Tag Archives: pittsburgh

Letter to parents from Pittsburgh: October 1981

This letter was written two months after moving to Pittsburgh.

October 13, 1981


Got my Pennsylvania [teaching] certification today. I still have to take a class for my special ed certification though, but I can still sub which I should be doing next week.

Not much has happened otherwise, since I last spoke with you. We got a battery at Sears for the Hornet. Luckily it was on sale.

I got a strange phone call the other night. It was from a friend from the Manor — he used to give me rides home when I worked late. We had everyone convinced he was my older brother. The strange thing was that I haven’t seen him since before I went to England. I was really surprised. He said that he got my phone number from you…?

Dean and I went to a zoo last Sunday. It was ok, but I don’t really like zoos. After the zoo Dean drove the wrong way home and stopped at a park. He had a picnic all planned in the trunk. It was wonderful! A great surprise. ☺️ We ate on an outcrop of stone that formed a large area. Similar to things at Wisconsin Dells.

We picked up some acorns for our friendly squirrel. I put them on the windowsill inside the bedroom. This morning I heard a noise and saw the squirrel scratching at the window, trying to get the nuts. I put some outside but he hasn’t taken them yet. Cinder is keeping watch though.

The people downstairs have a huge Siamese cat who climbs the fire escape and stars in our kitchen window. This upsets Cinder as you can imagine!

My fingers haven’t turned blue or felt numb since I’ve been on the new medication.


Dean is studying in the other room. Every so often I hear a string of cuss words come from that direction. I guess he’s having a hard time with a problem

We bought a roasting chicken last time we went to the store. We decided to have it today. I’ve no idea how to roast it, but I’m sure we’ll manage. I’ve discovered that cookbooks are actually helpful.

The squirrel I mentioned earlier has really gotten bold. Today when He saw me open up the window he came right up to me. I got scared and dropped the acorn, though. But I think he’d take it from me.

Dean thinks he may not go to his Wednesday classes the day before Thanksgiving and therefore be free on Monday evening. We are driving the Chevelle home and leaving it at Dean’s folks’. We will then take a train back here, or a bus.

We saw Private Benjamin last night. It was pretty silly. Her wedding dress at the end was pretty though.

Is Grandma still there? Hi, if she is.

Well — keep well,


P.S. City life is great! Three weeks ago there was a murder a mile or so from here and last week a man held up an electric store two blocks away — two doors down from where we do laundry! One man got shot there! 😲

One of my better bulletin boards

Imagine if you will, a bulletin board in a classroom in a school for students with behavior issues. Imagine the bulletin board contained several pieces of construction paper shaped like helium balloons. Imagine the balloon shapes each contained a school guideline/rule. Now imagine photos of each student, the teacher, and assistant, each holding their arm in the air, like this one:

Me, aged somewhere between 26 and 29

Then imagine a piece of yarn attached to the hands in the photo and attached to a single string that tied all the balloons together.

This was a bulletin board I created one year to represent that each one of us was responsible for upholding the classroom/school rules/guidelines.

At the end of the year we each received our photo, on which everyone in class wrote something nice about the person depicted in the photo.

I don’t know if the bulletin board was helpful in insuring the students followed the rules, but it certainly looked good!

I might have a photo of it somewhere. I’ll add it to this post if I find it.

Letter to Mom and Dad from Pittsburgh, April 1982

This was written about 8 months after we moved to Pittsburgh. It was our first spring there.



Although last week was break, I have more time this week I worked at the store most mornings (7:00am – 12:00 noon) and slept from 12 to whenever. It wasn’t too warm last week.

I dreamed of Grandma Patrick last night. She decided to come back and join the family for an evening — telling us all how wonderful it was to be back with her husband (although he is much younger now) and Jesus. It was a happy dream. She had a glow about her.

Ah, the sounds of spring! Birds singing — cardinals, robins, and sparrows. Children playing outdoors, friends calling to one another, mini bikes racing with no mufflers below my open window (bleah!)

My flight home was really nice. I sat next to a man who was a lecturer for Westinghouse’s Nuclear Works. He was very friendly and we talked the entire trip.

Easter was pretty good. Dean and I went to a gothic church. WE had crab quiche and onion soup (for Easter??!). It was delicious.

I am thinking of getting Dean a kitten for his birthday. But I think that Cinder might devour it. Or be frightened to death. We have been letting the Siamese cat from downstairs into the apartment. Cinder usually just sits in the corner hissing and growling.

It looks like it’s going to rain. The temperature has been dropping all day. I love the warm weather. Dean and I had a picnic a few days ago. It was great! I talked him into leaving school for the rest of the day.

That night we saw Second City at CMU. It was funny. I think I clapped and yelled the loudest when they asked who was from Chicago. They mentioned some landmarks and I clapped when I recognized them — the MC made a joke about the odd person who claps for inanimate objects.

Dean liked the beer that Daddy sent for him! He drank them all by Wednesday.

Not too much has happened since I got home. I haven’t taught at all. I expect to get called any day now.

I should be doing some work instead of writing this letter, but you know me!

I’m going to make shortcake for some strawberries I bought yesterday. I suppose we will have soup and sandwiches for supper. I’m not sure. Dean will be getting home soon. I never know exactly when He will be here. He’s begun studying for his big exam next month.

So mom — have you thought anymore about my invitation? Every time I see something new I get all excited at showing you.

Dean and I drove through one of the parks the other night. We could see downtown from a hill. It was beautiful!

Well — I’d better to play house person & fix some dinner & goodies for Deano.

Cinder is finally sleeping — she gets excited hearing the birds singing and smelling the outdoor odors.

I love you all and miss you.


P.S. I’m sending back the envelope & unused stamp from your last letter!