Aspinwall High School Class of 1955
Robert McCutcheon 3/20/08.
Dear Mr. Swaim, This letter is the unforeseen consequence of my nightly web surfing. I was innocently delving back into my youthful enthusiasm with the blues and decided to google Sam Charters [novelist and jazz expert], whose musicology I knew. First I learned that he was born in my native Pittsburgh, then that a radio interview with him was available on line, in the course of which you asked him just the question I was hoping you would: what high school he went to: To my further delight, you identified your alma mater: Like Mr. Charters, my parents went to Peabody; I went to Aspinwall Junior High School (formerly the high school; I went on the Fox Chapel High School . I in my turn attended the Guyasuta boy scout camp.) I set a short story in that building; you may remember my favorite room: #14, I think, the terraced one. I had French there, though I guess it was an old lab of some kind. You probably know that apartments now occupy the site.
That area has always seemed numinous to me; over the past couple of decades I've set a couple of novels there; sent people walking up Delafield Road, had them drink in Tom & Tud' s, a bar on Freeport Road that may post-date your residence there. I finally got one of them published by a small press in California; actually, they're publishing it in three parts, targeting a young adult audience a little more exclusively than I intended. The novel sets coming of age in the context of competitive swimming and seeks to immortalize the epic rivalry between two local swimming clubs, Community Swim Club and Chapel Gate.
I'll include the Amazon links here if you'd be curious to check them out. Of course I'm anxious to make contacts in the book world and generate any word of mouth that I can. But the books are full of local references and might produce a pleasant blast from your past.