Tuesday, July 27, 2021
 
 
‘I’d Rather Keep Moving,’ She Says
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Frankie Silveira has enjoyed lots of laughs and lots of moving during her journey through life. PHOTO: Lesley Andrus
   
Thursday, June 17, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY LESLEY ANDRUS

 Growing up during the Depression, as she did, Frankie Silveira never went anywhere as a child.

 But Hailey’s 93-year-old more made up for it in adulthood, perhaps inspired by her ancestors.

 Growing up in Antioch, Calif., Frankie thought she would always live there, though the history of her ancestors would suggest more peripatetic genes.  Frankie’s maternal grandfather, an Italian immigrant, arrived in San Francisco the day of the 1906 earthquake.  Her father’s family came from England, Ireland and Scotland in the 1630s, first settling in Virginia and then  migrating across the county--through Georgia, through Texas (where Lyndon Johnson came into their lineage) and on to California.

 
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All that moving landed Frankie Silveira within a couple stones' throws of Carbonate Ridge, a view she cherishes from her apartment in Hailey. PHOTO: Karen Bossick
 

 Growing up with an older sister, who now lives in Louisiana, and a younger brother who made the Air Force his career, Frankie finished high school in three years and went to work for Dow Chemical.  She was a news editor for the company magazine, and wrote poetry and feature articles that entitled her to be a member of the press club in San Francisco.

 In high school Frankie’s friend was dating a guy named Clifford Silveira.  Little did she know that years later, after Clifford came home for serving in the Navy, they would meet in church, and three months later be married.

 At the time, Clifford was serving an apprenticeship as an embalmer but with Frankie in the picture he decided that was not a great environment in which to raise a family.  After a few miscellaneous jobs, Clifford landed in the title insurance business.  With his outgoing, gregarious manner, he was a superior manager—so much so that the company found him to be the perfect person to organize branches.

 That started Frankie, who had done little traveling up to this point, on the move. Over the next years, they lived in Sacramento, Hanford, Fresno, Santa Cruz, Bakersfield, San Ramon and Napa.

 The Silveiras stint in Santa Cruz lasted 11 years so that their three children--Gregg, Doug and Lorna—could have a stable school environment. Then at age 42 came “the big shock.”

Fifteen years after having her last child Lorna, Frankie found herself pregnant.  Suddenly there were diapers and PTA meetings, and acquiring anew all that baby paraphernalia that had been given away decades ago.  After Kendall was born, the family hit the road again, although the older children were surprisingly resistant to leaving the sunshine and beaches of Santa Cruz for the desert of Bakersfield.

 One of the highlights of Frankie’s life was their 13 years in Napa.  They lived in a townhouse of 58 units.  As president of the homeowners’ association for five years, Frankie presided over a lawsuit against the contractor and builder which resulted in a $2.4 million verdict. It was fun and stimulating, she said.

 With the exception of the early years of her surprise motherhood, Frankie always worked--mostly as a secretary and office manager in various law firms.  When Clifford retired, they moved to a Del Webb project outside of Sacramento where they lived for nine years.  In 2010--a year after Clifford died, ending 61 years of marriage, Frankie moved to the Wood River Valley.

Daughter Lorna had moved here with her husband to raise horses.  Having recently retired herself, Lorna is now starting on a new venture with her daughter Kelsey, growing flowers for commercial uses.

Frankie’s other children are not too far away. Gregg is in the computer field in Colorado and Doug specializes in design and drafting in Santa Cruz.  Daughter Kendall is farthest away, working as a registered nurse at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C. These four children have given Frankie seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

 Over the years, Frankie has made four trips to Hawaii with family and friends, a trip to Switzerland with her oldest son, who was on loan to a Swiss bank, and numerous road trips around the United States. For Frankie’s 85th birthday she fulfilled her bucket list--10 of her family members traveled with her for two weeks through northern Italy, visiting Venice, Lucca, Florence and Rome.  Upon further musing, Frankie thinks there may be one more place she would like to visit--New York City with its Broadway shows and museums.

 There are two passions that seem to define the essence of Frankie--her love of family and friends and her love of nature.  With her constant smile, Frankie makes friends everywhere.

She’s found them here through her involvement with the Kiwanis Club, the Senior Connection  and various bridge groups.  Though she does not do well with the cold (she’s entertaining the thought of spending part of winter in Louisiana with her sister), Frankie expounds upon the beauty of her surroundings.

“Where else can I have mountains and a plethora of trees right off my balcony?!” she says.

 Frankie says her life’s mantra is a WC Fields quote – “All things considered, I’d rather keep moving.” (Or, something like that.) It’s quite a change for the girl who thought she would live her life in Antioch.

 

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