My first impressions of Anna Thoreau would be youth and energy. Christine, my wife, Josie our former housemate and myself had started a house band 48 Skiddoo. We decided that we would inquire at Pittsburgh Filmmakers to see if we could play at the Film Kitchen held the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Film Kitchen showcases the works of local film and video artists. Host Matt Day gave us the nod to play for the one hour reception which precedes the films.

Josie Landback had taken piano and voice lessons, Scout Smith had recently taken up the concertina and Emmett was fulfilling his aspirations to play guitar. The band prepared 4 songs by Waits, N. Young, the Band and Dylan. After performing these songs at the first performance, Scout stated, “We still have 35 minutes left, play the songs again”. So we did.

The crowd at the Film Kitchen was, at best, non-responsive to the music. Pizza and beer generated the primary interest with a curious after-thought to the band. However, there was one exception. Anna Thoreau was watching intently with her friend Seth. When the band finished, Anna approached and said, “Those were great songs. Did you write them?” We laughed and said that we wished we had. “I’m so STOKED”, Anna exclaimed, “I really like your band. You need a drummer and I’m a drummer. Could I join the band?. The band’s response was "Sure, come to the next rehearsal". Phone numbers were exchanged and soon Anna was a member of 48 Skiddoo.

Anna played with us for several months. She had studied drums at Chico State in California. She was always upbeat and positive. She worked part-time at Filmmakers. Often she would make remarks such as, “I think everyone in America should have at least one solar panel,…. like to power your laptop”.

Recently, Anna came to rehearsal and announced that she was buying a house in Detroit for $7K . We asked her if she had the ability to fix it up. “No, it’s in move in condition!”, she responded. “I don’t know what I’ll do there, but I’m sick of paying rent”. Anna said that many of the people buying these foreclosed homes were into sustainability, rain barrels and community gardens. Sounded like a real movement to us!

Anna has left Pittsburgh but remains warmly rooted in our hearts. We only wish we had the courage to follow in her footsteps. She is an honorary member of 48 Skidoo and hopefully will sit in at future performances. Maybe we can even do a performance in Michigan!

Where exactly is this area in Detroit? Google “48212”.