I thought I knew everything there was to know about my mum. You’d think that after 20 years that there wouldn’t but much in the way of surprises. Mum had told me the story of how she’d met Dad about fifty times (even the cringy parts) and whenever my brother and I took things for granted she’d go on and on about how tough her childhood was. Little did I know that she had something way juicier in store for me.

Last weekend we had called a company to our property to do some tree felling. Melbourne has some leafy suburbs and although ours is gorgeous, sometimes the trees interfere with the power lines and have to be removed. Mum stood by the window watching the arborists dismantling the tree at the front of our house and I noticed that she was silently crying. I asked her what was wrong and then she started to recount a memory I’d never heard before. She said that when she was a student at university she was a “big greenie”. She was involved with all the political groups at uni and dressed like a hippy every day. I could not believe what she was telling me because these days she’s a pretty straight laced lady! She said that one of the most moving experiences she had during this period was going up into the hills with her friends to stop a logging company from destroying a precious old growth forest. All of this was in the eighties when people were starting to become more conscious of the damage large industries are causing to the earth. Apparently she and her friends tied themselves to trees and stayed there until the logging company backed down. Not only was I totally shocked, I was also really impressed!

By the time she was winding up her tale, the arborists were getting to the tree removal. Armadale arborists are really quick and efficient so the job was done before Mum could start up another yarn – but this time, I actually wanted to hear more!