Category Archives: Green Island Grrrl

Skin deep

Pics and text by Rose T.

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Rose, an old broad …

… knows, from experience, there is more to a city than meets the eye. Take any city. Take Worcester …

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A few days back, Millbury Street …

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Vernon Street:
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Symptoms of acute poverty …

But dig deeper:

In Main South:

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Green Island:

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❤❤❤❤

Coes Pond:

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South Worcester:

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Instead of acting like a whiny little bitch … OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE THE GOOD AND THE BEAUTIFUL IN MY CITY!

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St. John’s Church

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Youth Grow teens

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Piedmont – Chandler elementary school

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Smiley face – designed in Worcester.

Go, City Manager Ed Augustus, go!!

GO, WORCESTER, GO!!

In Rose’s space – 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸❤

Terrific!!!!

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Speech on the Removal of Confederate Monuments in New Orleans:

” … the Confederate cause was about maintaining slavery and white supremacy. …”

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Full Text:

Thank you for coming.

The soul of our beloved City is deeply rooted in a history that has evolved over thousands of years; rooted in a diverse people who have been here together every step of the way — for both good and for ill. It is a history that holds in its heart the stories of Native Americans — the Choctaw, Houma Nation, the Chitimacha. Of Hernando De Soto, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the Acadians, the Islenos, the enslaved people from Senegambia, Free People of Colorix, the Haitians, the Germans, both the empires of France and Spain. The Italians, the Irish, the Cubans, the south and central Americans, the Vietnamese and so many more.

You see — New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling caldron of many cultures. There is no other place quite like it in the world that so eloquently exemplifies the uniquely American motto: e pluribus unum — out of many we are one. But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were bought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture. America was the place where nearly 4000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp. So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth.

And it immediately begs the questions, why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame… all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans. So for those self-appointed defenders of history and the monuments, they are eerily silent on what amounts to this historical malfeasance, a lie by omission. There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence of it.

For America and New Orleans, it has been a long, winding road, marked by great tragedy and great triumph. But we cannot be afraid of our truth. As President George W. Bush said at the dedication ceremony for the National Museum of African American History & Culture, “A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them.” So today I want to speak about why we chose to remove these four monuments to the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, but also how and why this process can move us towards healing and understanding of each other. So, let’s start with the facts.

The historic record is clear, the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as The Cult of the Lost Cause. This ‘cult’ had one goal — through monuments and through other means — to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity. First erected over 166 years after the founding of our city and 19 years after the end of the Civil War, the monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy. It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots. These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city. Should you have further doubt about the true goals of the Confederacy, in the very weeks before the war broke out, the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, made it clear that the Confederate cause was about maintaining slavery and white supremacy. He said in his now famous ‘cornerstone speech’ that the Confederacy’s “cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

Now, with these shocking words still ringing in your ears… I want to try to gently peel from your hands the grip on a false narrative of our history that I think weakens us. And make straight a wrong turn we made many years ago — we can more closely connect with integrity to the founding principles of our nation and forge a clearer and straighter path toward a better city and a more perfect union.

Last year, President Barack Obama echoed these sentiments about the need to contextualize and remember all our history. He recalled a piece of stone, a slave auction block engraved with a marker commemorating a single moment in 1830 when Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay stood and spoke from it. President Obama said, “Consider what this artifact tells us about history… on a stone where day after day for years, men and women… bound and bought and sold and bid like cattle on a stone worn down by the tragedy of over a thousand bare feet. For a long time the only thing we considered important, the singular thing we once chose to commemorate as history with a plaque were the unmemorable speeches of two powerful men.”

A piece of stone — one stone. Both stories were history. One story told. One story forgotten or maybe even purposefully ignored. As clear as it is for me today… for a long time, even though I grew up in one of New Orleans’ most diverse neighborhoods, even with my family’s long proud history of fighting for civil rights… I must have passed by those monuments a million times without giving them a second thought. So I am not judging anybody, I am not judging people. We all take our own journey on race.

I just hope people listen like I did when my dear friend Wynton Marsalis helped me see the truth. He asked me to think about all the people who have left New Orleans because of our exclusionary attitudes. Another friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city. Can you do it? Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too? We all know the answer to these very simple questions. When you look into this child’s eyes is the moment when the searing truth comes into focus for us. This is the moment when we know what is right and what we must do. We can’t walk away from this truth.

And I knew that taking down the monuments was going to be tough, but you elected me to do the right thing, not the easy thing and this is what that looks like. So relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone else. This is not about politics, this is not about blame or retaliation. This is not a naïve quest to solve all our problems at once.

This is however about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile and most importantly, choose a better future for ourselves making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong. Otherwise, we will continue to pay a price with discord, with division and yes with violence.

To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in our most prominent places of honor is an inaccurate recitation of our full past. It is an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future. History cannot be changed. It cannot be moved like a statue. What is done is done. The Civil War is over, and the Confederacy lost and we are better for it. Surely we are far enough removed from this dark time to acknowledge that the cause of the Confederacy was wrong.

And in the second decade of the 21st century, asking African Americans — or anyone else — to drive by property that they own; occupied by reverential statues of men who fought to destroy the country and deny that person’s humanity seems perverse and absurd. Centuries old wounds are still raw because they never healed right in the first place. Here is the essential truth. We are better together than we are apart.

Indivisibility is our essence. Isn’t this the gift that the people of New Orleans have given to the world? We radiate beauty and grace in our food, in our music, in our architecture, in our joy of life, in our celebration of death; in everything that we do. We gave the world this funky thing called jazz, the most uniquely American art form that is developed across the ages from different cultures. Think about second lines, think about Mardi Gras, think about muffaletta, think about the Saints, gumbo, red beans and rice. By God, just think.

All we hold dear is created by throwing everything in the pot; creating, producing something better; everything a product of our historic diversity. We are proof that out of many we are one — and better for it! Out of many we are one — and we really do love it! And yet, we still seem to find so many excuses for not doing the right thing. Again, remember President Bush’s words, “A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them.”

We forget, we deny how much we really depend on each other, how much we need each other. We justify our silence and inaction by manufacturing noble causes that marinate in historical denial. We still find a way to say ‘wait’/not so fast, but like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “wait has almost always meant never.” We can’t wait any longer. We need to change. And we need to change now.

No more waiting. This is not just about statues, this is about our attitudes and behavior as well. If we take these statues down and don’t change to become a more open and inclusive society this would have all been in vain. While some have driven by these monuments every day and either revered their beauty or failed to see them at all, many of our neighbors and fellow Americans see them very clearly. Many are painfully aware of the long shadows their presence casts; not only literally but figuratively. And they clearly receive the message that the Confederacy and the cult of the lost cause intended to deliver.

Earlier this week, as the cult of the lost cause statue of P.G.T Beauregard came down, world renowned musician Terence Blanchard stood watch, his wife Robin and their two beautiful daughters at their side. Terence went to a high school on the edge of City Park named after one of America’s greatest heroes and patriots, John F. Kennedy. But to get there he had to pass by this monument to a man who fought to deny him his humanity.

He said, “I’ve never looked at them as a source of pride… it’s always made me feel as if they were put there by people who don’t respect us. This is something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. It’s a sign that the world is changing.” Yes, Terence, it is and it is long overdue. Now is the time to send a new message to the next generation of New Orleanians who can follow in Terence and Robin’s remarkable footsteps.

A message about the future, about the next 300 years and beyond; let us not miss this opportunity New Orleans and let us help the rest of the country do the same. Because now is the time for choosing. Now is the time to actually make this the City we always should have been, had we gotten it right in the first place.

We should stop for a moment and ask ourselves — at this point in our history — after Katrina, after Rita, after Ike, after Gustav, after the national recession, after the BP oil catastrophe and after the tornado — if presented with the opportunity to build monuments that told our story or to curate these particular spaces… would these monuments be what we want the world to see? Is this really our story?

We have not erased history; we are becoming part of the city’s history by righting the wrong image these monuments represent and crafting a better, more complete future for all our children and for future generations. And unlike when these Confederate monuments were first erected as symbols of white supremacy, we now have a chance to create not only new symbols, but to do it together, as one people. In our blessed land we all come to the table of democracy as equals. We have to reaffirm our commitment to a future where each citizen is guaranteed the uniquely American gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That is what really makes America great and today it is more important than ever to hold fast to these values and together say a self-evident truth that out of many we are one. That is why today we reclaim these spaces for the United States of America. Because we are one nation, not two; indivisible with liberty and justice for all… not some. We all are part of one nation, all pledging allegiance to one flag, the flag of the United States of America. And New Orleanians are in… all of the way. It is in this union and in this truth that real patriotism is rooted and flourishes. Instead of revering a 4-year brief historical aberration that was called the Confederacy we can celebrate all 300 years of our rich, diverse history as a place named New Orleans and set the tone for the next 300 years.

After decades of public debate, of anger, of anxiety, of anticipation, of humiliation and of frustration. After public hearings and approvals from three separate community led commissions. After two robust public hearings and a 6-1 vote by the duly elected New Orleans City Council. After review by 13 different federal and state judges. The full weight of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government has been brought to bear and the monuments in accordance with the law have been removed. So now is the time to come together and heal and focus on our larger task. Not only building new symbols, but making this city a beautiful manifestation of what is possible and what we as a people can become.

Let us remember what the once exiled, imprisoned and now universally loved Nelson Mandela and what he said after the fall of apartheid. “If the pain has often been unbearable and the revelations shocking to all of us, it is because they indeed bring us the beginnings of a common understanding of what happened and a steady restoration of the nation’s humanity.” So before we part let us again state the truth clearly.

The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity. It sought to tear apart our nation and subjugate our fellow Americans to slavery. This is the history we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered. As a community, we must recognize the significance of removing New Orleans’ Confederate monuments. It is our acknowledgment that now is the time to take stock of, and then move past, a painful part of our history.

Anything less would render generations of courageous struggle and soul-searching a truly lost cause. Anything less would fall short of the immortal words of our greatest President Abraham Lincoln, who with an open heart and clarity of purpose calls on us today to unite as one people when he said: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds…to do all which may achieve and cherish — a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Thank you.

Late-afternoon Gaffney musings …

Text and pics by Rosalie Tirella

Hanging with the mutts …

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… and Miss Cece …

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… drinking my java, thinking about local politics – thanking the dear sweet Jesus that former Worcester mayor, city councilor and school committee guy Joe O’Brien is coming out of his new-daddy-hood cocoon to run for public office again. Yeeeehaaaa!!! He’s running for Worcester city councilor at large, which means:  Mayor Joe Petty, who’s running for re-election, will, once again, win the mayoral seat and Joe O’Brien – because he’s well liked and a smart, compassionate and effective public servant – will be second highest vote getter and become the Worcester City Council vice chairperson, KNOCKING COUNCILOR MICHAEL GAFFNEY OFF THE COUNCIL VICE CHAIR PERCH, a perch he milks to no end! YAY! 🙌 🙌 HOORAY! Yipee! Reason enough to REJOICE that O’Brien is running  for public office! We are so sick of councilor at large Michael Gaffney – he’s brought Woo political discourse  to a new,  toxic low! Plus, by being vice chair, he trots out his mayor-in-waiting schtick at every turn. O’Brien’s strong win will make him #2, the new vice chair and …. keep Gaffney off that dias at City Hall! Rip the mayor’s gavel out of the Gaffer’s cold, clammy hands! Take the pinch-hitter title away!

Again, reason enough to be ELATED that Joe O’Brien is running for city council!!! (he’d never run for mayor this election cycle because he’s Petty’s friend and political ally.) But there are other reasons to be thankful for our soon to be new city council vice chair: First, O’Brien will be the antidote to the poison that is Michael Gaffney. Every time Gaffney uses race or class  to hurt one group of folks to win political points with the Turtle Boy brigade or twists the truth in the sickest ways a la sicko prez Donald Trump, O’Brien will call him out. Call out his twisted lies and counter them with TRUTH.  O’Brien is an articulate, progressive policy wonk who went to Harvard. He’s also a regular guy/dad/husband who loves/lives Worcester 24/7. He’ll brook no bull shit from Gaffney. For example, we could have used Joe a few days ago: The Gaffer was on his video channel crying over the fact that our City Council went on record supporting a statewide living wage of $15/hour. His cynical, slimey Gaffney intimation? That the living wage is a nefarious Socialist plot to subvert democracy! My late great mother who worked her whole working life for minimum wage and wanted a LIVING wage for the folks who came after her was NOT a Socialist! She LOVED AMERICA! SHE WAS A PATRIOT. She once told me SHE WOULD DIE FOR HER COUNTRY! Gaffney is no American patriot. He wraps himself in the American flag and sticks a WPD badge on his lapel to create the image of patriotism. It’s all marketing. For votes. Gaffney, like  Donald Trump, is a power-hungry con artist who lies to people to  win elections. Joe O’Brien will, on the council floor, rebut Gaffney’s slick lies.

Second, Mayor Petty, along with most of the other city councilors, is doing an admirable job at keeping Worcester, a Mass Gateway City, open to and PROUD of immigrants…making our public schools strong and the portal to a middle class life, a life of knowledge and a never-ending quest to LEARN MORE. Our parks are beautiful, our inner city ‘hoods need help, but we are all trying. Downtown may yet prove to be our own urban dance party – singing and swinging to a million different voices! I cannot wait! Michael Gaffney is the political thunderclap over our urban dance party. Immigration, refugees, a global multi-cultural Worcester, a Woo struggling with poverty and hunger in many of its quarters…Gaffney, like Trump, exploits all this and plays to people’s economic fears and racial prejudices. O’Brien is just the opposite – he will help lead the city council – and city! – to higher ground. He will help bring people together – not divide, to conquer.

Here are last night’s Bill Maher video clips. Maher, one of America’s most gifted satirists, has Trump pegged. But you can extrapolate and apply his satire to Gaffney, on a much teenier political scale, of course. Spiritually, Trump and Gaffney are identical twins:

Good discussion:

But enough Gaffer talk! On to:

Mike Gaffney’s wife, Coreen Gaffney. She is running for the Worcester District 4 City Councilor seat – a seat her fat patootie will NEVER warm! Not for one milli-second! Once again, the Gaffneys know/show no shame. Coreen, the wife of toxic Michael Gaffney – a politician who gets his political steam from castigating minorities, refugees and Sanctuary Cities – runs for office in Worcester’s majority-minority, mostly inner-city District 4. (And, no, Mike, it is NOT sexist to write in news stories and headlines that Coreen is married to you. IT IS NEWS-WORTHY.  You’re a CONTROVERSIAL COUNCILOR and you GET  YOURSELF INTO THE NEWS every other day. Think of it like this: If Hitler’s lover ran for Vice Fuhrer, wouldn’t you want to know that she was Adolph’s squeeze?) Yeah, D 4 could use better garbage pick up (more often – and street sweeping, too!), but that doesn’t mean we throw the district (my district!) out with the unrecycled water bottle!

Smile, people!

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This November the dynamics of the Worcester City Council are gonna change – for the better!!😄😄😄😄💗💗💙💛

Whoa!! Worcester City Council votes YES! to support statewide legislation for a $15 minimum wage across Massachusetts

Fighting for $15 passes!!!!!!!!!!

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WOW! Rose is going to bed SO HAPPY. She will dream of …

…Economic Justice For All!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

Worcester shines tonight!

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Mother Jones would be proud!💙💙💙

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Rose’s Auntie and Bapy would be proud!

Go, City of Workers, go!!!!!! – Rose T.

Important: The Worcester city councilors who voted NO, who voted AGAINST a Living Wage/working people: Michael Gaffney (he calls himself “the people’s councilor” – what bull shit), Tony Economu and Konstantina (Konnie) Lukes (Worcester’s most famous slumlord).

Good night…

Talkin’ trash!!🚨🚨🚨

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Monday – two days before City of Woo garbage pick up day – I saw this “mixed bag” on Millbury Street, coming home from work:

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pics: R.T.

I wondered: Which bags will the City pick up?

A little game you can play here, in the ‘hood, where trash takes on a personality and life all its own!

Yesterday, coming home, I got my answer: everything except the contractors bags!

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Which made sense. The sad part: now those damn bags will sit on the sidewalk – forcing pedestrians to walk in the street! – until I make a flurry of phone calls to the City of Worcester/the Mayor’s Office.

The fault lies with the dunderhead tenant or illegal dumper! WHO PUTS OUT A CONTRACTORS BAG FILLED WITH GARBAGE?! DON’T WE ALL KNOW THE CITY ONLY PICKS UP CITY OF WOO YELLOW GARBAGE BAGS FILLED WITH GARBAGE?

The dumpers were either 1. aware of the rules and flouted them or 2. in the dark and need to be EDUCATED. Whatever happened to those big City of Worcester postcards that were once upon a time mailed to all city residents? The ones on which DIRECTIONS FOR PROPERLY DISPOSING OF YOUR GARBAGE WERE WRITTEN IN ABOUT a zillion languages?! The ones with easy to understand graphics? We need another mass mailing of those gems!

Easy to make this next jump: All the illegally dumped garbage in District 4 is a public health catastrophe.
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My neighbor, the great, brassy lady with a heart of gold and tough as nails moral code, the woman who is always cleaning up and tidying up ALL OF lower Ward Street – with a “Hefty” helping of righteous indignation – was drinking coffee with her sister a few mornings ago. Her sister was visiting from another Woo neighborhood, one sans garbage tsunami. As her sister sipped her coffee, she looked out my gal pal’s kitchen window and saw what she thought was an awefully big squirrel sitting on its haunches in my friend’s back yard. It looked like a giant squirrel … but not quite.

She said to my friend: What’s that?

My friend looked out her kitchen window. Expecting to see a fluffy squirel tail attached to the critter to which she had now turned her attention …she saw a long, thin, furless RAT’S TAIL coiled on her lawn – attached to a rotund bottom, attached to a rat the size of a cat. She screamed A RAT!!!

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A poor rat substitute!

She yelled, bellowed, at the giant rodent. It got scared and skittered into a hole…

Last night, as we chatted on the phone, we tried to determine where the big rat came from, which three decker or building. The list of candidates was LONG.

We decided 90 Endicott Street was the source:

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Then I told her: REJOICE! The neighborhood PIG STY was swarming this evening with undercover cops! 10 at least!!

Drug bust?

A killer tracked down?

We wondered.

The place was swarming with the good guys!!! All of them were wearing their dark blue bullet-proof vests. Bright blue lights now pulsated from their unmarked cars. Confused looking folks, with their heads down were surrounded by cops and cop cars.

This is how crazy all the garbage has made me!

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I was not worried about firearms or shootouts…I was obsessed with, gunnin’ for the guy in the building WHO ALWAYS DUMPED THE DAMN TRASH!

Ha! I said to my neighbor. He and his buddies are outa there! Maybe now the flow of trash will be stanched!

My neighbor was silent over the other end of the phone. She, wiser than I, may not have been as optimistic as this Green Island Grrrl!

The uggly and the ugglier … 😱😱😱

Text and pics by Rosalie Tirella

Coming home yesterday, after delivering ICT, I saw, to my delight!, that the garbage-mini-mountain at 90 Endicott St. had been excavated the hell outa my neighborhood! Yay! (Thanks, Mayor Joe Petty and Worcester Mayor’s Office!💐💐) But not before I spied this dispiriting sight by the corner of Endicott and Millbury streets, just several yards from the first pile of shit. And what’s with the heap ‘o concrete at Bott Square?:

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Still, yesterday’s Woo trash was dwarfed by the Mass of Shit and Garbage we call the President of the United States: Donald Trump. Thin-skinned Trump skipped the correspondents’ dinner last night to have his needy, dishonorable, ecosystem-killing, sick self propped up by the good people of Harrisburg, PA – Middle America.

A low point for my country!

The nadir for white working class Americans! A big chunk of the USA – a group of folks that Trump plays like a fiddle!

Here he is in Harrisburg, yesterday, at the 100 Day Rally he threw for himself, brain washing good people who fear so many things, primarily: #1: losing their jobs in the new, global economy and #2: a multicultural America.

They are looking for some kind of savior, someone to help them make sense of it all and keep them in the middle/lower-middle class. Unfortunately, the Dems were asleep at the wheel this election cycle, and Trump – a showman par excellence – shrewdly stepped in to fill the void. Wrong answers. Wrong leader.

Here’s what Trump missed last night. The kid’s very good, but Stephen Colbert would have shattered Trump into a million golden orange pieces! His speech would have been iconic satire! Oh, well.

Writing this post with Cece at my feet …

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Lucky Cece! She has no idea!

Every day I wake up depressed about this President. Hopeless. Afraid of a nuclear war … global obliteration.

I hated Reagan, loathed Geoege W. Bush. But we are in uncharted (polluted) waters with Trump and his evil geniuses Bannon, Conway, Sessions, Ivanka – the list of nefarious, mendacious hacks in the Trump White House seems to go on and on and on – even though he’s filled so few top govt jobs (most important at the State Dept.). These clowns are attempting to shred American democracy right before our eyes! The ones who appear “sane”? Trump’s top generals-military boys. But they are just as bomb-happy nuts as Trump. Only their reasons for restarting a nuclear arms race sound way more intellectual/”intelligent” than Trump’s “tremendous,” “great,” “brilliant” and other bull shit adjectives that he uses to sell Americans war/death.

Uggggg…
Sorta makes this garbage easier to live with…
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… because these days it is so much dumpier and trashier inside and outside the White House!

Sing it, Lucinda!!!!💜💙💛💚❤💗

Good day to Woo?

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Jett and Lilac are lovin’ their runs! Yesterday:

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Lilac always finds the streams, ponds, water. She’ll swim after the ducks and geese. Rose will see her brown head bobbin’ in the middle of the pond. Rose gulps hard but trusts Lilac’s judgement. Lilac is the smartest dog Rose has ever had. Still, she has such strong instincts, such heart! What if … ?

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Jett stays close to the edge … Jett a few days earlier:

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The ride home can be wet, as Lilac shakes herself dry …

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… and depressing as we drive up Endicott Street before making the turn onto Ward Street – HOME. This is what Rose saw yesterday heading up the little hill in Green Island:

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Cece awaits at home. She loves to “climb” Rose’s dress.

But before pulling the cat off her sheath, Rose gets mad! Not at Cece. But the slobs in her neighborhood. The trash all over District 4 is dispiriting! While driving, Rose grabbed her smart phone and took photos of the mound of crap, pictured above. So sad to see people (little children three and four years old!!) step off the sidewalk into the gutter to accommodate the trash! – give the garbage a wide berth!! Rose texted these photos to Worcester Mayor Joe Petty. He ususally, personally, responds to the pics and frantic Rose messages loaded with panic-struck/crying emoji!

Rose has been complaining about this dump (actually there are two three deckers on this piece of property) FOR THREE YEARS. The City of Worcester has, because of her scores of texts and phone calls to the mayor/city, stayed on top of this site – picked up the crap and hauled it away (almost weekly!!!), fined the landlord, sent him/her official letters, threatened with court …to no avail. Shit is always piled up! For example: Garbage day is Wednesday for the neighborhood. The shit pictured above has been out since Friday!!!!

But guess what? Possibly some good news. The landlord may have been, thanks to Rose and the City of Worcester, harassed into selling his slum. The realtor sign went up a few weeks ago! Hooray! Very telling: The landlord prefered to sell his rental property before cleaning it up or dealing with/educating his/her tenants. Or just providing a Dumpster (there are several apts – there are 2 three deckers). He/she, true to absentee landlord creed, has decided to dis-engage, let go, sell the dump. It’s all about the greenbacks, folks!

When the realtor sign went up, the site was cleaned up. No doubt to make the property more attractive to potential buyers. The tenants stopped being slobs – out of fear of losing their housing. After all, there are more than enough Section 8-ers to replace them! But they fell back into their filthy routine in 14 or so days.

Rose’s Worcester neighborhood – a ‘hood she grew up in years ago, a poor ‘hood but a place where folks worked their factory or low-paying jobs, their kids attended the same neighborhood schools year after year, many owned the three deckers they lived in and the thuggery was kept to a minimum … her old ‘hood and all the old working class ethnic ‘hoods in Worcester are now Section 8 meccas!! The factory economy that supported these once great neighborhoods has gone kaput! Like the America Donald Trump tapped into, the America (half??) that voted him into the White House OUR PEOPLE ARE FLAILING! THERE ARE JUST SHIT JOBS FOR POOR, UNEDUCATED FOLKS. HOUSING IS SOOO EXPENSIVE/INFLATED. HOME-OWNERSHIP A DREAM FOR MOST HERE. NO FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOR POOR PEOPLE TO LEARN TO BECOME A PART OF THE NEW ECONOMY, the new America and Worcester.

So here, in Rose’s beloved Worcester neighborhoods, the ones with the three deckers with amazing “bones” and wrap-around back porches, it is all absentee landlords, people who don’t care, Section 8 … and what the sociologists call the underclass. Folks who, for the most part, live outside mainstream society/Worcester, have no jobs, are hungry (1 in 4 Worcester kids go to bed hungry!), game the welfare system, are angry, depressed, fighters, fucked up … because they are not part of mainstream society! They have not learned how to wake up in the a.m. to go to work, tney don’t know how to: say “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” or cook healthy meals, or care for their bodies, or interact with folks, or know that school is a good thing. In other words: it is all UNCIVILIZED behavior! Most horrific of all? The killers-drug sellers (quite an industry in Woo!) who prey on the despair and confusion in these neighborhoods, who sell killer heroin/drugs and suck our kids (so young!) into their world. Killers who destroy: their girlfriends, their children, their mothers, their neighbors, their friends, THEIR CITY.

DESPAIR.

Will we – urban America/Worcester’s old, ethnic, working class ‘hoods – ever be self-sufficient and healthy again?

The dumped garbage all over Worcester is the tip of the iceberg, the symptom of the illness.

“Saint Dorrie”!👼🌷

By Rosalie Tirella

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photos by Rosalie Tirella

Today, Palm Sunday, as I watched my pets play with each other, I thought of my Worcester gal pal Dorrie Maynard. Not because Dorrie had justed gifted my brats with the dog and kitty snacks they love so dearly, but because it is day #1 of Holy Week – the week before Easter – and Dorrie is, for me, the Easter Story told in 2017.

Let me begin at the beginning: When I first started InCity Times💗💗💗 years ago (can you believe it?!💗), I hit Highland Street in search of advertisers for my brandy new feisty rag. Back then Highland Street was THE artsy, sophisticated, cool, student hot spot of Worcester – a kaleidoscope of restaurants (high- and low-priced, classic and ethnic), funky shops, artist nooks, WPI and Becker student hangouts. I walked into each arresting store determined to sell some of the biz owners ads for my paper. Jewelry, clothing, futons, clam chowder, books, brunch, artists’ prints, bottles of wine … A stroll down just two blocks of Higland Street and you could procure it all! The businesses belonged in ICT!

Back then, Dorrie owned and ran the street’s funky vintage clothing and decor store – Treasures Unlimited. She had bought the little shop on the corner when it was the iconic Shakey Jake’s (as a college grad I used to go to Shakey’s for 1950 vintage boy shirts!) and kept the magic flowing as the new proprietor.  Dorrie re-christened the space and brought her own artistic eyes and sensibilities to her biz: display cases, choice of goods, etc. It was  all so  beautiful!  I loved to visit Dorrie just to see her new arrivals and displays!

At this time, when I first got to know her, Dorrie was at her peak gorgeousness: model-tall, willowy, beautiful face, soft blond hair … the kind of woman lots of women fear because of all that blatant loveliness. And let’s be honest: lots of  beautiful women  are off-putting/can be competitive, manipulative, narcissistic … . Once people get to know them, they hit the road, despite the Venus vibes!

Dorrie was the opposite. She was a goddess wrapped in hard-won truths and down-to-earthness.  A regular person: hard-working, real, open, thoughtful, honest, no games. Never games! I could talk about anything with Dorrie  – discuss family, men, personal challenges … and learn that I was not alone in my disappointments and victories. Life had been rough for Dorrie, starting in Rochester, New York, where she was born and raised, and yet here she was, on Highland Steet, awesome in every way. I immediately glommed on to Dorrie! (and her pals and little dog that she rescued and brought to the shop every day – always adorned in teeny silk scarf collars). Being a good woman who wanted to help out another good woman and maybe give her own biz an extra boost, Dorrie took out ads in ICT. Truth be told, I would have given the space away to Dorrie, so enamored of this cool chick was I.

So every couple of weeks, I’d traipse down funky Highland Street to visit and sell ads to my funky biz pals: the cool Tom Cat at Wormtown Trading (miss you/love you, Tom Cat!💚), the elegant and perfect Elizabeth of the Futon Company (ditto, Elizabeth!💚) and vintage artiste Dorrie Maynard.

Over the first year or two of our friendship I figured out Dorrie had some writerly gifts – and I wanted her to share them with ICT readers. I decided to take her under my zippy writer wings – nurture her talent as she had nurtured my biz.

Dorrie began writing InCity Times columns and then penned a cover story that really knocked my socks off: Dorrie getting pregnant as a kid and deciding to give her baby up for adoption. Then, years later, reconnecting with her son. Dorrie’s baby was all grown up! – and now he was looking for his birth Mom. Dorrie opened her home to her long lost son and shared the whole experience, honestly and gracefully,  with ICT readers.  Our troops loved the read! My respect for Dorrie blossomed.

Then we had a fight. I forget what it was about! It happened about seven years ago…I think it had something to do with dogs and cats and animal shelters. New to social media, Dorrie figured screw InCity Times, FB would be enough.

Obviously, it wasn’t because she’s back in the ICT fold writing good stuff. Animals, of course, brought us together again! About a half year ago – I forget who called whom – but we began to talk about Dorrie’s latest urban endeavor – feeding the cats and dogs of the homeless, very poor, even drug-addicted of Woo.

I was fascinated! Dorrie was always great but she was never Mother Theresa. She was not the homeless population’s biggest champion. When she owned Treasures Unlimited she felt they brought Highland Street down, took a bite out of business and street attractiveness. And, I’ll be honest, Dorrie could be a bit of a party gal and, because she was so damned pretty, guys painted the town with her – always on their dime. Once, home from a trip to Las Vegas with her latest beau, she showed me a photo of herself go-go dancing in a huge cage. The red lights shining on the mini-skirted Dorrie looked lurid. Her go go boots were not thigh high but they may as well have been.

I never judged my friend because, like me, she was looking for true love. Just in all the shitty places.

Right before our fight, Dorrie had just been dumped by the guy I think she truly truly loved and wanted to marry: “Fred” a hippy carpenter/architecture maven. THE ONE. Tall, lanky, thick black hair that framed his lean handsome face and made me go: WHOA!!!!! every time I saw him. Fred was movie star hot. I once spied the two love birds talking together, leaning on the big farmers table in Dorrie’s kitchen: the lust and love between them were palpable. They looked so beautiful together!

I drove away thinking: She found THE guy. I was so happy for my friend! Then Fred fell in love with Dorrie’s best friend – get this – at a party Dorrie threw in her own home.

Oh, shit, I thought to myself when Dorrie told me the horrible news. Dorrie is deep and sensitive. I hoped she wouldn’t do anything crazy and rash the way I would…

She did: To make a long story short, Dorrie fell into about a half million$$ in cash and assets and quit her job and … well, the whole fucking shebang. She drowned her heartache in global travels! She hung out in Paris and  Italy – alone or with a gal pal – where she drank the best champagne, slept in the finest hotels. Art. Food. The world was her oyster. For three years.

Then the half million$$ ran out – heart broken Dorrie burned through it all – to kill her heartache. Only she didn’t – she came home and now had nothing: no life with the dreamy Fred, no business, no future plans…no happiness. All that money, all those great cities with iconic architecture and amazing grub hadn’t made her happy!

Then, back living at her big wonderful Victorian home off Highland Street, no longer the busy owner of Treasures Unlimited, she adopted a couple of street pups – teenie toy dogs with runny eyes and matted fur. She also, a lapsed Catholic, made her way to St. Paul’s cathedral downtown. To help hand out food to the poor. She then hooked up with Abby’s House – a  women’s shelter – and worked miracles with their thrift store. Made it sparkle! Just like Treasures Unlimited – all proceeds going to homeless women!

Dorrie began to feel happy again. Her life grew … meaningful. She began to work more closely with the homeless and the hungry. An animal lover, she began to work wth local animal shelters…Today her paid job is at Abby’s House where she serves homeless women. Then after work she drives all over the city of Worcester giving out free pet food and pet supplies to Woo’s neediest and most downtrodden. Many of them homeless or on the edge of homeless – still good dog and cat owners.

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Dorrie in her SUV loaded to the roof with pet food and supplies … and love.

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Dorrie outside the Mustard Seed in Piedmont, giving out free pet food and other goodies to the poor.

As a super dedicated volunteer of Central Mass Kibble Kitchen Dorrie dives into the ‘hood to hand out pet food to the high, the lost, the struggling, the working poor – anyone who owns a pet and needs food for their “baby.” Through her weekly pet stops at the Mustard Seed soup kitchen in Piedmont and the St. John’s church food distribution center on Temple Street, Dorrie has come to know and love hundreds of Worcester street and poor people – and their pets. They make her smile. She brings them joy. I have never seen my pal so happy and fullfilled! Some of her Kibble Kitchen “customers”:

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Last week I spent an afternoon with Dorrie volunteering outside the Mustard Seed on Piedmont Street…

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I saw the whole Dorrie Kibble Connection scene: the despair, the joy, the greed, the thankfulness, the crappy three deckers, the skinny men and women, the pale little kids, the strung out, the faces flushed from booze – or the cold, the tentativeness of men without jobs, family, home; the women in bedroom slippers and the happy pups who came out with their owners, trotted down Piedmont Street, little happy wiggle butts, to get their dog treats and new chew toys. The angry became less bellicose as soon as they saw Dorrie. Hello, Mama! tney said to her, cueing up for the pet food and supplies at the back of Dorrie’s big SUV – stuffed to the gills with bags of dog and cat food and pet supplies.

A few “customers” took too much stuff. But most were wonderful – took just the right amount of stuff: 5 cans of cat food for their cat, a small bag of dog chow for their small terrier mix, a harness for their pit bull, a collar for their princess pup…Dorrie’s love for these people and their pets, the elegant way she treated each and every one of her “customers” and the respect they showed her, was an inspiring sight to see in the ‘hood where so much sorrow and violence lurks. Tne good manners, the thank you’s, Dorrie’s love mixed with her saleswoman know-how. The little niceties provided by Dorrie. The little special touches. Here on Piedmont Street, with the police cruisers driving by!

Rose to Dorrie: You are blowing my mind, girl!! It’s like you’re running Treasures Unlimited in the ghetto! Aren’t you afraid someone is gonna pull a knife? One bad apple high on drugs, with a gun?

Dorrie to Rose: Rose a few of them are high on K. I swear sometimes I go home high just from standing next to them! It’s the K. But it is OK.

Rose: What the hell is K? My God, Dorrie, who are you?! … What if something bad happens?

Dorrie: No… I’m safe. They’d protect me. They love me. I give them what they need. And I give them the extras. They call me Mama – it’s a sign of respect…

Dorrie was right. After spending an afternoon outside the Mustard Seeed with her, watching her fit Chihuahuas with collars, give huge rawhide bones to families with pitbulls, talk about the fussy eating habits of one person’s cat, ask one lady how her pregnancy is going, give another lady a beautiful bed spread special for her – taken off Dorrie’s very own bed!!…

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…listening to all the polite THANK YOU, DORRIE!s, SEE YOU NEXT WEEK, MAMA!s I became convinced that no harm will ever come to Dorrie on this inner-city street – a street rife with guns and heroin and people on the edge.

Jesus said: Love the dispossessed! … The first shall be last! And the last shall be first! …And the criminal and the homeless and the crazy and the downtrodden followed Jesus, and they loved and trusted him and talked of their worlds of pain and cried to be cured and Jesus made them well again and they threw palm fronds before the hooves of the mule on which he rode into tneir town preaching the Good News, a new way to live…LOVE ….that was/is the answer.

Jesus came to them for them and their histories and stories. Jesus offered them hope and compassion. Knew their lives were hard but didn’t play the blame game like society did. HE LOVED THEM. AND CAME FOR THEM. TO SOOTHE THEIR WANTING AND  PAIN. Just like Dorrie does in Piedmont and on Temple Street …

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… Dorrie is up to her neck in suffering…She is digging in her SUV (KIBBLE KITCHEN, a 501 C nonprofit, NEEDS A VAN!) for love, a big bag of high protein dog kibble!  For one man’s pit bull – he always gives her a little gift back! – an old dog collar his pit bull has outgrown, a box of Entemann’s chocolate chip cookies. Dorrie loves their gifts. I see Dorrie’s smile, I see tne joy spread over her face! Her love radiates out of her finger tips and the points of her running sneaks!

I tell her as she digs in her van for bags of cat food and three cans of special cat food for some lady who lives in the hood – she brought an old empty baby carriage to load up – Dorrie, I don’t understand! You’ve changed! In such a big, deep way! In a way I can’t understand! But it is AWESOME!

Still, I am made slightly uncomfortable by the people outside the Mustard Seed. I am no Dorrie! She is serving them – like some high end Macy’s personal shopper! I wanna go home! Dorrie wants to interact with her precious customers. She knows what kind of pet food to give each person! She also gives folks goods they have requested: a pair of blue jeans, size 32. A pair of ear buds. She gave one homeless guy and friend her VERY OWN CAMPING TENT!!

Rose: What are you doing, Dorrie?! Giving away all your stuff!!

Jesus said: If you want to be with me, leave your house, mother, children, wife, husband. SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET!

Jesus was one unique dude – the powers that be in Jerusalem saw him swimming in poor/crazy people, society’s rejects, and thought he was totally bonkers! An enabler and rabble rouser. But when Jesus preached to the thousands they CHANGED. At the end,  the crowds that came to see him were HUGE – thousands gathered at his feet. That’s why the Roman’s crucified him, they feared this weird guy who owned nothing – not even the robe on his back – was changing their world, their society. They would lose their grip on power and wealth.

Jesus said: Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me…

Dorrie gives a poor lady an extra bag of cat food for her kitten. She has so much to give…the donations come to her and Kibble Kitchen by the scores …bags and bags of Purina cat and dog chow keep on coming …

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Did you know at Christmas time Dorrie made 30 “Blessing Bags” for the homeless and poor who meet her every Wed at the Mustard Seed/Kibble Connection? Dorrie’s mom helped her pay for the new blankets, new hats, mittens, scarves, boxes of cookies, bars of soap, bottles of shampoo and conditioner, pairs of socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc that Dorrie lovingly put into each holiday gift bag. She gave to the Piedmont folks who no one remembers during the holidays – many have no family.

They have Dorrie!

So do I! Last week she made me a special blessing bag: She filled it with cherry jam and high-end chi chi soaps I love …

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… and facial moisturizers, too, knowing I can’t splurge on cosmetics and facial care products even though I covet them! She gave my pets – Jett, Lilac and Cece – beautiful gifts, too!

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Jett, before eating some high end dog food Auntie Dorrie gave him and Lilac.

When Dorrie met Cece …

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… she was moved. She said I was giving all my rescued critters “a good life.” I felt so proud!

At the end of my little trip to the Mustard Seed, I turned to Dorrie, looking a bit anxious because folks outside the soup kitchen were starting to get boistrous. Dorrie was busy, all smiles, in her Dorrie Zone, still passing out pet stuff to street people!

Dorrie! I shouted. It’s getting late!! Let’s not push our luck…I wanna go home!

Dorrie looked at me and began to pack things away…

Once in her SUV, driving down Pleasant Street, she said: It always feels so good to get home…to my clean bed.

Funny, after Dorrie drove me home and I collapsed on my big bed with my dogs, I felt, for the first time in a long time, GRATEFUL. Despite my problems and challenges.

I still cannot wrap my brain around my friend’s transformation. Lots of her friends don’t understand her epiphany and her new life. Her mom calls her Mother Tneresa and tells her she finally, in middle age, found her TRUE CALLING. But she worries about her daughter’s safety. So do I. Hundreds of thankful, nice and polite people at the Mustard Seed and St. John’s food pantry … but all it takes is one high on drugs crazy guy. One rapist. One knife blade. One bullet.

Dorrie couldn’t care less what we all think and say of her mission, her new loves, her goals, her looks … She is beyond it…this world we greedy losers jockey through…For what end?????

This Palm Sunday I see my friend walking with Jesus, not a casual follower, a woman who came to hear him preach. No. I see Dorrie walking side by side with Jesus, one of his apostles…the Mary Magdalene to his Peter and Paul…the beautiful party girl who lay with the rich men and pleasured so many…and now it is different.

Jesus and Dorrie are both so good looking and fearless! I am in awe as I watch them walk handin hand through Webster Square, to Coes Pond. Jesus dips his toe in the water and reaches out for Dorrie’s slender hand. Dorrie takes it again, her other hand is waving free against the sunset. Then Jesus and Dorrie do a little hippy dance by the water, kinda sexy too as Jesus dips her…Dorrie’s blond hair is wet. No matter! Appearances mean nothing! They don’t have a stitch of self-consciousness – or a stitch of clothing on! Tney threw their clothes off on the shore of Coes Pond. Now they are skinny dippin’ wiggling under water, over and under the cool currents like a couple of little kids! Or fish!

Then Jesus stands up in the water and places his high-arched foot on the pond’s surface and stands upon on it. He looks around, 360 degrees. Dorrie wants in! Beautiful in her nakedness, she gets up onto the surface too, and Jesus and Dorrie walk on the water. They are holding hands. They are both laughing …

Happy Palm Sunday!!!

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Ronny Stultz – a Unique Find!

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Unique Finds new, improved and BELOVED (by Rosalie!) music section!❤❤❤❤

By Rosalie Tirella

Yesterday, despite the impending blizzard; the previous Friday’s police raid that unearthed guns and a massive pharma-copia of illegal substances of all sorts, sizes, shapes and mind-bending capabilities;  the newspaper stories; the comments section where I was called a money-launderer for a drug biz and the pitchfork-stabbing-into-the-sky crowd demanded LOCK ROSE UP! LOCK HER UP! … I calmly drove to Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift shop at 1329 Main St. with the radio blasting  my beloved White Stripes looking for – hoping to find – my pal and Unique Finds store owner, Ronny Stultz. My gentle giant. I had something to give him. He was a friend and an advertiser who was always courteous and respectful to me, never said a harsh word to me, always gave me the run of his place, always let me have a bit of fun. Once a week I’d visit Unique Finds to take pics for Ron’s ICT ads, hundreds of photos, many of which were posted on this website. Pictures of Ronny’s LEGOS collection, his cool vintage toy trucks, dump trucks and cars, Ronny’s Batman and Superman action figures, his furniture, his tableware, his funky rusty industrial equipment salvaged from Woo’s factories and industrial past…

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…  his fun barroom neon signs and airplanes …

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… his used guitars – electric and folk …

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… – and – my favorite – the TERRIFIC UF RECORD section.

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I was always always always! checking out their lps – never stumbling upon an errant pill, bag of heroin, gun or drug deal. Everyone, a little rough around the edges, was always nice and polite to me! Last month I was tripping over carpenters at Unique Finds, regular guys who were building Ronny extra shelves for an expanded record section, dividers to keep all the lps straight and in order, borders to make their presentation look neat and trim. The store’s aisles were being widened as items were rearranged; Ronny was also getting a new, bigger office. The guys, happy for work in these lean times, were doing a good job!

Knowing my pal’s past challenges, I said: “You’ve come a long way, Ronny! You’re making this biz your very own! Looking good!!!!”

Ronny had a Jack White album – new, his, not for sale! – blasting on his excellent Unique Finds store stereo system. He just smiled at me. He was into listening to Jack White. I began to listen to tne lp, too. I was floored – actually catapulted into heaven – when I heard at that moment my FAVORITE MUSICIAN/SINGER SINGING OVER SUCH AN EXCELLENT SOUND SYSTEM! Wow! INCREDIBLE!, I said to Ronny. Wish I had this at home! Jack sounds UNBELIEVABLE! Ronny took my compliment with a shrug of his beefy shoulders and let me photograph him holding the album.

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Mint singer. Mint songs. Mint speakers. Mint Ronny. That IS what Ronny Stultz was about to me. Not a drug pusher! Not a drug taker. But a vintage guy, a Rock n Roll connoisseur! Someone to talk rock and folk music with.

Did you know Ronny used to chat up LUCINDA WILLIAMS years ago, in Texas, after her shows, before you all even knew her name?! Ronny loves her music. Ron knows where Jack White is headquartered and his cool take on vinyl – Jack has his own record factory! Ron still travels to New York City to catch a fave band. A few years ago he hung out with the long gone but eternally iconic rock radio station WBCN’s iconic DJ Mark Parenteau, now unwell and living in Worcester where he grew up. Ronny bought much of Mark’s record collection and music biz memorabilia because Mark too had lived wicked hard and now he was sick and needed money badly.

Ronny Stultz, to me, was – IS – the cool kid at UMASS Amherst that I’d skip a class to hang out with to listen to music …to learn, to get ideas, talk poetry. I did this often as an undergrad at UMASS – with pals John and some pre-med genius freshman, who – ha ha! – had his own robust mary jane-selling biz. “Fred” would have his scales out, weighing the weed – and the WHO’S LIVE AT LEEDS would be blasting and about 10 of us would be listening, hanging on every screech and sigh – discussing the music! John would be making me an audio cassette of the lp, and his eyes would close and his smile turn beatific when it got to the musical parts he especially loved. There was a brilliant kid in our group who walked with crutches, crippled very badly, looked all herky jerky when he walked with his crutches down the long corridor of our floor- but he was perfect when he talked Roger Daltry or the Beatles! His father worked at an embassy in some exotic country. He read about 10 books a week – not on any class syllabus. The kid was a writer! Outcast in our dorm. Lonely. Heavy drinker. But accepted and loved by our gang! He KNEW rock n roll. Made it into our family. It was a mid night gathering…I was the only girl. No sex. Just one of the guys – even though they thought I was cute. I was accepted purely on brain power and because I was as passionate about the music as they were. Most college girls at the time didn’t want to do what I did – get deep into sounds, riff on the poetry of Janis or Cougar or Lennon. They were, like they are today, mostly into relationships, being the tea cup looking for the matching saucer… My boyfriend was a rock n roll lighting guy – an older returning student at UMASS – who did lights for Bruce Springsteen! Billy Joel! He wasn’t looking for the fake girl friend pressure bull shit – he was a pothead who planned on lighting Marvin Gaye’s upcoming concerts! But that gig fell through when Gaye’s father, high on drugs, brutally, stupidly killed his son!

I was an outsider. The UMASS rock music guys saved me. Ronny Stultz reminded me of those UMass music guys. Ronny, like my college pals, respects rock enough to play it right – on vinyl where it gets to you. 

When I look at Ronny, I don’t see a drug seller – I see a vinyl lover.

Ronny Stultz, my cheerleader! Along with his sweet, funky and wise girlfriend – a tough, cool Mama who was my cheerleader, too! We always gave each other a big hug when I entered Unique Finds and away we’d start! Gossiping about guys and how they done us wrong! Wicked fun! And she taught me about life! I remember one of our conversations:

Rose: If you moved the business to Shrewsbury Street you’d get more customers, a BETTER clientele. Sue: Na, I like it here. I don’t wanna be around those people. And what’s the difference between them and the homeless? They’ve just got a place to shit!

Sue was 100% right! The difference between the upper class and the lowest class: toilet-access! All people were equal. No one was better than anyone else.

Then Sue let a poor kid from the neighborhood take a  puppy knick knack home. For free.

I left Unique Finds that day feeling Sue was the new Ghandi.

For me, Unique Finds wasn’t a drug front – couldn’t be! – it was a safe space where Sue, Ron and I, all about the same age, discussed, sometimes with emotion, ex-lovers, love, disappointing fathers, the deep and disturbing connections between parents and kids … sibling rivalry. Ronny, a super intelligent guy – his sister Deirdre just yesterday told me (again!) his IQ is 140-something –  a sensitive soul, knows a lot about love interrupted, maybe lost forever. He’s the son of the late Sonny Stultz of Standard Auto in Vernon Hill. Sonny abused Ronny – emotionally. A good business owner but a bad father. Hurting his son. Making a sensitive kid believe he’s shit. And then Ronny’s motorcycle accident when he was 18. He was, for the intense pain, put on opioids. Sis Deirdre believes Ronny hasn’t been “right” since – that his stretch of legal drug-taking after the accident altered her brother’s body chemistry, made Ronny want opioids FOREVER. Factor in depression. Hurt. Abuse by Sonny. Some people have the psychological and physical template all set up for addiction, thanks to their families. Good people, even great people…set up to fuck up.

Addiction is complicated.

Ronny and Sonny’s history is complicated.

When Sonny died a few years ago, he left ZIP$$ – ZERO – to son Ronny. Left the Standard Auto business to his wife. Deidre runs the biz now. A few years back she read me Sonny’s will re: Ronny. She did this because I felt bad for the way Ronny had been cut out – left with absolutely nothing. She wanted me to understand. She read the pertinent paragraphs to me – they said: I LEAVE NOTHING TO MY SON RONALD. He gets nothing and must have nothing to do with Standard Auto. Ever.

Wow, I said to Deirdre, THAT IS COLD.

She said her dad was doing the right thing. Ronny had fucked up before. Sonny believed Ronny would lose it all – Standard Auto – to drugs.

I said: Maybe not. He’s clean now! He’s a good person. He’s Sonny’s son! Every son deserves a second chance.

Deidre screamed: ROSE, Ronny’s had a million second chances! We’ve cleaned up his shit before … supported his kids. No no no!!!!!!!! NO! Her voice was frayed, tattered.

I tried to understand. … And so Deirdre runs the business these days, is rich and lives in a beautiful house with her family, and Ronny says to me this summer… I know he’s doing the right thing –  going to Spectrum – going to his AA meetings … working HARD TO STAY CLEAN AND SOBER …Ronny says this to me: We have a family house at the Cape and they never once invited me for the weekend this summer. For a day at the beach with my kids. That big heavy handsome face of his dropped. I wanted to cry. Outsider. Interloper. Black Sheep. A guy who wanted to be loved and accepted by his family.

Deirdre  – her parents’ princess … she could do no wrong in dad Sonny’s eyes. Brother Ronny,  the dark prince …

Prince! Did I tell ya Ronny had some great Prince albums at Unique Finds?! And Bob Dylan too – he gave me the double Blond on Blond a few months ago! Dylan always lives on the cusp – so does Ronny. He lives on the edge in a warehouse, on a long dirty dark Worcester street in the ‘hood – where the trucks rumble up and down the roads and sometimes there are drag races …

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… and definitely no manicured lawns.

Ronny gave me my lovely fake-sheep-skin-lined denim jacket so I could deliver InCity Times in the cold without feeling cold.

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I LOVE my Ronny jacket!

Ronny used to give the street people who latched onto UF because they instinctively spotted Ron’s soft heart – knew that he would be a soft touch – food. He bought them their Cokes, fries and burgers at the fast food places across the street, when they walked over to buy him his snack. Gave them cigs and rides. I remember a confused old guy hanging around the office, saying he would be in tomorrow with a loving cup! … Ronny placed the tip of his finger onto the tip of the old guy’s nose and smiling gently said…OK.

Loving cup …

Ron, with his lady Sue’s blessings, gave me cute jewelry to give to my gal pals as thank you gifts – he was a guy who also gave me great relationship advice. Who sat with girlfriend Sue in his office and let me cry – on both their shoulders!

Ron. A guy who, when I said, clutching my Unique Find – an album from the store’s music section that I JUST HAD TO HAVE – I NEED THIS ALBUM! – would give it to me. I have a bunch of UF lps! If the album wasn’t new and could fetch top dollar and I wanted it for free, it was mine. Sometimes I’d be carrying my latest greatest UF album find to Ron’s office to ask for it before I took it so I could add it to my pretty ok lp, 78, CD and audiocassette music ❤❤❤❤collection and there Ron would be … sitting by his desk, stringing a guitar or opening up a STAX CD set. Wow! STAX!, I’d shout, bright eyed and bushy tailed. … NOPE, Ronny would say, looking serious, sensing my coveting his STAX find. Nope, Rose.

Two weeks ago Ronny accidentally gave me one of HIS Elvis albums …

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I had brought it home and was enjoying it when I got the call from Ronny: MY ALBUM. MY ELVIS ALBUM. PLEASE RETURN TO ME.

Oh, boy. Ronny didn’t exactly sound mad – just urgent. I understood. I’d feel the same way if he had my fave Beatles album – the one with “Rain” on it! So I carefully put his lp back into its sleeve – it was a double album too and brought it down to the car with me when I headed to work. It had been in my car for four days … I forgot to give it to Ronny when I visited UF last week and Ronny gave me another lp for the Elvis lp I was gonna return. Which was still in my car.

So when the cops moved in and the guns and drugs were confiscated and Ronny disappeared all I could think of was: I DON’T WANNA LET MY FRIEND DOWN – HAVE HIM THINK I STOLE HIS ELVIS LP! I HAVE TO GET THIS ALBUM TO RONNY!

So yesterday I drove to UF with Elvis in the passenger seat and the White Stripes blasting on my radio. But Unique Finds was closed. I tried the front and back doors. Both locked. Lights out. I felt a wave of loneliness wash over me. I walked back to my car sort of crying.

I drove to Standard Auto and talked with Deirdre and gave her her brother’s Elvis album. I sounded emotional: DEE! PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR BROTHER GETS THIS album! It’s his Elvis double album! – I don’t want him to think I took it!… He loves this album! Deirdre looked upset too and confused, but she took it. She said: No one knows where my brother is.

I think we both thought: Good.

Aidan Kearney’s Turtle Boy blog – a hate-spewing blog that now has nothing to do with Worcester … and Worcester City Coucilor Michael Gaffney still supports $$$$ Turtle Boy (Shhhh! It’s supposed to be a secret!) …

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The same can be said for Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney – he is just as American-Democracy-hating and truth-twisting as Donald Trump. Gaffney is a lying, combative street fighter, just like his hero!

By Rosalie Tirella

So a few weeks ago we were on the telephone with the Holden police – Turtle Boy blogger Aidan Kearney now lives in the Jefferson part of Holden – and has become that Worcester suburb’s bete noire. I will not discuss why I called the good officers on the bad Turtle Boy, but I was surprised when the Holden copper told me he was familiar with Turtle Boy – that he had been getting phone calls about Turtle Boy-Kearney all week long!

I said: Well, hot damn! So you know how it spins with the Turtle! Worcester’s hater is now YOUR hater! Worcester’s community divider is now YOUR community divider! Worcester’s problem is now YOUR problem, officer!

Loathed in Worcester because of his loathesome Turtle Boy blog Kearney can now be loathed in Holden, a much smaller pond with a much larger collective memory. Like all small towns. We are hoping Holden will do to Turtle Boy Kearney what he has done to Worcester and its minority communities – box him in, marginalize him, stereotype him, laugh at him, accuse him of all sorts of crimes and misdemeanors.

Karma’s a bitch, Aidan!

Turtle Boy-Aidan’s exodus from Worcester makes sense: with his son now almost old enough (or old enough) to be going to school – being part of a school system/community – bully boy Aidan Kearney-Turtle Boy did not want to see the pitch forks turned on his kid. And his growing family. Which would happen here. Because he has trashed an entire city! Made a million enemies with his abusive and stupid blog.

Turtle Boy Kearney, his wife, little boy and baby girl had to pack it all up and … run away.

Now Aidan Kearney belongs to Jefferson-Holden – a white, mostly upper-middle class town where he doesn’t come in contact with the “wangstas,” “hoodrats” and skanks that he writes about in his blog every day and sees EVERYWHERE in Worcester and places like Southbridge, Gardner, Brockton, Lawrence … you know, the state’s Gateway Cities, once great factory towns now struggling to reinvent themselves. Kick a city when she’s down – that’s Turtle Boy Kearney’s M.O.

The Turtle Boy has taken a huge dump on these places, Worcester included. Turned our people into cartoon characters that just sit around in Section 8 housing smoking weed, selling their food stamps, abusing their kids, growing more morbidly obese or scrawny by the second. Turtle Boy has taken poverty, mental illness and poor job prospects for uneducated American workers and turned it all into one big dystopian joke that all the haters in Worcester can laugh at, feel superior to.

And Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney supports it all – has for years and continues to do so by purchasing $$$ ads on the Turtle Boy blog.

Gaffney’s one of the few advertisers  left – including a gun seller and a place where there had been a murder. Gaffney is in fitting company!

A peek today at the once porn-ad-choked Turtle Boy blog shows us a gray, square ad with a “click here for a free consultation” typed over it. You click on the ad and you see … Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney! It’s an ad for Gaffney’s ambulance-chasing lawyering business.

Typical Gaffney charade like this one which the media uncovered a few weeks ago …

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Up until a  few weeks ago, for years, Gaffney had his decades-old photo and lawyer ad on the Turtle Boy blog, plainly visible, with the words “Attorney Gaffney” written for all to see.

Now the Gaffer is ashamed of being aligned with the Turtle (which he is) – now sees the Turtle-Boy-Gaffney-bond as a liability (which it is).

But not quite.

Gaffney still needs Turtle Boy Aidan Kearney and his followers/readers – many Worcester voters. Gaffney still needs his evil cheerleader and mouth piece. So maybe he can be Woo mayor some day!😱😱😱😱 So Gaffney creates and pays for $$$ a Secret Turtle Boy ad. Slippery as always!

So WHAT IS MICHAEL GAFFNEY – a city councilor who is so ravenous to be mayor that he will do or say anything, no matter how nefarious, to accomplish his political goal – REALLY SUPPORTING?

Besides the usual Turtle Boy hatred … this recent Turtle Boy blog post made me especially sad, reminded me of what Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney really stands for:

The recent Turtle Boy Aidan blog post I am writing about today was written by Turtle Boy a while ago. It’s about a little girl … around 7 years old who is identifying as a little boy. AG Maura Healey is supporting the little boy and his family – in the face of the Trump administration’s cruel roll back of transgender folks’ rights (kids will be physically hurt, bullied, deprived of expressing their true voices because of Trump!) Aidan-Kearney-Turtle-Boy, as in the dark on this issue as Donald Trump and his nightmare of a Cabinet are, just had to chime in on the news. The header of his recent post:

Maura Healey Using This Confused 7 Year Old Who Thinks She’s Transgender As A Political Prop. Is The Most Disgusting Thing I’ve Ever Seen A Politician Do”

Turtle Boy-Aidan’s evil post begins:

“If your 7 year old girl says she’s a boy, what do you do? Pump her up with hormones, feed into the delusion, and give yourself the SJW medal of honor. Tell her that boys have penises and they’re disgusting and then give her a popsicle.”

And more nuggets of ignorance from the Turtle Boy blog post:

” … Trump announced yesterday that he was rolling back President Obama’s executive order that forces schools across the country to allow any student to use any locker room, so long as they declare themselves a member of that gender beforehand. I know, the horror. But the fact of the matter is that in states like Massachusetts the bathroom and locker room rules will not be changed … .”

” … Seriously, this girl’s parents should be ARRESTED. This is sick and twisted.”

 ” …. disgusting political stunts I have ever seen, Maura Healey brought up an 8 year old girl to condemn Trump for coming after her 7 year old “brother” Jacob, who has a vagina and is in fact a girl. This is really the most vile thing I have EVER seen a politician do:”

“Seriously, this girl’s parents should be ARRESTED. This is sick and twisted. They allowed their eight year old daughter to be Maura Healey’s political prop.”

“Right now we’re here to talk about why it’s important for your sister to undergo dangerous hormone therapy so Mom and Dad can pat themselves on the back for being progressive. Because for you puberty will be a natural part of life, but for your sister puberty is a disease and the only way to prevent this disease is to load her up with puberty-blocking hormones, because science and biology are bad.”

InCity Times was the first newspaper in Worcester to support and write about transgender folks and their fight for civil/human rights – see our story on Jesse on this website. So we come to this issue with a special passion! Turtle Boy Kearney is WRONG ON SO MANY FRONTS here!!!: No one can force a human being to be a certain sex; most trans people ALWAYS felt who they were meant to be – from teenie tiny kidhood! No one forces transgender folks to take hormones! – parents do not inject hormones into their kids!  Most trans folks CHOOSE to make hormone therapy a part of identifying. And their desire to be who God intended them to be can be made a living hell by family, community and society if people (like Turtle Boy) don’t understand the issue. Contrary to what Turtle Boy writes on his blog, a kid self-identifying is not pulling some gag to mess up society and invade the “wrong” restroom – it’s a real and true THIS-IS-WHO-I-AM moment. It’s the need to USE THE CORRECT RESTROOM! To be HONEST with society! This can be so difficult in today’s America that psychotherapy is often a big piece of the transgender person’s “coming out.”

The amazing thing for me is not Aidan-Turtle Boy’s usual bashing, cruel and totally stupid, misinformed, DANGEROUS and possibly hate-crime-inducing take on the issue but THAT A BLUE COLLAR GUY, a TURTLE BOY reader!!, actually brought the EVIL of this Turtle Boy post home to me months before Aidan even wrote it … . The guy is a TB rah rah reader but he’s also married to a wonderful woman – a school principal. A year or two ago the guy told me his wife, the school principal, had a boy in a kindergarten class in her school who was identifying as a girl. He was serious when he told me this. Trying to understand. Thinking of what that really meant – for the 5 year old, for her family, for her teachers, for her classmates. How could the girl be supported at school? How could everybody learn? Accept? Love? He was so serious as he told me all this. As a dad with young kids he may have never thought about the issue, but he knows little kids don’t – can’t – lie about something like gender. Now that his wife, an educator, a professional with college and post-college degrees and psychology courses galore under her belt, was grappling with the issue, he was, too. Trying to figure it out. In a real way. This blue collar rough around the edges guy. He made me proud!

The fact that this guy is not getting his “facts” from the fucked up Aidan Kearney-Turtle Boy but from his wife, a pretty wonderful person, a caring human being wanting to do the right thing, makes all the difference. We wish this could happen to all the Turtle riders – including Michael Gaffney!

But it won’t. Turtle Boy and Worcester City Councilor Gaffney exploit the crises, revelations, changes and growth in Worcester. No room for illumination here, folks! Screw a BETTER WORLD! These two guys, each having his own motives that overlap, always muddy the waters, create sadness, perpetuate ignorance and fan prejudice. We’re certain every multi-cultural, diverse American place – WHICH IS EVERY WHERE in the U.S. – has a Michael Gaffney and Turtle Boy to sow the hate. Just as America has Donald Trump and his evil mouth piece and cheer leader, Breitbart editor Steve Bannon. They exploit the fears and prejudices of folks who long for a white, straight Worcester and America …

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photo: Worcester Historical Museum

… a place that never really existed.

They kill community.

They kill people!

I write this because … Years ago, when I was a little girl growing up in Green Island, there was a woman – big, vulgar, brassy, tough – who had two daughters in their late teens. I’ll call them “Betty” and “Jane.” Jane was movie star beautiful – long blond hair, lovely pink 1970s lip-stick-slathered lips, pearly white teeth and beautiful smile. When Jane walked down Lafayette Street in her tight, faded bell bottom blue jeans and pretty blouse tucked in HEADS TURNED. She was always polite to my mother and me and my two kid sisters – fans who ooohed and ahhed at her loveliness like everyone else in the neighborhood – when we passed her on the street walking home from school or from the dry cleaners where my mom worked 60 hours a week as a “counter girl.”

Then there was daughter Betty. Betty was tall and lanky. She wore no make up and had short hair – a boy’s hair cut. Her stride was loping and she wore  boy jeans. As a little kid I wondered if Betty was a young man but I never asked Ma. I just kinda followed her lead, which was: She was always nice to Betty – treated Betty exactly the way she treated her sister Jane: with respect, politeness, the same “hello!” and beautiful Ma smile …

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Rosalie’s mother had the prettiest smile!

… My mother never lectured us. And she never ever bad mouthed or made fun of anyone. She led by example. Taught us through her deeds. And when it came to people in our already diverse inner-city neighborhood Ma was the Statue of Liberty! A beacon of beauty and hope!

So we kids followed Ma’s lead! “Hi, Betty!” we’d chirp, if we saw Betty walking down a street in Green Island. “Hi, Jane!” we’d chirp if we saw her sister walking down to the park.

The girls always smiled and said “hi” back. Though Betty’s smile was never as wide as her sister’s. She always seemed serious. Day after day. Year after year.

One day, Betty kind of disappeared. We still saw Jane in the ‘hood, but never Betty. She was gone. Maybe I asked Ma about it, maybe I didn’t. But we did learn that Betty had hanged herself.

This shocked me and my sisters. Betty was a part of our world, always nice to us – polite in a rough neighorhood filled with bullies. Now she was gone!

In many ethnic urban neighborhoods different kinds of folks took their lives. We called them “ghosts.” A Polish immigrant who never “got” America, never adjusted to life here on any level, who was always in his apartment and always looking so unhappy. A street person who drank and drank and then collapsed dead drunk in the bushes by the PNI club on Lafayette Street to sleep  it off every day. … One day I asked Ma if I could give the guy a blanket. She said “Yes” and gave me a nice clean full-sized baby blue blanket to give to him. I ran out of our flat and walked up to him – he was all tottering disshelved mess, his fly open – and gave him the blanket. From Ma and me. No words exchanged. Just the doing, the deed. He took the blue blanket and went to his bushes behind the PNI, by the fence, to collapse. The boys in the neighborhood saw the giving of the gift, walked over to him, stole his blanket … and stoned him. Threw rocks at him. I never saw the old guy again.

Aidan Kearney aka Turtle Boy and Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney are those Green Island boys today, here in Worcester, in the 21st century.

Haters. Bullies. Killers, the both of them.

*****