Tonight as I sat in Parent Teacher night listening to my son's kindergarten teacher there was one thing that stuck out to me:
At our elementary school there are designated "days" when you wear specific t-shirts. I think this is probably pretty commonplace. Fridays are "Spirit days" and you wear the school shirt. The first Monday of the month is "USA DAY!" and you're encouraged to wear red, white, and blue or something patriotic.
But what I'm really excited for? Like, really, really, super-duper, crazy excited for?
Every other Monday is "College Day!" Kids get to wear the school shirt where mom and dad went to school. That's right, once a month or so I'll get to advertise Pitt Pride to the world as I send little Camstar to school. Yee-haw. I mean, I practically have my own travelling Oakland Zoo in the van already, right?
Leaving the school tonight I couldn't wait to run home and pick out a new Pitt shirt for my eldest. And in so doing I faced that old rush of feelings as I typed www.pitt.edu into the browser. Oh, man. I really loved Pitt. I mean, REALLY loved Pitt. When Chase was getting ready to enter recruiting interviews in his senior year we very seriously considered Pittsburgh because I have such lovely feelings about the place. I mean, Oakland is a filthy hole, but I just can't help myself. There's just too much to love.
For instance, how could I forget the place that (most likely) gave me heart disease? Or the best breakfast ever known to man? Or those days when I sat at the bottom of the Cathedral waiting for approximately four hours to get an elevator to the 30th floor for class? Or hanging out in Heinz chapel to study (is that sacrilegious?) because it was so amazingly peaceful? Or being lost in Hillman Library because it's enormous and I want to read everything in it? Then there's that super weird date I went on between finals one time and the guy tried to impress me by telling me that he once brought a knife to school...in kindergarten. And I faked a final and left (ooh, look at the time!). Or the fact that I could take the bus anywhere, anytime. Or the greasy vendors set up on all the corners. Or the amazing parks and botanical gardens just minutes from my urban campus. The incredible architecture. Working for this guy and figuring out just how parties/people get elected (fill the potholes, get the votes). Pittsburgh-Sara, Jeanne, Melissa, Eileen, Kiersten and the entire Oakland Ward. The South Oakland Icon. My mom interrupting my upstairs neighbor/elders quorum president in the middle of his shower to help her hang curtains in the apartment that she didn't really approve of me living in all by myself but went along with because she's supportive like that. Sodas on the sofa - heck, just the fact that every student apartment had a nasty sofa on the front porch. Lugging groceries home from Giant Eagle. Learning the proper pronunciation of the word Steelers. Living in my dorm and then moving to 221 Coltart Ave, 15213 (you have to check it out on google maps so you can actually see it...it's the one on the right side. It's special to say the least). Sitting in my first honest-to-goodness journalism class and listening as my instructor (Marylynne Pitz, who just wrote this piece) called her editor on the morning of September 11 and whispered "Do they think it was Osama Bin Laden?". Returning home that afternoon to find frantic messages from my sister who was only getting news that a plane had gone down in Pittsburgh.
So many memories.
I could go on.
But you want to know what's funny? My attendance at Pitt is something of an anomaly in my family. In fact, it's a point of ridicule with my Nittany Lion siblings. They go on and on about Joe Pa and his amazing ability to coach while in a state of cryogenic freeze; and how Penn State is so forward-thinking because they actually allow cows to enroll; and some professors come straight to class from their organic farms and blah, blah, blah. And you know, hey. That's great. Good for them.
But in that great debate of culture vs. agriculture, you know where my loyalties lie.
p.s. I should be banned from blogging. The length of my posts and my inability to edit myself in any way is getting slightly out of hand. All apologies.