By Rosalie Tirella

Rose’s boots. photos: R.T.

Winter’s coming on, and I’ll be delivering thousands of CECELIAs/ICTs in the snow, sleet and mush – like I have been doing for the past 21 years. I’ve traipsed through so many miles of snow, gone through so many pairs of boots … all in the name of a good local read. My moxie was inherited from my late mom and Bapy, but the boots were courtesy of gal pal Dorrie. Thank God for my former vintage store owner friend – she knows her product, she knows what size my feet are, she knows what styles will suit my needs and fashion sense. Dorrie’s kept me in warm, cute, walkable boots for years! I’ve been able to run my newspaper, deliver InCity Times or CECELIA with dispatch and in style, in all her winter boots: black ones, fringed ones, hippie style ones, booties…beige and faux fur lined! But last year I was so dispirited about my situation that as soon as the ground began to thaw I dumped my perfectly fine UGG knock-offs Dorrie had gifted me to survive homelessness – and promptly forgot about them. I had worn them continuously all last winter while homeless. Without socks they were so warm. I even wore them to sleep; they covered my calves and were fake fur lined. They kept me warm in the snowy fields, as my dogs loped through the snow, excited and so happy. Which made me happy. Me, my dogs, my boots … They were in good condition when I let them go, still, I didn’t want to own them anymore, see them, be reminded of the hard winter I had spent. In a car! At age 60!!!! So one warm March morning, I just drove up to a Dumpster outside a restaurant, brushed my boots clean and gingerly, strategically, placed them next to the Dumpster. For the next homeless person to find – and hopefully wear. They looked ok.

Rose’s cool, dog-walking boots.

Last winter I also owned a pair of cute, almost-new, grey, ankle boots. Kept them under the passenger’s seat. But my ankles were swollen from mostly sitting in my vehicle – not having a bed to sleep in, an apartment to walk around in – so they didn’t fit right. Way too tight around my ankles! I gave them to another gal pal to keep – or to give away to a young person who might have needed them. They were that cool – and in excellent condition.

This year Dorrie gave Rose a pair of real UGGs!

This year is a celebratory year – we are HOME!!!! I have all my Dorrie boots lined up on a shelf IN MY HUGE, WALK-IN CLOSET! To reflect the daily weather – and my fashion whims. Yes! I can be fashion conscious, have fun with clothes again! I can slog through the snow looking good. I can slip and slide on black ice with panache in this pair of black UGGs Dorrie gave me just a few weeks ago (pictured). “They’re UGGs!” Dorrie said with pride. … Or I can pull down and pull on the multi-colored beauties she gave me three years ago – my Quinsigamond Village Jett and Lilac walking boots. Or I can take the Dorrie black booties that were a staple of so many winter days, looking just fine with skirt and leggings.

Poetry in motion!

See these fringed boots? Well, about four years ago I was walking to my car in a Worcester shopping plaza parking lot, when a youngish guy stopped driving, jumped out of his red truck and handed me a $10 bill! Wow! That never happened to me! Before I could thank the guy, he had already jumped back into his truck and was taking off. He had just admired the poetry of those fringed boots in action (pictured here). They do have a rhythm of their own – the fringes bobbing up and down, some of the strands catching the wind and flying in all directions… I told my then CECELIA art director about the incident – happy. I appreciated the compliment – and needed the 10 bucks. A former gal pal, she was appalled: “Rose! You didn’t take the money!”

I said: “You bet I did, Ruthie! I didn’t do anything! I just walked across a parking lot in these great pair of boots!”

Sometimes gals who aren’t your real pals can make you feel like a whore.

But like blue eye shadow and shiny gray locks, every old lady needs a pair of calf-hugging, fringed boots – to channel her inner-Janis Joplin! To feel young again!!!