Andrew Gallant was a friend of my parents. He taught music in Pacific Beach Elementary School when my Dad was principal there. As a child , I never thought any more about it. But that man on the sidelines of my life was a friend to me and our lives kept intercepting. Now as I think back about this I wonder how many others might have influenced me also whom at the time, I took for granted as a friend.
When I was four years old, Mr.Gallant brought me a gift of my first kitty. Tinker was black and white and I loved him . And I have loved cats all of my life because of this one incident that taught me unconditional love. I still have cats and couldn’t bear not having them.
My parents visited Mr. Gallant off and on with my brother and I. We visited after he got married. We visited when his wife died leaving him with two small children.
When I got to elementary school I played bass drum in the small band, but I wasn’t terribly excited about that.
When I got to Junior High I was in Girl’s Glee Club and he was our teacher. Often when we came to class he was sitting at the piano, playing and singing something softly as we filed in. One day He was singing, “For it was Mary, Mary, sweet as any name can be”. It made me sad because I knew he was sing about his wife whom he loved who had died. I didn’t say anything to the other kids because I felt it wasn’t right to do so. He must have influenced my love of singing, because I sang in a Mixed Chorus in High school and a mixed double quartette also in La Jolla High School.. I have sung in choirs all my life.
While in Junior High I also practiced signing his name exactly like he did. I got so good at it and showed it to him. He was shocked and probably was afraid I could use it to sign passes for other kids. Well, I could have but I wouldn’t and didn’t.
After that I went to high school and college and didn’t see him. I heard of him occasionally just like one hears of many people who move in and out of their lives. That’s just how it is. I knew he had remarried and I remember meeting his new wife once or twice.
Then the notice of my wedding was in the newspaper with a picture. I guess my parents probably sent him an invitation. But a few days before my wedding, Mr. Gallant showed up at our door and he was carrying a gift for me. I was very surprised and grateful to see him and that he brought me another gift. ( The first being my first kitty.)
I moved away and never saw him again. But now as I am older I think of him as a very kind man, a good teacher, and a person who did influence my life in positive ways. Since I am now 82 years old, I am sure he has gone on to his reward, as many in my life have done. But as long as I am alive he lives with many other good people in my heart. He was one of many who influenced my life, but every one goes on in my memories.Picture of Pacific Beach today.