Category Archives: InCity Voices

Worcester’s homeless scattered throughout the city because the City has no PIP

By Rosalie Tirella

SMOC HEADQUARTERS- SMOC: Worcester’s premier homeless social service agency – located on the corner of Chandler Street and Park Ave at the end of the Piedmont neighborhood:

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SMOC is housed in the old MLK building. It used to be run by Clarence Thomas who could never get his Black business empowerment center off the ground. SMOC and SMOC’s Chris Orcutt have also let this grand old Worcester building lie fallow. Pics: R.T.

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The MLK building could use some real revitalization!

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The homeless sleep on the Worcester Common BECAUSE WORCESTER HAS NO HOMELESS CARE PLAN.

Run by Chris Orcutt, the son of the late great PIP hero – PIP cook George Orcutt, who even got his mom to volunteer at the wet shelter’s kitchen in Main South. Now, all gone, died, retired, the PIP closed, thanks pretty much to former Main South activist Billy Breault and his old partner in crime former D4 city councilor and fellow Main South resident Barbara Haller.

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Worcester City Council and City Manager Ed Augustus have dropped the ball when it comes to compassionate care of our homeless …

Worcester is still coping with the fallout of the PIP’s closure. Twenty years ago the truly chronically homeless- drug-abusing etc – folks of Worcester County had a real HOME. PIP Director Buddy Brousseau brought in social workers, a Saint of a doctor, volunteers, cooks, and more to CARE for everybody. These days Chris Orcutt and SMOC have dropped the ball and Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus has, in his own oblivious way, sanctioned HOMELESS CAMPS/HIDEAWAYS for our suffering, the ones who need love and care most of all. They’re sleeping under the Green Street bridge, in the woods by the railroad tracks before Greenwood Street, the signage pointing them to the trees and bushes that will shelter them.

George Orcutt / the PIP used to cater City of Worcester events and parties. For free – a gift to the City from Buddy – for understanding. Having a heart.

That’s all changed.

For two weeks SMOC was shut down to clients: Chris Orcutt got COVID and shut his entire brick complex down. And the week before that he was on vacation. Chris had no plan B for his staff to fall back on. It was vacation time for all his staffers, as everyone stayed home! Homeless folks had no one – no Buddy Brousseau to advocate and care for them. No George Orcutt to cook them dinner. No PIP building (the first floor) with cots and blankets for shelter from the elements. No doctor to dress their wounds, no social workers to help them fill out referral forms.

Now Worcester’s homeless are in the woods, in their cars, under bridges, in the Canal District …

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The beginning of Quinsigamond Village, site of the relatively new visitors center and hiking trail/park …

The old PIP – a scourge to Haller and the folks on Charlton and Sycamore streets – DID SERVE A PURPOSE. Now we realize it HELPED the city more than it hurt …

The PIP WAS ABOUT COMPASSIONATE CARE FOR THE HOMELESS. IT KEPT THE HOMELESS POPULATION PRETTY MUCH IN ONE PLACE – THE PIP. Now that the PIP is gone, there’s no one to really wrap their arms around the homeless. No Buddy or George. No Angel Doctor. Now there are STREET CORNERS for panhandling, under the GREEN STREET BRIDGE for fellowship and sleeping, PARKING LOTS in which to rest or relax, LOCAL PARKS/WOODS to camp out/sleep. Heck, one morning I saw a couple roll up their sleeping bags after a night spent sleeping on the Worcester Common, yards away from Worcester City Hall. No one bothered them. They seemed ready to face the day together. It was a compassionate scene.

But we can do better, Worcester. We can move beyond SMOC!

Rose Buds

By Rosalie Tirella

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He could have been Kane’s monkey …

We’ve all seen the movie 100 times; so I’m not giving anything away … For years, while in my 30s, CITIZEN KANE was my # 1 movie. I think that’s because I was embarking on a newspapering career in earnest, and CITIZEN KANE is, on one level, about a newspaper man: his love of politics and power; his early, crusading journalism; his defense of the hoi poloi/populism, his … hubris. How does a man – or woman – make his/her mark on society? I wondered as I watched this Orson Welles masterpiece. You’re in your prime! You feel unstoppable! Capable of toppling worlds! But Charles Foster Kane showed me you can fu*k up. Royally. You can trash your biz, betray your lovers … grow so full of yourself you end up alone, isolated in your personal castle with … a bunch of jigsaw puzzles. Sure, you call all the shots, but as Jededia (Joseph Cotten) Kane’s best friend and early biz partner and confidante once told Kane, “you’ll just lord it over the monkeys.” Xanadu, Kane’s “pleasure palace,” did, in fact, have a zoo filled with caged, constrained, sad monkeys and other exotic animals …

Older (I’ll be 60 next month), these days when I watch CITIZEN KANE, I focus on the snow globe Kane is clutching on his death bed, then releases when he expires. “ROSE BUD,” he whispers as he dies. In wicked close up, you watch his fingers release the globe, watch it roll away and smash up… This happens in the first few minutes of the movie – the rest of the film is Kane’s life. … you ask: What’s ROSE BUD? Where is ROSE BUD? You spend the rest of the film looking for it …

ROSE BUD was Kane’s childhood sled – the make, the rose bud decal, stained to the top of the sled where you sit. There’s a teeny sled in the snow globe Kane clutches then releases. If he shakes it the teeny plastic snow flakes coming down on the snow globe sled looks exactly like the day Kane’s mom give Kane away to a banker/caretaker. He’s a millionaire now: his mom wants him away from the poverty and his abusive father. His over seer lives in a big city, he’ll grow little Charlie’s fortune, send him away to boarding schools, try educating him at Harvard and Yale … The mine a poor boarder left Mrs. Kane was sitting on oil. Or coal? Doesn’t matter. Little Charlie Kane won – and lost – that day. He won elitism, ease, cosmopolitanism, sycophants… He lost nature, real love, his mom, real play…HOME. The snow globe is worth a penny but encapsulates everything Kane knew was TRUE. Old, alone, dying, Kane holds onto what really mattered to him. He carried it around with him in his castle long before he died. It’s all in that dime store snow globe.

We all have our ROSE BUDs.
Green Island/my late mom/Lafayette Street are my ROSE BUDs. I dream them, as do my sisters. One called me: she had dreamt of our old grey, back door on Lafayette Street, the small panes of glass held in place with grey modeling clay our Jaju had pushed in. And still we were cold in winter. My Jaju’s blocks of clay, our talismans. They bring such comfort today! They meant LOVE. I’ve been longing for them for years, would give anything to see them again …

Worcester’s District 5 Candidate Forum

By Jim Coughlin

Outgoing City Councillor at Large Gary Rosen co-hosted a candidate’s forum September 9 at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers AFL-CIO newly renovated office on Mill Street for the four candidates who are competing in the preliminary election for the District 5 City Council seat.

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The candidates. pics: J.C.

The district 5 candidates are Etel Haxhiaj, Yenni Desroches, Stephen Quist and Gregory Stratman. The seat is being vacated because the current occupant of that seat, Councillor Wally, is now a candidate for councillor at large in the November 2 final election.

The candidates, when responding to questions, did their very best to define themselves for the roughly 75 members of the audience that also included At Large City Councillors Khrystian King, Donna Colorio and Maurice “Mo” Bergman, along with former District 5 City Councillor Wayne Griffin.

Quist said he is “moderate centrist” candidate on more than one occasion and took aim at both Haxhiaj and Desroches, saying that they both “want to defund police,” while Desrochers called herself, “a technology focused candidate.” Stratman, for his self described attribution, called himself a “moderate candidate.”

Quist took aim at Haxhiaj for her failure to support an increase in the number of Worcester Police Officers to the complement of 450 officers.

Haxhiaj, in responding to Quist’s criticism on policing, said not every phone call asking for police assistance needs to be responded to by the police. She said other kinds of first responders could be used for some of the calls that are regularly made by city residents requesting police intervention.

Also in attendance at the forum was Evan Corrigan, age 25 who himself was a candidate for councillor at large in the election two years ago in which he placed “tied for 12th and thirteenth place.” Corrigan, who does not live in District 5, when asked to comment on the evening’s forum said what he liked most about the program was the portion that was devoted to the candidates, asking each other questions on various public policy questions or their campaign positions.

Also echoing Corrigan’s point was Councillor Colorio who also added that one of the best things that came out as a direct result of the night’s discussion was that it showed “the differences between the candidates and that was good.”

After the discussions had ended, one undecided voter in the audience was former District 5 City Councillor Griffin who once held the council seat back in the 1990’s during the time that former Worcester City Manager William J. “Jeff” Mulford occupied the City Managers’s office. In my interview with him, he described the time during which he had served on the council as “the Mulford era.”

The top two vote getters in the preliminary election on Tuesday, September 14 will compete in the general election on Tuesday, November 2.

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Gary Rosen!

A Clean Worcester

By Edith Morgan

There is so much going on in Worcester: new residents (we gained about 20,000 according to new US Census figures), new housing, new businesses – and slowly the city is polishing its image. But the complaints about litter, trash and sidewalks rendered nearly impassable by weeds, trash and other impediments continue to be heard in many parts of the city.

This summer you may have seen groups of green-shirted youths picking up litter and trash along our streets – members of the new “Worcester Green Corps.” This is a new effort, and there are plans for future efforts, involving various neighborhoods and groups working on those areas, so that keeping us clean is a year-round, city-wide effort, not just on Earth Day or the occasional spot clean up. Of course, employing our young people is an additional bonus and certainly something to be done regularly in the summer.

But I think we need to look at the larger picture, and I have a number of suggestions for residents of Worcester:

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Canal District (Water and Millbury streets), this morning. Pics by R.T.

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1. We have a good trash pick up and recycling system. I make sure that our yellow trash bags do not attract wildlife; we double bag our garbage and put some ammonia in each bag before it goes out on the sidewalk.

2. The recycle bins work well if you bag or weigh down the paper, plastic and cans so the wind cannot blow them all over. And if your jars and cans are clean, they do not draw wild life.

3. Weeds do a great job of gradually destroying sidewalks – any crack can be a great home for a seed that then turns into a plant with deep roots. After a good rain, go out and pull out all the weeds in your sidewalk and at the street gutter. After doing this for three years, you will see how much of a difference it makes. Weeds make good “catch-alls” for windborne litter.

4. Are you a renter, owner or absentee landlord? No matter! You are responsible for keeping your frontage clear, to the middle of the street. We all complain about our city taxes, but if each of us does not do his/her part and we have to hire crews to pick up after us, that will be expensive and time-consuming.

5. The future generations need to be tained from the very beginning that public property is EVERYONE’S job. Students need to pick up their trash on the playground every day, at every grade level . It’s not the custodian’s job to pick up after us. I am not asking kids to mop, vacuum or repair. But at a MINIMUM, THEY SHOULD NOT LEAVE DEBRIS ALL OVER WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN.

6. We all need to take pride in seeing that Worcester’s public places are pristine and a source of pride. Tenants, renters, owners, visitors, newcomers, old timers, old, young – we all have the same responsibility.

7. Do you bring your own bags to the grocery store? What do you do with the fast foods you eat in the car when you finish? And smokers, where do you toss your butts ? Remember, the filters are not biodegradable!!

8. Finally , Worcester is our home: We do not trash our nest.

ON THE ROAD WITH ROSE

1. OUTSIDE THE BOX

BY ROSALIE TIRELLA

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Jett. pics:R.T.

The magical hour of our journey. Jett seems to thrive in this in-between world. He loves to look out the car window and see the city lights at night …the world rolls by his blue eye and his brown eye and he’s curious. My little husky mix loves jumping on a just made bed and soaking up the air conditioning while I unpack our gear and turn the TV on to Turner Classic Movies. He meets all kinds of people who pat his geriatric head, and the little kids love his tail that always curls up like a little flag. At 14 1/2 years old, this is Jett’s last great adventure. With me and Lilac, of course!

A few of my friends are going their own way, too – and liking it. They’re way past caring what the world thinks of them. They are wise, know the score. They’re fine with being untethered, unfettered …at 60! We don’t give a da*n what you think of us! Freedom, baby! Freedom! It’s addictive!

Dorrie just bought herself a camper and told me she’s “glamping” in Barre and having a terrific time. Just Dorrie and her dogs in nature. No pesky people, no city stress…she left it all behind in her gorgeous Victorian in Worcester, which she plans to sell. Was it Emerson who urged us to: “Simplify, simplify, simplify” ?
…Dorrie’s friend is sailing up and down the East Coast in a smallish boat with her boyfriend. Their home? Their boat – and wherever they drop anchor for the night.

Is it COVID that has made us brave? Has liar Trump catapulted us into honesty? Has our dying planet made us want to live Hendrix’s lyrics? “Excuse me while I kiss the sky!!!”

My cousin – 61 – just became a dad. For the first time. He and his young wife have left their cottage in Western Mass and are “bouncing around” Massachusetts, their two-month baby in tow … along with their two little dogs. When we talked on the phone they were heading to their motel. My cousin left his great job at the hospital to focus all his attention on his new born baby whom he adores and can’t stand being apart from for more than two minutes. Maybe the nurses at work found this irresponsible, just “dropping out” like that. But my cousin has never sounded giddy on the phone. These days, at 61, with two hip replacements and his finances thrown to the wind, he sounds positively giddy!

And me, meeting Worcester County in a more personal way, seeing so many more people than I normally would … talking with strangers and learning their stories. Seeing the pain and seeing how we try to transcend the pain. Brave souls, me included! And wanting to write it all down …

2. PUPS AND HOME

BY ROSE T.

The early bird catches the dog park. Jett and Lilac love their romps (twice daily) in the park, though Lilac is getting a bit clingy. She seems extra protective of me these days. My smart girl.

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I am more Jett – hyper and in-the-moment. Lilac is more thoughtful, almost wise. I think she dreams “HOME”! A few months ago, when I picked up some blankets and afghans from our old apartment on Blackstone River Road- and smelled their gameiness with a frown – Lilac wagged her tail furiously, dove onto the blankets which I had thrown onto the floor, and she rolled in them, reveling in the smell of our old apartment: HOME. This made me cry.

Lilac had seen the truth, our situation for what it is. Jett and I couldn’t have cared less about the ratty afghans. I think that’s because I have lived in crappy apts my whole life- and am unsentimental about all of them.. And for Jett, he adores me – really really loves me. I am the apple of his ice blue eye. To him, my beloved husky husky mix, ROSE = HOME. Rose is where his heart is. Lilac is attached, too, but not as intensely. With Jett it’s a primal thing. His mistress Rose is with him, so he is complete. He is Home.

Another discovery: seeing a city unfold its wings in the early morning. The truckers rousing in the DD parking lot…the homeless walkers stopping to put their knap sack and bags on the sidewalk – to repack, reorganize … take stock of their stuff. Important stuff. The new day lifts spirits…I go to the grocery store for fresh fruit and seltzer water. And to pee. I see my face in the big mirror by the door: I am old.

3. WEIRD STUFF AND YWCA EMPATHY

BY ROSE T.

Another night (saw a quasi fight break out at McDonald’s), another day (stay safe out there, all you traveling souls!) in my life …
Weird. In happier times I’d never think to wear cut-off blue jean shorts or buy a hamburger at McDonald’s special for Jett and Lilac. I feel guilty about doing both – so not me – but these trying days have made me do weird stuff.

Weirder still: I’ve just come to realize how few truly empathetic people are out there. The listeners. The soul soothers… You apply to SMOC, WCAC – Worcester’s premier social service agencies – re housing and your dire straights and…they do nothing. SMOC’s Chris Orcutt, the directors of WCAC barely acknowledge you, never return calls … But your gas station-owner buddy rises to the occasion- listens, hears you, gives that extra treat to the dogs…comes up with an apartment lead. While pumping gas. Always looks cute; these days his handsomeness is rounded with gentle concern when he talks with you. And last week he went out of his way to try to repair my jalopy so as to not slow us down

… Or take the front desk lady at the YWCA last night …A Hispanic lady sitting at the brandy new desk in the remodeled YWCA lobby. I was feeling grubby …needed a shower. I shower every day – to music courtesy of WUMB.ORG.

Making the shower ask is uncomfortable. Abby’s House is anti-dog. So are my relatives! Friends were busy with their Saturday nites. …But when I presented my hygiene conundrum to the front desk lady at the YW, she knit her brows and right away began working the problem. No, I wasn’t a Y member. Yes, I was smelly. Yes, I had toiletries. No, she didn’t have a towel to give me…And yet she moved quickly, talked with the maintenance girl and found me a family shower to shower in. I brought my make up and bath kit…laid out creme rinse, pretty soaps from Dorrie and had a luxurious shower at the YW at Salem Square last night. I dried my hair. Put on deodorant. Slathered on the moisturizer. Ahhh…

Now I could face the world with a modicum of confidence. Thank you, YWCA shower angel!
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On the road …

4. RED LIPSTICK AND BULKIES

BY ROSE T.

When the going gets rough, the tough get going … to the makeup display corner to buy red lipstick. Pretty tube. Nice rose-red color. No brush necessary – apply straight from the bullet.

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I’m in the Canal District, wearing my new red lipstick, but forget about the kiss – CRAVING a Widoff’s bulkie! Right now! The hot pillowy rolls just bought from Widoffs! For my mom on Lafayette Street! After Sunday mass …with my kid sisters and all the city’s church goers …now cued up in the bakery, holding tight to their snippets of paper with numbers on them- the ones they pulled out of the red dispenser when they entered Widoff’s. The counter girls – pretty kids from our high schools – will yell out your number and then it’ll be your turn to shout over the crowd of customers: 1 dozen bulkies – seeded!

Then the walk home…me eating a so soft, hot bulkie, torn in half, no butter (that’s for home) but still melt in your mouth delicious! Its poppy seeds are stuck between my teeth…I’ll eat two more, buttered, at home! This one’s for the road! My sisters will eat theirs at the kitchen table like good girls.

That’s what I’m missing now. Home in that wonderful Widoff’s Sunday Morning Scarfing Down a Bulkie after Mass.

Now we’ve got pot shops, hookah shops, tattoo shops, tapioca balls …in Widoff’s place. Instead of Lederman’s and Widoff bakeries and their tremendous freshly made bulkies, today I see some stupid hookah supply place with its big ugly hookah pipes – not bulkies!!! – in the display window! Lederman’s is now home to some ridiculously trendy exercise joint and a bo bo shake shack that I don’t evenunderstand. Never see any customers.

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Water Street

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Wistful for Lederman’s Bakery (and Widoff’s, right across the street!)

Miss my bulkies!

At Elm Park – Check out ART IN THE PARK!

I don’t want to give too much away, but check out a few of the new COOL SCULPTURES in Elm Park. The ART IN THE PARK installation, after missing a year during Covid-19, pre-vaccine, is back! Better than ever! With the walkers out walking and the pups excited to sniff new territory, Sunday morning begins …

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And smiled at Dr. Morse’s STROLL MARKER … Such a gentle, sweet man – so passionate about public health and keeping Worcester healthy. Loved visiting Dr. Morse on Meade Street – Dr. Morse was old school – dressed in a suit and tie for work … unfailingly polite, so willing to take the time to explain the health issues. Ahead of his time … miss an ol’ ally:
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– text/pics: Rosalie Tirella

BACK TO SCHOOL!📕🖌📒📘🌼🤸‍♂️Is your wardrobe vegan? … How about your shoes?

By Katie Johnson

Students:

Your school year is about to start! One of the big highlights of going back is being able to wear one of your fave outfits (new or old). But it’s important to stay away from materials that come from animals — like leather, suede and wool.

Animals suffer when they’re used and killed for clothing, so let’s make sure your outfits send a kind message.

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Skip the woolen sweaters!

Leather, down and wool are taken from individuals who didn’t want their skin, feathers or fleece turned into clothes or shoes. We can help animals like cows, geese and sheep by making sure our clothes and shoes are animal-free and vegan. Cotton, polyester and hemp are great examples of materials to look for.

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Great for teachers!

And vegan leather can be made out of things like mushrooms, pineapple and even apple peels!

Great materials that can keep you warm this fall and winter without harming geese or ducks include:

polyester fill

PrimaLoft

Thinsulate.

Don’t forget to check that your shoes are vegan, too!

And please share your knowledge with others.

While shopping for animal-free clothes is important, it’s also important that we share with others what we’ve learned — and encourage them to buy vegan clothes and shoes, too. Students, you can do this by taking a picture of your first-day-of-school outfit and letting people know that it’s vegan. Make a sign to hold in your photo that says, “My back-to-school outfit is vegan!” By showing how easy and fashionable it is to make animal-free outfit choices, we can help even more animals by getting others to ditch cruelty and choose compassion.

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Black Bean Veggie Burger Credit PETA
Black bean veggie burger? DOES YOUR SCHOOL CAFETERIA OFFER VEGGIE OPTIONS???

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Teens! Don’t make rabbits suffer for your soap! Buy these cruelty-free personal care products … wash up and get ready for school with these shampoos, deodorants and more:

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France photos and a recipe from Chef Joey🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷!

Chef Joey just sent me these photos from 🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷. Wow. I’d never wanna come home! – Rose:

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❤🇫🇷pics by Chef Joey

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Here’s the recipe from Joe Joe:
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😄👨‍🍳🤸‍♂️Chef Joey!

🍅🍅Tomates Provençales🍅🍅🍅

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Lovely…

Cut your tomatoes in half and lightly heat them – cut side down – on a pan for 2 minutes.

Then place them into a baking dish, cut side up.

Chop fresh parsley and oregano … make a paste with garlic and salt … and mix.

Sprinkle over the tomatoes evenly (4 tomatoes by the way) and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Bake in the oven 350°F for about 30 minutes. Take them out and let them sit for five minutes so a little liquid comes out. It’s that simple! Enjoy!!!
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WORCESTER’S SCHOOL DAZE

By Rosalie Tirella

Working on our September CECELIA. Here’s our August issue …
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… and me:
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… Can you believe it’s really BACK TO SCHOOL as in BACK IN SCHOOL? Yay! No excuses this school year, WPS Superintendent Binienda! So many low-income Worcester kids have lost precious learning time; upper-middle class kids have the educated parents and resources to weather this storm … a once in a century global pandemic.

The City of Worcester must mandate that all its teachers and teachers aides – all school staff – be vaccinated. Or be tested for COVID daily! STOP THE SPREAD!

But the new Delta variant is insidious, wicked contagious. You can be fully vaccinated and still contract DELTA COVID! It’s a rare occurrence – you can have no or mild COVID symptoms – but you still carry the same FULL Delta viral load as the unvaccinated do. You become the super-spreader!This is all surreal, right out of a dystopian sci fi short story – and brought on by us stupid stupid humans – desecrating and trashing our Mother Earth and her animals. So now it’s Mama Earth’s time – COVID, WILD FIRES, FLOODING …THE PLAGUE!! The rebalancing of the scales. THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF US SELFISH HUMANS?

So the gesture seems miniscule…the City of Worcester tries to get things right. Too late? But let’s honor each other and the earth: the WPSchools should open with the science we have … all WPS staff fully vaccinated and following Boston and Springfield’s lead: mandate all WPS staff and students wear facial masks while in school.

On mankind’s horizon: a new UK COVID strain. It doesn’t react to our COVID vaccines the way the other COVID viruses did – it remains pretty much unaffected by the shot/s.

Now what? Develop a new vaccine? Tweak the ones we’ve got?

Tragedy strikes the rich and mighty – we humans may finally get what we’ve deserved for eons.

Chef Joey’s mom ties her apron strings …

MY FATHER’S LENTIL SOUP, MEDITERRANEAN STYLE

By “Natacha”

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Chef Joey’s mom gets ready to work her magic! Skillet for sautéing the veggies, pot to cook the soup.

My son “Chef Joey” is in France, so I’m giving you a recipe for this issue of CECELIA: MY FATHER’S LENTIL SOUP. I learned this recipe decades ago as a teen from watching my Greek father make it from scratch with dry lentils – never lentils in a can. My father made this soup often because it is so good for you. Lentils – you can live on lentils! – they have all the nutrients. You can live on dates, too – they are just as nutritious. In France, where I live part time, everyone eats lentils. They cook them up and make lentil salad, which you dress with oil and vinegar and vegetables and eat cold.

My immigrant mother did not like America – she called it “polar bear country.” But my father had his business here and was always working at his shoe factory … he was a very busy and there was no time to be distracted by us kids and our silly problems.

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Natasha’s dad and mom.

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An ad for the shoe factory

He was strict and expected his children to do the right thing and think for themselves. We had to show him our hands – no finger-nail-biting allowed. Posture was essential – slouching was not allowed. We had to sit up straight always. I was trained so well that one day the teacher at elementary school told all the kids in class to look at me sitting at my desk: SIT CORRECTLY LIKE NATACHA! she said.

When it came to lentil soup my father was just as strict: REMEMBER, he said, ALWAYS CHOP UP YOUR VEGETABLES FINE. …and never forget a quarter spoonful of crushed red pepper for flavor.

So here it is, my father’s lentil soup recipe…Mediterranean style!

You’ll need:

1 lb lentils, dry

1 stalk celery

2 medium carrots

2 cloves of garlic
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1 medium onion

1 can of stewed or crushed tomatoes

1/4 tsp crushed red peppers

Optional: salt pork
Or bacon – 2 slices

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Instructions:

Soak your dry lentil beans in cold water. If they’re fresh that’s 2 hours. If you get them at most supermarkets that’s overnight.

Chop your vegetables into very small pieces. Get a skillet…
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Sautee your vegetables in olive oil or vegetable oil until soft, not brown. But before you do that, sautee your bacon or salt pork. Then add the vegetables, chopped fine, of course.

Add your crushed tomatoes and cook 3 – 5 minutes.

Drain lentils and put them in a stock pot. Add your sauteed veggies and bacon/pork mixture. Add water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat on your stove top, adding water as needed to make a soup. At the very end, if you wish, add sliced hot dogs or kielbasa.

Enjoy!