Between the Issues

A Love Story

I met Rita on our mutual first day of employment in the kitchen of a suburban Pittsburgh family 13 years ago. Our boss, Betsy, was delighted with our installation, as it meant that her long and inconvenient kitchen renovation project was complete. Rita and I were placed on either side…

Examples of What to Say

Even small children love to hear simple stories about their ancestors, and as children grow into teenagers and then young adults the stories can become more complex and serious. For example, consider Great-​Grandpa Henry Knox’s many shortcomings as a rancher. Or the general klutziness of the Knox men, who are…

A Peek Inside the Pittsburgh Playhouse

The Pittsburgh Playhouse building in Oakland, which serves as the performing arts center of Point Park University and the Conservatory of Performing Arts, is nearing its end, as a new state-​of-​the-​art theatre complex is set to open on Forbes Avenue in downtown later this year. Photographer David Aschkenas documented the…

Matter of Light

A matter of light, part of the tree’s shade over the yard, a zelkova leaf, narrow palm of the rustbelt in April, green tints,

Tell the Right Stories to your Children

In the last few posts I’ve spent a lot of time talking about kids who grow up in wealthy families and the issues they face, as well as talking about how virtually all American kids are raised these days. I’ve devoted so much time to these subjects because I want…

92nd Cinderella Ball Held at the Omni William Penn

On Saturday, January 27, seventeen local debutantes walked the length of the ballroom at the Omni William Penn on the arms of their fathers before a crowd of family and friends during the 92nd presentation of the Cinderella Ball.

Trust Fund Baby Syndrome: An Interesting Case

In the fall of 1997 I found myself in the spacious, many-​windowed living room of a large home in a southern state I’ll call Florida, although that’s not where it was. I have also slightly modified some of the details of the family to protect their privacy.

Market Square Frankie Sings His Song of Life

by Kate Benz, photography by John Altdorfer
The stroller is one of those sporty, three-​wheeled versions, the kind that athletic moms like to push around suburban neighborhoods while huffing out a cardio burn. This one is parked in a crosswalk, about two feet from the curb, right on the corner of Market and Fifth in the shadow…

A Pampered Generation

The typical trust fund baby is well-​known to all of us: a life devoted to spending down the family’s capital on themselves, not working, having difficulty maintaining relationships, living empty lives. The fear that people will be ruined by money is so pervasive that, following the French Revolution, trusts were…

Allegheny County Parks Celebrate 90th Anniversary

More than 200 guests celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Allegheny County Parks January 10 at an evening reception at the Heinz History Center. “90 Years of Allegheny County Parks: Celebrating their Legacy, Imagining their Future” brought acclaimed landscape architect Thomas Woltz to Pittsburgh to envision the next era for…

Poor Parenting Saps the Wealthy

We are talking in a roundabout way that has taken us back to first principles about the human maturation process and how it interacts with the fear of affluent parents that money will ruin their children. There are several characteristic ways that affluent families go wrong, launching the shirtsleeves-​to-​shirtsleeves phenomenon…

Pittsburgh’s Famed Stairways to…

“Pittsburgh is undoubtedly the cockeyedest city in the United States. Physically, it is absolutely irrational. It must have been laid out by a mountain goat…And then the steps — oh, Lord, the steps!” –Syndicated Columnist Ernie Pyle, 1937 (as qtd. in “Steps of Pittsburgh”)

Flo’s Wisdom — on the Eve of 50 Years as a Waitress at Pamela’s

by Kate Benz, photography by John Altdorfer
Around 1 p.m., right after the lunch rush, 87-​year old Flo Silbach will start slowing down. She won’t quit, though. Oh no, no way she’s quitting. Her shift at Pamela’s Diner in Millvale doesn’t end until four. So, instead of shuffling around the tables and booths, jotting down orders in…

Understanding the Trust Fund Baby

We are talking about the complex process through which infants and children are transformed from little beasts into responsible adults. More particularly, we are talking about how that process often goes wrong and never goes perfectly.
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