Transcript: Interview: June Callwood | Feb 17, 1978

(music plays)

Mike McManus stands in a dark television studio. He’s in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted gray hair. He’s wearing a yellow suit, white shirt, and striped tie.

He says HAD SHE LIVED IN ROMAN TIMES,
SHE WOULD HAVE CLOSED
THE COLISEUM.
BUT LIVING AS SHE DOES TODAY,
SHE CLOSED THE BARBAROUS
DON JAIL.
BUT THAT'S ABOUT
ALL SHE CLOSED.
FOR THE REST, JUNE CALLWOOD
HAS BEEN OPENING THINGS.
PLACES LIKE NELLIE'S, AND
PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND ME.
MY GUEST: A MEMBER OF
THE ORDER OF CANADA,
MISS JUNE CALLWOOD.
AND OUR SUBJECT:
A VOICE THAT REFUSES
TO BE STILL.

(Electronic music plays)
The opening sequence rolls.

In animation, blue spotlights shine bright and create a glittering title: “McManus.”

Then, Mike sits at a round table with his guest, JUNE CALLWOOD.

June is in her late fifties, with gray hair in a bob. She’s wearing a coral shirt over an orange turtleneck.

Mike says JUNE CALLWOOD, CONGRATULATIONS
ON BEING AWARDED A MEMBER
OF THE ORDER OF CANADA.

June says THAT'S NICE.

Mike says I'M WONDERING WHEN
YOU HEARD ABOUT IT.
WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD ABOUT
IT, WAS IT A NICE MOMENT?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "June Callwood."

June says YES, IT WAS VERY NICE.
IT WAS WONDERFUL.
IT WAS A GREAT THRILL.
IT CAME BY A REGISTERED
LETTER THAT WAS DELIVERED
TO MY NEIGHBOUR.
AND I KNEW IT WAS THERE, BUT
I WAS TOO BUSY FOR THREE OR
FOUR DAYS TO GO AND GET IT.
AND SHE COULDN'T CATCH ME.
SO WHEN SHE DID,
I WAS PLEASED.
BUT I, IN 1969, A YEAR AFTER
I HAD BEEN IN JAIL, THE SAME
YEAR THAT THE CITY OF TORONTO
SUED ME, A VERY BAD YEAR FOR
ME, THE B'NAI BRITH OF
METRO TORONTO MADE ME
WOMAN OF THE YEAR.
AND TO BE FRANK,
THAT MEANT MORE.
AT THE TIME, IT MEANT --

Mike says MORE DIFFICULT TIMES.

June says IT WAS A MORE DIFFICULT TIME.

Mike says ARE YOU THE FIRST WOMAN
BROADCAST JOURNALIST TO HAVE
WON THIS RECOGNITION?

June says THE ORDER OF CANADA?
OH, NO, EVERYBODY'S GOT ONE.
HAVEN'T YOU GOT ONE YET?

Mike says NO.

June says OH, NO, EVERYBODY'S GOT ONE.
PIERRE BERTON SO GRACIOUSLY
SAID, THIS IS THE LEAST
EXCLUSIVE ORGANIZATION
IN THE COUNTRY.
WELCOME ABOARD.
OH, NO, EVERYBODY'S
GOT ONE.
BUT IT IS, THE ONE THAT
MATTERED WAS THE B'NAI BRITH.

Mike says IN '69.

June says WAS THAT NICE OF THEM.

Mike says I HAVE A LIST HERE, JUNE,
OF JUST SOME OF THE THINGS
YOU ARE INVOLVED WITH.
VICE PRESIDENT CANADIAN
CIVIL LIBERTIES ASSOCIATION.
PRESIDENT WOMEN'S HOSTELS,
THE FOUNDER OF NELLIE'S.
YOU'VE BEEN INVOLVED, AND ARE
INVOLVED WITH THE CRITICAL
AREA OF BATTERED CHILDREN.
ASSOCIATION TO
REPEAL ABORTION LAWS.
COMMUNITY RESOURCES CONSULTANT
IN THE AREA OF MENTAL HEALTH.
VICE PRESIDENT OF
THE WRITERS' UNION.

June says VICE PRESIDENT OF THE
PERIODICAL WRITERS.

Mike says PERIODICAL WRITERS.

June says NO, BOTH OF THEM.

Mike says BOTH OF THEM?

June says AND PRESIDENT OF LEARNX.
SOME OTHER THINGS.
OH, I'M STARTING A NEW
ORGANIZATION CALLED JUSTICE
FOR CHILDREN.

Mike says JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN.

June says I'M PART OF A NEW -- YEAH,
WONDERFUL ORGANIZATION.

Mike says ALONG WITH BEING A TELEVISION
HOST, YOUR OWN DAILY PROGRAM,
AND A WRITER ON YOUR OWN,
AND A GHOST WRITER,
THE LIST NEVER STOPS.
I'M WONDERING, HOW TO THOSE OF
US WHO WOULD LIKE TO DO MORE
WITH OUR LIVES THAN WE DO,
BUT JUST CAN'T GET ORGANIZED,
HOW DO YOU DO IT ALL?

June says UM, VERY CAREFULLY.
SORRY ABOUT THAT.
IT'S LIKE A STRETCHED STOMACH.
YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WHO OVEREAT
FOR EVEN A FEW DAYS, YOU START
TO BE HUNGRIER THAN YOU WERE
IF YOU ARE EATING A LITTLE.
THAT'S ALL IT IS.
IT'S A STRETCHED CAPACITY
BECAUSE THERE IS A LOT TO DO.
AND I LOOK AT THE BOOK
SOMETIMES, AND I HAVE HALF AN
HOUR BETWEEN APPOINTMENTS,
USUALLY, AND PEOPLE ARE NICE
ENOUGH TO SOMETIMES SCHEDULE
MEETINGS WHERE I CAN GET A GAP.
AND I LOOK AT IT, AND I SEE
IT'S JUST GOING TO BE A DAY OF
RUN, AND I JUST FEEL ELATED.
WOW.
AND I HAVE A SENSE, CAN
I GO ON FOR A SECOND?
THERE'S A POINT HERE.
I ONCE READ IN AN OLD
NEW YORKER,
A WOMAN WHO
APPARENTLY LIVED IN A NEW YORK
HOTEL, AND ABOUT TWILIGHT SHE
CAME DOWN ON THE STREET
TO GO AND GET A PAPER.
AND SHE SAW PEOPLE RUSHING.
CHECKING THEIR WATCHES.
AND THOUGHT, OH, I WISH I WAS
IN A HURRY TO GO SOMEWHERE.
SO I THOUGHT, AH,
THAT'S GOING TO BE ME.
IN A WHILE, THERE'LL BE NO
PLACE -- WHAT SHE SAID,
PEOPLE ANXIOUS FOR
ME TO GET THERE.
PEOPLE WHO ARE NOTICING
THAT I'M A LITTLE LATE.
AND THAT'LL BE ME.
THAT'S ALL OF US, EVENTUALLY.
SO I THOUGHT, WHY NOT
ENJOY THAT I'M BUSY,
AND I'M IN A HURRY.

Mike says YOU ARE TREMENDOUSLY
ORGANIZED, THOUGH.
YOUR WEEKS ARE PLANNED
WEEKS IN A ADVANCE?
AND AS YOU SAY, JUST A
HALF HOUR IN BETWEEN.
SLEEP?
DO YOU GET MUCH OF IT?

June says I LIKE TO SLEEP.
I NEED TO SLEEP.
I WENT TO BED LAST
NIGHT AROUND 9 O'CLOCK.
SLEPT 'TIL 8 O'CLOCK
THIS MORNING.
SO EVERY NOW AND THEN
I HAVE A REAL LONG ONE.
AND I'M TREMENDOUS,
GREAT PHYSICAL HEALTH.
JUST WONDERFUL.

Mike says EXERCISE?

June says I SWIM.
I BELONG TO A HEALTH CLUB, AND
I GET INTO THAT COLD CHLORINE
POOL AND PLOUGH UP AND DOWN.
HATE IT.
BUT I HAVE TO.

Mike says EVER TIMES WHEN THE SCHEDULE
IS SO HORRENDOUS YOU WISH YOU
COULD CATCH THE NEXT BUS
TO BOSTON OR SOMETHING?

June says I WISH THERE WOULD BE A PLACE
IN THE DAY THAT NOBODY ELSE
KNEW ABOUT WHERE I COULD HIDE.
YES.
AND ESPECIALLY WHEN MY
MAIL HASN'T BEEN ANSWERED
FOR A WHILE.
I HAVE AN ENORMOUS SENSE OF
RESPONSIBILITY BECAUSE A LOT
OF LONELY PEOPLE WRITE.
THEY'VE GOT TIME.
AND THEY WANT TO HEAR.
AND IT'S TAKEN AS A PERSONAL
HURT IF YOU DON'T WRITE BACK.
AND WHEN THE DAYS HAVE PILED
UP, AND I HAVEN'T WRITTEN
SOMEBODY THAT I KNOW IS
LONELY, THAT'S A VERY BAD TIME
FOR ME.
I START TO FEEL RATTY.
UNHAPPY, YEAH.

Mike says BUT NEVER THAT TOTAL KIND
OF EXHAUSTION WITH THE GRIND
YOU'RE ON, AND THE
RESPONSIBILITIES YOU HAVE, AND
THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WAITING FOR
YOU THAT YOU'D LIKE TO CUT OUT?

June says NO.
I GO HOME AND I GET HUGGED.

Mike says YOU GET HOME AND YOU WHAT?

June says I GET HUGGED.

[laughing]

Mike says YOU MENTIONED SETTING THE
WHEELS IN MOTION FOR THE
CLOSING OF THE DON JAIL, YOUR
OWN ARREST, OF COURSE, THAT
GOES BACK TO '68-'69, AND
WORKED WITH BATTERED CHILDREN
AND CIVIL LIBERTIES.
OTHER THAN THE DON JAIL,
WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST
GRATIFYING ACTIVITY?

June says YEAH, THE DON JAIL
REALLY WAS SOMETHING.
BECAUSE THEY GAVE ME THE
KEY TO THE DAMN PLACE.
AND I'VE GOT THAT.
I CAN LOOK AT THAT.
I GUESS NOTHING ELSE.

Mike says NOTHING ELSE GOT
THAT KIND OF REACTION.
TRUE YOU WEPT WHEN
YOU HEARD IT CLOSED?

June says NO, I DIDN'T CRY.
BUT I HAD A FUNNY
THING HAPPEN.
I COULDN'T WALK IN
THE DEATH CELLS.
I COULD WALK IN THE HOLE.
I KNOW LOTS OF KIDS WHO
HAVE BEEN IN THE HOLE,
AND THEY TOLD ME
WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE.
AND I WENT IN,
AND TWO DOORS... OH.
AND SO SMALL, AND THOUGHT
ABOUT THEM THERE.
BUT THAT WAS ALL RIGHT.
BUT I WANTED TO SEE
THE DEATH CELLS.
70 MEN HAVE SAT THERE, THEN
WALKED DOWN TO THE GALLOWS
40 STEPS AWAY, WHATEVER.
AND I WAS ON MY WAY IN.
ABSOLUTELY LOOSE, YOU KNOW,
GOING TO GO LOOK AT IT.
AND COULDN'T GET
THROUGH THE DOOR.
COULDN'T GET MY BREATH.
LIKE AN ASTHMA ATTACK.
SO I THOUGHT, THAT'S
NONSENSE, THAT'S DRAMATIC,
THAT'S SELF-ENLARGEMENT.
STOOD OUTSIDE FOR
A WHILE AND WAITED.
TRIED IT AGAIN, COULDN'T
GET THROUGH THE DOOR.
SO THAT'S THE ONLY
PART I HAVEN'T SEEN.
I GUESS I WAS MOVED BY THAT.

Mike says WHAT'S PREOCCUPYING
YOU NOW, JUNE?

June says UM, WRITING A HISTORY BOOK
THAT I'VE BEEN WORKING ON
FOR EIGHT YEARS.
AND IT'S GOING TO BE
FINISHED NEXT YEAR.

Mike says THE HISTORY OF...?

June says CANADA.
CANADA, THAT PLACE.
AND I'VE STARTED A NEW BOOK.
I'M GHOSTING A NEW BOOK
FOR SOMEBODY IN NEW YORK.
AND I'M ON THE SECOND
CHAPTER OF THAT.
I'M THRILLED WITH THAT.
I'M INTRIGUED AT THIS JUSTICE
FOR CHILDREN ORGANIZATION.
I THINK THAT HAS
GREAT POTENTIAL.
AND NELLIE'S HAD GOT
A CAMPAIGN RIGHT NOW.
WE NEED TO RAISE 400,000 dollars.
AND WE GOT A TERRIFIC AMOUNT
OF IMPETUS FROM A WOMAN NAMED
EILEEN SWINTON, WHO JUST CAME
ALONG AND SAID, I'LL HELP YOU
AND HAS JUST TURNED
OVER OUR MORALE.

Mike says SAY A WORD ABOUT NELLIE'S,
JUST IN CASE ANYONE IS NOT
AWARE OF WHAT IT IS.

June says NELLIE IS NAMED
FOR NELLIE McCLUNG.
AND IT'S A WOMEN'S
HOSTEL, AND IT IS UNIQUE.
IT'S BEEN OPEN THREE AND A
HALF YEARS, ABOUT A YEAR
BEFORE THAT BEFORE WE COULD
GET THE LOCATION AND GET THE
FUNDING AND ALL
THAT ORGANIZED.
AND THE TWO THINGS THAT ARE
UNIQUE ABOUT IT ARE THAT IT IS
OPEN TO WOMEN OF ALL
AGES WHO HAVE PROBLEMS.
THERE ARE HOSTELS FOR BATTERED
WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN,
THERE ARE HOSTELS FOR WOMEN
OUT OF PRISON, AND THERE ARE
HOSTELS FOR WOMEN ALCOHOLICS.
THIS IS EVERYBODY.
AND WE HAVE 30 BEDS, AND
THEY CAN STAY AS MUCH AS
TWO WEEKS.
THAT'S ONE THING
THAT'S UNIQUE.
THERE'S NOTHING
LIKE IT IN CANADA.
AND THE OTHER THING THAT'S
UNIQUE IS THAT IT'S RUN BY A
COLLECTIVE OF WOMEN.
WE HAVE NO DIRECTOR.
AND THE BOARD AND THE STAFF
WORK TOGETHER IN TREMENDOUS
HARMONY AND MUTUAL RESPECT.
AND I THINK THAT'S RARE.

Mike says HMM.
JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN, YOU
SAY, IS PREOCCUPYING YOU NOW.
THERE WAS SOMETHING ALSO I'D
HEARD YOU WERE WORKING ON,
SOMETHING ABOUT BABIES.

June says OH, THAT'S MY LONG-RANGE
SCHEME FOR MY LIFE.
I'M 54 ALMOST.
AND WHEN I'M ABOUT 60, WHAT I
WANT TO HAVE ACCOMPLISHED IS
LEGISLATION AND GOVERNMENT
FUNDING AT ALL LEVELS WHICH
MAKES IT A PRIORITY THAT
WHEN A BABY IS BORN,
WE SEND UP THE ROCKETS.
WE PROTECT THE BABY AND PARENT
WHOEVER WANTS TO PARENT
THE BABY.
WE PROTECT THAT AND GIVE IT
SUPPORT AND WHATEVER IT NEEDS
TO MAKE IT WORK.
THAT'S WHAT I WANT
TO DO BEFORE I'M 60.

Mike says YOU'LL DO IT, YOU KNOW?

June says OH, I THINK SO.

Mike says YES, YOU WILL.

June says DAMMIT, WE'RE CLOSE.
A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL AS
STRONGLY ABOUT IT AS I DO.
LOTS OF THEM.
AND WE'RE ALL MAD AS HELL,
AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO
STAND FOR IT ANYMORE,
AND THE BABY'S SUFFER.
YOU KNOW, GO HOME WITH PEOPLE
WHO DON'T KNOW HOW TO TAKE
CARE OF THEM.

Mike says JUNE, DOES THIS CONCERN, THIS
PREOCCUPATION, GO BACK AT ALL
TO YOUR OWN EARLY CHILDHOOD?

June says EVERYTHING DOES, I THINK,
MIKE, YOU KNOW, I'M SURE
YOU'RE AN INTRIGUING MAN.
I'M SURE YOU SEARCH YOUR
CHILDHOOD AND YOU CAN SEE
WHY YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE.
I THINK I HAD TWO THINGS.
I THINK I HAD AN ENORMOUS
AMOUNT OF LOVE FOR MY
GRANDPARENTS WHO
THOUGHT I WAS WONDERFUL.
AND I THINK EVERY BABY,
SOMEBODY SHOULD THINK THAT
BABY'S WONDERFUL.
I HAD THAT.
AND THEN I ALSO HAD
ALIENATION AS A TEEN.
IN MY TEENS.
WHICH GIVEN THE FIRST, IS NOT
DEMORALIZING, IT JUST GIVES
YOU TIME TO REALLY KNOW WHAT
IT'S LIKE TO BE AN OUTSIDER.
AND THAT'S PERHAPS
HELPFUL, TOO.
SO I HAD TWO GOOD
THINGS HAPPEN.

Mike says BORN IN CHATHAM, THEN MOVES
TO BELLE RIVER, KITCHENER,
REGINA, BRANTFORD.
A LOT OF MOBILITY
WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG.

June says WATERDOWN.
I WAS IN A CONVENT IN
WATERDOWN WHEN I WAS 12.

Mike says WATERDOWN, ALSO.
A LOT OF MOBILITY THEN.
KIND OF ROOTLESSNESS?

June says YEAH.
WE HAVEN'T MOVED.
IN THE LAST 26 YEARS WE'VE
LIVED IN THE SAME HOUSE,
YOU SEE?
I TAKE CARE OF
MYSELF IN MY OLD AGE.

Mike says AND YOU'VE SAID, TOO,
SOMEWHERE, THAT ONE OF THE
REASONS YOU WANTED CHILDREN
WAS TO HAVE A GANG AROUND.

June says YEAH.
I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE SAME
THING, A SENSE OF PERMANENCE,
SO I MARRIED A MAN I
CAN COUNT ON ALWAYS.
AND I MARRIED HIM
KNOWING THAT,
THAT HE WOULD NEVER
LET ME DOWN.
AND HE HASN'T.
THEN I WANTED THE CHILDREN
TO CARE ABOUT ONE ANOTHER
AND CARE ABOUT US.
AND THAT WORKED OUT, TOO.
YOU CAN DO THAT, YOU KNOW?
YOU CAN DO NUMBERS ON KIDS.
YOU CAN PROGRAM
THEM TO LIKE YOU.
[laughing]
THAT'S WHAT I DID.

Mike says YET, THERE'S SOME SUGGESTION
IN SOMETHING YOU SAID THAT
PART OF YOUR DRIVE OUTSIDE
THE HOUSE TO DO THINGS LIKE
WRITING AND WHATNOT WAS SO
THAT YOU WOULDN'T BURDEN YOUR
FOUR CHILDREN IN HAVING TO
ANSWER ALL OF YOUR LONELINESS.
IS THAT A FAIR ASSESSMENT
OF WHAT YOU SAID?

June says YEAH.
TWO THINGS WORKING TOGETHER.
ONE IS THE YIN-YANG OF IT
WOULD BE ENORMOUS ENERGY.
OH, MY, ENERGY.
AND I COULD CLEAN THAT HOUSE
AND COOK AND DO ALL OF THAT,
AND THEN WALK AROUND.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE?
AND I COULD WRITE.
I HAD BEEN A NEWSPAPER
REPORTER, SO I BEGAN DOING
MAGAZINE ARTICLES.
AND THEN, I GUESS, MAYBE SOME
OF THAT WAS RATIONALIZATION.
I REALIZED AS THEY WERE
GROWING UP THAT IF I HADN'T
HAD AN OUTSIDE DISTRACTION OF
SOME MAGNITUDE, I WOULD HAVE
BEEN SO OBSESSED WITH THEIR
LIVES AND MAKING THEIR WORLD
PERFECT, THAT THEY WOULDN'T
HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DRAW A BREATH.
IT WAS BAD ENOUGH AS IT WAS
WITHOUT ME HAVING NOTHING ELSE
IN MY LIFE.

Mike says YOU'VE BEEN MARRIED FOR OVER
30 YEARS, AS YOU'VE SAID.

June says 34 COMING UP.

Mike says 34 YEARS.
TRENT FRAYNE, A MAN WHO
DELIVERED WHAT HE PROMISED.
STABILITY.

June says KEEPS PROMISES.

Mike says KEEPS PROMISES, YEAH.
YOU SUGGESTED FOR ONE OF THE
REASONS YOU DIDN'T RUN IN
POLITICS -- YOU'VE HAD
OPPORTUNITIES TO RUN
IN POLITICS.

June says I GET ASKED BY
ALL THE PARTIES.
DOESN'T THAT SAY AN AWFUL
THING ABOUT ME OR THEM?
THAT THEY HAVE NO
IDEA WHERE I'M AT?

Mike says YES, I AGREE.
YEAH, I AGREE.

June says THEY THINK JUST ANY NAME,
A WOMAN'S NAME PEOPLE WILL
RECOGNIZE, THAT'S WHAT
THEY'RE THINKING, I THINK.

Mike says YEAH, YOU KNOW, I SUPPOSE THE
WOMAN THING IS IN THERE, TOO.

June says SURE.
JUST A VISIBLE WOMAN.
'WHO KNOWS A VISIBLE WOMAN'?
CAN YOU SEE THEM
SITTING AROUND?
'DO YOU KNOW A VISIBLE WOMAN'?
AND THEY SAY, 'WELL, THERE'S
THAT JOAN CALDWELL.
GOOD IDEA'.
THAT'S WHAT I SEE HAPPENING.

[chuckling]

Mike says BUT YOU'VE TURNED
IT DOWN AND WHY?

June says I DON'T THINK THERE'S
ANY POWER IN IT.
I THINK I WOULD -- I'M
INTERESTED IN POWER FOR THIS
OBJECTIVE WITH BABIES.
IF I THOUGHT THERE WAS ANY
POWER -- I'LL GIVE YOU
AN EXAMPLE.
I WAS ASKED BY ONE PARTY,
JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO.
THE LEADER PHONES.
THAT'S A FLATTERING
THING THEY DO.
HELLO, THIS IS BOB STANFIELD.
IT'S VERY FLATTERING.
ESPECIALLY WITH BOB STANFIELD,
I DON'T DISCOUNT IT.
SO THIS WAS THE LEADER PHONES,
AND SAYS, I'D LIKE YOU TO RUN.
I EXPLAINED, I JUST CAN'T.
I'M TOO BUSY.
I'M NOT SURE ABOUT THE FORUM.
I'M NOT SURE WHETHER
I'D BE ANY GOOD AT THIS.
AND THE LEADER SAID, WELL...
AND I SAID, WILL YOU LET
ME DO SOMETHING?
WILL YOU LET ME
TALK TO YOUR CAUCUS?
OH, OF COURSE,
says THE LEADER.
WHAT ABOUT?
I SAID BABIES.
THE AIR WENT OUT OF
THE CONVERSATION.
THE JUICE.
HE THOUGHT, HOW ABSURD
TO WASTE THE TIME OF HIS
DISTINGUISHED CAUCUS TALKING
ABOUT THE LIVES OF BABIES.
AND THAT'S WHAT WOULD HAPPEN
TO ME IF I WAS ELECTED, YOU SEE?
I'D SIT THERE SAYING BABIES
ARE SUFFERING, AND THEY WOULD
GO... SO I HAVE TO WAIT
FOR A MORE HUMANE KIND OF
HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Mike says YOU HONESTLY BELIEVE BABIES
ARE SUFFERING BECAUSE
MANY OF THE PEOPLE THAT
ARE HAVING BABIES TODAY
ARE NOT WELL MENTALLY?

June says WELL, MOST PEOPLE WHO HAVE
BABIES DON'T REALLY KNOW VERY
MUCH ABOUT HOW TO RAISE THEM.
AND WITH ALL THE
GOODWILL IN THE WORLD,
THEY'LL MAKE SOME MISTAKES.
BUT A GREAT MANY PEOPLE
ARE RAISING BABIES UNDER
CONDITIONS OF TERRIBLE STRESS
IN HOMES WHICH ARE VIOLENT OR
THE MOTHER IS VERY IMMATURE,
THE MOTHER IS CRAZY.
OR THE FATHER IS
AN ALCOHOLIC.
IT ISN'T JUST THEY ARE BEATEN
BLOODY, WHICH THEY ARE.
IT'S THAT THEY ARE BEING
HUMILIATED AND DISCOURAGED AND
ABANDONED, NOT FED PROPERLY.
THAT'S JUST NOT FAIR.
THEY ARE GOING TO LIVE ANOTHER
60 YEARS WITH BROKEN HEARTS.
WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT.

Mike says SO THAT REALLY HAS COME
ABOUT THROUGH YOUR
ACTIVIST EXPERIENCE.
THAT ISN'T ANY REFLECTION
OF YOUR OWN HOME AT ALL?

June says NO.

Mike says NO.
BUT YOUR ADOLESCENCE WHICH
YOU MENTIONED BRIEFLY,
KIND OF A LONELY
TIME FOR YOU?
YOU'RE DESCRIBED AS
'THE SCHOOL KOOK' BY --

June says ROSS MACLEAN.

Mike says BY ROSS MACLEAN.
A WEIRDO, ECCENTRIC.

June says YES.
SEE, I WAS TERRIBLY YOUNG.
I THINK I WAS 11 IN
HIGH SCHOOL, YEAH.
AND ALSO, YOU HAVE NO IDEA
WHAT HAPPENS TO A WOMAN WHOSE
BREASTS DON'T GROW
IN HIGH SCHOOL.
THERE IS JUST NO PLACE FOR
YOU IN A HIGH SCHOOL UNTIL
YOUR BREASTS HAVE GROWN.
AND MINE NEVER DID.
SO BECAUSE OF THAT, THAT AND
THE YOUTH, I BECAME A CLOWN.
I MADE A FOOL OF MYSELF.
AND I ALWAYS KNEW IT.
I ALWAYS HAD SOMEBODY
INSIDE SAYING TO ME,
JUNE, WILL YOU SHUT UP.
AND JUNE COULDN'T.
SO I HAVE -- I DON'T KNOW
ANYBODY, NO MATTER HOW UNHAPPY,
I DON'T UNDERSTAND.
OR CRAZY.

Mike says ALTHOUGH, IN ALL FAIRNESS
TO ROSS MACLEAN, HE SAID YOU
WERE A YOUNG KATHARINE
HEPBURN AND JUST A GORGEOUS
LOOKING GIRL.
HE WAS FASCINATED BY YOU.

June says I DON'T REMEMBER
THAT AT THE TIME.
BUT I LIKE REVISIONIST
THEORIES WHEN THEY FLATTER ME.

Mike says JUMPING FROM YOUR ADOLESCENCE
TO, SAY, YOUR OWN CHILDREN'S
ADOLESCENCE, I'M THINKING
OF YOUR SON, BARNEY.
YOU REALIZED THAT IN HIS
ADOLESCENCE, WITH SOME OF THE
FRIENDS HE WAS BRINGING HOME,
THEY WERE GOING THROUGH
DIFFERENT KINDS OF PROBLEMS.
AND BRINGING HOME KIDS
FOR SUNDAY DINNER.
AND THAT LED TO DIGGER HOUSE,
WHICH WAS KIND OF A TURNING
POINT FOR YOU, WAS IT
NOT, INTO ACTIVISM?

June says IT WAS.
YEAH, I HAD BEEN
ON COMMITTEES.
I'D DONE THAT KIND OF THING,
MENTAL HEALTH, ESPECIALLY,
WHICH ATTRACTED ME.
BUT I HAD NEVER
TRIED TO DO ANYTHING.
BUT I THOUGHT IT
WAS SO SIMPLE.
IT WAS THE YORKVILLE
EXPERIENCE.
AND HE WAS BRINGING HOME
KIDS WHO WERE HUNGRY
AND HAD NO PLACE TO SLEEP.
SO WHAT WOULD ANYBODY THINK?
WELL, YOU NEED A PLACE
FOR KIDS TO SLEEP.
THEY SAID THEY DIDN'T LIKE
TO GO TO THE SALVATION ARMY,
WHICH WOULD TAKE THEM IN
BECAUSE IT WAS OLDER MEN,
AND OLDER ALCOHOLICS, THEY
HAD NOTHING IN COMMON.
OH, WELL I THINK,
IT'S EASY.
I SAW IT AS
PROFOUNDLY RELIGIOUS.
SO I PHONED THE CHURCHES AND
SAID, THE UNITED CHURCH OF
CANADA, WILL YOU PAY
ONE MONTH'S RENT?
I'LL PAY -- I CALLED MYSELF
A CHURCH AT THAT POINT.
THOMAS PAINE DID
THAT TOO, DIDN'T HE?

Mike says RIGHT.

June says I'LL PAY A MONTH'S RENT,
UNITED CHURCH SAID
THEY'D PAY A MONTH'S RENT.
HOLY BLOSSOM SAID THEY'D
PAY A MONTH'S RENT.
THE CATHOLICS AND ANGLICANS,
YOU CAN HARDLY GET A NICKEL
OUT OF THEM FOR
THINGS LIKE THIS.
OR YOU COULDN'T AT THAT TIME.

Mike says WELL, THEY
HAVEN'T MUCH MONEY.

June says YES, THEY'RE BROKE.
SO THEY GAVE ME HALF
A MONTH'S RENT EACH.
BUT, ANYWAY, I GOT TOGETHER
SIX MONTHS RENT, AND I THOUGHT
I WAS FINISHED WITH IT.
THAT THESE KIDS WERE
SELF-SUFFICIENT KIDS.
ALL THEY NEEDED
WAS A BUILDING.
BUT BY THE TIME THE
HOUSE WAS OPEN,
THEY WEREN'T
SELF-SUFFICIENT.
THEY WERE STRUNG OUT ON HARD
DRUGS, AND THEY WERE SICK,
AND THEY WERE SUFFERING
FROM MALNUTRITION.
WE HAD ONE CASE OF SCURVY
IN THAT HOUSE AND LOTS OF
SUICIDE ATTEMPTS.
SO IT WAS MORE THAN
I BARGAINED FOR.
AND THAT'S WHEN I FOUND
WHERE THE REAL WORLD WAS.

Mike says THE BIG PLUNGE.
CAN WE TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
JUNE CALLWOOD THE WRITER?

June says YES, ALL RIGHT.

Mike says YOU'VE BEEN IN TELEVISION
WORK BACK SINCE THE BEGINNING.
TABLOID, CLOSE-UP,
THE REFRAINS.
YOU ACTUALLY INTERVIEWED
HOCKEY PLAYERS AT THE END OF
THE HOCKEY GAME
ON SATURDAY NIGHT?

June says I WAS GOOD AT IT.

Mike says WERE YOU?

June says I AM A FAN OF ANYBODY
WHO DOES SOMETHING WELL.
SURE.

Mike says BUT YOU SUGGEST ALL OF THIS
TELEVISION EXPERIENCE, WHICH
IS CONSIDERABLE, WAS REALLY
NOT VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU.
YOUR GOAL, THIS WAS ALL
RELATIVELY IRRELEVANT.
YOUR GOAL WAS TO BE A WRITER.

June says THAT'S TRUE.
I'M A WRITER.
NO, NO, I AM
A WRITER.
I AM.
BEEN WRITING SINCE I
WAS 16, DA, DA, DA.
NEARLY 40 YEARS.
AND I NEVER HAD A SENSE OF
MY EGO BEING INVOLVED IN
TELEVISION OR RADIO JOBS.
IF I GOT THEM, THAT WAS
TERRIFIC BECAUSE THEY PAY
BETTER THAN WRITING, I MEAN,
FOR THE EFFORT INVESTED,
THEY ARE MUCH BETTER PAYING.
SO THAT WAS NICE.
IT TOOK THE PRESSURE OFF A
LITTLE BIT ON A SLOW DEADLINE
OR SOMETHING.
BUT THERE IS NOT THE SAME
REWARD OUT OF IT, WITH ALL DUE
RESPECT TO THE PROFESSIONAL
WAY YOU GO ABOUT WHAT YOU DO.

Mike says YOU HAD DIFFICULTY --

June says NOT FOR ME, I MEAN.

Mike says YOU HAD DIFFICULTY IN THE
EARLY YEARS WITH WRITING
FOR A NEWSPAPER.

June says I WAS A TERRIBLE WRITER.
I WAS TERRIBLE.
I LEARNED ON THE JOB.
THAT'S A THING THAT'S
DENIED YOUNG PEOPLE NOW.
THEY AREN'T VERY GOOD, BUT THEY
HAVE A KIND OF INCLINATION.
THERE'S NO PLACE
FOR THEM TO BE POOR.
SEE, I WAS A WRITER ON
NEWSPAPERS DURING WORLD WAR II.
THAT'S THE ONE WITH THE
AIRPLANES, NOT THE TRENCHES.

Mike says RIGHT.

June says MY KIDS USED TO
GET THE WARS MIXED.
BUT THEY NEEDED WOMEN BECAUSE
THERE WEREN'T ENOUGH MEN
AROUND, SO THEY HAD
TO PUT UP WITH ME.
I WAS FIRED A COUPLE OF TIMES,
THEN SOMEBODY WOULD QUIT,
AND THEY'D HAVE TO REHIRE ME.
I WAS SO POOR AT IT.
BUT THEY HAD TO WORK WITH ME
AND HAD TO PUT UP WITH IT.
SO AFTER A COUPLE OF YEARS,
I FINALLY FIGURED OUT
HOW TO WRITE.
AND I'M... I THINK I'M
GOOD AT JOURNALISM.

Mike says YOU ARE.
WHO HELPED YOU
MOST AS A WRITER?

June says WELL, RALPH ALLEN
HELPED US ALL.
I OWE SO MUCH TO SO MANY
PEOPLE, WE STAND ON SHOULDERS
OF GIANTS, AS NEWTON SAID.
BUT RALPH ALLEN WAS THE EDITOR
OF
MACLEAN'S MAGAZINE
FOR
NEARLY A TEN-YEAR PERIOD WHEN
WE WERE ALL IN OUR THIRTIES,
LATE TWENTIES AND
EARLY THIRTIES.
HE WAS FROM WINNIPEG.
HAD BEEN -- AND IS
STILL
SO MISSED.
HE'S BEEN DEAD TEN YEARS.
IT DOESN'T SEEM POSSIBLE WE
COULD HAVE ALL LOST HIM.
HE KNEW HOW EXCELLENT
YOU COULD BE.
AND ALL HE ASKED WAS THAT
YOU BE THAT EXCELLENT.
HE DIDN'T ASK
ANYTHING IMPOSSIBLE.

Mike says VERY DEMANDING THOUGH?

June says HE JUST SAID THIS IS NOT
AS GOOD AS YOU CAN DO IT.
AND YOU JUST FELT TERRIBLE.
SO THEN YOU STARTED PULLING
HARDER AT WHATEVER
YOU COULD PULL OUT.
YOU REALLY WANTED HIM TO
SAY, WHAT HE USED TO SAY IS
'CALLWOOD DOES IT AGAIN'.
AND THAT WAS A MEDAL.
NOTHING LIKE IT.

Mike says THAT'S NICE.

June says CALLWOOD DOES IT AGAIN.

Mike says NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW
ABOUT YOUR GHOST WRITING.
YOU MENTIONED IT
EARLIER HERE TONIGHT.
YOU'VE GHOST WRITTEN FOR BARBARA
WALTERS, OTTO PREMINGER.
MANY OTHERS THAT WE
DON'T KNOW ABOUT?

June says THOSE CAME OUT INADVERTENTLY.

Mike says I KNOW YOU LIKE TO
KEEP IT A SECRET.

June says IT REALLY ISN'T
IMPORTANT TO ME.
IT'S JUST, IT'S A PROFESSIONAL
THING TO DO, AND I CAN DO IT.
IT'S NOT VERY DIFFICULT TO DO.
AND IT MEANS THE WORLD TO
THE PEOPLE I'M WORKING WITH.
BARBARA'S BEEN SO HUMILIATED
BECAUSE IT CAME OUT.
AND PREMINGER WAS NOT
TERRIBLY PLEASED EITHER.
AND IT ISN'T FAIR.

Mike says BUT THERE ARE MANY OTHERS
THAT WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT, YES?

June says YEAH.

Mike says COULD YOU BRIEFLY
DESCRIBE THE PROCESS?

June says OH, IT'S AN
INTERESTING PROCESS.
IT BEGINS WITH, I MEET
THE PERSON FOR LUNCH.
MY DOUBLEDAY EDITOR
says, COME TO LUNCH.
WE HAVE A VERY ELEGANT LUNCH.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT REALLY
THAT'S ALL ABOUT.
I'M BEING CHARMING.
COURSE EVERYBODY'S BEING
AS CHARMING AS POSSIBLE.
THE END OF IT, SOMEHOW OR
OTHER WE ARE TALKING CONTRACT,
WHAT ARE MY TERMS?
AND I THINK THE POOR
PERSON HAS GOT NO CHOICE.
THE PERSON HASN'T HAD A
CHANCE TO SAY I'M GOING
TO THINK THIS OVER.
OH, SOMEBODY DID
AND TURNED ME DOWN.
MARY, MARY... SHE WAS
MARRIED TO
ACT ONE
MOSS HART.
MARY CARLISLE.
SHE AND I SAT OVER
A LOVELY LUNCH.
AND WHEN SHE GOT TO WHAT ARE
THE TERMS PART, SHE SAID,
I WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT.
AND SHE DECIDED NOT TO.
REALLY, THAT'S THE ONLY ONE
THAT FIGURED OUT A WAY OF
GETTING OUT OF THE LUNCHES.
AND THEN I COME DOWN TO NEW
YORK BECAUSE THEY ARE ALMOST
ALL DOWN IN NEW YORK, AND SIT
WITH THEM FOR A DAY WITH A
TAPE RECORDER, AND AFTER SEVEN
HOURS OF TAPE, YOU HAVE A
CHAPTER OR TWO CHAPTERS.
GO BACK AND YOU WRITE IT.
COME DOWN AGAIN,
'TIL YOU FINISH.
WHO ORGANIZES THE CHAPTERS?

Mike says ME.

June says YOU DO.

Mike says SO YOU HAVE AN OVERVIEW OF
HOW YOU'RE GOING TO GO ABOUT IT.
WHETHER YOU'RE GOING TO DO IT
CHRONOLOGICALLY OR START AT
THE END AND GO BACK
TO THE BEGINNING.

June says I KEEP THEM TO IT, TOO, SO I
DON'T WASTE TIME ON THE TAPES.

Mike says DO YOU FIND IT INTERESTING?

June says SURE.
YOU GET INSIDE SOMEBODY'S
LIFE AND SEE THEM AS THEY SEE
THEMSELVES, AND YOU WANT
TO PRESENT THEM WELL.
YOU WANT OTHER
PEOPLE TO LIKE THEM.
SURE IT IS.

Mike says EVER HAPPEN THAT WHEN THEY
READ THE BOOK THEY THOUGHT YOU
HADN'T MADE THEM NICE ENOUGH?

June says NO, NO, NEVER.
I REALLY LIKE THEM.
BY THE TIME -- ANYBODY
YOU KNOW REALLY WELL,
YOU START TO FEEL
SYMPATHY AND CONCERN.

Mike says IS THIS A CONDITION YOU HAVE
BEFORE YOU ACCEPT, THOUGH,
THAT YOU HAVE SOME SORT OF
GOOD FEELINGS ABOUT THEM?

June says OH, YEAH.
I WON'T WORK WITH LIARS.
AND I HAVE TURNED DOWN
TWO GOOD JOBS BECAUSE
THE PERSON WAS DISHONEST.

Mike says HMM.
NOW WHAT'S THIS ABOUT
THE HISTORY OF CANADA?

June says OH, AM I GOING TO
WRITE A HISTORY!
WELL, ONE ASSUMES I'M
GOING TO SOMEDAY.
MY FAMILY CAN'T BELIEVE IT.
I JUST REPEALED THE
CORN LAWS LAST WEEK.
[chuckling]
DO YOU KNOW THAT'S ONLY 1849,
AND I'VE BEEN WORKING ON IT
FOR EIGHT YEARS.
IT'S ALWAYS IN THE TYPEWRITER.
IT IS KILLING ME.
I WENT DOWN TO ONE OF THESE
HAPPY LUNCHES IN NEW YORK
WITH THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF
DOUBLEDAY AND ANOTHER EDITOR
OF ANOTHER THING.
AND THEY SAID THEY WERE
LOOKING FOR A SOCIAL HISTORY
OF CANADA.
AND THEY COULDN'T UNDERSTAND,
IT CAME UP CASUALLY,
THEY COULDN'T UNDERSTAND A
COUNTRY THAT WOULD SUPPORT
A WAR MEASURES ACT.
IN THE UNITED STATES, THE RIOTS
WOULD HAVE BEEN INCREDIBLE.
AND I SAID, OH, WELL LET ME
TELL YOU ABOUT THIS COUNTRY,
WHY IT SUPPORTS A WAR
MEASURE'S ACT AND LOVES ITS
POLICE FORCE.
IT IS NOT A -- FREEDOM USED TO
BE A DIRTY WORD IN THIS COUNTRY.
LIBERTY AND FREEDOM WERE THE
WORDS USED BY TRAITORS FOR A
HUNDRED YEARS IN THIS COUNTRY.
AND WE HAVE THAT TRADITION.
THEY SAID, FASCINATING, WOULD
YOU LIKE TO WRITE A HISTORY?
I SAID, YES.
WELL, I THOUGHT ALL YOU DID
WAS KIND OF ENLARGE ON THAT.

Mike says BUT YOU'RE FINDING, IN YOUR
RESEARCH, LOTS OF SUPPORT?

June says OH, YES.
WELL, YOU CAN FIND
WHATEVER YOU LOOK FOR.

Mike says YEAH.

June says I'M DOING MY DISTORTED
HISTORY OF CANADA SAME AS
EVERYBODY ELSE HAS.

Mike says BUT ORDER HAS BEEN
NUMBER ONE IN CANADA.

June says YES.
WE'RE A LAW AN ORDER COUNTRY.
WE'VE GOT SAFE STREETS AND
WE'RE NEAT, AND WELL BEHAVED
AT SOME COSTS TO
CIVIL LIBERTIES.

Mike says JUNE, DO YOU EVER THINK IN
SOME OF THE CAUSES YOU'VE
ADVOCATED -- NOT ADVOCATED,
YES, ADVOCATED AND SUPPORTED,
THAT IN HINDSIGHT AS YOU LOOK
BACK, THAT PERHAPS THE PUSH
WAS A LITTLE TOO EXTREME?
TOO INTENSE?

June says NO.
NO, THAT'S LIKE I'M
FORGIVING MYSELF.
I THINK I BEHAVED IMMODERATELY
AROUND THE DIGGER HOUSE.
WHEN I FIRST FOUND THESE
KIDS, THEY WERE BEING REFUSED
WELFARE, REFUSED MEDICAL
ATTENTION, REFUSED FOOD.
I COULDN'T BELIEVE A
COUNTRY WOULD DO THAT.
ANYBODY, ANY COMMUNITY
WOULD DO THAT.
AND I BEHAVED
VERY EMOTIONALLY.
I CRIED A GOOD DEAL.
BUT I WOULD HAVE TO DO THAT,
YOU KNOW, TO GET USED TO IT.
THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY
FOR ME TO GET USED TO IT.

Mike says DO YOU FIND NOW WHEN YOU MOVE
IN ON AN ISSUE OR A CAUSE,
YOU'RE A LITTLE COOLER,
A LITTLE MORE NEUTRAL,
A LITTLE MORE OR LESS --

June says YES, I TELL YOU.
THE EXPERIENCE SHOWS.
JUST LAST NIGHT I WAS
TALKING TO THE PERIODICAL
WRITERS' ASSOCIATION.
WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A BRIEF
TO OTTAWA IN MARCH ON THE
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BILL.
AND THE YOUNGER WOMEN HAD
WRITTEN THE PROPOSAL,
MOSTLY WOMEN HAD
WRITTEN THE PROPOSAL.
AND I LOOKED AT IT AND SAID,
NO, WE'VE GOT TO TAKE OUT
THIS WORD AND THIS
WORD AND THIS WORD.
WE'VE GOT TO COOL IT.

Mike says YOU LEARNED THE GAME.

June says OH, I GUESS, YES.

Mike says YEAH.
THE MOST IMPORTANT SINGLE
FACTOR -- YOU CAN MENTION TWO
IF YOU WANT -- BUT THE MOST
IMPORTANT SINGLE FACTOR
THAT'S HELPED YOU IN
THE JOURNEY THUS FAR?

June says MY HUSBAND.
HE'S EVERYTHING.
HE TAKES CARE OF ME.

Mike says GOSH, HOW DO YOU TAKE
CARE OF JUNE CALLWOOD?

June says I TAKE CARE OF HIM,
AND HE TAKES CARE OF ME.
WE'RE ABOUT THREE-QUARTERS
OF A PERSON EACH.
THE OTHER ONE FILLS
UP THE OTHER QUARTER.

Mike says HE'S AN AMAZING MAN.

June says OH, YEAH.
HE'S VERY FINE.
HE HAS INTEGRITY, AND
STRENGTH, AND HE'S KIND.

Mike says WOW.
YOU SAID EARLIER IN THIS
PROGRAM, AND I THINK I READ
A QUOTE SOMEWHERE IN
TELEVISION, UNLIKE WRITING,
YOU DON'T HAVE A
SENSE OF WINNING, TRUE?

June says NO, THAT'S RIGHT.

Mike says THAT STAYED WITH ME
SINCE I READ THAT BECAUSE
I THINK YOU'RE RIGHT.

June says YEAH.

Mike says SO KEEP WRITING.

[laughing]

Mike says AND I'D LIKE TO
CONGRATULATE YOU ONCE AGAIN
FOR YOUR AWARD.

June says THANK YOU.

Mike says BEING A MEMBER OF
THE ORDER OF CANADA.
IT'S BEEN A GREAT PLEASURE.
WE'LL KEEP LISTENING FOR
THE VOICE, AND HOPEFULLY,
WE'LL KEEP CHANGING.
SO THANK YOU, JUNE.

June says NICE MAN, THANK YOU, MIKE.

Mike says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
AND GOOD NIGHT.

(music plays)

Theme music plays as the end credits roll.

Guest, JUNE CALLWOOD.

Director, Robin Christmas.

Executive Producer, Mike McManus.

A learning opportunity by TVOntario.

Watch: Interview: June Callwood