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The Capitol, the Rectory …

By Rosalie Tirella

Today, I am thinking about my late mom and the workers at our Capitol. I see my pretty mom during the Great Depression, just 14 years old, a housekeeper/cook/maid at the Bishop of Springfield’s rectory – a huge sprawling building with grounds and many rooms and mahogany furniture and a huge kitchen with swinging doors and real silver silverware and special China for guests. She and her two big sisters kept that special place humming …

My mom was “just” a housekeeper in the rectory, a cleaner of cubbards, a scrubber of pots and pans – and toilets. A server to the Bishop. But Mom considered herself blessed, a lucky person. She was working in a hallowed place – fulfilling God’s words and mission and breathing life into the dreams of thousands of Catholics in Springfield. A vision made real through her polished hardwood floors, shining silverware, sparkling chandeliers, dusted banisters, scrubbed bathrooms – her and her two sisters’ hard work.

Rose’s mom, in Springfield at the Bishop’s house, with one of her pups.

Mundane work to many but to them an honor. Their Depression era job was more than just a boon to my Polish immigrant grandparents back in Worcester – money coming in when most Americans were out of work. Good food, warmth, safety for their three girls … My Bapy and Jaju were so proud of their daughters: TRUSTED TO WORK IN THE BISHOP’S HOUSE!

Today I see my mom and I see the Capitol workers: the house keepers, the cleaners, painters, wood workers, pourers of coffee and tea …doing just “regular” work – no college degree required, just a lot of elbow grease. But it’s not regular work to them because they see themselves making a special place SPECIAL. Maintaining SPECIALNESS. The Catholic faith: Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. The Capitol: America’s sacred space – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. … Bending to scrub, paint, polish floors, stairwells and walls – just like my late mother did. To create MAGIC. BEAUTY. Every day, for all to admire. And love, too.

I never see photos of my late mom disheveled or unhappy at the Bishop’s house/rectory. I never see her in dirty rooms, dusty spaces. I see her amid elegant tea pots, heavy ornate desks, pretty paintings on walls – my mom dressed demurely but perfectly. I see the deference – and quiet pride – in her eyes. Just as I see the Capitol’s help seriousness, work ethic, perfectionism – and pride on my TV screen. Cleaning out the blood and dirt. Polishing Nancy Pelosi’s lectern once again. Vacuuming the nightmare up … Like my mom, they are RADICAL!! Radical in proving to the world that the regular peeps, the uneducated, the kids of immigrants can save a sacred space – keep and create a beautiful public dream made brick and mortar: a rectory, our Capitol, Supreme Court, White House.

Even as Donald Trump refused to call the National Guard in last week to help the regular workers at the Capitol who struggled against gun-toting monsters, monsters who trashed their world – their gorgeous work space – the just peeps did not quit their jobs. Within hours these cleaners and worker bees were scrubbing and cleaning and polishing and disinfecting … our Capitol, our symbol of Democracy, young, only since 1776. Even as Trump lied 4 years ago – said the White House was a “dump” – the “help” knew the TRUTH and still served the odious Trump his coffee and meals with respect and deference. They still polished the White House’s silver, still kept its mirrors sparkling. Out of love for their building, their special work space, our American Dream writ LARGE AND LOVELY. A song in stone and wood and metal to American democracy and its people. The White House – built by slaves! Home to museum quality paintings and statues and furniture. Repository of our History. Our aspirations. JFK. FDR. LINCOLN lived and loved here! The regular working guys and gals keep our American story alive!

Last week our Capitol was breached and its stairwells, walls, desks, chairs, floors, windows, carpeting dirtied, nicked, smashed, trashed. My mom – just a kid at 14 but a hard worker and super responsible – would have felt the acute pain of the Capitol’s “Help” – just average working women and men, like her. Many of them Black and brown: the painters, cooks, house keepers of the Capitol keeping it all humming. My mother would have seen all their hard work, their perfectionism disrespected – and she would have been angry – and she would have shed a tear or two. But she would have been eager to see the clean up, the repairs being done by the pros!

I see my mom now – it’s the Great Depression and she’s just 14 years old, farmed out by her parents to be, along with her two older sisters, a housekeeper/cook/maid at the Bishop’s rectory in Springfield. To keep herself warm and fed during hard times and to send money home to her parents, my Polish immigrant grandparents, so they could pay bills and eat during hard times. She took the bus, leaving downtown Worcester, already missing her feisty, dumpling shaped mom, but happy to be working with her big sisters. She was smart but was pulled out of school – Worcester’s Girls Trade School – to show the Bishop, the world what she learned at Fanning/Girls Trade: how to poach an egg and fish, cook white sauce, make a perfect bed, iron a man’s suit and draperies with complex pleats … My aunt – also a Girls Trade student – could make a man’s suit on Bapt’s push pedal Singer! Auntie used to make, sew my mom winter coats!! – complete with pretty linings! Auntie could cook a perfect tender roast beef or souffle. She had my mom serve the Bishop his shrimp cocktail, from his left … quiet as a mouse.

Special rooms filled with special people. Today I remember my mom and all the Capitol’s – White House, Supreme Court, too – maids, housekeepers, janitors and cooks.
Rose’s Auntie visiting Bapy in Green Island during hard times. Auntie could make coats and dresses on her Singer.

Book Review by our new CECELIA Intern, Fatimah!❄🇺🇸😀🌸

🌸🌸Book Review!🌸🌸

By Fatimah Daffaie, senior at Doherty High School

Go, girl, go!!!

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By Stephen Covey

As we begin this new year, 2021, many people find it to be a fresh start to hopefully something better. The best way to achieve our goals is by setting successful habits that can help us become better at achieving goals faster and more effectively.

One mesmerizing book that I believe best helps with setting successful habits is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People written by Stephen Covey.

The seven habits are:

😊1. Be Proactive

In the book, Covey says that behavior is a result of our decisions not our conditions. Being proactive means that you make the decisions and plans for your life. Life is unfair and despite our hardships and terrible conditions, we still have to remember that we are in control of our situations. We have the brain power to make decisions, goals, and plans to live the life we want to live.

😊2. Begin with the End in Mind

In other words, know what it is that you are trying to achieve. What are your goals? What actions are you going to take to achieve these goals? For example, when I write a paper or prepare for a presentation, I always keep my end in mind, which is about what my audience and readers will take away from my work that is of value to them.

😊3. Put First Things First!

This is a simple and direct habit: Prioritize the things that are most important to you first. These are the things that most align with your principles and values. As a student, for example, I have to always get my work done based on priority, which means: when is the due date, how much time I have to spend on something, and how much that thing means for me and does it align with my values and principles.

😊4. Think Win-Win

Have a win-win mindset. Covey explains that habit by saying that we should see life as a cooperative rather than a competition. Going through life sometimes, there are a lot of tough times that we have to go through, so it’s easy to feel put down. Despite the tough times, we should keep healthy and positive mindsets. If athletes went into their games always thinking that they were going to lose, why even try if you think you’ll never win? Always go into things with confidence that you have the skills and preparation to do great!

😊5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood!

Stop trying to be understood! Rather, seek to understand the situation in front of you. This habit will help improve your relationships with others. This is a skill of being a great listener and understanding the situations and what someone is saying rather than focusing on the other person understanding you. I have learned from this habit that when having conversations in work, school, or family, I always keep in mind to understand what they are saying, before I respond and make them understand my response or my opinion. At this time in the world, it is very important that we respectfully listen to each other, before we say our opinion. Just listening is not enough, there should be an intended effort put in on both sides to understand what the other person is saying.

😊6. Synergize

Do not be scared from group and social interactions. There is a great power when people come together. Take this pandemic as an example, we had to come together to stop the virus. Together as a society we had to take initiative and responsibility for everyone’s health and safety. We, as people, grow together to achieve our goals and become better individuals.

😊7. Sharpen the Saw

Here, Covey talks about four dimensions: physical, social and emotional, spiritual and mental. The physical category speaks about taking care of your body by exercising and having the necessary duration by having a healthy everyday diet. The social category refers to having a social life with healthy and loving relationships and friendships. It is also crucial to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally.

As you may have noticed, these seven habits are interconnected and build on each other. Having them all together is the best way to achieve your goals effectively in the fastest way possible. These habits will also make you a better individual! I recommend this book for everyone, especially if you are trying to improve your life professionally and personally.

☕Chef Joey in Rose’s space: Crispy potato recipe!🥔💛

By Chef Joey

Joe Joe!!!

The trouble with living in France is the food!! So many choices!! So much freshness everywhere!! Everyday there are various markets open for business throughout various French towns and cities.


For those who cannot make it there, the local markets and supermarkets carry local produce, most of which is refreshingly organic. Tomatoes smell like tomatoes; zucchini is a normal size, and everything is so inexpensive. I just purchased a 5 KG (10 pounds) of locally grown potatoes for $4, the same price for onions. Both staples of French cooking, not to mention the garlic too!


I was speaking to my mother and remembered a crispy potato recipe that my grandmother used to make. The prep is a snap; however, it takes longer to cook. It is a great side dish; it is basically potatoes cooked with stock and fresh thyme.

You can used dried thyme; however, I suggest fresh. This is a dish you can make year-round – it is always a favorite. I used chicken stock; however, it can be vegan using vegetable stock and no cheese.

You will need:

4 or 5 large Yukon gold style potatoes (boiling potatoes)

1 tbsp fresh thyme, and a couple springs for garnish

½ cup stock (chicken or vegetable)

3 cloves garlic cut into 4 pieces

salt and pepper

Olive oil for drizzle

Parmesan cheese (optional)

The key is thinly sliced potatoes, you can use a food processor, mandolin, a good knife to carefully cut thin slices or even a box grater to slice the potatoes in circles.

Once this is done put them in a bowl.

In a food chopper/processor add the thyme, garlic and about 4 tablespoons oil and blend until smooth.

Pour on top of the potatoes and add a little more oil if needed until all sides are coated.

Take a greased baking or casserole dish (about 11 x 7 inches) and STAND the potatoes up and arrange them in 2 or 3 rows.

PREHEAT your oven to 400 – convection works best however any oven will do.

Pour the stock all over your potatoes.

Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper and cover with foil.

Bake for about a ½ hour – remove the foil and bake another ½ hour until the top starts to crisp and potatoes are tender (test with a fork).

Sprinkle with cheese and thyme springs -let sit a few minutes before serving – enjoy!

In Joey’s garden, in Cannes. We miss him already!

🌸⛄Another new column from Edith!❄🌸❄

Finances for Kids

By Edith Morgan


With the students still out of school, learning at home, we have a great opportunity to fix our curriculum – the heart of the educational enterprise, which gets short shrift, coming in a poor second to the need to get good scores on commercial tests, with their very limited scope (after all, they have to conform to the machines so they have to be paper-and-pencil tests.)

What if we re-invented the purpose of public education and our primary task were to be to prepare every student to become a knowledgeable, critical and creative thinker, ready at high school graduation to assume the full responsibility of an American citizen? Would if we molded an intelligent voter and a self-supporting individual able to support him/herself while realizing the American Dream?

How then does our present curriculum fit those goals?

Active, creative little beings! Gigi file photos: Chef Joey

Thankfully, US Secretary of Education Betsy Devos has resigned, and with her hopefully goes the noxious push to destroy public education and substitute charter, private, for-profit, “training.” I do not call it “education,” as it is generally geared to create obedient, cheap and unquestioning labor or acolytes, not really independent, responsible, life-long students. Full participants in a vibrant, actively involved citizenry!

Keep kids learning during the pandemic!

If we are going to live to 90 years old or beyond, in the future, we need to graduate students who can handle so many years of life beyond the “working” years“ – the years when they will have put in their time at a job, a profession, a calling – and will have put aside enough to live comfortably, travel, enjoy grandchildren, develop talents for which there was not time before, etc. Also tonmaybe devote time and energy to volunteer activities, since they now have the skills and experience to help the next generation get a good start.

More and more, technology is supplying us with “labor-saving devices,” theoretically freeing us from some of the drudgery of daily life. But human services – the care of children, fellow-family members, our ill or handicapped persons – all will still require the human touch. The importance of that kind of work should be raised up in importance in our society, and paid well, because that kind of work requires special skills and dedication that are more important than working on the various machines that technology supplies to make our lives a bit easier.

Edith and her family

Let us look closely at whose work is really vital: If the President spends a month at the golf course, what happens? Nothing much. But if trash and garbage were not collected in our towns and cities for even a week, the city of New York would come to a standstill and rats and vermin would overrun the streets …

Trust Your Eyes and Ears!

By Edith Morgan


From the time we are born, we rely on the testimony of our senses: we can see, hear, smell, touch and taste the world around us. Then our brain receives the information from all those senses, processes it – interprets what came in, and goes into action. At least that is, in a very simplified way, what is supposed to happen.

But in the last four years, too many of our fellow citizens have been exhorted to disregard the evidence of their eyes and ears, and to listen to the words of their all knowing (by his definition only) leader and simply blindly follow Trump’s lead. That should have been enough warning that something was amiss: in a democracy, no functioning adult citizen should ever relinquish the responsibility to see things for him/herself and always to “question authority.”

All elected officials should always undergo constant scrutiny by their constituents and should hear from the folks back home, if they do not appear to remember that they are the “servants of the people” – and we pay them to work for us. Somehow, for too many of us, that idea has gotten lost. Getting re-elected and paying for the incessant campaigning take up much of the two-year terms of local candidates, and six years for Senators, four years for President.

Surely, two or three months should be enough to find out whether the candidate in question has the background, track record as a decent human being, and the skills to perform the job in question.
That would leave plenty of time to actually perform the job for which they are running – and would relieve us, the voters, of the incessant campaigning.
Meanwhile, the media, enhanced by our ubiquitous cell phones equipped with fairly good cameras, can supply us with sight and sound of happenings wherever we happen to be. We do not have to rely on anyone else’s perceptions to know what is true: our own eyes and ears are there.

I rely on my own senses for most decisions I make: I sniff or examine groceries (vegetables, juices, milk, fruits, etc.. to see if they are still edible. I can tell by their color, smell, feel, maybe even taste, whether I can still use them.) Why not apply similar tests to those who want our vote and who want to make decisions for us? Often we have a “gut feeling” that something is not right, someone is not trustworthy – that is a sixth sense that many of us have learned to heed, when it is difficult to separate fact from fiction, especially now when we have been lied to for so long, and so often, and about so much.

Trust your own senses, your own brain, even your own gut – you will never be 100% sure or right, but you will come a lot closer than if you rely on someone else or on some money-making machine that merely exists to pick your pocket.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” should be the motto of every one of us, if our democracy is to survive.

🇺🇸OUR DEMOCRACY🇺🇸 AND CONSTITUTION🇺🇸 DID NOT DIE! January 5 and 6: dates that will live in infamy!



On election nights, the news channels start showing the early voting results and keep on updating them as results dribble in. Like a political junkie, I stayed up until 3 a.m., watching the Georgia numbers come in. I could have curled up with a good novel and just got the numbers in the morning. Then the figures verified the good news: both Democrats in Georgia won, and the Senate would flip, evening up the numbers, with the tie breaker being our new VP. So far, so good …

But then things took a turn – definitely for the worst – and the nation, and most of our overseas friends and even our enemies, got to watch as an unruly, hostile mob attacked our Capitol in Washington, where all of our legislative branches of the Federal Government were assembled to go through what was supposed to be a mere formality – the counting of the 50 States’ electoral votes, duly verified, signed, and delivered for the final count in the Senate.

There had been a lot of talk and speculation as to whether Vice President Mike Pence, who had the job of reading off the electoral report from each state, would be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat and some how do what boss Trump wanted him to do: find a way to throw Trump the election. Which Trump had been claiming for a long time was ”rigged” against him.

Pence decided to obey our sacred Constitution and read off the electoral scores just as they had been submitted.

Trump, who has always had his temper tantrums, let it be known that while he liked Pence, he would like him less if he did not deliver!

Trump had threatened there would be a terrible aftermath on January 6th, he and harangued his supporters to assemble, march down Pennsylvania Avenue, go the one and a half miles down to the Capitol building, where our entire Congress was assembled and doing its job.

Of course, there was also staff there … so there were many people in the building! The Capitol holds a warm place in the hearts of Americans: so many of us have toured it! And loved and admired it! Or even attended hearings there, or even State of the Union speeches – sitting in the gallery, or perhaps even starting a career in politics as an aide to some political figure.

So when we were suddenly confronted by TV film footage of a large pro-Trump extremist mob, bearing sticks, flags (including not just the Stars and Stripes but also confederate flags and banners bearing Trump’ name and face), most of us watched in horror. Horrified as these domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol building, broke windows to get in, pushed past the few guards who were massively outnumbered, and proceeded to vandalize offices, sit behind House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk, sit in the hallowed chamber taking selfies
… strewing papers all around. Looking for the mahogany ballot boxes TO BURN AND DESTROY voting results. The sat insolently in the big chair on the dais above the rows of seats in the great meeting hall – a very familiar room to the world.

Eventually they were forced to stand down and leave – hundreds of brave law enforcement officers did their job and protected our constitution, democracy itself!

Then – gloriously! – the Capitol Security guards led our Senators, US Representatives and their employees to safety – and Congress did its job.

For the history books …

Let us pray America gets to January 20th without any further manifestations of the vicious and sadistic leader Trump – a madman we must endure for two more weeks.

🇮🇹CHEF JOEY’S vegan chicken pot pie and winter soups!💙💛💚

By Chef Joey


Dare I say winter is here, folks! But that can be a good thing. With the colder weather the yearning for hearty food goes up, and believe it or not you can cook up some delicious fare for cheap!

Using beans …
photos: Chef Joey and Rose T.

… as your protein source not only reduces the cost of your meal, it actually is better for you. We so often look to short cuts – a quick “dollar” meal, frozen microwave meals, or all out dining. Investing in a $15 crock pot makes cooking a breeze: you come home to a prepared meal!

On the flip side 45 minutes to an hour will also yield a delicious soup or stew made on your stove top.


You can make more than 1 gallon of homemade tomato or cream of tomato soup for less than $5. It’s easy fast and delicious!

All you need:






… water and a soup base – I prefer “Knorr’s” or “Better than Bullion” veggie base for the flavor. The wet bullion base will cost you upfront – but the yield is amazing.

So, Joey, how do I make that soup?

Well, it is easy!

Get a big pot, slice up 2 large onions and add to the pot with 1 – 2 inches of water and let those puppies heat up – the water softens the onions and does not allow them to burn.

Now peel and rough chop 4 carrots …

Just 4!

… and 4 or 5 stalks of celery and 3 or 4 cloves of garlic

Put them in a blender with 1 cup or 2 of water, depending on the volume

Blend until smooth.

Add this to your onion mix then open a large
6 pound can of crushed tomatoes (called #10 cans – your food club stores sell them for under $4) and stir

It will be kind of thick so add ½ can or less of water and stir well.

Bring it to a near boil and let it simmer
a good 40 minutes.

Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of your bouillon at this point and taste for flavor

Now would be the time you salt and pepper.

Add heavy cream for cream of tomato soup, or enjoy it vegan fast and easy.

The carrots add a sweet tinge and give another veggie element to the soup!


Notice how I had you finely chop the onions and cook in water. You can add a little olive oil if you like, too. This helps act as a baby sitter so your
onions don’t burn.

Blending celery and garlic is a great way to introduce it to your broth without having to cut it up small small.
This is the basis for just about everything. The carrots and celery need to be pureed for the tomato soup. Cubed or chopped is fine for other soups. Garlic, however, I feel works best in this application.



To make lentil soup start with your onions

then puree garlic

when the onions are soft add about
2 quarts of water , 8 cups , and one bag of lentils that have been rinsed off.

To this add 3 peeled (or unpeeled) potato


… finely diced and 4 peeled and
diced carrots and 4 or 5 stalks of celery.

A tablespoon or 2 of cumin or turmeric, it does wonders!

For this soup the lentils need a solid 45 minutes to cook.

At the end taste for flavor – if you feel ths need for bouillon, go ahead.

If not salt and pepper – you can add fresh lemon juice and a whole bunch of fresh chopped spinach, too (blender trick works

Substitute the bag of lentils with barley for another great soup and instead of cumin – try
turmeric or curry powder!

One cup of barley goes a long way, and it keeps “growing”! So don’t use more than a cup per 2 quarts.

Ok. We get it but I don’t like lentils. Well, that’s great but I say try them as an adult. But you still don’t like them…Ok then start your base of onions. This time triple your garlic (I LOVE bags of whole peeled garlic and NEVER use the chopped up stuff – you will ruin your recipe). Blend it together and add Cannelli beans or white navy beans juice and everything into your onion base.

Ideally if you buy a bag of dried beans and soak overnight or quick boil prepare is the cheapest route – 1 pound bags range from $.89 to $1.50 versus the same price depending on the brand for cans. Add your water and base at this point for this soup.

Add fresh washed and chopped escarole to this, and there you have it! Escarole and bean soup.

Just add diced carrots – and boom white bean soup or get a package of grape tomatoes, rough blend in the blender with water – add to ths beans and you have a variation.



Black bean soup is just as fun! A secret I taught myself when I didn’t have any cilantro was to add a jar of salsa to my black beans.

So basically start your base:

onions and garlic

then add 2 cans of black beans

8 cups water

Let that heat up – throw in a bag of frozen corn and a cup or 2 of diced carrots

a tablespoon of cumin – these old world spices really work!

After about a half hour, add the salsa – at least a cup.

Stir until hot.

There you have it!

All of these nutritious meals costs less than $5.

You can add meat to the barley soup if you have leftovers – it is ideal chop it up into little cubes. One half of a whole chicken breast goes a long way and can feed many.


Chicken pot pie is chicken stew with a crust. It is easy – once again the base of the

Add garlic

a little oil on this one

toss in 4 or 5 chopped celery stalks

then add your diced chicken and sauté for a few minutes.


2 cups carrots

2 cups peas
You can use frozen veggies – or canned – in a pinch

2 cups diced potatoes

Then cover with mixture just enough – about an inch over the mixture.

When veggies are done add some chicken base or veggie base. I am gluten free so I thicken with corn starch – 4 or 5 tablespoons mixed with COLD water (1/4 cup works fine)

Add to the broth

And there you have it! 20 minute chicken stew.

For pot pie: Pour it in a pan – make a quick crust …


(1 stick cold butter 2
cups flour – salt and a teaspoon of baking powder.) Throw it in your food processor – or if you don’t have one mix the dry together.

Soften the butter – both ways require a little bit of cold water until it becomes pastry-like. Roll it out on a floured surface. No roller? Use a bottle or a can (clean it first) and bake
until flakey and golden.

When you go shopping and you see carrots potatoes, turnips etc. on sale buy them – they can last a while in dry storage. A 10 pound bag of carrots will sell for $3.99 vs 1 pound for $1.99. Always shop for the lowest price per pound. Speaking of carrots… peel 3 pounds of carrots, run them through the food
processor or blender with water to purée them. (if you don’t have one use the side of your box grater – or dice very fine.

Start your soup with the onion base

add garlic

then add your carrots

Cover with water

Add a tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger

Let it cook for a good 30 minutes on medium – a tablespoon of curry powder will add another dimension.

Salt pepper and add base, if needed.

You can find many different spices in the ethnic sections of your supermarket – fennel, curry, turmeric etc. are way cheaper in the Indian section versus the spice section of the market. Look for the big Goya displays most yearly supplies are under $5.

Use chick peas with your onion and garlic blend, add water…when it boils add a cup of pasta! Pasta Cici – and if you soak your own beans – you’re talking $3 soup for 10 or more – that’s $.30 cents a serving! And no additives. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Remember the book stone soup? I don’t like to admit it much either because it shows our age, but it is true – you can make
soups and stews with anything – adding mashed potato will thicken the case nicely.

Save your leftover veggies no matter how small the portion and after a couple days well stored – “add them to the pot”!

If onions bother you – I feel bad for you! – use leeks instead and make sure you wash them well as they can collect dirt between the layers. They enhance soups wonderfully. Toss some cubed butternut squash in with your lentils or barley soups or even chicken stew – at $.79 a pound it’s inexpensive and just one will add 3 or more servings!
Garlic: a cook’s best friend!

Edith in Rose’s space!🌲🌲🌲🌲

A New Normal?

By Edith Morgan


We have a new year, a new President and Vice-president, a new vaccine or two (or maybe three, if the single-shot Johnson and Johnson pans out), and so many new businesses turning out the new protection products we are all grabbing up as fast as they are produced. I have a collection of masks, hand sanitizers and disposable gloves, and even travel kits to use on airplanes or busses.

There are so many ways to part us from our money – if they cannot get it at restaurants, theaters, museums and other venues where we used to gather together, then the enterprising have found ways to supply us with substitutes at a nice high profit and to reshape our needs and tastes to meet their new supplies. Being incessant consumers has been normal for some time: all that is different is what we consume, when, and at what price.

So, in 2021, what will be the new “normal” – and when?

If “normal” means a return to some past time, which time period do we pick? If you’re my age (90), maybe you are looking back to the rather quiet times of the Eisenhower years. If you are an activist, the “sixties” with all their upheavals, protests, marches and projected changes that somehow always seem to get partially lost as something else, newer and hotter, comes along may be your pick.

The one thing that always seems certain is that there will be some kind of change, largely brought about by technology, that grabs us more and more rapidly, leaving us constantly scrambling to keep up to date.

Politics has changed, too: big money, which has always played a large role in America, now is almost in charge. I am constantly bombarded with requests for money – though I never quite know how it will be used, and by whom. And the requests for my opinions and the surveys now are always accompanied by requests for donations. And, above all, the constant “hair-on-fire” pleas for help, describing the opposition in colorful emotional terms fill my e-mail box daily – as well as my mailbox.

Kids learn at different rates and in different ways. The pandemic has limited Worcester Public Schools students to ZOOM classes.

So, is “normal” to be a return to the lying, lawlessness of the past four Trump years? The lack of shared values, the lack of cooperation, the vengefulness of our justice system? Or will the new normal be a shared belief in the values we profess to hold, in moderating our language, taking responsibility for what comes out of our mouths, and in feeling responsible for sharing with those who have the least, not just in the glow of the Christmas season but all year long?

And will we finally realize that learning and education are not the same! And that our children learn all the time, from everything around them, not merely in a brick-and-mortar building …

And, finally, will we expect our leaders to be concerned about us, who elect and pay them – rather than accumulating wealth and power and holding on to it?

I hope, while in our bubbles during the global pandemic, we have at least learned that there is a dangerous form of insanity which can be quite charming but very destructive. So as we rebuild, let us be more forgiving of those who merely err, not be taken in by the con men and hacks …

We were not “normal” before the pandemic, but we could be a new kind of normal soon, when the vaccine is ubiquitous. Until then, wear your facial masks – wash your hands – disinfect, and keep your distance, Save your hugs for later!
Good riddance!!!!!!!


HOPE: A Four-letter Word

By Edith Morgan


We have lots of four-letter words at our disposal – and sometimes we misuse or overuse some of them. But my favorite is HOPE, and it can not be overdone! There should always be HOPE! As we enter a new year, we need hope more than ever: there is so much to do, to fix, to change, and to innovate …

Many of the greeting cards I get, and many of those I send out, express the HOPE that there will be peace and joy, presumably throughout the world, not just at home. And as we face probably several more months of mask-wearing, hand-washing, and social distancing, our hopes are high now that there are two vaccines becoming available, and many more are being tested – giving us HOPE that there may soon be one that requires only one shot and no special refrigeration.

And can we hope that there will be, sometime in the not-so-distant future, some way to immunize us all against the evil relatives of the coronavirus and its mutations? We can surely hope, and meanwhile we can pin our hopes on the scientists who spend a lifetime studying these questions. And we can back up our hopes with support and funding so that their work can be continued uninterrupted and with the equipment they need.

During this global pandemic, we have found out that our healthcare system is inadequate, that we do not have a unified plan for meeting the challenge of the next one or two – or who knows how many are out there? So we need to back up our hopes with planning and organizing and funding.

Being hopeful is a life habit for me – but hoping is never enough: it lights the way to the needed action, and keeps me going. Hope is the carrot dangling before us, but we have to do the chasing and the running!

Meanwhile, I am heartened by all the wonderful and kind and thoughtful activities that are arising all around us, filling the gaps our systems have left. But these generous and well meaning acts, especially triggered by the season, are not enough, and will not be sustainable for the entire year. The efforts of all, from the single five-year old to the centenarian, from the small groups to the major organizations – they cannot keep up the effort all year in addition to their regular functions.

So I look to our elected representatives who, after all, are our paid servants – to put our money to work for all of us over the long haul. There will always be those who fall between the cracks (the neighbors, friends, relatives, who need us) … There will never be a time when kindness and caring will not be needed – and I continue to hope that we all create a “caring zone” around us, wherever we are, and share our hopes with those near and dear to us.

Remember: “Hope springs eternal in the human heart!”



By Rosalie Tirella

Rose, December 2020

I fell asleep last night while reading … and woke up this morning remembering the weirdest dream: It was about ALLEN FLETCHER, the big cahoona behind Worcester Publishing, the son of the old T and G’s papa, and, finally, the $$$$ – dare I say visionary? – behind the Canal District, my old neighborhood of Green Island/Kelley Square. My childhood dream/night scape❤.

In my dream, Allen and I were, of course, in the Canal District. We were eating at some cheapo Chinese restaurant on New Year’s Eve! The Chinese restaurant looked exactly like the Chinese restaurant in the Billy Wilder film THE APARTMENT, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley McClaine and Fred McMurray. Fred takes Shirley to the Chinese restaurant, on New Year’s Eve (I think), in the movie. Terrific looking scene: paper lanterns strung from the ceiling, dancers on the dance floor, silly hats with confetti splashed on them atop neatly coiffed heads … the works!

In my dream, Allen and I are laughing together, old pals: We are interviewing each other for each other’s podcasts! Simultaneously!! So it is all very confusing – and silly. We are talking about EVERYTHING! Our conversation is wide-ranging, eclectic … literary, but not in the boozy sense. I don’t know if we touch on urban renewal, Jane Jacobs or even the Canal District! But we’re sipping fancy drinks with paper umbrellas in them and buzzed. A mutual admiration society!!! After all these years of … acrimony, weird stares on Millbury Street, sour pusses and my photos of the homeless a block away from Allen’s digs on Ash Street.

Then, all of a sudden, Allen gets up out of our booth and absentmindedly – like he used to at WoMag where I worked for him 25 years ago – just walks off. I stare at him, wondering …hmmm. Bathroom break? A visit to friends he’s seen at another booth? Allen is a such a social butterfly, flitting and flirting about … I wait … and wait…and wait…but Allen never returns to our booth.

No matter! I am ok. I sit happily in my booth in the Chinese restaurant of the Billy Wilder film, in the Canal District, nursing my fancy cocktail with the paper umbrella in it.

Happy New Years Eve, Worcester!


Text and photos by Chef Joey

ICYumYums-final-for website

Joey’s Gigi! … You can also make vegan marinara sauce!

Having invited friends over for the holiday and realizing they did not need me gave me a chance to try out the IMPOSSIBLE meat – a plant-based, vegan alternative to conventional hamburger. It’s made from a bunch of vegetables – the majority is beets and carrots. It has a benign taste, but it resembles meat when you’re chewing it. I assembled a lasagna the way I normally would and baked it. To be honest, you couldn’t tell the difference!

It had a wonderful lasagna flavors and it wasn’t as heavy. What I did was the following:

I mixed the “meat”…


… with 1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup ground Parmesan cheese

2 cloves of mashed garlic

a teaspoon of fennel seeds

chopped parsley

and 2 eggs

I mixed it and then I fried this mixture in a little bit of sunflower oil.

I made my standard sauce …


… of 5 cloves of garlic and a handful of parsley that I purée in a nutri bullet

Plus 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds.

Then heat that up in a little sunflower oil

And add 4 – 28 oounce cans of ground tomatoes – stir in 1 can of water. Then I swish each can with and cook for about 2 hours . I then make a béchamel with 1/2 gallon of milk:

melt 1/4 stick of butter in a pan and add 3 tablespoons of flour and mix with a whisk and slowly add the milk and keep stirring over a low heat to keep it thick – add a 1/2 tsp of nutmeg set aside.

To assemble the lasagna take your large pan and add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom and sprinkle with bread crumbs … this stops the lasagna from sticking … place your lasagna noodles across the bottom …


… – I prefer the no bake style.

Cover with sauce – add the entire meat mixture.

Then cover with a little more sauce and place the next layer.


Cover with a slight amount of sauce and layer shredded mozzarella and sprinkle Parmesan over that – you can even add Asiago, if you want!

Cover with a bit more sauce add a layer of noodles and pour the béchamel over the top – let it set.

For a bit to let the noodles expand if you used the no bake – cover with foil and bake 350 for 25 mins, then uncover and cook another 10 min.

Insert a dull knife blade in the middle and pull it out. If the knife is warm, you are good to go. Let it sit for 5 mins before cutting – and enjoy!