Bill ~ Sue-On ~ Soulin ~ Ja-On ~ Angela ~ Robin ~ China-Li
See the Hillman 2007 Wedding Photos HERE

The Hillmans’ "Oh What a Year!" Missive / 2007
We’re knee-deep in snow! Weatherman said all the snow that usually falls throughout the month of December fell between Dec. 3rd and 4th this year. Not to worry ‘cos I bought Bill a new shovel, our snow tires were put on the Ole Probe last week, and I finished teaching the university classes for the year!

We think about all our families and friends throughout the year, but Christmas is the time when we can shout “Merry Christmas and a Happy 2008” to you! Now, I can blither away about our year that was ;-)

Yup, it was another busy one.  In the 2006 missive, we announced Ja-On and Angela’s engagement. The big day came on August 18th. The kids made all the arrangements, sending out the invitations, etc with minimal interference from the moms <g>. The wedding was at the Imperial Ballroom in Brandon, and everything went according to plan. Angela looked gorgeous in her gown; Ja-on looked smart in his Asian-influenced tux (nearly as smart as the tux I made for his childhood tap dancing days), and Soulin was very grown-up in his mini-tux. Ja and Angela wrote meaningful vows to each other, but the most touching moment was when Angela made her vows to Soulin. The three of them are truly a family. For full disclosure, see

The event was made all the more special with arrival of relatives and friends from afar. Brother Gene, s-i-l Susan, nephew Martin, niece Janet, husband Larry, children Isabelle and Nathan arrived from Seattle a few days before the wedding. The folks haven’t been in Manitoba for many years, and it was wonderful to see them all. Sister Sue-Sem, niece Ilym, hubby Paul, kids Brendan and Alanna arrived the week before the big day. Although they make this yearly journey to celebrate Grandma Choy’s birthday, we always look forward to their visit and the goodies they haul from Vancouver! Many of the younger folks were booked into Canad Inn and had the opportunity to get to know their cousins better.

Our friends Keith and Margaret Jones arrived from England in time to tour around Manitoba before attending the wedding. On a round-about trip home from the airport, we were able to visit niece Lindy and Rob Rabichuk’s, and Kerry and Edah Morris’s cottages at Lake Winnipeg. Once we arrived home, the folks were put to work as our English gardener, window washer, and household assistant ;-)

Ja-On’s had a busy year with his Reactive Orthopedic Massage Therapy business. Not only is he working with his regular clients, he’s also supervising student practicums, and administering final exams at his alma mater – Wellington College in Winnipeg. Angela continues to take courses towards her Bachelor of Nursing, work at Hillcrest Personal Care home, and keep her two boys in line ;-) Soulin is getting to be so grown up! He’s active in soccer and swimming this fall and winter. With Ja and Angela’s hectic schedules, we’ve been enjoying his company at his “big house.” I say “enjoying” with reservations as he’s been quite a formidable opponent in chess, checkers, backgammon, and all other board games! 

Robin continues his work with DMT at Smart Park in Winnipeg. Still no free Volvo, Jag, or Mitsubishi from the work he does for these companies ;-) His musical talents have been put to good use this year with Dad and Mom - at various gigs such as the Miami (Manitoba, that is) Agricultural Society’s Centennial Celebration dance, and especially at Ja and Angela’s wedding. It was also a band reunion with Kerry Morris and Kevin Pahl – just like old times! That was the first time some of Sue-On’s family saw them perform. 

China is into her second of medicine at University of Manitoba, maintaining excellent marks in the top ten of her class of 101 students. During the summer break, she spent her two weeks of vacation shadowing orthopedic surgeon Dr. de Muelenaere at Brandon Hospital. China is no stranger there as she spent three previous summers working in Central Supply with surgical instruments. In the two weeks, she observed surgeries, held the retractors <g>, stapled incisions, etc. She was grateful to have had the experience seldom offered to first year medical students. For the remainder of her summer holidays, she was employed as a research assistant at Winnipeg Health Science Centre. Not only was she involved with research, she was also the “to-go-to-girl” for tech support on computers, fax and copier machines, and as an English editor for several of her colleagues’ research papers for publication in medical journals. Perhaps being in a family of teachers and computer literates gave her an edge ;-)

Bill and I have had a busy year with the wedding, the family reunion dinners, and my Mom’s 99th birthday celebration. The whole exciting year began in April with our trip to the Netherlands representing Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. for Disney’s European Premiere of Tarzan the Musical. We were able to spend a few days sightseeing in Amsterdam before the actual premiere at the Fortis Circustheatre in Scheveningen – a huge beach resort on the North Sea. We were joined by Laurence Dunn from England – president of the Burroughs Bibliophiles, and Jim Sullos and son from Los Angeles, Ca. The production was exciting, but even more so was the unexpected opportunity of meeting Tarzan – aka Ron Link! You can read and see all the gory details at and

The week following Tarzan, we took a short flight over to North Yorkshire, England to visit with old friends Keith and Margaret Jones, and Mick and Margaret Sandbrook and their families. With these folks, we toured many of the venues we performed in back in the late 70s, and revisited favourite locations such as Whitby, Scarborough, Durham, and James Herriot’s surgery in Thirsk.  An added treat was a reunion dinner with bandmates – Desperados, now called Raised on Rusks. All too soon, we had to return home to start new teaching terms. Bill is still working as full time professor with the Faculty of Education at Brandon University, and I with the English for Academic Purposes program at BU and evening ESL with WestMan Immigrant Services.

In July, Bill was able to fit in a couple of weeks of research work down in Tarzana with Danton Burroughs where they put in long sessions documenting the massive ERB, Inc. archives, meeting with media personnel, visiting film sets and exploring Southern California landmarks such as the Ronald Reagan Library. Following the busy days in California, he flew to the University of Louisville, KY for the annual Burroughs Bibliophile convention and to resume research at the Ekstrom Library. Sue-On was not able to join him for these adventures because of teaching schedules and preparations for the arrival of family and friends for the wedding.

Bill continues full throttle as mega webmaster with all the research he does for ERB , for the university , and for his many other interests: family and local histories, military tributes, writing, music, etc. . It seems his web-universe is never-ending as more and more people world wide seek him out for university research projects and as representative for ERB, Inc., for interviews as an ERB authority, or to share their treasures and writing. Musically, he enjoys jammin’ with his buddies whenever they can get together, performing with a Beatles Tribute band (this New Year’s Eve, he’ll be "John Lennon" at Brandon’s British pub) and of course ongoing gigs with our family band.

Teaching at BU is becoming more and more international for me. This year, I’ve had students from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia, China, Morocco, Ukraine, Korea, Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, El Salvador, Germany, and Lithuania. You can bet that our potluck parties are incredible! Brandon is experiencing a major increase in the number of foreign workers due to Maple Leaf hog processing. Since 2006, we’ve had +400 permit workers from China alone. Most of these new arrivals speak only Mandarin. As a result, I have been busy organizing translators to help these folks acquire legal documents, bank accounts, and get settled into the Canadian way of life. We are in the process of forming the WestMan Chinese Association, and presenting the first ever Chinese Pavilion during our Lieutenant Governor’s Winterfest in February, 2008.

The kids will all be home for Christmas at Kensington Crescent. Together, we send our love and best wishes to you and yours for a Merry Christmas and Good Health and Happiness in 2008. We’ll look forward to hearing news from you!

Bill, Sue-On and Family


Santa gets VIP treatment in Canada 
NORAD  ~ December 12, 2007 
With Canadian fighter jets meeting Santa as he enters Canadian air space off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador on December 24th, children across the country can rest assured that Santa gets VIP+ treatment all the way! Canadian NORAD fighter pilots, flying the CF-18, take off out of Newfoundland to welcome Santa to North America. Then at numerous locations in Canada, other CF-18 fighter pilots escort Santa. While in the United States, American NORAD fighter pilots in either the F-15 or F-16 get the thrill of flying with Santa and his reindeer. About a dozen NORAD fighters in Canada and the United States are equipped with Santa Cams.You will be able to closely follow Santa's progress on NORAD's website. Santa has communicated to NORAD that he intends to begin his journey at 2:00 am MTN on Christmas Eve, and you can track Santa Live as he makes his historical journey around the world! At that time, NORAD's tracking data will be translated into streaming audio and video updates and posted to the web site's radar map. All of this information is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. More>>>


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