My story: Annie Gallant’s life journey

Columnist Marian Gillard reveals the life and times of the Observer’s longtime lifestyles editor

Annie was born August 22, 1950, the third daughter in a loving family. Her mother was an army nurse serving overseas and her father also served his term in Canada. They were discharged and her mother was able take care of the children. For the first 10 years of her life Annie remembers her father being at Toronto University. He completed his PhD. Annie remembers the Convocation. She was told to be quiet and she was overwhelmed by the huge crowd.

The family then moved to Wheatley, a fishing village between Toronto and Windsor. Dad got a job as a research scientist on Lake Eire.

Annie’s parents were very kind but she was an emotional child. If she ever got into trouble her father would only have to tell her he was disappointed and she would break down. He called her “Wee Annie”. Her father’s mother also lived with them but she could be very mean to the children. Eventually she had a stroke and had to be taken to a home.

As Annie got into her teens she admits,”My moral compass was not what it should have been.” She discovered boys. The outcome was an unwanted pregnancy. Abortion was almost unheard of but the Children’s Aid Society Home took her in. Annie found it very difficult to be separated from her family. The woman in charge was very strict and Annie was not her favourite. She was given make-work chores, such as cleaning baseboards with a toothbrush! When she was eight months pregnant she fell down a flight of stairs. By God’s grace she suffered only a broken toe and the baby boy was saved. He was given up for adoption.

She got enough good grades to graduate so she decided to get on with her life. She decided on broadcasting as a career, having completed a high school business diploma and she was accepted at Fanshaw College. Upon completion of her studies Annie became a producer in an Ottawa radio station.

Her life changed completely when she found the love of her life, Pat Gallant. They have been together since 1978. As a child, Pat moved around a lot with his family. At the time they met, his parents lived in Charlottetown, PEI. Annie happily connected with the family, who have been very supportive. Annie and Pat’s sister have become kindred spirits.

Pat was a carpenter by trade they moved to Vancouver. By now they had been married for four years and were ready to start a family. When she was given the good news that Matthew was on the way, she was eager to tell her family but no one was around to tell. Matthew was followed by Simon and Tom.

Annie supported the boys in their 4H activities for 20 years and she also helped as a volunteer in their local school.

After 40 years Pat and Annie are still bonded and have Matthew and Jody’s special twin girls to dote on. Annie has recently retired from 22 years of service at the Quesnel Cariboo Observer. Life will change again but Annie adores her guys – all five of them – and wouldn’t have life any other way.

Marian Gillard is a regular Observer contributor.

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