Pennsylvania Bridges July 2019 Edition: “Worth Doing Well”

pabridges_july2019_web-coveThe July 2019 Edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“Worth Doing Well” – is now available online and in print.

Thoughts from our Editor: July 2019 – “Worth Doing Well”

It is with a heavy and conflicted heart that I sit down today to write this column. After 55 plus issues, it brings me no joy to announce I am stepping down from my duties as Editor-in-Chief of Pennsylvania Bridges and the print publication is going on a hiatus.

This was not an easy decision for me to make, nor is it one I made lightly. Aside from my family, I have never loved anything as much as I love this publication. Putting it together each month and then distributing it have been the highlights of my existence. Seeing the joy it brings our readers has kept me going through health and other issues, and I’ll cherish the memories I made in my role as editor.

However, other opportunities have presented themselves, and I have to be realistic about the fact that there’s only one me, and only so many places I can be at the same time.

I have always lived my life with the idea that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Comedian Jon Stewart, who is featured in this month’s Notable & Quotable, is a hero of mine for a lot of reasons, and I remember his statement when he stepped down as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. In essence, he said if he couldn’t offer the show 100% of his industry, he was cheating the viewers. That sums up how I feel about my role at Pennsylvania Bridges, and I refuse to cheat even one of you, our loyal readers, by stretching myself too thin. You have been so supportive and generous with your appreciation of this publication, and you don’t deserve anything less than my very best effort.

Speaking of my best effort, it has been my mission since the inception of Pennsylvania Bridges to bring you a quality publication that accentuates the positive in our shared communities, and I hope that I did so. Long hours and many holiday weekends were spent endeavoring to give voice to the ordinary heroes among us, and I will miss getting to know their stories most of all.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include a mention of the many people who, along the way, contributed to creating Pennsylvania Bridges. There are too many of you to name individually, and I cannot adequately express my appreciation for your efforts. I often have said I had the best team of writers and contributors in southwestern Pennsylvania, and I stand by that remark. Thank you for your hard work.

To others who’ve supported us in other capacities, let me also extend my thanks to you. You made my job possible.

Let us not end on a dismal note, rather, know that I will forever treasure my time at Pennsylvania Bridges, as well as getting to know, first hand, the incredible talent and generosity of people in our region. Truly, it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Thank you for reading.

Until next time,

Carla E. Anderton

Pennsylvania Bridges June 2019 – “School’s Out!”

pabridges_june2019_web-coveThe June 2019 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“School’s Out!” – is now available online and in print.

Thoughts from our Editor: School’s Out for Summer!

I often say I haven’t been bored since I was a teenager, and that’s mostly true. Boredom, after all, is just a frame of mind, and – in my view – signifies an absence of both imagination and initiative, neither of which I’ve ever been accused of lacking. In fact, I’ve found that on those rare occasions when I do succumb to feeling “bored” I get into trouble, usually in the form of taking on too many new projects to try to fill the void.

Regular readers will know that I am an adjunct professor of English and public speaking. Usually, I teach summer courses, however, a campus-wide technology overhaul resulted in the cancellation of my classes, leaving me footloose and fancy-free for the next three months. Part of me is delighted. It’s been a long year in more ways than one, and the thought of sleeping in late and spending lazy afternoons on my deck is not unwelcome. On the other hand, part of me is a little worried about my inevitable reaction to having so much free time.

To help allay those concerns, I’ve decided to take a proactive approach and develop a focused plan for how I want to spend my newfound hours of leisure. Hopefully, this will keep me from getting “bored” and getting into mischief or otherwise extending myself.

First on the list is to devote more time to writing, specifically to more creative writing. Life has interfered as of late with my productivity, but now I have no excuse. Whether I dust off the manuscript I’ve been toying with for a few years or I start another one entirely remains to be seen, but the goal is the same: Make like a writer and write!

The second part of my plan is to reorganize my living and working spaces. Years of teaching have left me with boxes of handouts to be sorted and filed. Speaking of boxes, there’s a stack of them in my office, each containing precious memories in the form of photos that need to be scanned and preserved for future generations.

The final item on my “to do list” for summer is to devote time to self-improvement and to developing skills that will benefit me come August when I return to the classroom. The aforementioned technology overhaul at the community college where I teach means training to use a new learning management system, so that’s on my agenda during the break.

All in all, it’s an ambitious – if laid back – schedule I’ve created for myself. Before I begin, however, one task remains: a much needed, eagerly anticipated nap!

Until next month,

Carla E. Anderton

Pennsylvania Bridges – May 2019 – “Stories We Tell”

pabridges_may2019_final_webThe May 2019 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“Stories We Tell” – is now available online and in print.

Pennsylvania Bridges April 2019 – “Hop to It!”

pabridges_april2019_final_wThe April 2019 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“Hop to It!” – is now available online and in print.

Pennsylvania Bridges – March 2019 – “The Lucky Ones”

march2019coverThe March 2019 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“The Lucky Ones” – is now available online and in print.

Thoughts from our Editor: March 2019 – The Lucky Ones

Like many people, I am fascinated by history and am particularly intrigued by the history of my own family, and the stories of the ancestors who came before me, who lived and loved in times go by. On my father’s side of the family, we can trace our roots back to an ancient Scottish clan, Clan Currie, with our own unique tartan and family crest. On my mother’s side, the branches of our family tree include some names of note, and I can count among my departed relatives both American folk hero Davy Crockett, “King of the Wild Frontier,” and John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee.

Then there are the stories my late grandmother Eleanor used to tell me about how her “people” hailed from Ireland and immigrated to the United States after the Great Potato Famine.

“They were so hungry and so poor back in Ireland, Carla,” she would say, “They would pass around the one potato they had and sniff it before they split it up.”

Now, I don’t know how much of that was folklore versus truth, and I know my grandmother had a flair for the dramatic and a tendency to exaggerate details. However, I do know her ancestors were of Irish descent and arrived in the United States in the mid 19th century.

There are a lot of stereotypes about Irish people, much like there are common misconceptions about all ethnicities. Our food is bland, our hair is red, and we’re all affable, violent alcoholics. Then there’s the perception that all Irish people are lucky.

Now, admittedly, I was born with fiery red hair and an equally fiery spirit, but I am mostly non-confrontational and I abhor violence. Having said that, I’ve had extraordinary luck throughout most of my 42 years on this planet. Not only do I have a penchant for winning contests – half the take, basket auctions, etc. – I’ve had my fair share of sheer, dumb luck, of being fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time when an opportunity has presented itself. So, whether it’s related to my Irish ancestry or not, there’s no denying I’m one of the lucky ones.

That being said, I mostly believe people make their own luck. They set goals, they work hard, and they stay focused on their objectives until they achieve them. Success is not contingent on some magical, elusive quality found at the end of a rainbow, rather it is the end result of a combination of inspiration and perspiration, of dreaming of the impossible and then setting about to make it possible.

This edition is dedicated to those individuals who have – rather than waiting for fortune to smile upon them – found ways to take charge of and mold their own destinies.

Until next month,

Carla E. Anderton

February 2019 – Straight from the Heart

pabridges_february2019_coveThe February 2019 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges is now available online and in print.

Pennsylvania Bridges January 2019: New Year, New You!

pabridges_january2019_cea_wThe January 2019 edition of Pennsylvania BridgesNew Year, New You! – is now available online and in print.