Memoir-Mining in Pennsylvania (A Road Trip)

Even I’m surprised–especially since it wasn’t planned. 

Still, an unexpected trip to Pennsylvania took shape over the weekend, when I called my mother about some old photos of my father I hoped she had. 

When she shared she would be road-tripping to the Pittsburgh area on Tuesday and I learned she’d be making the journey alone, I jumped at the chance to go along and help with the driving— 

—not to mention engage in some memoir-mining.

Lexington, KY to Brush Valley, PA (image via google maps)

Turning 73 in two weeks, my mom shouldn’t take this kind of trip without at least a little help, it seems to me.

My mom on her 70th birthday

So, it turns out I’ll leave tomorrow (Tuesday) to visit my mother’s oldest surviving sister who lives about sixty miles east of Pittsburgh.  It’s a chance to visit my two aunts who remain in the area—the younger of which will turn 80 next week.  I haven’t seen either aunt in a number of years and have not seen some of my cousins in at least a decade, if not longer.

I'm the 8-year-old waving from the white pony at my aunt's farm. My cousin Hope is riding in front of me.

Not only will this trip afford me endless hours alone in a car with my mother, who I hope will share stories about my father and his mafia affiliation, it will also offer more insight into my mother’s side of the family and, I hope, give me a chance to search local library archives for more newspaper articles about my dad—ones I’ve not been able to access online.  (To read two articles (from Pittsburgh newspapers in the 1970s) about my father’s organized crime connections, click here and here.)

This trip will mean memoir-mining for me, but it may also mean my absence from the blogosphere for the next week, as there is no internet access at the farm where my aunt lives.  I have posts pre-scheduled for Wednesday and Friday, and I’ll respond to comments as best I can from my mobile phone.  However, I’m not sure what kind of cell reception I’ll have in Brush Valley, Pennsylvania, where landlines still rule and the population is a mere 45 people per square mile.

So, pray for me, if you’re a praying kind of person.  Otherwise, wish me well and bon voyage.

I have no idea what kind of craziness I may encounter, but I hope to resurface next week, sane and with much to share.

I love you all and thank you, from the bottom of my memoir-making heart, for your ongoing support of this memory-mining, writing project.  You all motivate me to keep going, keep researching and writing.  You keep me inspired.

See you post-PA (Pennsylvania).

38 thoughts on “Memoir-Mining in Pennsylvania (A Road Trip)

    • I know. I need to get away. After so much international travel in the past few years, 6 months in a row at home are getting hard to take. Pemnsylvania sure isn’t Poland–but it will have to do. And, yes, my mom is a hoot. Wait till you read Wednesday’s post.


    • I have to agree. She does look good, doesn’t she? And that’s not even a great photo of her. She was a stunner when she was younger. Thanks. I’d tell her you said so, but she would kill me if she knew I blogged about her, so I may have to keep her in the dark about this. Don’t want that ego of hers to get too inflated.


  1. How exciting! You’ll get some one-on-one time with your mom, and all those hours in the car should be the perfect platform for detailed conversations! Good luck! Have fun! We’ll miss you.


    • Thanks Terri. I’m going to try keeping up as much as I can via my cell phone–as long as I have mobile service. We’ll just have to see. I’m looking forward to the trip, but I’m also a little nervous at the same time. See you soon—————


  2. Your mom looks awesome! I hope I look half that good at 70. 😉

    Have a great time and good luck on the memoir mining (I love that term btw).

    I’m sure you’ll be fine, but I’ll send safe and happy energies your way! *hugs*


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