Helen Silvey's Biography

My parents, Jesse Byron and Hazel Belle Guy Graham lived in Ansonia, Darke Co., Ohio, when I was born. Mother was frail and the Dr. told Dad to take her to a milder climate. The house was sold and we moved to Tampa, Fl., but Mother couldn't stand the humidity and the bugs, so another move was in order. In Calif. Mother gained 35 lbs. and she lived to be 86.

Before I started school we had settled in San Diego, Dad worked his way across country and sent for us. We traveled west by train and it went across the Mississippi River by ferry boat. My brother, Guy LeRoy Graham, and myself went through school in San Diego, except for my last year. Mother and I had moved to Los Angeles, it was during the Great Depression and when I graduated from High School getting further education was not financially viable. I had wanted to be a nurse but had to settle for going to Frank Wiggins Trade School in Los Angeles where I took teletype, which became my life's work.

Mother decided the only thing for me was to have a civil service job, so I wound up in Sacramento working for the State of Calif., as a teletype operator for the Dept. of Motor Vehicles and the Calif. Highway Patrol. One of my co-workers lived with a cousin to my future husband, Carol Joseph Silvey, born on Christmas Day, he is called "Joe". We met on Halloween, had our first date on Christmas Eve and married on Lincoln's Birthday. Of course, everybody knew a marriage with such a short courtship would not last, that was Feb. 12, 1940, and we have had 56+ blissful years, with three sons, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

We both worked for the State of Calif., but Joe and his brother built two motels, with the help of their father, one before W.W.II and the other was more modern and built after the war. We lived in the first one until it was sold and then we moved to the second one and we co-operated both of them along with Joe's brother..

We now live in a gated community for active adults over 55, we have a house, we could never picture living in the same building with other people.. I have always been creative, crocheted, knited, did needle work and ceramics. I've always been a big fan of puzzles and genealogy is the most intrigueing puzzle I've encountered. After 20 years I am still trying to find the parents of two of my great-grandparents.

It all started when two of my husbands nieces came by and asked all kinds of questions about his family. I wondered about what they were doing and how they find out about ancestors. I picked up the ball and ran. My mother had a little tin box, I had never known what was inside and after she died I opened it and found original papers from her grandfather who had been a surgeon when Ind. and Oh. were Indian Territory. Now my time is spent in front of my computer. Before I had it I spent a lot of time going to libraries, archives, etc., I have been to Sutro Library in San Francisco, and have gone to Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C., but now I find I do as well from my work station as when I did all of the traveling. It was nice making the trips and seeing some of our beautiful country, but we all slow down and this type of research suits me fine. I feel that this is my legacy.

Helen Graham Silvey
Sacramento, CA
November, 1996