This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview with Becky Carmel was conducted on June 28, 2019, at Solaris in Hudson, NY. Becky is an experienced caregiver who was born, raised, lives, and works in New York City. In the interview, she discusses several major influences on her life, the challenges and rewards of her work as a nanny and babysitter, and her plans to create a podcast about caregivers called “Won’t You Be My Colleague?”
Becky recalls several influences on her development into the woman she has become, including her family as well as communities, such as her school and neighborhood. She details how she was drawn to caregiving while looking after her sister while she was growing up and then babysitting the children of neighbors before she secured employment as a full-time caregiver. She provides insights into her caregiving work for the children of families with whom she has developed long-term relationships. Becky also describes how she defines caregiving, including childcare, eldercare, pet sitting, housesitting, doula, and end-of-life care. She explores her plans to create a podcast about caregiving that will not only present the diversity of people who work as caregivers, but also the variety of job opportunities and experiences in the profession. Near the end of the interview, she reflects on how she has settled into a space of gratitude, stemming from her commitment to and the satisfaction she derives from caregiving work, both professionally and personally.
This interview may be of interest to those who are curious about the caregiving profession, particularly in urban spaces like New York City, or for those who wish to learn more about a variety of caregivers and caregiving job experiences through a podcast format.
Rhondda Robinson Thomas is the Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, where she teaches early African American Literature. Her research interests include auto/biographical narratives, racial identity formation, and representations of biblical narratives in African American literature. She is the faculty director of the Call My Name: African Americans in Clemson University History research project for which she has been awarded grants from the Whiting Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”