There was a time in the mid-1960s when the
ACU student newspaper, The Optimist, was
a family affair.
When I went to ACU in1962, it was edited by
Harold and Carole Straughn, and I worked for
them as news editor.
They introduced me to Frank, and the next
year, Frank and I worked together on the
Optimist. I was the editor of the school
paper, and he worked for the Abilene
Reporter-News, the real newspaper
I had been eager to meet him ever since I
first laid eyes on him. But as I began to
figure out just who he really was, I was
First, he was related to my English teacher,
the formidable Lella Foster Moudy. She
knew more than any other human being I
ever knew before I went to college.
Second, he was related to giants of Christian
education. His mother was the sister of both
Helen Young of Pepperdine and F. W. Mattox
of Lubbock Christian College. I was the first
person in my family even to get a bachelor’s
And third, he’d grown up all over the world,
the son of Lt. Col. Robert Maxey Silvey. I’d
grown up in Happy, Texas.
Frank was a bit of a bad boy, and the ACC
administration gave him a hard time. They
just didn't understand the liberal elite, which
he was even then. But that gave him a
broader interest--which we've continued to
maintain--beyond the particular college or
church we happened to be associated with--
and in the city--and the world--as a whole.
Frank has taught me so much--about the
world and about love.
Now in L.A., we read the L.A. Times every
morning and watch TV newscasts from
Paris, Germany, the BBC and PBS every
As Katty Kay puts it on BBC America, "To
really understand what's happening in your
world, you have to understand the whole
world." We've even been able to travel
together--most recently to Rome and Paris
with our family last summer.
My work on the Optimist led to an editorial
position with 20th Century Christian
magazine, which published seven of my
books, including The Victory Lap: Growing
Old with God (the other two were pubished by
Leafwood Press). My work has gone from
objective ("just the facts") to more subjective
since my college days.
Mike Cope, director of the Pepperdine Bible
Lectures, let me sign my books after the
main lecture at Firestone Fieldhouse May 7,
and teach a class May 8, on the topic of the
new one. Imagine my surprise when I went
into the classroom and met a woman who
remembered when I edited the Optimist at
Even Abilene Christian has come around,
asking to archive my papers. I've come a
long way from that little girl in Happy, Texas.
The front page of the first
issue I edited (left) with the
editorial page of my last
(below) with Frank's
column, "Frankly Speaking,"
and a blown-up copy of the
masthead (right) giving my
name as Mrs. Frank Silvey,
a minor rebellion after the
school hadn't wanted us to
Here I am (left), interviewing the first kid I'd
ever seen riding a skateboard for an article
in the Optimist, with a display of my books
at the Pepperdine Bookstore (right) and
(below) at my book signing. Diana Ryan
from my writers' workshop took the photo,
and Frank made the poster featuring all my