Category Archives: Green Island Grrrl

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.

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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.
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Rose’s Auntie visiting Bapy in Green Island during hard times. Auntie could make coats and dresses on her Singer.

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

By Chef Joey

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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

BY EDITH MORGAN

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Edith🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

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.

Edith in Rose’s space!🌲🌲🌲🌲

A New Normal?

By Edith Morgan

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Edith🌲🌲🌲🌲

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.

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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!
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Good riddance!!!!!!!

GREEN ISLAND = CHRISTMAS!🌲❄⛄🐧❄

By Rosalie Tirella

I just made some apple crumble and cooked up a yam/?sweet potato. (Are they the same root veggie?)

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The sweet potato is so orange and yummy. So tasty I don’t even sprinkle sugar/cinnamon on it. Fresh from the good earth.

These simple pleasures remind me of a few of the small Green Island winter wonders of my childhood: Hoodsies!! – which we kids used to get at Lamartine Street School, the day before Christmas, as we watched a fun winter Disney movie in the yellow-walled auditorium of Lamartine Street School. Mr. Chickarian, Mr. Gilman and grade 5 teachers coordinated it all – the teachers leaning against the side wall, chatting and joking with each other. We kids – all poor from the Green Island neighborhood – thrilled to be at “the movies”! A Christmas treat just for us! The movie was the same as last year’s, an old Disney movie; the metal folding chairs uncomfortable, but the otters sliding down the snowy slopes in the Disney movie made us kids – grades 4, 5 and 6 – laugh like crazy. Best of all there was no penmanship or phonics class. And we could eat – with that classic small flat little wooden spoon – our HOODSIES: teeny cups of Hoods vanilla and chocolate icecream – split right down the middle. Half the Hoodsie was chocolate, the other half vanilla! Delicious but so small, Mr. Chickarian (a great teacher whose daughter was my classmate at Burncoat High years later) gave the older boys in his sixth grade class two Hoodsies! No matter! We younger kids savored our treats: some at the chocolate side of their Hoodsie first, some dipped into chocolate and then vanilla (like me). At the end, you had a soupy chocolate shake at brought your Hoodsie to your lips to drink off the last bit of your ice cream treat.

We were so grateful! We – or many of us – came from broken homes, with an abusive (usually) dad or boyfriend. Ben’s Cafe was down the street, but even the snow on its sign and roof couldn’t cover up all the alcoholics or pi*sy smalls that emanated from it … Across from Lamartine the WPD still gad its minny jail – every year we Lamartine kids were taken to the jailhouse only yards away from school to tour a cell. To show us that this is where we’d land if we screwed up, broke the laws … I wonder if the students at Flagg Street School got such tours … The small upright sink, the toilet, the thick metal bars, the darkness…so anti-Christmas to little kids who long for Christmas every day!

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circa 1965, Rose’s cousin and Jaju!

I know I did! I SAW ALL THE MAGICAL GREEN ISLAND things, like all kids, even in the depths of February. For instance, Jimmy, the boy I had a crush on at Lamartine, lived on Winter Street. Off Green Street – now part of the chi chi Canal District. Back then it was lined with rundown three deckers, but I did not know that. I lived a ways on Lafayette Street. Jimmy was sooo cute – looked like the cartoon race-car driver in SPEED RACER! He had that jet black hair over his blue eyes – the Irish can have that beautiful look – and was so smart in class. A great reader, a fave with the teachers: yet tough as diamonds – walked to school, across Kelley Square, every day in all weather, with his big brother Pat. Jimmy rolled up his sleeves high up around his biceps. He had biceps! I never saw his parents – I think his big brother Pat – godlike in Jimmy’s eyes – brought him up. So, Jimmy was Winter Street as in magical, cute, precious street – Christmas. When my mother and my two kid sisters and I walked up Green Street to get to Downtown Woo, we’d walk by Winter Street and I’d feel toasty and warm – Jimmy’s street – and it would be Christmas. I imagined big snowflakes with 100 points, no one like the other: like my Lamartine Street School kids. The girl in grade 5…the very poor girl with red hair and freckles who showed us her big knife in the school yard. She had a pet guinea pig she brought to school once – and a boyfriend! Wow! Coolio! Special like Christmas, we kids thought!!

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Baby Rose and her mother, Cecelia.

Or the big big Santa next door to the drycleaners where my mother worked: Kiddie Castle (for rich kids) had the best Christmas display window – a 7-foot tall Santa waving to all passersby. Beneath him, girls and boys hats, scarves and mittens and wrapped gifts. By his side an animated Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with a real red light bulb nose. The light bulb was small – Rudy’s nose!!! Visiting our mother at the cleaners, we’d stop before the great big plate glass window and watch Santa, wearing a red luxurious red velvet and white fur trimmed suit, wave to us kids. And Rudolph was so cute – the size of a large dog (my wish for many a Christmases until Ma caved in and got us a puppy years later when we no longer believed in Chris Kringle).

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Rose, center, when she loved her latke and pigs knuckles! Her two kid sisters, pictured, were neutral!

Or the canned latke Ma would buy at Buelher Brothers Market up Millbury Street. More for Hanukkah, but Water and Green streets were still ethnic Jewish, many Poles like my mother and even some of the younger moms and dads crossed over and experimented with different Eastern European foods. The latke were easy to make: Ma just opened the can and slid out the white pasty latke roo and cut it into 1/4 inch slices and fried them in butter in her frying pan. Ma loved her latke, so did I. My kid sisters were neutral, often passing on this Cecelia Christmas treat. Sometimes Ma bought a jar of pigs knuckles – and ate them out of the jar, a delicacy. I’d eat one, too, paying no mind that they looked like little pigs feet…Pre-WOKE/PETA days!

Sometimes I’d just be walking home from school in winter, books in my knapsack, and feel Christmas-y. I was 9 and just starting to write little essays for the Telegram and Gazette’s HAPPY TIMES page. On Sunday, next to the “funnies,” you could read Worcester city kids’ best essays – and win new books for points (I think). Writing made me happy! What gifts would be under this little writer’s tree? Ma read all my essays – first out of kindness, then because she liked the stories I was telling her. Stories about my pet mouse Gigi, about my Polish grandmother Bapy, about books and trees and wolves howling outside my secret Prince, Jimmy’s, house on Winter Street. About the stamp collection Ma kept when she was 12 1/2 years old and went to work in Springfield with her sisters during the Great Depression. For a Bishop! They had cats and kittens and two beautiful Doberman pinschers – Rocky and Bridgette. And when my auntie played Christmas carols at the piano, Bridgette would sit by the piano and howl. It was Christmas!
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Bridgette❤❤❤❤

My Mom’s Christmas notebook

By Rosalie Tirella

I have been leafing through my late mom’s “Christmas notepad.” …

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I bought it for her at the Christmas Tree Shop in Shrewsbury, 15 or so years ago, when I learned she was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. She was 81 – and had just been diagnosed … She became ill after she had chosen to stay in her little studio apartment by the Holden line during that horrific ice/snow storm that turned all of Worcester County into a white, crystal castle – with no electricity for a third of our residents. Telephone wires dripped with iridescent, five feet long icicles, people snow shoed to their neighbors house down the street. It was all mystical and gorgeous to look at, but treacherous to survive in … brutal to drive through … scores of thick black lines down. And NATIONAL GRID WAS SO SLOW in fixing things. I am convinced they were the cause of many old timers’ deaths …

My mom was probably one of the hundreds of Worcester County folks who got very sick/died because of that ice storm. No power at her complex!! No heat! No hot water! No electricity to run her oven/stove or refrigerator! … All the seniors at my mom’s complex chose to go to shelter with relatives or live, for a few days, in the gym at Doherty High School, the City of Worcester makeshift shelter for West Siders. My mother was the outlier – my strong-willed mother and her two Greek pals. They decided to tough it out. They were the healthiest of the 62 old folks at their seniors housing complex, so they were confidant … Four days later, four days of living in what amounted to a dark, freezing meat locker … the electricity was back on. My boyfriend at the time and I visited her twice a day – we pressed her to go to his house. He had gas heat. She was adamant: NO! THIS IS MY HOME!

… Health complications for the Three Amigos after the storm: Jane got blood clots and died four months later. Maria had to move in with relatives. And I assume my mom had something happen with blood clots, too, because she stopped being the smartest person in the room. She began asking me the same questions over and over again. Annoying! But when I found a chicken carcass in her stove’s broiler and not in the waste can by the kitchen sink, I called her doctor and made an appointment for her for a physical. Ma had a full medical work up: lungs, heart, mammogram, blood, urine, calcium level tests. Her doc told me: Cecelia has the early stages of dementia. Keep her as healthy and strong as you can – and call Elder Services of Worcester for visiting nurses aides, home health aides and MORE SUPPORT SERVICES so she can continue to live in her apartment for as long as possible. I did just that. I’d visit my mother every night to make sure all the cogs in this new machine rolled on …

And they did – for four years! And then Ma went into a nursing home where they over medicated her, killing her. Years later, I consider those four years of caring for Ma my noblest years! Some of my finest hours! It was so HARD – but I did it all: hugs and kisses, new dusters from Building 19, cute nighties for bed, McDonald’s take out coffee, fish and chips, the Turner Classic Movies cable TV channel … and those excellent home health aides and homemakers. Angels. They showered Ma, made her her farmer’s breakfasts, vacuumed her wall to wall carpet and more … My mother grew very attached to one young homemaker – buying her kids birthday, First Holy Communion and Christmas gifts. A beautiful friendship – until Ma’s dementia became MODERATE and she got more and more forgetful and hid her big porcelain dolls – standing on her TV set – in the closets and peed her pants more often than walk to her cute little bathroom to urinate. Even wearing Depends and me doing extra, and the help growing weary I knew it was time. When Ma fell over her cat April and landed in rehab, the docs recommended a nursing home …

So here are some pages from that time, Ma’s notebook, the early years, written in her straight, un-pretty penmanship … list, after mini list … I see so clearly my mother’s hard life in those thin note pages. Ma’s life: a series of to do lists so she, a single mim with three girls, could keep us all on track. Lists so she could get the right groceries to keep her girls healthy and strong. My mother was obsessive about the weather when we were young because we had no car and walked to school, church, work in the rain, snow, sleet, hail. We had to dress appropriately for the weather! I got awards at Lamartine Street School for “perfect attendance”! All seen today, again, in the palm of my hand: My mother a small woman swimming against grinding poverty, saved by her Catholic faith – and a will of steel … ans her daily to do lists, like what I see today:

“Lungs clear, blood pressure perfect … BUY MILK, ORANGE JUICE … Need qts for laundry … Buy eggs, cheese … Pay rent on 3rd … ”

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And at the end of those years, as Ma struggled against dementia and tried to hide it from me and the world, in her little Christmas notebook, she wrote desperate questions to herself: “Do I have money in the bank? … My telephone # [blank]” … or “today is Tuesday.”

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Missing my sweet, strong and loving mother this Christmas Eve!

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❤❤❤❤❤

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LOVER COME BACK!!!!

By Rosalie Tirella

I’m watching what the film critics tout as the quintessential Rock Hudson-Doris Day romantic comedy: LOVER COME BACK. For me, PILLOW TALK is #1 – this Day-Hudson classic is like a John Ford cowboy film without the cowboys, guns and Monument Valley: perfect, as in not one superfluous line of dialogue, one flat joke, gesture, kiss. Resolves beautifully. Lovely to look at.

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Rock Hudson gets a free ride from the ladies!

LOVER COME BACK is still lots of fun!: filled with glitter, swanky night clubs, kisses, two sexy stars … rife with double entendres, witty repartee and a showcase for cool 1960s Manhattan apartments, offices, sky lines … and hokey tourists. And it’s got Tony Randall – a third wheel who’s anything but!

Doris Day is Carol Templeton, a very early 1960s career gal working in advertising high up in a gorgeous NYC skyscraper. …

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Carol at work❤

Carol is hard-charging and ambitious – she pretty much has the job that actor Jon Hamm had in the cable TV classic MAD MEN: creating advertising campaigns for all kinds of products and dealing with the creepy guys behind the products. And managing an unruly love life on the side. They work to make cans of wax fun! They mold America’s tastes and desires!

Whereas the MAD MAD TV series was wonderful but always pretty dark and foreboding, LOVER COME BACK is wonderful but always light and fun. Both look a lot alike: linen sheath dresses for the gals; starched white dress shirts for the guys; clean-lined, mid-20th century furniture; deep, saturated colors all over the place. … Both TV series and movie depict the advertising game realistically: sex sells (Hudson’s character, Jerry Webster, says, “Give me a well stacked dame and I’ll sell after-shave lotion to Beatniks!”); they take their boorish male clients out to strip clubs and ply them with drinks; they learn everything they can about the product – and their clients. LOVER COMES BACK opens with a voice over, This is the Manhattan advertising world where Americans are taught: this is what you must eat, drink … smell like!

Then we meet Carol and Jerry. The narrator continues: “THIS IS A WORKER” and Carol (Day), in a gorgeous white dress with stunning black hat, struts out of her cab. The narrator narrates: “AND THIS IS A DRONE,” and we are introduced to Jerry (Hudson): chauffeured by a lovely brunette still in her lovely sea-foam-green evening gown driving her matching gorgeous sea foam green convertible. …
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Jerry at work❤

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Two yokel local tourists are behind the couple. They’re in a big cab with a regular old cabbie – they ogle Jerry and his date as they French kiss GOOD MORNING! These two fat, balding middle-aged guys from fly over country are the film’s Greek chorus: at various points in the film they see Rock at “the mercy” of yet another beautiful woman. How does he do it? they ask each other. And marvel at their super man …

The movie takes shape when a canned wax mogul from the South is in New York City looking for a new ad agency to represent his canned wax company. Jerry and Carol, working for two competing ad agencies, right across the street from each other, vie for the account. Jerry wins after he takes the guy to a night club to show him some better “cans”! …
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Carol is enraged! Jerry Webster is an unethical hack! She drags his bunny with the great can – “Rebel” – in front of the Ad Council for justice. Rebel, is supposed to rat out Jerry, but she only sings his praises – after Jerry promises her (a few days earlier) that she will be the TV face behind a brand new product: VIP.

The problem is THERE IS NO VIP! Jerry made it all up to get Rebel to say nice things about him during her hearing before the Ad Council. He saw the word “VIPs” as in “Very Important Persons” in a newspaper headline when he was at Rebel’s smothering her with kisses to … kiss up … and get her to lie before the Ad Council. His kisses didn’t take, but his promising her that she will be the ONE AND ONLY VIP GIRL – ON TV!! – did.

And so begins the Rebel TV advertising campaign of VIP – a product that doesn’t exist. All of America wants to buy VIP!! But what is it? And where can they buy it? The problem seems daunting until Dr. Linus Tyler steps in – Jerry visits this misanthropic quack in his Greenwich Village basement lab and bribes him with $5,000 to get back into the research game, to develop a VIP. Carol hears of this, and determined to steal the VIP account, tracks Dr. Tyler down in his lab. Only it’s Jerry in a lab apron washing some beakers – the real Dr. Tyler stepped out for a minute. Smitten by the pretty Carol, Jerry doesn’t tell her the doc has stepped out, but plays along. Meet the new Dr. Tyler. THE DOCTOR IS IN!

And so, a la PILLOW TALK, this beautiful play boy dupes Carol (a little too gullible, in my opinion) into believing he’s someone he’s not: the naive, innocent, VIRGINAL Dr. Linus Tyler. They date and smooch and date some more and smooch some more … and fall in love.

At one point, the wolfish Jerry is on the cusp of bedding down the chaste Carol – in the maid’s room in her apartment – when the telephone rings. It’s Carol’s boss and he enlightens Carol. SHE WAS DUPED! Carol is enraged! For spite, she lures Jerry out of bed to the beach 30 miles away where they first kissed … It’s time for a midnight skinny dip … but she does not take so much as her lipstick off and drives away with all of Jerry’s clothes. “GOOD NIGHT, MR. WEBSTER!” Carol yells from behind the car steering wheel as she zooms off. I won’t give away the ending of this terrific flick because it’s the funniest scene in the movie (to me!). But no one should ever write off Rock Hudson’s comedy chops or dismiss Doris Day as a sexless 1950s movie actress – Eisenhower’s girl but never JFK’s. Well, Day was sexy! She was more than a bridge to Jane Fonda and the American actresses of the 1960s and ’70s! Yes, she turned down the Mrs. Robinson role in THE GRADUATE, but did Ann Bancroft love and support Rock Hudson when he was dying of the then mysterious and taboo disease called AIDS? Doris Day was there for Rock. Sweet as sugar. Tough as nails.

Edith in Rose’s🌲 space: Guess who is still boss?❄❄❄

By Edith Morgan

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Edith!❄⛄❄⛄

It’s mid-December in New England and guess who is in charge?

Everything went quiet last night, as we all hunkered down to await the inevitable. Four days from the winter solstice, as it gets dark so early, the snow is falling inexorably on us all. Streets and sidewalks are obliterated, and the skeletons of the deciduous trees stand bare and black. Because it is so cold, the snow is light and fluffy and – thankfully – does not stick to branches. So there should be fewer power outages caused by overloaded trees. But a less than gentle wind is blowing snowflakes around, undoing a lot of the work of all the diggers and sweepers and shovelers. It’s a veritable army of workers out there, trying to keep things cleared enough so that at least emergency vehicles can pass.

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Edith’s winter wonderland!

So, who is in charge? We who choose to live here know: we play second fiddle to Mother Nature’s whims and wishes. We really make an effort to cooperate with her and try to make it possible to live happily in this climate. I myself can hardly imagine living year round somewhere where there is only one season – and no surprises! Here, it is the surprises that keep life more challenging, and the great exercise it is to keep on our toes trying to stay ahead of what nature dishes out.IMG_3542
Little birds scrounging for food.

There are of course some pluses: for a brief time, the whole world around us is so clean – all the litter, potholes, weeds and other debris are all are hidden in the same, smooth blanket of snow – though not for very long, as it is a week day and a working day for many, so walks and steps and roadways are being cleared even as the last flakes drift to earth.

A few generations ago, snow would not have brought everything to a standstill: horse-drawn sleighs can negotiate all sorts of terrain and were immortalized in the well known song, “Over the River and Through the Woods.”

Animals hibernate (wish we knew how!!), and the ones who have come to depend on us for feeding are sitting on the railing and waiting for today’s handout …

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Can you spy the birdies on Edith’s front porch?❤

The squirrels watch from the tree nests and come swishing down as soon as some food hits the ground. So all is well in nature.

Naturally, I did not get my newspaper, or maybe it is buried in all that snow. And so far today I hae not received my mail. But at least the power outage preceded the storm, so I can save my candles and flashlights for another time.

Now I can, with a clear conscience, read, write cards and letters and pay the bills. And maybe even rot my mind with a bit of recreational TV. And enjoy the great calm and quiet out there …

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❤PILLOW TALK TALK!!❤

By Rosalie Tirella

Life has sent me running into the arms of PILLOW TALK, the Doris Day-Rock Hudson movie-gem that is a fluffy puff pastry of Jackie O. elegance, intelligence, wit, cheeky double entendres and great beautiful apartments with butter yellow bedroom walls and views of the Manhattan skyline.

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Doris and Rock: Lover come back!

Doris Day is the late 1950s movie career gal – a chaste interior decorator who loves her creative work, huge color-saturated apartment, wealthy beaus and the fancy restaurants to which they chauffeur her. But, man oh man, does she hate the guy on the other end of her party line – the gorgeous Rock Hudson/Brad Allen, who hogs their shared land line to no end – a lothario songwriter who sings the same smarmy love song he wrote to every one of his girlfriends, switching out their first names as he flatters and woos each gullible girl. Doris hears this song every time she picks up her telephone receiver to make a phone call – and it annoys her to no end!

Doris/Jan bickers with Brad over the phone several times a day. Brad is always intrigued but they never see each other. Rich goofball Tony Randall/Jonathon – Rock’s best friend – is infatuated with the pretty Jan, promising her “I’ll smother you in private lines!!” if she marries him, but their chaste first kiss leaves Jan cold. He’s not her man.

Only when Brad sees Jan dancing with a client’s son at a night club, mesmerized by her cute bum snug in a low-back white dress, does he realize “so that’s the other end of my party line!” When her date, the kiddo, passes out dead drunk in the middle of the dance floor, Rock rushes in to help (himself).


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But how to start dating a woman you’ve bickered with for months over the phone – a woman who knows your name and the sound of your voice? Change your name and your voice, of course! Brad cops a silly yokel Texas accent and calls himself Rex Stetson. Jan, of course, is so smitten by this “marvelous looking man” she’s completely drawn in …

And that’s when the fun begins – for Brad. He wallows in his two identities – calling up Doris as Rex and butting in on their flirty phone call as Brad. He can barely suppress his laughter! and has to cup his hand over the telephone receiver so Jan doesn’t hear his laughter (remember doing that on your pink telephone?!). The director makes such clever use of split screens here – you see the two lovers talking to each other over the phone: in bed, in the bathtub … separate but together. Love the thought bubbles and the chemistry between these two fine actors!

The party is over, however, when Jonathon, still stuck on Jan, has her followed by a gum shoe – and learns she’s dating his best friend! He pounces on Brad in the middle of a date with Jan …


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… at the Hidden Door club (Jan has gone to the powder room) and tells him to go to his house in Connecticut to finish writing the songs for a Broadway show he is producing. Too cocky for his own good, Brad defies Jonathon and ropes Jan into going away for the weekend to Connecticut. To Jonathon’s place! The country house in Connecticut is rustic, the fireplace roars … Doris is ripe for the pickin’. The wolfy Rock goes out side to get more firewood for the fire, Doris finds some sheet music in his coat that she’s thrown over her shoulder, goes to the piano to play the tune …and as she plinks plinks the piano keys, the melody of that notorious love song that Brad sang over their party line to each of his conquests comes though … DORIS IS FLOORED! ENRAGED! SHE WAS DUPED BY THE CREEP AT THE OTHER END OF HER PARTY LINE!!! But … SHE’S IN LOVE WITH HIM NOW.

This is a wonderful, classic Doris Day-Rock Hudson flick (they made 3 or 4 of these lovely cinematic confections together) – so the ending is hilarious. And happy!

Fruit Cocktail❤

Text and pics by Rosalie Tirella

Yesterday was a sheltering-in-place kind of Thanksgiving. Made all the veggies and sides – but ate no turkey, for love of the bird❤. …

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Then, I found this culinary talisman, a can of fruit cocktail and burst into tears:

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❤😪

I called the old beau and sobbed to him: “I MISS MY MOM”! He knew Cecelia, too, and loved her, too – more than me at the end. When Ma was dying, he raced from a work site to the nursing home to say goodbye to her. He was in his painters pants and covered in white paint strokes. He looked exhausted – but went to my mom’s bedside to “just visit.” Not a huggy guy, he said, formally: “How are you?”

Ma said: “Fine! You’re looking good, ‘John’!

Both lousy liars. Ma died several hours later. John went back to his worksite, then helped me remove Ma’s stuff from her half of the nursing home bedroom the next day.

But I digress. Back to the can of fruit cocktail. …

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When I was a little girl growing up in Green Island, fruit cocktail – the sweetened kind – was a staple in our Lafayette Street flat. Ma loved it, used it almost every day: as an appetizer served in a little bowl, for all of our father’s steak dinners – when Daddy was around. She poured it over her Corn Flakes for breakfast. She urged us to eat it too – over our Corn Flakes or as a stand alone dinner staple, to be savored before supper. Or for dessert.

Right before our birthdays – Ma would walk to Supreme Market on Millbury Street and buy her Cecelia Kiddie Birthday Party Bonanza for me, my sisters and our party guests, Uncle Mark, Aunt Mary and their three kids, our cousins: three big cans of fruit cocktail, a box of Duncan Hines Cherry Supreme cake, eggs, Betty Crocker canned chocolate frosting and a jar of red cherries.

Then she’d go to White’s Five and Ten across the street for paper cups and plates, a plastic table cloth, paper party hats, party favors, a small box of pink candles and a Pin the Tail on the Donkey wall game – and Scotch Tape to keep it all together.

Ma would bake her instant cake – and give me the bowl to lick (never got sick!). When the two pink layers were baked, Ma frosted them and then cracked open her little jar of red maraschino cherries, cut all of them in half and decorated her cake with them. I hung out with Ma at the kitchen table, watching her, admiring her artistry, hoping she’d hand me a few sweet cherries. She did.

But for Ma, the big event was pouring all those cans of fruit cocktail into a special, BEAUTIFUL, glass punch bowl, gingerly placing a clear plastic ladle in it, then pulling the tiny glass bowls out of the china closet and setting it all up on our big laundry wash tubs in our kitchen – now covered with a lid and a plastic table cloth. Cake and fruit cocktail front and center; sandwich meat from Buehler Brothers Meat Market on Millbury Street, State Line potato chips, Cheetos and Wonder Bread flanking the heart of the spread. Ma made a ritual of serving everyone their fruit cocktail, ladling it in the tiny bowls…serving us kids from the left. Very classy. Very Eisenhower 1950s wife and mom.

Ma had learned all this in Springfield during the Great Depression, when she was a maid/assistant cook to her sister for the Bishop of Springfield. The pious bishop ate like a hog: roast beef, steak, salmon, shrimp cocktail, homemade desserts every night. And fruit cocktail.

My mother, a young Catholic girl …
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Cecelia, left, in Springfield, with one of her big sisters, Aunt Mary.

… working away from home, Worcester, to send money home to her Polish immigrant parents, was proud to be working for the CATHOLIC CHURCH. Almost Royalty! Practically Presidential! Beautiful china. The best cuts of meat! Linen napkins. Silver tableware. Cream for your coffee. And FRUIT COCKTAIL!!! … Thirty years later available at Supreme Market on Millbury Street! For cheap!

Holding that tiny fruit cocktail tin yesterday, I realized the fruit cocktail we were swimming in at Lafayette Street when I was a little girl, was, for our sweet mother, a reminder of holy, halcyon days: days sans a face-slapping, screaming, red-faced Daddy; a big, cold tenement to heat with just a gas stove, with gas log, in the kitchen in winter time, and two small electric heaters in the kids’ bedrooms. Poverty 24/7: 60-hour work weeks at the dry cleaners, walking all over our gritty neighborhood to work, shop, work, work, work … Spring, summer, autumn, winter …

Putting can opener to a big can of fruit cocktail brought Ma to a better place: memories of the Bishop’s big Victorian House, with radiators for warmth, her two big sisters for company, mass and Holy Communion every morning – and her two beloved Doberman pinschers, Rocky and Bridgette. And their cat who had adorable kittens twice a year.

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Cecelia in Springfield, with Dobbie Bridgette.

Then here in Worcester the sweetened bits of pears, peaches and grapes conjured up beautiful kiddie birthday parties with pin the tail on the donkey games! And dressing up her three little girls wicked cute!:

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Rosalie, center, with her two little sisters.

Beef loaf from Bueller Brothers, maybe a jar of pigs knuckles, too (not bad)! Singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! …a sweetener for Corn Flakes, meals, snacks … her hardscrabble life.

That’s why I cried yesterday.

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