Interview With Phil Rich

From the interview with Phil Rich of Port Townsend conducted by Patience Rogge at the Fort Worden History Center on September 25, 2008. Mr. Rich taught history at the Fort Worden Juvenile Diagnostic and Treatment Center. Here he discusses two of his more memorable students. Full names are not given because of privacy concerns:

“Probably the most memorable was DP. Every person you may interview will remember DP. He was a young man who was born on the other side of the law. He just could not stay out of trouble. He was not here because he did anything really terribly bad, perhaps ran away. I don’t know if he stole cars or anything but he was just a young man who had had the worst breaks, I think, of any young person. He should never have gone through life that way. I don’t know if he’s still alive or not. I remember one of the interviews he was telling at a student review board meeting. He was telling us, ‘You can’t beat me, I’ve been beaten by the best.’ I felt so sad that the young man had that experience. One of the other students I remember very, very well, his name was MG. When we first started teaching, there were some classrooms in one of the cottages. MG would constantly move his desk up against mine and bump and bump and bump. I would tell him to move his desk back, get away from my desk, you are bothering me, get back. It was just an ongoing thing. One day my patience wore thin. I went around my desk and picked his desk up with him in it and gave it a pretty doggone good heave across the room. After that, he never bumped up against my desk, except one day I was looking down on some paperwork and all of a sudden my desk started bouncing, bouncing, bouncing. I thought it was MG. I looked up and his desk was five feet away from mine. He threw his hands up in the air and said,’ Mr. Rich, it’s an earthquake!’ And it really was an earthquake.”

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