Pat Daly & Gene Hillman
280 Bridgewater Road, K-11
Brookhaven, Pennsylvania 19015
Dear Family and Friends,
I have taken it on myself to write our year-end letter this year. It will be relatively brief and straightforward; nothing poetic like Pat wrote last year. In what follows the first person singular pronoun is Gene. Just the facts! I begin by extending to all of you our best wishes for 2016.
Pat started the year in Arizona, on doctor’s orders. As in the past, her pulmonologist told her to get out of Philadelphia for the winter. In March I flew to Tucson (let’s hear it for frequent flyer miles) at the end of her sojourn, and spent a few days staying with her at La Vita House (a hostel near the University). We enjoyed the city and its area together. The highlight for me was an afternoon at Sabino Canyon, where we were told several western movies were filmed. We then took the overnight train to Los Angeles train (AMTRAK “Sunset Limited” – I slept, Pat enjoyed the view even in the dark), and after a four hour layover in Union Station we continued north along the coast to Oakland on the “Coast Starlight” with a view of the ocean, barrier islands (channel islands), and even (I’m sorry to mention) oil rigs.
Pat’s sister Gerry picked us up at Jack London station when we arrived in the evening. We stayed with her, her son Marcus, his wife Aldona and their two adorable little girls, for four days. We then crossed the bay to Palo Alto to stay another four days with Pat’s twin Peggy, and Phil (who left for Boston then Istanbul the day after we arrived), and were visited there by Pat’s niece Tracy and her two kids. Pat and I then flew home.
In May I attended a Pentecost retreat Stoking the Fire (click at link, then scroll down to color photo to see the back of my head – wearing red hoodie), with Friends United Meeting (FUM – Quaker), held at a Jesuit center near Cincinnati, Ohio. It was good to see old Friends from FUM, as well as two Friends from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
In July Pat, Geoffrey and I were delighted to attend the wedding of Pat’s daughter Natalie to her wife Lynn. The ceremony was held outdoors near Spring City on a beautiful day. There was a slight sprinkle of rain just as it was over, which we were told is auspicious in some cultures. Lynn and Natalie live in Kimberton, just outside Phoenixville and less than an hour from us.
In July my son Geoffrey, and his wife Yeji (김예지) moved back from Silver Spring, Maryland where they had moved to go back to work with Ducom, for whom he had worked in Korea. On one of my visits down there they told me we are to be grandparents (a boy, on or about March 7th). They moved back to Pennsylvania for him to take a job as manager (now general manager) of Azie, an upscale Japanese restaurant in Media. Their move back puts them closer to us. It also puts them closer to Jubilee Church, a bilingual Korean Presbyterian church where they have found a spiritual home, where Yeji sings in the choir, and where I am welcomed when I take Yeji (when Geoffrey is working). (Note: many Koreans born here don’t speak Korean but seek a church community, and Jubilee fills that need in Philadelphia’s western suburbs). I have tried to be of support to Yeji, whose English has improved greatly but still doesn’t drive;
While in Tucson I noticed a lump in my neck but it didn’t seem like a problem so I put off checking into it. Three months later, in August, while preparing for knee replacement, my ENT guy took a biopsy and said it was Lymphoma. It is stable and being monitored, so after a short retreat at Holy Cross Monastery (Episcopal and Benedictine) while Pat visited her niece nearby, I was able to go ahead with the knee surgery in September (I am still in rehab).
On December 8th I got Pat to the airport for another flight to Tucson, a stay at Pima Quaker Meeting House, then at a yoga ashram for a week, then the Friends Southwest Center (FSC) for the day known as Christmas. It is frequent flyer miles and cheap accommodations that make this possible. I’m not sure what happens next as she was out of touch at the ashram, and then had her cell phone stolen at a Walmart near Douglas. She plans to move to La Vita House, where I stayed with her when I visited earlier this year, on January 2nd and stay there until her return February 26th, but that has yet to be confirmed.
So while Pat was at FSC I joined Geoff and Yeji at Jubilee for a Korean Calvinist observance on the day known as Christmas, to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Blessings for the New Year, Gene & Pat