Extra! EXTRA!! Read all about it…errrr….no…that should
be “Read all about HER”. A new edition…no…but there was an ADDITION to
the Hillman family tree this year.
Inara Jane Hillman, a special birthday present for big brother
arrived on his 14th birthday – as he requested. Mom and Dad – Angela and
– presented this little bundle with the blazing red hair on May 17 at 5
in the morning. Inara was three weeks early and was just over 6 lbs at
birth. She is now 6 months old and has put on weight. Inara is smart
already – listening to Celtic music, trying to walk, and vocalizing about
what she wants. We always give in….
Ja-On keeps very busy with his new Reactive Massage treatment
centre and fitting in quality time with Soulin and Inara. His new facilities
got a great write-up in the city's magazine Brandon
Now! He is into the third year of his B. Sc. degree in Osteopathy
– driving into Wellington College once a month. Angela is on maternity
leave and enjoying life as Mommy until May 2013 when she will return to
her nursing job. For now, she's enjoying this new role – all the sleepless
nights, diapers, etc. Soulin is 14, and into all things of interest
to teenagers. Guitar lessons are still on the go, and he enjoys sampling
the fare in Grandma’s kitchen. He’s in grade 9 and wants to get into drafting
Robin, Jen, and Oriyen come out from Winnipeg when
they can to visit. Robin is kept busy with the Web company Tactica.ca.
His main focus is business analysis for web applications. He is working
down in the Chinatown area, in one of the renovated historic buildings.
Ham radio is an interesting hobby for him. Jen has just accepted an assistant
manager position with the “assisted living” organization she works for.
She’s only been with them for six months, but has proven her expertise
in this line of work. Her creative energies show up in all things involving
sewing. Oriyen seems to have sprouted a few inches to her height! She’s
an impish seven-year-old and we love having her visit. She’s in Brownies.
Robin and Oriyen enjoy playing the game Minecraft and building things together.
She and Daddy Robin can get into a lot of mischief together.
Dr. China-Li is in her third year of radiology residency as a
doctor specializing in medical imaging. Her time is split between Winnipeg
Health Sciences Centre and St Boniface Hospital. She’s planning to practice
in Manitoba when she completes her 5-year residency. In November, she spent
a week at a radiology conference with 60,000 others in Chicago. Ryan
continues to work for the web company Peaceworks.
His main client is an American multi-million dollar on-line wedding gown
company. I wonder if he’ll get China a big discount on a dress when they
do set a date? Ryan continues to be the “big white hunter,” filling their
freezer with various game meats.
Bill seems to grow more creative each year; as a result, his
“workload” has not decreased and music still plays a major part in his
life as he continues with his weekly jam sessions at the Cantina. Brandon
Now! Magazine recently published a long feature on our 50-year
career in the music industry.
The three trips we took this year, in conjunction with the Centennial
of both of Edgar Rice Burroughs’
major works, John Carter and Tarzan of the Apes, added much fodder to his
giant web empire. Prior to our travels, Bill had been swamped with requests
for ERB information and interviews with the international media.
In March, to celebrate John Carter
of Mars, we flew to Tarzana, CA
for the annual ECOF
convention. This was a week before the world-wide release of the
movie John Carter by Disney studios. We were guests at the studio for a
private viewing. During the conference, our friend Robin Maxwell, a well-known
historical fiction author, unveiled her ERB, Inc. authorized book: Jane,
the Woman Who Loved Tarzan. Robin’s friend Suzan Crowley, British
actress of Masterpiece Theatre fame, read the first chapter at the presentation.
The book would be a wonderful addition to any library, especially those
of us who collect the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
In April, Bill and I drove to Morgan City, Louisiana for the
first ever Tarzan Festival,
hosted by our friend, filmmaker Al
Bohl. Al and daughter Allison debuted an acclaimed documentary
on the making of the first Tarzan movie, a 1918 silent with Elmo Lincoln,
which was filmed in the local bayous. It’s been many years since we visited
that part of the USA. An invitation to visit the LA House of Representatives
in Baton Rouge made the trip all the more special. Governor Bobby
Jindal officially declared April 13 as Tarzan Day across all of Louisiana.
We had our first crawdad and ‘gator bites feast, and made a brief visit
to New Orleans. Another major attraction on this trip was a visit to Bossier
City and Shreveport, La. with Al and Doris Bohl. While there we explored
the auditorium where Elvis
performed so many times on Louisiana Hayride show and across the street
where famed guitarist James Burton has his recording studio.
August took us back to Tarzana for the Tarzan/John
Carter 100th birthday party at the annual Dum-Dum convention. We
met up again with many of the devotees who were at ECOF in March, and we
met some new fans and friends from England, Netherlands, Austria as well
as closer to home. As always, everyone at ERB, Inc. and Burroughs family
were gracious and generous in sharing all things Burroughs. One of the
two major events at this centennial celebration was the unveiling of the
commemorative stamp issued by USA postal services. The presentation
was given full media coverage at the Tarzana Cultural Centre and was attended
by government officials, the Burroughs families, and all the fans. It was
a long-over-due honour for ERB.
Bill hosted the Tarzan
Yell contest at the Marriott on Friday. The judges were Linda,
Dejah, and Llana Jane Burroughs (Danton’s wife and daughters) and Johnny
Weissmuller’s granddaughter, Lisa Maria. Contestants signed up early, but
Bill got more than he bargained for when he asked if anyone else wanted
to participate. Sue-On yelled and won first prize in the female category
(smug smile). The biggest surprise, however, was when Bill escorted our
guest of honour for the Dum-Dum in for a unplanned appearance: Jane
Goodall, the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees! Ms Goodall spoke
briefly, then gave the authentic chimpanzee yell, which brought the house
The almost week-long event featured a long line of famous personalities,
artists, writers, actors, scholars, etc. and ended as always with the grand
banquet. The many hundreds in the audience were treated to a slide montage
followed by an entertaining video greeting from George
McWhorter, curator of the world’s largest Burroughs collection
in the University of Louisville rare books library. This was followed by
an awards ceremony and talks from special guests. Disney producer Jim
Morris shared behind-the-scenes stories of the making of the John Carter
film. Jane Goodall enthralled the entire audience with her entertaining
story-telling style -- relating how she became interested in chimpanzee
research because of Tarzan, and how she was quite jealous of the “other
We completed the week with the traditional farewell breakfast, a tour
of a fabulous art and guitar collection at Dr. Bob and Lindy Zeuschner’s
Pasadena home, and a drive through Topanga Canyon to Malibu and Santa Barbara
on the Pacific coast.
Monday found us in Hollywood where Bill was scheduled to appear in a
Press documentary on the influence
of ERB on L. Ron Hubbard during his early career as a pulp fiction
writer before he developed Scientology. First order of the day -
a seafood feast at Hollywood’s Vegas Restaurant for foodie Sue-On. How
did they know?! LOL! It was a fascinating day with John
Goodwin, President of Galaxy and his wonderful staff, with make-up,
wardrobe (Bill refused the shirt, tie and jacket in favour of his own Chinese
jacket), a tour of the Hubbard Library and photo shoots culminating in
an hour-long video interview in front of blue screen. It was a most
unconventional day in Hollywood!
We enjoyed the remainder of the week with our author friend Robin
Maxwell and husband Max Thomas at their California desert home:
Desert Eden near Pioneertown where thousands of westerns have been
filmed over the years. We spent several days lounging in their beautiful
guest casita, enjoying fine food, incredible desert scenery, and wonderful
conversations. Who could ask for more?!
Soon, it was time to head east, taking in all the major sites along
the way. We made major stops in Clovis, NM and Lubbock, TX, checking out
the Buddy Holly music legacy: museum, recording facilities, statue,
wall of fame, etc. Bill’s sister Bonnie has a winter home
in Lubbock, but spends the summers in Toronto. We prowled around the empty
house and grounds but made our escape before the neighbours called the
police : )
From Texas, we took International Highway 83 home. We have quite a connection
with this highway as it stretches from Mexico to Swan River Manitoba. There
is a Highway 83 Association, and we have performed for their gatherings
many times in the past. As much as we loved travelling, it is always great
to get home, after so many thousands of miles.
I had a couple of weeks to settle in before another term of teaching
with the university’s English for Academic Purposes program. Ja-On
and our wonderful neighbor Lisa and her daughters had ably looked after
all the flowers and plants for the month of August. It was a busy term,
with maximum number of students in both levels. My students were from China,
Burma, Turkey, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Colombia, and Korea. It’s always
rewarding when I see that little “light bulb” light up every once in a
Can’t seem to get cooking out of my system. Bill checks my FaceBook
food photos every night to see what he ate for supper. <g> It’s another
on-going project for this webmaster - collating all of the hundreds of
pictures into monthly pages on the web. I am under a great deal
of pressure to produce! LOL! Some of my first term international
students have been beneficiaries to the “intentional leftovers”
Today, we finally finished putting up the last string of Christmas lights
outside, and the tree inside is up and decorated. I timed this letter just
so. As we move closer to yet another festive season, we wish you all the
very best, for Christmas and for 2013.
We hope to hear about you and your families soon!
All of the above events . . . and more . . . are covered in much more
detail with many hundreds of photos in the 2012 ADVENTURES section
of our Website.
Bill, Sue-On and Family
41 Kensington Crescent
Brandon, MB R7A 6M4
BACK TO OUR MAIN 2012 XMAS