Posts Tagged ‘Niagara Falls’

It’s been about two weeks since my dad and I took a trip to Niagara Falls, his hometown, and Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, my paternal grandparents’ hometown. The experience is difficult to put into words. As a young person who didn’t know her grandparents terribly well, I’m overwhelmed with a tremendous amount of pride and sentiment when visiting these places that were so important to them and to my father, though I’ve hardly spent much time in either town. It reminds me that where we are is one of the biggest factors in determining who we are.

Shufran house, paternal grandmother's childhood home, Philipsburg, PA

Great-Uncle Al's Garage

Walking through Belden Center, my dad's childhood neighborhood, with Rich Vicki

Rich Vicki, my dad's oldest friend


The first house my dad ever lived in. There would have been 9 people living in this house when he was born in 1948.

3011 Savannah Street- my dad's childhood home

Downtown Niagara Falls- Slipko's and Jenss- both now closed

DiCamillo in Downtown Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is like many cities in the north east that used to be industrial hubs. There is a lot of rot, decay, and ugly reminders of what used to be. I wish I had captured more of those images while we were there. The slow erosion that these towns have endured, I believe, is on-par with the after-math of many natural disasters. I know that these towns will eventually make a recovery but I don’t know who will lead the recoveries or how long they will take. I hope to keep going back so I can keep learning about the rich histories of these towns and to be a part of the recovery solution.


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Sometimes when Ryan goes out of town, it can be really overwhelming and slightly depressing for me. He’s off working and traveling in great cities like LA, San Diego, and San Francisco and I’m stuck in Cville doing his chores. I’ve found that the key to having the week go by as quickly and painlessly as possible is to keep my schedule packed with appointments with great friends and to do as many things as I can that I can’t do (or at least don’t normally do) when he’s here.

For instance, right now I am watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians (a show Ryan has banned from our TV for being “too trashy”) and I’m eating Strawberry ice cream by the half-gallon (a flavor Ryan would never compromise on). Yesterday, I went to see Jennifer Aniston’s new flick The Switch (a movie I would never be able to coax Ryan into seeing). So, basically, while Ryan is gone, I am getting as fat and dumb as possible.

Getting back to the great friends part. On Friday, I got to spend time with one of my favorite friends, Shannon Wendling. Shannon just moved back to Cville from Austin and I am so glad she’s back! Shannon is the kind of friend who is always up for anything… a night out on the town or a low-key vent session. I’m looking forward to many more fun times ahead in the next two years while she gets her masters!

On Saturday, another one of my favorite Pineapples– Neena– was in town visiting from LA. Neena was in town moving her brother, who’s a 3rd year at U.Va.,  into his apartment. Sitting around the dinner table on Saturday night with Shannon and Neena, I was so grateful for Shannon and Neena’s friendships. It’s amazing to think we’ve been friends for eight-going-on-nine years! Moving into Watson eight years ago and I had no idea I’d make friends– in that very dorm– whose relationships that would last well beyond college.

This morning, I was very lucky to have my parents come into town to keep me company. It also didn’t hurt that they brought me a gift basket full of goodies from DiCamillo, a delicious Italian bakery in Niagara Falls. I’ve already opened the pasta sauce they brought me from The Como… yum! I love having my parents so close that they can run up to Cville for just a few hours.

Later this week I have Jr. League meetings, movie dates, and a new job to keep me busy, so it should be a good week. Well… as good as it can be without Ry here.

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