‘Noted’ music teacher retires
Ann Bryant could play piano by ear at age 5, so her parents paid for piano lessons.
“That’s when teachers came to my house to teach,” she says. “They don’t do that anymore.”
Bryant soon retires after 57 years with the Bridge City district; 61 years of teaching in all.
She says she will spend time with husband Cecil, also a retired teacher, and give piano lessons every afternoon.
“I’d like to learn more about technology,” she says. “I’ve got a computer and Facebook and e-mail and all that. But I’m stuck on it and need to get help. I need to learn more about it.”
Bryant says she and her family will continue to rebuild from Hurricane Ike damage.
“We had six feet of water and lost everything,” she says. “I’m still trying to get things together from remodeling and moving back in.”
Cecil owned some rent houses pre-Ike, more casualties from the storm.
“We lost every one of them” Bryant says. “First we lost them in Rita and rebuilt them, then we lost all of them to Ike. [Our kids] have kind of taken over the rental business.”
She grew up in Port Neches in the area where Merriman Street is now. Back then it was called the “Kitchens’ Dairy”/”Kitchens’ Row” area.
“We milked quite a few cows,” she says. “During the war my brother, mother and dad and I did all the work because we couldn’t get men to work. They’d all gone to World War II.”
She attended Lamar, where she met Cecil. At the time Lamar was a junior college. She also went to the St. Louis Institute of Music in Missouri.
In 1948, she was hired for the Riverside section of Orange.
“They had three school in Riverside after World War II, Manley, Tilley and Colburn. I taught a few months at Colburn. I taught P.E. because I had a P.E. minor. Then they transferred me to Manley School because they needed a music teacher there. Bridge City didn’t have enough teachers’ [positions] to have a full-time music teacher, so I went between Cove Elementary and Bridge City Elementary for two or three years – until Bridge City got enough teachers to hire me full-time.”
She taught where the high school is now, when it only had grades one through eight. The older kids in Bridge City commuted to Orange’s Stark High School.
“I was at Hatton [Elementary] when it opened in the ‘60s,” she says.
She calls Facebook her “social life,” saying she “doesn’t get out much.” Still, people tell her she’s a workaholic and she admits, “I’m used to being busy all the time.”
She is active with the National Guild of Piano Teachers and there’s even a Web site called, “Mrs. Bryant Was My Music Teacher.”