Tag Archives: Green Island Grrrl

In style: A half-way normal Donald Trump! 🇺🇸🇺🇸

By Rosalie Tirella

Not bad, Donald.

Don’t get us wrong, readers! If Donald Trump can be an effective or even great president, we’re all for him! The above videos – snap shots of Trump being on-message, funny and real – are glimmers of hope. After watching these videos and others, you realize there is something quite endearing – dare I say loveable?! – about the Donald!: #1 – He is authentic. Totally himself … and that is GREAT. It’s a lot of fun, kinda scary, ultimately mesmerizing. Trump doesn’t hold back or disengage or quit working at 6:30 p.m. every night to spend time with his family like President Obama did. Nope. Trump – with wife Melania MIA in another state – is ON 24/7. Like a great, bizarre ’round the clock reality TV show! And we’re all addicted to watching it! Last night I began watching an old President Obama video and shut it off. Boring!!! I tuned into Trump – and had fun. So what if we are all going to be incinerated?!!! Trump is one hell of a roller coaster ride! He is combative but takes his lumps, too – for his gaffes, hissy fits, open bathrobe and fumbling for light switches in a lights-out White House.

Donald Trump seems to crave unending adoration, but his emotional neediness often manifests itself as a kind of goofy friendliness… . President Obama was aloof. Trump is anything but. He’s a hugger, hand-holder, hand-shaker,  glad-hander … a people person. Nutty. But gregarious. I like that. He could be Italian-American – a Rat Pack ba da boom kinda prez! Trump’s out-sized personality is why he has connected with so many – millions of – Americans. They love him! He’s like lots of great U.S. presidents/politicians – loves to, lives to swaddle himself in the hoi polloi and upper classes and everyone in between: FDR, LBJ, Teddy Roosevelt. You can tell Trump LOVES being president! Which is why he filed his papers for re-election immediately after Inauguration Day!!!

Wow.

Trump’s manic energy encompasses all – sucks you in. He has bonded with the forgotten Americans: white working class regular folks who, on a number of fronts, most important, the economic one, have suffered for many many years. He says he will change their – our – lives. Tonic to the people!

Trump, for me, feels especially like Lyndon B. Johnson –  a natural, gifted, LOVE ME NOW-PLEASE! kind of politician. Trump can’t mask his insecurity and he can’t get enough of Americans and our problems, feelings, food etc. The voters, miners, teachers, Congress – he’ll spread the Donald all over the place, like the special sauce on a Big Mac.

And it feels kinda nice. Fucked up. But nice.

Raise the federal minimum wage, Donald! Support our unions! Create a robust AMERICAN INFRASTRUCTURE REBUILDING federal program that puts millions of regular guys and gals back to work at GOOD PAYING JOBS rebuilding America’s highways, bridges, airports, etc! Quit stomping on the Constitution, and you just may make it, after all!🇺🇸🍦🍟🍔🍕

Love you, “Mare”!

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Mary Tyler Moore as the lovely but always approachable and real (and funny) Mary Richards…

By Rosalie Tirella

She made having a career look fun! She made the news industry look fun! Being female, single and on your own was an adventure! – not scary, though sometimes lonely. You felt the pathos because Mary Tyler Moore was such a great actor.

You didn’t need a man to make you happy. You could have handsome boyfriends visit you from out of state! You could still keep your career because the Pill was invented 10+ years ago and recently made available to single women who, at least in Mary’s world, knew you couldn’t have it all and didn’t try to have it all. That lie happened in the 1980s, in tandem with the horrific power skirt outfits that were designed to mimick men’s suits, down to the frou frou sash ribbon you wore as your “tie” over your white blouse. Mary Richard’s world was pre-DRESS FOR SUCCESS. You could wear white go go boots and mini skirts to work and throw your tam high into the Minneapolis air! You were an independent woman!

Mary Richards was a success at her job, but she always looked sexy at the office. She didn’t have big boobs or wear low cut sweaters. She just had that gorgeous, willowy body – the body of a former dancer, which Mary Tyler Moore was. Mary Richards could walk-prance her way into your heart. She looked graceful walking from one end of her apartment to the other end in her bathrobe! She made the mundane single woman stuff look glamorous in that beautiful body of hers. Legs long and lean … toe, heel, toe, heel … shoulders slightly curved,  arms loosey goosey by her sides  …

The beautiful Mary Richards showed American women you didn’t need to act all desperate and creepy and manipulative with men if you were over 35 and still unmarried. You didn’t need to have an agenda. You had YOU! You were the carnival ride! The giant M – for “Mary” – tacked on to Mary Richards’ apartment wall confirmed the fact! And, if you watched the show every week like I did as a kid growing up in Green Island, you got the point: Your happiness stemmed from YOU. If you couldn’t walk alone through a city park during winter and not sparkle like the icicles hanging from the tree branches, then you hadn’t made it after all.

You had your job, with co workers who were like family; back at your apartment, you had your upstairs and downstairs neighbors – gal pals Rhoda and Phyllis – another family to tell your problems to, to share your dreams with, to critique your wardrobe with …

Even in our cramped three decker tenement on Lafayette Street, watching the MTM Show while sitting on the old red vinyl couch my mom brought back to Worcester from her 10-year stint as a housekeeper for the Bishop of Springfield (probably his old office furniture), I felt empowered. I wanted to be Mary Richards. I wanted to “turn the world on with a smile/… take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.”

“WELL, IT’S YOU GIRL! AND YOU SHOULD KNOW IT!”

I hummed along to the Mary Tyler Moore Show opening theme song every week – even though I knew all the words by heart. “R,” for “Rose,” tacked on to a secret place in my heart!

LOVE YOU, MARY! THANKS FOR SHOWING SO MANY OF US THE WAY!

– Rose
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Some thoughts on “Ma,” President Trump and his (my???!) America

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Rose and George.       pics: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

Tonight I’m holding tight my late mom’s George Washington calendar from the 1940s (above). Like many young poor folks of the Great Depression and World War II – kids who knew they were lucky if they were eating a square meal a day –  my mom was resourceful. For example, she collected her own “art” from the free or inexpensive advertising lit all around her: With trusty scissors in hand she cut out and saved grainy black and white photos or colored illustrations (often muted – not very colorful at all!) from school and church calendars, Hollywood movie fan magazines and sheet music cover pages, church prayer cards – even Polish Christmas wafer wrapping paper  – anything  that captured her young imagination. My mother loved music and drawing. She was very good at sketching! She used to draw pictures for me and my sisters when we were little kids. We’d sit and watch Ma as she quietly created her art for us with an old number 2 pencil: a little girl with pigtails, a little kitten with ball of yarn, a cherub perched on a cloud … the cliches of her day, beautifully  rendered. I remember in our Lafayette Street flat, in a closet  – now lost forever! – the huge poster Ma drew in pencil of one of her beloved Boston Red Sox batters in mid-swing!  She was 12 – a total baseball freak! – when she drew it and it was a fine sketch! But I have none of my mom’s big sketches – usually made for a St. Mary’s School project – only lots of her “clipped art” – all in pretty ok shape for gussied up scraps of paper three quarters of a century old!

Ma made good use of her finds, like the sleek, smart crow who weaves bits of shiny gold ribbon into her cozy nest … She taped some of the art to her bedroom walls, used some pieces as book marks for her prayer books and sent some pictures to friends, instead of store-bought greeting cards. But mostly she saved her paper jewels – a poor girl’s dreams – in a  small, wooden brown chest in her family’s Green Island Bigelow Street tenement and later in our Lafayette Street flat. The contents became mine when Ma died.  I gave the small painted brown chest (painted by my grandfather) to one of my sisters.

The chest, I believe, was a kind of hope chest for Ma, a love song to America in which she kept all her American dreams. America was new to her family – her parents were Polish immigrants who experienced the promise –  and ugliness – of America. My grandfather worked like a slave in a textile mill in Douglas and, to relax once he got home, played the harmonica and smoked the unfiltered cigarettes he rolled for himself using his own little white square smoking papers and little cig rolling machine, a funny looking little contraption that Ma used to work in the mornings, to roll her Dad’s cigs before he went off to work. Cigs he could smoke during break … My mother’s mother, my “Bapy,” raised five kids, cooked everything from scratch, prayed every hour on the hour, went to mass EVERY day, but outside her Catholic faith and family, was lost in America. If not attending church or friends and relatives’ Polish weddings she stayed home. Praying and cooking.

Ma was the baby of the family, and the apple of Bapy’s eye. So she grew up an optimist and focused on the bright spots: special memories from her Polish immigrant church by Kelley Square, like her First Holy Communion prayer book which I have! (below), …

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A photo of Rose’s mom with her First Holy Communion children’s prayer book! (Cece got a hold of its back cover and Lilac ate it!)

… postcards, prayer booklets and stamps from her 10-year stint in Springfield as a housekeeper for the Bishop of Springield, pretty little gifts that her big brother – my Uncle Mark – brought back from Japan after he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. I especially love the calendar cover my Uncle Mark gave Ma (from his ship – probably taped above his bunk): a sexy Miss America hanging from a huge American flag. A gorgeous but stern Lady Liberty wearing an oooh la la blue diaphonous robe that showed her perky little breasts and “mound”! My uncle was pretty good looking and a bit of a ladies’ man. Ma teased him when he came home from the war with blond hair. She believed he dyed it – he said the tropical sun bleached it. This Lady Liberty was right up his alley! – worth fighting for! I ended up with the picture and crudely framed it a few years back. Saint Lady Liberty – the patriotic pinup gal proudly wearing her Virgin Mary-blue sheer gown over shaved pussy! AMERICA = #1!!!😄

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But I digress! Back to GW! My mom was a huge George Washington fan because she was born on his birthday – February 22! And because he was America’s first President – perfect to her –  America’s God, back in the days when the ideas of America and God were entwined in complex, beautiful, dangerous ways. My mom, true to her generation, and I, like all Baby Boomers, grew up hearing the George Washington grade school lessons/myths, almost Biblical: George Washington at Valley Forge in the winter, leading his troops …they wore torn boots, their frozen feet wrapped in cloth…The young George Washington chopped down the cherry tree when he wasn’t supposed to but said: I CANNOT TELL I LIE! IT WAS I WHO CHOPPED DOWN THE CHERRY TREE!

Ma and I were getting the boiled-down-for-the-plebs American history lesson: George Washington had a TON OF INTEGRITY. What we didn’t know: When some of the colonists clamored for him to be King of America for years and years – because he was such an outstanding military leader and first President and the times were so chaotic – Washington said: No way! That’s not what this country is going to be about! There are no kings here!

At the bottom of my mom’s George Washington calendar picture, it reads: “The love of my country will be the ruling influence of my conduct.”   –  Washington

Wow.

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Can you imagine these words coming out of the mouth of our new President, Donald Trump?  Can you imagine the IDEA even blooming in that narcissistic, almost insane brain of his? (Neither can I!) He is someone who wants to buy America’s love, on his terms only. LOVE DONALD – OR ELSE!

For me, Trump’s inaugural speech was Hitler-esque. Dark, foreboding, fist-pumping, military might-extolling, self-aggrandizing, self-idolizing … maniacal. I’d never read or heard an inaugural speech where America, the land of George Washington and Mrs. Tirella!, was painted in such ugly terms – “American carnage” and “tombstones” stretching from sea to shining sea! No wonder wife Melania chooses to live in NYC – and keep her little boy safe by her side. To live with such a sick man always peering into the abyss (or is it just a pose, a con so that Trump can trash America only to lay claim that he saved her? ), a husband with such a soul-shrivelling world view, dipped in Trump gold!, is too much! I predict Mrs. Donald Trump will be a sexed-up version of the late Mrs. Harry Truman: No thanks, White House, I pass! I’ll live somewhere else. Mrs. Truman was the epitome of post-WW II frumpiness; Mrs. Trump is the epitome of 21st century foxiness. But they’re cut from the same cloth: at heart, small town girls freaked out by the prospect of living in the hub of the world’s Super Power. War. Peace. Laws of the land. It all begins with the stroke of the Presidential pen. Scary, for some people.

Funny, but here on Ward Street these past couple of days, it felt like the kind of America Donald Trump painted in his inaugural speech. Very different from the Ward Street my mom walked down as a young girl with her Polish mother as they made their way to their Polish church, Our Lady of Czetchowa, a church that still stands and which I can see from my kitchen window …

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These days Ward Street is Heroin/drug Central of Worcester. Last year I wrote about the big drug bust next door (complete with confiscated cash –  40K! – and weapons – machine gun!!!) But we’ve got the low-level drug runners, too, here in our ‘hood: Kids (usually boys) 15 and 16 years old who hop on to their beat up bikes to pedal to our inner-city backyards to do drug deals. In like 5 seconds! These kids don’t live in our houses, just use our backyards as office space! – out of the way, hidden places to sell packets of heroin. A quick sale. Money exchanged for smack. Then they put their ear buds back into their ears and  hop on to their bikes and pedal away wicked fast! The deal goes down in seconds!

A few days ago I saw such a speedy transaction occur in the yard adjacent to ours. The kids, both boys, about 16 or 17 years old, were there during school hours. They had come on their bikes and I had come upon them! They looked and acted hard and business-like in a way many of our neighborhood kids don’t look and act. Lots of kids in my neighborhood are sweet, skinny, sad, fun loving. They’ll smile at you and tell you about their little adventures or pets. But these two kids? Uh uh. It was so easy to see.

One of the kids looked surprised and miffed to notice me at the periphery of his deal. The other kid, scrawny and tall, looked frightening in his hardness. When he saw me, he unzipped the front of his thin jacket and his hand went to a shirt pocket. I thought: He’s going to shoot me now.

So I chatted him up. Played the un-hip, oblivious middle-aged lady. The box that society puts you in.

“Don’t be afraid of my dogs! They’re friendly!” I said, smiling.

With a cold, dead-already face, making perfect eye contact with me, he said, direct and serious: “I’m not afraid.”

Chilling.

A day later I saw the  same kid, his pale ghoulish face smiling as he rode away lickety split on his bike, being chased by a police cruiser in the middle of our downtown. The cruiser’s siren was off because it was the middle of the afternoon, but all its lights were pulsating.

The kid was in the middle of a gang of kids – 20 or more youths – all on bicycles! Three or four of them wore Halloween masks, pale, scowling ghost masks that covered their entire faces. Lurid and other worldy… Four or five of them wore cotton bandanas over their faces – right up to their eyes – so you couldn’t see their features. They looked like they had rolled straight out of some sci-fi Western! But they weren’t galloping through Dodge on horses – instead they were riding, herd-like and hard, on our Main Street, yards away from Worcester City Hall, on ramshackle bikes! Laughing! Free! Most likely – at least a few of them – armed!

I was mesmerized by this dystopian image coming straight at me (I was in my car driving by the Hanover Theatre), straight out of the Donald Trump playbook. I pulled over and the group of kids – they filled the entire street – rode past me. They were laughing and talking easily among themselves, as the police cruiser chased them. I saw and heard my ghoulish kid barking out something to the other youths. He was smiling. High on an adrenalin high. He felt safe – and cocky – in the herd.

Had they just robbed somebody? Mixed it up with another bandana-, mask-wearing group of kids? Or were the cops just pursuing one kid? – a definite challenge when he’s in a large pack of kids, all on bicycles. Bikes are the perfect getaway vehicle – they  can easily go up and down one-way streets, go off and on sidewalks, sail through back yards and city parks, be carried up flights of stairs and stashed in apartments …

As I watched this wild little spectacle, I saw how these kids showed ZERO fear. They acted like outlaws! And like their Wild West counterparts, they  were indeed misfits – unhealthy outsiders, bedraggled and maybe unloved – still riding to their next adventure. With a few firearms thrown in for good measure.

The herd sailed right by me, then the police cruiser.

I found myself rooting for the kids. Their nihilism was so honest! They were America … America’s underbelly. Her lack of love for her poor, especially her poor children. One in five kids go hungry in America! That means Worcester, too. … The Worcester factory jobs are gone for their un-skilled parents – men and women who read at the third or fourth grade level. Minimum wage jobs don’t begin to pay all the bills. Parents feel trapped, go MIA. Our public schools sometimes become holding pens for these kids, a safe place to eat govt funded, free breakfast and lunch and, sometimes, a place to rest or sleep, if there’s violence/drugs in the family.

Trump’s America! The one he says he wants to save! Here in Worcester! Here on our Ward Street and Main Street!

His solution to a deep, generation-spanning societal ill, often sealed with depression, PTSD or other mental illnesses? More police. Good paying jobs.

I don’t think two –  or even three – Worcester police cruisers chasing the masked kids through our downtown would have changed the narrative. Saved the kids.

Maybe good paying, WPA type infrastructure jobs would help. Young people or their parents working on rebuilding our bridges and highways a la Franklin D. Roosevelt for good pay … Yes, that may make things better. So that our families, instead of developers or investors, can buy and live in the three deckers in our  old blue collar neighborhoods. Like it used to be on Ward Street, Perry Ave, Endicott and Sterling streets – all over lower Veron Hill and Green Island! Homeownership 101. The rhythm in all our Gateway Cities for most of the 20th century. The American Dream!

Trump is right: The global economy has left behind thousands and thousands of neighborhoods like mine. Millions of working-age adults who live in them! I don’t believe in all the Moral Majority crap: poor families are Godless and gone to pot – that’s why their neighborhoods are “bad.” Most parents in my neighborhood try to love their kids – I see their love displayed daily, despite the harsh circumstances! – but the pressures keep mounting on them –  from all sides… . Families implode.

Good paying jobs for our people will help. Tremendously, to use a Trumpian word!

Maybe the Donald is onto something. If only he’d drop all his nefarious baggage…

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Happy MLK Jr Day! … Let’s do better, Worcester!

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MLK delivering his I HAVE A DREAM speech to America … and the world.

By Rosalie Tirella

Something happened to Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy when the school teachers got a hold of him (and us). The teachers – that is most of them – were well meaning but hopelessly naive (and fearful?) when it came to the murdered civil rights leader and his legacy. Maybe they got stuck on one speech – only watched or listened to his “I have a Dream” speech and none of his other speeches and sermons, all fiercely political, tough minded and demanding … demanding America to change. In a deep, fundamental way …

Maybe they heard the part in his I Have a Dream speech – a history-making sermon he delivered before 200,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. in 1963, before his March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – and got stuck on one image in the speech – the part when MLK says he dreams of the day little black children can hold hands with little white children in peace. Being school teachers, these words plucked at their heart strings, the image moved them. And so they unwittingly turned MLK into a kind of sweet nursery rhyme character. Milquetoast for the masses – masses of school children who grew up never knowing, hearing the real Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK’s I Have a Dream speech is not, in my opinion, even one of his greater “sermons”! Go listen to MLK on fire!! – go find and listen to his many sermons and speeches on You Tube and YOU WILL BE BLOWN AWAY. You will be awestruck by this tough, courageous, political, loving, religious, funny, brilliant, charismatic, REVOLUTIONARY, ERUDITE preacher man!

Like WOW.

For me, MLK was as great an orator as Lincoln. And, miraculously, he was part of our world – the second half of the 20th century! If you’re a Baby Boomer (like me) or older, you remember him: you got to see, experience his presence on the American scene. And he was Olympian! I remember watching the TV, just a little kid, mesmerized by this Black man with the sonorous voice who could bring thousands of people to their feet – listening to him, singing with him, marching with him. My late mom revered MLK – and Bobby Kennedy. Through the TV news, their speeches to her, to all Americans,  made a difference. These two men, both highly educated, both wealthy, one Black, one Irish American, spoke to my poor single Polish mother in Green Island. They were a balm to her emotional pain, her family’s poverty, the difficulty, sometimes brutality, of her life. Their words, along with her Catholic faith, gave my single working mother strength to keep working those 60 hours at the drycleaners for minimum wage – never getting overtime, always making the extra money under the table. They helped give her the fortitude to make sure her three little girls were well cared for and going to Lamartine Street School EVERY DAY and studying hard and getting those As on their report cards so they could go to college on scholarship! They helped her keep her dreams for a better future alive.  At 45, 55 … 75 years old she would tell me: My Rosalie, I liked the Kennedy’s but Bobby better than Jack [Kennedy]. Bobby was more emotional. He was with the poor. He felt for the poor. …..My Green Island mini history lesson! Besides the hard life lessons I was living/ learning each day!

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Rosalie’s late mom…

MLK and Bobby Kennedy were so special to the poor, the disenfranchised of America! Not just Black folks. These two men knew – KNEW! – how hard it was! They loved us, were fighting for us and we knew it!

But white suburban middle class teachers sometimes don’t get it or maybe these days all Americans – out of complacency or intellectual laziness – don’t get it. Have forgotten the guts, the raw nerve, the visionary goals, the tough messages of MLK and Bobby K. These men were so outside the box they were perceived a threat by the rich, the powerful in this country … the people who called the shots in our small towns and big cities. South AND North. I believe MLK knew he was going to be killed (listen to his sermons!). He just didn’t know when. Which gave his life urgency: SO MUCH TO ACCOMPLISH – so little time to do the work! he must have thought to himself. Genius that he was, he crammed 1,000 lives into his cut-short one. He was just 39 years old when he was shot dead on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel!

Just like Jesus, another revolutionary, who also took the bullet, via crucifixion. Jesus too was tough, political, pro poor folks and outsiders. Hence: Dangerous. He preached about a New World Order, like MLK. Through nonviolence and love. An even bigger threat! Now how do the nefarious Nixons and Romans wrap their heads around that???

Jesus and MLK threatened the status quo on so many levels: racially, politically, economically, and yes, even sexually (remember Mary Magdalene?😉).

Of course, America killed MLK.

And we are killing him still. – today!

On the local front:

Where are the Black school teachers in our lilly white Worcester Public Schools? Many of our elementary schools have 100% all white teacher staff. Have for decades.

Where are our African American librarians in the Worcester Public Library and her branches! Remember: Worcester is becoming a majority-minority city, yet her “public servants” in no way resemble, reflect her public!

Why?

Because white people just  don’t wanna give it up. Share the perks and the power. Just like in 1965.

Shame on Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus for all the lip service but failing to walk the walk!

The Black Lives Matter movement and their peaceful protests here in Worcester?  Squelched.  By City Manager Augustus. Backed by police with guns and the threat of jail! Just like in 1965.

Worcester police beating the crap out of African American men and city leaders are still just thinking about body cameras for cops and for their police cruiser dash-boards. And where’s our civilian review board? How serious are Worcester city councilors taking police brutality? Do they really want to stop police brutality? ….Just like in 1965.

What about the high-ranking City of Worcester employee who called a black person,  as the person was driving into the Worcester City Hall parking garage and he was exiting City Hall, a “Fucking Nigger”? Was he ever fired from his city job? Put on leave?  Was the public even allowed to see the city records on this very public city incident by this public employee whose salary is paid for by the public? Nope. Hush, hush!

Compared to the cities of Hartford or Springfield, cities where I once lived and got to see a TRULY racially integrated city workforce, Worcester is woefully, shamefully behind the times.

But there’s plenty of blame to go around. One of the Worcester people who could have righted some of the injustices, or at least the ones in our public schools, was Stacey Luster. Luster, a prominent city African American, is the former Human Resources Director for the Worcester Public Schools. She was responsible for the hiring of our public school teachers and could have changed Worcester’s school teacher landscape in an important and city-shaping way. Truly diversified the Worcester Public Schools teaching staff! But she didn’t. I learned this early on, strangely enough, not at a public hearing or public meeting at City Hall but outside my old pal, the late Tony Hmura, outside Tony’s sign shop, in his driveway! On Canterbury Street, in the middle of the ‘hood! Stacey and her husband owned a building on Canterbury Street near Tony’s shop and (I learned later from Tony) Tony made a sign for their building.

So…I  was driving into the Leader Sign parking lot to visit Tony and I see Stacey’s husband leaving the shop. An unexpected surprise, in light of the fact the City of Worcester had just hired her to be the new Worcester Public Schools Human Resources Director. Its first African American one. I say to him, right off the bat, because I’m so enthused and happy: HI! ISN’T IT GREAT?! ISN’T IT GREAT THAT YOUR WIFE IS HEADING HUMAN RESOURCES IN OUR SCHOOLS?!! NOW SHE CAN REALLY BRING IN BLACK TEACHERS AND REALLY DIVERSIFY OUR SCHOOLS!!!!

Her husband looks at me and says: We’ve got a mortgage to pay. When she was in public office, but not now.

Translation: His wife wasn’t going to rock any Worcester status quo boats. She wanted to keep her City of Worcester job and her HUGE City of Worcester paycheck. Screw advancing her people, exposing minority kids to important role models …Screw bringing Worcester out of 1965!

Pathetic.

Which should remind us all HOW GREAT Martin Luther King, Jr. was!

He died for his people!

He died so black teachers could teach in Southern schools.

He gave his life so Stacey Luster could have a high status, high paying job in the Worcester Public Schools!

Forget the losers!

Honor, MLK! Celebrate, MLK! But most important, LISTEN TO HIM!!!

His message is UNSTOPPABLE!

P.S. Can you imagine? MLK just stopping by to give a little talk to your junior high school?! Wow.

YES!!!!! Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church …

… SAVED BY WORCESTER CITY COUNCIL!!!

Yes votes: Bergman, King, Lukes, Carlson, Rivera, Rosen, Russell, Toomey, Petty

No votes (both money guys): Economou, Gaffney

Mayor Joseph Petty at tonight’s city council meeting: “[I] look at this as more than just a church. [It’s] important to Italians, [it] represents history.”

YES!!!!

So much of present-day Worcester is seduced by the doe-eyed gentrifiers, glib developers, charming money-talkers – people whose lives revolve around CASH and PROFIT, what’s on trend, relentless social media marketing, the latest chi chi restaurant (gluttony=fat-assed people), Snapchat and – Poof! You’re gone! Disappeared!

So unlike the REAL SOUL stuff – the bread of life that nurtures you – the REAL you … your church, life-long friends, family, your neighborhood, animals, the sky. The stuff that has nothing to do with money but everything to do with happiness!

Here’s to Our Lady of Mount Carmel – a grand church!

Hooray for her neighborhood rec center that gives back to the community – at low or no cost!

Three cheers for her great inner-city little league baseball field that lets city kids slide into HOME …

“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me!”
– Jesus Christ

Coincidental?

Today, looking at the Catholic church outside my kitchen window, just as I was about to cut my tomato vine down cuz it looked old and I thought I might put something new and hot there in its place …

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pics: R.T.

… I saw a beautiful tomato! Red and perfect. Pressed against the window sill in red-rosy loveliness …

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I had not noticed it!

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Then I saw another tomato … small – Jaw Breaker gumball-sized small and (truth be told) a bit crinkly. Still cute.

… In spite of the cold, my indifference, Cece’s morning walks though the flora, they grew…

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And this too! My African violet uncurling her purple, little petal hands …

Kudos to Mauro, Candy and the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Preservation Society!

Worcester wins!

– Rosalie Tirella

Can the bishop and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Preservation Society MAKE PEACE? … “Historic” meeting tomorrow night! Jan. 2!

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Jesus hated money 💰and loved homeless 🔑people😇!      pic: R.T

By Rosalie Tirella

A few days ago I left Mauro DePasquale a voicemail re: his efforts to save his church, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and to stave off gentrification of the Shrewsbury Street corner on which his beloved church sits.

CUT A DEAL WITH THE BISHOP! I cried into my cell phone. THESE GUYS ARE BRUTAL AND WANT THAT VALUABLE LAND. THEY WILL SELL IT – AND  MT. CARMEL – DOWN THE RIVER FOR THE MONEY. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH CAN BE ARROGANT, RIGID … BRUTAL. CUT A DEAL. HAVE THEM TAKE SOME OF THE LAND TO SELL TO THE GENTRIFIERS,  AND WITH SOME OF THE MILLIONS THEY MAKE HAVE THEM BUILD YOU A NEW, SMALLER, ENERGY-EFFICIENT CHURCH. And you get to KEEP your rec center.

I sounded urgent because I’ve come to know, often from first-hand experience, how slippery, rigid and vain the Catholic church is and how slippery, rigid and vain Worcester politics is, a kind of Catholic church in its own dogmatic, cliquey right. I’ve watched how the game is played here in Worcester, and I believe Mt. Carmel is about to be flushed down the crapper by the Catholic Diocese of Worcester – basically a group of anal, proud, unyielding old Irish guys who happen to be “clergy” – for money. Why do I feel this way?  Because they recently met with fellow powerful Irish Catholic, St. John’s/Fordam University alum Chamber of Commerce head Tim Murray. Murray is a BIG TIME gentrifier and big time Catholic. The ducks were being lined up …  As Donald Trump would put it: SAD.

Mauro DePasquale and the Italian Americans who want to save and restore their beautiful old church are/were never in the Tim Murray-former-City Manager Mike O’Brien political circle of trust, that rigid roley-poley cabal that  still runs Worcester and pays you municipal jobs, political connections, back-room deals … in short, power … if you are Irish, went to Fordam or Holy Cross and give them your soul. Tangentially speaking,  now washed-up-pol Murray (precisely BECAUSE he tried to transfer the clubby political Worcester MO to a state-wide political campaign and was LAUGHED OFF THE STATE STAGE) is part of/connected to the Irish Catholic gang on Elm Street in the chi chi chancery.

So when the Bishop crowed at a recent public meeting that he rang up Murray and met with Murray I knew the fix was in for Mt. Carmel. These two Irish Catholic bros wanna move – for different reasons: the Bishop for $$$/Murray for development – that Mt. Carmel parcel of land just sitting fallow in the middle of a flourishing hipster business and restaurant district, a district ripe for another fucking artisan bakery that sells $7 loaves of bread, clothing boutique, bacon bar or something else that you eat, drink or wear to make yourself feel more cool, less fat, more sexy, more intelligent, etc., I knew it was over. I told Mauro he had to compromise, give these assholes some of what they wanted. AND MAURO AND THE MT. CARMEL PRESERVATION SOCIETY SHOULD, AT THE VERY LEAST, GET A NEW, SMALLER CHURCH AS REWARD FOR RELINQUISHING THEIR GRAND DREAM. Maybe with the mosaic and altar and other precious architectural details fom the old church incorporated into the new one.

Sad.

The Bishop probably called Tim Murray after Mauro and the church preservation society were on their way to having the church and its environs declared a Historic District – this move would make it much harder for the Catholic church to do anything to the property. That’s when the Bishop panicked. He’d lose money. More important, he’d lose CONTROL. Very crucial to the self worth of the old school, by the books, dogmatic, soul-crushing Catholic big wigs. More crucial than Jesus and what He stood for. The Bishop called Murray to squelch the church preservation society’s effort.

This makes even more sense – in a pathetic kind of way – if you know this back story: Mauro DePasquale and his wife Tracy head WCCA, the local cable access TV station. Former Worcester City Manager Mike O’Brien, another devout Irish Catholic, spent years trying to kill their TV station –  never liked them or the cable money they were getting to pay for their jobs, their staffers etc. O’Brien felt the dough was City of Worcester money and wanted WCCA shuttered.  He wanted the thousands of dollars WCCA gets to flow to the City of Worcester TV station where HE could CONTROL EVERYTHING: programming, staff, point of view … squeezing out Mauro, his wife, and Mauro’s staff…

And so began the death by a thousand cuts with WCCA losing funding every year. Mauro, a Worcester guy who grew up on Bell Hill, was shaken, upset. He called O’Brien, but Mauro’s phone calls weren’t returned, meetings with O’Brien were cancelled last minute. The city of Worcester government TV channel was beefed up by O’Brien – surreptitiously, of course. The dance goes on to this day with the new city manager following O’Brien’s lead, building and growing a state-of-the-art City of Worcester government TV channel, slowly cutting off WCCA. But Mauro has hung tough. He still has his beloved TV station and runs it his way – OPEN TO ALL VOICES IN THE COMMUNITY. It’s amazing that he’s got the energy for the Mount Carmel fight in light of the eternal battle to save WCCA TV.  Of course, on the Mt. Carmel front, he’s basically up against the same assholes.

Sad.

Where is the love hiding in all these freakin’ Catholics?!

To make things even sadder: We hear a real estate investor pal of former Worcester City Councilor Phil Palmieri is jonesin’ to buy the primo real estate parcel from the Diocese of Worcester. Palmieri, when in office, represented in part, the people of Shrewsbury Street, Mt. Carmel church. But he is also a local developer, owning that big building next to East Park and other East Side property. Phil’s a good guy but a money$$$$ guy. He knows the land on which Mt. Carmel and its rec center sit is worth millions! Millions! Because instead of simply being located in Worcester’s ol’ Italian neighborhood, it’s now located in the middle of Worcester’s booming, blooming urban coolio extravaganza – a $$$$-generating hipster business and restaurant mish mash that millenials love to patronize. It’s as if  Mt. Carmel, low on parishoners, high on a pastor who could often be seen down the street at the glitzy bar of Coral Seafood enjoying a drink, is a cultural anachronism. Even its pastor was imbibing at one of the hippest spots on Shrewsbury Street!

There seems to be no room for an Italian church whose flock has diminished, moved away … or died. Mauro believes the parish is still strong and is growing stronger by the day now that everything can be lost. Forever! He believes folks who care about Worcester history and architecture support his group’s efforts.

I said on his voicemail: CUT A DEAL, Mauro! THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN WIN THIS. THE IRISH BISHOP HAS CALLED THE IRISH HEAD OF THE WORCESTER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. The politics are against you.

In Worcester, that’s everything.

*******

From the Mount Carmel Preservation Society:

IMPORTANT

Please make every effort to attend for what may be an historic MPS meeting

Monday night – January 2, 2017

6:30 PM

The meeting will be held at WCCA TV studios 415 Main St. (Parking on street or municipal lots on Pearl/Elm St. or Commercial Street.)

We will communicate to you what has transpired with our meeting with the Bishop and I will ask you to vote to decide what our next step will be for the future of our church and our mission to Fix (reopen) the Church and Save the Parish on Mulberry Street.

I wish you all a wonderful blessed, healthy, happy, and peaceful new year.

God Bless us all!

SEE YOU MONDAY NIGHT!

Mauro DePasquale, President, Mount Carmel Preservation Society

http://www.preserveourladyofmountcarmel.org

Cece!

20161228_114244Rose’s late mom’s creche – just waiting for the swipe of Cece’s paw.      pics: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

So, it’s been two months of Cece, the homeless, half-starved kitten I was given as a (dubious?) reward for helping find homes for a pitbull mix, two cats, an assortment of hens and one elusive, hiding-in-the-nearby- woods rooster.

This has translated into:

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… my Polish immigrant granny’s Christmas creche she brought to America almost 90 years ago, along with all her hopes and dreams, SMASHED beyond Elmer’s help …

Most of my pretty potted plants that I nurtured and loved all spring, summer and fall …

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Dug up and dug into … possible peed into…

And here lies the culprit, on my chest, giving my boobies a good clawing if she feels herself slipping off …

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… She’s washing herself with that endearing little pink sandpaper tongue of hers while purring loudly …

The havoc that this 7-ounce feline creates wherever she sets her dainty little black paws – which is everywhere in my apartment, including refrigerator shelves after I shut the door! – is forgiven by her smitten owner …

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…ME!

What is it about this furry little demolition derby that sets my heart a flutter?

Is it because Cece looks like the little Black kitten – “Blackie” – that my mom and her two sisters (now all deceased) took in off the mean streets of Springfield during World War II when they were farmed out by my grandparents to work as maids for the Bishop of Springfield? (My mom left their Green Island tenement when she was 14 1/2 years old). They were the original cat ladies – but also pup lovers. Soft hearted and crazy cuz they were young and didn’t know any better, they convinced the good Bishop to buy them two Doberman pinschers – the pitbulls of their day. Which my mom and her sisters adored. Powerful dogs that you’d think would make dessert out of Blackie the kitten. But that never happened. The dogs – Rocky and Bridgette – loved my mom and her two sisters – and, like all dogs, lived to please their mistresses – and, like all good Dobbies, protect them to the max.  Rocky jumped on a visiting nun and broke her arm. He also bit a few people –  a scary and acutely painful experience for the person at the end of the large canine’s large canines –  getting his mistresses into big trouble. They were forced to give Rocky, to whom they fed horsemeat they bought at the butchers, to a farmer in the country. But Rocky loved them and escaped and weeks later came to their doorstep, haggard and bleeding at the tongue. He had cut himself bad trying to get at the milk in milk bottles – and died at my auntie’s ( his fave mistress) feet.

Here’s one of my aunts with Blackie:

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I love how she holds Blackie’s paw! In most of my late mom’s Sprinfield photos my mom and aunts are always holding some pet’s paw! Such sweet Catholic girls! So unprepared for my dad and uncles, all (except one!) killers.

So my Cece makes me think of my late mom and my two aunts during happy days of their lives – housekeeping but also dancing to Tommy Dorsey music in Springfield dance halls when big band music was the craze and dance halls were ubiquitous in this huge country of ours and all Americans – every last one! –  could dance. I mean REALLY DANCE. They knew and got rhythm. They bought sheet music and learned how to play the songs if they were musicians or learned ALL the lyrics, if they werent. … My mom and aunts were no different. They had a Victrola – which I now have in my kitchen – and 33s that played Doris Day, even AL Jolson ( “Hallelujah! I’m a bum again!”) …

When Cece first came into my life I burst into tears as she ran sideways into Lilac, my hound/shepherd mix! Not because I feared for her life (she could fit into the palm of my hand she was so small – not even weened!) but because of her just born-ness. Her newness in this mean old world. Her innocent recklessness in a world that could squelch her in a second. Her beautiful virgin confusion. I ran to her, scooped her up, still crying and thrust her to my chest! THERE THERE BABY GIRL! I blubbered. I’LL TAKE CARE OF YOU! I LOVE YOU!

And so I did and so I have. I taught my Cece (named after my late mom) how to lick drops of canned kittens milk from my finger tip – and then how to lap it from a tiny bowl I made for her out of an upside down instant coffee cover.

I scooped her up and kissed her little face when the dogs got too rough with her – and scolded the dogs for treating her like a chew toy with an edge they’d never seen in me. To their chagrin Cece liked their big dog water bowl better than her teeny one! And Mommy did nothing to keep her from defiling the waters!!

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The pure joy with which Cece attacks life moves me! Makes me forget our mortally dangerous soon to be President Donald Trump. The pain and hatred he’ll create fall to the wayside as Cece races through my kitchen. Guns pop out daisies as Cece makes a virgin dive from the table in my bedroom to my bed! And low and behold!!! I am young again! Tying a long strip of peach ribbon to notebook paper I’ve crumpled into a ball I run like a teenager in my apartment, yelling IT’S CECE! IT’S CECE! HERE COMES CECE AROUND THE BEND!!! And my little kitten is under foot going wild with the paper ball, pouncing on my ankles and giving them some good little bites. Ouch!!!

All babes do the same! Make joy out of nothing. Just last week I saw a poor family walking down a Worcester inner-city street. Mom had the usual clear plastic covering zippered up over the baby stroller she was pushing. Sometimes you just see cheap blankets thrown over the stroller giving warmth and protection to months-old babies in freezing New England weather. You worry about the babies’ little toes and fingers. You stare at the pain…no room at the inn. It’s still true, so many Christmases later! But then you see the Christmas miracle – or Christ himself – the six-year-old girl in her cheap autumn jacket that is out of season but mom wisely undergirds with sweater and shirt. Then there are her mittens and jaunty little yellow knit cap. So little girl is playful – pulls a Cece! As they cross the street, the little girl walks on tip toes – only in the white lines in the cross walk! Stretching her little jean clad legs so her feet won’t touch the gray cement of the street – just the white painted lines of the crosswalk. She is smiling to herself. Her secret game with rules she made all by herself for herself!

A month before, in South Worcester, I saw another little girl doing pretty much the same thing in her cross walk but adding a little dance to the game. Then the little boy in Main South who did the same in his crosswalk – only he would clap his hands every time he stepped onto a yellow painted line! And he’d smile! Tickled at his trick. Poverty was something to be leapt over, clapped to, danced along… 

Then you remember how you, as a little girl walked these same Worcester city streets, behind your sweet, very poor single mom. It was wintertime. Ma was always carless – didn’t even know how to drive. … You’re walking home on Lafayette Street after Ma and you and your two kid sisters have gone grocery shopping at Supreme Market on Millbury Street. It’s after a big snowstorm, and the snow plows get to the poor neighborhoods last. No matter! Your mother walks in Lafayette Street, against traffic, against and into the dirty soft snow. She’s pulling her grocery wagon behind her. It’s filled with groceries covered with plastic wrap that she got from the drycleaners she works at 60 hours a week – 40 for minimum wage, 20 under the table. She just got paid this Friday night. You giggle along with your sisters cuz you found the big tire tracks made by the big trucks going down Lafyette Street and now you have a game going home! You’re trying to walk only inside the tire tracks the big 18 wheelers have made in the snow! The tracks are wide and long. Be careful! It’s slippery! You and your sisters are trying to slide inside the thick tire tracks! The street lights give the Green Island night a pleasant yellow glow from above and make the darkened snow sparkle diamonds. Stay inside the lines! you yell to Pat and Joannie.

You don’t want to slip and lose the game – even though you do. But that’s ok because you don’t have far to go if you fall! You see it all! The snowflakes in the snow, the flowers in the dirt! Whoppee! What a game! In the snow! With Ma!!!!!!

Cece joy! If she were human – a little girl and not a little kitten – she’d join in! Back home in our third floor flat we have our own tabby kitten – Rajah! She likes to play, too! And drink from the saucer of milk our Polish granny, Bapy, sets on the floor for her. Bapy feeds her yellow pound cake, too, even though Ma scolds her and tells her not to! The cake will make Rajah sick! But it never does.

I know there are three little bags of cashews Ma bought for me and for each of my two kid sisters in Ma’s purse. Lightly salted. I smiled at the rummies at McGovern’s Package Store on Millbury Street as Ma paid for our bags of cashews. She looks so pretty in her blue wool coat and red lipstick! Just like a princess!

So lucky to be a little girl, a little kid – a Cece in this world!

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Rose and her mom under the Christmas tree, many years ago.

*****

One of my late mom’s fave tunes! She used to dance to it in our Green Island kitchen! (I love the video!)

Polish Santa Claus is coming to town!

By Rosalie Tirella

In our last issue I told you my ol’ friend Tony Hmura died at the very ripe old age of 93. I explained how this alt-right Worcester character was in truth a pretty compassionate guy who, for years, ran his own little nutty social service agency out of Leader Sign Co., his small business (and love of his life for 65+ years) on Canterbury Street.

Tony never dug deep to find the reasons for people’s addictions or problems because he didn’t spend time analyzing himself and his own pain. He was a working class guy who made signs! His motto? JUST DO IT! Neon, paint, corrugated plastic, saws, hammers, drills – you name it. Tony loved the physical, loved to be out in the elements, subduing them. The little guy – he was about 5′ 3″ tall and skinny – was happiest working with his son Bryan, in their huge company truck/crane, running up ladders, running on roofs…fixing, building. He was into …

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… not …

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Tears were a waste of time, for Tony. Life called for ACTION!!!!!!

So Tony had his hands-on solutions to problems Freud would have psychoanalyzed to death. Tony’d take hookers out for hot dogs at Coney Island, so they’d have a “square meal.” He’d give the emaciated neighborhood booze hounds 10 bucks, knowing they’d run straight up the street to Rendell Package store to buy their vino, not once thinking about eating. For years he’d buy 5-pound bags of Purina cat chow and dump a bunch of cat food in the bowl outside his shop for the feral cat colonies he cared for. Tony loved cats – thought they were beautiful – and did a great job of feeding and watering (every day) all the wild kittens and cats who, like the wild inner-city people, made their way to Leader Sign’s door step. But he was never interested in trapping/spaying/neutering them. Or having them vaccinated for rabies. He didn’t understand the feral cat issue – or even knew what a feral cat colony was. I called all my animal rights gal pals and got them ready to go with traps etc to Leader, but Tony never got behind the effort, wasn’t there at the shop to help them – or approve of them on his property. Maybe a group of Tony’s feral cats were “fixed” and vaccinated. Maybe not. He didn’t really get the point. For him, he had beautiful cats at his door step looking for food. So he fed them.

Tony used to brag about his furry kitty visitors – he told me their colors and described their markings with a smile. A tone of wonder. He was a nature freak, but didn’t admit the fact. For instance, he also left cat food and scraps outside the front door of his Auburn home. Often I’d visit to see a styrofoam take out carton filled with spaghetti or bits of bread or pizza crusts to the right of his WELCOME door mat. The Auburn feral cats, along with some very fat happy squirrels, were also cared for by Tony. The swans in the pond behind his house were counted – babies especially. The geese weren’t as lovely – but Tony liked them, too.

Christmas was the time of year Tony tried to make life better for poor kids and people in the ‘hood. For many years he was the “secret” Polish Santa – in an Irish-WASP-dominated city! This was Tony’s way of promoting his ancestry and saying Screw You! to Worcester’s movers and shakers, who always managed to keep Tony out of the loop. Always the narcissistic self-promoter, Tony marketed his Santa brand – had a ton of special Polish Santa silver dollars minted, in his image (a scrawny Santa that looked exactly like Tony), which he gave out to any body and every body this time of year, dressed as the Polish Santa, of course.

Every Christmas the Polish Santa would hit many of Woo’s seedier bars and night clubs to give his Polish Santa silver dollars, along with a $50 bill, to the rough but always very grateful waitresses or “show girls” – some offering themselves up to the Polish Santa for  more presents … Oh, Santa BABY!

Tony might have nibbled but never committed himself – he was too rich for a girlfriend/second wife.  He wanted to keep all his money to himself. Women were mostly for sex.

Often, with a just-visiting-for-the-holidays gal pal from Naples, Florida, (Tony bought a sexy Mrs. Claus red suit for her) he would fill a sack with cute stuffed Disney animals and plush toys and hand them out to school kids – usuually at St. Mary’s – way before today’s asshole pastor took over the little Polish school and neighboring church.

One year, his gal pal didn’t visit – so I got the call. I said: Yes, but the Christmas toys have to be given to a classroom of little kids at Canterbury Street School.

I told Tony the kids were needy and would love the presents and seeing Santa (Tony paid a lot of money for an amazing Santa outfit). And NO, I wouldn’t wear the sexy Mrs. Claus outfit with go go boots.

Tony had aspirations but he was, at his core, a pragmatist: OK, he said.

So the next day Tony and I went to a nice big box store and bought 15 cute little girl toys and 15 cute little boy toys, a ton of wrapping paper and red and green ribbon. We went to Tony’s house where he turned on America’s Most Wanted and I slaved over the gifts. Wrapping THIRTY Christmas presents in one go – complete with ribbon, red for girls, green for boys – is not really fun in one sitting. Especially with America’s Most Wanted blasting on the TV. Old Tony sat in his Lazy Boy and drank a glass of Moxie (yes, I was surprised they still make it) and annoyingly cracked  open and ate pistachio nuts, his favorite snack.

Finally, I was done and annoyed. I told him: LOAD THE GIFTS IN YOUR CAR TRUNK YOUR SELF! Pick me up tomorrow and we’ll go to Canterbury.

Tony, in between sips of Moxie, said, Yep.

Next day Tony picked me up. As the Polish Santa. We drove to Canterbury Street School. He was told: We have two kids who are Mormons. You can’t bring in presents because it’s against their religion.

Tony walked back to the car, tear-assed. WHAT THE FUCK! said the Polish Santa. And added: Put the Mormon kids in another room!

Shit! said Santa’s exasperated helper. They can’t. You have to respect all families’ religion and you can’t discriminate. Especially in a public school. Even one filled with poor kids who would have loved getting Christmas gifts from Santa (even the Mormons).

This was the kind of politically correct explanation that was anathema to Tony. He hated hearing stuff like this – stuff that was right and true but still deeply fucked up. The new America. The America that he didn’t understand. The America that had left him behind.

That’s bullshit, Santa said to me.

I know, I said. And sighed. Then I suggested we go to St. Mary’s school where he could still have fun giving gifts to kids dressed as Santa.

Tony said OK. We drove to the little school on Richland Street, met the nun who at that time was school principal, walked down perfectly spotless, silent corridors and entered a third grade classroom whose students promptly rose to their feet and said GOOD AFTER NOON SISTER…

The good nun explained what would happen. Tony passed out the gifts. The kids sang a song for him as a thank you. The nun lead us out, thanking Tony profusely. I think he gave her a Polish Santa silver dollar.

The class sent Tony a cute homemade thank you card.

Next year I pushed Tony into donating toys for Chandler Elementary, another Woo inner city school filled with poor kids. I called the school to explain. They said no thanks to the Polish Santa but they would take his presents. Well, back Tony and I went to the big box store to get toys. Back to his house did we go where I slaved over gift wrapping again.

We drive to Chandler a few days later. No we can’t enter a classroom and no, the gift will not be given to grade 4 but to the special needs teacher for his one on one work with special kids. I thought that was nice. Tony did too. The principal shook Tony’s hand and thanked him.

Tony never got a thank you card or a call to come back, though I said the Polish Santa would love to adopt a classroom.

Yes, we did it all on the fly. But…so what?

Back at Leader Sign Company, a disappointed Polish Santa and his feisty elf sat, trying to make sense of the world we lived in. Yes, it was good to help. But it was bad to run with your feelings. Just do it. There were forms to sign, CORI checks to be run, fingers to be printed…everybody was equal but nobody was alike. There were all these trigger points ready to trigger off at any second. If anyone could trigger … panic, it was right wing Tony Hmura. Even as the Polish Santa!

It’s Ok, Tony. I said. Next Christmas we’ll do it right.

I was lying to my friend. The world didn’t work the way it used to. Tony was part of that violent, weird, old America. He didn’t have the keys to this new one. He didn’t know how to start the dialogue. Couldn’t understand.

But now the Polish Santa is buried in Notre Dame cemetery on Hope Ave., hopefully making merry with bare-assed cherubs and Jesus Christ himself, who I believe has forgiven the Polish Santa his main sins of cupidity and lust. Now for Tony it’s just peace and looking down on Leader Sign and Canterbury Street and wishing he could be a part of the chaos again.

After the Thanksgiving feast, a few thoughts on Worcester’s turkeys

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The future.     pic:R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

The family Thanksgiving Day dinner I attended with two friends was divine! Near the New Hampshire border in a farm house we gathered, seated ’round a long, dark wood table, the one my friend’s grandad had built for his farmhouse years ago. He set his big table under the sunniest window. … There were so many veggie dishes and desserts at this Thanksgiving feast! Many cooked from scratch. The wealth and comfort of my host, hostess and their kids, brothers and cousins made me think of – and talk to them about – my beloved Worcester ‘hood: its kids, our inability to get the public library book mobile to visit our neighborhood … so many struggles.

A few days later, a few pounds heavier, I am thinking about the people in my city who are destroying my city, my neighborhoods. Sure, the family in New Hampshire with whom I spent my holiday will do nothing for my people – there really are two Americas!! – but here in Worcester there are public officials who go beyond my dinner hosts’ indifference, detachment and cluelessness. These Woo leaders actively engage in destroying the city they were elected to serve, raise up …

For example:

The in-appropriateness of CDBG funds going to the church co-owned and run by D 4 Worcester City Councilor Sarai Rivera, who is also a pastor there, was trumpeted by At Large Worcester City Councilor Mike Gaffney in the most toxic terms on his most toxic YouTube show and on the city council floor where Gaffney sees himself as a modern day Douglas (ha!). His stupidity was aided and abetted by Aidan Kearney on his (formerly) pornographic, racist, classist and sexist Turtle Boy sports blog. These two Man-Boys are arguably the most racist public figures we have in Worcester today. They are leading this city down such a dangerous path!

Together, under the guise of “crusaders for justice” – an excuse for them to whip up racial hatred in Worcester in the same way Donald Trump has incited racial violence in Anerica – Gaffney and Kearney have destroyed several key progressive Black leaders/groups in Worcester. Groups and people who work to make Worcester’s inner city BETTER. Safer. Healthier. Smarter. Even happier. Gaffney and Kearney will have none of it! Since Day 1. Together. Working as Woo’s evil tag team. They have destroyed: Black (now former) Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Melinda Boone, the Black Lives Matter protesters at Kelley Square  and the Mosaic Complex, a tiny Black social welfare agency run by Brenda Jenkins. They have destroyed Brenda, too, a Black woman, a true community activist, known for her fearlessness when it came to speaking out against racial inequality in Worcester and her years of work with our inner-city Black men/youth around mental and physical health issues.

Poof! Gone!

Thanks to the fiery lies and hatred fanned by Gaffney and Turtle Boy Aidan. In the Worcester blogosphere and in Worcester City Hall every Tuesday night. Then oozing into our community life …

Instead of trying to foster thoughtful discussions, open dialogues about important issues – many racial because of the city’s evolving demographics – these two man-boys fan the flames of hatred. They confused Worcesterites,  lied to people. Played to folks’ prejudices. Racist Kearney posted unflattering photos of Brenda Jenkins on his Turtle Boy blog – the community roared!!! – then there was his photo of Boone’s head pasted on top of a grave stone – the community roared again!!!!

City Councilor Gaffney has called City Councilor Rivera a soldier in THE “MCGOVERN CRIME FAMILY.” Is this any way to lead a Gateway City in the 21st century? What kind of city councilor talks the way Gaffney does – especially about one of the country’s most progressive  congressmen, Jim McGovern? A man who has spent his entire political life fighting for the hungry, the poor, the disenfranchised?… Many in our city.. . Gaffney’s fact finding missions on behalf of the community are sick and twisted. He uses them as an excuse to publicly mock, denigrate and destroy leading people of color in Worcester. In this way racist Gaffney keeps people of color down – in city government, in city politics, in city life, in Worcesterites’ heads.

Lately, City Councilor Konnie Luke’s has joined Gaffney and blindly jumped into the racist fray – calling for lists, names and addresses of Worcester’s refugees and immigrants. She’s stupidly supported many of Turtle Boy and Gaffney’s hate-inspired crusades. I believe Lukes hasn’t thought things out – she is not a racist but she is getting there. She is paranoid and can be sucked into Gaffney’s – or any fear-monger’s – tsunami.

The Rivera church-CDBG issue WAS a valid issue – city officials shouldn’t look like they’re getting city sweet heart deals. But if we take the longview, sweetheart deals have been going on in Worcester city government for decades. DECADES!!!! From hiring, to firing, to job contracts, to neighborhood beautification – the only difference being that, up until recently, the “winners” (or should we say “sinners”?) were white, male and Irish Catholic.  So, naturally, everyone looked the other way.

It’s a new world, kids! – and many in Worcester are unwilling to accept the fact. Gaffney and Kearney keep the blinders on.

It’s called Burning the Future.

Shame on Billy and Konnie! (and Mikey and Paulie and Turtle Boy, too!)

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Rosalie says: Oh, baby, it’s getting chilly here in Trumpland! Thank you, K & B! pic: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

Leave it to Main South Alliance for Public Safety founder,  head guru, top blowhard and one-man-band Billy Breault to suck in conspiracy-loving Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes and get her to attend his anti-refugee meeting last night. Breault, a la Trump, flagellates the most vulnerable groups in America – refugees, undocumented immigrants – calls for a witch hunt of sorts. Can we count these people in Woo? he wants to know. Where do they live? Can we track them? Can we check their criminal records? he demands. And Lukes attends his kooky, hateful meeting AND AGREES WITH HIM. Despite the facts that she’s a daughter of Albanian immigrants and once headed the local chapter of the ACLU! I bet you City Councilor Mike Gaffney was frothing at the mouth to attend this racist, ethnophobic shindig but declined because he’s savvier (read: sneakier) when it comes to public relations.

Why would Lukes be so nutty with her new buddy?  And dangerous?  Breault is calling for names, numbers, stats… TRACK THESE PEOPLE DOWN!!, he says. He stupidly, blindly believes the hateful Trump rhetoric: that all nefarious activity in America (and Main South, where Breault lives) can be traced to refugees, undocumented immigrants …and that if they were removed, ejected, deported Main South, America would be the better for it.

It’s happening in Worcester and all over America, folks!…Trump’s election to POTUS – the highest political perch in our land – has begun to poison our cities and towns – fuel more racism and hatred. Here in Worcester, it’s as if his election has validated – was a catalyst for! – the ugly meeting convened by Breault and attended by Lukes.

The same could be said for Gaffney and his boys on another issue: Gaffney’s going after Worcester City Councilor Sarai Rivera for the demolition of her church with CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds. This Trumpian move scapegoats, too – it seeks to destroy a progressive, Latina politician and decimate our inner-city CDCs – by going after the federal monies that keep them in business.

The attack on Rivera’s integrity was fueled by the “news tip” left in a comment section by Sarai Rivera-hater Paul “Paulie” Collyer, a guy who under the radar (of course), has done more to damage the progressive, compassionate trends of this city than anyone I know. He turned former CM Mike O’Brien into a CDC-hater because the CDCs interfered with Paulie’s weak-dick attempts to redevelop Woo HIS way (read: jettison the poor!). Collyer hates Rivera for not doing economic development HIS way and for showing compassion to the hurting folks in her district, where Paul has his buildings. Vindictive bully boy Collyer hates progressive City Manager Ed Augustus for pretty much the same reasons as he hates Rivera and because he can’t control him the way he did O’Brien – ending O’Brien’s career in Woo because he caused O’Brien to  go against the soul of this city so intensely. So Collyer’s snooping around and breaking this “news” was a double whammy for Paulie!

How did this happen? Easy. Paulie posts his racist tip/nutty idea in a comment section, maybe FBs with his buddy Gaffney. Gaffney, who is right in step with buddy Collyer, runs with the tip on the City Council floor, making it a “legitimate” news story.  Racist Turtle Boy Aidan Kearney -a FB pal to Gaffney and Collyer –  runs hard with Collyer’s tip, now Gaffney’s crusade, on his blog.  It’s delicious click bait.

From Collyer to Gaffney to Turtle Boy – three points – the Bermuda Triangle of Stupid.

Sure, City Councilor Gary Rosen figured he’d be the cool hip councilor and suck up to the millennials and take a ride to huge popularity on the back of our city’s dogs via his dog park crusade. But now Gary’s awfully quiet – some taxpayers, Collyer included, are peeved that there may actually be a price tag to improving Woo quality of life. So Gary has shut up, stopped all his dog park yapping.

Gary is a pointless demagogue.

Gaffney, Lukes, Collyer,  Breault and Turtle Boy Aidan Kearney are deadly demagogues.