I was born in Portugal, more precisely in the Azores, on the Island of St. Michael (São Miguel), on May 18, 1923, in the Parish of S. Pedro of Ponta Delgada, on 49 Moinho do Vento (Windmill) Street, and, for completeness, in the room to the right, near the entrance to the house, at 5 o’clock in the morning.
Although my family, known as the Silvas of Calheta, had some wealth, I have not known nor have I lived the wealthy lifestyle. Therefore, since I was very young, I trained to be a nurse and a barber, arts that placed me in contact with people at the Velho Cabral Commercial and Industrial School. Taking advantage of my connections, they gave me a job as a nurse at the school.
I attended elementary school at the time when one still had to pay for it, and my teacher was the exceptional Dona Maria das Mercedes Paiva. The school was located at the end of the parish, between S. Roque and S. Pedro, at a place called Pranchinha (Little Plank).
My entire knowledge base can be traced to this brilliant lady.
As I always enjoyed studying, I was always trying to increase my knowledge, sometimes by reading, sometimes through the Theater, always trying to understand the teachings of this great school. I enrolled in Commercial Course Night School where I worked, but, some time later, I was transferred to the Ponta Delgada Customs Office at my request. Since this job required night service, I had to withdraw from the course without completing it.
Once again, I joined the amateur theater and, possessing a fondness for verse since I was a child, I started experimenting with writing small individual theatrical numbers, comedies, scenes within plays, and three complete plays: “Águas Passadas” (“Past Waters”), “Coisas do Arco da Velha” (“Amazing Things”), and “Ou Vai ou Racha” (“Go or Split”), two of which have lyrics and songs that are still performed.
My pen name, “Zé da Chica,” comes from the main character of one of these plays, “Águas Passadas.”
Having been accustomed to writing critiques and observational humor, all my poems always feature criticism, morality, love, and whenever possible, humor where I joke with you to explain on paper the pain that I feel in my chest.