Dear Family and Friends,
For the Dillon Family, 2009 has been a year of changes and transitions – I guess this comes with the passage of time. We've taken another bold step into techno world – Skype has become the way we keep up with our children! It's a bit easier to have them far from home when we can swap stories with their flickering images on a computer screen each week.
We began the year with the passing of Rob's father. He had been in declining health for quite a few years, and finally went home on February 11, at the age of 84. We carried him back to old Virginny. It was sweet to see so many friends and family members in Waynesboro, to remember the old times and to catch up on the new.
Bryan graduated from the University of South Carolina in May, worked a summer job for Charleston County Schools, and joined AmeriCorps in October. He is posted in Denver, and was doing conservation work in a regional park until the hard freeze came. More recently his team has been working at a food bank. In January he will travel to New Orleans to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. We are proud of both of our children for making service commitments before moving on to graduate schools or careers!
Ginny finished her extra year in Chicago and is now "across the pond" working on her doctorate at Somerville College, Oxford. She traveled extensively this summer, touring the entire eastern half of North America with her French boyfriend, Eric. Beginning and ending in Charleston, they hit all the high spots - Montreal, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Floyd. They climbed Mt. Cadillac in Maine, and canoed the Shenandoah River. She now loves life in England, and is also quite happy that Eric is working in Paris. The Chunnel is her best friend! She has trips to Hungary in her future as she begins her research into the Protestant Reformation in Eastern Europe.
The highlight of Rob's year was his backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail with Ginny in August. He and his stout-hearted daughter hit the trail around Troutville, VA, and hiked 100 miles north to Waynesboro, taking 10 days. Life at The College continues apace - Darwin Week 2009 was an extravaganza, celebrating the 200th birthday of the father of modern biology. Rob took several extended field trips this year, including one through the Midwest in May and a second in upstate New York in July, and published 6 papers in scientific journals - a personal best!
I have been having a great year! I had the chance to visit Ginny in Chicago over Spring Break. It was an exciting week (although a bit cold and snowy) and I enjoyed meeting Eric. I spent most of July visiting my sister in Virginia. Karen and Russ are such marvelous hosts – I felt like a guest at a spa. Upon my return to South Carolina, I began what is perhaps the highlight of my year. After two years housed in a decrepit facility in North Charleston, Orange Grove Elementary Charter School moved into a brand new building on the site of our original school. I have an office in the front of the building with big windows - no more closets – and an actual book room! We continue to sing in the adult choir and I work with the children’s group at church. It is fun, though I am hoping that a new music leader will step up for next year.
Another addition to our cyber-life is Facebook. Feel free to "friend" any of us. The children have some great pictures on their sites. Have a safe and happy holiday, and come visit us in Charleston anytime!
is a beautiful, sunny day in Charleston and, as we left a choir rehearsal this morning, I was reminded of God’s blessings upon all of us. It has been a good year for the Dillons, and we hope is has been for you as well.