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Monday, August 16, 2010

Moans and Mosaics and Tiffany Treasures

I am home alone.

This used to happen a lot.  Now, not so much.

My husband Howard was, as they euphemistically say, "let go" from his job back at the end of March, along with many hundreds of people who also worked for the investment branch of one of Europe's biggest banks. 

Which I shall not name.
Because it has cooties and is no longer welcome at the cool kids' table in the cafeteria.


  The last time Howard lost a job was 28 years ago, in a management change at KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh.

At the time, we lived in a big, beautiful apartment in this wonderful old house, below,
on what I think is the very best street on all of Pittsburgh's North Side.

That's me in my minivan, on the right, week before last -- visiting old haunts with  my girls.

The front door, below.

It doesn't look so big in this picture, but it is huge. There are 12-foot ceilings behind that door.

 Two houses down, to the left, is a house where writer Mary Roberts Rinehart (the American Agatha Christie) lived with her doctor husband.

It's the house with the yellow porch.  Rinehart was born a couple of blocks away.
And down the street in the other direction is the house where Gertrude Stein was born.
Back in the day, this was Pittsburgh's wealthiest neighborhood, with Millionaire's Row around the corner.
Back in the day, this wasn't even part of Pittsburgh; it was Allegheny City.

 But back to today, my girls took some pictures while we were there.

Now who wouldn't want to live on this street?

 I cried buckets when the moving van pulled away back in August of '82.

But at least we were heading back to New York -- familiar ground.

From Pittsburgh, Howard went to New York's 1010 WINS ("you give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world"), and was there for 18 years, editor and then reporter/anchor.  After that, it was Bloomberg radio in New York, hosting a financial talk show.  Then . . . dum da dum dum . . . (cue ominous music) . . . Wall Street sang its siren song.  You know those offers you can't refuse?  Sometimes it's better to refuse them.

Anyway, here we are 5 months later, and Howard is still looking for the right job.  He's doing freelance work at WINS -- which is where he is today.  And why I am home alone.  I've gotten too used to having him around; it feels empty in the house.

Dion just looked up at me as if to say, "Hey, what am I?  Chopped liver?"

When I told Anne, who studied architectural history this past year, that the church across the street from us in Pittsburgh was world-famous for its Tiffany windows, and that the church across the alley behind us was designed by H. H. Richardson and is on the National Historic Register, visiting them went on her "things I want to do in Pittsburgh" list.

The 1886 Richardson church is a round brick design, with a steeply pitched slate roof -- austere and simple but very striking.
Locals call it the "bake oven church."

These are not our pictures.  We borrowed them from Wikipedia.  Shhh. . . .

Unfortunately, we didn't get our own pictures.  If we had, we'd have taken shots of the front of the building!

Sheesh, people, take the money shot!

The church was refurbished and restored recently; I think these pictures pre-date that sprucing up.  It sits right smack on the sidewalk; no grounds at all.  It boasts a bit of Tiffany glass at the front door . . . but the Tiffany star of the neighborhood is Calvary Methodist Church:

It's on the corner of our old block, right across from our apartment.

Built in 1877, it's a gorgeous Gothic tribute to the local wealth and faith, and its crowning glory are the Tiffany windows
-- by Louis Comfort Tiffany himself -- that also recently underwent restoration.

Alida and Anne rang the church's bell, and got inside to get a look,
while I stayed in my illegally parked car.  Just in case.

Don't forget you can click on these pictures to enlarge them.
Try clicking twice -- they can get really big!

 And that's enough for today.
No more whinging on my part, I promise.

On Wednesday I plan on taking you straight up a cliffside.  Hope you are not afraid of heights.

Thanks to Mary of Little Red House for hosting Mosaic Monday Mary is back from her family vacation with one sick offspring, and lots of great pictures and memories.  Go visit!
Just click on the highlighted words.

As for me, I am as always very grateful for my blogging buddies and friends, the fun I have doing this blog -- even on those days like today when it got done in bits and pieces over the course of the whole day! -- and if you stuck with me through to the end of this post -- wow.  You are a real trouper -- Cass

Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle.


  1. Hi, Wonderful mosaic and photos! Hope you have a lovely new week!

  2. Sometimes it's fun to "go home again"!

    Lovely apartment -- I would have cried to leave that too!

  3. From one big city girl to another...nothing beats, well, a big city. Pittsburgh sounds fabulous and until your post I knew very little about it. Or Howard's exciting jobs. Wow...a reporter!!

    The mosaic of the church is awesome!! I clicked twice!!!! ;-D

    Hope you have a marvelous week, Cass!


  4. Oh love the pictures of the church's windows! So pretty. My daughter did her doctorate work at Unniversity of Pitt and had her first baby there too. I spent quite a while there after she delivered her baby because she got some horrible infections in one of her breasts. AND she was finishing up her doctoral work---it was pretty bad for her since she was so sick. I basically was prisoner in the house, ha! But I did get to see some of Pitt at other times. Now she lives in NC so I guess I won't be visiting Pitt is really a pretty city now.

  5. Call me a trouper. What a great post and interesting. Photos too. The Gardener mostly works from home so sometimes I do enjoy the house to myself. I understand. But mostly he's home when I'm home and that's great.

  6. Cass, fabulous post! I loved learning about Pittsburgh and about YOU. We really should talk girl- Ray's been out of work for way too long too. Sucky, isn't it?
    xoxo Pattie

  7. Glad you had such a great time on your trip. Sounds like a very special place for you! The baker church is really unique. I love the shape of it! Hope your husband finds something soon, but atleast he is keeping busy with some work! I gave your email to the girl from CSN, I hope she has sent you info by now on how to claim your prize. Take care!

  8. The old buildings (....houses and apartments and churches and all the historic buildings....) are one of the biggest advantages of old, big cities. I lived in Chicago which isn't as old as a lot of cities in the East, but is no slouch when it comes to beautiful buildings and great architecture. The Chicago Fire and the 1935 World's Fair in Chicago, plus Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Sullivan, need I say more?

  9. I love the pictures. I want to live in your old apartment house. I hope job hunting goes good this week.

  10. Hi Cass,
    I so enjoyed your post today. You had me laughing out loud with the comment about "cooties".
    Not only is your current house fabulous so was your old apartment it seems. What a beautiful street to live on. How fortunate that you had an opportunity to revisit "home".
    Thank you for sharing with us.

  11. I loved the photos of the great old buildings!!! Thanks for sharing...give Dion a hug!!!

  12. That looks amazing! Your blog is so cute. Thanks for checking me out today, I came here to say hi but now I am your newest follower!
    Bonnie :)

  13. Thanks for taking us along to share you memories of where you use to live. The stained glass windows, your previous home/apt. and the church are all beautiful!! Members of my family and friends are dealing with the "let go" issue due to the economy issue also. :(
    (((hugs))) and give sweet Dion a hug for me also.
    Have a great week!

  14. I love pictures of churches. Such history. Your old hood looks pretty cool.

  15. Well I must be a tropper as I finished,great post. The mosaic of the church is fantastic. Take care:)

  16. All the the end.....every time. How could I not?
    What a treat to have a trip with your girls. We have to grab these times when they present themselves!

  17. C~ delightful post..
    loved it..
    I'm with Howard..
    lost my job 2 years ago..
    in the banking industry..
    not fun being told I'm too overly qualified.
    just another way of age discrimination!
    but what a fun trip with you and the girls..
    thanks for taking us along!
    warm sandy hugs..

  18. great pics Cass no matter who took them. I so love the East and its glorious buildings. thanks

  19. Great post! I love buildings with history & character. We continue to feel the effects of the downturn; my husband is not out of work, but he has his own business and we are trying to hang in there until things get better. And I remind myself a lot that we are the lucky ones...

  20. So what is your daughter's phd going to be in?

    You must have many fond memories of Pitt--but I think it has really improved over the years.

  21. Wow I loved your post today and your pictures were so awesome! I hate being alone too...and hubby is retired...but does seem to get work away from home on occasion. Wonderful trip you took us on...♠ Just think..had you been able to stay in that apt. or neighborhood, or bought the house! PHEW if hindsight were ..... or what ever the saying...

  22. I did stay till the end, what a great post. Your photographs are amazing! What a gorgeous place to live, those homes are just incredible on that awesome tree lined street, I bet it was hard to leave. Thanks for sharing a little about you, take care!


  23. Sorry I'm behind due to school starting back.
    Looks like a fun time was had by all.


  24. Wow, what a gorgeous place to live!!!


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