Have you ever felt a strange affinity for a certain place for no particular reason? I have felt this longing for two places in my life – an area of Pittsburgh called Shadyside where I lived for several years after college and London, England.
Oddly enough, I’ve always considered myself more of a “rural” girl than a city girl. I would sooner surround myself by trees, flowers, and quiet than deal with a concrete world and the constant hustle and bustle but while London is considerably bigger than Shadyside, both are very much city dwellings.
I used to live in a third floor apartment in Shadyside right along Fifth Avenue, one of the busiest streets available and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. After all, I had everything I could need within easy reach and I didn’t need a car to get around. My neighbors were mostly graduate students from one of the surrounding universities (Pitt, CMU, Chatham…) which is a far cry from the suburban life I have now. If they didn’t go to school then they probably had some affiliation with all of the hospitals in the area.
I guess I felt a little nostalgic cruising through my former life on Sunday because we took the kids to the Carnegie Museum which is only a hop, skip, and a jump from the world I used to call my own. I like the museum well enough and I had a fun time with the family but it’s difficult not to look around and reminisce about what I suppose we can now call “the old days”. I don’t think my feelings for Shadyside will ever really go away.
The Carnegie Museum is one that we haven’t braved very often since having kids. As a matter of fact, this is only the second time we have attempted to take them. The first time didn’t go so well. I suppose I can’t blame them. After all, our usual destination points usually involve a lot more kid-friendly interaction. When you are limited to mostly looking without touching, well, heck, that gets boring after a while even for a supposed grown-up like me.
They like the dinosaur bones, even if we did have to endure a twenty minute argument in the car on the way home over whether dinosaurs and superheroes are real or fake. (Apparently adult commentary on the subject is not welcome so there was no setting the record straight to save ourselves from this particular argument.) They liked the Ancient Egypt and the Polar exhibits. They even got to dig for their own dinosaur bones just like a real paleontologist.
But then came the art gallery. Stu and I looked at each other and laughed when we suggested it. Not because we find art really all that funny, but because we knew what we’d be getting ourselves into as soon as we opened the doors to let our little whirlwinds enter the room. Guess what? We were right.
Within two minute (literally!) we had the guards on us because Matt picked up something that he was not supposed to touch. Oops. We spent every minute after that reminding them to look, don’t touch while they got increasingly hostile about being reminded – and still attempting to touch anyway.
“Is this art?” they kept asking.
“Yes, this is art.”
“Is this art?”
“Yes, this is art, too.”
“Art is boring!”
“Yes, it is. Look, don’t touch.”
“I”m NOT touching!”
We like the naked ones.
Naked ones, however, do inspire fits of uncontrollable giggles so “look, don’t touch” soon is replaced with “Shhhhhhhhhhhh…”
And apparently, when you’re a kid trying to make the best of the tortures that your parents put you through, being silenced is just as much of a torment as looking without touching.
After our adventures in dinosaurs and art, we attempted to have dinner at one of former favorite spots, Fuel and Fuddle, but that didn’t work out so well. They don’t even have a kids’ menu. Go figure in the middle of a college town, right?
So, we got back in the car and journeyed back to suburbia pointing out the apartment building along Fifth Avenue where Mummy and Daddy used to live once upon a time, got on the parkway and headed back to our own little suburbia to have dinner at a more family friendly location close to home.
No naked people though.