Dear Family and Friends,
It's been a quiet year at the Dillon household way down south in Charleston, hard by the soft edge of America. The weather has been good, as a general rule. The azaleas bloomed real nice in March, and nobody can remember a prettier April for the Wisteria.
As our regular correspondents may remember, I've been enjoying a sabbatical leave from The College since the spring of 2012, working on a web-based resource called "The Freshwater Gastropods of Mid-Atlantic States." So I spent (just about) one week per month out of town through most of 2013 - January in Philadelphia, February in Washington, June in The Poconos, and so forth. Thanks to friends and family who hosted me so graciously - Tyler & Katelyn Carter, Bob & Jennifer Raspa, and especially Karen & Russ Ingersoll.
The big excitement for 2013 came in late June, with the arrival of Eric's nephew Leon from Brittany. Leon is 13 years old and wanted to hone his English. So we introduced his family to our good friends, the Roops, and their 13-year-old son Jordan. And during July the Roops and Dillons did a whole lot of real cool stuff together! We watched fireworks from the deck of the aircraft carrier Yorktown, kayaked Sol Legare Creek in search of pirate gold, and generally toured all around Charleston like it was new again. Then Leon and Jordan went with us up to Washington DC for three days, and saw everything there was to see. And then back down to Waynesboro for a week of family visits, punctuated with lots of exciting excursions and great fun in the Ingersoll’s pool. It was a great summer!
But I tell you, we were just pooped. It was a relief to see school start again in the fall, so we could relax. Shary returned to the classroom at Orange Grove Elementary, after ten years as a “teacher coach,” teaching 54 gifted & talented third graders. She also helped rewrite her school’s charter to add middle school grades. Happily, this was approved December 9 for the 2015-2016 school year. She is looking forward to assisting in the development of the curriculum and activities for this expansion. A bit out of her comfort zone, she is sponsoring the Lego League Team (not what you think – it’s actually robotics). She is also working with the three-four, and five year olds again at church, teaching those old classics.
Ginny and Eric continue to live in Paris, without any international excursions planned for the year (except England, but Ginny assures me that doesn't count). They have enjoyed put-putting around France: a hot air balloon ride in the Loire Valley, a wedding in Burgundy, plenty of pool time in Gascony and finishing off with Christmas markets in Alsace. Otherwise, she is coming down the home stretch on her doctoral dissertation, spending lots of time in the library, and tutoring high school students in SAT and ACT test prep.
Bryan has left Office Depot for a similar (but better paying) position at Staples. He reads a lot and writes some, and gets together regularly with friends who have stayed in Charleston. He hopes to relocate to Chicago or another big city during the next year.
And so another quiet year is drawing to a close for the Dillon Family. Shary’s mother Ann came down to visit us for Thanksgiving, and Shary found a recipe to make Brussels sprouts palatable, so the meal was a double-success. From all of us, to all of you, a very…
Rob, Shary, Bryan, Ginny & Eric