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Seeing a Garden in a Pile of Debris

Julia had fired up the chainsaw because she had been bored, really. Retirement had been fun for an hour or two, but she needed something to do. She had grown tired of watching people dump things in the vacant lot adjacent to her East Hills home: couches, loveseats, enough beer cans to make you a …

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Mario’s Corner of the World in Sewickley

Mario spends most of his life in the dungeon. That’s what he likes to call his Sewickley Shoe Repair shop, the dungeon, although his beaming face betrays him. His customers come from all over—Aliquippa, Cranberry, Erie, Weirton—ready to launch with their “savior of my sole” puns. They’re mostly right, because there isn’t much that Mario …

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Gino

Dinners plus two daily sides and bread…$6 each reads the inner page of a card-sized, laminated menu. Breaded Veal, Roast Beef, Cube Steak, Hot Sausage, Meatloaf, Chicken…all $6.00. The bread comes from Mancini’s, “Proudly Served” according to the banner hanging from the ceiling. Photography by John Altdorfer Gino has been operating his namesake restaurant at …

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The Basement of Precision

The fork brace will steady the custom-built 1973 FXE that’s currently in progress. Right now, it’s sitting on a lift in the garage that sits in the alley behind Jeff’s house, sandwiched between single rows of towering red T&E tool chests and a ’75 Camaro waiting patiently for plates and insurance. That unsteadiness is what …

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Offering a Way Out

There are about two dozen men—black, white, young, old—gathered in a well-lit commercial space that occupies 704 Main Street, Sharpsburg. In the front window is a white cross with an orange life preserver draped over it that reads Jesus Saves Lives. Anchored against the interior wall, in front of floor-to-ceiling mirrors hangs a wooden cross—about …

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James Dean

Half of James Dean’s body is under the hood of a ’63 Chevelle that’s missing all of its doors, a portion of his 50 years hanging over navy blue work pants as he twists awkwardly, trying to get the right angle. He’s in the middle of grinding a piece of metal, orange-tipped sparks cascading overhead …

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