The Legacy of Fire Truck Santa: West Mifflin

The third weekend in December meant more Advent candles, school winding down, and Fire truck Santa. Those of us who grew up with volunteer fire companies often enjoyed a tradition of someone’s Dad/Uncle/Cousin playing Santa. This while they circled every street, distributing lovely treats. The full sized Clark bar was my favorite. For me this […]

What I Learned About Gender From Running Track in High School

Among my many facts that shock people is one that I don’t often discuss – the letter I earned in my junior year in high school on the women’s track team. This was at West Mifflin Area High School in 1987. I was never an athlete. I played softball recreationally, but my horrible depth perception […]

Sled Riding the Pipeline in West Mifflin

Sled Riding in the 1970s

And though he never would wave goodbyeYou could see it written in his eyesAs the train rolled out of sightBye-bye In this cold snap, I drive to my cat colony even though it is faster to walk. Not so much faster now sliding on the snow and exerting myself to get the gate unlocked and […]

Santa Claws Magic for Al and Karen in West Mifflin

For the holidays, we are asking you to adopt a community cat caretaker to thank them for their year round work. Al and Karen are retirees living in West Mifflin. They are in their early 70’s. Over the years, they have TNVRd eight cats out of their own pocket. Currently, their colony has five cats. […]

Let the record show that I spoke up for Susan Kerr and said that what she endured was not okay

Sue Kerr

Content note: trauma, child abuse, generational dysfunction, childhood sexual violence So I’m not attaching or bonding with my parents, I’m developing a ridiculously unhealthy dependency on a horrific abuser. And no one talks about any of this because they don’t have the skills to do so. Welcome to 1972. “How much do you love me?” […]

Facebook Wouldn’t Let Me Post this Content About Face Masks for LGBTQ People in My High School Alumni or Similar Groups

Sue Kerr Amy Fiore Garrison

This was originally a FB post I tried to share in several West Mifflin Facebook groups because it involves two West Mifflin alumni (see below.) Facebook rejected it, no matter how much I edited it. This was not the fault of the moderators; they never saw it. Rather than beat my head against the Facebook […]

That Time (almost) No One Came to my High School Graduation Party

On Wednesday, May 25, 1988, I received my diploma from West Mifflin Area High School, a blue-collar suburb of Pittsburgh. A few weeks later, my parents had a graduation party for me as thousands of parents had done before. We had lots of food, tons of canned pop, and almost no guests. I don’t have […]

West Mifflin School Districts Expands Nondiscrimination Protections to Include Gender Identity

West Mifflin High School Class Reunion

I lived in West Mifflin from age two through college. It was a rather brutal environment. I ended up with a decent education. I’ve written about some of those experiences.  One of my high school friends was openly gay. Others were suspected, but it was not an environment where such disclosures were encouraged or well-received. […]

Confessions of a Rick Santorum Intern

Rick Santorum internship

Yes, I was an intern in then-Congressman Rick Santorum’s DC offices for six months during 1991. Me. Most of you know this. Some of you don’t. This internship and the photo it generated are perhaps one of the most enduring legacies of this blog. 27 years after the fact, it is still a salient and […]

Those Times When Santa Came to Visit on a Fire Truck in West Mifflin

Santa Claus West Mifflin

When I was a child growing up in West Mifflin, a blue-collar suburb of Pittsburgh, there were a few consistent holiday rituals. These included: making Advent wreaths at CCD; watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special; and fire truck Santa. Each year the local volunteer fire department would drive around the neighborhoods with Santa on a […]