HILLMANS’ 2005 CHRISTMAS MISSIVE
We should have written this “massive” when the big snow came in early
October and November. This week, we’ve had warm temperatures and April
showers. However, the Christmas wish lists have arrived on my desk, so
it MUST be Christmas. So, Merry Christmas, Everyone!
Some of you may remember that last year our son Robin was involved
in the filming of a WWII re-enactment documentary - Bomber Boys: The
Fighting Lancaster www.airmuseum.ca/reach.html
about the Lancaster bomber crews who trained with the British
Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada and flew combat missions over
Europe. With the immense amount of vintage and live film footage and old
photographs from family archives, Frantic Films was finally able to complete
and release the four-hour documentary in time for a Veterans/Remembrance
week showing in November. The series is still being rerun on Sundays on
Television. It was exciting to see Robin in action. His Grandma Louise
Campbell Hillman would have been very proud to see her grandson representing
her brother William Gavin Campbell. The producer made a point of filming
Robin at his uncle Bill’s memorial in England. To top off Robin’s year,
he moved from Red Lake, Ontario to Winnipeg, where he was hired by DMT
Development Systems Group as an Application Developer. One of his major
projects is with the VolvoCanada.com website. Auditions with the
bands The Horribly Awfuls and Fisher Kane got him hired on
as drummer for both bands. All in all, I think Robin, and we, are glad
he is back in civilization!
Jay, Soulin and Angela are well settled in their apartment. Jay’s
massage therapy business—Reactive Massage -- is doing well. He has
office hours Tues.- Sat. in Brandon, and Mon. at a clinic in Shoal Lake.
This summer, he did a lot of volunteer and promotional stints at various
venues such as farmer’s markets, the Cancer Relay for Life, etc. As his
office is in Fitness Quest, he also works for them in orientation
for new members. Angela continues to work at Hillcrest Personal Care
an LPN. In between her work schedule and taking great care of the two boys,
Angela continues to take courses at Brandon University towards her
Soulin, the baby of the family, is now seven and a half, and
seems to be growing out of his clothes and shoes monthly. He’s in grade
two at New Era French Immersion School. Legos, video/computer games,
board games are his favourite pastime activities. We are happy to see he
enjoys reading as much as the rest of the family. To earn his spending
money, Jay and Angela have set up a weekly chores list. He’s very capable,
and offers to help Grandma whenever he’s up at the “big house”. Soulin
has always been fascinated with martial arts. This fall, he enrolled in
Kwon Do classes, three times a week. We look forward to the day when
he and his dad will spar against each other. ;-)
China is in her final year for her B.Sc. at Brandon University.
One of her favourite classes has been Human Anatomy lab. BU is the
only Canadian university that offers a lab with a cadaver for undergraduates.
She is not squeamish at all, but I am when I pick her up after the class!
She worked full time at Brandon Hospital CSR department for the
second summer, and continues on as a casual employee during the school
year. In August, she wrote her MCAT exam and achieved 90’s in her
scores. Applications for medical schools were sent out and we are now awaiting
invitations for interviews. In spite of a busy school schedule, she continues
with her studies and performances with her harp, leads the harp ensemble,
and does lots of volunteer work with St. John Ambulance Brigade.
They will all miss her when she leaves home for Med School.
Bill had some health issues in September. In fact, he was admitted
to the hospital on our 39th wedding anniversary with numbness on his left
side. The doctor thought it was a stroke, but the full slate of tests with
CAT scan, doppler, MRI, ECG, etc, showed no symptoms of a stroke. He was
discharged after a week but with numbness spreading to his right side.
He was referred to the neurologist who ran more tests on the nerves, which
showed no reflexes! He was immediately checked back into the hospital –
diagnosed with an immune condition called CIDP: Chronic Inflammatory
Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy. For the next five days, he was given
intravenous infusions of Immunoglobulin, a four-hour process each time.
Treatments were over $10,000.00, so we are indeed thankful for Canadian
Medicare! There was quick response to the treatment, and Bill was able
to talk the docs into giving him morning leave from the hospital to continue
teaching his computer technology classes for the education faculty at Brandon
University. Oh! Did I mention that the university invited him back to teach
the same courses he taught in 2002-03? So, the three Hillmans are driving
to school/work together once again. J
Musically. Bill still enjoys his weekly rock & blues jams at Ken
Daniels' Cantina Club and performing with the CCR group One Body.
With son Robin back within easy driving distance, we were busy performing
at venues over the summer: The German SummerFest, the Neepawa Lilyfest,
Jam, etc. It is fun making music as a family again.
On the web side, Bill is busy as ever with his “empire of websites”
. He is webmaster and editor for the five official Edgar Rice Burroughs,
Inc. Web sites -- www.tarzan.com
etc. with their thousands of Webpages and Webzines. As a result, he is
receiving and fielding hundreds of queries, offers, for ERB, Inc. from
people all over the world. He is also a “consultant” for many of the upcoming
movie, Broadway, book and comic projects based on referrals from the head
of ERB, Inc. (Tarzana, California) – Danton Burroughs. Needless
to say, his bout with CIDP hasn’t slowed him down any!
In August, Bill and I drove to Chicago for the annual ERB conference.
We met more members of the ERB family, and renewed old friendships. The
centre of the gathering was in Oak Park, one-time home of Edgar Rice
Burroughs, Ernest Hemmingway, and Frank Lloyd Wright. After
seeing our host Jerry Spannraft’s home and ERB collection, I can’t complain
about Bill’s numerous collections.
I have just finished another term of teaching international students
with Brandon University, along with Settlement English with landed
immigrants Tues. and Thurs. evenings. At BU, I had students from Mexico,
Russia, Korea, China and Inner Mongolia. The most interesting student was
our exchange Fine Arts professor, Xiren Qian from Nanjing University.
He was teaching Chinese painting and watercolour. His most unusual talent
was his incredible paper cutting skills. He arrived with hardly any English.
Towards the end of term, he was able to communicate with HIS students without
an interpreter. The next term will bring students from Turkey, Yemen, Korea,
Having Sundays free, I decided to take in some cooking classes at our
local community college. Each Sunday featured a different cuisine: New
Orleans, Caribbean, South Africa, India, Portugal… It was fun to cook
and eat new foods, some of which I may even make at home again! Two
Sundays were set aside for Qi-gong and tai-chi workshops.
I know I should practice more regularly, but I can’t seem to find enough
hours in the day!
In spite of a couple of stumbles along the way, we’ve had a great year.
We hope you and your families have had wonderful times together. May
you all have a great Christmas, and All the Best for 2006.
Remember, our door is always open for a visit from you!
Bill, Sue-On and Family