Dear Family and Friends,
I keep thinking that the years will get quieter and calmer, but I don’t think that is the Dillon’s Destiny. Once again, travel, moves, and various adventures have filled our days.
I am not sure if Rob will slow down when he retires, but he is still going 100 MPH now! On the academic front, he coordinated the 7th annual Mitchell Elementary Science Outreach and the 15th annual Darwin Week in Charleston. He was also elected President of the Lowcountry Phi Beta Kappa Association. He hosted the Gastropoda table at the Society for Freshwater Science meeting in Milwaukee. On other fronts, he was called to the advisory committee of the Christian-Jewish Council, went on his third mission trip to the Lamb Institute in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and is leading this year’s trip there in March. He spent a portion of the summer hiking another 100 miles of the Appalachian trail with his good friend Bob “Katz” Frankis.
Rob and I both turned 60 this year, and celebrated with a dual purpose trip to Great Britain. We had the honor of seeing Ginny receive her D.Phil. from Oxford University with the same Latin Ceremony they have used for centuries. Total decorum and no whooping and hollering! We celebrated Rob’s official birthday on the day of our arrival with a lovely dinner at a local pub with our hosts, cousin Martha Ellen and David Whelan. We met Eric in Oxford the next day for an afternoon of punting on the Cherwell. And graduation day itself was a genuine spectacle, never to be forgotten!
From Oxford we rode the train back to London, where Rob and I boarded a bus for a 12-day tour of England, Scotland, and Wales, including memorable calls at Stratford-on-Avon, York, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Loch Ness, Cardiff, Stonehenge, and Liverpool’s “Cavern Club.” For me, the best part was the Scottish Highlands and Rob wearing a period robe in John Knox’s house. We returned to Charleston on June 20 and drove straight up to Virginia for a fun-packed Turner family reunion in Floyd. From the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace to flatfooting at The Country Store! Special thanks to cousins Emily, David & Bonny for hosting a wonderful weekend.
Meanwhile, Eric moved to the USA! Most of you will remember that Ginny began teaching at a prep school in Brooklyn last year, while her hubby remained in Paris, working as an engineer and completing paperwork to be able to come here. We are thrilled to report that Eric migrated to our side of the pond in August, and almost immediately found work with an engineering firm in Manhattan. They have a cute apartment in Brooklyn Heights that Rob and I visited over Thanksgiving for four days We even had time to see Kinkyboots on Broadway! They are doing great and we will see them in Michigan. In another move, Mom relocated back to Michigan this fall. With a coordinated effort involving me in Virginia and my brother and sister in Michigan, everything went very well. She is happy that she can now see curling and hockey on TV from her apartment overlooking a lovely courtyard.
Over 24 inches of rain fell on Charleston during the first week of October, and that Friday morning Bryan came home sick. By 9:00 PM I had googled “appendicitis” on the internet, and became sufficiently concerned to organize a family expedition to the Emergency Room. Bryan’s surgery was successful in the wee hours Saturday morning, but getting him home again, through flooded streets and police barricades, was touch-and-go. He then went back in the hospital on Tuesday with a few complications, but is quite well now. He is working at Bi Lo full time and applying to graduate programs in Library and Information Science.
As for me, I am so blessed with a wonderful job, family, and friends. I am now teaching two fifth grade gifted classes as well as all of the third grade ones, and I continue as the world’s best paid crossing guard! I am still choir librarian, and play cards once a month. My biggest news is that, due to a huge leak under the sink this summer (while Rob was hiking), I now have a beautiful new kitchen!
For each of you, I hope the coming year brings health, happiness, and peace. While the politicians are sure to keep us occasionally glued to the television and shaking our heads, we are fortunate to live in a land where we can keep our faith, or not, as we so choose. So, in the words of Charles Dickens in 1843:
God Bless Us, Every One!