Although only a few days were spent in PA, while I planned on doing a whirlwind tour of Pittsburgh and friends, I realized the limited time I actually had. The rain amind a crazy unseasonably warm day in PA convinced me that spending time with the friends locally allowed the most take-ins of just local stops like Butler, PA, but not much more. I was grateful, because the brief time I did spend with my friends – I loved every second and wanted to spend more days – however I realized, I need to devote a set amount of time just to Pittsburgh to take in the places I nostalgized about (is that even a word?!)
Getting up to leave, and leaving in general is just plain brutal anyway. Catching a 5:20 AM Amtrak entailed me leaving Saxonburg at 2:00 AM to catch enough time ot drop off the rental car to the Pittsburgh International Airport, and then, getting a taxi ride to the Amtrak station across the river, in enough time to drop the rental car off – (all this in the hours before most people are up? – including me? – a huge AGH!)
Waking up was easier to do but wanting to stay longer was natural, yet I got myself out, into a early morning rain, and with no one on the road, I made it to the Airport drop off by 4:10 – with a stop at Getgo outside of the airport for a long overdue Sheetz like sandwich and strawberry milk before dropping off the rental car.
Into a Yellow taxi that took me straight to the Amtrak station, seeing the downtown of Pittsburgh I longed for – and knew it needed to be in the cards soon. Into the Amtrak station, checked a bag, and ready for a long (I felt it already!) trip to D.C..
It is nearly impossible to sleep on a train, even in a deep state of exhaustion, I found myself here and there napping, but getting alot of reading in due to the lack of being able to sleep. The scenery was amazing, seeing rolling hills, mist settle in the hills and mountains as we winded from PA to lower PA, to West Virginia, into Maryland and past Cumberland, the scenery was amazing.
I always think the best part of writing anything are the personal experiences that occur. No disappointment here at all. The lady I found myself sitting next to – through brief discussions as we woke up, lived on the VERY SAME STREET my grandparents did in Pittsburgh, Hawthrone Drive Even further, we identified the residential area that sat on the hill of Etna, and I was dumbfounded. Some info she provided me blew me away. They used to visit Andy Warhol’s brother (original name was WarholA- Andy dropped the A) – now not sure if it was Paul or John, but he was into HAM radio and she told me how he also painted but of course, Andy became the claim to fame part of the family.
Discussing the aspects of Pittbsurgh we remembered was as if I was right there with my family in D.C. rehashing memories. She had attended Shaler, the same as my Mom, and was aware of Friday Street School as well – I took notes down of the maiden family name to share with my Uncle who lived on Hawthorne Drive with my Mom in that very circle of the neighborhood we identified. I was really out of words not knowing how to describe the coincidence. I have yet to see my Uncle to describe this coincidence but can only wait to do so and see what other coincidences remain.
I have found any trip to D.C. is pretty amazing when I involve Amtrak, the nostalgia, the scenery and the falling into the PA- D.C countryside – but the personal factor of friends and family truly is the element that resides within Holidays, and is the ultimate aside to the money and commericalism that masks itself as a holiday. To maintain those loyalities to the holidays is what true holidays, family, make new friends, and the nostalgia to visit the past is truly all about 😉