June 2015
Billie Silvey
An eclectic website about Women, Christianity, History, Culture and
the Arts--and anything else that comes to mind.
The June issue of my website is actually the second chapter of my memoirs, which I’m
publishing as my website between now and the end of the year.  The
first chapter was
about my father's mother, my Granny, during World War I in 1918.

This second chapter is the story of my birth in Sacramento during World War II, when my
father was a pilot and
Link trainer instructor; of my early life in Happy, Texas; and my
feelings about
California and dreaming.

Future chapters will continue the story.  I hope you're enjoying it.  Let me know your
reactions at
Mather Field (left) the
base where Daddy
was stationed in 1942,
the year when I was
born, and the patch
(below) he wore on his
My parents, Cecil and June Wesley, married September 21, 1941, and I was born exactly a
year later at nearby Sutter Maternity Hospital.  It was during World War II, and Daddy was in the
Army Air Corps, stationed at Mather (May like the month and Thur like Thursday) Field, near
Sacramento, California.  He was a pilot and Link trainer instructor, teaching pilots to fly using
instruments.  We lived in base housing.

Being born in Sacramento made me a California native, despite the fact that I grew up in
Texas.  My parents called me "a native daughter of the golden West."  That probably made me
identify with California and made it easier for me to move back to California when Frank and I  
did in 1965.

This past Sunday afternoon, I went to a concert put on by the Mansfield Chamber Singers, the
chorus  Frank sings with.  It was such fun, I was moving and swaying to the music before it
was over.  One section was the 30s and 40s music that my parents played on their scratchy
78s and we sang in the car and at the shop when we worked late on my dad’s newspaper.  
They were the  songs I grew up with—the sound track of my childhood in the 40s and 50s.

One of my favorite family stories from that time was about the actor
Jimmy Stewart.  Daddy was
his Link trainer instructor, when they were stationed together at Mather Field.  Stewart not only
flew in World War II, but he stayed in the reserves, rising to the rank of colonel.

Apparently, he was just as friendly and unassuming as people liked to think from his roles in
the movies.  He drove a distinctive little green car, and it was always full of guys he was picking
up here or dropping off there.  

People, especially members of the press, who would see it coming and want to catch a
glimpse of the celebrity often were disappointed, because he’d  hand the keys over to almost
anybody.  You never knew who might be driving it--maybe just some lowly private.  

Everybody who attended our 50th Wedding Anniversary in August of 2013 at the Culver Palms
Church of Christ sang with the Mansfield Chamber Singers.  The 1940s songs in their concert
this Sunday were composed or arranged by the director of the chorus, Ken Wells.  He led the
singing at our anniversary celebration.  We all enjoyed singing the protest and peace songs of
the 60s, when Frank and I married, with him and his chorus.
Actor Jimmy Stewart in
uniform (top) and my
parents, June and
Cecil Wesley (below).
Cecil and June Wesley (left) at their wedding while he was stationed in
Denver.  Baby Billie with her parents (right) in front of their base housing in
Sacramento where Mother planted colorful snapdragons in front of the dull
Army barracks walls.  See me showing off my little boots from my
granddaddy's store in Texas?