the journey of a budding author

Weekly photo Challenge: Unique


Winnie Young I  want to pay tribute to someone who was  very unique, Winnie Young, my late mother-in-law. When this photograph was taken she was 97 years old, 3 months away from her death. We were having some fun over lunch one day and she played along wonderfully, putting on my son’s sunglasses and giving a hippy salute.  Born in 1911 on a farm in the eastern Transvaal, she became a gym teacher in the difficult years of the Depression. She was widowed when her husband Bertie was killed in the Western Desert fairly early in world war two. She had two small children to care for and she courageously  carried on despite her grief.

She married a long-time admirer, Charles Young, some years later and she went on to have four more children. Charles died after twenty years of a very happy marriage. Again she had to carry on her life and support four children as the older two had grown up and left home.

She tried journalism for a living and as we all know that is not a passport to riches! But she went one day to interview a yoga teacher for a local paper and she was very intrigued. With her background in fitness teaching she started attending classes and soon was able to begin teaching herself. She started a small yoga school and this grew and expanded until she established The Young Yoga institute.

As arthritis began to take hold of her body, she turned more to the spiritual. A Deeply committed Catholic, she began to explore the Contemplatives of the ancient Church and was inspired to start a school of meditation. She did the most amazing embroidery, and knitted fine garments despite the fact that her hands were painful. We so enjoyed her protracted visits as did she. She loved sitting on our patio watching the birdlife.

She lived an amazing life. Indomitable would be a good word to describe her. She could be difficult sometimes but she was always loved and respected by those who knew her.


Author: booksdefineme

I have always been surrounded by books. My parents had books, books and more books. I haunted the library as a child and when I grew up I worked in books shops. When I had children and they went to school I ran the school library. And my husband keeps on telling me there are too many books in the house. They somehow seem to pile up on every available surface almost of their own volition. I fight back and donate mounds of them to the local library but somehow it is a losing battle. I just find more taking their place! For the last eight years or so I have been wrestling with writing a novel and what a fierce tussle it is. I am about to publish this magnum opus in a few weeks time. I feel as I did when I gave birth to my children; nervous but excited!

8 thoughts on “Weekly photo Challenge: Unique

  1. She really is a true inspiration!! You are indeed lucky to have known her…

  2. A beautiful tribute to your mother-in-law. She sounds like an independent strong woman who “did what had to be done.” Wow! 97. What a legacy.

  3. Mother-in-law passed away Dec. 22. Shes has had such a tough year, but gave it a good fight. We were blessed to have her these 90 years. Thank you kindly for asking about her.

  4. Winnie was obviously an extraordinary woman. What an inspiration. 🙂

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