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    ANNETTE ,  FRANK & CY   

 

Annette, a Belgian citizen from the Southern, French-speaking part of the country, was employed at SHAPE (NATO's military headquarters) near Mons in Belgium and was already a square and round dancer when she met Frank, a Canadian officer, in 1976. He was probably a little under the influence of the encounter when he decided to graduate from round dancing in 1978 and from square dancing in 1979.  

 

In 1980 the American round dance leader of the SHAPE SHUFFLING SQUARES returned to the United States and the club went into mourning as no replacement had been trained.  Annette was asked to take over but adamantly refused, much preferring to dance than to watch the fun from the stage.  After dancing to the same cassette of cued rounds for about half a year, her resolve weakened.  She regretfully abandoned her former hobbies and went for it, embracing the new mission with a rage.  Caught in  the momentum of so many changes, she even married Frank, in Victoria, B.C. in 1981. Twin girls were born one year later and Annette quit her full-time job soon after that.  Raising twins, keeping up with square and round dancing, teaching round-dancing and slowly finishing the work on a new house and surrounding grounds took all her energy. Frank is now retired and the girls, having completed successfully their studies at the local university, have both jobs and men in their lives.  Pascale and husband Matthieu are Civil Engineers,  Averil and Hakim are Business Managers and all are working full time.  They have selected homes that are only 15 minutes from the Woodruff ranch so the family remains very close and interactive.

After founding their first R/D club at SHAPE,  Annette and Frank  started another in Brussels and,  for 30 years ran the Soft Shoes that met weekly and eventually reached a strong phase IV level as well as the monthly Eager Beavers (formerly Sundae Dancers), a group which ventured into phase V & VI.  The two groups formed, together, Carousel Club 238. On 28 January 2010 the Woodruffs held their last club evening, having decided it was time to retire from teaching on a regular basis. 

 

Frank and Annette always considered themselves as "club people" much preferring the quiet and steady work that they could accomplish within their clubs to performances at festivals.  They never looked for fame and glory but were nevertheless always happy when some of their dances got taught in America, Europe and even Japan and New Zealand

 

They  attended three URDC (now ICBDA) conventions and they are still members of DRDC, ECTA and ROUNDALAB.  They attended faithfully the  Coliseum week in Florida until Coliseum exited and Colossal entered. They continue to attend the Cham week at Easter  and the Eringerfeld week in the Fall.  

 

For 5 years they worked as figure developers for the Technical Advisory Committee of ICBDA and gained much knowledge and satisfaction in that endeavour.  Then, for a few years, they contributed their thoughts, tirelessly, to several RAL Phase Committees  but didn't  derive quite the same satisfaction in that less dynamic environment.  At the moment they are still reviewers for the Roundalab Rounds of the Quarter, Phase IV & V.  Of late, Frank's dancing has been somewhat reduced because of arthritis and Frank and Annette have reached the stage where they devote more time to desk work than floor work but in no way are they idle.  They spend much energy gathering news, music & cue-sheets which they share with friends in their FTP operation ... not to mention their passion for writing dances that really match the music.  Frank and Annette still square dance at the C level whenever they have the chance, which is not as often as they'd like.  Dancing only once or twice a year makes it hard to maintain one's proficiency and would be plain impossible without the precious Ceder Chest manuals, for which they are so grateful.

2017 Update: we have to report the birth of four grand-daughters. 

Averil and Hakim were having a house built in Masnuy-St-Jean (10 minutes drive from here) but the house was not ready when they had to move out of their apartment.  So they both moved back here mid-November 2013, complete with their bed, their TV and Averil's very big tummy. Lia was born on 01 December 2013 and the temporary "just for a couple of weeks" move lasted 4 months, so we had quite a bit of "on hand" training with the baby, just in case we had forgotten how to change diapers. Two and a half years later, Lia announced the birth of a little sister, Nell, who is so incredibly cute that we all fight for the privilege of baby-sitting her.

Pascale and Matthieu bought a semi-detached house in St-Symphorien (10 minutes drive in the opposite direction), its best feature being a fantastic kitchen that makes me very jealous.  They too worked towards the expansion of the Woodruff family and Esther was born 13 July 2014, seven months after her cousin, a great baby that constantly looks surprised (especially at her crazy grand parents, I figure ). Two and a half years later, Suzanne joined the crowd, the perfect baby who simply never cries, our fourth and last grand-daughter, at least that's the plan.

Here are the little tyrants who have us wrapped around their little fingers:

           Lia & Nell                                                  Essie                                                  Suzanne

      

    

 

Video Clips

Hakim (guitar) and Matthieu (accordion) play in a little band called Mademoiselle George and here is a link to their songs on My Space.  Just click on the play arrow to hear them.

Clip of Matthieu's annual accordion concert at the Mons Royal Theatre

 

Slide show of "the kids" in the Belgian Ardennes, February 2011. Click on the picture below (or, better, click  here if you would like it with music) 

 

PASCALE & MATTHIEU'S   WEDDING

 

5 slide shows relate Matthieu and Pascale's wedding on 02 October 2010. The commentary is bilingual - just like the whole wedding was, i.e. we switched from French to English and vice-versa as we were proceeding. Click on the titles to see the shows and click on the little square for full screen viewing.

 

42 slides (5'33").  On the Friday evening we had a dinner for our guests from abroad (Spain, Norway, England, Canada and the USA). Pascale and Averil spent the night at their parents home, also sharing the room with the 3rd Woodruff girl, their half-sister  Gillian.  On the Saturday morning Pascale and Averil went to the hairdresser very early then returned here to dress.  At 09.00 hrs, the groom and his entourage arrived and breakfast was served in the form of a buffet.  Matthieu then waited, at the bottom of the stairs, for the arrival of his bride and gave her the bouquet of white roses. The music in the slide show is the actual music that was played that morning, starting as Pascale came down the stairs.

 

 

WEDDING PART II -  Mons Town Hall - Official Civil Ceremony 

72 slides (9'49").  We all drove to the nearby town, Mons and took a few pictures with the Mons Monkey which is affixed to the townhall and supposed to bring luck to the visitors who stroke its head.    It was drizzling so we went in and awaited our turn.  The official ceremony itself took no more than 20 minutes, whereafter we all took a little stroll in the Mayor's Garden where we took a few more pictures.


 
WEDDING PART III -  Abbaye d'Aulne - The Vows 

114 slides (18'04").  We then drove to the site of Abbaye d'Aulne, near the town of Thuin, some 30 km from Mons. Pascale and Matthieu, in a vintage red "Deux Chevaux" belonging to a friend made two stops along the way for more pictures.  Traditionally, the civil marriage at the townhall (the only legal one) used to be followed  by a wedding in church.  But neither Pascale nor Matthieu were raised in a religion so they pretty well had to invent their own civil ceremony to take their vows in front of their families and friends, all acting as witnesses to their commitments.  We the parents officiated and married our children.  It was very moving and there were almost as many tears as smiles.  The music played in the slide show is the actual music that was sung by a choir composed of Pascale and Matthieu's friends.
   

 

WEDDING PART IV -  Vin d'Honneur and Dinner

102 Slides (12'09").  Immediately following the ceremony, champagne and zakouskis were served steadily for two solid hours, after which some of the guests departed and the 90 dinner guests sat at their designated tables.  Four distinctive buffets were offered:  Fish, Salads, Meat, Cheese and they were all beautiful to look at, and also very good.


WEDDING PART V - Evening           

117 Slides (19'42").  Some 60 evening guests joined us around 8 p.m. -  all young and energetic friends of Matthieu and Pascale.  Several "shows" had been carefully prepared.  Matthieu's bestmen had put together a slide show of Matthieu's life - from baby stage to adulthood.  Later, there was also a video tape of Pascale's "panties burning" day, the equivalent of the guys' "bachelor party".  The DJ turned his speakers up (bye bye, conversation) and Pascale and Matthieu opened the floor with an impressive demonstration of Argentine Tango to the Louis Armstrong song "The Kiss of Fire".  At the end of it,  Averil and Hakim started - followed by Matthieu and Pascale - a fast jive that we had taught them to Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock.  They danced it without cues and it looked so "natural" that some thought it was free dancing time and jumped on the floor too, much to the merriment of the performers.  They were laughing so hard that I was surprised they managed to finish the dance.  Some time later, six couples surprised Pascale and Matthieu with their own demonstration of tango to a very funny French song. These were all young people who had never danced before and had secretly worked very hard with us for this "Tango du Congo" which was a vibrant success.  Dessert was then served and I'm sure the pictures will make your mouths water.

 

VIDEO CLIPS

Pascale and Matthieu opened the ball with an Argentine tango that they choreographed with their teacher's help.  The music is Kiss of Fire sung by Louis Armstrong. Following this and intended as a surprise for the audience is a rendition of Rock Around the Clock jive (Bill Haley) choreographed by Annette and properly performed by Averil and Hakim and the Newlyweds with  minor disturbance by other members of the wedding party. Click on the little square for full screen viewing.

 

"Le Tango du Congo" performed at Pascale and Matthieu's wedding as a surprise for them by a group of their friends who  had never danced before but had trained diligently in secret for several months in order to make this surprise performance.

 

THE HONEYMOON:  ONE MONTH IN INDONESIA

Clicking on the picture will take you to Picasa.  Once there, click on the black thumbnail and the show will start.  It is quite long (about 20 minutes) and consists of a combination of still pictures and movie clips. With music, of course.  Pascale did a good job putting it together.

 

 

 

PADDLING IN THEIR OWN CANOE IN THE BELGIAN SUN

 

 

Annette and Frank enjoyed a wonderful holiday in sunny Crete (Greek island) from 8 to 18 June 2011. To watch it with music click here

 

Our annual Neighborhood gathering was held at our place this year.   On the menu:  Paella , Rain and loud Songs. To watch with music click here.  



Pascale, Matthieu and friends trekking the Normandy Coast

 



Annette & Frank had enjoyed Crete so much that they embarked on another Greek holiday, 18 to 27 September 2011 to the Island of Santorini

   Meanwhile, the "kids" were in Canada visiting and hiking with their sister Gillian and her family before going to New York.  To watch this show (27 minutes) with music click here.

Taba Heights, Egypt              

In February 2012, another trip took them to the Gulf of Aquaba, Red Sea, in that little corner of Egypt from which you can see, at night, the lights of  Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia. 

 

Dead Sea and Jerusalem                    

Annette spent a day in Israel, at the Dead Sea and in Jerusalem. 

 

In Feb 2013 The kids and friends went skiing in the beautiful French alps.

 

 

Pascale & Matthieu's 2013 Summer Holiday:  First week:  hiking in the Alps;  2nd week:  Barcelona ;  3rd week:  Baleares

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