2014News Archive



The year is off to a great start; the weather has been wonderful. As of this writing on the 15th,our temerpatures are in the mid to upper 70's. Now that's our kind of January - and one of the reasons we wanted out of the Midwest!

On the 14th, John attended the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction in Scottsdale. How high you can count may reach the total number of cars trucks, boats, planes, etc. at this year's expanded auction. There was even a vendor from Southern California selling restored antique radios  . . . I did spend some time there!

On the 25th we went on a Sahuaro Miata Club rally to the East Valley - Apache Junction and Tortilla Flat - in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains.


On the 26th, Barb's cousin, Jenni Partridge, of Broomfield, Colorado spent a day with us in Carefree, Arizona at the Magic Bird Native American Hoop Dancing Exhibition.

This photo of Barb (l.) and Jenni (r.) was taken through an overhead fountain in Carefree.



This was one of those variety gift-pack of activity months: finishing new crown moulding and baseboard installment on the rest of the house, celebrating a friend's 80th birthday, John's root canal, a day shooting some photos in the desert with Bob Mummey, pre-op exam for John's continuing journey through back surgery land, a car show in Sun City West, and the grand finale, the actual back surgery itself. #7 this time around and it really doesn't get easier with practice. Barb continues to play canasta twice a week and is involved in Lady Putters, biking for exercise and several charitable local Corte Bella organizations. She has also become a Pinterest addict!


On the 21st and 22nd the Senior Tennis Tour returned to Surprise and Barb and I attended both nights. The first evening showcased Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis and Todd Martin in a series of Pro Sets. No photos since I didn't take my good camera, but, on Saturday night - with camera in hand, we watched Todd Martin win the Men's Singles Title against Jim Courier - then were treated to some fun mixed doubles, with Jim courier teaming up with Ann Kournakova to defeat Todd Martin and Tracy Austin.

Todd Martin, Tracy Austin Jim Courier and Anna Kournakova

Tracy Austin responding to a fan

Anna Kournakova closing in on a ball at the net

Jim Courier facedown - humiliated by a shot he took away from Anna - and missed

Tracy bring a mondo-size ball out to Todd

Todd decides to play soccer while holding 6 regulation balls in his left hand

6'6" tall Todd Martin makes Jim Courier reach for the microphone


On the 6th, Barb and I drove to Cave Creek for a mini-Pitman High School reunion. Terry Kurtz and his wife, Georgie (short for Georgianne) have been RV-ing through the country and were able to spend a few days in Arizona. John hadn't seen Terry since graduation in 1962. Can you say "Wow" and "Good Grief" in the same sentence when it's been ONLY 52 years? Better to use dog years on this, I think! So, that's really only about 7 1/2 years.

Terry and Georgie are both retired pharmacists and reside in Florida. Each year they are able to RV for 2-3 months and see the sights.

Above left to right: John, Terry Kurtz, Bob Mummey and Bonnie Mummey, all proud graduates of the Pitman, New Jersey High School Class of 1962. Photo taken in Bob's back yard in Cave Creek.

On the 18th we were visited by a very proud mother and her ten ducklings. At this time of year we are accustomed to seeing lots of baby quail, which move much faster and are hard to distinguish from the background. But this new mom took her time, head held high, and paraded along our lot line. They've been "staying" in a pool several houses away using a floating chaise lounge to get out of the pool for some landlubber exercise. Soon they will need to get to one of the Corte Bella golf course water holes or exit the community for one of the many ponds in Sun City West itself.

Click HERE for a Smilebox presentation of our visit to the Chihuly Glass Exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden with Bob and Bonnie Mummey. We attended laste in the day so we could try to capture the glass sculpture in both daylight and nighttime illumination.

At the end of the month we traded off the 2008 Toyota Highlander for a new 2014. Driving to Barb's 50th (ouch!) High School Reunion this summer will be VERY comfortable!


Let's see  . . . John's 3 month post-op exam for his most recent back surgery got a thumbs up. What this really means is that no screws popped out and are rummaging around my spine looking for a new place to land.

Rachael bid on - and was rewarded with - a promotion with State Farm. Not only was that exciting news, but it is in Tempe, Arizona, just on the other side of the Phoenix metro area. It will be good to have her near! State Farm is building a new complex on Tempe Town Lake which will be ready for occupancy in 2015. Tempe is a vibrant city with lots of entertainment and restaurant options. Rachael will undergo a week of training in Dallas and make trips to the Phoenix area to scout out housing and all the rest that goes with a major relocation. She should be "in residence" here in June. Congrats, Rachael!

Early in the month Jessica took a fall on the patio of her new home in Houston, and in bracing herself for the fall with hands outstretched, broke the olecranon bone in her elbow. That's the one which wraps around the elbow and is technically part of the ulna. Two hours of surgery, two plates and 15 screws later, and in much pain, she is recuperating at home. Since one arm is essentially useless until she is further along in the healing and rehab process, she struggles with lots of everyday things we all take for granted - like dressing, driving, washing hair, etc. Fortunately, she has many wonderful friends who have graciously helped her the last two weeks. I guess she thinks the high point (no, not the codeine) was her super-hot surgeon who did the repair work.

Barb and I flew to Houston for Mother's Day weekend (already planned) to find Jessica with a mondo heavily wrapped shoulder-to-hand splint. It's the left hand so she can manage some tasks since she's right handed, but the left arm at this point in time is pretty much useless. On the 12th she had her first follow-up visit where they took off the mondo splint wrap, but left the stiches in for another week. After cleaning the arm off she was placed in an adjustable brace and still had swelling in the left arm and hand which the doctors assured her was "normal" at this point in time (see below).

Week 1



Week 2

And the month is only half over !! But, Jessica reports that, with stitches removed and ongoing physical therapy, she is ahead of schedule regarding healing and mobility.

On the 31st we enjoyed a Sahauro Miata Club run up Yarnell Hill (lots of twists and turns!), through Skull Valley (yes, that's the real name) to Prescott, where cooler temps prevailed. Allan and Rhonda Tramel hosted a BBQ at their home in Prescott and if you went away hungry you had no one to blame but yourself! Thank you Allan and Rhonda!


As expected, the temps are heating up, with 100+ the norm.

Good friend Bonnie Mummey celebrated her 70th birthday on the 4th. Happy Birthday!

Two weeks on the road in our new 2014 Toyota Highlander  . . . the most comfortable and quiet vehicle we have ever owned. It made those long days on the road more bearable! Off to Kansas and Nebraska with our first stop in Abilene, Kansas to visit old friends, then to Topeka to see Barb's siblings and their families, onward to Omaha to visit with Jo and Gary Kubik and eat a great dinner at El Bee's, our favorite Mexican restaurant. Barb was able to visit many of her former book group friends and teachers with whom she worked for 24 years. Then to Manhattan, Kansas for Barb's 50th Manhattan High School reunion and siteseeing. That also included a trip to Varney's in Aggievile to restock our K-State sweat and t-shirt wardrobe for cheering on the Wildcats during football season.

Some photos below, but stand by for links to Smilebox slide-show presentations from Barb to be posted soon.


Jule and Bob Hicks; Katie Hicks holding daughter, Kinley; and Erika Hicks


Nephew, Henry Hill, with (from l.to r.) son Tyler, mother Janice, and son, Trevor

Erika Hicks, Jessica Wilson, Derek Hicks, Henry Hill

Bob Hicks and sisters, Barb and Janice

Barb, Jessica (still sporting her "Robo-Arm") and John

A few shots of the newly refurbished Topeka, Kansas Capitol Building



Click HERE for a Topeka Capitol SMILEBOX presentation

Click HERE for a Topeka Hicks Family Reunion SMILEBOX presentation


Colleen and Rex Cearley at their home

With Rex and Colleen outside the Brookville Inn

815 N. Cedar, where we lived from 1975-1982, as it appears in 2014


Barb at the winery

Left to right: Susan, Barb, Kathy and Lynn


MHS Class of '64 flashback - Barb at Manhattan High

Barb at the KSU Alumni Center

Ron, Cheri, John, Barb, Barb Booth and Michael


One of those months without photos, I guess. There were two 4th of July parties to attend, a Phoenix Mercury basketball game with John Hendee, dinner at the Don and Sandy Wherry's when they returned from their 6 week RV trip, helping Rachael move into her new partment in Tempe and lunch with Bob and Bonnie Mummey.


In earlt August, as our community is underway with the street resealing program - and our street and several adjacent ones were on the schedule - we headed north to Sedona, Flagstaff and Cottonwood - with visits to Walnut Canyon National Monument and Tuzigoot National Monument.

Click HERE for a SMILEBOX presentation of our trip



Oh, no  . .  say it ain't so!! On the 24th, John celebrated his 70th birthday. Fortunately, Barb, Jessica and Rachael were here to console him and halt the flood of tears. Below, the family at Charleston's in Scottsdale.


On the 13th we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary with a five day visit in San Diego where the weather was great and we could kick back and relax - even on that day at SeaWorld.


Double-birthday month for the Wilsons . . . Barb on the 1st - and Jessica on the 31st. Jessica hits the 4-0 on Halloween . . . . scary!

On the 25th we hosted a Fall Party for about 30 of our friends and neighbors; it started out a bit on the warm side since there was a record high of 96 for the day, but, at this time of year, when the sun drops down, temperatures cool rapidly and outside seating was fine for all. A great evening!

A Happy Halloween 71st Birthday to Bob Mummey in Cave Creek, Arizona!


On the 10th, the Corte Bella Veterans Group held its first Veterans Day Banquet . . . and here we are.

A trip to Las Vegas mid-month took us to the Neon Museum and The Mob Museum. The three-story courthouse where some of the Kefauver Hearings were held has been restored and now houses a wide variety of audio-visual background information as well as artifacts and/or replicas of items associated with mob activities and organization throughout the Uniuted States. The Neon Museum collects old signage from the early years of Vegas and is in the process of restoring those which are practical to do so.

At The Mob Museum


At The Neon Museum

And, finally, you never know what you will find in the Fremont Street Experience!