My little sister has caught up with me, kid-wise. Baby Emily, kid #4, arrived in town in January, but I didn’t get to see her until the beginning of February. She’s so snuggly — like her big brother Zak, she weighed some ten pounds at birth.
It was wonderful to see the little one, and my other cute nieces and nephew. But sad, too: Liz & Ryan are finishing up with medical school this spring, and we are going to try and sell the little brown house. It was difficult not to get choked up about it during the visit. Three of my children were born while I was living there, and I was surprised at how much my subconscious remembered the house: my arms automatically reaching for light switches, doorknobs, and bannisters, the familiar stumble to the bathroom in the morning, the soft hum of the freeway at the bottom of the big hill. It’s probably the last nights I’ll ever spend in the “chocolate house,” and likely the last time I will ever visit Pittsburgh.
Which is why I’m glad I got to do so many wonderful things while I was there, like:
Finally visit the legendary “corner store” in Greenfield. This is a teeny little grocery shop run out of a converted living room by two elderly ladies. They had shelves loosely stocked with cans of soup, rolls of toilet paper priced for individual sale, and an ancient Pepsi-Cola refrigerated case with quarter-gallon jugs of milk and iced tea. Best of all was a counter filled with penny candy. Two cents per tootsie roll. Sarah’s classmates at school call this place the “candy store,” for that reason. Both Sarah and Abby walked home with a fat baggie of treats for $1 total. I had heard about this place when I moved into the neighborhood, but never got around to finding out where it was.
I also got to visit the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and two of my favorite co-workers happened to be there. It was great to reconnect and find out about the projects they are working on — the “historic children’s literature” collection is finally funded and being re-catalogued and preserved. This is an undertaking that was first being proposed when I left the library in 2008, so it’s wonderful to see it come to fruition.
And of course, Baby Emily! The sad thing about my trip is that she caught RSV and had to be hospitalized during most of my visit. The good thing about my trip is that I was around to help care for the other kiddos while baby sister was sick. No fun for anyone, but at least I had an excuse to order take-out from my favorite Squirrel Hill restaurants (Mmmm, Aladdin’s!).
More to come in Part Two . . .