WHO IS SYLVIA?
Shakespeare provides a wonderful song in his play 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' - one which I am delighted to snag as my titular website domain: "Who is Sylvia?"
I'm a woman who's been exploring the purpose of life for years. Who are we really? What are we meant to do? How do we believe our directions or instincts and feel they are the correct ones? All big questions, and some of those I tackle in my MEMOIR OF HOPE AND RESILIENCE: Passionate Late-Bloomer Talks Life, Literature, and Personal Empowerment. (Amazon)
I was born on a piece of an island in the North Sea: Wyk auf Fohr. A beautiful, tiny, wind-blown island which served as a vacation resort for early Danish kings. The island belonged to Germany when I lived there. I returned in the mid-seventies to visit it, and was thrilled, although I did not expect to fly there in a four-seat plane! I was scared. Yet, I had to show a brave face for the two of my four munchkins in the back seat being amazing troupers clinging to their'sick bags.' The pilot enjoyed impressing us with the lovely ride we took, and he was right, to see the gorgeous landscape from three thousand feet in the air.
Ethnically, I am Lithuanian and proud of it, even if on a trip to Chicago where at 14 years old, I heard my first ethnic slur directed towards my ancestry. My dad, Russian-born, Juozas, (Joe) a pilot before WWII, and a Military Academy graduate in Lithuania, courted my mother, Lydia, an 'only child', a Colonel's daughter.
After the war, my parents settled in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. I grew up with two older brothers, until another one came along when I was eleven. I realized how much I adored babies. I decided I would have ten of them, myself. I didn't. But I might have. My marriage broke up after four children, and ended that dream for me. Actually, I'm okay with it. Four children - three boys and one girl - were a joy but enough for a any solo parent.
I spent many years as a single mother wandering 'in the desert' so-to-speak' with multiple jobs before I found another purpose, another direction. When my kids were older, I returned to school and finally got the kick-ass education I needed and craved which had been sorely lacking! I thirsted for learning, me, just a girl who while growing up, my brothers and their buddies dismissed as insignificant. Goes to show: follow your own dreams and instincts. I received three university degrees ( from great schools) over the age of forty and became a Secondary School teacher of English and Drama. A satisfying career with the young.
The rest I'll tell you as you read my MEMOIR. It's a story of hope and gratitude overcoming depression. It's a conversation, Reader, between me and you. Many photos included!
I also adore the study of languages, and have dabbled in French, Spanish, German, as well as Mandarin. I am fluent in Lithuanian. Lately, I taken up Italian, too.
Another passion is my love for acting and theatrical work. I never 'made it big' but I believe in my talent -at times an undiscovered country. One life is hardly enough to do everything! I dabble in and thrill to the small opportunities which come my way. There is a place for an actor at every stage of life. My actor name: Joey T. Oliver or sometimes just Sylvia.
Finally, I have thirteen fabulous grandchildren. Not all my doing, of course, but my blood runs in their Chinese, Pakistani, Scottish, Irish, Lithuanian, German veins! Olé! I say! Well... no Spaniards, yet.
I am currently preparing/editing my 5th work for publishing: Secrets in Naples -a novel.
ACTOR: JOEY T. OLIVER
TEACHER - Known as Miss V. -Always prepping lesson plans and
ACTOR: JOEY T. OLIVER
Here I am an eleven year old holding my baby brother Andy on top of the old TV, 1957.
FAMILY: Three sons, some wives, and their children, on vacation with me centre.