Vasiliki "Billie" Aravosis
Vasiliki "Billie" Aravosis was born in Chicago, Illinois, into a Greek Orthodox family. Billie’s parents, James and Stella, stressed to their three American-born children the importance of acclimation into American culture while maintaining their Greek heritage. Family always comes first!
Billie learned to speak Greek from infancy. It wasn’t until first grade that she received English instruction in school. She also learned Chinese from a school classmate. Like her parents, she easily learned languages. Her father, spoke fluently in: Greek, English, Polish, German, Yiddish and Scandinavian.
Billie’s mother made the family’s clothing. Billie remembers standing still while her mother created patterns using old newspapers. Her eye for color and sense of design would influence Billie’s own creative side. She creates miniature oil paintings and shadow boxes with dried flowers.
Billie married Peter, a Greece native. Peter was a mechanical engineer and Billie an accountant with United Airlines. Monthly, she took a round-trip flight from Chicago to Los Angeles for the weekend to get a hair cut at the grand and modern May Company Building in the Wilshire district. On one occasion, she saw Eva Gabor shopping in the drapery department. Eva welcomed a brief pleasantry with Billie. On one flight, she talked with Steve Allen and Jane Meadows about “The Tonight Show” and music.
“The round-trip flight was only $8 and the haircut was free — I was a friend of the hairdresser’s nephew. I stayed with good friends. I flew back on Monday and went straight to work,” she said with a smile. After eleven years, Billie willingly gave up her career to raise Demetrios, their son.
At the age of 90, Billie enjoys sharing many family anecdotes with her newfound Westbrook Senior Living family.
“My family had great love and camaraderie,” she said. “I loved when my mother told me ‘Greek’ fairy tales by the black and silver pot belly stove. I assumed that Cinderella was Greek. Eventually, I learned that fairy tales are worldwide.”