In June 2021, June Flood was helped into a side car of a motorcycle and taken on her first-ever motorcycle ride. That was what she requested to celebrate her 100th birthday. When asked about the ride, she says, "It was fun but not long enough and not fast enough." The video of her ride was posted on TikTok and has received close to two million views.
Accepting challenges is nothing new for Flood. On her 90th birthday she asked to go on a hot air balloon ride. That became a much longer ride than expected as the balloon operator who was from out of state realized the farm fields were still fully planted; finding a good landing site was difficult. It was another day that Flood enjoyed.
Flood says she is surprised she has lived to be 100. She really doesn't know to what she can attribute her long life. But as she talks about her life, it becomes obvious her longevity is due to fun, faith (she has been active in Westminster Presbyterian Church), walking every day and rolling with the punches.
"Enjoy, and take one day at a time. Just go with the flow," she says. Flood has had to do that throughout her life. At the age of four, her father lost his job in Alton, and they moved to a farm near Carlinville. When she entered high school and her parents could only afford one set of textbooks, her older brother got them and refused to share. So, she used her friend's books. She has been through a divorce, the death of her second husband, and the death of her third husband.
Flood came to Springfield after she married; she set up a beauty shop in her home. "June puts on lipstick every day," says Amy Rasing, director of development at Illinois Presbyterian Home Communities, where Flood now lives.
During the pandemic, members of her extended family – six children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren, and seven great, great grandchildren – came in pairs or groups to visit her daily, talking through the side window panels of an outside door near her room. It wasn't easy to only communicate through a window, and Flood says, "I knew how to unlock that door and could have gotten out. But I thought they might kick me out of here so I didn't."
Flood enjoys her sunny, corner room with two large windows and points to the picture hanging on the wall of her as a child, and the quilt on her bed with the names of family members. Her large angel collection fills a table behind the couch.
She plans to keep living one day at a time. She was first in line for the vaccine and walks daily. "Maybe I will live 10 more years, but I don't want to get helpless. If I do, I want to go – wherever they send me," she says with a chuckle.
Cinda Ackerman Klickna of Rochester enjoys meeting interesting people, the perk of freelance writing.