Pointe Personalities: Meet Ann Pemberton
Posted By: Becky Davis - 12/5/2019 10:00:00 AM

You might call her Miss P, or you may know her as Ann.  Chances are you called her the more formal name of Miss Pemberton if you were in her 9th grade English class, and for anyone who grew up in Amarillo those chances are pretty good. With a teaching career that spanned 35 years – from 1959 to 1994 – Ann Pemberton taught countless teens at several campuses including Amarillo High, Sam Houston, Bonham and Crockett Junior Highs.

For Ann, the decision to become a teacher was a pretty simple one.  “That was what women did back then,” she explains.  “At the time there were not as many opportunities (for women) so I just assumed that was what I was going to do.”

After graduating from Sherman High School in Texas, she attended Wesleyan College in West Virginia where she majored in education.  After college, she lived in Baltimore for one year and taught in a Maryland school district, but then set her sights on a new opportunity to avoid taking a $1000 pay cut. 

In Amarillo lived an aunt who offered her a place to stay, and the salary was acceptable.  “I made the handsome sum of $4,000 a year,” she remembers.  “It was a decent way to make a living and a good way to have a role in the community.”

The presence of women in the workforce has changed dramatically in her lifetime, and Ann remembers some significant moments along the way.   During her elementary years, The United States entered World War II, which sparked the beginning of a workplace shift.  Women who had been teaching were needed in other capacities, so a teacher shortage occurred in some areas.  The school Ann attended had to combine two classes, so 1st and 2nd graders met together in one classroom and were taught by the same teacher.

In 1940, only 28 percent of women worked outside the home; by 1945, this figure exceeded 34 percent.  Many women worked as nurses, drove trucks, repaired airplanes, and performed clerical duties. Ann remembers her mother talking about a good friend of hers who became a welder at a defense plant.  

Although the war was an ominous presence during her early years, it never caused her a great amount of fear or anxiety.  Her family lived in South Carolina, and she recalls going to the waterfront and watching the searchlights play out on the water, looking for German submarines that had strayed too close to the shore. 

Ann was nine when the war ended, and one of her cousins returned as a wounded veteran.  The postwar years brought her family back to Texas, where she has stayed other than occasional travels.  Her brother’s family is in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, so she often visited in the summer and at Christmas. 

A visit to the Mall of America made quite an impression on Ann.  “I thought it was kind of ridiculous, having an amusement park indoors,” she laughs.  “But it was something to see.” 

Ann came to live at Bivins Pointe in 2008, and she’s happy to call it her home.  The walls of her spacious private room are decorated with pieces of art that bring her fond memories: the French street scene that her aunt bought in Paris in the 1960’s, the framed photography by an old friend, the crocheted design that a friend made especially for her. 

She is a self-proclaimed Bingo fan and lover of computer games such as Solitaire, Bejeweled, and Poker, as well as a fan of crossword and jigsaw puzzles.   Bible chat is another one of her favorite activities, led by the Bivins Pointe chaplain.

“I’ve never had a hard life, and I never had to struggle,” she admits.  But she still doesn’t mind being pampered a little every now and then. 

“The CNAs and nurses are so kind and they spoil me.  I tell myself I’m being spoiled because they serve me breakfast in bed, but I take advantage,” she says with a grin.

By Kelli Bullard

 

 

 

Sign up for our Newsletter:

Recent Posts

Elder Care

Family

Long Term Care

Nursing Home

Pointe Personalities