Suzi Quatro

10th August 2007 at 01:00
A business teacher inspired the rock singer, applauding her and making her feel worthwhile tragically, he died young

From the age of seven, I knew I was going to be in showbusiness. My family is very musical. I didn't feel school was a waste of time, but I felt like I was biding my time until my real life started.

I loved learning. I used to play "school" when I got home. But I needed to have a teacher who made me interested in what I was learning, and that person came in the form of William Prosser, my business teacher.

Grosse Point High was just a normal high school in a Detroit suburb. I had subjects that I excelled in: music and physical education. I was also pretty good at English and maths. When I did my aptitude test, I got a surprise that I was in the top 25 per cent of everything. I didn't know I was that smart. I probably didn't apply myself as well as I should have done.

But things changed when I started my business course with Mr Prosser. I did his classes twice a week between the ages of 13 to 15. I knew nothing about typing before entering his class, but once I started to learn, it was like playing an instrument.

I read and write music, so for me to read and be able to touch-type was actually quite easy. I soon found I could type like lightning. Even now, the computer has to catch up with me.

He was about medium height, with dark wavy hair. He was not attractive but not unattractive and very friendly. He had sharp eyes he saw everything. He praised me. I got straight As. He was the only teacher I developed a close relationship with. We just connected. He always had a kind word for me. Outside the classroom, he always stopped to say hello.

He was quite strict, but he rewarded good work. He gave you the applause. To get the best out of me you have to make me interested. Encourage me, appreciate me and applaud me when I do something well. I'm an entertainer and so you've got to applaud me. He definitely helped me to progress. He made me feel worthwhile. I wanted to do well to please him. We talked about most things. We always had good conversations.

Then one day I walked into the business studies class to find a substitute teacher. We were told Mr Prosser had had a heart attack and died the day before while carving the Thanksgiving turkey. I was really upset. I cried. I liked him a lot. He must have been in his 40s. It was a shock.

I wrote a beautiful piece about him which was published in the school magazine. I carried his picture around in my wallet for a long time.

Soon after, I left school, joined a band and went on the road. I didn't graduate.

My business studies have proved to be unbelievably useful. To this day, I can still do shorthand and I do all my own business. I even do my husband's business. He calls me up and says: "Do this and this" and I say: "Why are you using me as a secretary?" And he says: "It takes you three seconds and me three hours". Usually I've got his sentence down on the page before he stops speaking

Suzi Quatro, 57, is a rock singer and bassist, who presents Rockin with Suzi on Radio 2 every Thursday at 10pm. Her hits included "Can the Can" and "Devil Gate Drive". As an actress, she has appeared in Happy Days and Absolutely Fabulous. Her autobiography Unzipped was published this month. She was talking to Sheryl Simms

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