By Rosalie Tirella
Delivering my spirited little rag …
Named after my lovely, late, great Mom💙!
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 …
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.
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!
Here is Rose, not at all looking like her Mom. Maybe a little like May …
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.: