Special Profile Series: Charlotte Pyle
AR: Are you a West Virginia native or did you move here later in life?
Pyle: I am a West Virginia girl through and through, but our home is just over the line in Pennsylvania. If you step out our front door it is like you have one foot in Pennsylvania and one foot in West Virginia. So my physical address might be Pennsylvania but everything we do is West Virginia: My family went to WVU (West Virginia University), my kids went to WVU and I am a diehard Mountaineer fan. I’ve been that way all my life.
The little Pennsylvania town we live in is Mount Morris and Joe (Pyle, husband) and I grew up there. It is only about four miles to the WVU campus so we definitely think of ourselves as West Virginians more than Pennsylvanians.
AR: Tell us about when you were a little girl. For instance, what type of work did your parents do?
Pyle: Both of my parents were in education, mom as the secretary for the school district and my father a school teacher. My father’s WVU connection was running track for the university. It’s funny now, but he has saved an invoice from his first semester of college tuition and the total amount was only $442. Net.
My parents are divorced so probably the most influential person in my life when I was growing up was my grandmother. She is now 87 years old and she played a big role with me. I was the oldest of the three kids, a senior in high school when they divorced, so in my mind I had to assume a lot of responsibility at a very young age. My brother, sister and I are extremely close with my sister being my best friend and closest confidant.
AR: What did you like to do when you were a young girl?
Pyle: I hate to admit it, but I was a real tomboy! (laughter) I played softball and loved it. When recess came, I was never with the girls but instead was always looking to play football with the boys … basketball, softball … any sport imaginable. In a lot of cases … I’m proud to say … I would often be the first chosen! (laughter) I didn’t worry about my fingernails back then!
I think people who look at the way I dress today may not believe it, but I was a terrible tomboy. My family has always been a sports family. Dad has always coached basketball and he ran track in college; my brother and my uncles also played football. I was destined to love sports.
In fact, I am the sports fan in my family; if Joe never went to a sporting event, he would be happy, but I could go to any and all of them.
AR: Did you play high school sports?
Pyle: A little, but I think I went through a stage in which I did not want to be so “Tommy” so I tried out and made the cheerleading squad.
The big thing in our high school was to be the band drum major. I had played in the band since middle school, playing the flute, and in my senior year I tried out for drum major and was selected. I was so excited and it definitely was the highlight of my high school career.
The band would play for football games on Friday nights, but we would have our band competition throughout the Pittsburgh area on Saturdays. One routine we had was for me, as the female drum major, to jump off the podium, do a split and end up in the arms of the male drum major. That is how we ended our show, and I think the judges thought it was pretty good as well because we won a lot of competitions with that routine.
AR: Did you have career goals back then?