Chattanoogan: Pamper Garner Crangle – “A Song For The Children”

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - by Jen Jeffrey

Growing up in Rossville, Pamper Garner Crangle had a traditional upbringing with her father being a hardworking engineer and her mother staying at home to take care of the family. Her parents’ close involvement in her own childhood gave Pamper a deep-rooted sense to do the same for her own children.

Pamper grew up loving music and picked up the piano at a very early age. One day, to her mother’s surprise, she watched four-year-old Pamper pluck out a familiar tune on the piano.

“Before I could even read I was playing the piano.

I had heard a song called ‘Tammy’ and I went to the piano and just picked the tune out. My mother was in the kitchen and peered around the corner watching me,” Pamper says.

Peggy Garner had the insight to begin piano lessons for her naturally talented daughter.

Music was a big part of Pamper’s life, but most especially piano. She could play by ear, but also took lessons and studied music.  “My brothers grew up with juvenile diabetes and my mother spent a lot of time caring for them. I would just become lost in my music,” she professes.

Playing for her high school band, Pamper also learned the French horn and, during marching season, she played the trumpet.

Though she may have gotten her musical talent from her father, it was her mother who encouraged her steps to go to Nashville to attempt a musical career.

“When I graduated high school, my mother wanted to see if I could make it there. Maybe I could have made it as a sessions artist, but I never really wanted piano to become a means to make a living,” Pamper admits. “I loved it as a hobby and I was afraid playing for a living would ruin that. It is very de-stressing and fun for me,” she says.

Pamper had begun college at UTC and was offered a full time job as a secretary at TVA, which she accepted. She then went back to college and finished her education. She had moved up to management and stayed 20 years until she left to form her own business in 1993.

Previously raising a family, Pamper had met her current husband Tommy Crangle while working at TVA. “I had known him for about 15 years. He is a professional engineer, and was a senior manager at TVA. He left in 1994 for early retirement and now has his own business, called ‘Positive Impact’. He is into real estate and investing,” Pamper says. “I run my company through his business, but I have a different name - it is a DBA, called Pamper Garner and Associates.”

Pamper, having always had that entrepreneurial spirit, took the opportunity to get out on her own. “I do the same type of things that I did at TVA, basically in the human resources area. I do a lot of project work, training, and business consulting along with strategic planning,” she maintains.  

Before having her children, Pamper had played the piano at local members’ only clubs such as the Walden Club, the Country Club and the Fairyland Club. “I earned the money for a down payment on a house through my music performing, but I didn’t play professionally after that. Clubs had hired me to come in and play music at the dinner hour and I played at weddings. My son and I have done musical things together and my daughter sings as well,” Pamper says.

Near and dear to her heart is a current project making a CD of a song in which she collaborated with her friend, Kim Gamel. Kim wrote the song, had a tune in mind and enlisted Pamper’s help to arrange the music.

She says, “It is a song with a pro-life message called, ‘Tiny Footprints on Streets of Gold,’ but could reach those with different circumstances as well. We have been recording it and our plan is to get it out to crisis pregnancy centers, across the nation and it will be free to anyone who wants it. I have always been passionate about the pro-life movement, to help people think through that decision better. The song is about children who are missing in our lives.

“We are waiting to do the mix and will have the CDs and also offer it as a free download from a website. We are talking to someone about marketing right now. We performed the song recently in a local church. I played the piano and Kim sang. At the end of the song, Kim’s daughter, who is four, sings Jesus loves the Little children. It just makes you think. There are more options today for abortion-minded women,” Pamper insists.

“Years ago, women didn’t have many options. Society was not in a place of helping …it was more of a judgment-related thing. I am grateful for people who want to help. We want to do everything we can to make people stop before making that final decision and to really think through it,” Pamper vows.

Another meaningful cause Pamper is involved with is making others aware of ADHD in Children. 

“Both of my kids were diagnosed with ADHD. My daughter Kati was diagnosed 15 years ago. She had severe ADHD and also had tendencies toward depression. I wound up working the last 15 years in those circles, trying to make a difference for parents and kids who dealt with this,” Pamper says.

She served as the president of the Chattanooga CHADD Organization (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) for about 10 years while holding support groups and conferences and offering resources to parents and teachers.  Pamper was awarded the National Volunteer of the Year for the organization.

“A lot of adults are now finding that they are Attention Deficit. It was really rewarding to help people and educate them on this disorder and it was life-changing for me,” Pamper admits.

“When I found out that Kati had it, there was not a lot of information out there. There still seemed to be a lot of moral judgment going on. People would say, ‘You just need to whip your kids and they will be better’,” Pamper relays.

“There are two sides to this and, like all cultures when people start to swing,  they swing too far. We were in a culture where it wasn’t even acknowledged that something might be wrong. After reaching the technology to view the brain with PET scans, studies proved their findings and there was now data. Then everyone got on the bandwagon. I think a lot of teachers thought we just needed to put children on Ritalin,” Pamper says.

“You know as a parent when your child needs help. My son Tyler has ADD but not ADHD. He tried Strattera and Adderall and he did not like it – it completely changed his personality so he went into an exercise maintenance program and exercised every day. That is how he managed his brain, but Kati really needed prescription help,” Pamper insists

“This disorder doesn’t manifest itself in one way only - it is different for each individual. I have seen both sides throughout the years and have encouraged several parents that their number one job is ‘you have to learn about this’. It is such an uncertain disorder and it is a behavioral thing. You have to understand that and be involved - you can’t just give them a pill,” Pamper insists.

“Before we relied on medicine for Kati, we had tried alternative methods. We kept red die out of her diet, processed foods with flour, we tried exercise programs and worked with her sleeping patterns. It became my number one job to help my children be successful. They needed to have focus to be able to make it through school and be able to live their lives,” Pamper says.

“I remember the night I found out about Kati’s diagnosis and I stayed up all night reading about it. I just bawled, knowing there was something wrong with Kati’s brain. The good news is that it wasn’t life threatening – it was just a disorder, but it does create chaos. Children can’t focus or remember to even bring their books home from school. You have to put all these little tools out there to help them. It became something we had to learn to manage and come up with resources until she could learn to cope,” Pamper says.

“There is brain maintenance that you can do, like getting outside in the sun, exercising or reading a book. When all else fails, if your brain is in a place where the messages are not being sent, you may need medication. You can tell as a parent, what is going on with your child,” Pamper says.

“I would give my daughter three things to do while she was at the bottom of the stairs and she would head up to the stairs and remember to do only one of them. I would be frustrated and ask her why she didn’t do all of them. She didn’t know. I remember giving her a spanking because she had not obeyed me and done what I told her to do. I just didn’t understand. She was in tears, telling me she didn’t know why. Kids want to behave – she wasn’t trying to defy me. When we got counseling, she had an assessment test and it was very revealing,” Pamper explains.

Today, Tyler and Kati are working toward their degrees. Kati is finishing her bachelor's degree in studio art at Belmont University, while Tyler is obtaining his master’s in divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago.

Pamper, who is very active in the political arena, noted that her original name was Loretta Louise Garner named after her paternal and maternal aunts.  “My parents couldn't call me one name for fear the other person would get her feelings hurt, so they called me ‘Stinky’ for a couple of weeks,” Pamper laughs.

“They finally nicknamed me after a Gillette product at that time called Pamper Shampoo.  I found two bottles in antique shops over the years. I went through school with no one knowing my real name. I went by Pamper,” she says.

As she became an adult, Pamper had her banking and all other ID listed under her nickname – all except for her driver’s license.

“My husband was working in New Orleans about 15 years ago and I was accompanying him.  We tried to rent a car to come home and they wouldn't let me be on the contract because I didn't have two pieces of ID that matched. My husband said, ‘If we ever get home, we are going to get this fixed,’ and the next week, he took me down to Chancellor Frank Brown's office to have my name officially changed to Pamper Garner Crangle,” Pamper says.

“At the time, both of my aunts were still living.  When the last living aunt died about seven years ago, I went that day to my parents' home and told them I had changed my name 15 years ago! They said, ‘Good!’” Pamper chuckles. “Now all my ID matches!”

jen@jenjeffrey.com


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