I've been thinking of Pittsburgh cause my novel takes place there. My favorite year was 1967. Everyday we walked from our apartment on North Nagley Ave. to the Highland Park about a mile away to spend the day in the Children's zoo.
My memories beyond that idyllic summer are bits and pieces of confetti but mostly what I recall is the feeling of childhood innocence. The humid summers playing with friends and the thick layer of snow I walked through in winter. My whole existence was in walking distance of home: Roosevelt Elementary School, the drug store, the park. We kids wandered without fear of crime or our safety.
A few years later Mom and my younger siblings lived in the darker Oakland neighborhood where we would walk to Schenley Park, another refuge from the city, or a few blocks to Isley's for a Klondike bar.
The novel has me nostalgic for those sweet days. The city had a funky lived in feel like an old couch: the upholstery was smudged and reeking of smoke. It sagged in a few places but was comfortable and familiar.
When the steel industry collapsed, the city had to reinvent itself like a divorcee suddenly in need of a career. Pittsburgh became bright and livable again once the polluting grime was washed away and it discovered hi-tech greenery. The downtown buildings sparkle in the clean air, the neighborhoods are gentrified.
All I remember is a seven year old kid walking happily to the zoo.