Berry Picking and Pies
As a child, I grew up in a small town close beside the Allegheny River. It was only one mile long and perhaps the same deep. Our house sat on the Fourth Street just below a hill that separated lower and upper Aspinwall neighborhoods. On what was then Sixth Street the houses gave way to a great wooded area that had a box canyon, a waterfall and boasted Camp Guyasuta, a Boy Scout Reservation. I spent many a day in those woods climbing to the top of a hill that let me sit on a flat rock and read a book. From that perch I could see all the way down the Allegheny River almost to Downtown Pittsburgh.
Aunt Grace's Baking
This brings me to my memory of my next door neighbor's Aunt and her baking abilities. Aunt Grace, loving referred to as my own aunt, could bake a pie and made them from scratch. My best friend, Grace, and I would go on berry picking expeditions into the the woods with buckets looking for the bushes that would give up those purple and red raspberries.
Picking them wasn't always easy, because there were thorns on the bushes. But to two, preteen girls this was an adventure that only growing up in an area like ours could afford two curious and adventurous spirits.
We would set out with our buckets which were similar to the ones you could buy for playing in sand boxes and walk into the woods along a path that lead over a small creek which we pronounced "crick." That's an entirely different remembrance since Grace's brother, Sam delighted in teasing me by finding small snakes and other creatures to chase me and scare the daylights out of me.
Once in the area behind the box canyon, there was patch after patch of berry bushes just waiting for the wild life to eat them or to prick our fingers as we pulled them from the bushes.
We would pick berries until our little buckets were full and then start back out of the woods with our bounty.
I hadn't thought about my berry picking excursions until I came upon a picture display of my niece and her two friends on a similar adventure with their buckets. I wrote asking permission to use the pictures in this article because there is nothing better to visualize a memory than actual pictures of children repeating your youthful fun days. Thank you Amy Latshaw Boros for your contribution to this article that recaptures my youth.