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Granddaughter slap story follows grandma to New Hampshire

Theresa Collier, 73, with a photo of her granddaughter, Felicia Collier, 18, was jailed after a dispute over homework.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Theresa Collier, 73, with a photo of her granddaughter, Felicia Collier, 18, was jailed after a dispute over homework.

For 73-year-old Theresa Collier, the grandmother arrested after slapping her mouthy granddaughter last month, even returning home to New Hampshire has not been a relief from the bad memories or glare of the accidental spotlight.

"It's followed them up here," Diane Collier, who lives in Massachusetts, said of her parents, Theresa and Walt Collier.

As soon as the first wave of news stories about the grandmother who spent a night in jail began to die down in Florida, several newspapers in the communities near the family's homes in Massachusetts and New Hampshire began to pick up the news.

The Eagle Tribune, which covers news north of Boston and in southern New Hampshire, where the Colliers live, took comments and ran its own version of the story.

The New Hampshire Union Leader and Boston Herald wrote about Collier's story after it went viral as well.

And even niche publications wrote a thing or two. Irish Central, a branch of Irish America Magazine, described Collier in its story as a "church-going Irish Catholic."

For a family used to privacy, the attention has been a bit unsettling, Diane Collier said. But after being treated like a criminal, the positive side of being in the headlines provided some emotional relief: the hundreds of supporting message board comments, and even dozens of personal letters addressed to her home.

"A newspaper here did a piece where they asked people to write in. Everyone was supportive," Collier said.

While the granddaughter, Felicia Collier, 18, was making progress with her remaining school work — the argument that resulted in a slap began over unfinished homework — Diane Collier said the teen's attitude wasn't much better.

"Has her attitude changed? No. She is working on her school work," said Collier, who had raised the teen, her niece, from age 8 until March.

The teen now lives with her disabled mother in Largo.

Tampa-based radio host Bubba the Love Sponge Clem offered free counseling sessions for the teen, but Diane Collier said she had yet to take him up on it.

Legally, however, Collier said her mother is free and clear. Prosecutors opted not to press charges and the grandmother only has to sign a few documents once they arrive by mail.

Granddaughter slap story follows grandma to New Hampshire 05/22/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 21, 2010 4:41pm]
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