Billie Silvey
Feedback 2011-2012
"I especially enjoyed your website this month.  I've always been interested in Pompeii.  We
had some kind of book when we were little that talked about it-I just can't remember which
one it was.  Also, we've gone to two exhibits in Dallas of relics that had some of the 'plaster
people.'  The most disturbing one was a mother who had been trying to shield her baby.
"There were some very raunchy things, also."
--Barbara Webb

"Enjoyed your article, we got a close-up look at the power and beauty of them in COSTA
--Keith Brisco

"Sorry, but I couldn't resist waxing homiletical.  The bible tells us, 'the life is in the blood.'
Vampires suck the blood out of other people to live by their life.  They are a picture of what
we do in a world full of economic and other exploitation.  Why does a company's not
following through to pay what it promised in retirement packages feel less creepy than
vampires?  Maybe we should re-mythologize!"
--Marilyn Adams

"I am not into scary at all; however, I did see Blackula during the blackexplotation era, and
it was the first  time I experienced some of the fun of being scared to death .
"Anyway I can do without ever seeing another Vampire movie ."
--Keith Brisco

"I particularly enjoyed the interview with A. Rice."
--Sheila Bost

"Hi, Billie! I wonder how you are recovering from your illness.  Updates?"
Pax et bonum
--Marilyn Adams

"Re London's sewage and water systems: when we were there, we were told that they are
now so old and leaky that they waste more water than one misses in a year of rain
shortages.  But it is too much trouble and expense to replace them, in their estimation.
-Marilyn Adams

"Very enjoyable read this month.   I think after the Olympics the timing was perfect ."
-Keith Brisco

"Billie, thank you for telling your story.  Congratulations on recognizing something was
wrong and taking action -- too many people don't!
Glad to read that you're recovering -- and to read that you and Marvin have been
continuing the program. Good wishes for further recovery. Greetings to Marvin too."
--Joe Maizlish

"Dear Billie, thank you for your website.  I knew that you had gone through a difficult time
but reading about it made it more real.  I pray that God blesses you and heals you quickly.  
You have been such a great example to me through my life...thank you.  Give Frank, Kathy,
Robert, and Katyana all my love.  You are in my prayers.
--Kathryn Hamilton

"Dear Billie , I read your latest post.  Thank you.  It was a beautifully written and thought-
provoking piece.  Glad you are better. May G-d bless you and your family.
--Doris Davis

"Honest and helpful, Billie."
--Sheila Bost

"Dear Billie, what a harrowing time for you.  So glad you seem to have come through it
"I will agree that it is tough for us to adjust our self-image as we change. In the last few
years I have had to admit that I cannot handle the work load, pressures, and high
expectations of my job in the same way I could for many years.  I tried to learn to delegate
more, and then made a decision to give over the position to the next generation.  Luckily I
had some wonderful people to pass it on to, and the company has found my presence useful
during the transition period, so it has worked out well for me and the company.  Now if I
can just feel comfortable with who it is I have become (which is of course a constant
challenge, as change is constant) I can keep moving forward. All the best to you as you do
the same. Love to you, Frank, Robert, Kathy, and Katyana.
--Perry Silvey

"Dear Billie, I am so sorry you have had a season of ill-health, and I do pray for your
continued progress.  Throughout our friendship, you have indeed impressed me with an
image of vitality. Though I sit in an office very far away from Culver City just this moment,
I hold a vision of you in the comfort of your good family -- and I am, in turn, comforted. I
know that Frank, Kathy and Robert are very attentive to you.
"Your expression of appreciation for the recent Health Bill made me very happy.  It
corresponds to your lifestyle of unselfishness. Holding good thoughts for you,
--Harris Ives

"Billie, Arthur and I are happy you are doing better.  Arthur said to tell you he approved of
sculpture garden (ha!), and that you, too, were happy the Supreme Court approved of
the health care bill.   (We feel really isolated in our convictions at times; this is REALLY
conservative country.)
--Jackie Williams

"What a tasty topic!  In England, the fair trade chocolate movement seemed to have more
momentum than it does here.
"Churches had fair trade shops where we went for chocolate and coffee.  The grocery stores
were beginning to carry the coffee, but not the chocolate.  Perhaps I should nag Trader Joe's
about fair trade pound plus bars.
"Thanks for the write up!
--Marilyn Adams

"I can't believe you actually got this out despite being in the hospital....boy you're amazing....
hope you're COMPLETELY recovered soon.
--Gail Brisco

"Hi, Billie, we're so glad to hear you're home from the hospital again--well enough to think
and write about healthful
chocolate rather than unhealthy pneumonia! Be well, and keep in
-- Bob & Deborah Silvey

"Thanks for the great article.  I guess that I yearn for a more balanced approach to the
news.  I liked the
LA Times for years but I prefer more balance.  I am sure others would
"Again, thanks for your newsletter.  I hope you are doing well.  I loved seeing the recent
photos of your granddaughter online.
--Sheila Bost

"Boy, that looked like a wonderful party.  Will you plan my next party?"
--Gail Brisco

"I really loved this month's website, and coincidentally came across this article after reading
--Robert LaRoe Silvey

"Hi Billie,
"Looking at pictures of Katyana's
party takes me back a few years--memories of another
sweet little girl having birthdays on 79th Street in Los Angeles.  
"I always remember your words of wisdom regarding successful children's parties: keep it
small.  I always felt among the elect to be an adult invitee. . . .
"Nice to see Irene again.  Remind her that I am the tall, muscular, African American
intellectual giant who often attended birthday parties at your house.  If you manage to say
all of that without laughing, you can give her the pathetically truer picture.
Paris!  It has been  much too long since my last visit. I want to see the Woody Allen film
you mentioned.  Heretofore, he has not been a favorite of mine, but your mention of the
movie makes me want to see it.
Recently, during a month's guest lecturing experience at Tianjin Normal University, In
China, I  took evening walks along the river and observed young lovers walking arm and
arm, and I thought of similar scenes along the Seine. Also I thought of Van Gogh's
A Starry
Night Along the Rhon
e --and it occurred to me that the 'blurry' yellows  and blues of the
painting suggest, to me at least, a viewing of a scene through the tears of nostalgia.
"To return to your Katyana's birthday, a flood of nostalgia came to me as I recalled 79th
"By the way, I recommend you read Winchester's
Bomb, Book, and Compass -- a biography
of the remarkably avant garde Joseph Needham --foremost China scholar.  Your keen
appreciation for well-written biography makes me think you might enjoy it.
"I spent my hotel room time in Tianjin reading biographies and writing poetry. Yet another
book that made March in Tianjin memorable was reading a novel by Janice Kulyk Keefer
based on the life of Katherine Mansfield. I'll chance saying you would like it as well I did.
"Continue your mission of providing moments of beauty and recall to your friends.
"Tyson and his wife got married in California this year.  They are coming to Japan to have a
traditional Japanese wedding on May 28. "
--Harris Ives

"What an imaginative birthday party!  It made me feel a bit 'homesick' for Christ Church
[ed. note: the Oxford college where Marilyn served as a canon]. When I was there, there was an
annual croquet match between the choir men vs {the vergers + chapter (canons and dean)}.  
Bob was always one of the latter team, as he had experience playing croquet from his
Mansfield college days.  It was held in the dean's garden, behind the green door, as Lewis
Carroll said.  Because the Mad Hatter figured in the Alice stories, my fellow American canon
and I wore bishop's birettas to the event (the issue of women bishops was then being debated
in the Church of England; we were definitely taking sides). Tea was served, but I always
took American chocolate chip cookies to supplement!
--Marilyn Adams

"So beautiful!  She certainly will NEVER forget this birthday party.  Congratulations to all
--Jacqueline Williams

"What a wonderful party! I'm embarrassed to say I have never read Alice in Wonderland!
You've inspired me. I can't believe she is six already! Wow, how time flies! My regards to you
and Frank.
--Len Nguyen

"Dear Billie,
"I enjoy reading your website every month.  Thank you for sending them. Your
April [2012]
edition made me want to see "Midnight in Paris".  It is such a beautiful city...I hope I can go
back one day!!  I had the best trip when I was there years ago.  The mural of Monet's 'Water
Lilies' is beautiful.  I had seen pictures of them but somehow had missed them being part of
a mural...I would love to see it!!  You are such an excellent writer and it is a thrill to read
what you write.  Give Frank, Robert, Kathy, and Katyana my love.  God bless you always.
--Kathryn Hamilton

"I enjoyed that movie as well! It helped me appreciate living in the moment!
--Len Nguyen

"'My belle epoque is the time I'm living in right now.  My beautiful city is Los Angeles, with
all its problems and needs.  And my challenge is to live in the here and now in a way that is
positive, encouraging and helpful to those I encounter until God calls me to the perfect
timelessness of his eternal present.'
"Billie, I love this conclusion.  In fact, it's what I have always thought of you: you have
taken this city and your communities through the years and dedicated yourself to being an
Ambassador of Christ--meeting needs, serving, discussing, writing, acting on what you
believe and what we know is right, and good and true. Thank you."
--Sharyn S. Moore

"Dear Billie, I loved this month's online news.  We do like Woody and love this movie.  You
did a great job.  Tom is a nostalgia buff.  He still likes me and I am old!"
--Sheila Bost

"Billie, Sheila and I are also very high on Midnight in Paris. In fact, we are Allen
aficionados, even though he is as unlike us as almost anyone could be. Thanks for this
month's post!"
--Thomas G. Bost

"Hi Billie. The March posting on printing and particularly the family history is just
wonderful.  Thank you for topics you consider thoroughly and write about so creatively each
--Sharyn S. Moore

"Billie, I am impressed that you included China's early printing days...before Europe’s...I
never learned that in history classes in America...I read it when I started studying to teach
Asian History
to students from Pepperdine who came to Japan/Ibaraki Christian University.
--Eloise Ives

"My heart warmed to read the stories of your early printing press days, which you used to
talk about over lunch.  What an amazing witness you have been in print!
--Marilyn Adams

"I read 'Big Enough.'  Loved it."
--Doris Davis

"Hello, I am Denis Pepin, creator and copyright owner of the bread photo on your site. I just
want to say thank you for using my photo to illustrate your site and have a happy new year!!
--Denis Pepin

"Your blog was timely.  I taught a Ladies' Bible Class last night on Contentment and used
your 'tailor' story.  Thanks!"
--Jacqueline Williams

"And those of our age remember the printed cotton flour sacks that turned into our dresses."
--Jacqueline Williams

"Dear Billie,
I must re-read your
August website again. Like Oliver Twist, I came away from your article,
pathetically lifting my bowl and asking for 'More, please.'
"You write so well, Billie.  But I tend to take everything personally (mea culpa), and you
peaked my interest.  But an article that refers to cotton and to love and to tolerance prompts
a flood of thoughts within me.
"I was indeed deeply touched by the
story of Rais Bhuiyan which I followed for several
months. And, I thought reference to it in your website was very appropriate.
"I think I would have liked a fuller treatment of how American slavery was encouraged by
the cultivation of cotton.  In the section, 'The Other,' I would have used that forum to
explain a little deeper how Mandeville's  beautiful cotton plant ('lambs on its branches')
really became an emblem of pain for the enslaved African Americans.
"Your article caused me to re-open a lovely volume that has been  in my office for many
years, The African American Experience.  I turned to it and revisited great illustrations  of
slaves dragging bags behind them as they walked the rows of cotton plants.  Additionally,
amazingly clear black and white photographs of share-cropping Blacks in the 1930s show
the continued connection of an impoverished people with a plant that is perhaps lovely to
look at, but sad to contemplate (with regard to the system of harvesting it).
'The Sally Field film,
Places in the Heart, addresses the combination of cotton, oppression,
and love.  It is one of my favorite films which I show to Japanese students occasionally.
"'The Other' section might have benefited from a more developed discussion of the
connection between cotton, slavery, and Christianity.  One of the great debates during
slavery was whether to baptize blacks as that would mean acceptance of their humanity.
There is a passage in the writings of Frederick Douglass in which he argues precisely that
"'Years ago, I happened to be in the deep South.  When asked if I recognized the crop
whizzing by our car window, I acknowledged that I didn't know what it was.  The driver
stopped the car and invited me to walk among the rows with him.  "This is cotton," he
announced.  Given to appreciation of flowers and plants, I did notice a kind of beauty and
symmetry.  My host, holding the plant before me, took note of my complete ignorance of the
plant.  He had a more personal encounter with the plant earlier in his life.  He remarked,
"You're lucky that you don't recognize the cotton plant."'
"Billie, in our long friendship, both of us have demonstrated a love of words, and a fondness
for metaphor. Your discussion of the cotton plant makes me think it just might be a kind of
symbol of reconciliation. We should place it on altars (or church platforms) at a new
liturgical scene of our choosing: A Time to Celebrate Overcoming and Love.
-Harris Ives

"Ms. Silvey,
It's nice to see the adage 'Christian does not mean closedminded' actually put into practice.  
I know many more 'so called Christians' who try and legitamize their bigotry and hypocracy
with their religion than any other religion.  (But, that's probably since I live in the United
States instead of Iran, India or Thailand where I would probably know more bigoted
Moslems, Hindus or Buddhists.)  This open mindedness should also extend to Pagans,
Agnostics and Aetheists.  The days of the Crusade, the Inquisition and the Salem Witch Hunt
are long gone.  It's time for Christians to realize that they are far from having a monopoly
on goodness and spirituality.   If they don't, more and more people will be prejudiced against
--Barbara Jacobs

"Thanks for keeping your website! I really liked the description of Sir John Mandeville's
--Michael Salazar

"Hi Billie,
We share a love of the
King James Bible.  You know of my story:  I bought my first Bible, a
KJV, at Fedco on La Cienga, mistakenly believing that it was the required translation for
my Old and New Testament surveys at Pepperdine back in 1969.  Not coming from a Bible
reading family, I had no idea that were so many translations and versions.  Now, of course, I
collect them. My garage in Los Angeles holds so many on the shelves; my office and house in
Japan are practically Bible museums. But my first love will always be the KJV.
"Recently, I bought a new 'retirement car.'  I am the last person in the world who would pay
extra money for a vanity license plate. But the salesman informed me that personalized
plates were free in Japan. He asked to me come up with an acceptable series of numbers
quickly. You guessed it, I came up with 1611.  The salesman smiled, assuming those were my
favorite lottery numbers. His smile changed to a more somber expression when he
understood I was not a 'player.'  'It's the year of the publication of the KJV,' I informed him,
'And if it's taken, I want 1066' (Norman Invasion).
"I think the fact that you and I are such shameless Anglophiles -- and lovers of the KJV -- is
part of the reason for our longtime friendship.
"Sunday, I will preach my third sermon in as many weeks.  I used to pride myself on never
repeating a sermon; I can no longer afford that time and luxury, so I will again preach
Psalm 62 -- A Song for Difficult Times; its imagery of fallen fences, tottering walls and
shaken lands fits our current situation of earthquakes and aftershocks.
"I have not been using the KJV for this round of sermons. Though I love the King James
Version greatly, the New International Version  rendering of Psalm 62  gives a more suitable
reading of Verses 3 and 4.  The implication in the NIV is that the good man is assaulted by
enemies who continually beat him almost down to the ground. The victim is like a tottering
wall, but he remains steadfast and upright in his faith.  The more modern language makes
the heroic faith more apparent, than the quaint words of the KJV.
"In the last weeks I have preached the same sermon using the NIV at the Omika Church of
Christ, The Ota Church of Christ, and this coming Sunday I will preach it at the Tsukuba
Assembly of God.  Three weeks will be a long enough hiatus from the KJV -- I must come up
with a series of lessons that will return me to my first love. "
-Harris Ives

I'll check out the
Egypt information... especially since my oldest granddaughter is majoring
in Egyptology in college!"
Take care,
Cari Silvey

"hi billie,
i love
black and white photographs.  i love the contrast and clarity of the composition.  best
of all i like to imagine what the colors would look like.  it is just like reading a good novel
vs. seeing the book made into a movie.  in a book i can lose myself into my imagination,
picture the setting, the characters and make my own music to lead me into the suspenseful
"a movie tells me what to see, takes away from my idea of what the character should look
like and show me every scene.  it was not that long ago i was well into a book i was enjoying
when it was announced that a movie was coming out staring tom hanks.   from that moment
on i could not enjoy the book.  i had someone in my mind whose looks i made to be the
leading character.  the book was spoiled for me.
"by the same token when
black and white movies let my imagination run wild.  i get to color
in the dress, the house, the entire set.  i think i enjoyed the simple times of my youth before it
took a whole new industry to produce a movie.
"keep up with your websites, billie.  i thoroughly enjoy them."

"Hi, Billie!
I do enjoy reading your website every month! Your writing is beautiful!
"I am quickly sliding into grumpy-old-man-ness, and offer my thoughts (maybe rants is a
better term) to you, for thought provocation and possible publication:
"I keep noticing that younger people than I, which is quickly becoming most people, write,
and say, some things that drive me crazy. The most recent ones are using "then" in place of
"than", "This is much better then that one," and "on accident" rather than "by accident."
I'm not sure where either of these originated, or why they have seemed to catch on, but,
when I think logically about it, it's probably just a natural progression with languages,
slowly changing over time. I'm sure the English can get very upset by what we, the
Americans, have done to their language, and some other Europeans probably were unglued
by what the English did to theirs.
"Now our younger people are building an entirely new language, that I sometimes use, I'm
afraid, based on saving time with texting. I reply with a "thx" by email when someone at
work has completed some task for me, and I even say "lol" sometimes on Facebook.
"So why should I get upset? I also get frustrated with myself when I play golf poorly, even
though I only play an average of about 9 holes a year. I should not have any expectation of
doing well if I don't practice the game, but I do. It's probably my loss of patience, and my
progression toward becoming a patient in some nursing home.
Anyway, thanks for reading my vent, and let us know how everyone is doing there in your
part of the world! "

"I enjoyed the articles this month, especially the comments on the Revelation.   This world
can get pretty scary.  Our futures sometime seem very tenuous .  However, as you stated, we
can rejoice because GOD WINS, and if we are on his side  we have no reason to fret! "
--Keith Brisco

'Perhaps absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I still think of LA as Eden, still full of
creativity, albeit after the fall!'
-Marilyn Adams