1999 – Dr. Phil and Jean

The Gnometown tale of
“Phil and Jean”
Dr. Phil and Jean Maus

The legend of gnomes Jean and Phil is one of magical coincidences and chemistry. Jean and Phil were both born near Gnometown in 1928 and schooled in towns whose names “MA”. The power of MA infused in each with the spirits of their mothers, who shared the MAiden name Hilda E. Larson. Jean, like her mother, is shy, with a nurturing, feeling nature. Like his mother, Phil is direct, having logical, practical nature. Together they strike the balance of Norwegian and Swede, Scandinavian counterparts to Yin and Yang. Having grown up in the shadows of Gnometown, each knew the rumors of gnomes. As a child, Jean heard many tales of them from her father. But neither had spied gnomes, nor dreamt of The Becoming.

Chemistry literally brought Jean and Phil together in a hallway at St. Olaf College, a school rich in gnome lore. Each was waiting to speak to the same chemistry professor. (Detractors, perhaps from Jean’s hometown, have maintained this meeting was no accident. As knowers of Jean’s shy nature and Believers in magic, we can ignore this theory.) Even as newly wed Jean and Phil embarked on their life together in the Big City, the gnome winds were gathering to blow them back to the Prairie.

To protect themselves from the Large Ones, the Gnomes of Dawson had developed a secret potion. When ingested by Large Ones, this substance created the illusion that gnomes were also large and made their magical realm seem familiar. The gnomes called this potion “coffee”, which they doled out by the potful to visiting Large Ones. Jean and Phil were on a steady regimen of coffee from July to November of 1954, when they first resided in Gnometown. (It was widely known that the Air Force of Large Ones would make Jean and Phil leave Dawson for a time. They dared not court disaster by rushing the Becoming.)

When Jean and Phil returned to Gnometown for good in 1957, the time for their Becoming had arrived. They had settled in the Pines, making good friends and neighbors among this grove and the nearby Chestnuts. The Pine gnomes surrounded Jean and Phil’s tree, pointing their Becoming sticks at them, chanting “Bodies grow small, here in you home. Hearts become large, the sign of the gnome.” For some Large Ones, the transformation is gradual. As Jean and Phil (especially Phil) were small by Large One standards, The Becoming was rapid. Jean and Phil, of shy and practical natures, did not question their new statures or surroundings. They merely admired and wondered at the hearts on their sleeves.

Jean and Phil quickly learned the importance of the Collective and busied themselves making contributions to it. Phil had studied medicine with the Large Ones and, under Doc Bill’s tutelage, learned much about gnome folk medicine. Phil worked hard with Bill and many others to secure a new Folk Medicine Center in Gnometown. Phil’s work ethic and high expectations at the Folk Medicine Center were legendary. So was his demeanor when the unexpected happened, which earned him the moniker of a famous dwarf, “Grumpy”. But all quickly learned that beneath his bark was the big heart of a puppy, as loyal and true as Phil’s patients were to him. Outside the branches of the Folk Medicine Center, Phil’s reputation was that of a diplomat. He served on many gnome boards and committees throughout church, school, and the Collective, and taught practical magic to many EMTs. Gnome Phil’s special chemistry and talents are healing, organizing, and teaching, sharing the heart on his sleeve on a wide community level.

Jean’s heart, as with most gnome-folk women of her time, was focused on her family. She kept Phil organized (no easy task) and never missed an opportunity to make her kids feel special. Jean religiously attended her children’s activities and always kept their cookie jar full. She rejoiced at The Becoming of her beloved dad, Jake, who spent his final years in Gnometown. Jean’s special chemistry originated in the kitchen. She cooked and baked for many church and school functions and has entertained many a prospective Gnometown doctor. She still delivers Norwegian rice to friends and neighbors needing homemade love and nourishment. Jean shares the heart on her sleeve quietly, one-on-one, through church circles, the Folk Medicine Auxiliary, bloodmobiles, and meals on wheels.

In happy “retirement”, Jean and Phil continue the Gnometown traditions of compassion and community service on scales large and small. Phil still enjoys the Game of Scottish Gnomes and hiding cornfields with other goosehunter gnomes. Jean loves to feed the birds (and squirrels) and enjoys coffee and cards with the girls, particularly the gnome game “River Span”. They both relish time with friends and family, especially with children Tim and Tami, daughter-in-law Pat, granddaughter Emily and, of course, gnome cat Norskie. They continue to lend their chemistry to the magical alchemy of Gnometown. And it’s no coincidence that they humbly thank all you gnomes for this great honor. Jean and Phil feel very blessed to have become one of you.


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