“You can always go home again” is one of the golden rules of PR. It means that when your well runs dry for publicity info, or when one of your clients is just being an all around jerk, or someone needs a good soul cleansing, that showing where they came from or having them return to their birthplace for a publicized visit always shines a good light on them.
The reason for this is the nostalgia we all feel when we return to our own homes. When hear about celebrities talking about their ethnicity, origin stories, or hometowns, this is all “going home again.” Of course, us non-celebrities can apply this concept to our own lives too. When our daily lives get too out of hand, or work gets us so incredibly busy that we forget to eat, sleep, and see our friends, going home is always a good refresher to figure out who you really are and where you came from.
Not to start out so sentimental and mushy for this post, but it seemed a necessary evil to at least explain the title of this post.
Last week I went home to Pittsburgh where my parents still live and where I spent my formative years of birth through age 18. It had been quite a while since I had been back to my hometown, since I had been out of the home for college, then traveling through Asia for the next 3 years after that, then settling into LA, which is no cheap hop back to the east coast.
I came back because I had the frequent flier miles accumulated for a free trip, and also because of my high school reunion. My friends here in LA repeatedly asked me why I would want to go to such a thing, and it saddened me to realize that not everyone had the positive and fun experience I did in high school that I did (not to brag). Our school wasn’t so much like the move “Mean Girls,” (though we did have our infighting once in a while), but more like.. the END of the movie, where all the cliques coexisted happily beside each other.
Here’s my report from my experience home, and pictures of nostalgia.
My graduation cap from high school and a bottle of Sailormoon bubble bath I was super excited to find at Big Lots when I was 12. Still there!
Every time I go home, I try to make sure I clean out a few things that I’ve accumulated since the age of zero. Unfortunately, maybe I’ll end up on that show HOARDERS one day because it’s sort of hard for me to let things from my past go.
On Thursday, I arrived in to Pittsburgh in the morning, and consequently spend the rest of the day sleeping and playing the new Professor Layton game in bed while I recovered. I did wake up a few times to eat. My mother was insistent that I eat something every hour, and since it’s the primary way she shows her love as a mom, I agreed to get superfat during this short stint at home.
Friday, I managed to roll out of bed at a decent hour and set forth to go to my favorite store… Gabriel Brothers! This place is a mecca for terrifying clothing that other stores couldn’t sell. Whereas places like TJ Max and Marshall’s sell overstock, Gabriel Brothers sells the stuff that even they wouldn’t carry, with serious mis-labels, ripped seams, or just overall weird designs.
Little Mermaid socks that say "FLIRT" on the pompom attached to the back. Look at Little Mermaid's eyes.. WHY ARE THESE DEMON SOCKS???
Oh goody! Rifle cases for 9.99?? THANKS AMERICA!
Unfortunately, my super happy fun times in Gabriel Brothers was short lived, because after about 10 minutes of being in there, the power went out and they made everyone leave! I was annoyed I couldn’t buy my $1 flourescent tights!!! And, you know, my Little Mermaid demon socks and rifle case!
I puttered over to Salvation Army across the street and saw these babies, though.
Amazing slippers are amazing. I get the feeling the same person donated both of these, haha.
Later that evening, I met up with my amazing friend from high school, Marybeth, who is now a park ranger all over the place. In the summer she goes to Alaska and corrals bears and other wintery animals, and in the winter she works at Death Valley, which I’ve been to twice to visit. We went to this amusing Polish-themed restaurant called Hofbrauhaus where it’s… OKTOBERFEST EVERY DAY! hahah! It was nutso. Long wooden tables, a little old man with his accordian leading the crowd in cheers to do shots, and shots served up on.. skis. I kid you not. The BRO in me really liked it, as chintzy as it was, but man the food was pretty terrible!
Outside of the “haus” I noticed this awesome thing. Poor Pittsburgh and it’s nonexistent tourism industry.
The next day, I made myself up nice to meet with other girls from my high school past who I was closest with. We went to a little place in Shadyside to eat lunch, and while there, visited my favorite home of junk!
The Shadyside Variety Store is a rare gem. So many little doodads, knicknacks and paddywhacks for sale!
We retreated for a bit to my friend Erin’s house, which is located pretty close to our old high school. Erin was my best friend in high school, even though we were so completely different. Erin graduated from University of Maryland with an Aerospace Engineering degree and now helps to create fighter jets and stuff for John Hopkins. Whuuut! Still though, we are BFF, though our lives are quite different now. Kathy was also in tow, and she was the little punk rocker of our school. She used to wear a dog collar to class every day and it annoyed the teachers so much that they banned it at some point. Oh, high school, with your arbitrary rules!
My BFFs from HS, Erin (left) and Kathy (right).
After changing into my “fancy clothes” (I opted to not water myself down for the event, and went with my Alexander McQueen dress), we headed over to our alma mater, Oakland Catholic High school!
I forgot how amazing St. Paul’s Cathedral was. It’s the church we always attended for school masses and it’s simply beautiful!
We went on a tour of the constantly-under-renovation school, and saw how POSH it was compared to when we attended. Tuition is up to $8k as opposed to the $5k we paied though, so I guess you’re sort of paying for what you get, these days.
This sign made me LAUGH SO MUCH! I glanced over and though it was a gag sign, like someone saying "WHOA JESUS CHRIST!!" but then realized, oh I'm in a Catholic school. LOL.
Fancy ass sign they have now.
After the tour, we were all feeling a little jipped that the school was SO much nicer now than it used to be. There was a mass after the tour that… about 99.9% of us skipped. We walked down to the bar across the way instead to reminisce with each other before the “celebration” portion of the reunion took full swing over at the nearby hotel. Ah, such ruffians are we!
We walked over to the hotel and got workin on that open bar.
The old crew. Marybeth (left) and Erin (right).
Theresa (center) and I used to be in the frikkin CHOIR together! ALTO SECTION FOREVA!!! Kathy (right) had no part in this choir-ing, though. She was busy being artsy during high school!
Liz (left) is a classmate of mine from KINDERGARTEN. We go way the hell back! Her family still lives up the street from mine! This girl has a serious opera singer voice to this day <3
The reunion was actually REALLY fun! Catching up with everyone made me feel like nothing or no one had really changed… we all just had different length hair now and had jobs! It was really refreshing to go and I’m very happy I went, even though most people questioned why I bothered to go. It’s important to remember where you came from!
Okay this post is getting long but GUESS WHO DOESN’T CARE! THIS GUY!
I spent the next day lazing about my parents’ house, reconnecting with them since I haven’t really been super communicative with them in the last couple of years or so. It was really cathartic to spend time in my parents’ house, just reconnecting and going through my old things.
My Dad's sweet new ride. He refused to give me a ride on it. WTH!!!
When I was in college, my parents tore up the above ground pool in the backyard and made a beautiful vegetable garden. Go figure. Some adorable Japanese eggplants!
My mom's enormous plants that have been alive for like 10 years. The jasmine plant on the right smells SO GOOD. And my Mommy. So short!
Tomatoes are about to go out of season so my mom picked them all. Look how cute!
Mom's tilapia with lettuce and tomatoes from the garden. WHAAT!
My Dad, being jawsome.
Okay, so I HAD to clean out the basement of my 30 boxes of belongings from all the way back in grade school to college, basically. I found some AMAZING amazing things down there that I was super sad to have to throw away…
Okay, THIS EPIC COLLECTION of Garfield...!! I ALMOST THREW IT OUT! In fact it is in a box marked "DONATE TO LIBRARY" but after about 4 days after I came back to LA, I called my mom with the heaviest of consciouses and told her to PLEASE KEEP IT hahaha. I LOVED GARFIELD SO HARD as a kid and I don't really know why!!!
GOODBYE AWESOME ACTION FIGURES! Sailormoon, FF7, Gambit, Jubilee, and uhh Jude Law as a jedi. wtf. Sorry it's upside down.
Okay, this handout is from high school. Do you see the name up top? CHUBBY BUNNY!!! Proof that I had this nickname since them!!! My hs friends were pretty amused that I kept that name until now and am now using it for my businesses haha. Also WHAT THE HELL WAS MS. MCNULTY HAVING HIGH SCHOOLERS READ? I loved my high school.
I miss kungfu a lot Maybe I'll save up and start classes again sometime soon. It's SO expensive though.. and usually full of big jocks who wanna beat up people, so it's hard to find a decent school...
I used to read through the FF3 guide like it was a goddamn STORYBOOK over and over again when I was young! That book on the right was fucking useless, btw. Fuck that game and how long the battles took to compelte. Never finished it! haha stupid FF8.
Sad to throw these out, but uhh, these PC games no longer work on advanced technology such as WINDOWS 7! =0 Poor Corel Draw 5!!!
My reward for cleaning out the basement. Lemongrass braised beeeef!
And the next day, I hopped the plane back here to Los Angeles!
I can’t stress how therapeutic going home was for me. It’s not as if I held any big grudges against anyone or anything back there, but it was just so pleasing to see things I was familiar with, and to be able to remember stupid little things like, the way from my house to my best friend in high school’s house. Ah well. I can always go home again