Sally Weil isn't afraid of much. She marches briskly through every unfamiliar situation; she sees each new struggle as a challenge to be overcome. Since she was born in 1933 in the Bronx, Sally has embraced a life with no bounds, stretching the world to fit her rather than constricting to fit the world. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Sally singlehandedly transformed her life by following a radical diet for the 1980s: the macrobiotic diet. The highly regimented plan worked, and, despite the whims and whispers of friends and colleagues, she is alive today, with an unmatched mental and physical strength that is upheld by her daily gym visits and clean cooking. Whether it's lighting Shabbat candles, connecting with children, or jumping rope, Sally lives life with the grace, passion, and chutzpah of an 85-year-old woman from the Bronx.
I am so grateful for the opportunity I've had to peek into Mrs. Weil's life a few times a week this semester. As a first semester college student, I tend to lose perspective as I'm cooped up in the bubble that is my campus, and being able to pierce that bubble to find such a warm community with such incredible stories was truly special. Being able to speak with someone who has an abundance of stories on both the elating and disappointing moments of life was an invaluable experience that I would have never gotten had I not stepped out of the traditional classroom setting and gotten to know real people. As I consider careers in film and journalism, I will always remember this class as the moment when I truly came to understand the power of an authentic story. Without a story, without the heart that I always kept finding each time I visited Croasdaile, a photo is just a spectrum of color comprised of a complex network of code. But with such powerful stories as Sally's, photos can communicate pain, resilience, beauty, and triumph. Thank you again to Mrs. Sally Weil for sharing your story with me.