Tag Archives: inner city neighborhoods

“Ma” – FOREVER in fashion! … Happy International Women’s Day!❤!

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

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Here’s a photo, taken years ago, of my late mom – “Ma”💛💛💛💛 – and Polish immigrant granny – “Bapy”🎵💐🌻🌺🌹🎺 – in their tenement in “The Block,” on Bigelow Street in Green Island.

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Here are my late mom’s polyester work vests – bought at the old White’s Five and Ten (and more!) on Millbury Street – decades ago – and worn by my mom, to work at the dry cleaners.

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My grandmother never held a job outside the home – her husband, my grandfather, was the breadwinner toiling in a textile mill in Douglas. But my mother and her two sisters, my aunties, were, like all poor girls from poor families, work horses! From 14 1/2 years old to 65 years old they worked as maids, cashier girls at the late great Eden Restaurant on Franklin Street, cooks, counter girls at Oscar’s dry cleaners on Millbury Street. Typical jobs for daughters of typically poor immigrants – young women whose paychecks often helped support a big, struggling Irish-, Italian-, Eastern European- family.

As a kid watching Ma put on one or the other of her polyester work vests I knew she meant business. She was getting ready for a full day at the dry cleaners, where she worked for minimum wage, 60 hours a week. She walked to work (we didn’t own a car). She walked to work pulling a shopping wagon (also bought at White’s) behind her for light grocery shopping at the end of her work day. She carried a brown paper sack that contained her lunch: thermos of black coffee, a sandwich in a baggie and an apple or banana for dessert. Ma was the most disciplined person I have ever known – she never ate more than a sandwich at lunch or a bowl of cereal at breakfast. Never second helpings for her. She was anti-gluttony. She used to say to us kids: “Eat to live! Don’t live to eat!” And she meant it. She was a pillar to no-nonsense, fad-free good health.

She had to be! As a single mom, not on ANY government assistance (which she was eligible for but too proud to accept), it all rested on her small shoulders, the ones on which her little polyester work vests hung. She had our Lafayette Street tenement to pay rent on, utility bills to pay, her three little girls to feed and clothe, a tired old Mama (Bapy) to feed and care for and (usually) a gaggle of my pets to feed and love!: Belle the English Setter mix, Raj the tabby cat, Gigi the mouse, Tommy and Speedy the turtles, Joy the hamster, Horatio the Old English Sheep dog mix, Sally the salamander. Sometimes I had two dogs at once! It was crazy!!! And then there was Ma’s peripatetic husband, my father, “Daddy,” a wild, gorgeous hunk of a man with a red pompadour who swept Ma off her Keds and breezed in and out of her life for years. Looking to get laid by Ma, looking for mothering from Ma, the mother of all mothers!, looking for her pity, her understanding, her quiet, dependable love … We never really could figure him out. He yelled so much. He called Ma such horrible names! Fuck nut! Donkey! He made me cry. But he never made Ma cry – or she never showed us her tears.

Here’s Daddy holding my two kid sisters on his lap:

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In short, Ma’s life was BIG, RICH, ROILING, SAD, STRUGGLING and old school CATHOLIC. Mostly, I now see, it was deeply meaningful and loving.

I didn’t always think so. In my early college years I was ashamed of Ma and my life with her – She was, we were, so poor in Green Island! We had no car, no clothes dryer even (as a college freshman a friend had to teach me how to use a dryer in the laundry room!), no vacations, no nice restaurants, no trips to museums outside of Worcester Public Schools field trips. Ma was “ignorant” – stuck in her dead-end job, never even finished 8th grade! A loser! She prayed too much – kow towed to silly Catholic saints on her small dime store prayer cards, like this one, which I have today and keep on my night-table at all times:

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All writhing souls in purgatory, inextinguishable flames of a painless hell licking our faces, Jesus’s pierced heart and crown of thorns – King of pain! – blood drip drip dripping on us penitents, now dead, awaiting ever lasting life in a pit of fire … Ugh. Depressing. Guilt-inducing. The brutality of old school Catholicism, the way it KILLED your spirit, killed MY spirit, my need for God – FOREVER. Today I am a Godless Green Island girl! … a card-carrying atheist, if ever there was one!

For a few years (in my early 20s) I didn’t even speak to my mother! So angry was I at Ma for our poverty, her abusive husband – my abusive “Daddy.” I’d lie in the top bunk bed in my college dorm room and think to myself: This room is so much warmer than my bedroom on Lafayette Street ever was – ever could be!

Ma’s beauty slipped away from me …

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Then, years after college, when I was helping Ma move into her last apartment, I came upon her work vests. She had retired from the dry cleaners a year ago. I asked her: Ma, can I have them? Maybe wear them around the house when I do chores… She said: Sure.

It’s funny: Next day, when I put on one of Ma’s drab little polyester vests, I felt POWERFUL – like I knightress in shining armor!!!! I could not believe the energy, the happiness … the LOVE I was feeling. I was wearing Ma’s coat of mail, the holy vest that she wore into battle against poverty each and every day. It had chinks in it and was blood-splattered and tear-stained! And here it was – all mine! So beautiful! Years ago I thought it was the ugliest piece of cloth I had ever seen! Its Whites Five and Ten polyester roughness! Its boring color! Its utilitarian un-fashion. No style statement was this vest! BUT IT WAS! All along! I remembered the contents of its pockets, years ago, as Ma readied herself for her work day: a few pens, pencils, a little scratch pad, roll of Life Savers, a scapula or two…

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Here is one of Ma’s scapulas she’d take to work each day – in her vest pocket!
Also, she’d have a little dime store Novena prayer book held together with staples – Novena prayers for St. Francis, St. Jude … She would read it, pray her holy Novena prayers during her half hour lunch break at the dry cleaners, sitting in a metal folding chair by the counter, still on the look out and responsible for her customers. No break at all!!

To all the saints – Jude, Martin, Theresa, Anne, Joseph and Mary! – saints who Ma prayed to, average people who helped Ma get through her hard life – I now say THANK YOU to you! Ma’s faith in you was real, life-sustaining! She saw you transcend your pain and suffering – so she transcended hers!

Sometimes in her vest pocket Ma would have a five dollar bill too! – a little fun, a gift for her girls after school. As little kids my sisters and I visited Ma everyday at the dry cleaners, after Lamartine Street or St. Mary’s schools, to say hello! She’d dig into her vest pocket and give us her “pocket” money so we could run down to Pete’s Dairy Bar on Millbury Street to have some fun: buy a small order of french fries, a hamburger, hang with the other kids there after school before going home to do our homework. One of my kid sisters took a few quarters and played the Pete Dairy Bar pinball machines, while my other sister and I sat in our booth eating our french fries and burger – me reading my Tiger Beat magazine, in between greasy bites!

Maybe we heard a Beatles song play on Pete’s juke box. We’d laugh as owner Pete and his waitresses joked with all the kids – the place was always packed with kids after school! We were in kid heaven, thanks to our Ma!

Happy International Women’s Day to all the blue and pink collar moms out there who are making lives for themselves and their families each and every day! You rule!❤❤❤🎺👠💐🎵

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.

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

The nitty gritty holidays in my neck of Ward Street…

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Rosalie’s Ward Street, 11/16/2016.   pics:R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

This year the holidays, here on Ward Street, the street I’ve lived on for almost four years, will be family-focused, spiritual, fun …  and laced with used syringes and cum-filled condoms. Don’t forget the broken beer bottles and a brick or two, wrapped in silk scarves!

This Thanksgiving our sidewalks are teeming with the stuff of addiction and lust … and violence. Last year we had the drug house next door – Heroin Depot, manned by tight-lipped 22-year-old guys (all business) with guns and Mercedes and Lexus SUVs.  When the stateys and the WPD Vice Squad, wearing their bullet proof vests and their guns, their German Shepherd dogs by their sides, finally made the bust, a machine gun was removed from the premises – along with the usual thousands of dollars in cash and (of course) bags of heroin. One of the guys, once annoyed at my neighbor’s son, cooly flashed his gun to show him who was boss – in front of the man’s three-year-old boy.

This holiday season things feel decidely tamer. These days, my downstairs neighbor, when entering our building at night, has had to walk past – more like navigate through – people sitting on our front steps enjoying the orgasmic heroin high. No big time killers running a lucrative drug biz – just your run of the mill junkies – floating high above Ward Street, as high as the giant moon, to get to a better, oblivious place, having shot up their smack minutes ago. They did this openly and they did not give a damn if they were on private property and my neighbor had to trip over them to get to her apartment. Every time this has happened my neighbor has said nothing. She puts her key into  our front door lock, opens the front door to our building and heads upstairs.

The next day she finds the junkies’ used syringes by her car, in her parking space in our teeny parking lot by our building. Along with used condoms. Which makes me think someone prostituted her/himself to get the smack and shot up IMMEDIATELY afterwards. Because that’s addiction for ya. It decimates your self respect. People fucking on our sidewalk for heroin or in (ha!) the St. Mary’s (aka Our Lady of Czetchowa) precious parking lot (see my previous posts) or sadly, for me, in the entrance of the church’s separate, stand-alone shrine to the Virgin Mary – the same shrine that I, as a little girl,  and my late mom, would visit what seems like centuries ago, to light a candle, say a Hail Mary, and admire the prettiness of Blessed Mother and all her accoutrements: the flowers around her, the rosaries laid at her feet, the votive candles all aglow, set in big metal, V-shaped candelabras, pointing to heaven. She still looks pretty …

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… only now she’s behind bars, protected from the neighborhood, cut off from the people, the people who need her most. This was once a quiet, neat Polish immigrant enclave, now my neighborhood is a hot bed of drugs and guns with police driving through our neighborhood at all hours, sirens blaring or pulsating or silent – depending on the emergency – you get to learn the nature of your emergencies here on Ward Street without even having to read the newspaper or look outside your window!

But most important, my neighborhood is filled with so many beautiful kids and adults who do the right thing EVERY day. Who come out and greet the day and garden in their small front yards, try to play with their brothers and sisters in the church parking lot (fat chance!), walk their dogs (the quiet proud white pit bull and his owner come to mind), drive their grandkids to school, walk to the packie down the street not for booze but for chips and soda. The forgotten Americans that president-elect Trump is supposed to save. The man who’s gonna save America’s inner-city neighborhoods, singlehandedly it seems.

I epecially love the old Polish guy, the last stalwart from the old Ward Street, who lives next door in his neat trim little home with concrete cherubs in his front yard.  Almost daily he solemnly sweeps his street corner – no matter how crazy the neighborhood gets. It’s a ritual for him. I love to drive home at the end of my day and see him outside, head down, work clothes on, sweeping up the flotsam and jetsam near his sidewalk curb with his antiquated, broom/dustpan combo. It’s metal and must be about 50 years old! What stories his dustpan could tell! It’s seen it all: from gum wrappers to bullet casings, from cigarette packs to syringes, from a beer can or two to unsheathed, translucent condoms, in all colors and textues!

The morning after the junkies use our front door steps as a shooting gallery my downstairs neighbor, using her shod foot carefully pushes the junkies’ syringes into plastic bags and disposes of them (I hope in the City’s yellow boxes ); we (cuz it’s my ‘hood, too) pick up paper scraps and beer bottles (I recycle them). One feisty gal pal even lectures the slobs who have the temerity to throw their garbage out their car windows onto Ward Street RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER. Out of her front yard she runs! DO YOU WANT ME TO THROW THAT FUCKIN’ BOTTLE OF WATER BACK IN YOUR FUCKIN’ FACE?! she yells, in her raspy, cigarette-scraped voice that barely conceals her heart of gold. When my gal pal told me the story she said the offending slobs looked dumbfounded when she pounced on them, a little afraid at this late middle aged woman on a mission … they quietly picked up their crap. Really, my friend, retired from a factory job, scolds folks who litter and dump  – like an exasperated mom. Everyone in our neighborhood knows she keeps us all – our entire neck of Ward Street – looking good, sometimes even pristine!

But the next day – or hour! – comes, and someone decides to dump a mattress box spring in the back of the church parking  lot – their old jersey barriers be damned. Or some sweet beautiful 17 year old kid doesn’t like Doherty High School and quits school and finds friends who get high and that seems to be the solution, for the moment. And we add him to our list of neighborhood problems even though he is young and beautiful…

No one here hates the offenders. They make us feel sad…about us, the neighborhood, about being poor and still trying to live in dignity … about the human condition. But the beat goes on. We know that we have to stay on top of things here – always – to keep the ‘hood fairly safe and clean, but that as soon as one problem is solved, one box spring mattress removed from our street, another problem/mattress will be thrust upon us. So we live our days, cherishing the little things …

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… and hoping for a Christmas miracle.

Congratulations, WCHR!

By Edith Morgan

After nearly 25 years, Worcester Community Housing Resources has a lot to brag about, and too the opportunity to do so at a great gathering : it was the 2016 Annual Appreciation Reception, held at Maxwell Silverman’s Toolhouse starting at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 19th.

The object was to get us all acquainted with the great work done by WCHR and to recognize the work done by the staff of eight people who really seem to accomplish miracles.

Worcester Community Housing Resources, Inc. has its offices at 11 Pleasant Street, Suite 300, in Worcester. Under the leadership of its Executive Director, Dominick Marcigliano, and with a dedicated and capable staff of only eight , this organization reaches into many Worcester neighborhoods, in pursuit of its mission “..to create and preserve affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate income households throughout Worcester County.”

At this celebration, Executive Director Marcigliano summarized this non-profit’s accomplishments to date: WCHR, Inc.” has created 38 ownership homes, 112 rental units, 3 commercial storefronts, and 78 assisted living apartments.” These represent investments of over $32 million , and put over $180,000 of increased property tax revenues into our city coffers.

WCHR deals in a variety of housing assistance programs: the organization owns and operates 100 rental units, including a wide variety of housing opportunities: 2, 3, and 4 bedroom apartments, and single-room lodging houses – all for low-income families and individuals. We all know how high rents in the city can be, and how out of reach good, safe, well-managed homes can be for struggling Worcesterites: so I was very pleased to learn that the average tenant pays only $268 per month, but the range goes from a low of $25 per month for a single room occupancy to $687 for a two bedroom apartment. The rate is determined by the tenant’s financial need.

Staying true to its mission, WCHR uses many approaches to providing and maintaining affordable housing, with the help of a great variety of financial resources, seeking to help especially those most difficult house. This includes not only low-income persons, but also those suffering with mental health problems, refugees, people with AIDS, and seniors in need of assisted living.

One such project, ten years in the making, is the Heywood Wakefield Commons in Gardner, which combines federal, state, and local resources to create 78 assisted-living units in a former factory building. This was a unique program open to seniors who are trying to survive on just their Social Security and Medicare. Open since 2011, it has (predictably!) been fully occupied, and provides its occupants with a full array of activities and meals,

More recently, WCHR has bought a building at32 Irving Street, which is being renovated and readied for occupancy this year, with financing from Worcester’s HOME program. This buildingwill house up to 15 individuals and will include secure individual rooms with all utilities and services icludaed.

WCHR also owns and operates various kinds of housing in such varied neighborhoods as Green Island and Main South – where the organizations works with the neighborhood and other providers.

We all know what a “drag” on the area even one building which is neglected, abandoned, or allowed to run down. Represents to the block, the area, and its citizens. So WCHR also works to turn around homes an properties in receivership. In cooperation with the aaattorney general’s office, and the MAssachusettsHousing Partnership Fund, WCHR provides training, consulting and other services to bring these properties back . Forf example, WCHR has facilitated a path toward redevelopment of over 399 housing units in over 199 properties, careataing an25,59% increase in tax revenues for the city.

WCHR alsoprovides home improvement loans fro primary residences for emergency repairs, maintenance or repairs , and correcting cccode violawtions. – all at low rates, so that those unable to afford them can maintain their properties.

Although the main emphasis is on housing development, receivership, community lending, , renting apartments, and property management, there is also an oppoartunity for those not in need of help to invest in WCHR’s Loan Fund. If youwant your money to eaqrn good interest Competitive with commercial loans) csider investing and let your money work for housing in Worcester while at the same time earning yfou some interest.

This organization fulfills so many unique puposes in our city, and fills so many varied needs that supporting its work is a worthy cause. For further information, or if you need help or want to help, WCHR can be reached in a variety of ways: Call 508-799-0322, or visit the website at www.wchr.org
If you are interested in lending options, contact Lora Baldracchi, the Loan Fund Director, at extension 112, 508-799-0322, or at lbaldracchi#wchr.org

Over the years, I have been aware of WCHR’s work, as it progressed under the direction Peter Fellenz,then Matt Walley, and now Dominick . All have been dedicated to upgrading Worcester’s aging housing stock, and enabling residents to find safe, clean, and reasonably priced housing for themselves and their families.

Their model isnot the “one-size fits all “ kind. Their work offers many alternatives, but always of high quality, and with the help of many agencies and funding sources, making a real difference for our city. Looking over the pictures (before and after) of the strucatures that have been improved, and driving down the streets whee they are located, can give a good idea of the impact that WCHR’s work has had,,,,.
In addition to its on-going projects, WCHR is looking for approximately 5000 square feet of space to house a program for teen mothers, who are presently in a location whose lease is expiririg.They will need a yard, some parking, and be near a bus route. Anyone know of a property that meets these requirements should get in touch with WCHR ‘

The “Appreciation Reception” was most enjoyable – the refreshments delicious, and I ran into several people I had not seen for a long time, so it was a chance to renew old friendships. And of course, Maxwell Silverman’s is a great venue for such a celebration.

Worcester City Council inspired! Yes, to WPD Mounted Police Unit!


By Rosalie Tirella

Their official title: Mounted Police Unit. The  name every little kid in every Worcester inner-city neighborhood will shout when she or he sees one of the five Worcester Police Department’s courageous steeds and their cool cop riders: HORSES!

And then they’ll think, instinct leading them the way it does with all kids and artists: YEAH!! MY HORSES! LET’S PAT THEM!!!!

And then they’ll drop whatever they’re doing – good or bad – and run to the brown, black or bay equine (white is usually not the color of most police horses) to stroke the steed’s elegant neck. And the animal – huge, majestic, its coat glistening in the sun – will patiently stand (police horses must be calm, even-tempered, not skittish) as the city kids touch, tickle it and ask the cop astride it questions like: How much hay does he eat? How fast can he go?

No nags for our WPD!  No thoroughbreds either!  – they’re too high strung for the job!  The city’s handlers (volunteers from the Sheriff’s Office and Mass State Police) will know which good horses to choose for the second largest city in New England – Worcester, my city, a city whose downtown and inner-city neighborhoods so desperately need more beauty a la the 12 POW! WOW! WORCESTER murals that grace our downtown buildings and bridges.

Picture this: a WPD mounted police officer and his trusty black steed trotting by the YWCA or the Hanover Theatre on a summer night before the Latin American festival, twinkly lights shining in the Hanover trees, salsa music blowing over Worcester City Hall, the Big Dipper blinking down on dancers pressed against each other in the languid August night: Absolute CITY MAGIC!!!!!!

Sure, City Manager Ed Augustus, the guy behind this brilliant proposal, knows a good cop and his horse can do the job of 10 police officers on foot patrol on in police cars. He knows this makes them perfect for patroling neighborhoods and crowd-control. A courageous yet calm horse can make its way through thick crowds of folks, the officer riding him or her can see great distances because he or she is perched so damned high!

Most city kids will want to be up that high! In that cat bird’s saddle! They’ll want a ride, too! Down Piedmont Street or up Ward Street! And they will see – learn – just how beautiful and mysterious nature is, how important it is to be kind – never cruel! – to animals; that our police officers can be as gentle and even tempered as the horses they ride. The community will see that Worcester Police Chief Steve Sargeant cares about our community – about streets that most people avoid or on which they even have the temerity to dump their garbage – right out of their car windows as they drive by!  My neighbor has seen this happen on our street – Ward – and she’s run out of her home to give the slobs hell! Go, sweet neighbor, go!!!!

City kids, when they see the police horse, will admire his or her elegant neck with pretty long mane combed out like a pretty girl’s. They’ll admire its height, recorded in “hands” – usually between 15 and 16 of them – from its clopping hooves to its tingly spine. That’s roughly my height!  Then those big soft brown eyes and ears that can turn in almost every direction to pick up the slightest sound! Horses can see almost 360 degrees around because of where their eyes are in their heads and their long flexible necks.  Horses are amazing animals – intelligent and affectionate!  They’ll rub their foreheads against your chest to say: Hi! I missed you! Any carrot treats for me?

There is nothing quite so special as a horse – any city kid can tell you that!

Thank you, Worcester Mayor Joe Petty and the majority (which means we’ve got a YES vote!) of the Worcester City Council for being so excited about this idea! Thank you for whole heartedly endorsing it! With volunteers, maybe even donated horses, the vet students at Becker, the fields at Green Hill Park, the donated stable space WE CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

Of course, where would we be without Worcester City Councilors Mike Gaffney and Konnie Lukes taking a big steamy dump on the proposal? – as big as horse shit! These two perpetual naysayers and cheapskates are against Mounted Patrol Units. They say it costs too much money.

We say to community destroyer Gaffney and slumlord Lukes: Un-pinch your shriveled souls! GET CREATIVE! USE YOUR CONTACTS! GET BEHIND THIS PROPOSAL and vote YES!.. Even though we don’t need your crummy votes!

Here’s to the new cool Worcester!

Go, Ed Augustus and Steve Sergeant, go!!!

Go, horses, go!

Pony dreamin!

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Help our kids be great! The Worcester Boys and Girls Club fall wish list!

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Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
65 Tainter St.
bgcworcester.org

Our Fall Wish List:

Services/ Capital Improvements

Floors for Kid’s Café, Education Center, Games Room, and Teen Center
Painting our program rooms
HVAC, plumbing, and carpentry (professionals in these fields can donate their time, materials, etc.)
Swimming pool vacuum
Snow Plowing
Furnishings

Bean bag chairs
Colorful throw rugs
Flat screen television for the games room, School Aged Child Care program, and our Plumley Village outreach site
Athletic Equipment

Yoga mats
Basketballs
Rubber balls (to be used for 4 square, dodge ball)
soccer balls
volleyballs
Soccer goal nets
Footballs
boxing gloves and tape
swim towels and goggles
Whiffle ball set
Jump ropes
Hula Hoops
Outdoor Chalk
Educational Tools

Journals
Notebooks
Digital/ disposable cameras
iPads/Surface (to be used for school projects, book reports, college & job applications)
Pens
Pencils
Loose leaf paper
Binders
Folders
Backpacks
Educational workbooks (k-4th grade)
Flashcards (foreign language, math, English)
SAT prep books
Smart boards
Wii/PlayStation & flat screen TV (for educational and fitness purposes)
Plain t-shirts
Arts & Crafts Supplies

Tempera paint
Paintbrushes
Markers
Crayons
Colored pencils
Clay/ Play dough
Sketch books
construction paper, copy paper, and origami paper
Glue (large bottles)
Paste and glue sticks
Scissors
Paint mixing stick

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Main South! Always in style! … Oct. 13 – tomorrow! – opening of new Kilby-Gardner-Hammond Athletic Field and Track!

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This lovely duplex is just one example of the the glorious Gardner-Kilby-Hammond urban renewal project! pic: Ron O’Clair

Boys & Girls Club kids will inaugurate field with soccer ‘kickoff’!

The Main South Community Development Corporation, the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester and Clark University will celebrate the completion of a new field and track with a dedication beginning at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 13, at 65 Tainter St.

Opening the new field marks the culmination of the Kilby-Gardner-Hammond project, begun in the late 1990s. The project so far comprises more than 100 new housing units, the $9.2 million Boys & Girls Club, and the new, $3 million field and track. This facility will be used by Clark University for intercollegiate, club, intramural, and recreation sports. It will also be shared with the Boys and Girls Club, giving the young people there an essential outdoor play space.

Congressman Jim McGovern will join the ceremonies on Thursday, along with Stephen Teasdale, Executive Director of the Main South CDC; David Angel, President of Clark University; and Liz Hamilton, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester.

“This new field and track will expand access to green spaces for local families and give kids new opportunities for outdoor recreation and positive afterschool activities,” Congressman McGovern said. “The successful completion of this project is another strong step toward a rejuvenated Main South. I was proud to help bring federal dollars back to our district to invest in the bike path around the track and I am grateful to work with such great partners in the City, Clark University, the Boys and Girls Club and the Main South Community Development Corporation to help us revitalize this neighborhood. Together we are building a strong and vibrant community for all of our families.”

“This field represents just the latest in a long history of successful partnering between Clark and our neighbors in Main South,” President Angel said. “The investments of our community along with city, state and federal agencies, private investment and development firms have resulted in a successful revitalization project sure to benefit all.”

“We’re thrilled to cut the ribbon and officially help Clark University open their new collegiate field, located next to our Harrington Clubhouse,” writes Hamilton. “This field will create opportunities for our kids we’ve never been able to provide in the past. We’re extremely appreciative of Clark for allowing our Club to utilize the field to offer sports such as snow-shoeing, lacrosse, track, and flag football.”

After officials finish their remarks, they plan to toss and kick soccer balls onto the new field for the club kids to “kick off” the new playing field.

The field and track project is another in a series of collaborations between the Main South CDC, the city, federal and state government and Clark University to revitalize Main South.

Worcester photos by Ron O’Clair … the AG comes to town … and more!

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Pics/text by Ron O’Clair

This image is of Jerry (Dino) Mariano, a cousin of Ray Mariano, who happens to be a member of the Genesis club, at Boston Donuts on Park Ave getting some grub on. He usually wears a funky leather hat, so this is a rare view of him hat less.

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This is the house recently built by the Main South Community Development Corporation on Hollis and Kilby streets; it is a duplex …

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… the other side. Beautiful!

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A self portrait trying to document the injury to my eye socket. (editor’s note: Ron was taking videos in his Main South neighborhood and one of his neighbors didn’t take kindly to the videographing! So he slugged Ronny in the face! Now Ronny’s got a semi-detached retina!)

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Previously a clean area, someone decided to drop their trash on the curb. I dislike litter.

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broken car door mirror …

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Teens! Join the City Manager’s Youth Council!

The Youth Opportunities Office is recruiting applicants for its 2016-2017 City Manager’s Youth Council.

Applications and student nominations are due on October 14.

If you are interested in nominating a student, please contact youth@worcesterma.gov.

The City of Worcester Youth Council was created in January of 2012 to establish a representative body of young people living in the City of Worcester entering the 9th and 10th grade during the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Youth Council gives young people a direct connection to local government and Youth Councilors take part in civic engagement, leadership development, and planning and decision making opportunities.

The Youth Council will also execute in the following assignments:

• Encouraging youth civic participation

• Enhancing young people’s roles in their community

• Construction of positive youth centered narratives

• Making recommendations, presentations and advocating on issues that affect youth their age

• Involving youth in community awareness and community service projects

• Forming and strengthening working relationships with community

• Eligible youth representation on Boards, Commissions, Committees and Councils

• Public speaking and leadership opportunities

Please spread the word and email us at youth@worcesterma.gov if you are interested in nominating a teen!

If you know a young person who is interested in applying, please have them fill out the application!

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ARTS AND FAMILY FUN AT THE WORCESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY!

OCTOBER 14

4 p.m.

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At the Worcester Public Library!

Flamenco for Kids!

The Worcester Public Library will offer a free program for kids to learn Flamenco dancing from Edmy Ortiz, a fine artist, architectural designer, and Flamenco dancer.

The program is recommended for kids ages 4 and up.

The program is in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The first session was held on Friday, September 30 …The second session, Flamenco for Kids: Part II will be on Friday, October 14 at 4 p.m. This session will also be held in the Banx Room.

This will be your chance to practice and show off your Flamenco dancing skills. Flamenco offers many benefits to kids while they enjoy making noise with their feet!

You may dress-up for these events if you wish! Parents don’t forget to bring your cameras!

Sign-up is requested…you may register at the Children’s Room desk or by calling 508-799-1671.

This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Worcester Public Library.

For more information on the Worcester Public Library and a complete list of events and programs visit mywpl.org.

A view from Grafton Hill

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The Mayor’s Walk began at Friendly House. FH Director Gordon Hargrove (center) begins the early evening tour! pic submitted

By Gordon Davis

Joe Petty, the mayor of Worcester, walked the Wall Street neighborhood yesterday with city officials, District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson and neighborhood folks. He visited the Friendly House, Westerman’s, Grafton Street School and more. One of the stops on his walk was the empty lot that used to be the El Morocco Restaurant. The lot sits on high ground with a terrific view of the Worcester skyline.

A housing project of 90 units of 1, 2, 3 bedroom apartments is being planned for the now empty lot. All of the units will be market rate. There will be no affordable housing units. The developer stated that he could not build any affordable housing units under the state program.

Longtime director of Friendly House, Gordon Hargrove, felt that some of the units will eventually become affordable units.

Mr. Hargrove is working closely with the developer to ensure some additional benefit to the neighborhood. He indicated that the project would include upgrades to the Shale Street School playground.

The Mayor and developer showed a schematic of the building layout. However, the developer saidthe final project would look different than what was on the schematic. He did not have a copy of the revisions.

Like Mr. Hargrove, the Mayor felt that the housing units would help the neighborhood and the city.

The streets in the neighborhood are narrow, as most of the streets on the East Side were built well over 100 years ago. There might be some concerns about traffic and parking. For planners one and one-half cars per unit is considered standard.

Another concern expressed was how many children would live in the project and where they would go to school. An employee at Grafton Street School, only two blocks away, said the school was at capacity.

She also said Grafton Street School is the oldest functioning school building in the Worcester School District. There are some renovations going on at the school today, including a new boiler, windows and an elevator for people with physical handicaps.

During the walk City Manager Edward Augustus asked a DPW employee how often the storm drains were cleaned on this street, as he pointed to a clogged drain. The DPW worker said his department cleans the drains.

The walk ended on an interesting note – at Westerman’s, a vendor in Worcester that provides props for local movies. Included in props was the Teddy Bear from the movies “Ted” and Ted2”!

Mayor Joe Petty in our in-city neighborhoods – always in style! … and … a cool recipe Italiano!!!

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From the Mayor’s Office!!!!:

TODAY!

5 p.m. – starting at the Friendly House!

Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty will be leading a Mayor’s Walk around the Wall Street portion of the Grafton Hill neighborhood this evening …

… from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

We will be starting at Friendly House (36 Wall St.), then moving on to the former El Morocco site, and finally stopping at Westerman’s (50 Suffolk St.).

The Mayor will be joined by fellow elected officials, members of the administration, service providers and neighborhood group representatives.

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And…

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Don’t forget! Tomorrow! REC Beaver Brook Farmers Market – across the street from Foley Stadium!

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Veggies at ICT head honcho Rosalie’s shack:

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She’s growing a 5-foot-tall tomato plant but ZERO tomato buds! What the?????

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A friend gave R this corn yesterday – straight from the farmer’s farm! Thank you, friend!

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P.S. Here’s a great Italiano recipe from PETA.ORG!

Put the brakes on animal cruelty/American factory farms!
EAT LESS MEAT!!!!

Giambotta – Southern Italian Vegetable Stew!

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Also spelled Ciambotta, this is a traditional dish hailing from Southern Italy!

It’s comfort food at its finest — and simplest!

1 Tbsp. oil or water…Saute in frying pan:

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Add to big pot filled with 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth and 1 (28-oz.) can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes:

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces

2 large yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced

2 medium zucchini or summer squash, diced

Spice it up with:

2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (10 to 12 leaves) chopped basil

Cook in pot to taste…enjoy!

Copyright 2015 Compassionate Cooks, LLC. Reprinted and adapted from The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Healthfully and Living Compassionately by permission of the author, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau