Better Know a Building Attendant: June Alexander (Berger)
“Better Know a Building Attendant” is a series at the Forum dedicated to introducing students at Claremont McKenna College to their Building Attendants. The series will run every Friday morning until the end of the semester. This interview is the fourth of thirteen.
June is a brave soul. She takes care of Berger dormitory, known around campus as the “Dirty Berg” for how it looks at the end of a weekend. Everything is spick and span Monday, and June is as cheery as ever. She has a hearty laugh and a beautiful smile.
Far, far away, on the northern coast of South America, there is a small Caribbean nation called Guyana, where the seafood is fresh and the weather makes summer in Claremont feel temperate. June came to the states from Guyana when she was 25 with her parents and six siblings. Before she came to the states, she was at the Guyanese police academy, but chose to leave that career path behind because “people don’t respect cops up here like they do back home… They shoot at cops here.” She’s happy with the move though. She’s with her family and enjoys first world comforts like reliable medical care. Her father retired years ago and moved back to Guyana, but he comes up every year for his checkup.
She was just home for three weeks this past summer, the first time in ten years. Her family is scattered all over the world now, but gather for family reunions every other year at a different Caribbean island, close to Guyana so it isn’t difficult for extended family to attend. She loves to travel. June’s favorite destination to date is Antigua. I think I’d like it there too.
June loves to cook. While she was home, she ate nothing but seafood. In Guyana, people go to the market every morning to buy fresh produce, like live crab. She told me how the crabs come in parcels, tied together on long strings, crawling and pulling each other around. “And then when you get home, you cut the string and let them run all around the house.” Sounds like fun, right? When her son went back to Guyana for the first time since early childhood, he couldn’t believe the freshness of the food compared to what we get here in the states.
She cooks traditional Guyanese food at home too, making dishes with lots of rice, vegetables, and curry. She doesn’t like vegetables, but she says, laughing, “I have to eat them if I am going to tell people vegetables are good for you.” Sylvia says June is the most picky eater she has ever seen. It’s only because June cooks well for herself.
When she’s not cooking, she’s watching sports. She follows football, soccer, basketball, and just about everything else except for baseball. They watch cricket in Guyana. She is a Lakers fan, and loves Roger Federer, but is more easy going when it comes to football and enjoys jumping on the bandwagon with whoever is doing well. She would like to watch more soccer, but her mother and sister, whom she lives with, “are haters.” They say, “you watch every sport!” She just smiles and says “what’s wrong with that?” She never played sports herself, as her mom wanted her to be “prissy” growing up, and give her everything she didn’t have growing up.
Apparently, the Dirty Berg isn’t so dirty anymore. After a particularly bad spat of untidiness last year, Berger’s residents have cleaned up their acts. She was amazed to find every room on the boys floor clean enough to vacuum. This could mark a new era in the history of Berger. The “reasonably clean Berg” doesn’t have the same ring to it, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something clever.
While things have certainly improved from years past, please remember to pick up after yourselves in the lounge. Share your favorite story about June below in the comments section.
Interested in getting involved in appreciating our support staff? The Worker’s Support Committee (WSC) meets on Thursdays at 7:30pm in Marks Lounge. Each month WSC holds student sponsored appreciation events for our service staff.