A live interview (yesterday) with a 94-year-old French-American in Atlanta.
In 1947 at age 27, Marcelle Consigney left her Alsace Loraine region of newly liberated France to follow her passion: To become an American citizen and to meet “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell . By 1950, she had married an Atlanta native, become a U.S. citizen and met Margaret Mitchell at the Piedmont Driving Club.
Yesterday, I met her at my parent’s apartment and had a one hour conversation in french and recorded the conversation while I sketched. My french was awful, but Marcelle’s patience and sharp intelligence was twice mine. She switched comfortably back and forth from french to a heavily accented english, correcting my french. Here are the highlights of our conversation:
WALTER: Marcelle, where did you grow up in France? What village?
MARCELLE: Not a village, a region in Alsace Loraine called Station Dhermal near Nancy.
WALTER: Do you have any family here in the U.S.? And when did you move to the U.S.?
MARCELLE: Nobody. Everyone’s dead. In 1947 I quit France to become a U.S. citizen.
WALTER: During the war, was your area occupied by Nazi soldiers?
MARCELLE: Oh yes, all of France was occupied!
WALTER: Did you see the Nazi soldiers? Did you see any combat, violence?
MARCELLE: The German soldiers had set up in the hotels, they used one hotel for a hospital. but no, I never saw conflicts or violence.
WALTER: Have you seen the film “Saving Private Ryan”? What did you think?
MARCELLE: Oh yes, It was very good film. but it ended badly. (she said “il fini mal”. and I wasn’t clear if she meant the ending was sad or the ending was poorly crafted. I didn’t pursue it)
WALTER: Where do you get your news from today? CNN? NPR? FOX news?
MARCELLE: Not FOX news! Monsenges! (lies!). NPR yes. “All Sings Considered”.
Here is my Dad saying goodbye to Tanook after our visit. (Marcelle in background)