Suzy’s Grandma

This story was written and sent to me by my father, John Rogers. I look forward to posting more of his stories in the future! Read on…

Suzy’s Grandmother was named Christine Corrow. She was quite a lady! I married her daughter, Karen. People say flies swarm around crap. There were no flies on Suzy’s Grandma’s crap!

Both she and my mom were school teachers. Long ago each had graduated from a “Normal School”, which back then was the equivalent of a State College.
My mom taught business subjects in high school. Karen’s mom started teaching when she was 19 in a far northern Maine one room school. Some of her students were 6; some were 18.

She had been brought up in Caribou in what the locals still call “The County,” while in the rest of America we call it Aroostock County.
Fate brought Suzy’s Grandma and her sister Pauline down to Worcester, Mass., where she met Karen’s dad, who then was a service man home on leave. She finished her teaching career in nearby Charlton, teaching first graders.

More about her teaching career in a minute…

Bill & Christine Corrow had 4 children, but only one became “Daddy’s Girl”, and that girl became my wife, Karen.

One day Bill had a wee bit too much to drink, I guess, and Christine told him to “get the hell out.” Think she meant until he sobered up, but I guess he thought differently. So he did what he had been told, and Karen went with him. Guess she was about 17 then.

After a while and neither had come back home, Christine marched into their “bachelor pad” with a piece of white paper in her hand and said to Karen “I have an order from the court for you to come home–immediately.”

Both went back home, but the paper was blank!

Karen’s Dad died quite young. When Karen’s mom Christine got sick, she came and lived with us. Whenever we went anyplace after that, we took Christine with us until she passed on.

Coming home from one trip to northern Maine, just as we pulled up to her old home, the fireman were there–one with an ax in his hand. When she got out of the car and asked this fireman what he was doing he said he was “going to break the door down” because the mail lady had feared the lady was “dead” inside her house because she had not taken in her mail in almost a week.

I can remember so many amusing incidents involving Christine…

We went into a restaurant in Sherbrooke, Que. where everyone spoke only French and she pointed to an entry on the menu and held up two fingers: She was ordering for me also, but no one there understood that. It turned out she had ordered Pastrami!

Back to her teaching career in Maine…

One day late in her life we went back up to “The County” to visit. She asked me if I would drive her to a couple of the one room school houses she had taught in years before.

When we got to the first place she had taught, the building was gone–she thought, and I saw a man tinkering with his car in a nearby driveway, so I pulled in behind his car and got out and asked him if the school house had been nearby. He said “Yes, it was right over there, why?” When I told him my mother-in-law had taught there, he said he had gone to that school, and asked me her name, which back then had been Hartt.

The man not only remembered her, but said he had been 18 in her schoolroom, and had been “madly in love with her.” (Again, she was only 19 then.) They talked for hours about “their” schoolhouse and old times.

We drove on to look for another one room schoolhouse where she had taught and found one still standing in Fort Fairfield, Maine.

Again, nearby was a man working on his hay baler. I pulled into his driveway and started to get out; but Christine asked me not to, and when I asked why she said she had disciplined one of her students at this school and his mother had gotten into an argument with her over the discipline.

But by then the man had walked over to our car and asked us if he could help–and I blurted out that the lady beside me had once taught school in the nearby school.

The man looked over and recognized Christine immediately. He too had been a teenager back then, and opened our car door and insisted that Christine come inside his house to meet his then elderly mother–who was the lady involved in the argument years before.

She protested to no avail, but did go inside, and a couple of hours later came back out with the man’s mother holding tightly to her arm, and as they stood on the porch the elderly lady said “You were exactly right to discipline my son, and I was too blind to realize it back then–he grew up to become a better man because of you.”

Just before Christine retired she had asked her first grade class to bring in seeds to plant and to watch the seeds grow into plants. The kids all brought in seeds and watched their plants grow.

After she had retired, her son-in law was helping her clean out her classroom and said “Gram, what are you doing with a Marijuana plant in your classroom?”

I’ll bet she was the only public school teacher who grew Pot in her classroom!

Suzy’s Grandma was quite a lady. I think of both her and Karen often.


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Author: John Rogers

John spent most of his adult life working in the railroad industry. He is now retired and enjoys road trips, watching trains, and writing.

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