Anne Teresa Moran was my Aunt. She was born in 1923 in the market town of Ballygar, County Galway, Ireland. She was the fifth child of Dermot and Ellen Moran (née Divilly). The Morans had seven children: six girls and one boy. And they all had beautiful red hair! Their names were Mai, Kitty, Monica, Martin, Anne, Frances (my...
Anne T. Moran
(1923 - 2021)
Paix à son âme.
Anne Teresa Moran was my Aunt. She was born in 1923 in the market town of Ballygar, County Galway, Ireland. She was the fifth child of Dermot and Ellen Moran (née Divilly). The Morans had seven children: six girls and one boy. And they all had beautiful red hair! Their names were Mai, Kitty, Monica, Martin, Anne, Frances (my Mother) and Dorothy. And Dorothy, the ‘baby’, today aged 92, is now the only one left.
Anne emigrated to Canada in the 1950s. She made her home in the beautiful city of Saskatoon, in Western Canada, and there she remained until her death in her 98th year on Wednesday the 10th of February, 2021.
Anne made regular visits to Ireland during my childhood in the sixties and seventies. She was a great reader and I have vivid memories of all the books she gave us … The Bobbsey Twins (Nan & Bert & Flossie & Freddy!), Little Women, Anne of Green Gables (one of my favorite books of all time!), The Growing Summer by Noël Streatfield (the eccentric, kind, poetry-mad Great-Aunt Dymphna always reminded me a little of Anne), The Green Years by A. J. Cronin, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Jean Webster’s Daddy-Long-Legs (magic!), to name a few.
Anne worked in the University of Saskatchewan Library and she always said that she was very lucky with her job because she was rubbing shoulders with interesting, educated people. She had a great respect for education. She was very sporty and played badminton and tennis regularly well into her eighties. She loved a game of bridge and played twice a week right up to the Pandemic.
My Aunt was a devout Catholic and she went to Mass every day most regularly at The Holy Spirit Church in Kingsmere Place or at Our Lady of Lourdes in Varsity View. She believed in the power of prayer and she always had prayer leaflets in her pocket. She would distribute these to people she met on her daily rounds. Her favorite was the Memorare, a prayer I know very well because it was also my Mother’s favorite, and I remember her telling me that it was their Mother’s favorite also. I would say it with Anne on the phone when she was under the weather.
Anne always spoke of Saskatoon with pride and affection. She said it was a great place to live. I remember her telling me about the pelicans who gather by the weir on the South Saskatchewan River to fish from April to October. She explained that, for the locals, their arrival is a harbinger of Spring. I like it!
She had an amazing memory and could recite dozens of poems. And this was a woman in her nineties! Lots of Yeats (in particular, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, The Wild Swans at Coole, Down by the Salley Gardens and When You are Old ), lots of Shakespeare (She particularly loved All the world’s a stage … ), some Robert Louis Stevenson (Where Go The Boats was her favorite); but her Number One Poem Of All Time was Alexander Pope’s The Quiet Life, which she would quote with great relish. An extract follows.
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
It would have to be said that 2020 was a rough year for my Aunt. She had to leave her beloved home on Osler Street and move into a Retirement Home, something she had always dreaded. And then Covid struck. So, no activities, and no visitors. Bad timing for this mentally and physically energetic nonagenarian. And then, last Summer, her second eye failed. She had lost the first to age-related macular degeneration some years back. My reading days are over, she told me, grimly. And finally, in September, my Mother, her beloved sister, Frances, died. Paix à son âme.
Those whom the gods love die young. I always thought that this meant that virtuous or gifted people die at an early age because the gods want those people to be with them in the afterlife as soon as possible. But, over the past few years, as I have watched people age and die around me, my point of view has changed. I think that those whom the gods love die young in order to spare them the heartbreak of old age.
My Aunt was a bright, energetic, kind, funny, generous, stubborn, smart, feisty old woman and she will most certainly not be unlamented by her family and her friends, by those who loved her.
Her eight nephews and nieces loved their Auntie Anne dearly: David Moran, Ballygar, Ireland; Peter Blake, London, Canada; Susan Blake, Nantes, France; Rhona & Judy Blake, Dublin, Ireland; Conor & Simon Collins, Dublin, Ireland; and their brother, Paul Collins, deceased. Anne loved children and her 15 great-nieces and-nephews will remember their Great-Aunt with affection and gratitude.
On behalf of my Aunt I would like to thank some of her friends: Dr. Elizabeth Ives, a friend forever, the wonderfully kind Jane Heaslip, who was with Anne right up to the end; the generous and always helpful Bruce Zbitniff; the ever-dependable Terry McBride; the steadfastly loyal Mary Kelly in Dublin; all of Anne’s dedicated and patient drivers and supporters, Williams, who never forgot Christmas, her attentive neighbours on Osler Street, the bridge players, women of the CWL and RUH Women’s Auxiliary with whom she spent many happy hours, and Cathleen Divilly in Galway who never lost touch. A special thanks to Dr Barbara Anderson and Mr Patrick Pitka for their kindness.
The Pelicans will return to Saskatoon in the Spring. But Anne won’t be there to see them. Never again! Sometimes I find myself wondering sadly, Oh, why do people have to grow old and die?
I would like to wind up with a little poem I wrote for her in 2019 on the occasion of her 96th birthday.