June Rachelson-Ospa

New York, USA


The Best Kindness Ever

At the young age of 5 June’s mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. June was raised by her dad and Grandfather until he found Freda Hotte, a housekeeper/nanny. She came to this country from Germany where her family lost everything. Her misfortune continued when her husband attempted to murder her, and when she stepped on a nail she was told she may never walk again. Freda could have become a bitter, resentful woman. Instead she became a woman who always said to me, “Life is short, so you may as well smile.”

Initially Freda offered to work for 6 months till June’s dad found someone permanent but after one look at June, she stayed for 16 years until she remarried. Freda lived with the family during the week and went home on weekends. Pretty soon, Freda would have June over on weekends too. She was Catholic and we were Jewish. Freda taught June about all religions and holidays and she lovingly called Freda a “Jewca.” June learned to be open to all people through Freda and celebrated every Holiday. Freda and her Grandfather even spoke to each other (when June wasn’t supposed to know what they were saying) in German and Yiddish! Even after Freda remarried and moved she and June remained close.

“Freda was the kindest, most gentle person I have ever known. She became my Mom, the light of my life. She is long gone, but it was Freda who taught me how to love and be loved and how to be a loving mother. The odd thing was, Freda had the exact same birthday as my birth Mother. September 27. The best day on the planet cause Freda was born that day. Through Freda I was also able to forgive and love my birth Mom until she passed away 2011. I have so much love and gratitude for this kind, kind woman. I will never forget her.”

– Edited by Jewel Fries

<< Back to Everyday Kindness