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One of the few communities I belong to here are LJ, does a "friday four" thing where four questions or statements are posed for the membership to respond to. Last Friday, one of the challenges was:
Name the 4 people that influenced you in your life the most:
Without going into the names I included on my list, several hours later it came to me that I had left someone off ..
Charles Patranella began his teaching career in the RISD in 1968. He arrived at RHS to teach Junior and Senior English classes. Only a decade older than most of his students, he was the exception rather than the rule of matronly guidance and his students identified with him almost immediately. I was fortunate enough to have his classes for my last two years of high school.
Mister Patranella was a moderately large man of Italian descent. He was gregarious, bombastic and humorous .. having all the traits missing in most of our other teachers (or at least less recognizable in all our other teachers) I can't say that I recall a single "English" lesson presented by him, but I do know that he engendered and fanned my desire to write (and photograph (and listen to loud rock and roll)) .. encouragement that led to my poet habit, my degree in Journalism from Texas A&M, and my presence on the internet as a journalist (yes, he is the fellow to whom all blame should be assigned)
Charles was generous with his time beyond the hallowed halls of Rockdale High. His lived his life with an open door policy. His immaculately clean home was a favorite weeknight gathering spot for many of his students .. including me .. where we provided the entertainment with our gossip, our music and our questions about what happens next ..
Eventually he left teaching and, for a some time, ran a liquor store in College Station.
Even in this seemingly out of character endeavor, his cheerful and truly caring personality became the bright spot in many lives of those he referred to as "my regulars"
He treated everyone as a human being, deserving of respect and compassion.
In the realization that I had neglected him by leaving him off the list, I utilized http://www.pipl.com to do a name search. Where I had found nothing before, I was now faced with several listings of his name with a date of birth that fell within the correct time frame, and a date of death of August 2006. Fearing that this was in fact my Charles Patranella, I plugged his name and the single word "obit" into a Google search .. and received a hit I did not want ..
( .. celebration of life ..Collapse )
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