June is nearly 87. She was a feminist before feminism was fashionable. She was insistent that I should be the first female on either side of our family to attend university because she saw having an education as offering choices. She has strong views, many of which are formed from listening to 1YA. (The radio station hasn’t been called 1YA officially for years, but that’s beside the point.) She researches topics and presents papers for her colleagues at U3A – the University of the Third Age. She is a generous hostess, who insists on putting food in front of anyone who visits.
June’s thinking is challenging and frequently ahead of her time. She was a Playcentre mother when the Playcentre movement was still considered somewhat suspect by her more conservative friends. They were sure that we would all turn out to be quite undisciplined because we were children who were offered choices – “freedom within boundaries”. Family comes first. My son turned up at her place unexpectedly and unkempt and covered in paint from his work – and June asked her guests at the smart luncheon party she was hosting to move over and make room for him to join them. He has a voracious appetite, but June found a way to stretch the meal.
June has four children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren – all very different people. However, there’s a distinctive bit of June in every one of us. Yesterday, we celebrated Mothers’ Day at the apartment of June’s second granddaughter (and my daughter) Victoria.