Sue-On's Annual Hillman Log-In
Robin ~ Bill ~ Sue-On ~ China-Li ~ Soulin ~ Ja-On
School’s out! Now it’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas. Before
we get knee-deep in shortbread, mince meat pies, butter tarts, fruit cakes,
shopping, and wrapping, our family wants to wish you and yours all the
best for the Christmas season, and 2007.
I feel like my annuals always start off with the same ole, same ole:
“It’s been another busy year for the Hillmans!” But, it’s so true. There
have been a lot of changes within the family, so assuming that you already
have your cuppa in hand, I will proceed!
Ja-On and Angela Patton have finally set THE date! We are all excited
that they will be getting married on August 18, 2007. They and Soulin make
a wonderful team, and we’re glad that they are making the all-important
step. It’s also been a busy fall for Ja’s orthopaedic massage therapy business.
Wellington College, where Ja trained, approached him to open a satellite
clinic in Brandon. After a month of renovations, painting, shopping for
furniture, REACTIVE Therapeutic Massage Clinic opened on Rosser Avenue.
All members of the Hillman and Patton families can lay claim to some part
of the clinic! Ja has five rooms where he can provide treatments, as well
as space for any regional massage therapy students to fulfill their practicums.
He will be supervising these students for Wellington College as well as
administering exams when they complete their courses. We’re very proud
that the college recognizes Ja’s skills and potentials, and are backing
him in this new business venture.
Angela continues to work at Hillcrest Seniors facility, maintaining
top grades in her courses towards her nursing degree, and taking care of
the two guys. Between Ja and Angela, Soulin is growing up to be a very
caring and considerate boy. At the moment, he’s taking a break from Ta-Kwon-Do
to take swimming lessons. Like any other boy, he’s got all the gaming machines,
but that box of Legos still comes out whenever Soulin is here at the “big
house.” He can also whop Grampa in a game of chess once in a while! Angela’s
parents, Hugh and Maxine, have built a cabin at Clear Lake, so Grampa Hugh
was providing some “sailing activities” during the summer. Soulin’s becoming
bilingual in the French immersion program at New Era School. I think this
Grandma needs to pull in some Chinese lessons! Soulin is 8 years old, and
in grade 3.
It’s so good to have Robin closer to home. He still enjoys his work
as a software developer with DMT in their new technology facilities at
Smart Park on the University of Manitoba campus. As some of their clients
are Jaguar, Mitsubishi, and Volvo, I’m waiting for the day when one of
the companies gives a car to each one of their website/data base developers!
To date, he’s had great job reviews, movement up the salary scale, but
no free car. The Indy music band he works with, Fisher Kane, did several
gigs in Winnipeg as well as a band competition. They made it to the finals,
which is quite an achievement for a newly formed group. He’s been coming
home frequently to rehearse with us for gigs – the next one being in Miami
– Manitoba, that is ;-). This community was one of our regular bookings
in the '70s and '80s. It is a wedding dance for former Manitoba health
minister Don Orchard’s daughter. It will also be like a community-band
reunion. We’re looking forward to working as a family band and seeing some
of our fans from the past!
China “has left the building”, and we have an empty nest – sort of.
We still have Atticus, her dog. In May, China graduated from Brandon
University’s BSc. program with honours. She won the Silver Medal
for Excellence in Zoology, as well as the award for the highest marks in
third year biochemistry. There must have been a science gene hidden in
the family bloodlines that skipped Bill’s and my generation. Bill, being
a professor with the Faculty of Education, had the privilege of presenting
China with her degree. It was a walk down memory lane as he also had
presented Robin with his degree. China was accepted into the Faculty of
Medicine at University of Manitoba. She’s the youngest (at 21 as of Dec.
5) of her class of 101 students. She’s doing very well in the exams, maintaining
marks in the top 5% of the class. This is excellent considering that many
of her classmates already have their masters degrees.
Bill and I are both working at Brandon University. He’s back full time
with the Faculty of Education teaching technology courses. In addition,
he’s also created many web pages for the faculty, a daily EduTech
zine, etc… etc… etc… as well as maintaining all his Burroughs
sites, his weekly webzine, and his multitude of volunteer websites.
The weekly jams at the Cantina keep his musical juices flowing and his
fingers mobile for the gigs that we do. These jams also justify any guitar
purchases he might make! Health-wise, he’s fine although he can’t understand
why he’s not as energetic as he was 15 years ago!
I am still working with the EAP Dept. at BU – teaching writing skills
to international students. It was an interesting year as I had students
not only from China, Korea and Mexico, but also from Libya, Turkey, The
Ukraine, and Georgia (formerly part of the USSR). Tues. and Thurs.
evenings, I have a lively group of adult immigrants, mostly from El Salvador.
They talk more than I do (Is that possible?), but I only understand half
of what they say! LOL!
Po-Po Choy is still mobile enough to navigate the stairs for Sunday
suppers at our house. We anticipate a big 98th birthday celebration in
August, 2007. The highlight of her days is seeing all the grandchildren
The adventure of the year came in May when we were invited by Danton
Burroughs of ERB, Inc and Disney Productions to attend the opening night
of Tarzan the Musical on Broadway! (www.ERBzine.com/disney)
Bill had written ERB’s bio for the playbill and promotion material for
the Disney Website. We stayed in the Merriott Hotel right next door to
the Richard Rodgers Theatre where the play was held. It was great to see
Danton, Linda, Dejah Burroughs, as well as Janet and Cathy from the Tarzana,
California offices of ERB, Inc. Being a play about Tarzan of the
Jungle, the green carpet was rolled out for director Thomas Schumacher,
writer David Henry Hwang, Phil Collins who wrote the score, the cast, and
of course, Danton Burroughs. The evening was capped by a huge party held
in the Marriott ballroom where Bill was able to chat with celebrity guests
and Phil Collins. Bill Morris, another Bibliophile was also in attendance,
and we all joined Danton for the late night forays for ice cream and viewings
of the many giant Tarzan banners and electronic billboard screens on Broadway.
Bill and I hope to attend a second opening night in Amsterdam in April
2007. Other highlights of the NY trip were the evening at the Iridium Jazz
Club to see the legendary Les Paul perform with his trio, and visits to
the David Letterman Show, Chinatown, United Nations, Ground Zero, etc.
We didn’t make it to either of the official Edgar Rice Burroughs conferences
this year, but we kept in touch with fans and writers worldwide, and even
had a great visit with Joan Bledig, who flew up from Chicago.
Our family has had an eventful and happy 2006. We take a breather at
this time to wish you all much happiness and good health in 2007. We look
forward to news from you, so keep those cards and letters coming!
Visit our Website for photos of family
and the Hillman Nostalgia Christmas Project online at: www.hillmanweb.com/xmas