Category Archives: Rosalie’s Blog

Ma’s little red book and Trump’s America

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“Ma”   photos: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

When my late mother was around 14 years old she got the How To Pitch Baseball book by Lew Fonseca lots of American kids (mostly boys) owned around that time (World War II) and pored over after school, during school, before baseball practice and after a game (sand lot, park or school yard) – kid-arenas where your team either won or lost and a million stories unfolded between the first and ninth inning. All of them were dusty and dirt-beneath-your-fingernails hardscrabble, especially if you played them in Green Island!

The slim red book is small and light – a teenaged boy could have held it in the palm of his hand easily.

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It was published in 1942 as part of the Little Technical Book Library and belonged to Ma, a baseball lover from impoverished childhood to impoverished nursing-home death. But most likely it first belonged to her big brother, Walter, who played baseball on his high school’s b-ball-team. So it was a hand-me-down, one of many that came my mother’s way because she was the youngest of five children in a Polish immigrant family and it was the Great Depression . She did things like walk the railroad tracks with her Polish father, my “Jaju,” looking for “coke” – bits of scrap coal that had fallen along the railroad tracks – to take home for their little black stove my grandfather had set up in the corner of their big kitchen in the Lafayette Street tenement. To heat the cold water flat up in winter.  Ma and Jaju would wander the Worcester fields, too, picking wild blueberries and mushrooms to take home to my Polish granny, Bapy. Bapy would  cook them in soups or breads. She was a great cook, made egg noodles, stuffed cabbage – everything they ate at dinner from scratch. She kept (illegally) rabbits in a hutch on the back porch for stew. Jaju slaughtered them for Bapy and occassionally made Ma a lucky rabbit’s foot key chain from the scraps. Ma said the rabbit stew was delicious and, even though not all mushrooms were safe to eat, Jaju was an expert mushroom picker, and knew the safe ones.

Like I said, Ma’s big brother Walter played baseball and was on a team in high school. They didn’t have baseball teams for girls. I know Ma would have joined one if they had them, especially if they were St. Mary’s school- or church-affiliated. She was tiny and skinny but always active, a great walker, walked all over Green Island – up Millbury Steet to buy sausage at Biehler Brother Polish Market – or up Richland Street to help the nuns with decorating their classrooms at St. Mary’s School. Ma whistled when she walked – so much so that Jaju nicknamed his skinny legged, whistling daughter “scrovonik” – Polish for Little Sparrow. St. Mary’s school cum church was Ma’s, all Woo Polish folks’, cultural and educational nexus. A bridge to  America, a new country, a place mysterious and grand and scary.

Baseball was another bridge to America! For Ma and Walter and so many kids of Italian, Irish, Lithuanian, Greek, Portuguese and Polish immigrants of the first half of the twentieth century. They found their parents flaying about – out of their deeply religious countries of origin and thrown into the great wide open moneyland that was America. They would do better than Ma and Papa. They would be fluent in English. They would be rich. They would live in houses, not tenements.  They would go to baseball games and the movies. They would play ball!!!

When Ma died, her little red baseball book became mine. It is sweet looking and fine to the touch, but I like my baseball book best of all because it’s a window on America that is no more: an America that encouraged – practically forced – first generation kids and their immigrant parents to get with the American program! Become a part of the best country on the planet. No one called it “assimilation” back then or felt sorry for or psychoanalyzed anybody who was struggling to get with the American program.  Our great land was serious and striving, even though it was brutally racist and loved its booze, vaudeville stars and strippers… For every illegal dog fight in Green Island there was a little paper American flag taped on a tenement wall. Right next to the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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Rose’s Bapy’s Sacred Heart of Jesus picture hung on her kitchen wall in her Green Island tenement for decades. Now it hangs in Rose’s bedroom.

Patriotism is the subtext of Ma’s/my little red baseball book!

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This late morning, as I turn its pages, I connect with the “late” America: one that paid lip service to equal opportunity for all but was dead serious about work ethic. Believed in dreams, infinite possibilities, the act of self-creation ane recreation. Embracing intellect, too – even if you were just a kid from Green Island you could be smart! In so many paragraphs the book is telling kids: The KEY TO SUCCESS IN AMERICA IS THE SAME AS IN BASEBALL – dream, work like crazy for your dream, and if you can’t realize your dream and you’ve had to settle for another position on the American team, that is great too! You’re playing the American game with gusto! Fonseca (or most likely his ghostwriter!) says this straight up in his introduction. He writes: “Pitching without a doubt is baseball’s citadel. … More often than not, however, he [the wannabe star pitcher] will find his forte is elsewhere.”

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No matter your position, in America, you can still shine! It’s the effort that counts!

I love this caption, printed under the photo, you see below:

“Run out every batted ball.”

“Never assume you are out till umpire rules.”

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Be tenacious, kiddos!

And our American love of science, math, Hard Facts, is on display, in several diagrams like this one:

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Very “Technical” – just like the book’s cover says! There is a science to great baseball!

Very American!

Even the President of the United States plays ball!! Fonseca tells his young readers that none other than our PRESIDENT throws the first ball of the first game of the baseball season! Every year! Right onto the diamond!

An American tradition!

In the book there is a photo of FDR throwing the first ball …

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The kids probably didn’t know President Roosevelt’s polio-ravaged body would never allow him to “play ball.” He couldn’t even stand up! “Standing” for the photo – to throw that baseball was a herculean effort on FDR’s part. It was in fact an optical illusion that the wheel-chair-bound Roosevelt and his team worked hard to create: Before the baseball game, a big ramp was built so that the President’s car could be driven up it. Then hidden behind a ton of bunting and banners the president’s team propped him up, held him tight while he gripped a railing or his son’s arm with one hand and threw the baseball with the other. Sonetimes FDR just sat in his car and pitched – the roaring crowd didn’t know the difference. Sometimes the President’s car was driven on the field and he watched the game from the sidelines. No one knew the difference!

None of this is mentioned in Fonseca’s little red book. After all, FDR embodied everything that Fonseca preached in his little red book!: high spiritedness, optimism, intelligence, competitiveness, most important, control. Without control, Fonseca tells his young readers, your pitching is no where. Without self-control, you can never be a great pitcher! FDR was a great pitcher for America! He was the Babe Ruth of presidents!

Flash forward to today.

President Donald Trump TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL. absolutely undisciplined. Today. Trump would probably make fun of FDR and his physical handicap – just like he did that New YorkTimes reporter.

Or the many other folks on the campaign trail (U.S. Senator John McCain. A Gold Star mother). The way Trump still treats his fellow Americans is appalling! Most recently, NFL players (he called kneeling NFL football players “sons of bitches”) and the folks of Puerto Rico (he intimated they were lazy and a drain on the mainland).

Now Las Vegas. A mass murderer with a ton of money but no soul. A big empty hole inside he filled with evil. What were Paddock’s motives, America wants to know?

What are Trump’s motives?

How is Trump making America great again???

My mom, like every kid in America, went to the movies religiosly. There was an A picture screened, preceded by the B, preceded by cartoons and shorts like this: 

Baseball was Ma’s fave sport! She must have loved this video when it came up on the big movie screen!! There were two or three movie houses in Green Island. They gave away dishes, so people would keep coming back. To make an entire table setting! American generosity and salesmanship!

Aa little kid, Ma listened to ALL the games on the big family radio in their “front room,” talked baseball with her big brother whom she watched play rough and ready pick up baseball games in the Green Island “big yard” – the sand lot down the street. Ma even grabbed her #2 pencil and, because she was a good artist, drew big sketches of her fave baseball players mid-swing or mid-catch. The hard, stitched balls only her mind’s eye could see…sailing through time and space … sateliltes of love. She gave her sketches to her teachers, the nuns at St. Mary’s school on Richland Street (still standing and operating!). They gave her little prizes for her skills: penny prayer cards (pretty picture in front, prayer in Polish on back), or little plastic statues of the Blessed Mother or Saint Joseph. 

Paddock worshipped winning money – an unhappy addict. A brutal killer who didn’t see, like I did on YouTube news, that pretty girl with long hair in short denim jeans and sexy cowgirl boot go down mid run to safety. She was hit with a bullet in her middle but like a young beautiful deer in shock got up and holding her stomach, ran, kept running. In shock. Would this lithe beauty die???

Trump never mentioned her or the others who were in the madman’s shooting gallery. Gun control? Not a peep from Trump on universal background checks, something most Americans want.

Trump is a demagogue, a slick, creepy divider of Americans, not a healer like FDR or Obama…

… but a killer, like Paddock. A killer of America, Ma, the immigrant’s dreams, science, good sportmanship, baseball’s highest ideals …

Donald Trump, our murderer in chief.

Taking a knee …

By Rosalie Tirella

When NFL players began “taking the knee” during the National Anthem before their football games – broadcast on TV and sundry media before millions of folks – to protest police killings of unarmed Black men – What gets me, said a pal, is when they just keep pumping bullets into the guy! – I immediately thought of my late Mom. …

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photos: R.T.

Unlike her sports-oblivious (yawn) daughter, my pretty little Ma was a lifelong, rabid classic New England sports fan: the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics – she adored them all. In her “golden years,” she watched all the games on TV, her teams’ schedules (home and away) printed on the back of little Dunkin Donut wallet cards, parked right next to her rosary on her TV table.

Ma was obsessed with her sports teams! She prayed for them! She cheered them on, as she watched their games on her old Zenith, hollering in her teeny studio apartment in the seniors housing complex: GO!!!!! GO!!! And she would shout YESS!! in delight when her boys hit that ball over the Green Monster or made that Hail Mary Pass. She’d walk right up to her TV set, in one of her flower-covered Building 19 dusters I had bought for her, whistling her approval and  “blessing” herself in thanks to God – making the sign of the cross, just like she did in church or when, in my childhood, in our kitchen, kneeling on one of our old ugly green wooden kitchen chairs – the ones that gave me “slivers” –  before her big Infant of Prague statue in its big glass case (now in my kitchen!) …

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… In thanks. To honor God for that home run or that amazing Tom Brady! Acknowledging God for the wind that caught that ball just right and set it sailing into the sun or the magical swivel of a sinewy or chunky! hitter’s hips.

Sometimes, when visiting Ma mid-game!, I’d see many of the Black football and baseball players, blessing themselves, too, just like Ma. Or even kneeling. Right after they did something grand on the field. Thanking God for their little miracle, just like Ma had thanked Him! Feeling the same happy feelings as Ma had felt! So  grateful – and humble. For the smooth glove or solid trusty bat God had given them or maybe just the day itself: warm, crisp, cool, sunny or drizzling… Nature was God, too.

Tiny old Ma, old school religious to her core (but cool and liberal like Jesus would be today) and the big mountain players were simpatico. She’d say to me, smiling: See, my Rosalie?! See him bless himself! If the hit or touch down won the game, Ma would walk up to her TV set in her big white walking shoes that all the old people wear and kiss her index and middle fingers and touch the player on the TV screen and make a blessing over him and then walk back to her easy chair.

Voodoo. Momma love!!

Lots of the NFL players came/come from backgrounds similar to Ma’s: Poor,  up against it all, strong church backgrounds, resilient church lady mothers or grandmas raising/teaching them, single parent homes, a belief in a real, human-like God who sits with the angels on puffy cumulous clouds in a real Heaven dispensing his favors, rewarding those who acknowledge His omnipotence: people like Ma and  the Black football players.

So when the NFL players took the knee during the National Anthem, I knew Ma would understand – and approve. Maybe even going up to her TV and taking the knee with them. The guys were not committing blasphemy, hating America, as stupid demagogue Donald Trump bellowed before a WHITE ALABAMA crowd, during a campaign rally where he threw good men, Ma, prayer, grace and America under the bus.  For votes. Nope, the NFL players were honoring God, their country and asking America and God, in the best way they knew how: WHY?????????

Jesus blues lady!

By Rosalie Tirella

There is so much music to revel in … the music of life!

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CDs for sale at Rose’s friends’ shop … pics: Rose T.

And I’m a real revelator! I try to listen to EVERYTHING:

For me, the blues is my late mom … her pain, her music, so deep, dark, God-focused and yet transcendent – BEAUTIFUL, like my mother’s deep brown eyes!

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Rose’s mom – a Worcester teen at a Worcester County lake…

Being my mother’s daughter, being in her life as a little girl and teenager, was like singing the blues with her every day:

Watching Ma walk to work at the dry cleaners (we never owned a car), her back slightly hunched from the years of toil…her back growing more bowed through the years…

… Ma trudging, almost marching!, home at end of her 11-hour day at the dry cleaners.

Home in Green Island, home from work. Ma has three little girls to feed, to help with their homework, to put to bed…her husband, my father, Daddy, with the pretty hazel eyes, red hair dolled up in a pompador, looking handsome, looking at Ma’s small hunched shoulders and shouting: “Hey, fuck nut! Hey, donkey!”

But Ma always looked so cute!! What was Daddy thinking? And she was so smart and had such pride in herself and her children.

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Rose’s mother, at her sister’s house

… I see my mother walking to work, carrying in one hand the cheap pocketbook that she bought for herself at White’s Five and Ten on Millbury Street. In her other hand: her lunch in a brown paper bag, which always contains one sandwich, one piece of fruit and her Thermos (also purchased at White’s) filled with Maxwell House coffee, a little milk and sugar – the meal that would carry her through her work day.

Back home, on Lafayette Street, more name calling courtesy of our Daddy and a quick hard loud slap to the face for Ma. Daddy, of course, jealous of some imaginary lover/interloper. As a little girl, I watched Ma force herself not to cry as my father’s hand left her soft, rounded cheek.

But there was Salvation! ALWAYS SALVATION! Plus: Comfort, love and peace… Every day, every hour. On Sundays especially!

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One of Rose’s mother’s prayer cards.

… Every day of Ma’s life – up until the last few months when her Alzheimers got worse – and then she HELD her little yellowed dog-eared penny prayer cards and prayer books tight in her hands – Ma prayed. Big time. To a Big God. Who kicked ass and took names. The Old Testament Yahweh.

Yay!!

My mother’s God could take on my asshole father, rough and tough Green Island, a minimum wage paycheck, physical exhaustion. No sweat! He was older than the stars!

Throughout the day, no matter where Ma was – she was checking in with God – praying to him in whispers, chanting to him, sometimes singing to him in her not so pretty voice (though she was a tremendous whistler). Sometimes she would make a loose fist with her right hand and repeatedly, gently, strike her heart, her breasts, with it. While praying. Lost in time. Very dramatic to a little kid like me!

With God on her side, of course Ma and her three little girls and old Polish Mama, Bapy, would endure!

In the a.m., before breakfast, Ma would pray. Before eating one slice of toast. Before waking us kids up for school. Before anything. … It is 5:30 in the morning, and I am in bed but peaking out from under the covers to watch my mother start her day. Our day. She is kneeling on one of the rickety wooden kitchen chairs at our old green kitchen table. In the brightening kitchen she is whispering to God – not reading from a prayer book – but talking straight from the heart. Her arms are raised, her head lowered. She is serious but looks calm. I find the sight of my mother praying comforting. I smell the morning coffee percolating. Mmmm!

It is time to leave our third-floor tenement for school and work. The letters K M and B? – in honor of the 3 kings who visited the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem – are written in chalk above our apartment’s front and back doors. The Christmas story is retold to us every day as we start our day, head out into the world. I watch Ma make a little cross on her forehead with the back of her thumb as we leave the tenement.

After school, when my two kid sisters and I drop into the dry cleaners where Ma works to say hi to Ma we may see her off to the side, sitting on her metal chair, her eye glasses sliding down her nose as she prays, reading from one of her prayer cards. This takes only a few minutes, but the act connects her to God. A shot in the arm for Ma. A shot of love.

At home, after supper, before we go to bed, we may say the rosary together, with Ma leading the prayers. Just one section – not the whole rosary, thank goodness! Just one Our Father, followed by 10 Hail Mary’s and One Glory Be. I’m into it because I am praying with my new white rosary I just got for First Holy Communion at Saint Mary’s. Plus the nuns gave us girls a cool white taper candle and a pretty white pocketbook with a pink little rose embossed on the flap. I got all the goodies just for going to CCD class at St. Mary’s! Definitely one of the few perks of trudging to catechism class every Monday at 5 p.m.

Then it’s time to fall asleep! I am in my bedroom, under the covers. If Daddy is with us – he sometimes goes MIA for months – I hear Ma and Daddy talking, sometimes laughing, in Ma’s bedroom. Then there’s a lot of groaning and moaning, and Ma’s bed springs are squeaking like mad, which keeps me up. But it all stops soon enough and the flat goes quiet.

Soon old Bapy, wracked with her arthritis which wrecks her sleep, will be up making noise in the kitchen. Going to fetch a little piece of golden cake to feed to my hamster Joy, also nocturnal, and up and running on her little squeaky hamster wheel. I have told Bapy: NO, BAPY! DON’T FEED JOY CAKE! SHE GETS SPECIAL FOOD – HARTZ HAMSTER FOOD! Bapy is super stubborn and doesn’t listen to me and keeps feeding my hamster cake. Joy is obese for a hamster – even with all her running on her hamster wheel! Ma tells me not to worry: Bapy lived on a farm in Poland before she came to America and took care of chickens, dogs, cats, even a horse on her farm. And she raised her kid brother and sisters when she was 12 because her mother died, and her step-mother wanted no part of the brood. Bapy knew how to love things.

Joy did live a long life, for a hamster – almost four years. And she always stood on her tiny pink feet at the front of her little cage when the dumpling shaped Bapy leaned over it and called to her, cooing ever so gently. Joy was just waitin’ for that cake!!

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Bapy, 18, on her wedding day.

Saturday wrap-up: Why not take a September stroll through Webster Square’s Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift shop …

… and find those autumnal goodies for your autumnal abode? The store is located at 1329 Main St., Worcester. On the corner of Main and Henshaw streets.

Hours: Mon – Sat, 2 – 8 p.m.

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Back at her shack…Rose got these cute planters in the FREE section of Unique Finds:

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Ron and Sue gave Rose this boombox so she could play her cassettes! Her boombox’s cassette player is busted! Thank you, my friends!

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Rose, today, in her shack…she will be playing this spare beauty…

*******

Or: Go out and enjoy your neighborhood, like this dad and his little girl!

Yesterday!

Green Island!

The toughest urban-scape, the prettiest pink bike helmet!

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The poorest people, the best memories!

The bleakest intersection …

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… the most adept riding!

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Past the junked cars, sloping three decker porches, cracked pavement, dirty clotheslines, high fences topped with barbed wire.

Under the ugly bridge to …

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… dead factory world.

No matter!

Memories are made here, too!

THEY COUNT!

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Make your childhood memories, lil’ girl!! Ride through the weeds and the poverty. Wearing your pink bike helmet!

Your father loves you so! I can see that from my car window, on my way home to my nearby apartment: You wear the helmet, daddy doesn’t. You ride in the inside, daddy on the outside, with traffic. He is smiling – broadly – having fun! So proud of you!

Little city angel riding your bike so fast with daddy! With such confidence! The way city kids do!

Home soon…to supper? Snacks?… In the late fall and winter the kitchen windows fog up with all the frying and boiling… That’s the way it was in our Lafayette Street tenement when I was a little kid. I’d ride my little bike with its rusty handle bars through the streets of Green Island. I named my bike “Rusty”!

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You are so strong, little girl in the pink bike helmet, pedaling past the big trucks! You have no idea how resilient you are – and will be!

pics+text: Rosalie Tirella

Woo news for you🍒… and …our thoughts on Trump and Woo’s Trumpistas!😱

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We did it – thank you!

With your help, we were able to raise a grand total of $5,040 and earn a $5,000 matching gift from the Cahn Fund for Social Change to help support our move!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped to spread the word and made a donation – every dollar has a tremendous impact on our students!

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Join us for our Annual Meeting and Open House on August 30th!

We are thrilled to let you know we have finished moving into our new office space – Suites 350 and 355 of the Denholm Building in downtown Worcester.

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We would like to invite everyone to our Annual Meeting and Open House to be held from 6-8 pm on Wednesday, August 30th.

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RSVP to OPEN HOUSE!
Join us for our Annual Fall Fundraiser on October 12th!

Tickets are now on sale for our Annual Fall Fundraiser to be held from 5:30-9 pm on Thursday, October 12th at UMass Medical School.

The evening will be filled with African food, drumming performances, inspiring speeches from our students and alums, and, of course, silent and live auctions filled with items including African art, jewelry, pottery, and much more!

Purchase Fall Fundraiser Tickets!
Thank you for all of your support during these busy and exciting times. We are so grateful to have so many generous and thoughtful proponents of ACE. We look forward to seeing many of you soon!

All the best,
The ACE Team

Our mailing address is:
African Community Education
24 Chatham Street
Worcester, MA 01609

🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

❤BE THERE! SO IMPORTANT!❤

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🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

Go, badass women, go!💐🌺🌻

💐💐💐💐💐💐💐💐

Impeach Trump! Worst POTUS eva!!!!!!😱

☎☎☎☎☎☎

Trump and Woo’s alt-right brigade

By Rosalie Tirella

Pres Donald Trump is a blip on our political scene, a big fat, dangerous transitional figure in American politics. The world has changed. America, too! The global economy has raised some up – but hurt others (read: under-educated Americans). The world grows more diverse – in 20+ years America will be a majority minority country. Lots of Americans can’t embrace these seismic economic and cultural changes! Out of fear, confusion and ignorance, they embrace  and endorse racist acts, classism, hatred for refugees, free speech and a more diverse and egalitarian America.

On the Worcester front, we don’t have a Mayor Trump, but we do have our alt-right figures:

Worcester City Councilor and mayor wannabe Michael Gaffney;

his political (but keeps it a secret) clone, wife Coreen Gaffney, District 4 councilor  wannabe;

local rogue lawyer Margaret Melican;

and Melican’s social media BFF, Turtle Boy hate blogger Aidan Kearney;

and Paul Collyer,  FaceBook pages “owner”/author of CHANGE WORCESTER and WORCESTER’S DIRTY SECRET.  

This group of peeps may think itself forward looking, but with all their blogging, comments, repostings and postings you get THE MOST RACIST, Worcester-harming political rants and political strivers this side of Steve Bannon’s office.

They are Worcester’s alt-right movement and Breitbart News rolled into one! Far right strivers hawking ideas that do not fit the Worcester of 2017.

But fear not! Like Trump, they are political flukes, too. Look around you! Don’t you see? This bunch cannot get any kind of political traction here, in Worcester. They are leaving our city/disappearing. Worcester is too racially and socially progressive for them…too willing to bring EVERYONE UP. We don’t traffic in their welfare queen and prince cliches, their “Petty” bashings etc.

Out they go!

For instance, by trashing our recent Worcester City Common anti-racism rally a la Donald Trump, Collyer, Gaffney and Turtle Boy show us how they have outlived their ability to thrive in Worcester. They have been called out by Worcester, they have been put on notice: they are Woo’s political old guard uttering their last, desperate syllables.

Like Trump, their “ratings” in Woo are low:

Paul Collyer has lost clout ever since his buddy former City Manager Mike O’Brien left his job, after HE realized he was no longer a good fit for a diverse, challenging, wonderful Worcester. Collyer is moving to the beautiful Hudson Valley in New York – miles and miles away😄 – with Susan to run a bowling alley. This permanent move will be good for Collyer and GREAT for the new Worcester!😄 Truly evolving cities go way beyond the installations of beer gardens and the scarfing down of fancy food and patronizing over-priced boutiques. That kind of economic development is just a small piece of the Woo puzzle, focusing on and catering to our upper-middle class. What we and most WORCESTERITES are talking about is SOCIAL JUSTICE, THE LIVING WAGE, POLITICAL MOVEMENTS WHOSE ARC BENDS TOWARDS OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL – not just the moneyed or politically connected.

City Councilor Mike Gaffney is, for Woo, a political anomaly. He is smart but duplicitous and a fraud. He will never become mayor of Worcester – even though he’ll try any DIRTY trick in the book to win, which usually entails lying about present mayor, Joe Petty, and shredding our community to bits as he throws wedge after wedge into sensitive city issues.

His wife Coreen knows how to be polite, but she’s dead in the political Woo waters, too. She’ll be another Mike Gaffney vote on the city council – no one will go for that. She has no chance of winning in majority minority, ever complex District 4. The best Coreen can hope for is a job with the DPW on its grounds maintenance crew.

Turtle Boy has moved to Jefferson because Worcesterites loathe him so passionately – and he’s got two kids to raise. They would be pariahs here – just like their daddy Aidan is. Aidan’s toxic Turtle Boy blog can no longer handle local stuff, so he Jerry Springers all of New England. It’s an emotionally ugly ride – his Turtle Boy blog. No one will publicly come out in favor of this racist, far right wing nut and his blog – except for Collyer, the Gaffneys and Melican who push the TB toxicity out into the community via their FB pages, etc…

It was great to see Mayor Petty and City Manager Ed Augustus at the anti-racism, anti-white-supremacy rally on the Woo Common a few days ago! They stood with the good folks at Charlottesville – not the Neo Nazis. They stood on justice’s side! Former CM Mike O’Brien would have tried to shut the rally down! Social justice is too messy and un-pretty for O’Brien, Collyer and crew. That’s why O’Brien’s gone, and his compadres will soon follow in his footsteps …

Ronny!

By Rosalie Tirella

Hello again?
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Yesterday Cece spied someone outside my apartment window.      pics: R.T.

It was former ICT scribe Ron O’Clair, in the St. Mary’s church parking lot, in a red convertible, with white interior! Ronny was wearing his big black hippy sombrero and (I think) sporting a beard. He was looking up at me, while I parted the curtains in my fourth-floor shack to admire the sight and snap a pic. Then he gave me a wide smile and a big thumbs up and sped off! Quite the sight!

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Ahhh, Ronny! On a high! Feeling good with the sun shining on his sombrero and a new shiny red toy! Here’s a guy who’s been knocked down by life from day #1 (childhood poverty, death of a parent when he was a little kid, then foster homes, depression, the murder of his brother, discharge from the military, alcoholism) and come back from the brink so many times (STILL brilliant and articulate, a TERRIFIC writer, in recovery for 30+years, a cool street social worker who’s helped hundreds of people find food, solace, housing, AA meetings as the live-in manager of a Main South rooming house ) that “resilient” is too weak (and serious) a word to describe Ronny. “Come backs” doesn’t fit either because the phrase makes Ronny seem old – which he sorta is, at 55!❤ – and a has-been, like a member of the Herman’s Hermits🎵 – which he is  most definitely not! (Sorry, Peter Noone!)

For me, Ron O’Clair is more Dylan than Noone. More Byron than Seuss. He never goes out of style … But his bipolar illness makes him disappear from the scene now and then, leaving his friends worried and sad. His condition makes him see things so intensely! The perfect writer for ICT! Ron can be deep – deeply sad, deeply wise, deeply sensitive. He can also be deeply wound-up, loud, revved up,  ecstatic. Manic.  Ronny has always offered his friends his kaleidoscope of feelings – and experiences –

… often powerful. When in his emotional “troughs,” though, Ron  pretty much hunkers down in his two rooms in Main South – for weeks. This breaks my heart. You can call it mental illness. But why put a complicated brilliant person like Ronny in a box? Still, his emotional vales break his momentum, whether it be his running for Woo City Council or following through on a marriage proposal that he made to a lovely – I mean lovely both spiritually and physically – hooker that he rescued outside his Main South building. … I think back to that time: Ronny was in love! But his complicated brain waves brought it all to a halt! It made me cry! I was rooting for the pair: Ronny bought “Sandy” a beautiful ring, rented a car one Christmas eve so she wouldn’t have to sit in his crap-cluttered vehicle on the trip to his brother’s house for Christmas dinner – to meet the family.❤ Ronny got Sandy clean and sober, took her to the doctors, the dentist, NA meetings. A gal pal gave Sandy bags of cool  vintage clothing. I planned their wedding with our gal pal: she would provide the vintage wedding dress and I’d dress up my apartment. I’d make the mostly veggie meals, served on my late Mom’s china, turn  my dining and living rooms into an inner-city chapel with all my candles placed on an altar I’d fashioned from headboards I had found on the side of the road. I’d board Jett for the day… Then boom. Ron shut down, so did Sandy  …

… and that was the end of that. Ron dismisses the whole love affair as a non-love affair. A pain in his butt. But I know he’s lying.

Ron has shared many of his experiences with you in ICT. Like the time he was a boy in foster care in rural Maine and bonded with a buffalo on the farm he was living on. The buffalo was like a big pet for Ronny, and he visited him in the field next to his foster parents’ house every day. But one Christmas Ronny unwittingly ate his best friend in the world. The buffalo was the main course for his foster family’s Christmas dinner! Ron tells the story with a chuckle, but you hear the real pain in the story he wrote for InCity Times. ICT – the conduit for Ronny’s dreams and schemes – realized and/or crumpled. If you meet Ron in Main South or at any of his haunts in Worcester – at a Worcester diner eating a killer breakfast, at a junk-yard buying parts cheap for his cars that he collects like jewels – you would think he’s kinda glib and … a jerk. Incapable of the stories he writes. But if you read his columns – which I have with so much joy, through years  – you’d soon realize Ron’s the brightest guy in the room. But his poverty, his living on the edge in the rooming house in Main South, his sometimes too enthusiastic emotional style, his physical SIZE! have left him the perennial outsider, here in Worcester, the hometown he adores. You all discount him and his intelligence and goals. It’s  a kind of prejudice. Not racial. But economic. And maybe just maybe your version of mental well-being skews a little to the left or right of Ronny’s state of mind! Shame on you!

In this life: so many people crossing each other’s paths, so many good people shunted to another road or handcuffed into silence by the in-crowd, the money crowd, the politically connected crowd. The hit brigade wallowing in their version of Wasp happiness.

What about WOP happiness?

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Wikipedia says: “WOP stands for WithOut Papers. Many Italian immigrants had no papers to identify themselves and were branded as WOPs.”

My grandfather Sabino was a WOP.

He was also a NANG: Not A Nice Guy!

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I’ve told you all about him: Unlike Ron, Sabino took his outsiderness, his otherness and used it to become a pretty successful entrepreneur. But he was an asshole in every other aspect of his life: cheated on his wife who gave him 10 children, beat her, beat my father, was a bootlegger. I mean, the guy was BAD!

Ron – and this WOP! – aren’t bad: we WRITE, we try to do the right thing for our city and this makes us happy and proud! Forget about moi for a second, let’s focus on Ron. Over the years Ron has:

given me a million rides when the jalopy I am driving breaks down.

delivered gallons of gas to me when I’ve run out – usually at night in the inner city. How comforting it was to see my friend pouring the gas into my gas tank, wearing his fake-lamb-skinned-lined bedroom slippers. In the middle of a Woo winter night. He wasn’t smiling, made no small talk and walked away with a huge huff after he finished his AAA call, but he ALWAYS came, always came through for me.

driven tons of people from his rooming house to the food pantry to get food so they could eat.

driven tons of people from his rooming house to AA, Al Anon, NA meetings – often joining the group as he is in recovery and never gets complacent about the fact!

helped strangers when they needed help

befriended lots of Woo characters – including this one! I remember the night Ronny came to my house with an old ex-boxer from Boston who just got a room at Ronny’s place. I had called Ron frantic – my late Mom’s cat April had just become diabetic and I did not know how/was afraid to use the needles to inject the insulin into April. Well, Ronny brings the boxer over to my house to help – the guy is BALD, HUGE, covered with tattoos, standing at my door, with Ronny. It is close to midnight. I am distraught. April needs her medicine. I don’t want her to die. I say…OK, come in. The boxer comes in, fills up half the entry-way but … picks April up, talks oh so softly to her, takes one of the skinny needles out of her needle box (filled with about 1O0 needles), shows me how to poke the needle into the little insulin bottle (always shake it beforehand), measure the amount of insulin. Then he lifts a bit of April’s fur on her shoulder, making a little tent, and gently gives her her shot. Then the boxer gently massages the spot where he inserted the needle. He told me and Ronny his grandmother had been a diabetic and, as a little boy, he used to give her her insulin shots. Every day. He said it all so beautifully. I could tell he had really loved his grandmother. Maybe she had raised him… I felt like shit for having been afraid of the Boston boxer and hesitating to let him into my home. As he turned to leave, I hugged the boxer – and Ronny -and said THANK YOU, GUYS! They lumbered down the stairs that lead up to my 4th floor apartment. Noisy as hell. I loved them both!

A night I will never forget, courtesy of Ronald O’Clair.

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Lilac and the late, beautiful April

Ronny has also:

supported his landlord who was overwhelmed with his rooming house.

worked with the Worcester police for years to make his neck of the woods – the corner of Main and Charlton streets – much safer and quieter and a little less heroin-infected, especially when the PIP wet shelter was still open (across Charlton Street!)

So naturally it enraged me to see my friend’s hopes dashed when he applied for a slot on a City of Worcester Board/Commission and  was turned down by a City Manager toady. Not the commission who does the vetting but by one of former CM Mike O’Brien’s (an ICT detractor for sure) employees. This was about five years ago, when Ronny was on a huge UP and had all his i’s dotted and t’s crossed. He had applied to sit on a City of Worcester health or zba board – for no pay, as the job is a volunteer position. I had encouraged him to apply. Ronny, living the life he’s lived, KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT INNER-CITY HEALTH ISSUES. And what he doesn’t know – he’ll read up on. He’s a brilliant guy! Also, so compassionate! Hell, he’d be down in the trenches with Dr. Mattie at a homeless camp, talking to the folks, driving them to job interviews! I mean, he would be all in – give 100%. But CM O’Brien hated ICT, so Ron got screwed.

A few days ago I called Ronny. We were talking about city boards and commissions when I urged him to take another crack at the HEALTH commission. “The city needs lots of people from District 4! On lots of city boards!” I said.

Ronny was hesitant. I said: GO FOR IT, RONNY! YOU WILL BE GREAT – on that city board or any city board!

He laughed. Then I asked him to cover an inner-city health clinic’s health fair for me, to run in the next issue of CECELIA. Ronny said YES, attended the event for me and sent me some pics he took a few hours later. Here is one for you!

Ronny O’Clair: gotta love the man!!
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Baby in Piedmont. photo by Ron O’Clair

Trump’s “Real Dump” comment sealed his fate!! IMPEACH PRESIDENT TRUMP!

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose walking her dogs.   pics: R.T.

Let us Impeach President Donald Trump. Be done with Trump!, America’s big, bloated megalomaniac – our orange-headed, toxic buffoon! He has turned us Americans into a global punchline! He has destroyed millions, globally and locally – humans, fauna and flora! From the refugee, the young woman – really, just a girl – who flees her homeland and runs straight into America’s arms to escape gang rape, stoning, starvation for her children … to our Appalachian streams and their quicksilver fishes: Trump has hurt us all.

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And he’s only been in office for eight months!

Impeach Donald Trump!

If enough Dems win the House in 2018, it will happen – but not soon enough!

I say: House Republicans, put your political careers into the buzz saw and do the RIGHT thing: Cut Trump out of the White House the way you would cut a bruise out of a beautiful apple with your pen knife! That beautiful apple is America!

Do it after summer recess…

Comedian Dave Chappelle nailed it when he said: Trump’s a bad DJ at a great party.

That GREAT party is AMERICA!!

I am exhausted – the world is exhausted! – emotionally, spiritually, psychologically – by this pathological liar who is squatting in OUR White House! The people’s house!!

The LAST STRAW, for this Green Island gal???

A few days ago, as reported in Sports Illustrated, President Trump called the White House, the people’s house, “A REAL DUMP.”

“A real dump.”

Would you put up with some asshole calling your apartment, condo, ranch, Dutch colonial or room “a real dump”?

Didn’t think so!

Early Americans chose NOT to call our president YOUR HIGHNESS. They chose the every-man title “Mr. President.” They chose NOT to attach a fancy name to his abode or build him a castle. No castles for us Americans! No moats, moors or parapets for us! Our head guy (or gal) – the person who served/represented WE, THE PEOPLE, would live in a house, just like most Americans did. True, it would be a big house and have nicer china, but it would still be a house – a white house. So we called it the White House!

If you visit Washington, D.C., for the first time ever, you’ll be a little surprised when you first see the White House!❤ I know I was! It is not really all that big a house! It looks like a huge estate on television, but it is not in real life!! … Cool!!

Apparently, the White House is not grand enough for Donald Trump, the king of opulent crud.

The White House is just not ostentatious enough for the King of the Moneyed.

Or gold-plated enough.

Or gaudy enough.

Or bloated enough.

The gold-leafed toilet to puke or shit into is missing!

So he calls the people’s house – belonging to you and to me! – to just regular folks (the millions who voted for him and made him president!) – “A Real Dump.”

Trump’s possible very own collusion with Russia to turn the 2016 U.S. presidential election in his favor, for me, at this moment, this early Saturday eve, August 5, 2017, means ZIPPO. Nothing. Nada.

I, Rose T.,  caffeinated, swingin’ at the ceiling, my Lafayette Street childhood cold-water tenement existence haunting me more than usual…my husky mix Jett yippin’ at God’s lilly white robe while wearing his Yankee Doodle hat …

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… I, Rose T., say: SHUT THE TRUMP DEBACLE DOWN!!

Enough is enough!!

Impeach President Donald Trump!!

Shut the Trump Reality Show, in all its vulgar, crass, ghastly Day Glo “glory,” off.

Vice President Mike Pence is this liberal’s nightmare, but I’ll deal with his neanderthal political agenda when Trump goes, probably resigns, like Nixon did, to avoid impeachment. I’ll sleep ok at night knowing Pence sucks on climate change, women’s rights, saving the American working and middle classes but HE IS NOT DONALD TRUMP. That he won’t start a nuclear war with North Korea – or Russia. That America  – and the world – won’t know nuclear holocaust because Trump has a hair across his fat arse. That President Pence will shut his pie hole and not say asinine things 24/7. Pence will at least give lip service to the American ideals and building blocks: human rights, truth, artistic, religious, sexual and political freedoms, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, Yes! to fledgling democracies, YES! to freedom of speech, Yes! to freedom of the press, YES! to sending EVERY GIRL ON THE PLANET TO SCHOOL and eradicating global diseases … goals and ideals the world connects to America, or the idea of America. The shining light in that city on the hill!

It’s so easy: TRUMP HAS TO GO because HE IS MENTALLY ILL.

MENTALLY UNFIT TO BE ARGUABLY THE MOST POWERFUL PERSON ON THE PLANET.

Trump is Unwell. Can’t You Tell?!

He called the White House, home to some of the greatest American thinkers and leaders in the history of America – Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt, Eisenhower, JFK – he called their home “A REAL DUMP.” Great Americans who filled his “dump” with grand, ahead of their times IDEAS, IDEALS, KNOWLEDGE, POETRY and SCIENCE … trips to the stars and back! Not midnight-trips-to-the-toilet Tweets!!

Who amongst us would say something so awful about THE BRILLIANT SIDE OF OUR AMERICAN FAMILY?! Who would diss their home – the people’s home – the White House – this way?!

I grew up in what most people would call a “dump” in Green Island years ago! For example, on Lafayette Street, in my childhood “dump,” we had: A tub that leaked onto the ceiling of the tenement below us every time you tried to take a shower. We had one crappy gas kitchen stove with a gas “log” to heat a three-bedroom flat where three little babes (my two sisters and I) lived. We had a perennially cracked window pane in our back door that the January winds always whistled through. Every winter my mother taped clear plastic wrap over all our windows to better keep out the cold and wind. Still, the snow sifted down, light as sprinkled sugar, and I would run my small finger through the little slanted hill of white snowflakes that formed inside our kitchen window sill, smiling at its pure, pretty whiteness. As a little girl in winter time, I slept in my bed wearing an ugly navy blue seaman’s knit cap but I dreamed of those beautiful white sugar snowflake mini-mountains…and wrote poems to them on my Saturday afternoons! And my mother told her sisters, my aunties: My Rosalie is so smart she is going to college someday! To maybe be a veterinarian because she loves animals so much! My mother gave birth to her and MY American Dream in that “dump.”

I guess a person today would call my childhood home in Green Island “a real dump.”

But, for me, today, whenever I drive by that Lafayette Street three decker (yes, it’s still standing!), I feel proud. It’s a shrine: A shrine to my immigrant Bapy from Poland who couldn’t write two words in English and wore my sisters and my knee-socks on her arms, in layers – the socks she cut the toe tops off of – to keep warm and soothe her arthritis. That “dump” is a shrine to my late, beautiful mother who not only persevered and raised (single handedly) her three little girls but INSPIRED us to be the best!

Don’t you see?

Donald Trump is the “Real Dump.”

SAVE AMERICA!

IMPEACH PRESIDENT TRUMP!

TC! TC! (Or: So go the bikers, so goes the city)

By Rosalie Tirella

A motorcycle guy gets his chest blown away on lower Chandler Street this past Saturday night. His soul is thrown off his bike and floats to Heaven like some inner-city feather. And that is the end of his dream called life. His Saturday night, all Saturday nights. No more bodegas, pizzerias, BBQ chick, cell phone shacks, dreamy sunsets, kisses, or cold cheap beers with friends on a summer night.

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photos: Rosalie Tirella

The beauty of life in the here and now, in Worcester, gone forever. Poof. Like magic it disappears from him just as mysteriously as it came to him.

His 46-year-old body, however, is no feather. It dies a horrific death from massive internal hemorrhaging, crushed bones … the blood must be washed from the cement … physical and emotional shock. The pain keeps coming no matter how hard the EMT kids work on him.

A Honda plows into him on Chandler Street, and he plows into a Nissan. 2,000-pound hunks of moving metal.

What could he do? How could he win?

A slow motion dream for the dying man, this accident on the corner of Wellington and Chandler streets, but not for the gawkers. The witnesses know it is over – in seconds – at one of Worcester’s most deadly intersections. An urban space where many cars  often speed up as they race to the tony West Side of the city, drivers pretending not to see all the poor Latinos, Whites and Blacks who live in the crummy three deckers and apartment buildings that line the street. They criss cross it every day – at all hours. They walk, run, stagger across the wide 4 -lane Chandler Street. Sometimes they’re on bicycles or pushing baby carriages or holding the hands of their little kids – the 5 year olds holding on to Papa or Mama tight with one small hand and covering their ear with their other soft little hand.  The traffic is too loud for them!

The poor cross their busy street to get to the  street’s local restaurants, Chandler Elementary School, the Family Health Center inner-city clinic/urgent care, Community Health Link mental health center, a homeless shelter, the several storefront Pentecostal churches, friends’ houses. As a driver, you have to go slow, you have to be AWARE at all times cuz life comes out at you from all angles on Chandler Street. Four or so years ago, I was the center of mayhem as I rescued a stray cat at the exact intersection where the biker was killed. It was a young cat, really an older kitten like my Cece (black too!),

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and I almost got us both killed running out of my car into traffic, scooping up the kitten and running back to my car with the kitten clasped to my chest. But it was OK. The neighborhood folks – the community – were good and had my back as I navigated the stream of cars.

If only I could have saved the biker – but how?

They called him T.C…. Family, friends, the community, prayed TC did not suffer long. Of course, he did. A bunch of biker kids and men and their friends rode up to the site of his death a few days ago to mourn …

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… They left their not so pretty neighborhoods to gather at the not so pretty intersection of Wellington and Chandler streets to say GOOD BYE, TC!  To pay tribute to a fellow biker. To connect with him – and each other.

If you read my columns, you know I love these outsiders, inner-city bike guys and gals who cobble together these unlicensed, unloved sometimes kooky sometimes cool urban motor babies. They take their lives into their hands when they ride them. But it’s all they’ve got on a lovely summer day in the ‘hood. They want to feel free like the wind. Can you blame them? You were young once too! Their motto? Bikes Up! Guns down!

The bikers are loathed by Woo’s conservative crew … people like Paul Collyer (the Somerville-based political gadfly who runs FB pages CHANGE WORCESTER and WORCESTERS DIRTY SECRET where he posts Turtle Boy/City Councilor Mike Gaffney racist rants) and his toxic political allies, the always race baiting Woo City Councilor Mike Gaffney and Turtle Boy-Aidan Kearney who always gets the ugly ball rolling with a post that fires up people’s racial and socio economic prejudices and fears. Collyer, Turtle Boy, Gaffney AND PREZ DONALD TRUMP, cannot accept a global, often poor, always multicultural America, Worcester…a world that is messier than they’d like to see. These guys want to shut voices down … or they do not understand…know how to listen to the new global urban landscape.

The Worcester Police force knew how to listen to the TC crowd! The Worcester police officers who went into the big crowd on that summer day and talked softly and dispersed the group without so much as raising their voices understood the community’s pain. They did not fan the Collyer/Gaffney/Turtle Boy flames of hatred, racism, ignorance. Nope. THEY WERE OUTSTANDING police officers who did an excellent job of keeping the situation from blowing up. They got traffic moving again, kept everybody calm and, best of all, respected the bikers’, outsiders’, pain, feelings. They smiled, chatted, WORKED smart so the situation did not escalate…THEY DEFUSED THE SITUATION. Kudos!

Watch the videos. They make me sad. A bunch of bikers, people of color, mostly poor, mostly cut off from the mainstream…scores of them gathered  at lower Chandler Street and riding their bikes up and down where TC died. They did “burns” in his honor and chanted TC !TC! TC! and made more videos on their cell phones to share, to tell the world TC MATTERED – ALL LIVES MATTER! In a video you see one big black guy looking choked up, confused, softly muttering TC, TC … and shaking his head. Not the face of violence.

Not at all.

The TC “wake” was political, was peaceful, was REAL. It was a statement. It was a love song. Like a bird on the wing.

CECELIA – always in style!

By Rosalie Tirella

Delivering my spirited little rag …

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pic: R.T.

Named after my lovely, late, great Mom💙!

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A wee Rose, her beautiful mom and the first boy Rose ever crushed on! So pushy!

One of Rose’s mother’s favorite singers:

Rose’s mom loved Billie so much she used to wear a flower tucked behind her ear a la Billie and her famous orchids …

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See the flower? (Rose’s mom, left)

Above: Rose’s mom and her sister “May” on the roof of “The Block,” on Bigelow Street, in Green Island during World War II. They grew up in a tenement in The Block, a huge, ugly brick box – hence the nickname The Block – comprised of scores of tenements. Home to poor Polish immigrants, many of whom lived on Bigelow, Scott, Lodi, Siegel, Lafayette and Endicott streets, in Green Island.

One of May’s favorite songs, by John Denver (written for his wife):

Rose loves this song, too! As a teen hearing it (that’s when it was on the radio) she thought it was cornball. John Denver! Eeek! Too uncool!! Now Rose loves the cliche-ridden love song for what it says, how it sounds, and the memories it evokes. For its cliches!! They say FAMILY to her!

May, unlike Cecelia, married a good man and had a great life with him❤! During their youth and young motherhood, Cecelia and May were best friends! True sisters! Here they are, a couple of cute snow bunnies!💚, when they lived in Springfield and worked as live-in housekeepers (starting at just 14 and 1/2 years old!) for the Bishop of Springfield.

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It was during the Great Depression – everyone was out of work – sons and daughters had to be farmed out to employers far from home to help support the family and to be fed, clothed! Ma and May were sent by my Bapy to the Bishop’s big house in Springfield to be maids, cooks to make money for the family back home and to be able to eat well, dress well, be safe in lean times. Back then, among Catholic immigrants, it was an honor to have anyone in your family working for the Catholic church. Of course, having your kid become a priest or nun was the be all to end all – gave you instant cachet in the Polish, Italian or Irish ghetto!! And a free ticket to Heaven!

Happy Saturday!

Here is Rose, not at all looking like her Mom. Maybe a little like May …

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Here is one of Rose’s fave artists. She LOVES the late great Bill M! Was a Bill groupie as a young gal! Saw him several times – even in Worcester, when he played our First Night, with Patty Larkin💚! WOW.:

Thank you, Worcester City Councilor Kate Toomey, for making our city safer – for all!

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Near Park Ave. pedestrians walk in the crosswalks! So many crosswalks in Woo need to be re-painted!   pics: R.T.

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The busy Webster Square crosswalks

By Rosalie Tirella

KUDOS TO WORCESTER CITY COUNCILOR KATE TOOMEY for following Boston and Somerville’s lead and this week, on the City Council floor, proposing to set the Worcester City Speed Limit at 25 mph! The Worcester City Council must get behind Toomey and VOTE YES next City Council meeting! So easy to save lives – especially inner-city little kids and old people’s lives!

Toomey, a caring person who has made the every man/woman (often poor) her cause celebre during her council tenure, is pushing for this IMPORTANT, (we think) TERRIFIC change to our urban landscape because she has worked in the health field and has just read an important report. According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Worcester is THE most dangerous city in Massachusetts for pedestrians!

According to the study, our city is pretty much a death trap if you wanna cross the street to buy a cup of coffee! – we have 50 of the top 496 intersections for pedestrian accidents!

So many of our kids and old people have died under the wheels of some asshole trying to swallow up a quarter of a mile of street just to get to his/her destination a few secs earlier! InCity Times ran free ads for the family of a little Chandler Street School boy who was mowed down and killed WHILE HE WAS WALKING ON THE SIDEWALK to get to school. They needed money to bury him. He had stayed home after the morning school bell rang to finish up his homework, like a good boy. Running to get to school with his homework safe in his book bag, knowing he was late…some speed DEMON ran him down – drove right onto the sidewalk – and killed him.

Death for his family too! Death for the community! Poor and often politically powerless…

Set at 30 mph – the current city speed limit – so many drivers go 40 – even 45 –  mph in our DENSELY POPULATED INNER-CITY AND CITY neighborhoods. Yes, our city lights need to be on a better sequence – often drivers run the yellow just turned red light to keep from sitting at the next red light, just yards down the road. My long ago ex beau hailed from NYC – Queens – and he graduated from Columbia. He wrote an ICT column on Woo’s whacky traffic lights and patterns almost 16!!! years ago! To no avail!

STILL, THIS IS NO EXCUSE for most of the fatheads who just don’t care. Who may even hate our homeless and downtrodden. Who speed up, rather than slow down! Maybe when they see the 25 MPH sign, they’ll only go 30/35 MPH. Which still blows. Which is still dangerous in a city.

Remember, drivers! You are in the city! All around you, in your 2,000 pound- metal-cocoon you have thousands of vehicles (some with drivers with guns!), a zillion pedestrians (many old, very young, sometimes high…or mentally ill), Noise, huge buildings that cast shadows, sunlight that blinds, food carts, pedi cabs, dogs, sometimes terrified kitties … The list of unpredictables is endless…

We should be proud Worcester is so busy, diverse … cool! But drivers must respect the environment they sail through – complex, urban, filled with little kids and old people.