Suzanne and Alan Moberly of Littleton, New Hampshire recall their early relationship as professor and student, the obstacles that kept them apart, and the chance encounter that, years later, brought them together.
Suzanne: When is the first time that you remember seeing me, or being aware of my existence? Alan: Well, that would be when you were a student in one of my classes. Suzanne: I think the first I remember meeting you, whether you remember it or not, it was in the fall of 1976. And I remember the first, other than maybe purely, um, “hello”, “goodbye” or whatever kind of conversation it was we had in class or interacting in class dialog must have been one the first exams and I was absolutely mortified, devastated that I had an 83 for a grade. And you said, “An 83? Do you realize that’s a good grade for my classes; that many students don’t get grades much higher than this?” And I told you that I wasn’t just any student. So I took your courses and we continued to get to know each other. And then I began working in the academic advising center after I graduated. Then of course because we had students in common, that gave me an excuse to talk with you and go and hang out with you. Then you went on with your life and you went to England. And then I went on with my life. We probably hadn’t seen each for at least a good… I think, about 3 years at that point. I was working as a rural carrier for the Henniker Post Office. That’s when our lives began to intersect once again when there had been a mis-delivery of a special delivery letter to the Henniker Post Office; when you lived in Hillsborough. Alan: Fortuitous mis-delivery. Suzanne: My postmaster was having a fit because it was a big deal for a postmaster if you didn’t get all your special delivery letters out on the day they came in. I said, “Oh, I know who that person is.” And I said, “He’s right here in Henniker. So if you let me deliver it here in Henniker, if I can have your permission, I can make sure that it got to you”. So that was how we reconnected after living lives totally disengaged from each other at that point. Alan: I think we should also mention that during the interval both of our marriages were going bad. Suzanne: In fact, when I was a student I had been awarded the scholarship to go to the American University in the Netherlands and my ex-husband’s response to it was to throw the kitchen table through the window. For me I had always had, you know, had this real attraction and this affection for Alan. He had been my professor and he had also been extremely encouraging to me. And he didn’t even realize how encouraging he was because the context of the first marriage; my first marriage was as it turned out an abusive marriage, very abusive. Alan didn’t realize that – the fact that he was so, um, supportive…of me meant much more than … Alan: Well, it was easy to be supportive. You were a standout person in just about every respect. As I’ve said many times during our time together, I get credit for doing normal things as being some sort of extraordinary thing, but ah, I was just responding to a very special person.