Sunday, December 18, 2005

Many find you can go home again -

I am a boomerang born at the end of the baby boom. And, I own a few boomerangs. We bought em in Australia.
Many find you can go home again - ... 'boomerang migrators,' those who leave the area and then return, ...
Last week, I spoke with a light-industrial guy who makes boomerangs in Pittsburgh. We want to do an event -- talking to boomerangs, tossing a few, and pumping up the flow for others to come as well.

But, first things first. The headline says 'can.' Think of the kid in 2nd grade who asks the teacher, 'Can I go to the bathroom?' Then the teacher says -- down his grammer driven nose -- "Yes you can. But, you want to know if you may." So, "May I move back to Pittsburgh."

"Honey, may we move to Pittsburgh?"

For best results, ask this question after you've red up the house and at.

Another first thing first mention -- I don't want to spend too much time dweling upon the folks that are not here yet. Rather, we have a core of folks who have not yet left (either again or at all). Those are the ones who are going to make a difference in the near term.

I lived in Penn Hills. Then Athens, Ohio; Boston; Waco, Texas; Peroria, Illinois; Chicago; Long Beach / L.A., California; Evanston, IL (back to Chicago); South Side.

The best academic job for my wife, as she was about to get her Ph.D. from Northwestern (we met while I was living there) was at the Univ. of Pittsburgh. So, my mothers rosarys were answered!

When we moved back to Pittsburgh, and we had visited together a number of times prior to a move, I insisted that we reside on the South Side. That was 1990.

In 1994 we spend a month in Australia -- and got the boomerangs. I'll try to post a photo soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many find you can go home again

Lynn Spampinato
Steven Adams/Tribune-Review

Joe Miksch missed Pittsburgh. So he moved back.

Despite a decent-paying job as a reporter for the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Miksch and his then-fiancee resented paying New York prices for apartments there. Visions of affordable housing, a vibrant arts scene and three professional sports teams coursed through the Beaver native's head. He packed up and headed home.

"New Haven was expensive. It didn't seem worth what we were paying for our place," Miksch said.

He persuaded fiancee Colleen Van Tassell to move with him. The two were married by Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy in 2003 at a ceremony at the Morning Glory, an upscale bed and breakfast in the South Side. Miksch then got a decent-paying job as an editor at a University of Pittsburgh medical publication. He and his wife bought a rowhouse in the city's North Side.

Miksch and others like him are known as "boomerang migrators," those who leave the area and then return, said Christopher Briem, of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Social and Urban Research. Miksch is one of the estimated 40,000 people who move to the region every year, mainly for employment reasons, Briem said.

Lynn Spampinato is returning to Pittsburgh after 21 years working in Colorado and St. Louis.

Spampinato, 52, grew up in Lawrenceville and is returning to become the Pittsburgh Public Schools deputy superintendent of instruction, assessment and accountability on Dec. 28, the district's second highest position. She was the chief academic officer for the St. Louis public school district. She had what she called "numerous opportunities" in other cities, but wanted to come home.

"There's a real energy here," said Spampinato, who has two grown children. "People are very friendly."

Despite her extended stay away, Spampinato still has considerable family support from aunts, uncles and other relatives. The Slippery Rock University graduate got a degree in elementary education and later earned a master's degree in special education and a doctorate in educational administration at the University of Northern Colorado.

She is staying at a hotel in Shadyside and has not yet decided where to buy a house.

"I look forward to seeing old friends. I'm going to have to reconnect," Spampinato said.

When Miksch first moved back, he took a temporary job with Just Ducky Tours, the popular Pittsburgh tour operator that runs former military DUKW amphibious vehicles across the city's rivers. Seeing how positively many tourists reacted to the city gave him yet another appreciation of Pittsburgh's uniqueness, Miksch said.

"People from Pittsburgh need to travel, get out and look around. People came from all over the world on those tours. They love the place," Miksch said.

Richard Byrne Reilly can be reached at or (412) 380-5625.