June in July

Cousin Junie with my mom’s youngest and oldest sisters, Ann and Cathy. Go Sox.


Three and half years ago, I recruited my cousin, June, to star in a video I made about the creative process. She was a young five years old at the time and already well-versed in big words, iPads, and popsicle stick jokes. (June provides me with most of my go-to knock-knock jokes). She’s a real wordsmith: an only child with an insatiable appetite for learning and a mom who teaches linguistics.

Junie—as her big cousins call her—is now eight and a half. Her smile is big. Her cackle is bigger. Her curiosity and playfulness are biggest.

My aunt—her mom—posts the occasional Junie quote on her Facebook:

“I’m bored! Bored bored bored!

Gimme a B!

Gimme an O!

Gimme an A!

Gimme an R!

Gimme a D!

Gimme a DELETE!

Gimme a DELETE!

Gimme a DELETE!

Gimme an R!

Gimme an E!

Gimme a D!

What does that spell? BORED!!”

The other day, Junie and I were shooting hoops. She suggested naming our team “The Rotten Chestnuts” but definitely not “The Third-Grade Boys Who Say The A-Word And The A-Hole Word.” Understandable, I thought.

We started playing HORSE until that evolved into Junie hucking up backwards, underhand shots over her head. Each shot would follow the same sequence: wide-eyed looks back at the basket as she got her feet set;  even wider-eyed looks back at the basket as she released the ball, anxious to see where the ball went; and a loud cackle when the ball rimmed out.

The one time the ball went in, we got it on camera:



You’re only given one spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.—Robin Williams

That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. –Albert Einstein

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