Category Archives: Green Island Grrrl

Skatepark plans, Steve column … South High’s Andy’s Attic🧥 … 🍎Soup’s on! + 🎶

So many of our city kids – WPS students – could use warm winter coats and jackets this holiday season!❄️🎄♥️ At WORCESTER’S SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL – ANDY’S ATTIC: DONATIONS OF GENTLY USED/NEW WINTER COATS, JACKETS, hats, sweaters, scarves, mittens and more needed! A few years ago ICT writer Edith Morgan introduced you to the school’s AWESOME in-house clothing store for kids! We repost the story, below.
– Rose T.


By Edith Morgan

Come with me and take a most remarkable trip, into a huge storeroom, with what seem to me to be 15-foot high ceilings, lined with metal shelves from cement-block wall to wall – and every row filled with “gently-used” clothing of every kind. As I enter, to my right stands a giving tree, festooned with pictures of students who have put in at least 20 hours already, and whose continued work will earn them a star for every ten hours more, s they fulfill their community service duties.

The room is alive with busy students, filling “orders” from families who have sent in requests. Other students are folding, sorting newly arrived donations, straightening shelves or drawers full of new items (the socks and underwear are new, as most people really prefer to wear such items new), The students come willingly and on time, and when asked why they participate in “Andy’s Attic, they all told me how heartwarming it was to know that they are helping truly needy families to be properly and warmly clothed – some even had been recipients themselves, and now were “paying it forward,” so someone else could feel what they had felt when someone cared enough to help them.

Since October 2013, hundreds of bags full of complete outfits in the right sizes have already been sent out, and every day about 36 students show up to help.

Why the name ”Andy’s Attic”?

The idea grew out of the tragic death of a 16-year old Shrewsbury student, Andrew Reese, whose parents and friends wanted to honor his memory. When the project outgrew its Shrewsbury quarters, after a couple of moves, Shrewsbury resident and South High teacher Christine Foley approached her principal, now WPS superintendent, Maureen Binienda, who provided the large basement room that used to be her supply closet. After a huge clean-up job and truckloads of moving, the “attic” was ready.

At first, South High students received the donations – many were needy themselves, but as the project grew, Christine and her volunteers found that behind every student in need was a family in need. And soon word spread, with “orders” coming in from other towns in Worcester County.

In the summer of 2013 the Reese family moved to Florida, and Christine Foley took over the project. She enlisted the help of several major Worcester organizations and got the project under way. Staff and students worked to get it started, and what I saw today would be the envy of any large business, with students performing the many tasks required to run such a great enterprise. We should all be very proud of the students who week after week see to it that Andy’s Attic takes care of those who are in need.

If any readers want to help, besides winter clothing, Andy’s Attic always needs: new socks and underwear, and “gently used” clothing of all sizes. Sometimes a special request has to go out for sizes not in stock, so Andy’s Attic can always use cash to purchase what is needed. For more information or to drop off donations:
South High Community School
170 Apricot St, Worcester
Principal: Jeff Creamer
phone: (508) 799-3325



By Steven R. Maher

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick and tired of the impeachment drama of President Donald J. Trump. I think getting this thing over with as quickly as possible is the best outcome possible.

Given Republican numeric dominance of the Senate, and given the Republicans have decided to hang together, Trump’s survival was forecast from the start. The Democrats would impeach Trump in the House and a Senate majority would vote against impeachment on a party line basis. Trump would survive.

When this whole thing began, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) reportedly stated he planned an immediate Senate vote on any impeachment bill presented by the House. That’s the smart thing for the Republicans to do. Vote as quickly as possible and get it behind them before the New Year.

The Republicans might drag this thing out for weeks. Can we blame them? Some Democrats wanted to drag this out as long as possible. The Republicans might feel the same way – exploit their position to enhance their electoral prospects in 2020.

My feeling is that the American people will blame whichever party drags the country’s agony out the longest. The Democratic House should vote out a one count impeachment bill solely related to the Ukrainian bribery episode. The Republicans should vote down as soon as possible the impeachment charge. They maybe we can back to some type of normalcy where the two parties spend time rhetorically attacking each other, instead of trying to put each other in jail.

I believe that Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense when he involved himself in the Ukrainian situation.

Trump has learned a valuable lesson from all of this, though he would never admit to it. His power is not limitless. Donald Trump will be remembered as the fourth President in America history to be subject to impeachment proceedings, right down there with Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. But the best thing now is to let history judge Trump.

My expectation is that 50 years from now Donald Trump will be judged harshly.





4 green apples, peeled and cored, plus more for garnish
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 lbs. (8 cups) red kuri squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 carrots, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/2-in. piece ginger, grated
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Pinch ground cloves, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
2 cups low-sodium broth
2 cups water
2 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the apples in baking dish and roast for 20 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic, cooking till tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients. Chop the roasted apples and add. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Purée in batches in a food processor until smooth, then return to the saucepan. Heat over low heat, thinning with more water, if necessary.

To serve, ladle into shallow bowls and garnish with sliced apples, freshly ground cinnamon, and a pinch of ground cloves.

Makes 12 servings!

Adapted from A Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays.


Skatepark at Crompton Park Design Workshops!♥️🙏♥️❄️

The City of Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks wants to hear from you!

There will be two meetings, open to all, to tell city officials – who destroyed the previous skatepark in the Canal District – what kind of skateboard area you want in Crompton Park:

⌚Dec 9 and Dec 11 – both gatherings @ 6:30 p.m. – at the newly reopened Green Island Neighborhood Center located in the old field house, by the pool!

Be there, young people!


Honoring those who died on Dec. 3, 1999: our WFD FALLEN SIX – Heroes Forever!

By Rosalie Tirella

More love and respect, this eve. Be there! file photos: Rose T.

This evening, 5 – 8 p.! Please attend the City of Worcester’s Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Fire remembrance ceremony at the Franklin Street Fire Station, or join your neighbors in lining the streets as firemen and women from surrounding towns walk solemnly, but proudly, past Union Station to the Franklin Street Fire Station, built at the site of the inferno, to honor the city’s Fallen Six: Lts. Thomas Spencer, James F. Lyons III, Timothy P. Jackson Sr. … Firemen Paul A. Brotherton, Jeremiah M. Lucey and Joseph T. McGuirk. They died in that massive brick hellscape, that antiquated cold storage building, stories high, to save a couple of homeless people. A homeless guy and gal who had camped out in that old brick working-class hellhole for animals, slaughtered animals, sides of raw beef now, hanging from big iron hooks,lined up like bloody dominoes … the heroes rushed in to save the lowliest among us. The two people living there must have sensed its macabre history, but they stayed to stay warm! On cold December nights in Worcester! The guy at the diner sometimes fed them. No one judged them harshly – even after the fact. … The couple’s candle was lit, they ran away as its small flame flickering on the candle wick leapt to clothing? bedding? and in a matter of minutes exploded into flames, an inferno. It had engulfed their makeshift bedroom and their few paltry belongings and now was raging up stairs, down byways and in dark corners in search of fresh air, oxygen, for fuel, to stay alive! The homeless couple were too mentally ill to add it all up, explain it all to authorities. (Why not more staffed special needs homes/residences for these people, like in the 1970s, when they were first released from institutions like Worcester State Hospital?)

So six good men died. Awful deaths. Frightened at the end, maybe alone, maybe in each other’s arms.

Never Forget: THEY DID NOT DIE IN VAIN. They died doing a job they loved, with guys they adored, for the good life in towns and cities they loved. They were brave family men … fearless sons … strong leaders. Martyrs. Their wives and kids still mourn their passing.

But like a phoenix rising up from the ashes and rubble, Worcesterites came together to knock down – erase that horrid building – and in its place erect a beautiful new fire station – the Franklin Street Fire Station. A simple life-sized statue of a kneeling fireman in boots and fire gear/work clothes kneeling to honor his fallen brothers says it all. Signals that this spot is hallowed ground. Holy air, land … snow, today. That what happened here 20 years ago, in this city working class ‘hood, on this frozen December night, will never be forgotten.

The Six Men will aways be loved – as men, as heroes. And, if you believe all the religious pap, they are in heaven cavorting with the angels, miles and miles above burning buildings … I say: THEY ARE HERE NOW – OURS!


Tonight, if you go: Firefighters and civilians are expected at the ceremony, which begins at 6 p.m. with a march from Union Station to the Franklin Street fire station. Firefighters from surrounding fire stations are expected to line the route.


Elliott🎶 Smith❄️

By Rosalie Tirella

I’m on an Elliot Smith discovery songbook tour. So, you are comin’ along! Here is “Condor Ave” by Elliott Smith. I love this song’s lyrics – a perfect song for tonight: a desolate, dark, break-up kinda nite. The protagonist’s feelings disregarded by his ex: she just drove off!, didn’t even pack her clothing! She’s sailing away in the Oldsmobile. She sailed past the junkyard, surreal carnival barker screams filled the air. The boyfriend, feeling abandoned, is enraged – he slams the screen door over and over again – so hard that those stupid wind chimes go flying!

That is how it feels tonight.

When I lived on Ward Street, like three yards from Interstate 290 by Kelley Square, with thousands of cars and trucks speeding past my door 22 hours a day (there was always a break between 2 a.m. and 3:30ish), I felt the opposite! Snow fall felt romantic. Magical even! I lived in the fourth! floor apartment of Chef Joey’s dad’s building. My place had just been renovated to look vintage 1940’s beautiful. Original, big, heavy sliding pocket doors; original, maple dining room cabinets with window panes and linen drawers … high plastered ceilings, original windows with woodwork cleaned and stained shiny dark. All the walls had been painted a creamy, dreamy white. I’d look out of any of my 10 windows and see Worcester spread out before me like a still from a Woody Allen movie: my mini-Manhattan! Worcester’s city lights, the stars in the sky, the glass tower downtown with its top floor changing colors!: now a wavy gravy green, red, then orange. Cool! … The white, simple, but elegant steeple of St. John’s Church with its own small spotlights.

Then they would come: millions of snowflakes, sheets of twinkly snow-powder, rushing down with slanted directness. You could see the snowflakes against the light that shone from the street lights on Ward Street and just by looking up into the Worcester night air. Winter storms didn’t feel like no break-up song then! I miss that wonderful apartment – it made me feel in the middle of it all! All the city action! It stimulated me! Made me happy to get up in the morning and be ALIVE in a real city like Worcester.

Then there is this Smith tune:

And this one:

So beautiful. How did I miss them? There are scores! I’m excited by their newness (to me)!

Smith lived in Amherst a few years after I left that great college town – maybe our paths crossed once or twice, as he was coming in and I was leaving. He matriculated at Hampshire College; I was at UMass. It was during the days of local band heroes Dinosaur Jr., led by Amherst native don J Mascis. And even though Aimee Mann was from Boston, I would still run to see her and her group, Til Tuesday, whenever they played at the Blue Lounge in our student union. Grunge was percolating in Washington state and Oregon. After college graduation, Smith left Amherst for Portland. All the guys back then, in Amherst, had the same slacker hipster vibe as Smith. Few had his musical genius:

I was wrong! His lyrics are GREAT!

And still he never stopped hurting. … They found him dead, with two knives sticking out of his chest. Horrific. A beautiful mind leaves us, but what stays forever with us: all his beautiful collage-songs. They will always speak to the hurting heart!

Actor and Native Son Denis Leary comes to Worcester – but half our three deckers cry out for the spotlight!

Text+photos by Rosalie Tirella

Dear Worcester City Leaders:

Why keeping losing our princes?

In light of Denis Leary’s visit here to help Worcester honor the six WFD firemen who died 20 years ago fighting the Cold Storage Warehouse inferno on Franklin Street … Why not tamp down on the star-gazing (we love Leary, too!) …


They are the problem, they are firetraps! They are seldom up to code … landlords don’t want to fix things to make their property safe … many landlords will not even rent to people of color!… many rent leaded apartments to families with toddlers! They are blatantly BREAKING HOUSING LAWS. Worcester City Council, as our housing stock, our three deckers, get older and older – 100+ years old at this point!! – we need to have a gameplan to keep our historic old buildings safe – and looking good.

Firemen and -women don’t see color

Inevitably, every winter, when it’s freezing cold out – like it was the night of the Stockholm Street fire that claimed WFD Lt. Jason Menard’s life – tenants in our three deckers struggle with the subfreezing temps. Many of our three deckers just have: a parlor heater in the living room and a gas heater log in old gas stoves in the kitchen. That is it. No central heating! And some buildings are so drafty! I grew up in an ice box, decades ago, on Lafayette Street in Green Island. We had 2 space heaters going in our third floor tenement in an old three decker (that we loved♥️) during winter-time. As a little kid I wore a knit hat to bed! … Folks STILL improvise in all sorts of ways – many drag out their electric space heaters in our old neighborhoods – and set them too close to their beds, bed linens, curtains or laundry. They just wanna get warm! We cannot blame them! I’ve been there! Then … DISASTER STRIKES … LIVES ARE LOST, OUR CITY MOURNS.
Lt. Menard honored as he is brought to the graveyard! He was just 39 years old!

But we rise up again! We are resilient, we denizens of these old New England mill towns. We are the sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of factory workers … immigrants. We are tough.


But this shouldn’t keep happening! The new city task force that will study this situation and make recommendations MUST FOCUS ON THE REALITY IN OUR APARTMENTS, LIFE AS LIVED BY our working poor and working class!

WHY HAVE CHILDREN, OLD PEOPLE, FIREMEN DIE every Worcester winter because it was too cold in three decker flats? Why not CLOSELY LOOK AT EACH TENEMENT – and make landlords make improvements? WE ARE TALKING HALF THE HOUSING STOCK in Worcester!!

And why not build new, affordable housing? Why not enact rent control? And if the old guys on Meade Street in the Housing Code Dept. are not up to their cushy City of Worcester jobs as housing/code inspectors, lay them off – and HIRE A NEW YOUNG DIVERSE WORK FORCE to really do the job! New city workers for a new Worcester!


Giving thanks at the Boulevard Diner!

Text+pics by Rosalie Tirella

Today @ the Boulevard

An urban oasis of love!

Thanksgiving at The Boulevard♥️ Diner! The sweetest waitresses – the tastiest veggies – the most grateful, polite customers!

Becky and the girls☕

Wonderful volunteers

You went out into the nippy November day and your heart was chilled. You entered the Bully, like it was a chore. Photos for your Thanksgiving Day photo essay.

Inside … magic!

You sit at the “Bully” counter with the other guests …

You “order” a big plate of carrots, peas, squash, potatoes, a mug of coffee – cream, please, because it is Thanksgiving. You skip the bird out of your love for birds and all animals. Becky serves you your meal, smiling, happy to be with family, friends, the community.

Soon Becky and the gals’ (volunteer waitresses today) goodness washes over you. Son Chris is helping out, too. …


… You see Becky and the Boulevard family treat Worcester’s needy, sitting in the booths or at the counter, like family, so sweetly – with such care – and professionalism! The real kings and queens of Worcester! More turkey? More gravy? A meal to take home? they ask their customers, many homeless young adults with stuffed backpacks and plastic bags filled with their clothing. This upsets you! You feel: They are too young for this – where is Worcester’s affordable housing?! They are just beginning their lives – where is Worcester’s living wage jobs for all? (You donated a Marshalls tote bag filled with shirts, socks, fuzzy bathrobe, jacket … Other folks brought in handmade knit scarves and hats – or pumpkin and apple pies!)

Some of the guests are astounded at the waitresses’ generosity! And the portions!! They smile as they eat. More coffee? Another roll? the volunteer waitresses ask them. No, thank you! they say. I may have to take some of this home!

Jim and manager Lisa cooked most of the food – including the turkeys😢 – early in the morning, at Jim’s church. Then they brought all the prepared food to the Bully. Jimmy, tired, is napping in the van now.

You begin to feel warm and cozy in the snug East Side diner! Everyone is smiling and so happy! You feel grateful and content, too. Some people want to donate a dollar or fiver to the diner as a thank you gift! Nope! Becky and the gals say! No money, please! There is no money in the cash register today! They sound giddy as they say this! They know they are blessed. They work hard to be successful, but they give back, too. Worldly but innocent! Strong yet vulnerable! Just like Jesus wants! We are in this life – at the Bully – TOGETHER!

Happy Thanksgiving!🥔🥕☕ + more♥️ + Alice🎶!

This holiday season I will be missing the Frank Carroll Plaza all decked out in holiday twinklies! file photo: Rose T.



The Boulevard Diner is serving free Thanksgiving meals to all in need!- spiritual, as well as nutritional!♥️🥕 file photos: Rose T.

Lisa and Becky – the ♥️ of the Boulevard!

Today, are you LOOKING FOR a great Thanksgiving Day meal with all the fixings? Or: just some wonderful COMPANY? Repartee? A few prayerful moments? FELLOWSHIP? … you have NO DOUGH$$$? In other words, you need A FINE PLACE TO DINE THIS THANKSGIVING DAY for FREE.

Then head over to the Boulevard Diner on Shrewsbury Streer around noon FOR THEIR FREE COMMUNITY TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING MEAL! Open to all in need!… Jim and family/staff are cooking up a ton of homemade veggies, stuffing, gravy, pie, coffee, the main dish! Plus: they will gift you with LOTS OF LOVE, smiles and encouragement – all served up by the lovely waitresses at the “Bully!”

For the community!

Worcester at her most gracious, fun, open-minded … Christian!

– Rosalie Tirella


Fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities


10 Tips for Including People with Disabilities in your Holiday Celebration

With the holiday season upon us, it is easy to hold a gathering where all guests — with and without disabilities — feel welcomed, respected and have fun. All it takes is some planning. With some help from Alie Kriofske Mainella, an expert on working for inclusion of people with disabilities, here are some tips to ensure your gatherings are inclusive, thoughtful and welcoming to all:

♥️1. Don’t be afraid to include guests with disabilities.
People with disabilities have their disabilities 24/7, so they know how to create work-arounds so that they feel comfortable. If you know someone has a disability, use a simple strategy — ask the person what they need to be fully included. All too often people with disabilities are not invited to events, or don’t go because they feel embarrassed to “put someone out” by asking for a simple thing that will help them attend. By telling them that their presence is valued, and asking what they need, you will build a new level of trust and affection. For example, one of the biggest things that aging loved ones need is a ride. So help them find a carpool or send an accessible taxi or Uber to pick them up and return them home.

♥️2. Include a line about disability accommodations in the RSVP.

Keep in mind that not all disabilities are visible, so you may not know that someone you want to include in your event has a disability. By including a line about accommodations and food allergies in the invitation’s RSVP, you are already letting guests know that everyone welcome. If it’s an event for children, parents can tell you, right off the bat, what their child’s needs might be to attend the event. They will be happy you asked! “We want everyone to have fun — please let us know if you have dietary restrictions or require other special accommodations to attend! We will do our best to meet special needs.” Note that you aren’t promising to meet all needs — if you can’t find a sign language interpreter at the last minute or there is another issue, for example, you will be able to let your guest know in advance. Indeed, they may be able to help you find a solution!

♥️3. Physical Access

Most public places are accessible. However, because religious institutions are exempted from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many of them are not fully accessible. Thus, if your event is at a venue that is not physically accessible to all, move it to a place that is. That can mean a different room in a place of worship, or to a completely different place. Venues should have a ground level entrance or ramp, an elevator if it’s upstairs, and accessible bathrooms. Most public places (hotels, restaurants, bowling, video games, pools, bounce houses, etc.) are usually equipped for people with disabilities. Just check with the venue ahead of time. If you have someone coming who uses a wheelchair, you should also put the food on a table that is low enough for them so they can take it themselves

♥️4. Special Diets and Fragrance Allergies

Anyone can have allergies, celiac disease or lactose intolerance, but you won’t know unless you ask on the invitation RSVP. Making sure there is an option for cake, snacks, treats and other food for these guests can be as simple as picking up a gluten free cupcake to serve with the cake. It is thoughtful to have refreshments that everyone can enjoy and/or asking people not to wear perfume to your event.

♥️5. Addressing attitude

Kids and adults can be daunted when encountering someone who is different from them. If children are at the event, you can talk to them at the start of the event about kindness and respect for each other and each other’s differences. A holiday gathering is a great opportunity for kids to learn about one another.

♥️6. Involving parents

Holiday gatherings can be exhausting for the hosts. Asking a parent or two to volunteer to help out, particularly if it’s a big group, can lighten the load for the hosts. Parents may feel more comfortable, especially if their child has social anxiety issues, if they are invited to stay or help as an option.

♥️7. Sensory overload awareness

Holiday gatherings can cause sensory overload for any child or adult. But for a person with autism or a sensory processing disorder, a large gathering can be really overwhelming. Offer opportunities for guests to take a break, perhaps in a quiet room away from the crowd. Some venues may have options for turning down music or minimizing stimulation — and that is useful anywhere there are a lot of kids! Latex allergies (balloons) and chemical sensitivities (use of highly scented cleaners or staff wearing perfumes) are real issues. Solutions: Use alternative mylar balloons. Ask people to not wear strong scents, and choose unscented cleaning products. Avoid flashing lights that can trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.

♥️8. Communication

If a guest attending the gathering is non-verbal or communicates in other ways such as American Sign Language or a communication board, talk about it with the guests. Installing free Dragon software onto an iPad in advance can enable you to speak with someone who is deaf as it instantly transcribes what you are saying. Having an interpreter can be worth the cost, as all the people can communicate and maybe learn a little sign language! Remember to speak directly to a child or adult whether s/he is verbal or not.

♥️9. Reading, Cognitive Access and Vision Issues

Children and adults with cognitive, learning disabilities or vision impairments might not be able to read the menu, instructions for a scavenger hunt or a game score sheet. Pictures and verbal instructions are useful, as well as pairing children with those who can help. It’s always great to have an extra pair of reading glasses around if you are inviting seniors. But you can always tell someone who can’t see or read what they will need or what to know.

♥️10. Enjoy the gathering!

Don’t let inclusion stress you out. If you are reading this list and considering these tips, you’re already doing more than most! Stay positive, smile and have a great time!


Thinking of Worcester fireman Jason Menard

By Rosalie Tirella

I, like most Worcesterites, didn’t know Jason Menard, the 39-year-old Worcester fireman who died a horrible death this past week while doing his job. But I, like all of Worcester, love him. Not so much for “fighting” the flames in that Quinsig Village flat but for perishing while saving two of his “brothers” – fellow WFD firemen – up in that third-floor fire-trap on Stockholm Street, in Quinsigamond Village, Worcester’s old blue collar Swedish neighborhood. A neighborhood, like many of our older, ethnic neighborhoods, filled with 100-year-old two- and three-deckers: Kindlin’ wood.

One Worcester fireman was a newbie and couldn’t find the staircase in the carbon monoxide- and smoke-filled building. Jason found him (by touch? by words?) and led him to the staircase (did they hold hands?, lean together shoulder to shoulder?, whisper? cry out?). Jason helped another fellow fireman to an open window … to safety. And they say Jason was searching for the tenants’ baby when, and the cliches tumble out now: when the fireman was “overcome,” “overtaken,” “succumbed” … “didn’t make it.”

What does all the verbiage mean? Safe, sterile “nothing” words that can never convey the physical pain or emotional and bodily shock Jason experienced – or how a WFD “brother” pulled Jason’s body out. How that fireman felt lugging his dead friend out of all that crap. We call it smoke-inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning, but Jason’s lungs were burning up! On fire like that building – his delicate, fluid filled lung membranes inflamed, burning… Only Jason gasped for fresh, clean, cool air. Only he felt his fireman suit and gear grow heavy! An encumberance between him and the stars in the cold Worcester sky, it turned out.

What if we could empty those Worcester night stars like coffee cups? And have Jason’s wife’s tears flow out of them to wash our city souls clean? Have Tina Menard stop all our clocks! Shut our city down!! To shout, like an ancient woman warrior: MY HUSBAND, A GOOD MAN, A GOOD FATHER TO OUR CHILDREN, IS DEAD!!

The man she loved at the grill, by their kitchen table, over their dishwasher, in bed, under the quilts … Jason died hurting and suffering in that crumby old Worcester three-decker.

FireFIGHTER. That is the trendy term to describe all firemen these days, including Jason Menard. Implying the guys FIGHT fires, BATTLE flames – which they do. But to me the term renders the men plastic, Disney-like, super-hero action figures – all iron-clad muscles, steely gazes, red cape-wearing fearlessness, even godlike … when in truth, the WFD guys – all firemen – are just guys. Guys who maybe love the challenge more than most of us, but men, often in the middle of life and love: youngish wives, young children, aging parents, mortgages, college savings accounts for their kids. They have fancy lawn mowers they love because they remind them how successful they are – married with kids and a nice home in the nicer parts of town. Leaf and snow blowers mark the seasons in their big back yards. Sex, BBQs, wide-screen TVs, Red Sox games – the fun stuff of guys in their 30s and early 40s! In their prime!

But these firemen, when they get into these fire-trap three deckers and warehouses in our old New England factory towns – Lawrence, Lowell, Worcester … – become guys in their prime doing their best. They save lives – and families. And communities. They save each other, too. All the time. Grabbing, holding each other hands, as they stumble to safety … giving each other hearty hugs of encouragement … pulling and pushing each other to that open window … sighing and maybe crying in all the smoke and darkness and admitting to the fireman next to them: I’M AFRAID, bro! A firefighter once told me, smiling: “There have been plenty of (WFD firemen) guys who’ve saved my life.” … intimating that he had returned and would continue to return the favor, again and again. If that’s not intimacy, true love, then I don’t know what is!

And that’s why the guys seem so close when you drive by one of their many Worcester neighborhood fire stations: together, they grill steaks on their grills/BBQ smokers outside their firestations; one guy will make a big pot of homemade soup or chilli for his crew on the station stove; they sit on lawnchairs outside on the drab cement parking lot, talking in the inner-city sun or maybe listening to one of their mate’s bag-pipe playing out by their sparkling red, just washed and hosed fire trucks, safe in their bays, ready for a parade – or a 3-alarm fire!

Jason Menard and the Worcester Fire Department firemen (and -women) are firefighters … but, best of all, they’re HUMAN BEINGS rushing into the void, not knowing, not thinking, about their mortality. Innocent as lambs.

“Just” men, “just” firemen.


♥️Find us on Facebook!♥️

Some things never change in Worcester – like all the illegal dumping. Despite the City’s revamped recycling/trash plan!

Here’s Blackstone River Road, where I live, yesterday afternoon. Right outside my house – huge trash bag thrown onto the middle of the sidewalk! Our neighborhood’s trash-pick up day is Friday! If no one removes it, it will be on the sidewalk all week!!!:
😢😢 pic: Rose T.

But some things DO change: like we’re on FACEBOOK! 20 years after the rest of the world!! Oh well …

Sign in to FB and explore, share, comment on and like our 3 pages!

♥️Our FACEBOOK pages are:

incity times

Rosalie Tirella

CECELIA the newspaper

🍁P.S.🍁Next issue of CECELIA hits Worcester stands this Friday/weekend!🍁


🇺🇸Story ideas? Email them to


Rosalie Tirella

Jett and Lilac, yesterday afternoon, during our Greenwood Street walk!

Chef Joey in Rose’s space – New Recipe!

🥞Swedish Apple Pancakes!🥞

Text and pics by Chef Joey

Here’s a quick recipe for this time of year: Let’s make a Swedish Apple Pancake!

Take an apple, peel it and shred it with a large cheese grater. Shred into a frying pan!

Add a tablespoon of butter and sauté.

Add a bit of water to the apple so it doesn’t burn. When they feel nice and soft, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

In the meantime take 4 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, two eggs and a tablespoon of oil and a half teaspoon of vanilla mix.

Pour over the sautéed apples.


Mix well and cook like a pancake – adding a few dabs of butter here and there!

Now you have a Swedish Apple pancake!🥞🥞

Autumn is here … 🍂🍂🍂🍂

Walking Jett and Lilac in my long socks and heavy skirts these days …


Jett & Lilac♥️♥️:

A big Thank You! to Dorrie for gifting me this cutie vintage autumn-rain coat! Lined and cozy😊! Perfect for walking Jett and Lilac in October!:
pics/text: Rose T.

Yesterday was Jackson Browne’s birthday. I’ve been listening to him since senior year Burncoat High School.

I have this lp, bought YEARS AGO, somewhere. Real and beautiful picture of life on the road, according to a lighting technician I loved at UMass/Amherst who toured with Billy Joel, Madonna and was planning on accompanying Marvin Gaye (but Gaye was murdered by his father!):