A to Z April Challenge

During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. Thank you for visiting and please follow the blog if you are not doing so already.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaPittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Dougtone)

     
         When my family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1958 I was entering the second grade.  We moved into a newer duplex home at the bottom of a hill in the Penn Hills suburb.  The school I attended was at the top of that hill and there was a Free Methodist Church practically in our back yard.  I spent a lot of time at that church and this was when I began to read my Bible and think a lot about God.

         With this new move came new things.  My parents had lived in a number of places after I was born and each move seemed like a step up.  The move to Pittsburgh brought the first purchases of new furniture for our young family.  Along with the furniture came luxuries like a better television, a hi-fi record player that played LP records, and an 8 mm movie camera.

         Many of my Pittsburgh memories come from the 8 mm movie films that we viewed for many years afterward.  My actual memories are as fragmented as those films.  The memories come in disconnected snippets--visits to Kennywood Park, sled riding on the hillside behind our house, going early morning bird-watching with the pastor's wife on Saturdays, playing baseball in the backyard, and watching my parents juggle.   My parents spent a lot of time practicing their juggling act if they weren't actually out performing.

         One evening I recall hearing my mother wailing in distress.  She informed my sister and I through her tearful sobs that my father had been hit by a car.   My little man insides seemed to drop, leaving me in a depth of sadness.  Now that my father was dead what would we do.  He had been the one who worked and provided for us.  I was afraid of the uncertainty that lay ahead.

          But my father hadn't died.   He'd been taken to a hospital, but he was soon released with not much more than a big bruise on his hip.  With the heightened drama of reactions my mother often had to events, things sometimes seemed much worse than they were.  And the mind of a child can step the fantasy up a notch.

         I seem to recall hearing about a bus accident in downtown Pittsburgh while we were living there.  I thought I read in the newspaper about how the bus crashed into a department store display window.  After the accident bloodied bodies were draped upon the furniture that was in the window displays.  There was death and carnage all over the sidewalk.  Many people had died and many more were injured.

         Well, that's what I remembered.  Actually I doubt that I was reading the newspaper when I was in the second grade.   There might have been a bus accident, but I probably blew it way out of proportion.  I suppose I take after my mother in that respect.

           I sometimes wonder which of my childhood memories are real and which were fabricated by a child with a vivid imagination.

           Do you have childhood memories that you're not sure if they are real or not?   At what age are your earliest memories?



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13 comments:

Lynn Proctor said...

what an interesting piece out of your life--an such a great insight--it's true, our childhood memories are so heightened

moondustwriter said...

I think moms and wives live on the edge (too much).
Praise God the story was a bruise rather than a death
The imaginings of a child are good - some have none or few as the memories are laden with terror (those are the children I work with)

thanks for your visits Lee
Blessings my friend

Jenny said...

I'm always amazed at the things my sister remembers that I have forgotten. She's only two years older, but it seems to have made a big difference when we compare our memories of the same events.

Lucy Adams said...

I have snapshot memories from when I was 2 and 3 years-old. I think they are so vivid because I have filled in missing details over the years. A memory is what you make of it, after all.

Lucy

Arthur Brill said...

Kennywood is a charming place, isn't it? Even today.

Never been there, but I've seen pics and videos.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Another great piece of your life written for us.

Yvonne.

Ann Best said...

Ah! Pennsylvania. When I first moved to Virginia in 1982, I took my two youngest up to Philadelphia to see a relative from the West who was visiting there. Lovely, lovely place!

I think our memories are fragmented. We remember some, forget others. I wish mine went back BEFORE age 3, but they don't. And we do so often blow things out of proportion and then they shift shape in our memories over the years.

I have had such a rough time with my disabled daughter since the end of March, I'm barely managing to comment on even a few posts. I should get a breather now for a bit, I hope, and will do catch up on my best friends blogs, and yours is on my list! I've bookmarked you and the others!!

Thanks for your comments on my Golden Movies posts. You are a bit younger than I but still in MY generation. We love those wonderful classics. Hooray!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Arlee Bird said...

Lynn -- So much of life seems so big when we are kids that I think we sometimes tend to remember it bigger.

Moondust -- I'm thankful that my memories are good ones.

Jenny -- I think also we all have our selective memories of what made the greatest impact on us individually.

Lucy -- I think many of my memories are the same. And some of them come from stories I've heard from my mother many times over they years.

Arthur -- Last time I was at Kennywood was in 1958 or 59. Like you I've seen pictures and it still looks quite nice.

Yvonne -- Thanks for stopping.

Ann -- You have your hands full. I'm amazed that you do as much as you do. I love the older movies. And even though I don't watch too many movies complete, I enjoy flipping on TCM just to watch snippets of some of those older films.

Lee

Richard said...

That's quite a bit to remember from the 2nd grade.

Kathy said...

You have amazing memories of the 2nd grade! I am not sure I remember much except who my teacher was and that year my golden hair turned brown and my locks were ceremoniously cut short. My hair has been brown and short ever since. There are a few straggles of hair here and there, but I have taken up coloring those few gray hairs back to brown. :D I am not ready for gray hairs at 43! LOL Great post...visiting from the A-Z challenge, and a follower. ♥

Kathy
http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

Wendy said...

I've been to Pittsburgh only once. After a lifetime on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we got to Three Rivers Stadium and caught maybe the last 3 innings. We had hot dogs and beer. We still talk about how that was the best hot dog we've ever had. Maybe we were just glad to be alive.

Arlee Bird said...

Richard -- Now if I could only remember the things that are more important for me to remember now.

Kathy -- I still remember some things about school, but I don't remember my 2nd grade teacher at all. And hair? What's hair? What happened to all of my beautiful long black locks of my youth? Whatever is left is all white now. Maybe I'd look younger if I shaved it all off.

Wendy --There's a great documentary shown on PBS (also available from Netflix I think) called A Hot Dog Show or something like that. It focuses on some hot dog establishments in Pittsburgh and other places around the country. They don't mention the hot dogs at Three Rivers Stadium, but apparently Pittsburgh has some notable hot dog stops.

Lee

Shannon... said...

I grew up in PA myself, the Reading area. I have wonderful memories of growing up in that urban mountainous area.

As an adult, I visited with my fiance. He made me not only drive by but stop, park and walk around. We had lunch at the local sandwich shop we used to get sodas from, which was still there. It was wonderful! We stopped into the *still* family owned convenience store and he made me buy penny candy, just because we still could.

What fun!
Shannon