Tuesday, May 6

I'm Dreaming of Pittsburgh

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.

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