Saturday, August 29, 2015


"I have new eyes," Kaleia announced to me in her Pittsburgh House.  Then she said, "I have new eyes, and new eyebrows."  I thought of e.e. cummings who says "the eyes of my eyes have opened."  She is 2 1/4 so the whole world is new, but I believe she is seeing Pittsburgh with new eyes after a tiny lifetime lived in New Mexico.
I have just returned from a week in Pittsburgh to celebrate my birthday and see my family.  My family now includes not just my brother, sister-in-law, Niece, and great niece, But Hope, Leland and Kaleia, our grand child.  The lens of seeing Pittsburgh is not just the view after the Fort Pitt Tunnel from the airport, but a little bit teary view of my family in new surrounds.

On the way from the airport when she insisted I sit by her, with great serious intent she announced that "Babies don't wear shirts.  Evah."  My brother said she sounded like a New Yorker, and "evah" became our word of the week.  Kaleia is the latest family campfire we all gathered around, so it is hard to find our center.  Luckily I have a class at UNM to teach and the Girls' School waiting. A new baby is growing in Hope and that's another focus.  Kaleia said she has two babies in her tummy and that she has a nephew who is two months old.  She has become what Hope calls a teller of tall tales.
Kaleia runs down the marble halls of my old Temple to her preschool class hollering, "It's my school."  She visits the family cemetery plot, we shop at Trader Joe's where it says, "See Yinz soon."

Her interest has changed from obsession with her baby dolls to her backpack bear.  She insisted I photograph her with her bear.  What you don't see is the front porch on Tilbury street where a cast of characters pass by.  The Orthodox and Hasidim on Saturday since they don't drive.  There is a park, hills, a back yard with sod her other grandpa planted.  She calls that her Pittsburgh Yard.  It is the size of our guest room.

I got a birthday card from my nephew wishing me the best birthday, "Ever."  "Ever," I told my nephew, "how did you know that ever is the word of the week?"  Then at my party, I meet a new friend with Ghost Ranch connections.  Will is my niece's nurse in the hospital and everybody loves him.  After chatting with him we discover that his late father was my program director at Ghost Ranch and is sorely missed. What are the odds? They invited him to come celebrate my birthday and meet my young family.

We totally hit it off at my birthday party.  It happens to be, in this land of coincidence and meant to be, that it is Will's mom's birthday the same as mine.  His sister is at my party also, a lovely young woman named Eva.  She explains it's pronounced "evah" as in "whatevah."  I guess my family is meant to be in Pittsburgh.  I'm home, trying to land here while they are trying to land there.  Where is happily ever after anyhow?  I have to think, whatevah.