

We all did a lot of laughing and crying that weekend.  I know Phil would want it to be only laughing, so we did our best.  It felt good to think about all the good times.  One of the nights, we did a fair amount of damage to Phil’s well-stocked bar and keg-erator.  He always invited guests to indulge when he was around, and I’m sure he would want us to do the same thing in his absence.  The funny stories got even funnier.

It snowed 14 inches that night.  I made an igloo for Ella, but she fell ill with some sort of flu, and was never able to enjoy it.

On Monday, Aleta made some phone calls and discovered that the medical examiner in Arkansas would be finished with my brother Monday afternoon.  We made arrangements to fly to Little Rock, which is where he had been taken for the autopsy.  We both needed to see him.  In spite of what we knew, none of us truly believed Lt. Thad Shaw.

We met my parents at the airport, where we gave them Ella.  We then flew to Little Rock.

Aleta and I checked into our rooms, and quickly called a taxi.  The mortuary agreed to allow us to come and see my brother, which was a departure from their normal policies.  They were not exactly set up to accommodate visitors.  When we got there, we noticed that the facility was essentially a refrigerated warehouse with a small office in the front.  They had wheeled Phil into the office.  He was literally on a table next to someone’s desk, with a cover over him.

When the cover was pulled back from his face, I believed Lt. Thad Shaw for the first time. 

As I looked at Phil, all the memories raced through my mind.  The times when we rented airplanes at Romeo airport when we were teenagers, the street hockey games in the driveway, the snowball fights, the homemade fireworks, the work we did on his kitchen together, the meals we prepared together, the fights we had, and a million other vivid images scrolled through my head.

Aleta and I stayed with him for a while.  We held his hand while we thought about everything.  It was difficult to see Phil like that, but it felt good to see him at all.  In a way, he seemed very peaceful.

The gentleman at the mortuary had a copy of Phil’s death certificate.  I had to ask him to explain the cause of death to me.  Essentially, Phil had a blood clot in an artery very close to his heart, and it broke loose and cut off the flow of blood.  The complete results of the autopsy are months away, but that was the immediate cause.  Phil suffered a heart attack while he was asleep.

Aleta and I called our cab, and went back to the hotel.  She knew of a restaurant in Little Rock that my brother liked a lot.  That meant that I would surely be fond of it, too, so we went there.  It was a seafood joint called the Flying Fish, and the Calder boys could not have designed a better place.  We ate well, and talked about Phil.  Again, my mind was overflowing with memories.

I got horribly sick that night.  I am sure I had the same thing the baby had gotten two days before.  I spent the night vomiting.

The next afternoon, I had the honor of being with my brother on his final flight.  Southwest agreed to put him on our plane, in spite of the fact that they do not ordinarily transport human remains.  It was difficult to think about this being his last flight, though.  Flying airplanes was one of his great pleasures in life, second only to spending time with his family.  I’m sure he would have preferred to experience his last trip behind the controls, but he would definitely find this to be acceptable, under the circumstances.  At least he was on a plane with two of the people he loved.

When we arrived in Baltimore Tuesday night, Aleta and I picked up Phil’s truck, which was still in the employee lot.  We drove to my parents’ place in Silver Spring, where we reunited with my mother, father, and Ella.  It felt good to be together.

I feel terrible that my parents had to go to the cemetery and find a plot.  I also felt terrible that they had to have the unpleasant experience of making the funeral arrangements.  I would like to have done all of that, but I know that it was more important that I go to Little Rock.  I did all I could.

Wednesday is something of a blur to me.  A lot of relatives began to arrive, both for the funeral and for the marriage celebration of my cousin, Maria Cristina, which was to be held in Washington that weekend. 

I think I went to the doctor that day.  Obviously, there are now concerns about my health, and everyone was anxious to get me checked out.  I’m glad to report that I am fine, for the moment.  I am not finished with doctors, however.  I can’t allow my parents to go through this again, so I will continue to be examined.  I feel like I dodged a bullet and it hit my brother, and I need to be careful.

We also went shopping for all the food and drinks we would need for the wake on Friday.  I can add that to the ever-growing list of tasks that turned out to be a lot more difficult that I had anticipated.  Everything about food was special to Phil, even shopping for it, and it was tough to walk through the aisles of that familiar store without him.

On Thursday, we had two viewings, for two hours apiece.  Phil was in his uniform, with his hat by his side.  He was heavily made up, so much so that he hardly resembled himself.

Ella did not understand what was happening.  She had not seen her father for a number of days, but that was not unusual.  He was, after all, a professional pilot.  When she saw him at the viewing, she figured he was asleep.  She ran up and jumped on him, the same way she always did when he napped on the couch at home.  Today, however, he wouldn’t wake up.  She tried again, this time with a picture she had grabbed off the table in her hand.  It was a sad sight, but it was something that had to happen.  When Ella gets old enough to understand, she will be glad to know she was there.  Nonetheless, it was a very difficult scene to witness.

Following the viewing, I went to a bar in Silver Spring, where I met up with several of Phil’s old friends from Michigan, along with some of my relatives.  Julie was there by then, as well, which was very comforting for me.  Her mother came down from Boston, too.  Our friends from Belize, Ali and Alonzo Flota, even made the trip.  That was truly a gesture of remarkable friendship.  They, too, have lost brothers, and they know what it is like.

The next morning, we had the funeral service.  I know the monsignor well by now, as this was our third family funeral in less than a year and a half.  I was a pallbearer.  It was hard to carry my brother into that church, but I know he wanted me there.  A large crowd came to the service, which was touching.  There were a lot of people there I had not seen in a long time, which was nice, but I only vaguely remember seeing them. 

Toward the end of the service, my brother let us know he was there by causing the church’s fire alarm to activate.  I had a feeling he was there prior to the prank, as I could feel his presence.  This incident removed all doubt, though.  It’s the type of trick that isn’t funny, even to the prankster, unless it is one of a life-long series of stupid jokes.  Then it becomes absolutely hysterical.

Phil didn’t sound the alarm to be funny, this time, however.  He sounded the alarm to make sure we all knew he was there.

Phil and I share so much history and experience that there are things that only we find funny.  Our parents probably get most of those jokes, too.  Pulling the fire alarm at the church during one’s own funeral is the type of stunt that only Phil could pull off.  I know he did it, and I’m glad he did it.

It all becomes very blurry, at that point.  At the wake, I talked with so many people, but I do not really remember much.  We ate and drank, and tried to be in a good mood.  I wasn’t, though.  I miss my brother, and I know certain parts of this feeling will never go away.

Ella and Ella’s future sibling are Phil’s legacy, and I want to do everything I can to allow them to know their dad.  I know more about Phil than anyone, and I can’t wait to relate those stories to his children.  Most of those stories, anyway.  Some I have sworn to take to my own grave, although I believe that enough time has passed since our childhoods that he probably won’t mind me sharing.  I guess I’ll decide as we all get older.

This continues to be a gut-wrenching experience, and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.  I try to look forward, though.  There is work to be done, and it helps me to think of it in those terms.

In the immortal words of one of Phil’s fellow aviators:

 


Tailwinds, Captain Calder

 

Andy Calder
March 6, 2006

53 comments

  • Teenie
    Teenie
    Phil is lucky to have you to keep his memory alive. Your BLOG is loving and honest--save it for Ella and the baby for when they are old enough to appreciate your feelings for their Dad and to appreciate the kind of person who could engender such feelings in you.

    Phil is lucky to have you to keep his memory alive. Your BLOG is loving and honest--save it for Ella and the baby for when they are old enough to appreciate your feelings for their Dad and to appreciate the kind of person who could engender such feelings in you.

  • bubba
    bubba
    you are the dearest person. I love you and admire you.I am lucky to have you as a nephew, and Phil was lucky to have you as a brother.

    you are the dearest person. I love you and admire you.I am lucky to have you as a nephew, and Phil was lucky to have you as a brother.

  • sarah
    sarah
    Andy, this is amazing. You are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing everything with us, what an extraordinary account.

    Andy, this is amazing. You are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing everything with us, what an extraordinary account.

  • gwen
    gwen
    andy, I'm at a loss of what to say after reading this. It is truly moving. You have amazing strength and love that is inpsiring. Thanks for letting us in.

    andy,
    I'm at a loss of what to say after reading this. It is truly moving. You have amazing strength and love that is inpsiring. Thanks for letting us in.

  • vic
    vic
    Andy- Thanks for sharing your accounts of everything with all of us. It is all quite moving to say the least. While reading your “Blog” and specifically the section which mentioned how happy Phil was since he had Ella, I recall a conversation that I had with Phil a few months before my daughter was born. I had asked Phil if he had any advice or recommendations for me as I was soon to be a new father, which he, at the time, had been for a little more than a year. Little did I know that Phil had an encyclopedic knowledge of everything from diapers to strollers to cribs to car seats. I did not, however, have to ask Phil what being a father was like, because after seeing him interact with Ella, I knew how great it would be.

    Andy- Thanks for sharing your accounts of everything with all of us. It is all quite moving to say the least. While reading your “Blog” and specifically the section which mentioned how happy Phil was since he had Ella, I recall a conversation that I had with Phil a few months before my daughter was born. I had asked Phil if he had any advice or recommendations for me as I was soon to be a new father, which he, at the time, had been for a little more than a year. Little did I know that Phil had an encyclopedic knowledge of everything from diapers to strollers to cribs to car seats. I did not, however, have to ask Phil what being a father was like, because after seeing him interact with Ella, I knew how great it would be.

  • Cassie
    Cassie
    Andy, Uncle Bipp and I have read your account, and we are amazed that you could express so much, so meaningfully less than a month after your loss of Phil. I remember when you were little you never referred to him as "Phil," or "Philip." You always said "my brother" - with great respect! It was my impression that you were in great admiration and awe of your big brother. We are now in great admiration and awe of you - a wonderful younger brother! In your introduction, you invited all to write stories about Phil. We plan to follow up on that! I'm sure everyone who knew Phil and his uniqueness has at least one good story about him. And what a special keepsake for Ella! Much love, Cassie

    Andy,
    Uncle Bipp and I have read your account, and we are amazed that you could express so much, so meaningfully less than a month after your loss of Phil. I remember when you were little you never referred to him as "Phil," or "Philip." You always said "my brother" - with great respect! It was my impression that you were in great admiration and awe of your big brother. We are now in great admiration and awe of you - a wonderful younger brother!

    In your introduction, you invited all to write stories about Phil. We plan to follow up on that! I'm sure everyone who knew Phil and his uniqueness has at least one good story about him. And what a special keepsake for Ella!

    Much love,
    Cassie

  • lwassner
    lwassner
    Andy, This is an amazing piece of writing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us. I keep thinking about you and Philip and the ability you had to make each other laugh. In particular, a couple days after grandpop's funeral, a rare evening where we (me, you, philip, sarah) were hanging out in our pajama's in your parent's den...just sort of digesting the prior day's events. you guys were telling stories of working at the church in michigan and your adventures there, which then led to internet searches for old friends and then even on to the michigan state prison records of a jailed classmate! (philip's googling skilles were unrivaled!) you guys had so many funny stories and I just remember all of us laughing so much. also, i have a great picture on my cubicle wall of you and philip that only you two would really appreciate...you are dressed in grandpop's linen jacket and philip has on grandpop's hat and grandmommy's black and white cheetah print bathrobe. it's sort of a bizarre university towers american gothic-- definitely a classic philip moment! we just have to be grateful that we have these memories. i have more to say, will have to post again. thank you for your blog and thinking of you, your cousin laurel

    Andy, This is an amazing piece of writing. Thank you for sharing your
    thoughts with all of us.

    I keep thinking about you and Philip and the ability you had to make
    each other laugh. In particular, a couple days after grandpop's funeral,
    a rare evening where we (me, you, philip, sarah) were hanging out in
    our pajama's in your parent's den...just sort of digesting the prior day's
    events. you guys were telling stories of working at the church in
    michigan and your adventures there, which then led to internet
    searches for old friends and then even on to the michigan state prison
    records of a jailed classmate! (philip's googling skilles were unrivaled!)
    you guys had so many funny stories and I just remember all of us
    laughing so much.

    also, i have a great picture on my cubicle wall of you and philip that
    only you two would really appreciate...you are dressed in grandpop's
    linen jacket and philip has on grandpop's hat and grandmommy's black
    and white cheetah print bathrobe. it's sort of a bizarre university towers
    american gothic-- definitely a classic philip moment!

    we just have to be grateful that we have these memories.
    i have more to say, will have to post again. thank you for your blog and
    thinking of you,
    your cousin laurel

  • Andy Calder
    Andy Calder
    I had forgotten about that night. I'm glad you reminded me. This is exactly the reason I asked people to share these accounts. In a way that probably seems very strange to most readers, it was a lot of fun to research our childhood acquaintances in the Michigan correctional system website. You're right about our being able to make each other laugh. That was usually the very reason we called one another, and it was what we looked forward to the most when we saw each other. The photo I do not remember, but I am anxious to see it. I sounds like something I'd like to be reminded of.

    I had forgotten about that night. I'm glad you reminded me. This is exactly the reason I asked people to share these accounts.
    In a way that probably seems very strange to most readers, it was a lot of fun to research our childhood acquaintances in the Michigan correctional system website.
    You're right about our being able to make each other laugh. That was usually the very reason we called one another, and it was what we looked forward to the most when we saw each other.
    The photo I do not remember, but I am anxious to see it. I sounds like something I'd like to be reminded of.

  • PatTravel
    PatTravel
    Andy, I shared this story after the funeral, but I want to write it down. Then it becomes a real and permanent record of an ethereal event and mystical sign. After the service at the graveside, we were all milling around, as people tend to do, trying to get organized to leave -- very difficult as we knew everybody would be going their separate ways and we would no longer be surrounded by the warmth and love of so many friends and relatives. I was standing between the road and the tent and I looked up and saw a red heart shaped shiny mylar balloon drifting up, skyward, over the tent. It was floating and dancing in the wind, going higher and higher. This was so amazing because the blue sky in the background was transversed and criss-crossed by white vapor trails from jets that has recently passed over. It kept going higher and higher and getting smaller and smaller to my vision. I couldn't see it anymore, but I knew it was still there going up and up on the wind. I knew immediately that it was Phil. The heart was Phil. The vapor trails, his career as a pilot. He was telling us that he loved us all and although we couldn't see him anymore, we should all realize that he was still there. He was going to heaven showing us his shiny red heart of love. Where did the balloon come from? Who knows? It was Valentine's Day that week --the symbol of love was the balloon and it chose to free its bonds of earth and pass over Phil's grave to show everyone who was there that he was ok and we would be too. In difficult times, I have always prayed to God and asked Him to show me a sign. Boy, did He come through on this one. "Only from the heart can you touch the sky" - Rumi We all love you Andy and Julie Pat Taylor

    Andy,
    I shared this story after the funeral, but I want to write it down. Then it becomes a real and permanent record of an ethereal event and mystical sign.
    After the service at the graveside, we were all milling around, as people tend to do, trying to get organized to leave -- very difficult as we knew everybody would be going their separate ways and we would no longer be surrounded by the warmth and love of so many friends and relatives.
    I was standing between the road and the tent and I looked up and saw a red heart shaped shiny mylar balloon drifting up, skyward, over the tent. It was floating and dancing in the wind, going higher and higher. This was so amazing because the blue sky in the background was transversed and criss-crossed by white vapor trails from jets that has recently passed over. It kept going higher and higher and getting smaller and smaller to my vision. I couldn't see it anymore, but I knew it was still there going up and up on the wind. I knew immediately that it was Phil. The heart was Phil. The vapor trails, his career as a pilot. He was telling us that he loved us all and although we couldn't see him anymore, we should all realize that he was still there. He was going to heaven showing us his shiny red heart of love.
    Where did the balloon come from? Who knows? It was Valentine's Day that week --the symbol of love was the balloon and it chose to free its bonds of earth and pass over Phil's grave to show everyone who was there that he was ok and we would be too.
    In difficult times, I have always prayed to God and asked Him to show me a sign. Boy, did He come through on this one.
    "Only from the heart
    can you touch the sky"
    - Rumi
    We all love you Andy and Julie
    Pat Taylor

  • carolyn and mark
    carolyn and mark
    Andy- What a beautiful entry - you are mighty with the pen my friend. You constantly amaze us with your strength and we are all so very lucky to have you in our lives. We are with you always as you begin your new journey toward peace and happiness and hope. We love you Andy, Carolyn and Mark and Owen and Quinn :love:

    Andy-

    What a beautiful entry - you are mighty with the pen my friend.

    You constantly amaze us with your strength and we are all so very lucky to have you in our lives.

    We are with you always as you begin your new journey toward peace and happiness and hope.

    We love you Andy,

    Carolyn and Mark and Owen and Quinn
    love

  • Andy
    Andy
    Thanks. I appreciate everyone's thoughts and remarks. I know several of you are experiencing difficult situations of your own, and I'm sure the things you feel are as unique as the situations themselves. None of us could or would hope to completely understand each other, when it comes to such matters. I sure is nice to know we're here for each other, though. Andy

    Thanks. I appreciate everyone's thoughts and remarks. I know several of you are experiencing difficult situations of your own, and I'm sure the things you feel are as unique as the situations themselves. None of us could or would hope to completely understand each other, when it comes to such matters. I sure is nice to know we're here for each other, though.

    Andy

  • John Schleder
    John Schleder
    Andy, You do not know me, but I got to know your brother through his work for the Airline Pilots Association. I am the attorney who worked closely with Phil while negotiating the original American Eagle contract in 1997. Did your brother ever tell you about the M&M prank he pulled on me? It is somewhat involved so if you are not familiar with the story and are interested please contact me through the Airline Pilots Association. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and the entire Calder family. Phil was a great guy who loved to pull pranks. He will be missed by all who met him. John

    Andy,

    You do not know me, but I got to know your brother through his work for the Airline Pilots Association. I am the attorney who worked closely with Phil while negotiating the original American Eagle contract in 1997.
    Did your brother ever tell you about the M&M prank he pulled on me? It is somewhat involved so if you are not familiar with the story and are interested please contact me through the Airline Pilots Association.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and the entire Calder family. Phil was a great guy who loved to pull pranks. He will be missed by all who met him.

    John

  • Andy
    Andy
    I am very surprised to hear of a prank that Phil pulled without telling me about it. I am anxious to hear the story, and archive it with all the others. I am also delighted to hear of a prank in which I was not the subject! I will contact you through the union. Thanks, John. We all miss him more than we thought was possible. Andy

    I am very surprised to hear of a prank that Phil pulled without telling me about it. I am anxious to hear the story, and archive it with all the others. I am also delighted to hear of a prank in which I was not the subject! I will contact you through the union.

    Thanks, John. We all miss him more than we thought was possible.

    Andy

  • Julie
    Julie
    Andy, I am so sad for you. This is the saddest thing I have ever experienced in my entire life. I am so proud of how strong you have been through everything and what a fantastic brother you continue to be. I know that Phil will remain in our lives through all the memories. I remember the two of you preparing all the food for his wedding, the two of you sharing recipes over the phone, your trip back east to help work on the house, thanksgiving on the farm with all the oysters, the turducken, and your memories of the rude awakenings program that permeated most of your childhood. You are such a wonderful person and I would do anything for you. Love, Julie:love:

    Andy,

    I am so sad for you. This is the saddest thing I have ever experienced in my entire life. I am so proud of how strong you have been through everything and what a fantastic brother you continue to be. I know that Phil will remain in our lives through all the memories. I remember the two of you preparing all the food for his wedding, the two of you sharing recipes over the phone, your trip back east to help work on the house, thanksgiving on the farm with all the oysters, the turducken, and your memories of the rude awakenings program that permeated most of your childhood.

    You are such a wonderful person and I would do anything for you.

    Love, Julielove

  • Nancy
    Nancy
    Andy- you don't know me but I was a friend of Phils from American Eagle. I met Phil 13 years ago today (March 17th). I had just started working as a Flight Attendant for Eagle a month before and was invited into the city to go to the St. Pats parade by a girl named Becky. She said that this really great guy Phil lived in the city and was having a bunch of people to his place to watch the parade and party it up. We certainly did have a great day! Phil was our tour guide throught the city, to many different bars and resturants and then to watch the parade. My fondest memory of Phil is Thanksgiving of 1993 he invited all the "stray" flight attendants and pilots who couldn't make it home for the holiday to his apartment for Thanksgiving day. He made a feast for us. Then we all made sandwiches and went through the park to feed the homeless. Phil thought we were crazy at first because it was about 5 degrees that day, but he joined in and then made us stand outside and watch the parade! It was truly a special thanksgiving. I have so many more wonderful memories of phil, from Nashville, trips to Aruba, and just hanging around NYC with your folks too! Ella and my daughter, Erin are only about 4 months apart in age, and I remember freaking out before Erin was born, Phil happened to have a layover here in Raleigh and we got together. He told me that having a child was the most wonderful experience of his life and that I shouldn't be worried. He did tell me to get sleep while I could. That was the last time I saw Phil, although we corresponded through emails and phone calls frequently. I was so proud to introduce him to my husband as they are both Hockey lovers and pranksters. I will miss him more than I can even express, but no matter how much his friend will miss him, I know you will miss him more.

    Andy- you don't know me but I was a friend of Phils from American Eagle. I met Phil 13 years ago today (March 17th). I had just started working as a Flight Attendant for Eagle a month before and was invited into the city to go to the St. Pats parade by a girl named Becky. She said that this really great guy Phil lived in the city and was having a bunch of people to his place to watch the parade and party it up. We certainly did have a great day! Phil was our tour guide throught the city, to many different bars and resturants and then to watch the parade. My fondest memory of Phil is Thanksgiving of 1993 he invited all the "stray" flight attendants and pilots who couldn't make it home for the holiday to his apartment for Thanksgiving day. He made a feast for us. Then we all made sandwiches and went through the park to feed the homeless. Phil thought we were crazy at first because it was about 5 degrees that day, but he joined in and then made us stand outside and watch the parade! It was truly a special thanksgiving. I have so many more wonderful memories of phil, from Nashville, trips to Aruba, and just hanging around NYC with your folks too! Ella and my daughter, Erin are only about 4 months apart in age, and I remember freaking out before Erin was born, Phil happened to have a layover here in Raleigh and we got together. He told me that having a child was the most wonderful experience of his life and that I shouldn't be worried. He did tell me to get sleep while I could. That was the last time I saw Phil, although we corresponded through emails and phone calls frequently. I was so proud to introduce him to my husband as they are both Hockey lovers and pranksters. I will miss him more than I can even express, but no matter how much his friend will miss him, I know you will miss him more.

  • Suzette
    Suzette
    Hi Andy- It is with great sadness that I write this. I wanted you to know how much I cared about your brother, and how much I am thinking and praying for you and your entire family. I have just written to your parents, as having 3 kids of my own, I cannot possibly imagine how painful this is for them. I will post some of the note I wrote them here, because I am sure this work you have put together will be a wonderful treasure for Phil's child(ren)when they get older. I met Phil on Feb. 9, 1992 at American Eagle. He was a tour guide all over New York to my roomates and I. He had so much knowledge about everything, and really seemed to enjoy introducing people to new things. I remember riding the subway with him, and him giving a "play-by-play" of what the train driver does. I can remember watching jeapardy with him and how he knew the answers to every question before the contestants. His kindness and willingness to do things for others is what made him so special. I can remember him sitting in the sun on the beach with me, when I knew he would really rather have been doing just about anything else. I remember him encouraging me at my pathetic attempts to cook back then...saying things were good when I am sure they were awful. LOLO. I can only imagine what a truly wonderful father he was. So many places I've been in my life are filled with memories of him. I wish I had had more time with him, yet I guess God spared me the depth of the pain those of you closest to him are experiencing right now. He was the type of friend you knew you could count on, without question. It was truly a priveledge to be part of his life. It is so hard to understand why God chooses a date to call each of us, and how unfair it seems sometimes...esspecially when someone is so special to so many people. I will continue to pray for you and your family. With love, Suzette

    Hi Andy-
    It is with great sadness that I write this. I wanted you to know how much I cared about your brother, and how much I am thinking and praying for you and your entire family. I have just written to your parents, as having 3 kids of my own, I cannot possibly imagine how painful this is for them. I will post some of the note I wrote them here, because I am sure this work you have put together will be a wonderful treasure for Phil's
    child(ren)when they get older.
    I met Phil on Feb. 9, 1992 at American Eagle. He was a tour guide all over New York to my roomates and I. He had so much knowledge about everything, and really seemed to enjoy introducing people to new things. I remember riding the subway with him, and him giving a "play-by-play" of what the train driver does. I can remember watching jeapardy with him and how he knew the answers to every question before the contestants.
    His kindness and willingness to do things for others is what made him so special. I can remember him sitting in the sun on the beach with me, when I knew he would really rather have been doing just about anything else. I remember him encouraging me at my pathetic attempts to cook back then...saying things were good when I am sure they were awful. LOLO. I can only imagine what a truly wonderful father he was.
    So many places I've been in my life are filled with memories of him. I wish I had had more time with him, yet I guess God spared me the depth of the pain those of you closest to him are experiencing right now. He was the type of friend you knew you could count on, without question. It was truly a priveledge to be part of his life.
    It is so hard to understand why God chooses a date to call each of us, and how unfair it seems sometimes...esspecially when someone is so special to so many people. I will continue to pray for you and your family.
    With love, Suzette

  • Andy
    Andy
    Here we are, nearly 6 weeks after answering the phone the morning of my brothers death. I still can't describe what this feels like. I pick up the phone every once in a while to call Phil, usually to ask him about a recipe or talk about Formula One or the latest electronic gadgets. I usually remember he's gone before dialing, but not always. It's the regular, day-to-day stuff that hurts the most. Beyond that, I often think about the fact that evryone in the world has or will suffer a loss. It happens every day, each with its own unique set of circumstances. I hope I don't dwell on this for the rest of my life, but I definitely have a somewhat different outlook than I used to. When I see people at the airport, I always think about what reasons they might have for travelling. Some of them may be headed to funerals. In any event, they each have their own reality, which no one else can truly understand. I am less quick to jump to conclusions these days. You simply never know what any given person has going on. It has been, and continues to be, a rough year for my immediate and extended family. I hope it all gets better. I enjoy thinking about the memories of Phil, and I appreciate everyone who has been helping by relating their own experiences with Phil. When I get a minute, I'll share a few anecdotes of my own. Andy

    Here we are, nearly 6 weeks after answering the phone the morning of my brothers death. I still can't describe what this feels like. I pick up the phone every once in a while to call Phil, usually to ask him about a recipe or talk about Formula One or the latest electronic gadgets. I usually remember he's gone before dialing, but not always. It's the regular, day-to-day stuff that hurts the most.

    Beyond that, I often think about the fact that evryone in the world has or will suffer a loss. It happens every day, each with its own unique set of circumstances. I hope I don't dwell on this for the rest of my life, but I definitely have a somewhat different outlook than I used to. When I see people at the airport, I always think about what reasons they might have for travelling. Some of them may be headed to funerals. In any event, they each have their own reality, which no one else can truly understand. I am less quick to jump to conclusions these days. You simply never know what any given person has going on.

    It has been, and continues to be, a rough year for my immediate and extended family. I hope it all gets better.

    I enjoy thinking about the memories of Phil, and I appreciate everyone who has been helping by relating their own experiences with Phil. When I get a minute, I'll share a few anecdotes of my own.

    Andy

  • PEDRO CASAS Espinosa
    PEDRO CASAS Espinosa
    HELLO, I AM A SPANISH (SPANIARD AS HE USED TO TELL MY TO JOKE ME) PILOT, PHIL WAS MY FLYING INSTRUCTOR IN AMERICAN FLYERS IN DALLAS IN 1989. I DONT SEE HIM FROM THAT YEAR BUT WE HELD CONTACT, FISRT BY LETTERS AND LATER ON BY MAIL AND I COULD SAY THAT HE WAS MI FRIEND, HE HELPED ME A LOT FIRST TEACHING ME TO FLY AFTER I WAS KICKED BY ANOTHER INSTRUCTOR (AND NOW I AM A GOD PILOT) AND I ALSO WAS LIVING AT HIS HOME DURING TWO MOUNTHS BECAUSE I WAS ABSOLUTELY SHORT OF MONEY TO FINISH MY STUDIES.I ALLWAIS WAS DOING PLANS TO GO TO SEE HIM TO USA AND I WOUL DO IT IN SHORT. I REMENBER A COUPLE OF WORDS FROM HIM: PEDRO ARE MANY CASTTLES IN SPAIN? ...THE ONLY THING THAT I LIKE OF YOUR COUNTRY ARE THE LLADRÒ´S (HE WAS TRYING TO OFENSE ME, AS I ALLWAYS WAS TRYING WITH HIM) TWELVE INCHES LIKE......... PEDRO IF MY DOG WOULD BE AS UGLY AS YOU I´LL PUT HIM..... ANDY I THINK YOU KNOW THE END OF THE LAST TWO PREVIOUS PHRASES. I AM SAD BUT I HAVE SOMETHIG, I STILL WILL BE ABLE TO WRITTE HIM. HIS HUMOR SENSE WAS GREAT FOR SOMETHIG IN SPAIN I WILL BE GLAD TO HELP YOU. THANKS FOR PHIL piercasas@gmail.com :D

    HELLO, I AM A SPANISH (SPANIARD AS HE USED TO TELL MY TO
    JOKE ME) PILOT, PHIL WAS MY FLYING INSTRUCTOR IN AMERICAN
    FLYERS IN DALLAS IN 1989. I DONT SEE HIM FROM THAT YEAR BUT
    WE HELD CONTACT, FISRT BY LETTERS AND LATER ON BY MAIL
    AND I COULD SAY THAT HE WAS MI FRIEND, HE HELPED ME A LOT
    FIRST TEACHING ME TO FLY AFTER I WAS KICKED BY ANOTHER
    INSTRUCTOR (AND NOW I AM A GOD PILOT) AND I ALSO WAS
    LIVING AT HIS HOME DURING TWO MOUNTHS BECAUSE I WAS
    ABSOLUTELY SHORT OF MONEY TO FINISH MY STUDIES.I ALLWAIS
    WAS DOING PLANS TO GO TO SEE HIM TO USA AND I WOUL DO IT
    IN SHORT.
    I REMENBER A COUPLE OF WORDS FROM HIM:
    PEDRO ARE MANY CASTTLES IN SPAIN?
    ...THE ONLY THING THAT I LIKE OF YOUR COUNTRY ARE THE
    LLADRÒ´S (HE WAS TRYING TO OFENSE ME, AS I ALLWAYS WAS
    TRYING WITH HIM)
    TWELVE INCHES LIKE.........
    PEDRO IF MY DOG WOULD BE AS UGLY AS YOU I´LL PUT HIM.....
    ANDY I THINK YOU KNOW THE END OF THE LAST TWO PREVIOUS
    PHRASES.
    I AM SAD BUT I HAVE SOMETHIG, I STILL WILL BE ABLE TO WRITTE
    HIM.
    HIS HUMOR SENSE WAS GREAT
    FOR SOMETHIG IN SPAIN I WILL BE GLAD TO HELP YOU.
    THANKS FOR PHIL
    piercasas@gmail.com
    biggrin

  • Ian
    Ian
    Andy, As many of our family members know, I have been through a lot of this starting early on in my life. Some people say that I handle it all very well since I am able to get up in front of people and give a reading at a funeral while holding it all together. I however could never begin to sit down and write something like that. That to me is truly amazing. You wrote about wanting to do more. We all wanted to do more. You were just the figure everyone needed you and knew you could be. With all the deaths that have happened during my life I wish there was some great secret I could tell you as to how one lives on. The best advise I can think of, you already know. Do all you can to make sure Phil's life lives on in all those great stories you will pass to his children. your cousin, ian

    Andy,

    As many of our family members know, I have been through a lot of this starting early on in my life. Some people say that I handle it all very well since I am able to get up in front of people and give a reading at a funeral while holding it all together. I however could never begin to sit down and write something like that. That to me is truly amazing. You wrote about wanting to do more. We all wanted to do more. You were just the figure everyone needed you and knew you could be. With all the deaths that have happened during my life I wish there was some great secret I could tell you as to how one lives on. The best advise I can think of, you already know. Do all you can to make sure Phil's life lives on in all those great stories you will pass to his children.
    your cousin, ian

  • Joseph D. O'Connell, III
    Joseph D. O'Connell, III
    Cuzin Andrew, Thank you so much for sharing that incredibly brave account of time surrounding Phil's passing. I apologize for not writing sooner. I continue to think about your parents, you, Aleta, Ella, and the baby to come. I hope you are all doing as good as can be and staying strong. We are all with you all the way. I, as well, am remembering all the good times we spent together with Philip. In particular, I remember a couple Thanksgivings during the time we were both at UM. I can remember Philip remarking on my appearance, my clothes, my hair at the time. And how he loved to rib me about turning into a "commie-pinko-liberal." That and the way he used to love to call me "Rican" (short for Puertorican). He could always make us laugh. One Love Always Joseph

    Cuzin Andrew, Thank you so much for sharing that incredibly brave account of time surrounding Phil's passing. I apologize for not writing sooner. I continue to think about your parents, you, Aleta, Ella, and the baby to come. I hope you are all doing as good as can be and staying strong. We are all with you all the way.
    I, as well, am remembering all the good times we spent together with Philip. In particular, I remember a couple Thanksgivings during the time we were both at UM. I can remember Philip remarking on my appearance, my clothes, my hair at the time. And how he loved to rib me about turning into a "commie-pinko-liberal." That and the way he used to love to call me "Rican" (short for Puertorican). He could always make us laugh.

    One Love Always
    Joseph

  • Andy
    Andy
    My brother's passing continues to be a tough road, but we're moving along. As I mentioned, I am very happy to have made such good friends with my beautiful niece, Ella. I see a lot of my brother in her, which is good and bad. To me, it's all good right now. Even at the age of 2, Ella knows exactly what is going on. She does not understand death, but she is definitely aware that it happened to her daddy. I think she'll be tough, though. It's funny how Phil has been able to bring out that quality in everyone he ever knew, and that education continues even after his death. As Phil's little brother, most of my training in toughness happened when I was a kid. It's almost as though he spent his whole youth preparing me to deal with his own passing. It seemed miserable at the time, but now, I'm glad I'm not a pussy. I am not searching for reasons for all of this, but I can't help but think about this coincidence. Maybe there was a purpose for all that.

    My brother's passing continues to be a tough road, but we're moving along. As I mentioned, I am very happy to have made such good friends with my beautiful niece, Ella. I see a lot of my brother in her, which is good and bad. To me, it's all good right now. Even at the age of 2, Ella knows exactly what is going on. She does not understand death, but she is definitely aware that it happened to her daddy. I think she'll be tough, though. It's funny how Phil has been able to bring out that quality in everyone he ever knew, and that education continues even after his death.

    As Phil's little brother, most of my training in toughness happened when I was a kid. It's almost as though he spent his whole youth preparing me to deal with his own passing. It seemed miserable at the time, but now, I'm glad I'm not a pussy. I am not searching for reasons for all of this, but I can't help but think about this coincidence. Maybe there was a purpose for all that.

  • Mark Anderson
    Mark Anderson
    Andy- Thanks for sharing. I didn't know Phil very well and have no appropriate Phil stories to share. I could tell a few stories about you, but I won't. The Phil stories are great, expecially for Phil's children to read one day. Please encourage any/all Phil's friends to contribute a story or two. It will help his children better understand and know their dad.

    Andy-
    Thanks for sharing. I didn't know Phil very well and have no appropriate Phil stories to share. I could tell a few stories about you, but I won't.
    The Phil stories are great, expecially for Phil's children to read one day.
    Please encourage any/all Phil's friends to contribute a story or two. It will help his children better understand and know their dad.

  • Suzette
    Suzette
    Hey. Hope you are hanging in there. Thought of your mom today. Had to be a hard day for her. Here's my email address if you ever just need to vent...SuzetteLuckett@aol.com.

    Hey. Hope you are hanging in there. Thought of your mom today. Had to be a hard day for her. Here's my email address if you ever just need to vent...SuzetteLuckett@aol.com.

  • Andy
    Andy
    Some of the words people have spoken to me that have been particularly poignant: "It will ALWAYS feel like this just happened yesterday." --Terry King, friend and lead singer in the Soul Impressions "You will NEVER be the same after this. You'll get better, but you will never be the same." --Ann Stirling, aunt "To say that you and your brother were a lot alike would be a tremendous understatement." --Mark O'Donnell, friend "Keep your chin up." --Michael Sherrill, friend who has an uncanny ability to recognize what is truly important Sometimes these remarks bounce around in my head like a steel ball in a pinball machine, probably because they are so relevant.

    Some of the words people have spoken to me that have been particularly poignant:

    "It will ALWAYS feel like this just happened yesterday." --Terry King, friend and lead singer in the Soul Impressions

    "You will NEVER be the same after this. You'll get better, but you will never be the same." --Ann Stirling, aunt

    "To say that you and your brother were a lot alike would be a tremendous understatement." --Mark O'Donnell, friend

    "Keep your chin up." --Michael Sherrill, friend who has an uncanny ability to recognize what is truly important

    Sometimes these remarks bounce around in my head like a steel ball in a pinball machine, probably because they are so relevant.

  • Andy
    Andy
    It's July 2, 2006. Phil would be 43 today. Remember the good times.

    It's July 2, 2006. Phil would be 43 today. Remember the good times.

  • Michael Jordan
    Michael Jordan
    Sunday July 2 was a tough day for me and all the Rochester Clan, knowing that Phil would have been 43. It has been quite a few months since Phil has physically died, but I still think of him and all of your family. It was hard for me to be in Germany for a 12 day bizznizzle trip when Phil died. I cried for 3 nights, but felt Phil's presence on the third night and he has made me feel better knowing that he understood my situation and that we will always be a part of each other's lives, here and in heavan. I remember being mad at Phil many times and then would be shocked by his outpourings of love and unselfishness. I am lucky that I got to know Phil when we were 10 years old, playing hockey. Got to know his parents and some pesky young kid that was his brother. Little did I know that we would become great friends, starting in our mutual junior high. I was lucky to get to meet quite a few of his family members, jealous of him having grandparents, while I had one for a short time. I plan on stopping by DC/Maryland next month and would like to pay my respects to him at his gravesite. Hope you, your family, and Aleta are doing as well as possible. Will have a beer for him tomorrow on my birthday, since we often celebrated our birthdays together and always will.

    Sunday July 2 was a tough day for me and all the Rochester Clan, knowing that Phil would have been 43. It has been quite a few months since Phil has physically died, but I still think of him and all of your family. It was hard for me to be in Germany for a 12 day bizznizzle trip when Phil died. I cried for 3 nights, but felt Phil's presence on the third night and he has made me feel better knowing that he understood my situation and that we will always be a part of each other's lives, here and in heavan. I remember being mad at Phil many times and then would be shocked by his outpourings of love and unselfishness. I am lucky that I got to know Phil when we were 10 years old, playing hockey. Got to know his parents and some pesky young kid that was his brother. Little did I know that we would become great friends, starting in our mutual junior high. I was lucky to get to meet quite a few of his family members, jealous of him having grandparents, while I had one for a short time. I plan on stopping by DC/Maryland next month and would like to pay my respects to him at his gravesite. Hope you, your family, and Aleta are doing as well as possible. Will have a beer for him tomorrow on my birthday, since we often celebrated our birthdays together and always will.

  • Richbass
    Richbass
    Andy, I read your story and was touched by the strong feeling of your love for Phil. It is wonderful that you have so many great memories of him. Rich

    Andy, I read your story and was touched by the strong feeling of your love for Phil.
    It is wonderful that you have so many great memories of him.
    Rich

  • Andy
    Andy
    There is a new and beautiful chapter to this story: Phil's son, Philip Thomas Calder III, was born on October 8, 2006. I was in the delivery room through the labor and the birth. It was intense. Phil was there, too. Aleta and I both felt his presence. Phil III was about 8 1/2 lbs at birth, and he is perfectly healthy. I spent about a week with him and his mother and sister. So far, he eats and sleeps, which is a pattern his father would have only dreamed for himself. He is a friendly "little chap," as our grandfather would say. I am excited to watch him and his big sister grow up. It was comforting to be there for the birth, partly because I could feel his presence so strongly. It was not at all sad for me, and I don't see how that could have been the case without Phil's real efforts. He had to have stepped in, and I feel fortunate to have been there. A lot of us are still hurting from all this, but this is a very bright time for all of us. I'll be back there soon, for Thanksgiving. Phil more or less owned that holiday, as far as I am concerned, so it will be a tough time. His family is around, though, and that will certainly soften the pain. As usual, it hurts like crazy, but we'll get through it.

    There is a new and beautiful chapter to this story: Phil's son, Philip Thomas Calder III, was born on October 8, 2006. I was in the delivery room through the labor and the birth. It was intense. Phil was there, too. Aleta and I both felt his presence.

    Phil III was about 8 1/2 lbs at birth, and he is perfectly healthy. I spent about a week with him and his mother and sister. So far, he eats and sleeps, which is a pattern his father would have only dreamed for himself. He is a friendly "little chap," as our grandfather would say. I am excited to watch him and his big sister grow up.

    It was comforting to be there for the birth, partly because I could feel his presence so strongly. It was not at all sad for me, and I don't see how that could have been the case without Phil's real efforts. He had to have stepped in, and I feel fortunate to have been there.

    A lot of us are still hurting from all this, but this is a very bright time for all of us. I'll be back there soon, for Thanksgiving. Phil more or less owned that holiday, as far as I am concerned, so it will be a tough time. His family is around, though, and that will certainly soften the pain. As usual, it hurts like crazy, but we'll get through it.

  • cryscastle
    cryscastle
    Hi Andy, I am really wishing I hadn't checked this site on the library computer because the people around me are wondering why I am crying....tears of joy for the beautiful new life, tears of sadness that you had to "stand in" for Phil. Not sure I want to hope he's everything his Dad was (because I know how much he terrorized you as a kid) but I sure do pray that he grows up to be as great a person as his dad was. Praying for all of you.....especially at Thanksgiving...... Crys

    Hi Andy,

    I am really wishing I hadn't checked this site on the library computer because the people around me are wondering why I am crying....tears of joy for the beautiful new life, tears of sadness that you had to "stand in" for Phil. Not sure I want to hope he's everything his Dad was (because I know how much he terrorized you as a kid) but I sure do pray that he grows up to be as great a person as his dad was.

    Praying for all of you.....especially at Thanksgiving......

    Crys

  • Suzette
    Suzette
    Congrats to you and entire family. What a beautiful bundle of joy. Another Phil in the world...OH NO!!!!! I had a feeling it would be another Phil. Love to you all, Suzette

    Congrats to you and entire family. What a beautiful bundle of joy. Another Phil in the world...OH NO!!!!! I had a feeling it would be another Phil.
    Love to you all, Suzette

  • Aleta
    Aleta
    Andy~ It took me 2 days to work through this page...I cried for so many reasons, all of which are so overwhelming. I just want to let you know that I am so thankful for the love and support I have thru your family. Especially you and your folks~ I don't feel like an "out-law" to coin a Grandpop phrase. Also, to have you in the delivery room meant so much to me-more than I could ever express. I miss Phil so much- I have never known such pain. Although I have his children and I see him in them everyday. Ella has his strong will that is for sure! Philip looks so much like his Daddy, especially when I see his baby pictures. Definately a "Calder" boy. So for that I am thankful also. I feel him quite often looking over me and thru various ways he lets me know that things will be alright and that he is here. All My Love~ Aleta

    Andy~
    It took me 2 days to work through this page...I cried for so many reasons, all of which are so overwhelming. I just want to let you know that I am so thankful for the love and support I have thru your family. Especially you and your folks~ I don't feel like an "out-law" to coin a Grandpop phrase. Also, to have you in the delivery room meant so much to me-more than I could ever express. I miss Phil so much- I have never known such pain. Although I have his children and I see him in them everyday. Ella has his strong will that is for sure! Philip looks so much like his Daddy, especially when I see his baby pictures. Definately a "Calder" boy. So for that I am thankful also. I feel him quite often looking over me and thru various ways he lets me know that things will be alright and that he is here.
    All My Love~
    Aleta

  • cryscastle
    cryscastle
    Thinking of y'all, especially today. Praying for peace & joy. I know Phil's smiling down & wishing he could be with you. Crys

    Thinking of y'all, especially today.
    Praying for peace & joy.
    I know Phil's smiling down & wishing he could be with you.
    Crys

  • Andy
    Andy
    July 2, 2007. If Phil had lived to see his 44th birthday, he would be celebrating it today. Last year on this date, I advised myself to remember the good times. I'll urge myself to do the same this year, although I know it will still make me sad. It's nice to think about the good times, but it underscores the fact that there will not be any more good times, bad times, or neutral times with Phil. At this point, I just wish we had any times at all.

    July 2, 2007. If Phil had lived to see his 44th birthday, he would be celebrating it today.

    Last year on this date, I advised myself to remember the good times. I'll urge myself to do the same this year, although I know it will still make me sad. It's nice to think about the good times, but it underscores the fact that there will not be any more good times, bad times, or neutral times with Phil. At this point, I just wish we had any times at all.

  • Lee
    Lee
    Blue skies and Tailwinds Captain Calder. We miss you and haven't forgotten you. Rest in peace my friend.

    Blue skies and Tailwinds Captain Calder. We miss you and haven't forgotten you. Rest in peace my friend.

  • Andy
    Andy
    It’s been 2 years since he died. I still miss him as much, and I still think about him for a large chunk of each day. Everything that ever happened between us, both good and bad, formed our relationship as brothers and friends. Sometimes it feels like a very cruel prank is being played, when I need a friend. I have good friends, but my BEST friend is gone. I wish he were not. There are good days, bad days, dreams, nightmares, voices, coincidences, resemblances, sightings, happy memories, babies, frustration, hope, progress, setbacks, worries, pride, fear, and a ton more. Overwhelming, sometimes. It also gives you quite a test. You’d be surprised at your capabilities, when you need to muster them. I can deal with more than I would have guessed. Phil is gone, and I miss him as much today as I did 2 years ago. Someone named Lee posted here last year, and that person also sent me an email. I’d like to get in touch with that person again, but the email doesn’t work anymore. If anyone knows Lee, please have them contact me. We started a conversation that we were not able to finish, and I would like to talk more. We miss you, brother.

    It’s been 2 years since he died. I still miss him as much, and I still think about him for a large chunk of each day. Everything that ever happened between us, both good and bad, formed our relationship as brothers and friends. Sometimes it feels like a very cruel prank is being played, when I need a friend. I have good friends, but my BEST friend is gone. I wish he were not.

    There are good days, bad days, dreams, nightmares, voices, coincidences, resemblances, sightings, happy memories, babies, frustration, hope, progress, setbacks, worries, pride, fear, and a ton more. Overwhelming, sometimes.

    It also gives you quite a test. You’d be surprised at your capabilities, when you need to muster them. I can deal with more than I would have guessed.

    Phil is gone, and I miss him as much today as I did 2 years ago.

    Someone named Lee posted here last year, and that person also sent me an email. I’d like to get in touch with that person again, but the email doesn’t work anymore. If anyone knows Lee, please have them contact me. We started a conversation that we were not able to finish, and I would like to talk more.

    We miss you, brother.

  • Lisa
    Lisa
    Hi Andy, Jim Gray and I speak of Phil so often and think of him so much. I cannot believe 2 years has passed. We spoke to Aleta on the 10th and were glad to hear your parents were with her. I know Jim considered Phil to be his best friend and there are so many, too many times that we think of him, want to talk to him, and can't. I was just starting to get to know Phil,but we had spent some good quality time together. (Yes, it involved fireworks and yes I got hurt!) The strength of your family amazes me. When Aleta called us on that horrible day we were only 20 minutes away visiting my parents, and we went directly to York. We arrived shortly after you mom did and before your dad or anyone else arrived. I had never met your mom before and I cannot imagine a more horrible way to meet someone, but I can honestly say I loved her from the start. She sat and we talked about Phil, and we cried, and then just sat again and waited for the families to arrive from all over. I felt honored to be among your family and as horrible as that first day was, there was a tremendous feeling of love as well. Jim and I have a baby now (he was able to meet Phillip III at Phillip's 1st birthday party!) and I know Jim wants to much to share it all with Phil. That was the way it was supposed to be...Phil frequently called Jim to talk about Ella and was so happy with his little girl...we wish so much that we had Phil to share it all with now. Time moves on and good things happen,(Congratulations on your marriage!) but as you well know it is those times that make you miss Phil even more. He is loved and thought of often..as are all of the Calders. With Love..Lisa Gray

    Hi Andy,

    Jim Gray and I speak of Phil so often and think of him so much. I cannot believe 2 years has passed. We spoke to Aleta on the 10th and were glad to hear your parents were with her.

    I know Jim considered Phil to be his best friend and there are so many, too many times that we think of him, want to talk to him, and can't.

    I was just starting to get to know Phil,but we had spent some good quality time together. (Yes, it involved fireworks and yes I got hurt!) The strength of your family amazes me. When Aleta called us on that horrible day we were only 20 minutes away visiting my parents, and we went directly to York. We arrived shortly after you mom did and before your dad or anyone else arrived. I had never met your mom before and I cannot imagine a more horrible way to meet someone, but I can honestly say I loved her from the start. She sat and we talked about Phil, and we cried, and then just sat again and waited for the families to arrive from all over. I felt honored to be among your family and as horrible as that first day was, there was a tremendous feeling of love as well.

    Jim and I have a baby now (he was able to meet Phillip III at Phillip's 1st birthday party!) and I know Jim wants to much to share it all with Phil. That was the way it was supposed to be...Phil frequently called Jim to talk about Ella and was so happy with his little girl...we wish so much that we had Phil to share it all with now. Time moves on and good things happen,(Congratulations on your marriage!) but as you well know it is those times that make you miss Phil even more. He is loved and thought of often..as are all of the Calders. With Love..Lisa Gray

  • Andy
    Andy
    It’s been a while since I wrote here, but I still think about my brother every day. All that I have left of him, in my possession, is a 4X6 photo and a whole lot of memories. That’s plenty to remind me. Phil did not ask much of me when he was alive. I didn’t ask him for a lot of favors, either. When we did have the rare occasion to need something from one another, I always knew it was important. That’s why I can hear him saying: “Hey, can you do me a favor? Just make sure the kids are given similar opportunities to the ones we had growing up. Make sure they can somehow laugh, travel, play sports, read books, cook, and become resourceful. You know, like what we did.” All things considered, it’s not a huge favor. He’s not asking me to move, change careers, or anything else that would change my nature. He just wants me to be an excellent uncle to his kids. Maybe take ‘em skiing, to the beach, teach them how to control a skid, make crab cakes, throw a punch, steer a toboggan, etc. Easy enough… I don’t really think I am making good on this, and I feel a little bad about it. I will do more, especially as Ella and Philip grow up some more. I’ll be in a better position to know them, and they will be in a better position to k now me. I got up early this morning, just like I did 3 years ago, to the day. I remember answering that phone like it was yesterday. I remember walking outside, thinking this was all a bad dream. I don’t think I have forgotten anything since that day, as a matter of fact. Of course, we all have fond memories of Phil. On February 10, it’s more of an effort for me to forget the awful time of his death and dwell on the good stuff prior to that. That’s what I am going to do today, though, even if it’s hard: remember the good stuff.

    It’s been a while since I wrote here, but I still think about my brother every day. All that I have left of him, in my possession, is a 4X6 photo and a whole lot of memories. That’s plenty to remind me.
    Phil did not ask much of me when he was alive. I didn’t ask him for a lot of favors, either. When we did have the rare occasion to need something from one another, I always knew it was important.
    That’s why I can hear him saying: “Hey, can you do me a favor? Just make sure the kids are given similar opportunities to the ones we had growing up. Make sure they can somehow laugh, travel, play sports, read books, cook, and become resourceful. You know, like what we did.”
    All things considered, it’s not a huge favor. He’s not asking me to move, change careers, or anything else that would change my nature. He just wants me to be an excellent uncle to his kids. Maybe take ‘em skiing, to the beach, teach them how to control a skid, make crab cakes, throw a punch, steer a toboggan, etc.
    Easy enough…
    I don’t really think I am making good on this, and I feel a little bad about it. I will do more, especially as Ella and Philip grow up some more. I’ll be in a better position to know them, and they will be in a better position to k now me.
    I got up early this morning, just like I did 3 years ago, to the day. I remember answering that phone like it was yesterday. I remember walking outside, thinking this was all a bad dream. I don’t think I have forgotten anything since that day, as a matter of fact.
    Of course, we all have fond memories of Phil. On February 10, it’s more of an effort for me to forget the awful time of his death and dwell on the good stuff prior to that.
    That’s what I am going to do today, though, even if it’s hard: remember the good stuff.

  • Lisa Gray
    Lisa Gray
    Andy, Today is a difficult day and despite the fact that we are all busy with our lives, I just wanted you to know that Jim and I still talk of Phil and remember him often. Jim has so many stories that involve your brother... the two of you should talk! They are the kind of stories that I know you would appreciate and the kind that (when they are old enough) Phil and Ella may want to hear, too! Thinking of all of you with love, Lisa Gray

    Andy,

    Today is a difficult day and despite the fact that we are all busy with our lives, I just wanted you to know that Jim and I still talk of Phil and remember him often. Jim has so many stories that involve your brother... the two of you should talk! They are the kind of stories that I know you would appreciate and the kind that (when they are old enough) Phil and Ella may want to hear, too! Thinking of all of you with love, Lisa Gray

  • Dave Koch, March 10,2009
    Dave Koch, March 10,2009
    Andy - I did hear of Phil's passing from my parents and they never could find out more details for me other than he had died in his hotel room. I remember very fondly of Phil's pranksterism's between you and Phil as well. I can also remember my mentor who taught me alot about cars as we rebuilt his Mercury Capri in your garage on Apple Hill Lane, in order to make it "faster", it was the ugliest car and was I think 7 or 8 different colors of primer and 2 or 3 shades of bondo....but we had a lot of fun and raised more than our share of trouble in it. He was a good friend and always wondered how he was doing as we lost touch when I went to college and I believe is was at Embry Riddle flight school..I am glad he finally was able to fulfill his dream and I hope this memory of him helps. Phil was also with me in my first vehicle accident. He and I were on some back Rochester country road...and I hit a horse and sheep that had gotten loose from there pen and Phil and I didn't know what to do...so we got my dad's car home and then went to your house to call my parents to tell them the news as they were having a dinner party and I didn't want to disrupt it. I am sure I will think of a million other things...I am glad to hear you are doing well. I am living in Kansas City and working for Hallmark. Drop me a note sometime dkoch7@gmail.com Take care and I hope to hear from you soon. Dave Koch

    Andy - I did hear of Phil's passing from my parents and they never could find out more details for me other than he had died in his hotel room. I remember very fondly of Phil's pranksterism's between you and Phil as well. I can also remember my mentor who taught me alot about cars as we rebuilt his Mercury Capri in your garage on Apple Hill Lane, in order to make it "faster", it was the ugliest car and was I think 7 or 8 different colors of primer and 2 or 3 shades of bondo....but we had a lot of fun and raised more than our share of trouble in it. He was a good friend and always wondered how he was doing as we lost touch when I went to college and I believe is was at Embry Riddle flight school..I am glad he finally was able to fulfill his dream and I hope this memory of him helps. Phil was also with me in my first vehicle accident. He and I were on some back Rochester country road...and I hit a horse and sheep that had gotten loose from there pen and Phil and I didn't know what to do...so we got my dad's car home and then went to your house to call my parents to tell them the news as they were having a dinner party and I didn't want to disrupt it. I am sure I will think of a million other things...I am glad to hear you are doing well. I am living in Kansas City and working for Hallmark. Drop me a note sometime dkoch7@gmail.com

    Take care and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Dave Koch

  • Andy
    Andy
    Happy Birthday, Brother. You'd be 46 today. He was somebody's husband, somebody's brother, somebody's father, somebody's baby, and somebody's friend. That's an important person, and his absence is still pretty important to me. I sure miss the guy, and I think of him every day.

    Happy Birthday, Brother. You'd be 46 today.

    He was somebody's husband, somebody's brother, somebody's father, somebody's baby, and somebody's friend. That's an important person, and his absence is still pretty important to me. I sure miss the guy, and I think of him every day.

  • Maddie
    Maddie
    Good afternoon. I ran the wrong kind of business, but I did it with integrity. I am from Taiwan and now study English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "West virginia handmade soap: after his june 3, 1968 tattoo, a many warhol tested his academic surface in limiting - November 27, 2008, 6:35 PM Divine printing emphasis, a bulletproof matter laser, or for that staff, any fact of belonging using business of gold." :) Thanks in advance. Maddie.

    Good afternoon. I ran the wrong kind of business, but I did it with integrity.
    I am from Taiwan and now study English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "West virginia handmade soap: after his june 3, 1968 tattoo, a many warhol tested his academic surface in limiting - November 27, 2008, 6:35 PM Divine printing emphasis, a bulletproof matter laser, or for that staff, any fact of belonging using business of gold."

    smile Thanks in advance. Maddie.

  • cryscastle
    cryscastle
    Been thinking of Phil a lot the last week or so. Partly because of his son's third birthday. Partly because "Top Gun" was on tv the other weekend. We used to watch that all the time when the pilot trainers and students would get together on weekends while Phil was teaching at American Eagle at Meacham in Fort Worth. I wish more than anything y'all didn't have to do without him. I won't ever forget when he and your dad figured out you can't put the grilled chicken on the same plate as when it was raw...they were SO sick!! He was a good friend and (despite the chicken incident) a GREAT cook! I never knew a man so un-daunted by a yeast dough!! :-)

    Been thinking of Phil a lot the last week or so. Partly because of his son's third birthday. Partly because "Top Gun" was on tv the other weekend. We used to watch that all the time when the pilot trainers and students would get together on weekends while Phil was teaching at American Eagle at Meacham in Fort Worth. I wish more than anything y'all didn't have to do without him. I won't ever forget when he and your dad figured out you can't put the grilled chicken on the same plate as when it was raw...they were SO sick!! He was a good friend and (despite the chicken incident) a GREAT cook! I never knew a man so un-daunted by a yeast dough!! :-)

  • Eric Guvernator
    Eric Guvernator
    Hi andy, I had the privilege of working with Phil at Flyers in Fort Worth, For a short time I was one of his instructors and very quickly It was He that was giving the instruction! I can still wear his slow, careful and sarcastic voice as he made us all second guess if he was pulling our leg....again! Soooooo smart! Photographic memory and always admired. He was there when I got the same call that you did hearing of my brother's passing...on Octber 8th (It's awesome that that date NOW has good meaning with the birth of Phil III!) Phil will always be in our memories and we are so lucky to have you showcase his life to help us reflect. Rest in peace my friend! Eric

    Hi andy, I had the privilege of working with Phil at Flyers in Fort Worth, For a short time I was one of his instructors and very quickly It was He that was giving the instruction! I can still wear his slow, careful and sarcastic voice as he made us all second guess if he was pulling our leg....again! Soooooo smart! Photographic memory and always admired. He was there when I got the same call that you did hearing of my brother's passing...on Octber 8th (It's awesome that that date NOW has good meaning with the birth of Phil III!)
    Phil will always be in our memories and we are so lucky to have you showcase his life to help us reflect.
    Rest in peace my friend! Eric

  • Lisa Gray
    Lisa Gray
    Sitting in the blizzard today with my husband, Jim and our family and remembering Phil. Jim has so many great stories,Andy, I hope you two can sit down someday soon to share them. Jim always admired Phil...how smart, how funny, how engaging and how lucky he was to have him as a friend. Jim just celebrated his 46th on Jan 19th and remarked how much he missed Phil's birthday voicemail. He is missed and remembered!! Lisa

    Sitting in the blizzard today with my husband, Jim and our
    family and remembering Phil. Jim has so many great
    stories,Andy, I hope you two can sit down someday soon to
    share them. Jim always admired Phil...how smart, how funny,
    how engaging and how lucky he was to have him as a friend.
    Jim just celebrated his 46th on Jan 19th and remarked how
    much he missed Phil's birthday voicemail. He is missed and
    remembered!! Lisa

  • cryscastle
    cryscastle
    Hi Andy, Thinking of you guys today. I know this is a tough day for all of you. Moved my daughter to Fort Worth a couple weeks ago. Drove by Phil's old apartments down there dozens of times. I'm moving back myself in a few weeks. It's all his fault I fell in love with the place..!! Anyhow, just wanted you to know that you're not alone in your grief today. He was a great guy, loved by many and will never be forgotten by me. Crystal

    Hi Andy,

    Thinking of you guys today. I know this is a tough day for all of you. Moved my daughter to Fort Worth a couple weeks ago. Drove by Phil's old apartments down there dozens of times. I'm moving back myself in a few weeks. It's all his fault I fell in love with the place..!! Anyhow, just wanted you to know that you're not alone in your grief today. He was a great guy, loved by many and will never be forgotten by me.

    Crystal

  • cryscastle
    cryscastle
    Was unpacking in my new place in Fort Worth by TCU yesterday. Found a postcard Phil had sent me. It had the sand dollar story on the front and a note on the back that simply said, "Saw this and thought of you. Phil" It made me cry. I met Phil at a tv convention in Fl at a party in Clearwater, we dug sand dollars out of the sand with out toes & then watched them creep across our hands. We took a bunch back to the hotel with us and then marveled at how stinky they became! I took them all home and bleached them and gave some to Phil next time I saw him. I still have some, I've always treasured them. When I unpack them, I'll see about sending them. Hope and pray you all are well. Crys

    Was unpacking in my new place in Fort Worth by TCU yesterday. Found a postcard Phil had sent me. It had the sand dollar story on the front and a note on the back that simply said, "Saw this and thought of you. Phil" It made me cry.

    I met Phil at a tv convention in Fl at a party in Clearwater, we dug sand dollars out of the sand with out toes & then watched them creep across our hands. We took a bunch back to the hotel with us and then marveled at how stinky they became! I took them all home and bleached them and gave some to Phil next time I saw him.

    I still have some, I've always treasured them. When I unpack them, I'll see about sending them.

    Hope and pray you all are well. Crys

  • Crys Castle
    Crys Castle
    Thinking of y'all today and praying you feel Phil's love as God wraps His arms around you.

    Thinking of y'all today and praying you feel Phil's love as God wraps His arms around you.

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