You may have noticed the picture in the banner at the top of the blog is no longer the Houston skyline. That’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I changed it because Pittsburgh will be my new home in just a few days. In fact, we are leaving Houston today, and should arrive there by the weekend.
The move obviously represents a job change, and I’ll get to that later on. It also represents a lifestyle change that’s been anticipated, prayed for, and finally realized. I grew up in Arizona, and went to college there. Shortly after graduation, I moved to Texas, and ever since then, I’ve lived either in, or on the fringes of, the Deep South. We lived in Missouri (my wife’s home state) for about five years, but just two miles north of the Arkansas state line, and in Kentucky for a few years, about 20 miles north of the Tennessee state line. This move will involve a major cultural change. Down here, even in the “cosmopolitan” melting pot of Houston, where the international flavor of the population separates the city culturally by quite some distance from the surrounding area, people wrinkle their faces when we tell them where we’re moving, and the general reaction to the news has been, “Pittsburgh? Really?”
We’ve discovered that, under the image of a smoky, industrial steel town, Pittsburgh is a city with a character and a culture all its own. In fact, the smoky steel town no longer exists, gone with the closed mills, casualties of deregulation and a global economy that has turned the US economy away from a manufacturing base. Pittsburgh’s tallest building symbolizes the kind of change that has emerged there, once the headquarters of US Steel, now headquarters for the University of Pittsburgh hospital system, which ranks right up there with Houston’s Texas Medical Center if not in size, in research and development potency.
Though it is only a third the size of the flat, sprawling Houston metropolitan area, Pittsburgh’s educational institutions rival those of the Bayou City, with Pitt, Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon leading the way. It’s theater district, anchored by the grand and elegant Benedum Center, is unmatched among cities of its size, and would impress theater going, classical music loving Houstonians. It has Houston beat hands down on public transportation. Though smaller in size and population, Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods, built on streets that either wind along the contours of the three rivers that flow through the city, or wind up and down the steep hills, are full of houses and buildings going back even beyond the turn of the 20th century. Almost every neighborhood in Pittsburgh is full of the kind of classic home architecture and delightful views that you can only find in Houston in the Heights Historic District.
There’s another reason moving to Pittsburgh will bring some changes for me. Family. I was born and raised in Arizona, the oldest child of two parents who had migrated there from West Virginia in the early 1950’s for my mother to escape the damp climate for relief of her asthma, and for my father to expand his employment opportunities. As a result, I only had limited contact with my extended family on a few occasions when we would either visit there, or when they came to Arizona. Living in Pittsburgh, I’ll be within a two hour drive of most of them, and will have an opportunity to get to know some of them. At this point in my life, that’s a good thing.
I’m not sure I’m going to change the title of the blog, since it still reflects what is written here. I may change the whole theme and appearance, but that will come when I have time to look at it. Right now, the priority is packing the last few boxes and getting ready for the truck that will come in a couple of hours to move our household goods, and hoping our house sells soon. Thanks for reading. Keep coming over to visit.