Photo: Roo with "Grandpap."
For some months now, Aimee has been planning a trip to Pennsylvania to see her parents. They live in Virginia, but moved there years ago from the "coal patch" towns of western PA. We generally only see them once a year, at Christmas, but since Roo was born, the traveling has increased greatly, so the grandparents can see their grandchild more frequently.
Accordingly, we flew to Pittsburgh and spent a couple of days there doing tourist things -- the restaurants and museums, then motored up to the Mount Pleasant area in a rental Ford Focus. Aimee had found a nice AirBnB, in, of all things, a former "company house" in the coal patch village of Calumet. Since she grew up in just such a house, this might have been nostalgia on her part.
The grandparents were very happy to see her, and we were just as happy to hand some of the childcare over for a short while. Grandma is in green on the right. Roo has a little cousin six months younger, called Leelynn, also pictured above. This was the first time the two had laid eyes on each other.
On the Friday evening we had a big family picnic at a state park, where there was this big slide. Both Aimee and I took Roo down. She liked it a lot.
Calumet, I discovered, is close to Norvelt, a town I'd heard of through reading New Deal history for my work in economics. FDR sponsored several such experimental government-funded towns as part of the New Deal. The inhabitants were employed building their own houses, then later a clothes factory was built. Each home had enough acreage to run a homestead about the size of our own, gardens, chickens and pigs. I read up on the experiment, an interesting side-note in economic history, while we were there, and we took a driving tour around the town.
As we had a very young child with us, we didn't want to have to drive back to the airport and fly out in the same day, so we booked in at an airport hotel for the last night. I had done a little research and discovered there was an aircraft museum and restoration center a half-hour north, so we visited, mostly to see this little beauty, a 1958 Mk. 3a Jet Provost, formerly based at RAF Church Fenton as part of the system of Flying Training Schools that I used to belong to.
I worked on these aircraft for five and a half years, through most of my RAF career, doing everything from flight-line work, through scheduled servicing, to engine bay rebuilds. Even after thirty years I can still remember the procedures for pulling the engines or stripping the compressors.
I was pretty happy to see the plane, but even happier to discover that the museum needed some help in figuring out what to do with it. I was able to put them in touch with the UK-based Jet Provost Appreciation Society, where they'll be able to get parts, manuals, and advice.
All's well that ends well, or would have been, if I hadn't caught a nasty summer cold. About two days into the trip I came down with a sore throat that became a disgusting and painful chesty crud, then bronchitis, requiring antibiotics. The doc thinks I probably got it from the airplane ride. Hopefully it clears up soon, because it's very annoying not to be able to breathe properly.
If you have cold or flu symptoms, they make you wear masks now at our doctors office. This, of course, just makes you feel sicker, but if it prevents anyone else getting sick like I did, then it's fine with me.