Photography,  Western Pennsylvania

All My Life’s a Circle


This is a photo of my maternal grandfather’s own grandparents. With their children.

So, the married couple are my great-great grandparents, and one of the boys is my great-grandfather.

This branch of my family was from the South Side of Pittsburgh. In fact, the studio stamp under this photo says:


1207 Carson ST.

Pittsburgh, PA.

I have a bunch of my own fun, happy memories of Carson Street. Jonathan and I had one of our first dates at a restaurant on Carson Street, a few blocks away from the address of this studio. We’ve had many date nights since on Carson Street, and I’ve also had fun outings with my mom and all four of my sisters on Carson Street.

Here’s the thing:

My great-grandfather, who is a young boy in this photo, died when his own children were very young. His son Rege grew up poor, served in the Marines, worked at the Heinz plant, swore in as a Pittsburgh police officer, and then became my grandfather.

And because families are complicated, I know very little about the people in this photo. About this couple who lived on the South Side and posed for their portrait at Fallert Studios on Carson Street.

There’s no date on this photo. I’ve spent this evening doing Google searches of family names, trying to figure out when my great-grandfather was born, so that I can guess on the year.

I haven’t yet figured out when my great-grandfather was born, but I found something even better:

An article from the Pittsburgh Press dated dated July, 1974. In this article, a Pittsburgh police officer – my grandfather – spoke about the tricks that drivers try to pull in order to get out of paying parking tickets.

The article includes a photo of my grandfather writing a ticket for a car parked in front of a downtown Pittsburgh fire hydrant.

I work in downtown Pittsburgh now. But, I live outside of the ‘Burgh, and my husband is a volunteer firefighter. So, I overhear a lot of stuff about the nefarious people who park in front of fire hydrants.

All my life’s a circle.