Sue-On's 2014 Hillman Family Chronicle
The Annual Massive Missive from 41 Kensington Crescent
Adapted from the Hillman Adventure 2014 site:
There’s no need to wonder whether we will have a white Christmas…
It’s here, and we all know what “it” is ;-) In spite of the reasonable
temperatures, it is starting to look wintery. So, now is that special time
to send you and your loved ones best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a
Happy New Year!
Our family has been busy -- nothing new! I’ve been holding
off with writing this letter, waiting for the arrival of our new granddaughter!
Maybe by the time I get this done, “she” will be here… unless she’s a diva
who thinks arriving late is fashionable ;-) Due date is December 14.
While the rest of the family awaits another princess,
they’ve been busy with their own activities.
Ja-On is busy with his Reactive Massage Therapy
Clinic. The business continues to grow and another new therapist has been
added to the staff. Ja’s not only busy with the clinic, but is also completing
his studies and training in osteopathy. The final phase will be done in
July, and then it’s on to the dissertation.
Angela was put off work as a nurse at Rideau Personal
Care earlier than anticipated because of the baby. She hasn’t been idle
though, not with little Inara to keep her hopping! Angela has taken up
sewing and finds creating projects enjoyable.
Soulin, our 16 year old, is taller than all of
us in the family. Wonder what he’s been eating behind our backs?! Soulin
is in grade eleven and working at Wendy’s Burgers. Being a big brother
suits him. It’s always a pleasure to see him playing with Inara and his
other little cousins.
Inara, our little 2 1/2-year-old, red-headed princess
is a whirlwind! She has always loved music and dance, so she is enrolled
in the music program for young children at Brandon University and with
a gymnastics program as well. She loves to come up to play our drums, and
both of us like to oblige with a “musical jam” whenever she is here. When
we get playtime at her house, she keeps us up-to-date with all the latest
children’s movies and TV shows.
Robin and family get out for visits whenever they
get a free weekend. Robin continues to work as a web developer with Tactica
Interactive Communications in Winnipeg. His latest projects are with MPI’s
Distracted Driver Simulator and a French grammar app.
After her maternity leave, Jen is back working
at Dasch (Direct Action in Support of Community Homes) with a youth client
she has known for over two years. She still enjoys working in this field
along with her sewing and crafting.
Oriyen is 9! She continues with her piano
lessons and has added swimming lessons and art classes at the Winnipeg
Art Gallery. We know she is still in Girl Guides as we’ve enjoyed
several boxes of chocolate-mint cookies? School is going well, and she’s
growing like a beanstalk!
River, our 18-month-old princess, is learning baby
signs and words, so she can easily communicate her “wants”. Books
and Sesame Street are her loves, along with her kitties and big pal Keifer
dog. Both Oriyen and River have funny bones galore, and they add a lot
of laughter to the family.
Daughter China-Li is a Radiology doctor, presently
completing her fifth and final year of Residency at Winnipeg Health Sciences
Centre and St. Boniface Hospital. American board exams are done, and now
she’s preparing for the Canadian board exams in the spring. Come July,
2015, she will start her fellowship year in Boston, Massachusetts.
Upon completion, she will return to a position with WHSC.
China’s fiancé Ryan is busy with his own
web design company: PEBKAC.ca, Technology Solutions. He loves hunting and
continues to fill their freezer with wild game. The venison jerky he makes
is amazing! They come home as often as their schedules allow. We are very
happy that our families have chosen to stay close to “home”.
Bill never seems to be at a loss for projects!
A major community project he was involved in was the RCAF WWII Memorial
Wall and Statue at the Commonwealth Air Training Museum, Brandon Airport:
a national monument that commemorates over 19,000 lives lost in the Second
World War. After four years of planning and multitude of meetings, it was
unveiled on September 10, 2014, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of
Canada's entry into war. We were proud to see three of Bill’s uncles’s
names on the wall.
His other projects seem to be on-going, especially the
book – “Bill & Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey”. This
should really be called “The Never Ending Story”! This year he’s been scanning
hundreds of slides and scrapbook photos documenting our music years. Of
course, this adds more fodder to the book which already has many hundreds
of pages of text! Bill’s weekly ERBzine.com has stayed on the
weekly Friday release schedule since 1996 because of his love for all things
on author Edgar Rice Burroughs and science fiction. Not only is he constantly
doing research, but others are sending their material for inclusion in
the e-zine. In addition, he is in constant contact with other people and
organizations for whom he has created websites and webzines as a volunteer.
One of the most gratifying connections has been
with Dr, John Tyman, Bill’s mentor and friend from his early Brandon University
days. The Website they’ve created, “Cultures in Context,” is comprised
of thousands of photographs and notes which John has compiled during the
times he has spent in the field in remote locations around the globe. The
site has drawn much attention from major universities in NA, England and
Australia (where John now lives). This collection on the web will
soon be stored in major university archives where it can be accessed for
many generations to come.
Sue-On: I am still teaching with the English for
Academics Program at Brandon University. The scheduling suits me well as
it allows for other activities. A major gardening project was the creation
of the pagoda gardens. Plans were researched by our future son-in-law Ryan
McIntosh, and he spent a spring weekend in our garage building not one
but FOUR pagoda planters. They turned out beautifully and have become all-season
planters: flowers in the summer, a Halloween witch, and an autumn gourd
display unit. At the moment, one has been transformed into a Xmas tree!
In March, I was sponsored by Healthy Brandon to take training
on “Drums Alive!” a musical / drumming exercise program using a stability
ball and drumsticks. In the spring, I gave 7 demos in the community. There
was a lot of interest with the 55 Plus folks, so I gave two 5-week sessions,
“drumming to the golden oldies”. Bill’s been my music man, in a slightly
different mode than in the past 50 years. Cooking and eating still
takes precedent over all other activities. I enjoy taking pictures of the
food, and Bill collates them onto webpages. He’s having a hard time keeping
up though. Might have to eat out with McD's or A & W just so he can
have a break!
Our travels this year have been confined to stateside.
In June, our friend Rudy Sigmund hosted ECOF (Edgar Rice Burroughs Circle
of Friends), his second, in Fargo. He planned many unusual events,
such as the private showing of “Tarzan and the Golden Lion”, a silent film
with James H Pierce, who later became ERB’s son-in-law. (We had spent an
afternoon with them in Tarzana, CA back in 1971). The event was held in
the restored Fargo Theatre, complete with music provided by an organist
on the majestic Wurlitzer! Rudy had many artists as guests and each received
a special leather-tooled commemorative plaque made by Bob Hibbard, ERB
fan from Texas. Bill was one of the lucky recipients for his webpage promotions.
In August, we drove to Bryan, Texas, for the second of
the annual ERB gatherings -- the Dum-Dum -- with events at the Texas A
& M campus, the restored historical La Salle Hotel, and at the Vinson
home. It was a great opportunity to see Brad Vinson’s spectacular collection
of J. Allen St. John art as well as that of other major artists. We also
had a presentation by Buddy Saunders, on his major novel, “The Martian
Legion”. Later, Bill was asked to write a review of this mammoth book,
which was deemed Burroughs worthy.
While in Texas, we visited both the George H.W. Bush Presidential
Library and Museum at A&M University, and the George W. Bush Presidential
Centre in Dallas, TX. Now, we have visited four US presidential museums,
including Bill Clinton’s in Arkansas, and Ronald Reagan’s in Simi Valley,
California. In Dallas, we also visited the Sixth Floor Museum in Dealy
Plaza, which chronicles the assassination and legacy of President John
From Texas, our return trip home took us through Tulsa,
Okla. While stopping at Walmart, we spotted the golden glow of a pair of
gigantic hands clasped in prayer! Within view were also majestic towers
and buildings glittering with “gold” in the sun. Our eyes were drawn to
the huge marquee: Oral Roberts University! How could we resist the urge
to visit? It was free! The huge studio where live broadcasts were done
was very impressive, as were the prayer tower, the gym, the research centre,
and the lecture theatres. I loved the gardens, and Bill was particularly
drawn to the many statues of Jesus ;-)
We arrived home earlier than anticipated. Our plan
to tour the Black Hills was thwarted by Black Thunder, the annual gathering
of bikers in Sturgis. However, it was great to be home and enjoy my garden,
which had been under grandson Soulin’s care?
Our ERB connection brought us an invitation to opening
night of Tarzan the Musical, staged by our local drama club, MECCA Productions.
Director Lisa Vasconselos was a former high school student of Bill’s. It
was a fabulous production, another to add to our list of premieres: New
York, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Utah, and now, Brandon, MB!
And now, for the best climax ever for our Xmas Massive
Missive: The latest addition to our Hillman family tree has arrived!
Tayla Reece Hillman, daughter of Ja-On and Angela, was born on Thursday,
December 11. She weighed in at 7 lbs 9 oz, another beautiful granddaughter
for us to love. We are now proud grandparents of one grandson and four
granddaughters. What a great way to begin the festive holidays?
On that joyful note, we wish you all a Happy and Healthy
Bill & Sue-On
Brandon MB Canada