Saturday, May 12, 2007

Beau Tranell

My dorm boys just left last night for the summer. I am officially not a dorm mommy anymore. It has made me a little bit sad, even though I do not regret our decision to move on. I'm going to post a little bit more dorm stuff in the next few weeks, while it's all still fresh in my memory. Since the year is just over, I'm having a hard time knowing when to use past and present tenses. Bear with me as I'll probably mix them.

I think Tranell probably had the clothes iron on most of this year. I'm not kidding either. He used to come out into the lobby to iron his clothes every morning, and every morning I'd go find the iron still on. I confiscated it, I harangued, but to no avail. I could have just refused to let him have it, I suppose, but I had such a hard time telling him, "Tranell, you cannot iron your clothes anymore. Stop dressing so nicely." The novelty of a teenage boy caring that much overcame my frustration at finding the iron on all the time.

Tranell always matches. Always. He's not wearing collared shirts and slacks, far from it. But he always color-coordinates everything, and makes sure his personal appearance is spotless. He has a large collection of Livestrong bracelets, and chooses one or two of them with care for each outfit. He also uses some sweatbands for his head (which he wouldn't dare actually sweat in) in the same way. (As in the photo) He does (did) his laundry here at the dorm, but doesn't like to use the dryer for his shirts because they wouldn't be quite up to his standard anymore, so he lays them out flat on various surfaces in the lobby. This past year I would often find him with a bowl full of soapy water and an old toothbrush, scrubbing at his sneakers, which he also took great care to color coordinate with his outfits.

He told me it was a cultural thing. Tranell is the only African-American at our school. The only one. The boys figured out that I can't see worth anything without my contacts, so they would try to confuse me if I came out late at night to encourage them to "get their behinds to bed and stop all that racket." Poor Tranell would try to join in, but we both had to laugh because I could always tell which one he was. All of that must have been a little difficult for him, but I never once heard him mention it. He goes to a church in the city with the other dorm guys and several girls from the school(all four of my dorm guys were from OKC this year), so that familiarity might have been why there was no awkwardness. Whatever the reason, I'm so glad that prejudice was not an issue at all the last two years when he was here. He must have felt a little lonely, being the only person from his culture within 20 miles. In fact, when Zaya was a baby, we saw another African-American man in the supermarket and he started yelling, "Twaneww, Twaneww!" The kids both love(d) him and I hope they remember him and all the other dorm guys.

Tranell left right after school yesterday while I wasn't here, so I didn't get to say goodbye to him or his mother (who was very supportive and so kind). It's left me feeling a little bit melancholy today, because Tranell and I were good friends, even though I constantly had to get after him for his grades and his dorm jobs. I'll miss him a lot. I guess that's why I've started my dorm biographies with him


Mandalyn said...

I'm sure you were a very big blessing to him! It sounds like you two had a great friendship!

I saw your post on JennaG's site and thought I would visit you! It's nice to meet you!!

God Bless!

Bramblerose said...

He sounds like such a neat guy.

JAM said...

All of those little things can frustrate at the moment, but in the long run, you just realize that those aren't real problems. I have to watch myself with my daughters, to say put this up, or turn that off without getting upset. Leaving the iron on is potentially dangerous, but still, it's not a drug problem either. I bet you learned just as much from them as they from you guys during your tenure there.

If your little ones love him, 'nuff said.