Former Tennessee resident with ties to area, Suzanne Prigohzy pens fictional novel centered around Rhea Springs
October 6, 2017
Dayton, TN — The author, Suzanne Prigohzy, of a book, “When Forever Isn’t” was at the Clyde W. Roddy Library in Dayton to read and sign her initial fictional novel. She was born and raised in Chattanooga. Her book may be purchased from Amazon online or Barnes and Noble online.
Suzanne Prigohzy’s roots reach farther north of Chattanooga to Rhea County, Tennessee. Eight generations back on her mother’s side of the family, pioneer John Wasson ventured to Wolf Creek in the early 1700s and called it home. But life’s circumstances changed the trajectory of the family in the early 20th Century. That is where Suzanne’s debut novel picks up.
Educated in Chattanooga’s public school system and graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Suzanne’s first foray into the world of work was with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the very entity that submerged her family history under the Watts Bar lake in 1941.
Marriage and two growing sons later, she became involved in the non-profit world that supports public education, first at the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, when it opened in 1986, and then the Public Education Foundation in that city. Fifteen years later she and her husband moved to Philadelphia to foster the work of Cornerstone, a literacy initiative of the New York Institute for Special Education, based in New York.
Suzanne worked with a team in efforts to strengthen the literacy development of children in various school districts in the South as well as the Northeast. If you’ve read Suzanne’s novel, you have seen Blanche’s passion on the subject as well.
Retiring in 2010, Suzanne heard once again the whispers of her deceased grandmother Blance, mother and aunt to write about that special place that when spoken of in life had always sparked their delight. Suzanne had spent a career composing program materials, newsletter, and annual reports in the arena of education, but fiction was unexplored territory. Fueled by a knowledge of her grandmother’s life journey and the pride of family and place, she began the historical and family research that led six years later to “When Forever Isn’t”.
Looking back through the window of time, the reader experiences life in this Southern rural town from two far different perspectives: To nine-year-old Blanche Wasson, the Grand Hotel in East Tennessee in 1903 is magical.
Her family owns the lively cultural hub and health resort that draws interesting visitors from all over the South, and there is never a dull moment with its many dances and concerts as well as political speakers. But daily life in Rhea Springs is a far different story for Charlie Reynolds whose similar age is all the two share in common.
Down the road, Charlie’s family makes the best of the hard-scrabble existence that befalls Black Americans in the post-Civil War South. These two worlds collide when Blanche learns that for Charlie there are no books and no schooling. She determines to do something about that, no matter the acceptable norms of the day. Little does she realize that the intertwining of their lives, their worlds, will eventually lead to a life-changing collision, and no one knows if either will be salvaged.