Carnegie Days


My parents leave tomorrow afternoon for St. Petersburg (you’re welcome, Dad, we took Bing to the Dali museum so you are spared museum visits this trip). The purpose of their trip? Carnegie Days! I think this is such a hoot. It’s a bunch of people who grew up in Carnegie, PA (Pittsburgh) who meet up once a year in St. Petersburg, FL. They meet up with friends from high school, friends from old neighborhoods, old neighbors, nuns that used to teach them in high school … it’s just a great thing. If you’re from Pittsburgh, you know that Carnegie is pronounced Kr’neggie. (say the “kr” part really fast) It just is. If you don’t say it right, they will know you’re an outsider and bbq you or something.

We lived in Carnegie until I was eight. Listening to my parents, it was different when I was a little kid than when they lived there. Now, I wonder how many people have real hometowns? You know with crazy neighbors, great hole-in-the-wall restaurants, bars, stores? Is that something that is just gone? I know I’ve commented multiple times that I feel lucky to live in my neighborhood where we all know each other and the kids can run relatively wild but eyes are on them.

What is your town like? Do you know your neighbors? Do you have a butcher or a store you frequent just because you know and like the owners? Have you ever been to a “rent” party? (I haven’t, I’ve just heard about them) What kinds of freedoms do your kids have? Can they go “around the block?” on their bikes? Can they ride to the local park or basketball court and spend a few unsupervised hours? Can they play with neighbor kids or do you set up play dates? What about older kids? At some point, they grow beyond play dates and they pick friends regardless of whether you like the parents or not. If you’ve reached this point – how are you handling it? For us, if the parents aren’t insane, I don’t feel like I have to “like-like” them. I just want to know I can get in touch with them and get a response.

I’m just curious what others are doing. We’re pretty lame here – we share two cell phones among the six of us. The older kids can go almost anywhere as long as I know where they are going. I don’t usually check up on them or require them to check in with me. But, they are fully aware that I WILL and DO call other parents every now and then just to make sure. They also know I’m not above a drive-by. 😉 Andy has a LOT more freedom than his older brothers did. One, he has the older brothers – who tend to be scattered around the neighborhood. Two, he is by far my most outspoken child – he’s the boy that someone would kidnap and return in 10 minutes. And, three, I’m just more confident/realistic than I was when Danny was 9.

Anyway, my point was mostly that I hope my kids have their own version of Carnegie Days in 40-50 years. I hope things like this aren’t entirely lost. I’ve been reading where there are people who are scornful about Facebook and that whole kind of social networking. I’ll admit, I don’t keep up too well, but it has connected me to people from my past. I don’t think anyone is looking for best friends. And, at least for me, there’s something comforting to know that my childhood friends are around. I don’t see any playground reunions in my future, but it’s nice to know that they remember me too.

Who reading thinks their own kids will have something like Carnegie Days when they hit their 60’s?

7 thoughts on “Carnegie Days

  1. A timely post for us: this is the one thing I worry about with us moving from Small Town Texas to Phoenix. Right now, our seven y.o. runs all over the neighborhood with the handful of kids he’s known for the last two years. They all pop in for snacks or toys or a quick check-in, and basically have a ton of freedom and a couple blocks to roam. Definitely going to be different in Phoenix! We ran all over the neighborhood when we were kids. We ran all over the neighborhood, and I still keep in contact with a few childhood friends. It’s no Carnegie Days, but it’s still nice! 🙂

  2. I think we have a lot of that. I have no earthly idea where my kids are much of the time–well, I’m reasonably certain they’re still in our neighborhood, but I could be wrong. None of them has a cell phone. Great mobs of little kids (ages 4-9ish) flow among the houses as the spirit moves them, hitting up whatever mom they see for food and drink (“don’t go to Ben and Lily’s house–water and fruit!”). Julianna and the older kids around tend to just go on walks, hang out at the park. This summer, she’ll be old enough to go to the pool by herself, so suspect I’ll not see her between Memorial and Labor days. I do miss living downtown, with the library and shops, though. We’re just houses, a pool, and a convenience store (but at least it’s a locally owned thing with a nice old man that gives the kids free stuff all the time).

  3. Kaaren, I want to live in Stars Hollow too – I loved Garden Spells when I read it this summer. Sabrina, don’t cry! You are giving your kids the most amazing experiences living in Japan. I’m jealous of you in so many ways.Deana, your neighborhood sounds a lot like mine – you guys just have really cool old houses. I’m glad we live where we live.

  4. I like the idea of our house being Kid Central. We have our fair share of kids who come around pretty often. I have a kid who perpetually gets himself into trouble if he’s not supervised VERY well.The problem with being Kid Central is that now that my boys are teenagers and bringing all their friends – also teenagers – over…sigh…I must now wear a bra all the time!!

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