Ho! Ho! Ho! – I’d recognize that laugh anywhere. <g>
I’m sure you are all being primed for the busy holiday season with Xmas
music in all the stores, so let our family “chime in” with our Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year to You and Yours!
The summer was a bit more relaxing than 2007
for the senior members of the Hillman family. Bill and I exchanged our
old Ford Probe for China’s new Honda Civic and headed for an undetermined
road trip the day my teaching term ended. First on the agenda was the annual
Rice Burroughs Bibliophiles
Convention held in Waterloo, Iowa this year. It was important for us to
be there as liason for Linda Burroughs and her daughters Llana Jane and
Dejah. This was their first attendance as representatives of Danton, husband
and father, who died so unexpectedly in May. Bill had flown to LA to give
a eulogy at the memorial
We were able to make our first destination in one day – +900 miles.
It was great for me to see familiar faces as Bill had attended last year
by himself since I was busy with preparations for Ja-On and Angela’s wedding.
From Waterloo, we headed for Branson, Missouri where we scouted out sites
and ideas (for ERB, Inc.) for a possible Edgar Rice Burroughs / Tarzan
museum. There were many museums and entertainment venues to suit
every age and taste. From this point on, we had no set agenda and schedule.
Bill used Priceline.com for all our hotel arrangements at the end of each
destination, and that helped set our plans. There were a couple of unplanned
detours, such as Roswell, New Mexico, the alien-landing site in 1947 and
Grand Canyon. We spent a few days in Las Vegas enjoying all the incredible
changes to this “den of sin” since our last visit in the early ‘90s. In
spite of our resolve to not get hooked into a time-share presentation,
we were snagged within 10 minutes of entering our first casino! The resort
condo was beautiful, but we resisted the high-power sales and escaped with
free show and buffet tickets.
The highlight of our trip was Tarzana,
California, home of the late Danton Burroughs and offices of ERB, Inc.
As many of you know, Bill is the webmaster
for the company. We were invited by Linda Burroughs to continue his research
with Danton’s collection of his grandfather and father’s works. This was
my first visit to the incredible house and collection. Never again will
I complain about “collectibles and stuff all over the place”! We spent
a week with Linda, documenting and photographing artwork, books, etc. at
the house. The best surprise was sorting, documenting, and cleaning out
another of Danton’s storage lockers. He certainly was the protector of
his family’s legacy. Linda and her daughters were generous with their time
and hospitality. At the end of our weeklong stay in Tarzana, Bill was able
to show me Ronald
Reagan’s Library/Museum and Corriganville Ranch (famous movie location)
in Simi Valley – both points of interest that he visited on his last trip
in 2007. Enroute home, we stopped and visited Roy and Dela White’s incredible
ERB collection just outside of Denver, Colorado. After +7000 miles, we
arrived home in time to celebrate Ja-On and Angela’s first wedding
Ja and Angela have been busy with school and work. Ja’s therapeutic
massage practice continues to grow with a long list of clients. It’s very
rewarding when people come up to us and say, “You’re Ja-On’s mom /dad.
He’s an incredible therapist and wonderful young man.” We knew that.
<g> He now has two other therapists working with him so he can have
more time with the family. Angela is a full-time student for her
degree in the Bachelor of Nursing program at BU. It’s a busy schedule with
long hours of schoolwork and practicum at the hospital. On the plus side,
we get to spend a little more time with grandson Soulin. He’s 10 years
old now, and in grade five! We can’t believe how much he’s grown. He’s
continuing in the French Immersion program at New Era School, taking Tai
Kwon Do and fencing lessons. He still enjoys his games of chess, backgammon,
and Monopoly with grandpa.
Robin is working with a new software company in Winnipeg – Tactica.
It’s smaller than his previous company, but he’s able to be more creative
and use newer technology. His latest project was the website for Taste
of Manitoba: - boy after my own heart! ;-) He and
girlfriend Jen Funk have been together for two years now. She is a care
worker with the developmentally challenged. It seems that Robin has been
accepted into her family as he was invited to their farm in Morden, MB
this summer – for the killing and processing of 5 pigs! Jen’s 3-year-old
daughter Oriyen is delightful. Soulin loves having a little pupil – teaching
her all the silly things that his Uncle Robin and Auntie China taught him.
We never lack for entertainment when these two are here. Musically, Robin
still finds time to play bass and drums with our
band at various functions around the province.
China-Li is into her third year of medicine at University of
Manitoba. This year involves much work experience at Winnipeg Health Sciences
Hospital and other hospitals in Winnipeg. From her summer research work,
she completed and defended her thesis for her Bachelor of Science – Medicine
degree in August. She was invited to present her research to fellow students
and faculty members. In the process, she was awarded four of the prizes:
money <g>, the MERCK manual, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Omaha,
Nebraska to present her thesis at a medical conference. Why Omaha? Do only
firefighters, insurance people, and dentists get to go to exotic places
for conferences? She and “the boy” – Ryan McIntosh – have moved into their
new “old” house. Along with their busy schedules, they are renovating all
three floors – the effect of watching all those HGTV – DIY shows! Ryan,
like our Robin, is also a software engineer. He’s fitting into our family
very well. Not only can he hold his own in “discussions”, he also likes
to cook – and eat <g>.
The most senior member of our family, Bill, has
retired from his full-time teaching duties as professor at Brandon University’s
of Education; however, there’s no such thing as a slow down in his
work as power webmaster. The only change is that he now has more time for
his many “hobbies”. <g>. With his freer schedule, he spent 10 days in
Hamburg, Germany, to attend the German
premiere of Disney’s Tarzan the Musical – his third in addition to
the Broadway and Amsterdam
premieres. Sue-On was in the middle of teaching, so it was a solo trip
for him. The added bonus was visiting the clubs along the Reeperbahn
where the Beatles honed
their musical talents before their worldwide celebrity status. He started
his research for this with a website on the early Beatles before leaving
for the trip. Along that same line, he also did research on the
Tierpark Zoo and its relation to ERB. He is also very involved with
his many Canadian Military Tribute
For Sue-On, this has been a busier year of teaching EAP at the
university. Our enrollment nearly doubled for the fall term – from 35 to
60, so I quit my evening teaching with the immigrants. Besides, it was
getting harder and harder to venture out in the winter evenings. In the
EAP program, I had two groups of level 3 students, and one group of 12
in level 2. Most of the students are coming from our offshore school in
Lauyang, China. Many are coming with little English, so it is heavy slogging
for the writing component. With 60 students, our social activities program
needed major revamping, so I became the social activities coordinator.
We took the students for mini-golf, rock-climbing, ten-pin bowling, a visit
to a Haunted House, and an end-of-term dinner at a Chinese buffet.
The students all enjoyed the activities and food, and the teachers appreciated
not having to make the arrangements.
Now that school’s out, I can concentrate on cooking and on helping the
Chinese Association organize our second Chinese Pavilion at the Lieutenant
Governor’s Winter Fest in February. This will be another major undertaking
because of the overwhelming success of our pavilion in February 2008.
Hopefully, it will be easier as we are now experienced”.<g>
From our family to yours, we wish you all the very best for Christmas
and 2009. We look forward to hearing news from your house.
Bill, Sue-On and Family | www.hillmanweb.com
Bill and Sue-On with Kenny and Rebecca Choy at the
2008 ACC Gala Dinner
Image | See the
Table | See
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