They grew up all over the world—the four sons of a
military officer who was an engineer and specialized in
ordnance, and a stay-at-home mom who was a
mathematician specializing in logistics.  Otherwise, how
could she have managed to drive hundreds of miles to a
commissary and fill a station wagon with provisions for a
family of eight and to schlep her growing family from base
to base, often on her own when her husband was

They ended up spread across the country.  And now they
are retiring.  Oldest brother
Bob retired from Hewlett
Packard, where he managed corporate documentation
standards.  Bob taught, acted and directed
Shakespearean drama and is active in politics in
Berkeley, California.

Second son, Frank, retired two years ago from a career  
in computer graphics with
IBM and Aon Risk
Management.  He studied philosophy, loves literature and
music, and performs with vocal ensembles in Los
Angeles.  He’s my wonderful husband, father of Kathy
and Robert and grandfather of Katyana.  

Third son,
Perry, retires this year after 37 years as stage
manager and  technical director with the
New York City
Ballet.  Perry loves drama and dance.

Youngest son, Paul, lives in the Denver area where he's
worked as chief editor for KWGN-TV 2 news, support
specialist at Pearson College, and with the
Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.  Paul is also a
gifted photographer.

Two girls, Kathryn and Irene, were born later.  Kathryn, a
mother of two, has worked with children with special
needs.  Irene, who has four children, has worked as a
nurse and a chemist.  They have not yet reached
retirement age.

To celebrate his retirement, Perry decided to rent a villa
outside of Rome for a month.  (The family lived in Rome
for three years when their father was attached to the
American Embassy there.)  

Accustomed as he is to managing large events, Perry
decided to make this a massive one by having each of
his siblings and their families to join him for a week at a
time.  Our week began the 16th of June, when we joined
Perry and Paul and their wives Renee and Cari at a glorious
old villa overlooking Lake Albano, 25 miles southeast of
Rome, relaxing at the villa and making several trips to Rome,
then spending two days in Paris on our way home.  (Bob,
Irene and Kathryn would come the next week).

Our whole family went—five people from three generations—
Frank and I (the grandparents), Kathy and Robert (our
children) and eight-year-old Katyana (our grandchild), who
became the center of everyone’s attention.

Perry met us at the airport in Rome to drive us to the villa.  It's
beautiful inside and out, with glorious views of Lake Albano
and the rugged Alban Hills and of Castel Gandolfo, the papal
summer palace where Pope Benedict went into retirement
and where many previous pontiffs spent summers escaping
the heat in Rome.  

Our three graying superheroes relived former glories, basked
in the classical civilization and planned future conquests,
rebonding as they applied their powers to problems created
by electricity, electronics and lightning at the aging villa.  

Mysterious flashes of light, maneuvers of yellow fire brigade
planes scooping up lake waters to prepare to battle the next
forest blaze, and fits of heavy rain and thunder broke up the
peaceful nights.

I was reading a couple of
Steven Saylor's series of mystery
stories featuring Gordianus the Finder, who lives in classical
Rome where he solves murders and seeks truth.

There was a lot of talk about family, politics, retirement, aging
and serial careers, but mostly I enjoyed sitting and drinking in
the beauty of the darkening lakeshore with its row of golden
lights girding the lake and silver moon brightening against
the darkening grays, blues and pinks of the sky.  A soft, fresh
breeze gave no hint of the storm of the night before.

Our Italian neighbor Doru, caretaker for the villa next door,
used broad gestures and Italian panache to give instructions
on everything from transportation oddities to where the
multibreaker is located.  

Other articles in this website include those about the
villa on
Lake Albano and our trips to
Rome and Paris.  I hope you
enjoy it, and that you'll write me at
with your reactions and your own travel tales.
July 2014
Billie Silvey
An eclectic website about Women, Christianity, History, Culture and
the Arts--and anything else that comes to mind.
Fantastic Four
The Fantastic Four Silvey boys in 1951 (inset) stairstepped from oldest to youngest--Bob, Frank, Perry and Paul--and in
reverse age order today (l to r) Paul, Perry, Frank and Bob.
Brother Paul and his wife Cari with the five of us (l to r) Robert, Kathy, Katyana, Frank and I at the Colosseum.