Sue-On's 2012 Hillman Family Chronicle
The Annual Massive Missive from 41 Kensington Crescent
Adapted from the Hillman Adventure 2012 site:
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 Soulin, arrived on his 14th birthday – as he requested. Mom and Dad – Angela and Ja-On – 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 later. 

Robin, Jen, and Oriyen come out from Winnipeg when they can to visit. Robin is kept busy with the Web company 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 ERB 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 down! 

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 Jane.” 

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 Galaxy 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: High 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 while ;-)

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 food 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



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