Out My Window
Off the Wall, January 27
, 2012

I have lived in the same house for nearly 37 years, ever since I came to Latrobe. In saying that it has been our home, it is where we raised our children. They have since left the nest and have taken flight to new heights.

But with all that said, there is something very special about living where we do. Life never stands still in our neighborhood. I never thought I’d say this, but I like it that way.

I remember years back when I was recovering from back problems and was told I had to sleep in my son’s room. I dreaded having my bed yards from Ligonier Street where motorists, some very noisy, passed by, some thinking by souping their engines, it was the cool thing to do. At one time that disturbed me. Not anymore. I like the sounds of normal engines of vehicles. Needless to say, and I am not alone, a number of us would like to return to the times when it was illegal to drive without mufflers, add gizmos to motors to make them sound louder or attach special pipes to the mufflers so outrageous sounds were emitted.

I have to admit, that laws may exist, outlawing this type of activity, but if not enforced, they are not laws at all – just something that looks good on paper.

Windows have a number of purposes – letting light or air in, looking out or letting others look in. I have four windows in my mansion I find myself gazing outward – one in the attic, kitchen, bedroom and one of my favorites, from my old studio on the main floor.

The other day, I was looking out my window on the first floor, and a number of thoughts came to mind. The first was the fact of how much I enjoy living where I do. I’m told Latrobe is a normal town, compared to many others its size. I don’t know what could be construed as normal, but I will tell you, its definition consists of good aspects as well as those not so favorable.

I won’t talk about the latter. We read enough about that in the newspapers. What most of us want to hear or read about are the good things of our community.

So, here I am, looking out my window, actually eyeing Legion Keener Park. That is kind of neat in itself. I am seeing the beginnings of one of the best parks one could ever envision for the growth of their children. I took my kids there regularly. Many others will do the same.

Just to the right of that view on Irving Ave., is a series of homes. At a glance, two events occurred some minutes apart. Two rather tall girls jogged up the sidewalk, listening to, I assume, music, as I can saw white wires hanging from their ears to their pants’ pockets. Around the time of their passing the homes, a car pulled up to one of the houses and a tall, middle-aged gent got out and walked into a white house.

It’s all like it was staged somehow. If someone would have yelled, “Take One,” then the scene would have unfolded, ending up very peacefully, as is typical for most small towns. If I have any work to do, I like sitting at that window, because there is a big clock across the road atop a sign for a funeral home. I don’t wear my watch when I work, so having this time piece helps me note when I am to accomplish my responsibilities.

Out my bedroom window I see a number of businesses, Ligonier St. and the steel mill. I often imagine looking down from an airport tower, watching the cars and trucks roll in as aircraft on runways. Most the time, they pass by, destinations unknown. Other times, vehicles collide. I don’t know if it’s adrenaline or testosterone that motivates me to alert 911. The town becomes alive as emergency vehicles show up to deal with the situation that is quickly remedied. And then it’s back to normal, a welcoming silence that we have come to expect, living in a small town, such as Latrobe.

I love to look at backyard and garage. I prayed for a grassy area such as I have. I got what I prayed for. I am thankful. Looking at my garden often, it never seems to yield anything I had hoped for. Never the less, when a yellow daffodil appears, I think of my mother. She gave me the bulb before passing on. I can only hope, she is admiring it as much as I do.

From the attic, I can gaze upon the Laurel Mountains. I’m glad to say that the scenery tops the chair I am in sitting in, for I can feel the springs tantalizing my posterior nerves, a very unpleasant feeling, to say the least.

What I remember is recalling my father stating he wanted to spend his retirement living somewhere in the Ligonier area, for he loved nature. Some of what he enjoyed must have rubbed off. Nature does surrounds us. For me, that’s a plus for what I consider my hometown. I need not leave my house, for love of Latrobe is in the eyes of this beholder.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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