15 Ways Growing Up in Pittsburgh Has Shaped Who You Are

growing up in Pittsburgh

Pittsburghers all know being from the city is a huge part they carry with them throughout their lives, regardless of whether they live in the city for life or they move across the country. Pittsburgh is unique and wonderful and has taught us all many life lessons. These are just a few of some of the many ways growing up in Pittsburgh has shaped us all.

1. You learned how to be patient from Parkway traffic jams.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

2. You learned how to be good to your neighbor by letting an elderly person cut in front of you in the Giant Eagle line. 

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

3. Your fear of heights was eradicated when your dad made you ride the Thunderbolt as a kid.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

4. You didn’t visit a therapist growing up—you dealt with all your anger issues during Steeler games.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

5. Speaking of sports, you learned what loyalty meant when you heard names like Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and Mario Lemieux.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

6. You have trouble understanding why names like North Versailles and DuBois are pronounced differently outside of Pittsburgh.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

7. You learned what it means to be a great friend from Mikey and Big Bob on 96.1 KISS-FM.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

8. You know how personally frustrating it feels when someone asks you if Pittsburgh is close to Philadelphia. 

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

9. You know what it means to be from hearty Pittsburgh stock when you move to another city and schools close for two inches of snow.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

10. You learned about true kindness from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

11. When you grow up and learn the average cost of a wedding is around $30,000, you can’t help but wonder if people have ever heard of a fire hall wedding.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

12. When you order chipped ham at a deli in another city that you’ve moved to, people in line stare at you, for chipped ham is a mystery to anyone who isn’t from Pittsburgh.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

13. You laugh when friends from other cities jaws drop when you tell them you spent weekends at the Strip District growing up—you always have to say “No, not that kind of strip!”

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

14.Your love affair with ketchup has been going on since you were old enough to eat solid food. You put Heinz Ketchup, and only Heinz, on everything from eggs to fries to burgers and everything in between. 

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

15. Growing up you were rewarded with things like a Smiley Cookie or can of Faygo pop.

Growing Up in Pittsburgh

107 thoughts on “15 Ways Growing Up in Pittsburgh Has Shaped Who You Are”

  1. Mary Ann Gorgas

    Happy to see pictures of Pittsburgh where I grew up years ago. Many fond memories including working at Mellon Bank and as a teenager working in a 5 & 10 in Homestead. Went to Calhoun Jr. High Scool. Went to Kennywood growing up,etc.

    1. Omg, such fun. I never heard of the other Versailles. Then visited the other Versailles. Today going to granddaughter wedding in Dubois.

    2. Kenneth C. Aiken

      I worked at BF Goodrich, 208 East 8th Ave from57 until the store closed in 60. Joined Navy. Rest is History. Retired from Navy and reside in Seabrook, TX. I remember the Chairman of the Police Force, Pete Scuffle. Wanted me to quit BFG and join the Police force.. I was to young and just did not want to be a cop

    3. Nothing compares to a good old firehall wedding with fried chicken , italian pasta, potatoe salad and the table of cookies. Always the table of cookies. Bridal dance with the apron for the money and carried away at the end. Formal weddings are too stuffy for me. Chipped ham is hard to find down here in Florida too. You have to tell them how to slice it.

    4. Kenneth C. Aiken

      In 1957 to 1959 I worked in the BF GOODRICH store on 208 E 8th Ave. There was a bank across the street. Fond memories. From Monroeville,PA. Kenneth C Aiken, Senior Chief, USN, Retired. Seabrook, Texas

  2. Mary Ann Gorgas

    Happy to see pictures of Pittsburgh where I grew up years ago. Many fond memories including working at Mellon Bank and as a teenager working in a 5 & 10 in Homestead. Went to Calhoun Jr. High Scool. Went to Kennywood, etc.

  3. Jacqueline Althoff

    Loved growing up in Wilkinsburg. Love the city also. Have been away for 40 years but i never forgwt the memories. Im Country gorl now!!

      1. Wilkiinsburg sure isn’t what it used to be. Back in the 1950’s, it was a nice, middle class community. Now WHS is closed, The Roland, State, and Regal movie houses are no more, and the Isaly’s on both Penn Ave. and Wood St. are gone.

      2. Yes, Wilkinsburg has changed drastically. We moved there from the Hill District when l was 7yrs old. It’s sad to drive through the old neighborhood now. From what l understand, it’s coming back..at least somewhat. I truly hope so.

    1. Kenneth C. Aiken

      I frequented the greasy spoon along with Cisco or Cisto and Bobbie Clutter. Dated Anne Dashbaugh and hung around with Bobbie Mears. Knew Jackie that had a beautiful 49 or 50 Ford Convertible;l.Her father had a little grocery store near Bobbie Mears house.

    2. My dad grew up in Wilkinsburg and my mom in Rankin then Swissvale. Everybody worked for the Switch & Signal in Swissvale. The summer company days at Kennywood are my fondest memories.

      1. Grew up in Homewood and loved it! My dad also worked at the Switch as did several relatives. Favorite summer memory is going to the Switch picnic at Kennywood. Left in 1977 for the Midwest, but still love Pittsburgh.

  4. Debbie Federico

    Lived in Pittsburgh for 18 years and our kids were raised there. I could not have imagined raising our family anywhere else. We had the best neighbors, friends, everything!
    It took a while to figure out what jumbo, gumbands, and dahntahn meant lol. Now we are living in Philadelphia. People are rude, nasty, miserable and all of the sports teams stink! Black and gold forever.

    1. I am so sorry you had to go there. You are so right about the rudeness. I love Pittsburgh for so many reasons. Grateful to be able to enjoy the best that Pittsburgh has to offer. From riding streetcars to town in the 40’s to enjoying concerts and plays today I love our town

    2. I grew up in Pittsburgh and people are friendly and would do anything for you. I moved to Philadelphia and it was a bigger city and people were colder than in Pittsburgh. In Philly for 32 years. I then moved to Chicago for 8 years. The people were not friendly, not honest, deceptive and out for themselves. After that experience, I moved back to Philadelphia. And i have come to realize that there are worst places than Philly. But Pittsburgh wins in my book!

      1. Joshua Acopine

        Oh but Sal’s in sawside Is the best. Slice the size of ya face after a night at the moose. Yinz know what im sayin. And can we talk about sheetz and primanti bros?!

    1. Randy Keilback

      I took a work related trip to Boston and this guy up there said that every summer vacation had to include Pittsburgh and Isley’s chipped ham. *Just a tip…don’t wear Penguins stuff in Bruins territory *…lol.

  5. Lived in Monroeville. Attended Turtle Creek High. Worked at Mission Orange in Wilmerding, Cunningham Lincoln Mercury and BF Goodrich in Homestead. Met many great folks. My Navy calling kept me away. I retired and live in Seabrook,TX. Get raspberries re my Pittsburgh ease. Been 57 years. I guess Pittsburgh just cannot be taken away from Pittsburgers.

    1. Caitlin Rooney

      Hey, I’m a fellow Yinzer living in Seabrook, TX as well. Moved here 6 months before Ike hit the area. I live by the ports.

        1. Kenneth C Aiken

          I lived in Monroeville, on Aberscreek Rd, between the Northern Pike and Haymaker rd. Attended Turtle Creek HS in as much as Monroeville did not have a HS until after I left there. Many great memories of the entire PA area. Rode in horse shows over the area. The SOUTH PARK gang was probably the greatest competitors. At one point I worked at MISSION ORANGE in Wilmerding. We delivered soda throughout the Allegheny County area. They are no longer. Anyway keep in touch. Where did you live there. Kenaiken@sbcglobal.net Searidge Subdivision.

  6. Marlene Lewandowski

    Born and raised in Pittsburgh…..So many memories that I think of and wish I had never moved from there. Love everything about my hometown…..People look at me when I talk Pittsburgh talk, seems so funny to me. Go back to visit my family all the time. Miss Kennywood and those fries…..YUM!!!! Best City in the USA…….and the people are so friendly…….NYC can’t compare!!!! Go Pens, Steelers and Pirates!!!!

    1. Keenneth C. Aiken

      Any relation to Richard Lewandowski who lives in Corpus Christi, TX. He was in the Navy. After discharge he worked and retired from the Corpus Christi, Army Depot. He was from Pa.


  7. A friendly town with helpful, genuine people. Very different in South Florida where we relocated due to employment considerations.

  8. You know what a cookie table is
    You never understood fancy food at a wedding
    You were mortified the first time you went to a wedding and it was a cash bar

    1. I WAS mortified the first time I went to a wedding with a cash bar. 🙂 Happened when I first moved to Maryland.

      1. Even more mortifying than the cash bar at a wedding was the afternoon tea & cakes at a southern Baptist perception – And no alcohol (WHAAAT????)

    1. Vincent’s forever! Vince put enough oil on his pizzas that a whole pie could slide right down a person’s gullet. Best pizza in the world.

      1. Vincent’s pizza was great. I worked on Ardmore Blvd. and would take a pizza home. With all the grease the pizza would slide all around the box, but we didn’t care what it looked like , it was delicious. I live in Fl. now and haven’t found a good pizza yet. Also the junction pizza was good.

  9. I love Pittsburgh! So sorry I left there. The wonderful people that live there are the best! I graduated from Bellevue High School in 1957. Bellevue “Bull Dogs”!! Went to Louie’s Chocolate Shop on Lincoln Avenue after school for a coke. Sold candy at the movie theater in the evening. Left when I was 38.

    1. I loved growing up in Pittsburgh,s Norside (North Side for you non Pittsburghers) and walking to West Park and Mt Washington!

  10. One of my favorite Pittsburgh saying is “you can get there from here”. I now live in Texas but have taken my kids back to the burg to eat and of course attend a Stiller game!

  11. I always am saying you can take me out of the
    Pittsburgh, but you can’t
    take Pittsburgh out of me!!! I loved growing up there and I miss all the good things about our fine city, but for my family it was time to go in 2008. God has been good to us and now I have two beautiful granddaughters and two of my Sons are engaged to be married. So we are extremely happy to be living in San Antonio now. I still love my Stillers and even down here I manage to find other fans wherever I go!!!

  12. When my kids were little they would ask for something an I would say do I look like Andy Mellon they said who. When I first moved to California I asked for a pound of Jumbo they thought I was making it up. I sure miss Pittsburgh even 40 years later. Nothing like home.

  13. Marietta Hartline

    Both f my daughters and their families live in Pittsburgh. They are one in Upper St. Clair, and one in Cranberry. They love Pittsburgh and I love Pittsburgh. I am there all the time. Nothing missing. Beautiful city, great intertainment, great sports teams, great fans, great shopping, great schools, great neighborhoods,, great hospitals, unique cultural blending, and most of all, great people. Love that city.

    1. Caitlin Rooney

      When ever I go to an unfamiliar area where I live I look for landmarks to help guide me when I head back home. Lol

  14. Keith Sparbanie

    Faygo pop? That’s a Detroit thing. Kids in my hood got Lemon Blennd, Regent Creme Soda, or Daily’s Little Hugs…

  15. I love this and still appreciate my fire hall wedding. I didn’t understand how people we went to college with didn’t know how to act when they showed up, but had a blast immersing themselves in everything Pittsburgh. Love you Burg! You are the root of my core and yinz need to recognize!

  16. ?? my hometown….after 50 years in California, I’m thinking about heading home to retire! Yinz can take da gurl outta Pixburgh, but yinz can’t take Pixburgh outta da gurl! Go Stillers, Pirates, n Pens! #cityofchampyinz

    1. I’m sick of California, too. Came here in ’72 and now I long to be back in Pittsburgh. Married a California girl and getting her to move back isn’t happening.

  17. As they say, You can the person out of PGH , but you can’t take the Pgh out of the person. born & raised in East End. Morningside. Peabody HS. Worked at Wilkens Jewelary. Have been living here ( in the suburbs) for over 40 yrs, and I am still treated as an outsider.

    1. LaVerne Jones

      I remember the easy credit song – Wilkins Jewelry store. Easy Credit, Easy Credit. Wilkins is the place where you can get it. Where credit won’t cost you an extra cent, you get quality and value for what you spent. Its the Wilkins Easy Credit time.

  18. My 1st job was @ Mellon Bank in 1963, lived on Blvd of Allies @ Evangeline, run by Salvation Army for a few yrs, rode the streets on skateboards, loved streetcars, grade school tour of Heinz. After moving to Connecticut @ 22 I too got strange looks when asking for chipped ham-gave up-took yrs to realize it’s shaved ham here. My dad refused to call “pop” soda. So many other memories. So proud to say it’s my hometown, my heart will always be with Pittsburgh.

  19. Will be returning to da ‘burgh to retire. We’ve lived in VA, AZ, FL, KS, TX, OK — but I want to click my ruby red slippers 3 times and say “There’s no place like home.” Believe it.

  20. Lived all over town -EsLiberty. Beechview, Bellevue, Aspinwall, O’Hara, Fox Chapel. Each town had it’s own personality but all shared a common trait,
    Friendliness .

  21. From Durham, NC but lived in Pittsburh in ’67 on Henry St not far from the old Webster Hall Hotel and Forbes Field, on the Northside above Alleghenny Hospital at Village in the Park in ’69 and ’70 and Upper St Clair from ’75 to ’85 and remember Subick’s Navy, the Hollywood Boatel, Harold Betters jazz trombone watching the Steelers at U of Pittsburgh before the move downtown. Great City, Great People and loved living there. Worked in Gateway # 2 on the 18th floor.

  22. Lived in Monroeville! Nothing like the Greasy Spoon! Loved the rivers of Pittsburgh! Sure miss the gorgeous falls and beautiful winters!

    1. In response to Liane. I too lived in zmonroeville, on Aberscreek Rd, the one that ran from Northern Pike to Hay Maker Road. That was until 59. Nick name was Red

  23. Grew up in Greenfield, the Capitol of Pittsburgh, and enjoyed every minute of my life there. I can’t imagine a better neighborhood or City in which to live. It never leaves your heart and soul.

    1. Once a Greenfielder – always a Greenfielder. Magee field and pool; St. Rosalia’s and Greenfield School; Drug store; movie theater; walking every where; trolley line right down the middle of Greenfield ave. before buses ran. Dairy Queen; Greenfield bridge through the park to the riding stables and later walking path; play grounds and neighbors who were all family to each kid.

  24. Keith Sparbanie

    Here in the Valley of the Sun live many former Pittsburghers. I see Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates decals on cars all of the time.

    In Chandler, AZ was a hot dog restaurant called Pittsburgh Willy’s, now part of Wimpy’s Paradise.

    In Cave Creek, AZ is Harold’s Corral, a western themed restaurant which doubles as “Heinz Field West,” with one of the largest Steelers fan clubs in the country.

    Also, the last time the Steelers played the Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium was 3/4 Black and Gold. It was a beautiful thing to see!

  25. Raymond Dougherty

    It was always cherokee red pop for us. Remember going to pirate games at Forbes Field with my dad always ridding the 61c from mckeesport and stopping at the big O for a hot dog in Oakland. Most neighborhoods had a butchers market on a corner nearby and you would run to the store for the elderly neighbor and she would give you a dime before you went to deliver the pgh press and daily news.(Still go to butcher’s market named Lamperts before I go to Giant Eagle or Shop and Save for meats).

  26. Love the special neighborhoods, with the hills and rivers everyone of them have unique borders. Lived on Northside for a while and rode my bicycle all around town. Worked at St Francis until it closed, worked at Central Medical also. I was shocked at the pizza when I moved to St Louis, crust was more like a soda cracker than pizza.

  27. Grew up in Oakmont. Gone since 1962. However, I still have relatives there and I have more Twitter feeds from Pittsburgh entities than just about anything else. When I moved away, I, too, had to give up on the chipped ham. Too many confused faces. Also had to stop saying “crik”.

    1. Kenneth C. Aiken

      I met a gal from Oakmont at the Eatn park in I believe Harmorville. she drove a beautiful new greenish and cream buick. Her name as I recall was Manuel? Good memories. I lived in Monroeville on ABERSWCRIK ROAD. crik. LOL
      Joined Navy retired and live in Seabrook, TX Near NASA

  28. love, Love, LOVE being from Pittsburgh! Miss it more than I thought possible. Florida may be a nice place to visit, but 30 years of living here is doing me in. Nothing compares to Pittsburgh. Beautiful people, wonderful city, traditions, sports teams, FOOD!!! I come home every year and one day, I hope to again call it ‘home’!

  29. Born and raised in Pgh. Went to college in Maryland. Sent a friend to the store to buy City Chicken. He went to a few stores and pleaded that they sell him City Chicken. We didn’t have dinner that night. I red up the room and everything!

  30. When traveling,you get tired of explaining that Wheeling is nowhere near Richmond so you tell people: I’m from Pittsburgh.

  31. Born at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Lawrenceville, raised on Troy Hill. Moved from the area in ’69. Still have fond memories of friends, neighbors and growing up in the city. Loved Pittsburgh and living there.

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  33. Faygo pop was a Detroit, Michigan product where it is known as ‘soda’! Every summer I spent a month at my aunt’s in Lincoln Park, right outside of Detroit. The television ads were rampant of a mustashioed hombre breaking out of a wild west jail and riding off into the distance with the words, “Which way did he go? Which way did he go? He went for FAYGO!”

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  35. Just traveled from Houston to Dallas and from Dallas to Pittsburgh to visit family and friends. Houston to Dallas goers were all keeping to themselves. No one really spoke to anyone they didn’t know. Dallas to Pittsburgh, big difference. All of us Pittsburghers were finding out about each other while sitting in the terminal. A large group of strangers just sharing together what area of Pittsburgh we were from and do you know this or that and the conversations went on and on. It was clear we all though a lot of our city. I miss the whole feel of the steel city…even when it’s frigid cold on winter nights. I miss going to Pirates games. I miss Station Square. I miss the forth of July and New Year’s celebrations. I miss a lot! What about Carson St?! Dave’s Music Mine!! I miss my Penguins! Go Penguins!!

  36. Loyalty from sports celebrities and you mention Terry Bradshaw?? WTF? How about substituting him with Clemente, or Stargell, or Blass or Maz? And if you are going to mention disc jockeys while we were growing up, how about Jimmy and Steve, or Paulsen and Krenn, or may even reach back further to O’Brien and Garry, or even guys like John Cigna or Jack Bogut?

        1. Kenneth Aiken

          I had coffee with porky across e 8th Ave in the late 50’s. He was our DADDIO OF THE RADIO.

  37. Anyone on here from northside area, was raised on Troy Hill, attended Holy Name grade school and 3 years at North Catholic, graduated from Allegheny HS in 1961. Moved away from city after military & marriage in 1969.

  38. I grew up in Munhall then Edgewood. You have to be from Pittsburgh to know where Edgewood is and Pittsburghers just reply “oh, Regent Square”. My dad was a mill hunky – was a hooker in Homestead – and you can only say that if you are from Pittsburgh! I still crave Yolanda’s and Vincent’s pizza, miss the Leona Theater, “Kennywood is open” had a whole different meaning and a swimming pool, great memories from Idlewild Park when my grandfather worked at Rockwell and had annual family picnics, miss Tom Thumb’s mint ginger ale, Kaufmann’s, Gulf Oil, the 5 and 10 cent store, chipped ham, and don’t miss McArdle Roadway in the winter; and no matter where I live, I will always be a Pittsburgher!

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