Category Archives: Green Island Grrrl

Abortion – Not for Kids!

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose, left, and her kid sister on Rose’s graduation day from the University of Massachusetts.

United States Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett will be sitting in Notorious RGB justice’s seat on the Supreme Court sooner than you can say: NO MORE ROE V WADE! Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat on the highest court in our land is still warm!, her final note, written just a few weeks ago, just before her untimely death, its ink still wet! No matter to the Repubs and their mad dash for re-election.

Ginsberg was respectful but adamant in her note to Congressional leaders: PLEASE DO NOT FILL MY SEAT UNTIL AFTER THE NOVEMBER 3 ELECTION. Please let the new President – whoever that may be – CHOOSE his/her own nominee to the Supreme Court.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg – an American icon who fought for – and won – equal rights for us women (and our moms, sisters, daughters, best gal pals, cousins …) – is now a DEAD American icon. Her final note, her dedication to THE FREEDOM of all women, is a joke to Republicans in Congress, unread, un-respected, disrespected … by Mitch McConnell and Trump minion Lindsey Graham – they are ramming Coney Barrett’s confirmation down American women’s throats – with politeness, fake erudition. With brutality wrapped in politician-speak. Trump, so desperate for re-election believes Coney Barrett is THE #2 GIFT to his campaign. After his COVID 19 super-spreader Rally Reality TV Shows!

Let’s be honest: Amy Coney Barrett is a good woman, a wonderful mom who has, with her loyal husband, adopted two Black children and loves them as dearly as the gaggle of kids she’s given birth to. But Coney Barrett is passionately pro-life … really, truly, deeply. No way around it. So she is blind to so many women’s realities. So… this is the end of Roe V Wade. The end of every American woman’s right to control her OWN body – her right to a safe, medically/socially sanctioned MEDICAL PROCEDURE performed by doctors trained in MEDICAL SCHOOL. To safely remove a fetus – If she’s been raped and does not want her rapist’s baby. If she’s 17 and not ready to be a mom. If she is poor and her boyfriend – the one with the job – got scared and dumped her. If she is the older woman who had the one-night stand, but there was a birth control mishap, and now she is pregnant. She does not want a baby. She already has a life, her own life patterns.

Or: She’s a young, beautiful free spirit at UMass/Amherst … in Massachusetts – an older undergrad with wild, curly black hair – a magical sprite with a bit of a limp, who reads all the Beat poets and who bikes everywhere on our big sprawling UMass campus … her curly, black hair blowing in the wind, that Western wind that loves to sweep across her high forehead.

Joannie loves to discuss philosophy/LIFE, she is into women’s rights and is double majoring: English and the still new WOMEN’S STUDIES. Joannie has joined the super cool food coop run out of the UMass student union building. She calls me up the day they are serving their big vegetarian lunches… Me! Rose! One of her closest college gal pals: COME ON OVER FOR LUNCH – ON ME! she yells into my phone receiver. I can picture her smile. I laugh OK! and I, the young, uncool, untried, tentative 19-year-old freshman-hick, Rose, I run straight outa my dorm room, across the big quad, to my friend in the student union to the huge room and adjunct kitchen in the round student union building. Run to my best grrrl HERO, the coolest chick I know, the bravest woman I know. Not a lesbian. Just INDEPENDENT AND FREE like I have never seen. Three boyfriends – but not easy. Loves the smart men. The hikers and mountain bikers (she rides a sleek racing bike). Joannie Loves Sex. She describes her orgasms, talks about masturbation … asks me about my boyfriend’s sexual proclivities … “Rose, have you ever?” she queries AS WE STROLL BY MY ENGLISH PROFESSOR! Joannie! I scream at her, red-faced, … then I tell her everything.

Once, as we walked by the grocery store in the middle of Amherst, Joannie, as poor as I was, steered me into the grocery story … to the dairy section. She grabbed a Land o Lakes box of butter and shoved it into my jacket and zipped it up. LET’S GO, ROSE! she hissed into my ear and we booked it outa the automatic front doors. Once outside, I said, still not knowing what hit me (the Joannie hurricane!): JOAN! WE JUST SHOP-LIFTED!

Joan, especially pale that day, gave me an exasperated look, opened up the butter box and gave me one of the four sticks of wrapped butter.

Joan. I would have done anything for her. For her approval. She was exciting!!

Joannie, the most knowledgeable female friend I had ever had! The great girl with all the great ideas: socialism, cubism, veganism … The gal pal who gave me my first copies of OUR BODIES OURSELVES, DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET…THE NEW WOMENS GUIDE TO OUR BODIES … If she was late with a term paper, she asked me for one of my old term papers. I gave her one to copy verbatim. And she got the better grade, too!

JOANNIE! I CAN STILL PICTURE HER RIDING HER BIKE THRU CAMPUS, IN THE RAIN, HER PLAID RAIN PONCHO covering that strong but skinny body – those knock knees that never slowed her down one bit! Ever!

So when Joannie told me she missed her period and feared she was pregnant and that I was to perform her abortion, with our mutual pal, Laura, I, stupidly said: Sure! Ok!

Joannie had read a book. It gave directions. There was this new method – a mini-vaccum hose you run up to the uterus … and easy peasy you just vaccum the snot out. Joannie had sent out for and got this special do it at home abortion kit. It was so early in her pregnancy, the fetus she kept reassuring me “was the size a snot.” Plus we could do it in her pretty bohemian room she rented in town, with her fave folk music playing on tbe stereo, the lights low, Laura could be downstairs baking brownies and the extra hands if needed.

This, when told to me by Joannie, all seemed to make holistic sense. Peace, quiet, Joan Baez music, young women empowered …

When I explained it all to Laura, who liked Joan, she said: ARE YOU CRAZY?! THIS IS WHY WE HAVE ABORTION CLINICS!

I said: BUT YOU’RE MAJORING IN PUBLIC HEALTH, LAURA!

EXACTLY! THAT’S WHY IT’S NO!!!! Laura, long haired, and just as smart as Joannie but without all the beauty and pizzazz, stalked off fuming.

This gave me pause. As Joan gave me the abortion instruction pamphlet to read one afternoon, I timidly asked: Hey, Joannie, did you get your period? My friend said no. I grew afraid…began to hope the day would never come – even though I knew my wild child friend WOULD NEVER WANT A BABY.

The days rolled on… I begged Laura to help, be by my side: HEY! YOU CAN DO THE ABORTION! I’LL BE THE ONE WHO BAKES THE BROWNIES! Laura, in her long hippie skirt, twirled around and looked me straight in the eyes: NO. CANCEL THE ABORTION ROSE. Take her to the student health center…

I looked at Laura. I thought: It is not a baby, just a two week old piece of snot. How hard can it be? Joan has the little plastic kit… I was raised a Catholic by my strict conservative Catholic mom, Cecelia but we stopped talking a year ago. The Generation Gap writ large. These were my waters to navigate. And I loved my friend.

One day, as I was in the local park, reading a book of poems – by feminist Adrienne Rich for strength – it hit me: I CAN’T EVEN KEEP MY LOOSE LEAF BINDERS ORGANIZED FOR MY AMERICAN REALISM CLASS …HOW CAN I PERFORM A MEDICAL OPERATION PRACTICALLY? I would have to break the news to Joannie …I closed my book and headed for home.

And just as I was rounding the hill to walk back onto campus, Joannie was running to me, ecstatic, flailing her arms, skipping with those knock knees, beautiful …I GOT MY PERIOD!! she screamed. I GOT MY PERIOD! I was weak with PURE JOY! … YOU GOT YOUR PERIOD! I SCREAMED TO THE HEAVENS. YOU GOT YOUR PERIOD!!! Then we rushed into each other’s arms and danced in the sunlight.

THIS IS WHY ROE V WADE MUST NOT BE STRUCK DOWN BY soon to be Supreme Court Justice AMY CONEY BARRET.

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Joni❤❤❤❤:


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Chef Joey in Rose’s space! New France Column!🐾🍷⭐

Schooling My Gigi

By Chef Joey

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We all miss Chef Joey!

France – Education, the basis of our lives, the foundation, the learning from the start: the good manners, healthful eating habits, discipline such as making your bed, clean-up after games and chores. Basically, following the regimen that we build upon to further ourselves in the big old world.

Then comes the new “Education Center” School, where a whole new world of faces, noises, smells, accents comes to play, and then there is COVID 19 that eliminates that possibility so for the new kids on the block, home school via an I-Pad or lap top is the new norm. Frightening for some parents, easier for others, but the kids have this – technology is what the school motto was years ago – they know this walking in or “logging in” now.

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Gigi at school, in France

The pre-designated lesson plans are geared to get the student through the day: a little reading, math, music, art and, of course, lunch breaks. Then there are parents like me that blow through the whole day in two hours and get it done and take on another project for my daughter Gigi, like cursive writing and memorization.

The trouble is in our Worcester home there is one parent working from home at the home office on the dining room table, and then there is the school department on the island in the kitchen (we all source the same wi-fi). And when there is a virtual classroom or a teacher meeting Gigi and I are definitely in a loud room, not unlike the stock market! Toss in a few dogs and the mailman ringing the doorbell, and BOOM!!

There was only one logical solution: someone had to leave – our bedrooms are at capacity with furniture and bedding … the next step was to escape back to France. So, we did.

I contacted our French school, got Gigi reenrolled for the 2020-21 school year and showed up on September 23 for our first day of classes. A tad different, as everyone was a little taller than last year, and the classrooms are mixed up with new students, students that did not attend Pre-K …plus other new residents.

In any case, it is all sanitized, infrared lighting at the doors, temperature checks all day long. The best part, besides the education, is the organic lunches that by the end of the year are going to be completely vegan/vegetarian so they can teach this new generation of children the importance of sustainable food, eating healthy, and getting back to basics … Insurance is a key part to keeping France healthy.

There are strong government restrictions on the amount of fat, calories portion size among other things that need to be in place, or the product is pulled from the market.

It is against the law to add artificial colorings and GMO’s to food, and pretty much everything is borderline organic with certified “BIO” for biological food available everywhere at normal prices.

I just bought certified organic veggies. The carrots were (in Euros) 1.99 for a kilo (2 pounds) potatoes 10 Kilos (20 pounds) were 3.49 and red peppers were 1.59 for 3! Cooked beets are a huge item here and a 3 pack of organic beets is about 2 Euros – right now a Euro is about $1.20 so 2 Euros is $2.40 – still a bargain compared to what I was paying in the states.

Seafood is aplenty, especially here in Cannes, especially because we are on the Mediterranean and there is a constant supply, not to mention the proximity to Italy and Spain. So we enjoy their treats as well!

France is socialized medicine and it works – it’s affordable without insurance and free with insurance. All prescriptions are the same price no matter where you get them, it’s the law. Lab results are within hours, I had an MRI and by the time I got dressed I had a copy of the disc and a written report of that was wrong signed by the doctor in my hands. All at an out of o=pocket cost of $100 for a $400 procedure on the newest quietest and smallest MRI machine I had ever seen.

I am not saying France is better than the USA. However, the medical system is governed, as well as the food by the Government. The European Union is the pretty much the same. Costs are important … every full-time working citizen has 5 weeks’ vacation a year, no matter what your profession. You pay heavy in payroll taxes; however, education and health insurance are free, a small price to pay. I know I pay thousands a year for a system that thankfully I do not use.

I am so lucky that my parents were from Europe and have the opportunity to live here with Gigi, so she can go to school, learn a second language and enjoy warm weather until at least December.

As far as food goes, my grandparents also taught me to shop frugally and healthy, I have written about it many times, dried beans and legumes go a long way, and buying marked down meats and other items as the expire is a smart way to shop -we have freezers to prolong the use. I personally make it a part of my routine to pop into the market at least once every other day to see what markdowns I can get – yoghurt is always available and one of the best kids, and adult snacks around …
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Joey bakes his family homemade muffins

Edith in Rose’s space! …The Vice-Presidential Debate💃💃

My VP Debate Notes

By Edith Morgan

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Edith

The Vice-Presidential Debate. It was a relief, compared to the Trump-Biden fiasco days earlier. Though the rules were the same as for the Presidential Debate, the two participants followed them much better, and their interchanges were much more civilized – and more rational.

Of course, there were the usual lies and distortions, which you can check in great detail in the CNN Fact Check video. There is not time in this article to get into all of them! VP Mike Pence was his usual colorless, acolyte self and dutifully repeated his boss’ stories. Often he did not fully adhere to the time limits and often ignored the warnings of moderator Susan Page, who had generated many good questions in the nine areas she wanted covered, and who – by and large – kept control of the event.

I kept an eye on Democratic nominee Kamala Harris, and I found she really comes across as a caring human being – and as someone who does not let anyone walk over her, as Pence tried repeatedly to do. Women are accustomed to being interrupted or ignored by men in conversation – but Kamala simply smiled and said “I am talking” and continued to speak.

The CNN Fact Check found some inaccuracies in both speakers’ answers but, of course, far more and more serious ones on Pence’s part.

The format, nine areas in 10-minute segments, did not allow any in-depth discussion of any important topic. The areas covered included the COVID Pandemic, the role of the Vice President (both candidates for President are well over 70 years old and, therefore, there is reasonable belief that one of them may be unable to complete his term), Trump’s present health (voters need to know), the economy (here there was the greatest divergence from the truth), climate change, China, America’s role in the world, the Supreme Court (where Pence kept insisting Kamala tell him whether the Democrats intended to pack the Court if they win – forgetting or not mentioning how the Republicans had just done that and were about to continue), the future of Roe v. Wade, the future of ACA (I was disappointed that Kamala did not more forcefully remind everyone that the Republicans had been trying to get rid of ACA for years, saying for the last decade that they had a health plan for Anericans, but we had never seen one), racial justice, and the upcoming elections.

At one point, Senator Harris went into her background, as many voters do not yet know her well – and it was a good summary of all her impressive experience and the skills she would bring to the White House. She did a good job of elaborating on Joe Biden’s beliefs and defending his programs, too.

Perhaps this will be the last debate for this election, as Donald Trump has just announced that he will not participate in any more debates, if they are virtual. I think that after his insane performance in the first debate, he has decided not to risk another such fiasco … or maybe he really is ill enough not to be able to do it? Nevertheless, he plans to do his mega-rallies instead, where he continues to spread the novel corona virus … and all his lies.

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MEENA FOR PRESIDENT!!!:


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Rats Off to You, Worcester City Councilor Donna Colorio!🐭

By Rosalie Tirella

I received a phone call last week from an elegant gent I used to know and love. He lives at the gateway to our city’s elegant West Side: Homer Street, Institute Road, Massachusetts Ave …home to the Antiquarian Society building, depository of the first newspapers of our grand USA – newspapers containing the musings of Thomas Payne … His neighborhood is also home to WPI, our city’s engineering university where the finest scientific minds help search for the cure to COVID … Streets where tree canopies make you feel you are in Wellesley or Weston as you drive down the tree-lined Flag or Troy streets, the wide enough to host a parade Massachusetts Ave.

Now his elegant neighborhood is RATSVILLE – rats climbing West Side trees, rat burrows in West Side back yards, rats skittering up Mass Ave, rats nibbling on organic eggplants in chi chi West Side organic carefully tended gardens – gardens where Opera records have played – to the annoyance of my elegant old gent friend: he listens to ZZ Top and Greg Alman – LOVES Southern Rock.

All Southern Man past as he watched a big-ar*ed rat climb the tree by his back yard and another rat, smallish, hang from one of his many front porch bird feeders. The City of Worcester came to his doorstep and claimed: you’re the rat-magnet! Shut down your bird feeders!!

My elegant old gent thought: LIKE HE*L I’ll stop feeding my pretty robbins, feisty blue jays and hardscrabble little English sparrows. Not to mention the humming birds with their sugar water dispenser – now frequented by savvy Worcester rats!

My old friend – who loves nature but not rats – has exterminated twice. The rats return. He has had confabs with the city and his lawyer – and telephoned me. Not to take me to a socially distanced Martin Sexton concert as I had begged but to WHINE ABOUT RATS AND THE CITY. Not senior Sex in the City – but Rats in the City. A new kind of TV show, starring him but, alas, not I …📽

I said to him: Sweetie, I adore you, but I implore you: I have my own RAT problem here in Quinsig Village with my own rats to fret about – and they have guns and tasers. Rats bigger than your rats, and stinkier, too … but not as bright!

Worcester City Councilor at Large Donna Colorio declared at last night’s Worcester City Council meeting: WORCESTER IS FULL OF RATS: THEY’RE INUNDATING PARK AVE, VERNON HILL, GRAFTON STREET. We need to look into this rodent problem. She asked City Manager Ed Augustus to eradicate all the Worcester rats who destroy our happiness, peace of mind and organic eggplants! I second that emotion … and say, “Rats off to you, City Councilor Donna Colorio!”
WIL+ratsgluetrap+NC+PO+DB
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Meet me at the DINER ☕🍝🍩🍔🍳

By Rosalie Tirella

Did you know the film DINER makes my ALL-TIME TOP 15 MOVIE LIST? Today, as I rewatch it, it is number 8. Once it was #1 – even besting my all time #1 flick: THE AWFUL TRUTH staring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant!

Maybe this Barry Levinson masterpiece, a swan song to his Baltimore youth, is so near and dear to my heart because I see my Worcester-as-a-true-Gateway-City in it: my childhood friends, my parents, my friends’ parents …

… all that penny-pinching, the plain-spoken average Joe just wanting – because it’s what he can afford – the basics. All that Greek, Italian, Polish, Lithuanian industriousness … believing in the American Dream of house, backyard, car and college for your kids. Realizing that Dream in a few generations because you COULD back then. The factories were union shops … the small stores cried out for the thrifty, smart Italian or Russian proprietor. All that touchy, feely, sometimes saccharine, immigrant love! Church all the time. Praying to God – together as a family. The search for success in a new country while staying true to Old Country truths and traditions. Can we have both? we wondered. …

DINER’s grubby Baltimore warehouses were Worcester’s, the movie’s modest shoppes in a nondescript downtown matched our old Denholms, Marcus and American Supply … the religiosity of the people in DINER, the respect for elders, the many churches … and even more diners serving up roast beef sandwiches, French fries, bleh plain white bagels … and all that private talk with best friends. The pain and joy of assimilation. The ol’ Worcester.

I saw DINER for the first time decades ago (we are both that old!) in Worcester’s once bustling downtown – with our Mart, Sylvia’s Dress Shoppe and Marcus still open for business. I loved the Paris Cinema in its pre-porn days, before it became an XXX-movie theater. I still miss its wonderful vintage PARIS cinema sign which screamed HOLLYWOOD!!! and MOVIE STARS! I can still picture its thick, heavy, red velvet ropes, deep, red-plush chairs and its big gaudy chandeliers, lit from within, dripping those strands of big crazy rhinestone teardrops! But Showcase Cinemas was great too – in a more compact way, with its huge glass wrap-around concession area, right in the middle of the first floor – popcorn and Jujus before the escalator ride up to one of four screening rooms. Marble stairs to class it up. You always saw people from your school or church going up or down them making sharp clack clack clacks with their shoe heels. COMMUNITY.

Back to the film DINER: I saw it with two Burncoat Senior High School gal pals, falling for the film’s six handsome male leads … and its terrific storyline: a group of Baltimore townies, guys now in their early 20s, best buddies from high school, grow up – in fits and starts … going in separate directions, but wistful for old times … tentative. As they head into their adult lives, they are having second thoughts about a lot of stuff – from Eddy and his impending marriage, to Billy and his pregnant friend. Eddy is making his fiancee take this 100-question, esoteric, wicked hard!! football test – one wrong answer and their wedding is off! Billy, the Masters Degree candidate in business college got his TV news station producer friend pregnant during their weekend in New York City. They had been platonic, best friends for six years. Now home for Christmas vacation, Billy offers to marry his friend. tells her he loves her. She says, “You’re confusing friendship with a woman with love. It’s not the same thing.” Billy, sitting opposite her, looks flummoxed.

A few of the guys, like Shrevey and Boogie, will stay townies, not heading off to college, not straying too far from their childhood neighborhoods, but they are still living lives, still navigating affairs of the heart. Shrevey is a salesman at a furniture store in downtown Baltimore and married to the gorgeous, young Ellen Barken, whom he loves, knows is beautiful … but still … they don’t seem to connect … don’t have much to talk about these days. Ellen doesn’t understand or share his passion for music and records – touchstones for Shrevey. He lashes out at her when she doesn’t know where an lp goes – rock n roll or rhythm and blues. …

… And Boogie, a young, beautiful Mickey Rourke, before the boxing and Botox, is stunning and riveting as he sweet talks the ladies and tries to survive poverty and moving beyond his job at the hair dressers. He is desperate for money because he owes a loan-shark TWO GRAND. Tomorrow. He tells his mom he’s got $56 to his name.

… So he comes up with crazy, degrading schemes like taking bets on a box of his special “surprise” popcorn and a not very bright beauty.

A young Paul Reiser plays the young comedian of the gang, and a baby-faced Kevin Bacon plays the brilliant alcoholic trust-fund kid with a maniacal laugh that subs for crying.

To see the guys standing by the gray, dirty Baltimore harbor … to see them sitting at the diner, at the shiny chrome counter looking out those big windows at their world, from their cool clubhouse … is to see Worcester when she was grand and gaudy and gritty. To see Eddy’s mom complain to Billy: Why is Eddy still living at home?, then to watch her chase her son with a carving knife when he demands: MA, MAKE ME A SANDWICH!!! only to acquiesce and ask Billy: BILLY, DO YOU WANT A SANDWICH? IT’S NO TROUBLE! is to see shades of your Polish Mom or Greek Granny… You also see why Eddy is still a big kid!

My favorite shot in the film? After Billy and Eddy ham it up with a pretty, middle-aged stripper at a strip club, they take her out for coffee at a diner. Sitting at the long counter that faces the street, they look out the window and chat as they watch the world go by. Their banter is soft, sweet, respectful, silly … tinged with sadness and longing. They talk thru the late night. As dawn lights up their city, a horse clomps by – he’s pulling a wagon filled with junk and rags, the bells on his harness tinkle. The neighborhood rag man. They were a big part of city life not so long ago. My late mother used to tell me of the rag man and his horse – lowly travelers – coming through her Green Island, down Lafayette Street, up Millbury Street, up Water, calling for RAGS, JUNK. I once saw the rag man, when I was very young, a toddler. I saw his brown horse clomping down Lafayette Street pulling an old wagon. A beautiful horse!!! A coach like Cinderella’s! The rags were dirty and in a heap but I was entranced … by my city’s magic. Made in America❤.

Edith in Rose’s space! 🍁🇺🇸🍁🇺🇸🍁🍁

Changing Policing

By Edith Morgan

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Under the Green Street Bridge: WPD cops are often asked to deal with/help solve Worcester’s homeless challenge. pic: R.T.

AMERICAN POLICING: Changes are needed, certainly. But, before we do anything, we should be clear as to where the trouble really lies:

Some people are blaming unions, but that isn’t right. Union have power over a limited number of things, by law: hours, wages and conditions of work. Those things need protection, and individual workers need the protection of their coworkers, so they do not have to stand alone against the power of the bosses, the corporation and big money. That is only fair, and works very well in most European nations where labor and management actually sit down together as equals.

One problem I have not seen mentioned in the regular press is that in many places in the U.S. policemen are a kind of Brotherhood, a sort of fraternity – with all that this means in terms of loyalty to your fraternity brothers – no matter what. That explains why police officers mostly will not turn in their fellow officers – even when it is obvious they are guilty (we see the same phenomenon in college fraternities).

In addition, there are certain obvious events that we can all agree should be remedied NOW; there is much agreement that chokeholds should be banned by police depts – and cops should be punished if they are used.

In addition, I have always been amazed that the public tolerates and excuses (at least, until the “Black Lives Matter” movement) the execution of Black victims: I call it execution because I can not imagine that police officers, trained to shoot, need to put 7 to 12 bullets into unarmed subjects! One shot should be all that is allowed – and should certainly be enough to disable a truly threatening person.

Of course, there is the question as to why a fully armed poluice officer is threatened by an unarmed person, or child.

We need to get answers to these questions.

And, above all, we need to redefine the function of our police forces.

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A New Kind of October

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and family …

October usually brings to mind Indian summer days, a warm and comforting spell before winter comes to New England. We think of Oktoberfest, falling leaves, the final harvest, drives into the country to see all the brightly colored trees and bushes. We get out our warm clothes, prepare for Halloween and bring in our bulbs and indoor plants, and thoroughly enjoy the last sigh of warm weather …

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But October of 2020 promises to be very different! This year, we face the continuation of precautions against the COVID 19 menace and the expectation that we will be masked and distanced for some time to come.

Our children will be subject to various kinds of schooling, in very different settings, with the gaps between those who can afford$$$$ all the technology and those who can not, widening ever more. And in addition to the threat of the virus, the yearly flu will spread around among us – at least among those who did not get vaccinated against this year’s type.

And, of course, our country will be limping along to the November 3rd Election, when the final bunch of votes will be cast in this very important national election.

By now every registered voter in our state hs received the absentee ballot application, and hopefully most have returned it so they can receive their ballot. And early in the month, as soon as possible, all of us will have returned the ballot well before November 3rd, so we can be sure; it will arrive in time to be counted. So much hangs on this election that for the first time in many years, I am truly apprehensive …

This October also will see a continuation of the protests against racial injustice and police brutality – and hopefully the beginning of some much needed changes or, rather, improvements, not mere changes, in the ways we govern ourselves.

As I write this, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just died, and already the scramble to decide what to do to fill her spot is raging day in and day out. …


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All the ugliness of the struggle for power and money is already showing itself. This is not the America I came to in 1941 when we had a President, FDR, who, though born rich and powerful, nevertheless had a real feel for and caring for us, the people. (Actually, I have always credited the wonderful first lady, Eleanor, known all over the world to this day for her great and effective advocacy for human rights.)

How have we descended to this state, where now we are the laughing stock of most other nations, are ruled by someone who promised to get rich off the presidency, where every major arm of the executive branch has been decimated, and is being headed by political hacks incompetent but loyal to the person of the president (or else), not to the constitution or the people who are paying their salaries?

The answer hangs in the air , depending on the November 3rd election. I pray that all voters realize that…

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“The Searchers” forever!📽

By Rosalie Tirella

I’m watching – for the 10th time!! – one of my favorite movies, THE SEARCHERS. The John Ford masterpiece starring John Wayne, Ward Bond and Vera Miles and the breathtaking Monument Valley, a bigger “character” in the movie than even the human actors, except for John Wayne. The movie still stands. Tall, graceful, haunting 70 years after it was made. Nothing soft or sentimental about this movie. It is true … and, for me, depicts both sides of the Indian/White Man rift with brutal truth. Yes, one side had to annihilate the other!! – this country was so gorgeous!! – worth fighting to the death for! The two cultures were incompatible; it would have been impossible to co-exist. Rape, murder, devastation of homesteads, even the brutal taking of scalps (initiated by the Whites) took place on both sides.

Wayne is racist in the movie, but director Ford isn’t, so his vision, his story, isn’t. The forced march of the Comanches, the American barracks the women and girls are held in, the slaughtering of all the women and children in an Indian camp by American soldiers, the murder of Luk, even the old scrawny Indian extras of the movie – real Navahos from a nearby reservation – break your heart.

Back to the story: Wayne’s niece is kidnapped by Skar and his band of Comanches during one of Skar’s murder raids. Skar is the John Wayne of Indian country – big and tall and strapping, the wise and brutal king – he must be killed. Skar and his band of marauders torch the homestead and kills the family of Wayne’s character, Ethan: All murdered: Ethan’s brother, Aron; the nephew; sister-in-law Martha and another niece. The women are raped before they are killed. Seven-year-old Debbie is spared – she is kidnapped by the Comanches. To see Wayne making his way through the charred rubble, to watch him pick up the blood-soaked blue dress of his true love, Martha, to know what he understands … He calls MARTHA!!! at this ground zero – not the name of his brother. But MARTHA!!!, his brother’s wife. This is the person who is HOME for Wayne in The Searchers:

I don’t care what anyone says, Wayne was a great actor!!! His visage grows darker and heavier with each loss in the movie. To see that close-up of him as he leaves the barracks where white Indian teenaged girls, all kidnapped when they were little, are housed in, is to see a beautiful portrait … of hatred. Wayne becomes mad – eaten up – by his vindictiveness. He WILL FIND DEBBIE, he tells fellow searcher Marty! EVEN IF IT MEANS SEARCHING FOR HER FOR YEARS! But when he finally tracks Debbie down, after five years of searching, he learns she has assimilated…lives with the Comanches as family, is the wife of an Indian, will have his children, Ethan turns on her, hates her. She must die. He intends to put a bullet in her brain. She is no longer his people, his family – but belongs to the other tribe.

As I watch this movie in my early old age, it feels Shakespearean. Epic like Homer. Or Steinbeck. I love when Wayne speaks … never coming down hard on a line, like his sidekick Marty does to show “emotion” (it’s like the young actor has turned it up to 11 for the entire movie!). Nope. Not the Duke – he’s marinated in nuance. His creased and heavy face tells his story, reflects his pain, his hurt, his loneliness, his aloneness. Ford shoots him so lovingly. And when he does cry out, it’s feels Olympian.

I won’t give away the film’s ending, in case you’ve never seen it, but to hear John Wayne, middle-aged, heavy shoulders, deep-voiced tell Marty he will find Debbie, that it is their inexorable fate, like “the turning of the earth” … WOW. Or to hear Wayne talk of the Indian after-life, as if he almost believed in it himself … after shooting out the eyes of the Indian buried in the red dust so the Indian’s a lost, restless wanderer in the afterlife, for eternity. As bereft and homeless as Ethan is in this amazingly beautiful country! The way Wayne uses his hands and arms in the movie, with graceful flourishes, to mimic the wind, winding paths, forks in the road, geese in the night sky is to watch and listen to a poet tell his story. You are captivated by his adventure!

The movie is BEAUTIFUL to look at. The final shot of the film is beautiful and heartbreaking. What does it mean? No happy ending for Ethan! He’s got no home, even after his gallant act, with the Jorghunsans. They are white and friends – but they don’t welcome him into the fold the way they do the young Marty. He doesn’t fit in. He can’t fit in! The Indians fear and respect Ethan but reject him, too. The heavy wooden front door closes shut on him, and he walks into the sun absolutely alone, with that signature John Wayne walk. He’s outside, with the other untamable things. A force of nature in his own right. What cabin, bunkhouse, tee pee could ever hold Ethan?

📽📽📽📽📽📽📽📽

New column from Edith🌸🌺 – in Rose’s space☕

Rosh Hashanah 5781

By Edith Morgan

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Edith!🌸🌸🌸

The Jewish New Year is coming up – this year will be 5781, probably the oldest continuing celebration of the beginning of another year. (the next oldest seems to be the Chinese, which is well over 4,000 years old, and the Cambodian, which is over 2,500 and the Christian calendar which is 2,020 years old. The newest should be the Mohammedan, which is about 1500 years old.)

Rosh Hashanah, celebrated every year on the first day of Tishri, the seventh month in the Jewish calendar, is the first of the 10-day period culminating in the day of atonement – Yom Kippur.
Most non-Jews are probably acquainted with the two most traditional aspects of this holiday period: the blowing of the “Shofar,” the hollowed-out ram’s horn which is specially treated to be hollow, and curved, so that it emits a haunting sound during this period; and the apple sliced across, with honey on the slice, symbolizing the wish for a full, round and sweet year for all.

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Edith honors all LIFE …

This period is dedicated to days of self-examination, reminding ourselves in what ways we have failed ourselves, others, our God – leading then to regretting and remorse, and finally to attempts at restitution where possible.

Then, ultimately, on the day of atonement (Yom Kippur), when we are enjoined to fast and abstain from all pleasurable activities and begin truly the New Year with renewed purpose to do better and improve in all areas.

For me, this period always is an opportunity to stop and reflect on what I regret having done or left undone, and to determine that I can and will do better in the coming year.

We all need a time like this, when we drop everything and “take stock” quietly and “off the clock” – taking a good look in the mirror and seeing if we are really happy with what we see. So much of the time we are plunging headlong into activities, habits and demands that we lose perspective and just blindly run on. Taking a whole day off to stop and think without the distractions of daily life would do us all good. I know it helps me to re-focus and repurpose my life!

So, to all my Jewish friends: I wish for you a full, round, sweet year in 5781. And, if you are not Jewish, enjoy a slice of apple and some honey, as those things are so good for all … and some introspection, repentance and self- improvement is good for us all …

🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

59

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rosalie, left, and her kid sister, years ago.

Driving down Green Street into the new “Peanut Square” makes me feel old. Old because all the upstart trendy shops on my once working class childhood street/magical touchstone – the new all-bacon restaurant, the bo bo tapioca drinks, the glorified high-calorie pub food, the black bralettes, the shabby-chic reclaimed/refinished furniture – are meant to attract the young. I would have loved this new Green Street if I were “newer” – say 25 years old, or maybe even rounding 30 … Ahh! The perfect blouse! Now I know that guy in philosophy class will notice me! … Hey, what’s the customer next to me buying? She’s prettier than me! Sigh. … Cool end table at this shop! Perfect for my new one-bedroom by the highway!

I will be 59 years old next month. I call it 60. May as well. I usually go a step further and label myself an “old broad.” The chuckles rounded with … sadness, wistful feelings.

When you are old like me, cool end tables don’t excite you the way they did when you were 25 and an apartment virgin. You have lived in a bunch of apartments! In third-rate cities with your – or so you thought – first-rate dreams! The funky sofas and vintage lamps you have scored through the years blend into each other these days. A waste of time, all that ridiculous shopping. But necessary at the time! I was 27 and in love with blues, all hues. These days the chairs and plant stands and water gobblets are an afterthought as you begin to ponder … death. YOUR death!! A very real, tangible kind of possibility. Now an impossibility. You are 60 now and can imagine it death “happening” to you. Say in 10 or 20 years. The blink of an eye! It will, like birth, be painful. It will, like birth, be a solitary exercise. Vintage end tables seem pointless compared to the Grim Reaper. I fear the reaper!!

You dream of your estranged sister, both of you kids in your childhood home in your dream, in the old ugly living room on Lafayette Street watching The Honeymooners on Bapy’s black and white Philco TV. The conversation you had with your estranged sister in your dream two weeks ago feels more real than the chit chat you had today with your pal down the street! …

Lucky times, missed opportunities. You see the big picture and realize: It was all a crap shoot!! You controlled so little of it all! Your birth. Your birthplace – and time. Your family. Even your marriage. Your remarriage. Your move to this city or a hightail to that town…and then life just sorta unfurled. Sometimes slowly, sometimes fast enough to give you whiplash. Sometimes with such heart-wrenching beauty or cruelty. You marvel at all the goodness in the world and you’re horrified by all the ignorance. You realize the men who loved you in your diaphanous blouses can leave you, no matter how seductive you look in that billowy blouse. For new girls in new blouses. Maybe made of linen – or (horror of horrors) even polyester! And he sticks with polyester girl – and you say: POLYESTER!??? … You realize blouses have nothing to do with love! Having similar ethnicities, churches, work ethics, childhoods and values are better predictors of “love” and successful relationships. Two neuroses “clicking.” That’s what love means to me at 60. I don’t take it too personally these days.

At 60, you look at all the gourmet donuts, fancy sugar-laden cupcakes (again gourmet), artisan pizza pies in all the Green Street shop windows and your arteries ache.

At 60, you have seen a lot, and you begin to make up your mind about people in about 20 minutes. This is bad. But you’ve been around and think you sense the patterns – like the old f*rt (a stereotype!) you’ve become! You see and ignore: the shallow bland blond rich white girl with nothing to say; the arrogant blobby millennial guy who works in IT and thinks he’s attractive but is a fat slob to you and most Boomers who were slim, at times anorexic, when we were young. Then there’s the white trash young woman and her six kids … the junky homeless guy … the pointless WASP money guy, so oblivious to the working class.

They all have their stories but you cannot hear them. A disgrace! You are alarmed at your closed mind, but you are trying to make sense of your little existence! You realize you were just a drop in the universal water bucket but you were eternity, too. Just like all the other people-drops …

🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁:

Edith in Rose’s space! New column!🌸🌿🌺🖋

Fall is Coming!

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and family❤

September has crept up on us – days are shortening and the autumnal equinox looms ahead. Mother nature moves ahead inexorably, …

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💚❤💚❤

… regardless of us. We can choose to go along and cooperate with nature or try to overcome and overpower her, as we so often have done, to our chagrin.
Our gardens have slowed down, the grass is growing more slowly, even the weeds have not come back as plentifully as earlier. And things are ripening.

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Edith’s urban garden💚

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Pie crust ready for all those autumn apples!

Apple picking time is near, and with it the wonderful treats that apples make possible: apple pie has made it as a symbol of America (“As American as apple pie!!”) and every year we learn about more great uses for the many kinds that are on our grocery shelves. I love Macs, Galas and all the varieties in their many colors and flavors. I eat at least one fresh apple daily. Did you too grow up believing that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”?

And did you begin your eating of solids with apple sauce? And did you wrap cored apples in pie crust, add cinnamon and honey and bake them? I could go on forever with the many uses of apples and their health benefits. So, get out and pick apples – and enjoy!


vegan apple pie!

Apples keep a long time and are very ”portable”! I often carry one along for a quick snack …

September also brought us VOTING – the primary. Now the final slog to November 3 and the presidential election. At last an end to the incessant campaign ads and mud-slinging – when I hope we will get down to work and pick up the pieces and rebuild our nation.

September also brings us the beginning of flu season – this year on top of the CORONAVIRUS! So there is no respite from the hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing that we are practicing. The ordinary rituals of school opening are now “virtual“ to a large extent … technology is more and more invading the education process, and new methods for imparting knowledge and information and skills are being tried – with mixed success.

And despite all the turmoil, I still look forward to the yearly beauties of fall in New England: the great final blush of autumn leaf and flower everywhere, before the winter …

The country as a whole seems to be veering off the cliff of extremism and seeking a middle course away from the cliff to greater cooperation and understanding and less labeling, lying, violence and name calling.

I will be celebrating the New Year in the Jewish calendar, which this year comes close to the beginning fall here. And I am hopeful for a healthy, sane, safe, year, trying to remember the path prescribed by the prophet Micah (and I paraphrase freely!!): “What does the Lord require of thee but to practice justice, love mercy, and walk HUMBLY with your God”