2011 TOPLEY CHRISTMAS LETTER 4140Virginia Cres. North Vancouver, BC V7R 3Z6 CANADA December 12, 2011 My dear family & friends, I trust this finds you well. 2011 has been a wonderful year for the Topley family dampened only with the loss, during the year, of some family members & dear friends. â€œA picture is worth a thousand wordsâ€? and so here are the first 12,000 words:
Farewells to family members and friends This year we said goodbye to a number of beautiful people. Iris Cummins, Ray’s grandmother (Yvonne and Daryl’s mother). Bill Davie, our friend and one of my mentors from Toronto & Vancouver. Muriel Arme’s mother, Millie (Topley) Buxton, my great aunt, at age 95. Maureen Gray, Kath McCormack’ sister. We are blessed to have had these people touch our lives. Visitors to Vancouver We are always pleased and honoured to host and greet visitors to our home, including friends of our children. This year started with the Russell invasion from Brisbane; frequent visits by Sarah when her job with BP Oil brought her to North America; Andrew Loth and Marina Cullen (some of you will know Andrew’s father, John Loth, the legend from CYO and Aurora in the mid-60’s); Conor’s English friends from Singapore, Ben Adamson and Naomi Wood; Frank Drummond from Jersey in the Channel Island for the 40th anniversary of the 1971 Laurentide gang; Marilyn Brennan and her friend, Sue, from Sydney. Hannah, Sarah and Ray’s flat mate in London, joined us in June 2 with her boyfriend, Rhys. Some participated in a few of the events by Topley Tours including the Grouse Grind. Weddings None to report for the Topley family (bets are on for the future). We did attend the beautiful wedding of Kate Lewis and her groom, Ben, hosted by Lynda and Graham at their beautiful home in White Rock,. We had our own celebration in Vancouver for Damian Logue when he wed his bride, Brooke, in Sydney. Ann & Stephen Ann retired at Christmas time last year. I have to admit I was a little concerned …“how was she going to fill her days?” I am happy to report that Ann is doing very well. It was time (yes, she was approaching 65) but work was also a big part of her social life. Stephen only works three days a week so on Thursdays and Fridays they hit their favourite coffee and lunch spots. On Tuesdays Ann attends a senior’s centre where they organize events and trips around the community. The team that dedicate themselves to running the centre is wonderful and the attendees are colourful and full of fun. Ann is happy attending. Ann & Stephen are supported by a wonderful & generous group of people who guide and assist them in many ways. We are grateful to so many people for this support in particular we say a big THANK YOU to Carol & John Logue AND there are many who back up this support including Terri & Ron, Annette, Yvonne & Pat. THANK YOU ALL. In March I spent a month in Australia with Ann and Stephen. Since 2006 it’s become an annual event. The greetings at the airport are always royal (passionately loud) and the activities bonding. The weather, again, was kind (average 25 degrees C) plus the trip provides the opportunity to catch up with many of our good friends, many of whom are also friends of Ann and Stephen. Each day would typically start with a walk to the beach, a swim at Woonona pool and then a walk along the beach to Bulli for breakfast. Simple and beautiful. Thanks to Yvonne & Pat Hughes, I had the use of their car to test my speeding skills. Shinpei We had planned to visit Shinpei (our adopted son who first came to join our family in 1988 and stayed until 2004) in Japan this year but two events have caused this to be deferred. Firstly the earthquake, tsunami and atomic power plant failure that occurred in March. Maureen was subsequently scheduled for knee replacement surgery (in late August) so our plans had to change. Shinpei advised us, earlier this year that he and Yuriko had separated in late 2010. This, we suspect, has not been easy for them but it has triggered Shinpei planning to come back to Canada in 2012 – Hooray. Trevor and I are talking (& hoping) of visiting Shinpei, in Japan, before Shinpei departs for Canada. 2
Sharon, Layla & Alana Hindikka Sharon, Maureen’s sister, has continued to live in Montreal (the home of the Dillon family) to be close to her two daughters, Layla & Alana. We are excited that Sharon and Layla will be joining Maureen and I when we visit Australia in March 2012 (oh the beach!!) Cora & Bob Dillon Cora continues to make frequent trips to the Philippines to inspect the school she owns in her old village. Bob continues to be passionate about his art and playing with his band, “The Syndicate”. They will be joining our family for Christmas day celebrations at the Topley home. Trevor Mackaway Trevor has had another adventurous year with trips to Australia (same time as me). Trevor & I are now recurring guests at the Annual Centre Care Race Day at Kembla Grange. Trevor also ventured camping to northern British Columbia and later to Saskatchewan to team up with his neighbor Wally. On the 14th December, Trevor and friends fly south to Mexico for Christmas and the New Year. We enjoy our many ventures with Trevor including visits to our cabin at Mt. Baker. This year he completed significant enhancements to the cabin kitchen. Well done Trevor. Conor & Greg We are blessed as we continue to be involved in Conor’s colourful and energetic life. We are very proud of Conor who, approximately 18 months ago, made us aware he is gay. He has always been gay. Since the summer Conor has been dating a delightful young man, Greg, and, of course, there was no escaping the Topley banter (comments of “cradle snatcher “and the like). All jibing was taken well by Greg & Conor with hugs and smiles all round. Conor is once again embarking on a new career, a couple careers to be precise. In the New Year he will joining the management team of three related businesses in the hospitality business (all located in Vancouver) comprising a pub, a night club and a retail beer & wine store (it's too bad I quit drinking 24 years ago. I have recently been wondering if Conor’s arrival in our family a year earlier had an influence on this decision to quit.). Conor will also be teaching a third year course at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. He’s currently in the middle of developing the course content and can’t wait to be teaching with his good friend Sean up on Burnaby Mountain. He loves living with his roommate Alex in his beachfront home in Kits and spent most of the summer soaking in the sun on his rooftop. He’s excited to spend as much time as possible this season up at Whistler. In his “downtime” he sits on the board for JDC West, a business case competition, and he’s also strongly immersed in the gay community playing in a softball league, and singing in the fabulous Vancouver Men’s Chorus. Break a leg Conor! Greg you are a brave man. Welcome to the Topley family Greg.
Brendan & Alyona This edition of the Annual News Letter needs to have at least 20 paragraphs dedicated to our remarkable, calm and supportive elder son, Brendan. Earlier this year, Brendan and his girlfriend, Alyona, were ‘hit’ bad. In March, Brendan had called his mother to advise he was smitten with his new girlfriend (“ Mum, I have got it bad….”). ( Am I allowed to tell this story,? Ah, too bad, it’s going in the news anyway). Brendan also reported to Maureen the good news that Alyona felt the same way. In August, Brendan & Alyona moved into their apartment together and then acquired a cat, Coco. Alyona is studying at UBC. Brendan’s career is on the upward path at his company. It’s wonderful to see this couple in love. Alyona, we offer a big welcome to the Topley family.
We see Brendan and Alyona often. Their laundry nights are spent having dinner and giving the ‘oldies’ computer technical support. Brendan has demonstrated his artistic talents with the use of his SLR camera. We go on field trips together and I swear I didn’t see the things he saw through his lens. I take multiple photos. Brendan makes art. Sarah & Ray Ray & Sarah have only been dating nine years; a very fun filled and mutually supportive nine years at that. Sharing time initially in Australia from January 2003 and coming to Vancouver in December 2003 they have been a great couple together ever since. In late 2008, Sarah and Ray set off together from Vancouver to work in London & explore Europe. Now, three years later, they will have completed two full trips around the world, numerous return trips to Vancouver, dozens of excursions to Europe and have cultivated friendships with people who will be their friends for life. Maureen & I (and Pat & Yvonne, Jen, Brendan, Lindsey, Conor, Trevor and many others) have enjoyed their hospitality in London over these past three years. In April of this year, I celebrated with Ray and others as Sarah and her running buddies, Kristine, Kate, Hannah and Meaghan (“the Rainbow Warriors”) completed the London Marathon – 42.2 kms. What a positive experience for all. As this is being penned, Sarah and Ray have left London and just completed a visit to Singapore, visiting Melinda (Ray’s sister), Ben and their daughter, Emily. They are now spending six weeks in Australia with Yvonne& Pat , family & friends. Ann & Stephen went to the airport to greet them – Australia will know they have arrived.) We look forward to sharing their adventures as they tackle life back in Vancouver commencing in February 2012 (that is if Australian and its charm & beauty doesn’t lure them there. Great work and life experiences are the reward for their past 3½ years by the time they return to Vancouver in February. Maureen & Colin My life has been blessed to have Maureen as my best friend for the past 35 years. We celebrated our 31st Wedding Anniversary this past July. After many years of tolerating (me) & arthritic pain, Maureen decided it was time. She had a full knee replacement surgery of her right knee in late August. (I have not yet been replaced) .Maureen is still in recovery but happy to be back driving and back in change of the house (I’m not the most adventurous of cooks). In early November Maureen and I set off to sunny Hawaii for 10 days where we enjoyed spoiling ourselves in splendid weather and dining out. Maureen is also happy to be fit again to attend her choral group, her Eldercollege lectures and her volunteer commitments. While in England in April, I was able to catch up with many friends including: Cousins Frank & Beryl Quirke & Colin & Linda Steadman in Barnet; Frank Drummond in Jersey; Adrianne & Ernie Austin, in Higham , Derbyshire; Muriel & Richard Arme( cousins) in Carlton, Beryl & Pete Rose in Bilsthorpe, Nottingham; Tony Morgan( formerly of ANZA Club)in Lincolnshire; and Angela & Myles Dorrian in London & Harrold; Renee, Melissa ( DeSouza) & Carlos and their wonderful boys. I still do a little consulting work but not enough to interfere with my time for running, swimming, hiking, time with Maureen, yoga and reading. I LOVE MY LIFE – a creed I’ve adopted from the Dorrian’s. Thanks for sharing this wonderful life with us. Merry Christmas & Love. Maureen & Colin