Eulogy of Anne R. Mackie Enright Gustin
May 12, 1912 - November 19, 2001
Presented Saturday 10 a.m., November24, 2001
Saint Mary's Catholic Church,Winchester, Massachusetts
Good morning, my name is Paul Logan Enright. I respond toeither Paul or Logan. I was my Mother's fifth and last child. She insisted onno long and emotional speeches here, so I'll at least comply with the lengthissue. By the way as we all know, Mom was NOT a morning person. I must tellyou, she never would have approved of this time of day her for mass.
I was here a few weeks ago from my home in California, andwas preparing to leave her nursing home. The next morning I was to fly backhome. I said to her "Mom, I am leaving now, and quite likely we won't seeeach other again." I went on to say, "I am trying to think ofsomething profound to say". She thought for a moment and with a calm lookin her eyes, said: "You'll think of something". She displayedoptimism and courage. She believed in people, even when they questionedthemselves.
Anne Rita Mackie, better known by many as Nan, was born inWorcester, Massachusetts May 12, 1912. She was the youngest of five, daughterof Charles Mackie and Mary Ellen Quinn, descendants of Scottish and Irishimmigrants. She was raised in Pittsfield, in western Massachusetts. Her fatherowned a florist shop on North Street. The parents of her future husband, ourfather, owned the shoe store across the street. A product of the lateVictorian era, Nan and her contemporaries experienced the first generation ofelectric lights, telephones and automobiles. While Mom’s siblings havepassed on, her eldest sister is a Maryknoll religious, Sr. Beata Mackie, whojust turned 100 years old last March.
My Mother had a close relationship with her parents andfamily. Her mother created beautiful hand- made dresses her. Her father, whoprivately converted himself to Catholicism, loved boating. They would take daytrips on the Hudson and Housatonic Rivers as a family. As a little girl shewould sit next to her grandfather who had lost part of his leg in the CivilWar. She would knock on his prosthesis. "Ouch" he would say as if hecould feel it. He taught her to read when she was four.
She attended the College of New Rochelle in New York but hadto drop out when funds were tight during the Great Depression. She recentlysaid her college years in New York were the most carefree and enjoyable timesof her life. She and her friends would get dressed to the nines and attendclubs and even a few Speak Easys in those prohibition years.
Although she never imagined herself as a nurse, under theadvice of her mother she went on to St Elizabeth School of Nursing inBrighton, MA where she graduated with honours. She became a registered nurse.This mentoring from her mother ended up saving our Mother and all of useventually.
She married my father, John Richard Enright in 1937 after aone-year courtship. They met at the wedding of HIS sister to HER brother! Hewas a handsome and charming young graduate of Seton Hall and Fordham LawSchool. He became an attorney for the US Treasury, Estate Tax Bureau inBoston.
They lived in Pittsfield then Randolph, Massachusetts intheir first years of marriage and in 1944 moved to 4 Pine Street, Winchester.An associate of Dad's from Boston then called Winchester the Promised Land.That house that they purchased in '44 was just sold by our family - she livedin it for 57 years until March.
They had five children. John, her first born, diedtragically in 1989 - it devastated my mother and all of us. The rest of us areliving in the Boston area except for myself. Mom always wanted the best forher children, 18 grandchildren, one great grandchild and one on the way. Sheworked tirelessly to create and provide that.
My mother took a job as a school nurse in the mid 50s, forthe City of Boston after my father's first heart attack in 1952. His nextheart attack killed him in 1961. With five children between the ages of 10 and22, and at the age of 49 she became a widow. She was determined to get us allthrough college with bachelor's degrees - an achievement that gave herenormous pride.
Later, she was fortunate enough to have a loving, romanticand adoring second husband in Lester Gustin. Gus and Nan did everythingtogether - they worshipped each other. They had ten wonderful years togetheruntil his passing in 1987.
Part of Nan's legacy was service and generosity to others.My Dad required much care throughout their marriage. Her Aunts, Kitty andMabel, were quite needy in their old age. Mother came to their aid withunwavering and complete support. Mabel even lived with us for the last 10years of her life. Mom was a true giver - The most generous person one wouldever hope to meet.
Her five kids and grandkids were the loves of her life. Shestood by us through every turn. I went to San Francisco in 1972, afterdropping out of college temporarily. I had a backpack, a few dollars and noplan. My mother was ALWAYS there for me. She believed in me. She believed inALL her kids and ALL of God's kids.
Her love of cats was legendary; especially her beloved Aiko,whose name not coincidentally rhymes with psycho. She loved Johnnie Carson'smonologues, crossword puzzles and antique furniture. She was a big BostonCeltic fan, especially during the Larry Byrd years - she disapproved of myrooting for the Lakers in those years. Midnight snacks included ginger ale,bologna sandwiches on Pepperidge Farm white bread with a little butter.
Above all she loved to learn. History and the study ofcivilization fascinated her. She might be found sitting in her corner of thepink couch watching a show on The Crusades while looking up the subject in theencyclopedia.
She admired hard work, good teeth, proper etiquette and thecorrect use of pronouns. She treasured Victorian era design and was an activemember of the Winchester Historical Society for years. Nan devoured mysterynovels especially the works of PD James.
She loved to brag about her kid's accomplishments: John'sgreat long letter and stories, Steve’s undaunted composure and quick whit,Marie’s gentle spirit and love of nature and beauty, Chris’ easy laugh inthe face of adversity, and my carefree, adventurous nature and business sense.
She loved to laugh at her kid's rapid-fire humor. EspeciallyJohn, Steve and Marie would have her in stitches with their special brand ofquick-whited, off the cuff nonsense. Chris and I sort of got it, but reallyjust loved the interaction between the older kids and Mom.
I will miss calling her late at night - knowing she's thereby the phone. She was ALWAYS there. She was always up past midnight, veryconvenient for her West Coast family members.
I will miss her signature facial expressions like peeringover her reading glasses at you with that face that said: "I don't reallyget what you are saying, but I am giving you a chance to convince me".And she would give you every chance to convince her. She was patient andreasonable always.
She could be silly. Sticking maple pods on our noses at theStoneham Zoo. Allowing her picture to be taken with my daughter's stuffedbear. Talking baby talk to Aiko. Late at night, when in a relaxed mood shewould stand behind her chair in the kitchen bracing it, with a gaping mouthacting like the words couldn't get out, and being simply silly.
Even the typing skills that were used to compose thiswriting can be traced to Mom. She insisted I take personal typing in Jr. Highwhen other guys were taking apart cars. I think she called that one right,like so many things she insisted upon.
Nan was a thoroughly modern woman. She was a trueRenaissance woman who was often compared to Katherine Hepburn. Althoughfeminism was a concept she understood and admired, she didn't simply talkabout it, she lived it.
I remember the first time she heard the word"bummer". She asked me what is meant and I explained a bummer is anoun for a bad thing or event - something sort of tragic. She had incorporatedit into her vocabulary by the end of that summer.
And in the end she renewed her relations with God. Whenasked about the priest who visited her a month before she passed, and did hepray with her? She said: "Yes, I received EVERY sacrament ever createdsince the Byzantine Empire"
So for the lady who was born just weeks after the sinking ofthe Titanic, and who left us only weeks after the tragic events of September11, 2001, we say: So long, Mom, we love you so much and will always cherishour memories of you! Goodbye "sweetie".
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