I visited with the Moores in their compact apartment (which they share with Anne’s large loom!) at the Hickman, a Quaker retirement facility in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where they have lived for nearly four years. Their reflections about living lives of service based on Quaker beliefs and practice give insight into the various paths they have trod, including longstanding work in the peace movement, concern about the environment, and consistent participation in meeting as well as the larger Quaker community.
Anne was born near where they now live. Her parents were not active in meeting when she was young, but when she heard about church from school friends and asked her family about it, she began attending Valley Meeting with her grandmother and aunt. Gradually she made Quaker values and principles her own, attending Quaker schools and eventually joining Valley Meeting, to which she and Tom currently belong.
Tom, on the other hand, was born in Detroit and lived there until his early teens, when his parents moved to Berkeley, California, near the Quaker meeting, which Tom attended a few times. After graduating from University of California and serving for three years in the Army Air Force, he returned to Berkeley and promptly joined the meeting, having decided, after that brief experience of Friends, that "Quakers have the right idea."
Tom and Anne met in 1954 at a Young Friends General Conference gathering where Anne was the cook. Later that same summer, Tom was at Pendle Hill for three weeks and attended Valley Meeting for worship. Anne was there and invited his group to lunch at the house where Anne’s mother, now over 100, still lives. Tom recalls, "Without realizing it at first, I was smitten. A couple of days later, when Anne was at Pendle Hill, I found myself proposing marriage to her, telling her all of my flaws and hoping I would be forgiven them. She is still having trouble with some of them—such as my apparently incurable procrastination!" But she accepted his proposal, and the Moores have lived their Quaker values ever since in quiet and influential ways.
Right after they were married Tom worked for three years at the community YMCA in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. Later, they were invited to be co-directors of the International Student House in Washington, D.C., where they served for three years. Tom’s interest remained in working with Student Life programs, and when the director’s position opened at the University of Kansas—a joint YWCA and YMCA program on the campus, run by students, Tom applied and was appointed. They lived in Lawrence, Kansas, for 23 years, until Tom retired.
In Kansas they were both deeply involved with the local Friends meeting, as well as with Missouri Valley Friends Conference (MVFC). Anne served as clerk of the meeting, and, according to Tom, "probably most other positions in the meeting at one time or another." Tom, too, held several positions in the meeting. Anne was also clerk of MVFC and of AFSC’s North Central Regional Committee, traveling regularly to Philadelphia for national AFSC meetings.
Anne found Lawrence to be "a very good place to raise a family, a caring and close community with a wide range of opinion because of the university." She was an active volunteer, as head of the Volunteer Clearinghouse, supervising Vista volunteers, for which, Tom notes proudly, "she was recognized as one of Lawrence’s most influential people." As time passed, she became concerned about her own retirement, so she took a job as a home health aide to build up some social security qualifications.
When the Moores returned to the Philadelphia area following Tom’s retirement, Anne worked full-time for six years as an office assistant at Friends World Committee, Section of the Americas. They lived with Anne’s parents, an experiment that worked very nicely and continued for a number of years. The downside was being unable to host Quakers from all over the world as they had so often done in Kansas. Because Anne’s father had Parkinson’s disease he didn’t want their home "to become a hotel." Anne describes it as "quite a switch—a real sacrifice."
Anne says, "Being active in Quaker concerns has given me so many opportunities for growth—clerking various meetings and committees, serving on Boards, getting involved in West Chester with peace concerns and the Human Relations Council." Anne appreciates her access to a computer at the Hickman because "it enables me to do my work as clerk of General Services, one of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s standing committees." Tom says, "We have done things not for money but just because we thought they were important and useful. We’re war tax resisters, for which we’ve had strong support from Quakers, as well as many of our friends and colleagues throughout the years."
Especially moving for both Anne and Tom was experiencing "loving support from the Religious Society of Friends following our daughter’s death." Lydia, a doctor, was killed in an automobile accident in 1994. Lydia was elder sister to their sons Howard and Charles.
Asked about what nurtures their spirits, Tom replies, "There was a time when I was very faithful about a daily reading, various devotional books, the Bible. Other times, I’ve just tried to live my life and do the best I can. Quakerism has supported and honed what my non-Quaker parents demonstrated about openness and equality. I am still learning about being Spirit-led in decision making and everyday life." Anne responds, "For the last four years, I have exercised meditatively for ten or fifteen minutes in the morning." For both of them, faithful meeting attendance is "wonderful, a necessity for recharging our spiritual batteries." Anne says she isn’t "a reader by instinct, as Tom is, but when we were Friends-in-residence at Pendle Hill, Winter term of 2000, I enjoyed being in the courses and doing the reading."
What do they do for fun? Anne notes, smiling, "One of Tom’s conditions of our returning here was that we go to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts, which we’ve both enjoyed." They are involved in an electric vehicle club, having owned one for nine years, as a direct and practical result of their concern for the environment.
Tom says that the events of September 11 revealed to him his own ignorance about Islam, so he took a course at Pendle Hill and "read various helpful publications." Anne speaks often about the profound influence of the Peace Testimony and movement in her life. She has been inspired to "think deeply about how to build peace at many levels, there being new opportunities in the wake of so much change and awareness."
In joyful retirement, their growth continues. Calmly, quietly, Tom and Anne Moore let their lives speak.
© 2003 Kara Newell