THE TALE OF BRIER HILL PIZZA

Even though I moved to the Columbus metro area 30+ years ago, Y-Town is my town: my family lives there, and it will always be “home.” Brier Hill pizza is one of my favorite Y-Town foods.

The Great Groceries Cart

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The Great Depression was a tough time for many across the United States. It hit especially hard in parts of the country where manufacturing drove the economy. That was the case here in Youngstown and the surrounding areas. Communities had to come together to make it through these hard times. Families pitched in however they could to put food on the table.

It was during these times that Italians in the Valley relied on their gardens to eat. The economic downturn meant that people did not always have the money to purchase groceries, so gardens were their lifeblood. Tomatoes and peppers were the easiest vegetables to grow in Northeast Ohio’s climate and therefore were easily accessible for all.  Flour was distributed to residents through social programs like welfare. The flour was then used by families to bake bread and pizza crust.

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Youngstown’s “Little Italy” was the Brier Hill neighborhood, as…

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The Catastrophic Consequences of Silence

Wisdom from my sweet cousin, Christine.

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Niemöller’s Famous Poem
“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I
wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because
I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up
because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t
speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no
one was left to speak up.”
–Martin Niemöller, 1945 a Protestant Rev. He supported Hitler’s rise in the mid-1930s he began speaking out against Nazism. It was too late. He was sent to Dachau.

I stayed silent during the rise of Donald J. Trump. I stayed silent when he insulted Mexicans. I stayed silent when he insulted  prisoners of War . I stayed silent  when he insulted women…

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“Take advantage of your free time when you still have it…” Wise words from #MrsTrottersAPENG11 student to her middle school self.

Letters to Kelley

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“What are your hobbies?”

That’s probably one of most often heard questions during your childhood, or even now. That’s because your answer allows the person who asked to receive a brief glimpse of your life or what you’re like as a person. For example, if you like spending your time reading books, you may be seen as a more quiet and reserved person, whereas if you enjoy engaging in theatre performances, you may be viewed as a lively and confident person. Or maybe you’re equally fond of reading AND theatre, then you could be both placid and boisterous depending the situation you’re in.

That said, whatever it is you love doing, you should do more of it. 

That sounds like a counterintuitive statement because if you love doing something, you would naturally do it, right? Yet more often than not, people look back in their lives and wish that they had spent more time doing this, this or…

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Next Year….Now….Simply

This is a re-run: it’s last year’s post. I should write a new post for the new year. I should. But, this one works. Still. So, here it is. Again.

Ruminations

We’re almost there.  Next year.  And, like many, I’m thinking of next year….now.  New Year’s resolutions abound everywhere. They are ubiquitous. Naturally.  The flip of the calendar from one year to the next has a way of doing that to most of us, me included.  It’s symbolic – out with the old, in with the new.  A fresh start.  A clean slate.  I didn’t publish resolutions last year; I kept them in my head, but I haven’t kept them.  Naturally.  At least, that is natural for me.  I start the year with good intentions.  Gung ho.  Brimming with vim and vigor.  Or maybe it’s piss and vinegar.  Anyway, I start the year with hope – hope that I’ll keep my resolutions.  Hope that I’ll change, that I’ll improve, that I’ll start, that I’ll stop.  “Hope,” as Emily Dickinson writes, “is the thing with feathers.” Hmmm.  It always seems to flit…

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What’s on My Walls?

Recently, I’ve been contemplating the idea of downsizing; with one child about to graduate from high school and set off to college, and with the other quickly moving through the ranks of middle school, sooner, rather than later, this house will be an empty nest.  And, it’s too big – even now.  Oh, it suited its purpose:  we built this house to accommodate not only our family, but also friends and strangers alike who were in need of hospitality and accommodation – some for a short time, others for extended stays.  But, as we and our children are aging and life is changing, so too are our own housing needs.

The prospect of putting this house on the market is a daunting one.  It is filled to the gills. Truly.  We have too much stuff.  I will be able to part with much of the stuff without much drama; it’s the kind of stuff that finds its way to the basement or to the dark recesses of the closet – stuff that I haven’t seen, let alone used, in years.  The other stuff, though, that’s going to be difficult to pare down.

But, pare down we must.  For awhile, I held a real estate license, working with my father-in-law in his brokerage.  So, using that experience, that knowledge, as I look around this house, I know that a lot of this stuff must go to get the place into instant show-worthy condition.

For an even longer time of my adult life, I worked in the travel business, and I had the great good fortune to travel – a lot.  Much of the stuff that adorns the walls and shelves of this house are momentos of those travels.  Many of these momentos were not costly or extravagant; many were post cards or prints that we’ve framed and hung on the walls.  Some were baubles or trifles or knick-knacks found in curiosity shops or open-air markets or tourist stores.  A few were genuine objet d’art.  A few.  All, however, are more than mere objects; each is a memory of a place in time; each has its own story with its own characters, its own setting, its own plot, its own atmosphere.  Each, regardless of original cost or quality, is a treasure.

Sometimes in the busyness of life, I pass by these momentos and don’t even see them.  Truly, there are some rooms of this house that I rarely use, and thus, the momentos in those rooms are likewise rarely seen.  But today, I looked around at the stuff on the walls of our house – not as the real estate agent apprising the show-worthiness of the place.  Rather, as the world traveller and adventurer, the resident of this house. And, I remembered.

Here are some of the momentos on my walls.

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Memories of Greece.

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A beautiful original of Piazza San Marco, Venezia, drawn for me by one of my travel clients. A delightful and thoughtful surprise.

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Books live in every room of this house.

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An etching.

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Memories of Israel

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A Darlene Erickson original painting. Dr. Erickson was my professor at Ohio Dominican University. View more of her work here: http://darleneerickson.com/

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Memories of Venezia.

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Memories of Venezia

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Memories of Venezia

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The Holy Family by Michaelangelo….my favorite

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Wall to Wall