Pittsburgh: reflections of home

“Where we love is home–home that our feet may leave but not our hearts.”~Oliver Wendell Holmes, American writer

I’m still thinking about home, Pittsburgh home, that is. The trip this week was short but spectacular. Usually I come to Pittsburgh for a purpose or an event, but this visit was all mine. For the first time in years, I had the chance to ride a bus and casually stroll through my old neighborhood.

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Tasty water from Riverview Park water fountain

Wander the streets I grew up on. What a rare treat, to see the changes and to see what’s new. To reminisce. To just be. I rode the bus to West View plaza, an amusement park when I was a child turned into a shopping center when I was a teenager. The Giant Eagle store where we bought groceries was still there, as was the Kmart my parents often ate breakfast at.

I strolled through the ‘hood where the church I was baptized and confirmed in. Schorr bakery where Dad always bought my favorite cookies: cherry thumbprints. There used to be a drugstore on the corner; still is, but not the same one. My first summer job was working cashier at that pharmacy–back when a pharmacy was not just a part of some mega-store–and I drank all the Slushies I could. I worked the lottery machine and learned a lot about human behavior, of risk and luck and of the importance of keeping the $20 bill visible when you count the change. One person claimed not to have received his, and at the end of the shift, my lesson came out of my paycheck.

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Look at that skyline view from Allegheny Observatory

Next door is still Mandy’s Pizza. My parents saved receipts from their meals of subs and spaghetti so that when I came I home, I redeemed them for a free pizza, sometimes two. My husband loved those pizzas as well. There was no time to stop for a slice this trip but the next one…my mind is already thinking about their crispy and doughy potato wedges.

Riverview Park where Mom took me to play. I have a picture of her and Dad swinging on the same swings I did. I climbed the monkey bars and slid down slides, all with cement underneath, long before mulch or spongy-safe material was used. Yep, I was a tough kid, with the bruises to prove it. I think I had my first third-grade kiss in the bushes there. If I did, it wasn’t memorable because I only think that happened there. In later years, Dad and I would walk down the sidewalk to the park, him holding his cane and me holding him (but only when necessary). Dad’s pulmonary fibrosis had spread enough that it took us 10 minutes to walk one way, but he was always proud that he accomplished that. I was too. Special times.

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My old Perrysville Ave. bus stop

I caught the bus back to dahntahn at the same bus stop I waited at when I was a kid, a teenager, and adult. Coming full circle this trip.

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