“We’d argue and fight, but don’t you dare step to one of us and think for one moment we didn’t have each other’s backs. This town wrapped its arms around you and never let you walk alone.”
My letter to you, McKees Rocks,
Days ago, I asked my friends on social media what I should write about and the majority of answers were about growing up where and when we did. Since then, we’ve had at least two shootings in this area. The juxtaposition of those polar opposites couldn’t have been more evident. The romanticism of yesterday clashed with the reality of today. The pride that enveloped this community years ago has been splintered into a thousand tiny pieces and like the mascot, The Viking, the stories of this town have just become relics of a time long past.
Oh, but what a time it was. The town made its people but in reality, the people made “The Rocks.” Characters with character. We loved our town with a passion. We loved our sports teams with fanaticism. We loved each other like brothers and sisters and no matter what part you grew up in, we always saw you as one of us. We weren’t perfect, far from it, but it was all those imperfections that molded our character.
The guys were tough and wore their emotions on their sleeves. The women, oh, those Sto-Rox women, were something else. They could look good in jeans, dresses or softball uniforms but don’t you dare ever cross them because they’ll put you in your place quickly. We’d argue and fight, but don’t you dare step to one of us and think for one moment we didn’t have each other’s backs. This town wrapped its arms around you and never let you walk alone.
We were poor in money, but rich in love, pride, faith and friendship. We had parents that would drive us anywhere and feed us like family but if you acted up, you’d get cussed out like you were their own kids. I truly wish these kids of today got a real glimpse of how and when we grew up. It wasn’t perfect but it was perfect for us.
Now, we’re all scattered but that love will always remain. The kisses, hugs and handshakes are all as genuine as they were so many years ago.
Can this town ever reclaim its magic? That’s anyone’s guess.
Hopefully, the kids growing up today will have similar stories to tell many years from now.
Writer David Ficarri is a resident of Norwood in Stowe Township.
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