Thursday Doors – Growing Up

These doors are not frozen, Dad.
These doors are not frozen, Dad.

I love the way blog themes cross paths in the community. There are some subjects where you expect to have some overlap, like Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and other major, or major U.S. holidays. I say U.S., but other countries have similar holidays and I follow enough people from outside the U.S. to notice those themes too. The folks in the U.K. don’t seem to celebrate much on the 4th of July, but I guess that’s to be expected. One thing you wouldn’t expect to be a common theme, is visiting one’s hometown.

However, Joanne recently posted about such a trip and Mary posted about her visit a few weeks ago. In fact, Mary inspired a significant change to this post.

I had been planning this post since mid-July, when my daughter and I and my brother agreed to converge on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to watch the Steelers lose to Dallas. (That wasn’t the planned outcome, and nothing more will be said about that game). I knew we would be having breakfast in the town that my brother and I grew up in, and I thought I could easily get any door photos I was missing.

The targets of my doorscursion were going to be:

The first house I lived in

The second house I lived in

The junior high and high schools I attended (elementary has been torn down)

The church my brother and I attended with my mom

The church my father attended with his mom

The bowling alley my father managed at night and on weekends, and where my brother and I set pins.

That was going to be enough, because, that’s a lot of doors, and the other door photos I wanted to get in the area were pegged to specific future Thursday Doors posts.

Thursday Doors? If you aren’t familiar, Thursday Doors is a fun weekly blog challenge, presented to the world by Norm Frampton. If you want to participate, all you need is a door. Visit Norm’s page. Click the blue frog thingie and voila, doors. Be sure to look at Norm’s doors before invoking the voila thingie.

Anyway, let’s get back to the Mary connection.

One of the doors that Mary included in her post was from the hospital where she was born. As soon as I saw that, I knew that I had to get a picture of Allegheny General Hospital. Not because they are exceptional doors, actually, none of the doors in the gallery are exceptional, but there’s a rather exceptional story about these doors.

All the doors listed above are described in their photos. If you are interested in the descriptions, just click on one of the photos to start a slide-show. The hospital doors need a little more room, so…

I was born after midnight on a Saturday in early November. Earlier that day, my parents had been to the Veterans Day Parade, and when my mother tells this story, she always mentions that people were in shirts or light jackets. In other words, it was a warm day.

My parents were familiar with the baby-hospital drill, having done it before at the same hospital. Still, my dad was a little nervous. Sometime after 2:00 AM, they headed for the hospital. When they arrived, he parked and began walking my mother to the main entrance. He walked right by a sign that said:

“Main Entrance Closes at Midnight – Use Emergency Entrance”

The main entrance was, and fortunately for this post, still is, a revolving door. Upon pushing the door and noticing some resistance, my dad pushed harder and harder – and harder – until the panel snapped lose. Then he began pushing on the next panel. The night watchman arrived:

“Are you going to break them all?”

“It’s frozen.”

“It’s not frozen, it’s locked!”


The guard unlocked the now broken door and let my parents in.

My dad tried to explain:

“My wife is having a baby.”

“Everybody’s wife is having a baby. Get out of here.”

It’s true, lots of women were having babies back then. I’ve been told, on numerous occasions of how there were over 25 babies in the Maternity Ward and how I was the only boy. My mother had been hoping for a girl. This is back when your first look at your baby was when the nurse inside the nursery held it up to the glass. I can picture my mother seeing all those baby girls, but she already knew I was me.


  1. Oh I love it! What a wonderful idea for a doorscrusion: visiting all the important places at home. Maybe on my next visit home… I love the door store. Ha! “Everyone’s wife is having a baby.” Thanks for the early morning laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post showing your childhood community connections and doors. Your parents were hardworking and forward thinkers to move to an area so you and your brother could get a better education. They sacrificed for those that they loved most. Not that there was any doubt, but your family must be a real comfort and sense of pride to you. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post, Dan! The story of your dad breaking the revolving door is hilarious. He was determined to get inside! Did the hospital ever say anything to him about that? Maybe he wasn’t the only nervous dad to try and push their way into the frozen door…

    My favorite photos are of your mom’s Methodist church (very cool that she called it home for so many years) and the structure that your family, aunt and grandmother shared. I can understand why you said it was filled with love, with so many opportunities for hugs and special moments.

    It’s funny how the hometown bug has hit three of us. I’m loving all of the memories and familiar places. Perhaps we should have rolled this into a blogfest or a special Norm door day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. And thanks for reminding me of the hospital. It’s funny that these were timed so well. It’s a 9-10 hour drive for us, so I don’t make that trip often, but it was scheduled when I read your post. I was so happy to see that they still have a revolving door.

      If he had to pay anything, I’m sure they just tossed it on my bill :)

      My mother joined that church as a Junior member when she was 13. We moved her to Iowa when she was 88. She still keeps in touch, sponsors a bulletin or two, and helps maintain the prayer list.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your post and your slideshow, Dan. Lovely. A little sad to see your father’s final resting place amongst all the joy, but maybe it’s another treasured place? I had a thought recently that once our loved ones are gone, we can forever remember the parts of them we want and those parts of them will never change. I also liked the garden (yard) that you think your dad would’ve given a D- in landscaping – it looks more natural, less planned (and so, great), to me. :)
    All those doors and their buildings, so many memories for you. By the way, for anyone using a Windows pc – use the F11 key and see the slideshow without all the surrounding windows gunk (press again to restore). Oh and sometimes in the UK there are fireworks for July 4th, but only from American ex-pats living here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Val (especially for the F11 tip). My father was maniacal about pruning and edging and borders around trees and shrubs. We spent many hours working on that yard. Maybe I was a little harsh, maybe a C- :)

      We always stop to visit his grave, and his father’s and two sisters who died in an auto accident when my dad was only 4 years old. Then we go up the road and visit his mother’s grave.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. And they say you can never go back again. I enjoyed the trip into your past. I’ve gone by the house where I grew up and although my brother once asked the people living there if he could go in and they said yes, I’ve just seen it from the outside. My grandparents’ farm land and barn are still there, but everything else is gone, as the part where the house and barn were was sold years ago.

    A belated happy birthday,



    1. Thanks Janet. The apartments that we lived in have been renovated (finally) but I think the layout is largely the same. There are four apartments in the front building. I drove by my other grandmother’s home, but it’s been torn down, as has the first school I attended. Still, I was able to find a lot to connect with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So many good memories. Did you find that everything seems smaller than you remembered? Maybe that’s only the first time you go back, but I know that was true for me, especially at the farm house when it was still there.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. We had a great time. The Steelers game was amazing. It just ended badly. WVU won but has a tough test this weekend. The Penguins won and during that game, they announced that Pitt had beaten Clemson. It was beginning to look like a sweep, but…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A wonderful heartwarming post Dan. Thanks for sharing this. Though I still live within an hour drive from where I grew up I can really appreciate the great memories these places must stir up.
    Sorry to hear about our Steelers, but considering I’m a long suffering Raiders fan all I can say is Haaahaaaa ;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love these kinds of posts – a tour of your hometown combined with a bit of your history! I could see any expectant father-to-be ignoring the obvious and thinking a locked door is frozen!
    My favourite photo is the children’s library in a caboose. That is so special!! I can’t imagine there is a kid in town who doesn’t love going to visit the caboose :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne. I enjoyed yours and Mary’s posts. I though it was funny that these fell so close together. The library and children’s library are very special. I’ve been in the children’s library, but I think it was finished after I was older. Prior to that, we went to that same location to visit the Book Mobile :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Our town library was in a basement with access down a dark narrow staircase between 2 downtown buildings. I always thought of a trip to the library as a place of adventure … the imaginations of a child.
        The town later replaced it with a large (compared to the basement) separate building full of windows and sunlight. It never felt the same to me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Our library in the town we’re in now, used to be in an eclectic old house, complete with Bookems the library cat. Someone complained about the cat and the replaced the house with a modern library. You’re right about it not being the same, Joanne. Sometimes I think adults shouldn’t be allowed to decide stuff.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. . Wonderful post Dan. As I was going through your images I was once again struck by the sheer importance of “place” in our lives. Place, kind of roots us along the journey of life. It was good to walk with you.


  9. That hospital’s arches are wonderful! Beautiful stone and brick! And I love the library made out of a train station and caboose. I’ll bet the kids loved it, too! Sidebar: When #4 Daughter was little, we played with Richard Scarry’s Busytown sets, but OF COURSE we didn’t set them up the way they were supposed to be. They didn’t have a library, for one thing. So #4 Daughter made the train engine the library and the passenger car was the bookmobile. :)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good job with those sets. The “supposed to” way is only a suggestion at best. I’m glad you enjoyed these doors. I know they have more meaning to me but they seemed worth sharing. Thanks!


  10. Great post! I’ve been enjoying everyone’s nostalgia bits and yours is no different. Last summer, I stopped and photographed the first house I ever lived in, posted it on FB, tagged my divorced parents. I did smile a lil smile, cause that’s how I feel at funerals, so there! haha! The post wasn’t popular, but privately, my parents were charmed and enthusiastic. It’s no longer got a picket fence, it’s no longer blue, but there was a little girl at the door and that was nice. I wondered if turtles still come up when the creek floods, and if she also enjoys Elsie the Cow as a landmark.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s fun to revisit these places and to remind people and inform others how and why they we’re important. My brother and I discovered two headstones at the cemetery that we didn’t remember. That caused a story to be shared with my daughter that she had never heard.

      The complete story isn’t always popular with everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The “hospital” I was born in was a converted Victorian in Palmer Mass which burnt down just after I was born! Glad your birthplace is still standing! The bowling alley must have been a fun place to grow up!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a great trip down memory lane! :) The door story is hilarious. My husband’s mom loves to tell how when she had him at the military hospital they had to wake up the doctor and he came rushing in barefoot to deliver my husband. A great birth story is always fun! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was very happy to see all of these special places. The house where your grandmother lived in the front and your family upstairs was so precious and reminds me of my Mom’s memories of her grandmother and ger own mom, living in the same brownstone as her aunt and cousin.
    I like the pretty Primitive Methodist Church and happy to learn of your years of perfect attendance, Dan. :) I like the really nice parsonage building!
    The story of your nervous Dad popping out the revolving door panels made me smile. I like the cream tile and the ornate quality to that entrance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Robin. That little church holds s lot of memories. We got a perfect attendance pin the first year. It had a little replaceable number in it. I think I got up to 4 or 5. They’ve added onto that hospital, but it hasn’t changed much.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I can just imagine your father, in a “panic”, not thinking clearly, breaking the door, not realizing it wasn’t locked. I could feel the nostalgia, Dan, as you walked down memory lane. I fell in love with your house with all the magnificent trees in the back of it. Nice! And I enjoyed walking with you as you took pictures of places that were important to you. I just may do that someday myself. Several years ago I went back to the house I grew up in and everything, house, street, surroundings, looked so much smaller then I remembered. Huh. And oh, by the way, where is Maddie? ;) Great post!! <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy. I’m glad you enjoyed my drive-by down memory lane. Everything was much smaller, except for those two schools, which are still getting bigger and bigger. I always felt proud of the fact that my dad could break down a door for his family. I was very happy yo see that that particular door had survived as long as I have. I didn’t have time to walk through it, but I might do that on a future visit. The woods behind our second house were a refuge to me during a very difficult transition to a new and complicated life. It was always good knowing that I could just walk into the trees and disappear for a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your comment about the woods is exactly how I feel when I dive into deep forests. I have SO many who are seemingly always tugging on me, for I have so many responsibilities. To be alone, really alone, without any interruptions or having to supervise or whatever …… *sighs* …. Heaven!!! Oh yes, dear friend, I know exactly how healing woods are. They bring a totally new reality to which just was a few moments ago ….. :)

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I first scrolled through your pictures before reading your words and recognized Pittsburgh immediately. How is it that I only lived there for a few short yearts but still have this wonderful connection to and recognition of this great city. GO STILLERS!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post. This Thursday Doors post was special because I got to see some lovely images of places you are connected with. Unfortunately, Grant Road, the place where I was born and brought up has changed so much or I would have done a similar post. In my family I am the only person born at 6 am while rest all are midnight born. My aunt used to say that I had a great smile on my face like a fresh sunrise and so she named me Sharukh which means Majestic. Now you know the story behind my name.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh, this post made me laugh, your Mom already knowing it was you—of course she did. I remember going to the maternity hospital with my father to meet my baby sister, and only getting to look at her through the glass window. She was in one of many cots, all in a line and I really didn’t know how to tell who was who, all those babies looked pretty much the same to me, and they were all crying. Presumably my parents had it sussed because they brought her home a few days later.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wonderful post from the past. Every time I looked at one of you photos with their descriptions, I got a picture in my mind of my formative years, along with the house, school buildings, church, etc. I will have to put this on my bucket list for a doorscursion.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi D – great trip home with you! nice to see this part of your past – and the fav pic was the same as MMM, the home house for the better school. and the greek church being built… with that Deere on the construction site.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.