Wednesday, September 21, 2005

September 21, 2000

September 21, 2000 was one of those beautiful days that only seem to come consistently to Pittsburgh in September. Downtown at FreeMarkets, Mayor Tom Murphy participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to rename One Oliver Plaza "FreeMarkets Center" and the optimism of a company that hadn't quite realized that the bubble had burst and a city that thought it might just be the next silicon valley was in the air. You could still shop at the downtown Lazarus and the Fifth and Forbes development seemed inevitable and around the corner, whether you wanted it or not. The building landlord was on hand to give tours to potential tenants, showing off the views of PNC Park rising across the street to potential tenants that might want to be associated with Pittsburgh's most notable ".com" success stories -- whether you understood what they did or not.

Most people don't have a specific memory of September 21, 2000 like that, but I do. As I returned to my desk on the 22nd floor, (FreeMarkets Center EST. 2000 t-shirt in hand), my cell phone rang. It was GSully to say that Russell was definitely on the way. My friend Matt immediately drove me home, and from there we went to Allegheny General where the Midwife Center was then located. Six hours later my son Russell was born. September 21, 2000 was the day I became a dad.

Even though 5 years is a pretty short time, many of the hopes and dreams that seemed so promising on September 21, 2000 have been dashed. The empty shell of Lazarus sits quietly at 5th and Wood. Fifth and Forbes never happened. The Midwife Center went on a journey that finally led them to their own birth center in the Strip District. FreeMarkets Center became One Oliver Plaza again when FreeMarkets was purchased by Ariba in 2004. Although, I can now take Russell to PNC Park, the Pirates lose more often than not and Pittsburgh is literally bankrupt and feeling down on its luck.

Today, September 21, 2005, Russell is 5 and as we sat Monday night watching the game, I could not believe how lucky I was to be there enjoying time with the one of the greatest gifts that life has given me and my hopes and dreams shining brightly ahead.


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