Biographies

Contents:
In August 2000, Deborah and I married.  9/11 was very traumatic for us, especially Deborah who was on her way to work in a cab on the FDR, and saw the second plane fly into the tower.  I arrived in my office after the first plane hit, and was trying to find out what had happened.  First reports were of a light aircraft hitting the tower.  The second plane flew over our office building; the sound and feel of the crash was incredible.  Our offices were next to the NY Stock Exchange only a few blocks from the World Trade Center.  We evacuated, and, with a colleague, I managed to get onto what was probably the last subway home.  Deborah was caught in the debris from the explosions and had to walk home.  Because the Wall Street area was closed, we were stuck at home for a week afterwards, unable to get to our office, and could see the plumes of smoke rising from Ground Zero.  This was a part of the reason we decided to buy a house in the country north of NYC and get a little peace and quiet at the weekends.  I was also becoming unhappy with the noise, bustle and pressures of the City.  Finally, in November of 2002, having seen approximately 60 properties, we closed on our house which you can read all about on this site! 

During the WSS years, I traveled extensively in Europe, the Far East, Australasia and within the U.S.  Our favorite was the "around the world" trip that took in London, then via Hong Kong to Manila in the Philippines, Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles before returning to New York.  I also particularly enjoyed going to Milan and Madrid, and many of the US trips, especially entertaining my friends at our Cincinnati client; you know who you are!. 


Early in 2005, I started, again, to feel the need for more free time, but was not quite ready to retire.  Being up at the house for weekends was great, but driving up through heavy traffic on a Friday afternoon and then back on Sunday was tiring.  It also gave us very little time to work on the renovations to the house.  Thus, I negotiated a deal with WSS whereby I worked every other week.  Of course, this halved my income, but was part of my plan to move towards early retirement.  In 2006, the company having been bought out earlier by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, I was "let go".  I decided that this was an appropriate time fully to retire.  Of course, the massive reduction in income means a much simpler lifestyle, but we have put quality above quantity!  Then the collapse in the economy has not helped, but we manage to keep it together; just. 

We sold the NYC apartment in early 2007, thankfully before the housing bust, and now live in the house.  I had already become comfortable with village life, so this move was not traumatic, even though I had been a city boy all my life.  In early 2016, I finally received my US citizenship; so no more worry about renewing my Green Card.  It means I can vote too.  

We have reduced the amount of time we spend working on the house, and spend a lot more time in leisure pursuits.  This web site takes up a lot of my time, as does recording in the studio, and we have a huge number of books to read, LPs and CDs to listen to, and DVDs to watch.  We also like to travel, and go regularly to our favorite haunts.  In 2014, for example, we have been on vacation in Newport, RI, up to Bar Harbor and elsewhere in Maine, on a cruise to Alaska via Seattle, WA, as well as another cruise across the North Atlantic from Copenhagen in Denmark via Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada (Newfoundland and Nova Scotia) back to New York City.  In 2015, we went up to Maine and on to Campobello Island to the Roosevelt estate, as well as a cruise up the East coast to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec City & Montreal. 

My current transport is an aging 1995 Nissan 4WD pickup-truck.  Very reliable, though I had a few clutch problems in 2011, a major service in 2012 and new tires in 2013.  It is rather a lot of fun, although a little lacking in performance, particularly when loaded up!  In addition, we bought a new Acura RDX SUV towards the end of 2015, which is proving to be excellent.  Acura is only available in north America and a few other markets; like Russia!  They are the luxury brand for Honda, in the same way Toyota has Lexus.  Much more powerful, and lighter, than the last SUV, it goes really well and is economical on gas.  AWD is essential with all the snow we get up here; otherwise, we are dependent on someone coming to plough the drive, which sometimes involves waiting more than 24 hours after a particularly bad storm.  Then we could still be stuck because of ice on the very steep hill in the road leading up to the house.  The truck happily flattens up to 30 cm (12 inches) of snow! 

So here we are at the very beginning of 2017, having had another variable year.  We have managed to complete some tasks around the house, but many remain incomplete.  In any event, whatever else we will put the house on the market in the Spring.  We are planning either to stay quite close to where we are, or to move down to the Newport, Rhode Island area.  We just want something much smaller, in better condition, with more easily maintainable land.  Not too much to ask; oh, and a buyer for this house!

Our Tale - Marriage & Retirement

WILLIAM & DEBORAH HILLYARD