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Transcript of Carolyn Weil
My grandmother constantly talks about her childhood, and what it was like living in South Carolina. She always says the highlight of her town was the Piggly Wiggly, the local grocery store.
Her brother, Clarence, was three years younger than her. They were always very close.
"We didn't have much to do, so we always were together, and became inseperable because of it," said my grandmother. When she left South Carolina they still remained close and she would go visit him often. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2007.
My grandmother was very progressive, which was not normal during this time. She lived in an area that was extremely racist, but her family was progressive in the way that they didn't believe in any of that and fought against racism.
During The War
This is my grandma, Carolyn Fields Weil. She was born in Mullins, South Carolina on January 9th, 1925. She currently is 90 years old, and lives in my house with me in Queens. She has two daughters, and five grandchildren (including myself).
My grandmother was born in Mullins, and lived there with her two parents and after a few years, her younger brother Clarence. Mullins is a very small town, with a population of around 5,000 people.
How She Is Different
During the time of WWI, my grandmother was very young, so she doesn't remember much to tell. However, she was in her teenage years for WWII. She was dating a man who was in the war, and the man she would later marry (my grandfather), also fought in WWII. Her brother was in the navy at a later time.
She talks about how different the world was then, and how we are all lucky today that there is more freedom. But she still believes that a lot of work must be done to prevent more wars.
My grandmother went to all of her early years of school in Mullins. She graduated from high school in 1943. She then decided to attend a junior college called Montreat, which was in Charlotte, North Carolina. After that, she decided to go to Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She double majored in music, because she played piano, and library science.
She Needed Change
My grandmother was very different than most other women in her town. She wanted to do something different, be independent, and leave Mullins. Most of her friends got married and had children very young, which she was not interested in doing.
She had three best friends that she did everything with. Their names were Nina, Vera, and Rita. Up until recently she has kept up with the three of them. They all stayed in South Carolina, which my grandmother didn't do, making it harder to stay in touch.
"Moving away was the hardest thing I have ever done. The hardest decision I ever had to make, but I knew I had to. I wasn't going to be another person that stayed in South Carolina for their entire life," said Carolyn.
She decided to pursue her degree in library science, and become a librarian in a college in Richmond, Virginia. She didn't know anyone there, so she decided to live with a couple that she did not know at all. This was very uncommon for that time, and many people she knew didn't agree with that decision.
When my grandmother was in South Carolina she had two serious boyfriends, David and Franklin. She was with David for a few months, and Franklin for about a year and a half. Due to the fact that my grandma is 90 and no longer has a filter, she regularly talks about how she should've married Franklin rather than my grandfather. She said, "he was a much better kisser". However, she wanted to move away and he did not want to at all.
David & Franklin
My grandmother loved being a librarian. She always talks about how the libary used to mean something to people, whether it be adults or kids. She is extremely sad that libraries are used so rarely now. She regularly asks me if I still use my libary card, which I don't, but I tell her I do just to make her happy. My grandma reads all of the time, because she really can't do much else. She generally reads about two books per week.
In 1951, my grandmother moved to New York. She decided that she was going to attend Columbia University for her masters in Library Science. Not long after moving to New York, she met my grandfather, Jean Weil. She was working in a library when he came up to her and asked her out. He was going to school to become a teacher, after he fought in WWII. He ended up teaching high school english.
Marriage, Kids, and Living
My grandparents got married in 1955. They moved to a house in Jackson Heights Queens, where they lived for about 10 years. In 1962, they had their first daughter, my mother, Elizabeth Weil Demirjian. In 1963, they had their second daughter, Millicent Weil Garofalo. They moved to Flushing, Queens in the late 60s. The house that they bought in Flushing in 1975 is the house that I live in currently with my family and my grandmother.
Further Down the Line
At the age of 70, after around 40 years of working, my grandma retired from being a librarian. She then spent time with her friends, family, and doing other things she liked to do such as reading, gardening, and knitting.
At the age of 90, my grandma may have trouble moving around and remembering some things, but she is still the sassy southern belle that she has always been. More than anything she loves her two daughters, two son-in-laws, and five grandchildren. No matter what she is always looking on the bright side.
My Grandma & I
People reguarly tell me that I am very similar to my grandma. I definitely have a sassy side to me, which I probably got from her. I spent a lot of my early life visiting South Carolina, so I use some southern lingo that New Yorkers generally don't use. My grandmother is one of my biggest role models. Leaving South Carolina must've been hard, but she was so strong, and if she hadn't left, I wouldn't be who I am today.
This project was really interesting because I learned somethings about my grandmother that I really didn't know. I also saw so many pictures that I had never previously seen. It really made me look at all of the clothing my grandma wore overtime, how different it was in each time period, and how different it is now. My favorite clothes of hers were the ones she wore when she was a teenager during WWII. She was so independent and different than others, which I think showed through her body type. She wasn't the smallest girl in her friend group, but she really didn't care, and I really respect that.