Saturday, April 21, 2007
In Memory of a Woman
June Callwood (1924-2007)
mother, grandmother, rabble-rouser, thinker, journalist, writer, role-model
In her last interview with CBC television she said, "If we just gave babies a good start. So you can dedicate your life to that. Let me know how things go."
It is 7:30 am on Saturday morning. I'm usually not fully awake this early on a weekend, but my husband had an early flight to Toronto, and I got up to give him a kiss at the door. I didn't go back to bed, since the sun was just beginning to shine, and its the first time we've seen it here after a week of rain, drizzle, and fog. So I put on the kettle to boil for a cup of tea, flicked on the TV, and started watching a re-broadcast of CBC's "The Hour".
It was an unexpected gift. I was able to watch June Callwood's last interview for television.
Who is June Callwood? I won't even try to list her many accomplishments, attempts, and motivations. I know that someone will, though, because hers is surely a life worth recounting.
In a nutshell, June was a woman with a fundamental sense of social justice and the belief that we are ALL personally responsible to make sure justice happens. You. Me. Our sister's and brother's keepers. And she didn't just talk the talk. She lived her life, balancing career, family and social activism, continuously discovering how she could make a difference. And what a difference she did make for real people, both through her words and actions! Google her name. You'll see what I mean.
I never had the privilege of meeting this woman, but I truly grieve her passing. I am grateful that this world had her presence for 82 years. I also have the sense, though, that she might "tsk tsk" this kind of adulation. She would probably suggest that instead of wasting our time thinking about what she's done, we should all get busy and figure out what it is that each of us can do, today, to try to make life a little better for someone else.
Her legacy is one of kindness and action. She is a role-model for me and, I'm certain, many others.
Share the gift of June Callwood's life. Watch George Stroumboulopoulos's wonderful, sensitive, and funny interview with her, a few weeks before her death. And be inspired.
Also, check out The National for Friday, April 20, 2007 (around 22:40; I'm sure they'll pull out the clip later on to stand on its own):