Monthly Archives: July 2013

Closest Friends

By: Mary

A recent radio program on Public Radio discussed the benefits to raising 1 child families. Many callers phoned in to agree with the shows guest, and would articulate their personal beliefs on minimizing the family unit size to maximize the positive development for a child.

In contrast to the shows opinion, and as one of 9 siblings, plus a cousin thrown into the mix, I don’t believe that the development of my person-hood was compromised as a result of growing up with siblings.

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As a middle child in a large family, I have become a better listener, a harder worker, and a more generous person.

Growing up, I loved tagging along with the ‘big’ kids as their nuisance little kid sister.

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As I got older I fell in love with my role as an older sibling to the ‘little’ kids. It has been a wonderful experience to watch them grow.

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Spanning 20 years, I have been able to watch Colleen take her first steps. Now I run half-marathons with her.

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A few people that phoned in discussed the resentment they harbor to this day as a result of growing up with siblings. For me, growing up with siblings has not been perfect, but it has been a joy to share life with such a bonded and varied group of brothers and sisters.

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My laughter, and at times, even rage or sorrow, is always most authentic when in their company. I count Kate, Gabe, Rob, Cale, Patrick, Raph, Colleen, James and Clare as some of my closest friends, They have not decreased the richness of my development. What they have done is helped maximize the potential of my personal formation.

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A Teenage Dream…The One Direction Way

By: Clare

Believe it or not, there’s not a whole lot of large social activities in Middle Ridge, Wisconsin, my home sweet home. That being the case, its been a joy for me to be able to spend time in Pittsburgh, which for a country-grown girl like me seems a bit like the land of opportunity. The street aren’t exactly paved with gold – those are just 19th century cobblestones – but I’ve been able to experience things that I never thought I’d get a chance to do.

If you’re not a teenage girl, you may have no idea who these guys are:

1D

If you were a teenage girl your heart would have just skipped a beat. You would’ve let out a girlish squeal, because, who can’t resist those suspenders, those too tight jeans, their styled hair and sultry stares? No? This is having no effect on you? It’s okay, I’ll pretend it doesn’t affect me either.

The hints are all there in the above picture. Those five boys have made up their own British boy band they call One Direction, which has quickly developed a LARGE cult of teen and tween girls, and has become the first British band to ever break through to the top of the American music charts with their two first albums. Ah, the power of teen love.

For a teenage girl, the pull to become a fan, or a “Directioner” as they call themselves, is strong. Imagine yourself swimming in  large river, and suddenly a huge wave comes barreling towards you. The current is strong, and suddenly you’re pulled under by the mighty force of the rushing river, and there’s no hope of escape. Can you blame me? Hey, I’m no Olympic swimmer, but I do draw the line when it comes to calling myself a made-up noun.

When my trip in Pittsburgh was prolonged and I realized I would be in town at the same time as One Direction I, being the determined young lady  that I am, decided I was going to latch on to this opportunity. And so our search for a concert ticket began. After several days of searching we finally found a reasonable ticket to purchase two days before the concert. Now that’s what I call cutting it close – Slattery style.

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The day of the concert soon arrived. Kate and Francisco came with to drop me off, dressed in style of course.

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I was ready. I could face all the hordes of teen girls, right? Maybe. The girls were a bit vexing, because where I come from, in the small country area that I traverse upon, I’m usually one of the most stylish people. In the big city of Pittsburgh, EVERYONE had cute clothes. Every other girl was wearing a crop top, the latest trend, but I was happy to be wearing stripes, which seemed pretty fashionable and classy next to what looked like the lacy bras the other girls were wearing.

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This was before I had to stand in line for about 45 minutes all by myself. Well, except for the all the cliquey girls in front and behind me.

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It was a looooonngg line.

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For the record, if I had previously thought of myself as a fan of One Direction, these girls blew me out of the park. Their conversation of how often they listen to the songs, how many of the words they know, and just why THEY LOVE THEM SO MUCH made me feel like…

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Ack!

Almost there. Just stand and smile.

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When we were finally ushered in a semi-organized fashion and I found my seat, I waited for another 45 minutes. After this relocation I sat down and tried to make friends. Attempt failed. Grrrrr girls. I decided I would much rather be hanging out with a bunch of boys at a Miami Heat game.

But I waited.

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The stadium slowly filled up.

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I passed the time by listening to the surrounding girls’ conversations. My reaction was this.

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After a few attempts at conversation, I gave up.

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I couldn’t do this. Can’t we just talk about something a little more interesting? Like basketball? Or the most historic battles of the Civil War?

Finally, the introductory band came out…a band who I had no idea even existed. The other girls did though, and my ears, which were not yet accustomed to the feverish screams that would go on for almost four more hours, suffered dearly. And so did my mood. Of course, I was seated next to the loudest screamers in the stadium, not to mention the girl who would regularly start weeping at the mere sound of her favorite member of the band’s voice.

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When One Direction came out, I finally got interested.

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The wait was definitely worth it.

I had a clear view of the stage, even if I was pretty far away.

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The band did their best to include the whole audience, no matter how far away you were, and eventually made their way to a small stage in the middle of the stadium.

They all boarded a platform that carried them over the masses of crazed girls begging to be acknowledged by one of the famous boys and through the air towards the back and then back to the front.

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The show presented some pretty impressive light effects

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and throughout the 22 songs that were played the fans remained the same: extremely loud and devoted as always.

In the end, if you weren’t a teenage girl, the show wouldn’t have been for. Of this I am certain, because the two moms I saw seated around me did not look very happy as they covered their ears and watched their young daughters try to catch their breath as they jumped up and down and sang along to the poppy music that was almost completely foreign to the women.

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As for me, coming from having five older brothers and tons of guy friends myself, I had trouble dealing with the thousands of girls standing in masses around, and would have much rather have hung out with boy band members and not their screaming girl fans (a girl can dream right?) but all in all, I think it was pretty darn worth it for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing One Direction.

Thank you Pittsburgh, for all the fun you’ve given me, and thank you, Kate, for hosting me.