This week, we introduce Ellen Leslie, who is co-founder of West Side Family Place alongside Mary Lynn Burke. It was a privilege for us to spend time with Ellen and hear the tale of how Family Place came to be. Ellen explained how she and a group of other mothers met at a high school reunion and spoke honestly about how isolated they felt. This led to the creation of a welcoming, safe space where parents (mostly mothers in those early days) could come when they needed a break from being home alone with their young children.
As many of us are mothers, it was touching to hear how mothers reacted to this new and unique facility, and how their experiences of motherhood in the 1970s were not so different from motherhood today. More to come on this topic.
Sadly, Mary Lynn Burke passed away in 2020. We honour Mary’s contribution to the West Side Family Place legacy, and the value of documenting history is brought to mind.