Photo Found here.
I'm a Pittsburgh girl at heart. This place is my home, I bleed black & gold and I am proud of this city along our three rivers. But I have a not-so-secret secret: I wasn't always this way.
And I don't know what it is about our beloved Steelers winning another AFC Championship & heading off for a chance to win their *7th* Super Bowl victory, but it has me thinking about my long, sometimes troubled, love affair with Pittsburgh.
One of my earliest memories is that of Sunday afternoons, extended family gathered round watching football. I remember I had a Steelers black & gold dress and pompoms. And since it was my then 3 year-old dream to become a cheerleader when I grew up I remember being devastated when I found out the Steelers didn't have a cheerleading squad. I actually remember thinking to myself, "Well, I'll change that." Because I was a go-getter with big dreams even at three.
I remember my parents taking me to the Carnegie Museum and wandering the long hallways of birds. What young girl wants to go to the museum just to look at stuffed birds, shoved into a narrow hallway almost an afterthought, from the turn of the century? This one. And, actually, it's still one of my favorite parts of the museum.
And of course, I remember afternoon trips to the library. We lived in Brookline when I was a little girl and gloriously, in walking distance of the Brookline branch of the Carnegie Library. I'm not exaggerating when I said that we went every day. My heart broke when we moved to the suburbs, not because I was leaving friends and the familiar behind, but because my neighborhood did not have a library. And wouldn't actually, until my early love with Pittsburgh was wearing thin and I was on my way to college.
But then I grew up. And the small town feel of Pittsburgh just wasn't cutting it for me. I wanted out, thought I'd go away for college & never come back. In fact, I got into all of the colleges I applied to and the one I ended up attending (just a mere 1.5 hour north) was at the bottom of my choices. But what ended up being a twist of fate, scholarships, grants and financial aid led me to the most expensive school on my list and the best decision I ever made.
And the whole time I still thought there was no way I was going to end up in Pittsburgh. Throughout school, even though I had a fierce love of reading, librarian wasn't even on my radar as career option. If you would have told me at 12, 17 or 22 that I would be a librarian in Allegheny County...I would have laughed in your face. And yet, here we are....
There is more to my passionate Pittsburgh love affair, but I really view it in different chapters, so the other parts will come later.
But for tonight, I'm just going to remember that I love it here. I love the neighborly attitude, I love the eclectic group of people, I love our sports teams & I love that the people I love are here. And I'm remembering to keep that close to heart, even when I start thinking of greener pastures.
So, lovies, what is your most early memory of Pgh?
Shannon, I love this entry in your blog! I too felt the exact same way about Pittsburgh growing up and I did try to leave. As you might remember I left for Arizona State only to last a semester. I realized once I got there that people outside of Pgh are much different and not nearly as friendly. Although the weather at ASU was exactly what I was looking for, I couldnt understand how there could be so many beautiful people(on the outside) on one campus, but how they could be so mean and shallow. People there only wanted to be your friend if you could offer them something. It opened my eyes to see what a wonderful city we live in and it made me greatful for my friends that I grew up with and are still friends with today. Now that I am a parent I also realize that there is nowhere that I would rather raise my children. My parents now live in AZ and from time to time I think about how nice it would be with the weather and all. I realize that my heart will forever be in Pittsburgh, even if it is frozen to the core through the winter I know that it eventually does thaw out every Spring:)ReplyDelete
oh and to answer your question, my earliest memory was when I was about 5 years old, Ralph the owner of Armstrongs was my babysitters son and he opened the first location of Armstrongs on top of Mt. Washington. It was a small bar/restaraunt and my parents used to take me to eat there and we would ride the incline up and down one time before we ate. This started my love for Armstrongs baked ziti, Mt. Washington, and Pittsburgh:)ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you're reading! Thank you!
And thanks for comments. Pgh is definitely a city that grows on you. But you're right...it's a wonderful place to raise a family.