VISIT TO ALLISON PARK MAY 17 2008
It had been over 10 months since the last time I had visited my siblings and their spouses, so after some long distance planning Marie and I flew on Southwest to Pittsburgh, with changes in Chicago. Jim and Jo were planning to drive up from Silver Spring to join the festivities. To our surprise, when Lois and Chuck pulled up to the airport to meet us, Jim and Jo were in the back seat. so we all headed towards Allison Park, with a stop in that great German restaurant in North Side, for a feast of German sausage, red cabbage, potato pancakes, etc. And to my surprise, that very friendly waitress gave me a free glass of German beer.
The next morning, after a leisurely start, we started on a "walk around the block". The weather was cold, drizzly, and windy for most of our visit to the East, as you can note from our clothing. Here we see Marie, Jim, Jo, and Lo. As you can guess, I am behind the camera.
I couldn't decide which of these photos is best, so I punted and included both.
Pat came out to visit us at Lois' , and we had a delightful lunch.
I put my earphones on Jim to demonstrate some of my favorite MP3 music . He said that it really sounded great and here he explores with this big grin. I think he was listening to some great Sinatra at his prime.
He soon mastered my simple Ipod Shuffle..
I think Chuck is thinking about all the spring gardening that he has to do, and is wishing for the weather to improve.
Lois and Chuck, our wonderful hosts.
Chuck is commenting on how bad the weather has been the past week or so.
When I was in the 7th grade, Pat was the tallest of the 5 children, even though she was number three. Now I think she is the shortest in height, but still towers in the important things of life..
It is really great to just visit and gab.
But soon we departed on our first activity, which was to visit a very large antique establishment. It consisted of this delightful house, plus another nearby house, plus three large outbuildings all full of antiques. In addition to the vast array of items, the house itself appeared to have been a wonderful home at one time. I loved it!
It was stuffed from attic to basement.
I think I might have bought something if I wasn't so far from home. Pat did find a number of items that she likes and purchased.
Lots of STUFF!
I think Jim is getting tired of this
Some nice pieces at nice prices, but too hard to take home.
After our explorations at the Antique store, we, as arranged, met Helen and Cathy at Hoover's, a nearby favorite restaurant. Here we see Helen, Marie and Cathy
Jim is having trouble making up his mind what to order.
I think he liked my suggestion
Again, Helen, Marie, and Cathy
Pat, Chuck and Lois
Lo, Jim and Jo.
The waitress took this photo.
and this. Which is best??
This is the new house that is being built on the lot where our home used to stand. They totally demolished the old house and garage, filled in the cellar and septic systems, and did lots of grading. They then built this new house about 20 feet further from the road than the old house had been. This is a factory made house that is shipped in many sections and then assembled at the site with huge cranes. Even the cellar foundations were precast and then joined in place. The new house will have a brick exterior on some sides, but it is not installed yet. I am including a few photos of the old house to show the extent of the changes..
This is not from exactly the same point of view, but it is close. And, of course, most of these spectacular trees, shown in the height of their fall foilage, are, sadly, gone.
This is another factory house that was built in the corner lot across the street from our old house,
Closer view of the new house.
Here is another new house that is being built a couple of hundred yards down the street from the old home. We chatted with the builder for a few moments and he said we could go in and look around, and, of course, Jim and I could not resist such an offer.
It is about 4000 square feet I think, and has very high end features and styling.
Look at the complex ceiling.
Jim and I once dreamed of going into the business of building homes, and we just love to see one in progress.
That is the front door and entry with a curved staircase.
This is a favorite that we see on our "walk around the block" The log construction fits the setting .
Andrew Carnegie, the hugely rich steel magnate, made most of his vast fortune in the Pittsburgh area, and in return he built a magnificent museum, library, art museum and university. My dad and his sister Genevieve worked there for many many years, and, later, I attended the free Saturday morning art classes for several years. Lois reported that the dinosaur exhibits had been undergoing major renovation for several years, and had recently reopened. So, that was our next activity site. Here we are gathering in a lobby in the new wing.
I believe that these skeletons are the same ones that I saw so many times in my youth, however, they have been arranged in much more interesting and lifelike postures. And the surrounding animals are positioned so as to make them relate to one another. Also, the room is much higher that the old one.
Unfortunately, my camera lens is not wide angled enough to capture the whole scene. But it is very beautiful.
Their collection is very large because, back in the 1800's Carnegie became very interested in these huge skeletons that were being discovered in the west, and richly funded searching and acquisition projects.
The action poses almost make them seem alive,
Pat was having a grand time seeing the new exhibits and visiting favorite old displays from yesterday years.
There are several balconies where one can get a broader view of the displays.
Now we are in the older part of the museum where extensive collections of the animals of the world are displayed.
This huge diorama was made after my time here as a youth, but is excellent. Again, it will take two photos to give you an impression of it's size and scope.
The zebras shown on the left of this photo are the same ones shown on the right of the above photo. There are no windows, and one can get the feeing of actually being there on the plains of Africa The kids love it.
Next, we went to the Art Galleries, where they had some special modern art exhibits that were unique - but I am not sure that I would call them art. This was a very large walk-through "cave" which was made from cardboard and Styrofoam things, and everything covered by miles and miles of brown shiny shipping tape. The "cave" walls had a wide variety of things attached, including some small old fashioned TV sets. UGH
It is the weirdest thing I ever saw! But then I am not a fan of so called modern art.
Now, this is what I call real art
and this ....
The pose on this statue just reaches out and grabs be. It is a French woman farm worker pausing in her labors.
I love this also....
And think of the skill and years of training it took to capture Joan of Arc in this heroic pose.
This is part of the new wing that was built 20 or more years ago. It was built to increase the space for the art exhibits.
Well, we met here and then headed back to Lois and Chucks home for our final evening together. We flew home to California the next morning. It was really wonderful to hang out with our East Coast Family. Thanks to all.