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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
NOV
15

Reminiscing on the Hood

I was in Pittsburgh this past weekend, a city I visit fairly often. I love the donut shop in the strip district, I love that Pittsburgh houses both the closest IKEA to me and also the closest Tiffany & Co., and I love that it has the same industrial blue collar feel as Cleveland but is infinitely more lovely with all those rivers and bridges. I might live there if they had an NBA team. Yet, I digress.

While on the trip I got to meet up with a woman who is as dear to me as family. For those who have read Schooled, this woman---my former neighbor---is the one whose daughter I used to trade sandwiches with on the school bus, the one who calmed me down when my over-the-top prom hairstyle had me borderline weepy, and the one who introduced me to such luxuries as bologna, white bread, the country music video channel, and hide-a-beds, which, to be clear, were ALL things that I considered luxuries. Surely there is no one else (besides my own family) who was such an integral part of my growing up years in Oregon, and as we chatted over dessert on Saturday night, she said, "It really was a great neighborhood." And it was. But more than that, she really was a great neighbor. And I miss her terribly.

But it's funny how life shuffles things around, people too, because even though I'm three time zones away from my beloved Oregon, this sweet former neighbor lives only a couple hours away from me. I think about that sometimes; the fact that somewhere in the city of Pittsburgh is the woman who is the closest reminder I have of my childhood. I think about this a lot, actually. How most people I see (in stores, on crowded streets, in airports, etc.) mean nothing to me, but to someone, these people mean the world. And that makes me want to be nicer. To everyone. Because I hope the people who surround my loved ones in their various corners of the world are doing the same. So smile at the person in the elevator next to you. Ask how they are. Ask what they do. And if they've written a book, buy it.