Profiles

Rocky’s World Behind the Diner Counter

Where’s Apollo Creed? Oh, hardy, har, har. Like he hasn’t heard that one like, ten thousand times before.

Donna’s Dream and a Life of Roller Skating

Donna’s knee has been bothering her lately. Which is why she isn’t lacing up her white roller skates right now, the pair her late husband bought for her in 1963 for, geez, it must have been five hundred dollars. The same pair she was wearing 10 years ago when she…

An Antique Point of View

Someday, Jim Barricella will retire from antiquing. Well, maybe not retire literally, but definitely do something else with his life. Something other than the never-​ending hours he spends at his antique shop, Off the Avenue.

Judith Hansen O’Toole, Art Lover

by Jeff Sewald
I was born in Minneapolis, one of four sisters. My father was a college professor who was finishing his Ph.D. in American studies at the University of Minnesota, after which he took a job at Penn State. So, I actually grew up in State College, and was a “faculty brat”…

The Gowns She’s Known

There’s less than a month left to liquidate, oh geez, like, 1,000 gowns. Rows and rows of them. Satin and lace all hanging pretty in clear garment bags with a hand-​written tag attached: 60% off!

John Fetterman, Public Servant

by Jeff Sewald
I was born in Reading, Pa., on Aug. 15, 1969. My parents, Karl and Susan Fetterman, were both only 19 years old at the time, so I was an “unplanned event.” But my mom and dad did get married and, as I matured and came to understand the circumstances surrounding…

A Life Caring for Fallingwater

Lynda S. Waggoner is vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and director of Fallingwater. On the occasion of her retirement, we asked her to look back on more than 50 years at Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece.

Market Square Frankie Sings His Song of Life

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…

Saying Goodbye

As a child, my mother often reminded me that we all enter and leave this world the same way. It’s what we do between those two events that will define our lives.

Helen Hanna Casey, Real Estate Maven

by Jeff Sewald
I grew up in Shadyside, the daughter of Howard W. Hanna Jr., and Anne Freyvogel Hanna, with an older brother and younger sister. Eventually, all three of us went to small Catholic colleges.

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

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…

Sarah’s Wisdom Behind the Counter

“Okay, what’s today’s joke?” The guy at the counter orders his Americano, sits down, lets the anticipation build for a few seconds. His eyes are dancing behind thick black glasses, grinning like he’s about to bubble over into a thousand little joy bubbles, because he’s got a joke.

Tommy the Unlikely Donut Man

Tommy Gozion had never made a donut in his entire life. Which was weird, given the fact that he tacked some neon to the storefront along Route 8 and announced to the world that Valencia Donut was open for business.

All Quiet on the Ohio — Just the Way He Likes It

There’s a lot of sitting and waiting, on a day like this. The water in the Ohio is calm, running chocolate-​brown like something out of Willy Wonka’s Factory. Clear, blue sky. A handful of cottony clouds skirting by. Nothing like the winter, when the damned ice ensures you can barely…

Thrifty Tom and His Peanut Butter

The 52-​ounce can of Planter’s Peanuts came from Sam’s Club. Because they’re the best, really. Extra Large Virginia Peanuts. You’ll never find a bad one in the bunch.
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