Nearly thirty years ago, in a previous life on Melbourne’s 3AW, I received a letter from a listener including something they wanted me to read on air in the lead up to Mother’s Day.
It was an anonymous tract from the United States called The Meanest Mother. I almost threw it in the bin. After all, who wants to hear about some mean-spirited Mum on that very special day.
But then I read it and realised that what sounded like a childhood criticism was actually a wonderful salute to a wonderful Mum. I did read it on my program on a special Mother’s Day. The radio station had flown my Mum and Dad from New Zealand as a surprise and they appeared on my Morning program. Years later, I still had people asking about it. Sadly, I lost my only copy and had no idea who had authored it.
I found it again recently in a box of old papers in storage, read it, decided to ‘Australianise’ it and add some of my own childhood memories.
The result is The Meanest Mother with music by my old collaborator Peter Sullivan. We’ve written some songs together and he composed the theme for the HINCH TV program.
Then, thanks to Google, I discovered that the original version was written more than 40 years ago, way back in 1967, for a weekly Catholic newspaper called Our Sunday Visitor by a young woman named Bobbie Pingaro.
And that’s how it got from there to here four decades later.