Category Archives: InCity Voices

“Lemon Tree, Very Pretty …”🍋🍋🍋🍋

Text and photos by Chef Joey

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Joey!!

Here in France, having lemon trees in your yard has its advantages. Unlike most fruit, the lemons do not rot and fall – they just get bigger and bigger! And a variety of uses as is: A simple slice in your tea or a drink, or to season a salad … over fish or even meat! Lemonade is delicious too. Cooked lemon juice is used in soups and desserts …

I am giving you a recipe for lemon curd that also can be used as a lemon pie filling. Because the eggs get separated, I decided to use the whites and make lemon merengue pies. I chose to make small tarts – a conventional pie is just as easy if not easier!

Here is what you will need:

1 pie crust pre-cooked

2 lemons – zested and juiced

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2 tbsp flour

3 tbsp corn starch

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup sugar (more, if you have a sweet tooth … up to 1 cup)

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons butter

4 eggs, separated

(6 tbsp sugar extra for meringue)

In a cup, mix the flour …

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… and corn starch and make a paste with COLD water from your cup 1 1/2 portion.

Add to a sauce pan and heat.

Add the water and sugar, stirring constantly. It will start to bubble and thicken – add the lemon juice keep stirring until thick …

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Separate the eggs and temper the yolks with the mix I to the pan, stirring until thick. Shut the heat off, add the zest and stir well.

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Pour the mix into the pie shell – …

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Meanwhile beat the egg whites until stiff …

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… sprinkle with the 6 tbsp sugar and FOLD the sugar in – cover the top of the lemon curd mix right up to the crust’s edges.

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Bake at 350 F in a pre-heated hot oven for 10 minutes until the meringue starts to brown.

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Chill and serve!

I make a thinner pie so I can use the rest of the lemon mix on toast or scones! Enjoy!🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋

Don’t put your eggs in one basket

By Chef Joey

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Joey!

“Do not put your eggs in one basket.” This sentence has many meanings – from relationships to work. It is particularly interesting in this new Covid 19 era – and Easter. Eggs break, as does everything really. However, eggs are indeed more vulnerable when the sides are compromised. Like in life, we have sides: Democrat and Republican, left and right – the list goes on. The year is 2021, like a science novel or a “sci fi flick” from the early 1970s: “Are you vaccinated?” from “it”?

It’s crazy how we have cancer, leukemia, HIV, lupus among the diseases that have societies, volunteers and companies for the prevention of them, and all controlled by CEO’s – complete with staff and full salaries, with no cure or prevention in sight. Years of research, and yet in the United States, they are challenges for the cure. MS is another one, replete with challenging walks to raise funds for the cure, stamps and yet more societies like the March of Dimes that send lovely message labels for your letters … still no cure.

Now we have a two-step injection for COVID – a disease that is perhaps old but only known as a one-year-old plague, with US companies popping out an inoculation replete with stickers and stamps for validation with a multi-mutating (man-engineered?) dare I say “malady”? I tend to think the “Blair Witch” on this, as there are not many mitigating circumstances about what is going on, just speculation.

Europe shut down one of them (vaccinations), they regrouped, added a change – and “boom!” back up and running again. How crazy is that?

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The USA is the ringleader in medical costs for the entire world. The rest of the world has controlled costs and no additional health care costs to the citizens, as their taxes were designed to pay for universal education and health care, as they are paramount to a working society. Not so much for the working citizens of Massachusetts! We pay a 10% fine for no health insurance at tax time. How is that working out for the people with the $10,000 emergency room bill for not being able to pay for health insurance?

My father was diagnosed with lung cancer several years ago: One year and 14 weeks hospitalization, surgeries, biopsies, chemo and everything else associated with it in France, with no insurance, just self-pay. Full insurance in the USA that reimbursed 80%. Total French cost you wonder? $38,000.

I had disc replacement surgery in America – one miserable night in the hospital with a hideous roommate. Total hospital time: 30 hours, and my cost was $43,000 PLUS co-pay and meds. There are 850,000 people in Worcester, with minimal testing or vaccination centers. Europe is replete with vaccination and testing centers – all for free. I was charged $169 at a Worcester Walgreens for a COVID test, as I was exposed to a person that had it and Fallon denied the claim because I did not get a referral. For COVID exposure?! (By the way, Saint Vincent Medical Group does not refer … keep that in mind.)

So, to keep this short and sweet: Stay safe, wear your facial mask, wash your hands and stay 6 feet from the next person. The whole world is in quarantine that has socialized medicine – except the great old USA. Perhaps there is a reason?
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The egg and the basket. Pic: Edith Morgan

What do we really value?

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and Guy

Many years ago, one of the weekly magazines ran some public service ads dealing with the topic: what we really value is what we are willing to pay for. It went on to compare what we pay athletes, actors and entertainers vs. soldiers, teachers and our astronauts.

Does it seem to anyone else that our monetary reward system is completely upside down and that we pay the most vital jobs the least money and those least important the most money?

Our society, our whole species, would die out completely very soon were it not for parents – especially mothers, whom we celebrate with candy and flowers on Mothers’ Day every May. Yet parenting is unpaid work (and if you have ever done it and done it well you know it is years of 24-hour a day work of all kinds) and, while we give lots of lip service to motherhood, we as a nation do not put our money where our mouth is. The U.S. is way behind most civilized nations in its care of children – we are still “nickel-and-diming“ early childhood care, day care, pre-school education and proper healthcare for all our children and families.

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WE THE PEOPLE

We expect these services to be rendered free or for very little money, while we can always find billions of dollars without a question for yet another weapon of mass destruction, for yet another multi-billion-dollar massive aircraft carrier. Meanwhile we have millions of our children who are unsure where their next meal is coming from.

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Many children in America live in poverty. 1 in 5 is “food insecure.”

Those who perform the really vital services in our society are paid the least: If the garbage is not collected for even a week in New York City, it piles up and the rats take over. When the schools closed because of a deadly virus, parents were frantic to find things for their children to do at home. The au pairs and governesses who actually raise the children of the rich are poorly paid, and teachers are expected to do the work of instructors, social workers, psychologists and guards – and to supplement school supplies out of their own pockets when school taxes do not stretch far enough.

But we can afford to pay millions for athletes, stadiums, ever more expensive automobiles and toys to amuse us – and gadgets galore to fill our hours. We reward those who do the least work (at the top – or who inherit and did nothing to earn their position).

And more and more we are “privatizing” vital services, taking the power away from the public and transferring it to those for whom only the profit motive matters. And so we have come to depend more and more on the charity of individuals who work hard to help those they see are in need. But that is a “finger in the dike operation” – for every leak in the social fabric that opens up, several new ones appear. We cannot continue very long to depend on the kindness of strangers and, while we teach our children compassion, sharing and kindness, it is not enough.

It has been written that we have the best Congress money can buy – and unfortunately for too many of our elected officials on the national scene, that is true. When I came to America in 1941, there were two kinds of elected officials: the politicians and the statesmen. It is not too hard to tell who is what. We know who are the real public servants and who is in it for power and money.

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BETO O’ROURKE IS A PUBLIC SERVANT!

Is it not time to really get the devotees of the Golden Calf out of our government?

Go, Worcester DA Joe Early Jr., go!

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose, yesterday, heading out to walk her pups Jett and Lilac.

I met Worcester District Attorney Joe Early Jr. 10 years ago – at the Flagg Street School playground. I was walking my dog, Jett. He was planting sunflowers! For the little kids at the school. He told me his children were students there, and he wanted to help with the beautification project. Early seemed like a good man, a great dad. Former City Councilor Barb Haller once told me: Joe does a lot for the city’s kids – supports sports programs and more.

So, Early does the right thing. He’s been there for Worcester’s youth – for decades. Drops the charges against the Clark University students at this past summer’s Black Lives Matter rally in Main South. … he’s not the bully that the Worcester Police Department, a department often accused of racism and insensitivity to the Black community, hoped for. Early understood the moment. This moment in America.

The WPD cops – a vindictive, sometimes brutal bunch – don’t understand the changes that are happening in America, in Worcester. Early is Woke. The WPD cops are Asleep.

So …they are punishing Early for his refusal to back their over-reaction to the Worcester BLM march last summer – the one where one WPD cop threw a tiny young woman to the ground and another cop name called another student. Cell phones were smashed. Kids terrorized. The cops came in riot gear, with guns…the Clarkie nerds came with their apple cell phones and youthful idealism – and stupidity. The cops came down hard on the ignorant kids. One Clarkie grad student hid in the bushes, terrified. She was recording HER FEELINGS AND BEING FULL OF BRAVADO – right outside her apartment! She sounded more silly than menacing.

So now it is this for our DA, from WPD Chief Steve Sargent and the WPD: We’ll trash you, destroy you, Joe Early. Not one vote. Not one penny will you get from us.

After ALL THE YEARS OF WORKING WITH A GOOD MAN.

Shame on the WPD cops for being the vindictive toughs so many of us in Worcester know them to be. Shame on the Worcester cops for forgetting DA Joe Early Jr. is a good man who has backed them for years but this time sided with the kids and Black people. And HISTORY.

Now the cops are doing to Early what they’ve done to so many Worcesterites through the years – get mean, play dirty and strong-arm.

🌸🌸🌸Edie – always in style!🌿🌿🌿 New column🌱🌱

Spring is Really Here!

By Edith Morgan

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Edith, last season, tending her plants …

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Daffodils: early spring-time friends!

We have had several really warm days, and even some warm rain, to soften up the frozen earth. But a lot has survived the winter: I went outside and looked closely at the ground. After the debris that was raked away is gone, there are now six hyacinths peeking above the earth in my yard, ready to burst into very overpowering blooms. And shyly, the crocuses are up in little clumps, trying to hold their own before the Solomon’s Seal overpower our front of the porch.

Every year I encourage more perennials to come up around my house, as I know that, since I am 90 years old now, I will not want to be doing a lot of active gardening, but will rather just enjoy things as they come up on their own. And it is always a wonderful surprise, once the snow is really gone, to see what has survived and what has found its way into my yard.

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Butterflies are free!🌼🌼🌼🌼

I can always count on the forsythia to put out its yellow blossoms and, if I drive around the corner, there is a great magnolia that goes into full bloom early, before it has any leaves. My May Apples will send out shoots, and every year they fill the area around my rain barrel a little more. The Solomon Seal fills the base of the porch – a good thing because the lack of sun on my north side really does not invite many other plants to thrive there – except, of course, the ferns that thrive beside the Solomon Seal.

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Edith’s indoor plants🌿🌿 will soon be moved outdoors.

I did try to grow my own mung bean seedlings, and they sprouted in four days, but they were not as sturdy as the bought ones. Back to the drawing board: I have a lot to learn! The indoor plants are beginning to perk up, looking forward to spending the summer outside, where they seem to thrive.

March was the beginning. But March also gave us a number of other things. Of course, we all learned about “The Ides of March,” when Julius Caesar was warned about his coming fate. Then there is St. Patrick’s Day, when we all go green – no Worcester parade this year, but I expect next year there will be a super celebration, making up for the lost year. And, of course, there is the spring ritual of setting our clocks forward (“Fall back, Spring forward”) and “losing “ an hour of sleep.

My bird feeder is a regular attraction, and it seems to me there are more species out there now than during the winter.

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Birdies!

The squirrels are fat and active and come daily for their peanut butter and wheat bread. My rhubarb will have survived and so will the strawberry plants, which have sent out their feelers all through my flower garden beside the house. This year the Rhododendron have lots of buds, so it looks like a flowery summer.

We’re into Passover and Easter now, and nesting season is on full swing. My house sits on a 70-X-70-foot lot, and the house takes up most of that space. So I have just a little room left for growing things. But because the space available is so small, I can get to know every plant personally! I have tried to encourage different ones that bloom at different times, so there is always something in bloom for every season.

But still the most fragrant time is when my two Chinese lilac trees are in bloom, all of June, and gradually shed their tiny star-like blossoms around them and the earth looks as though it has snowed …

A tale of two Covids

Text and photos by Chef Joey

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Joe Joe!

My tale of two Covids: I have been residing in two countries, France that is in perpetual quarantine, lockdown sunrise to sunset and weekend shut in at home and no bars hotels or restaurants open since last December and April is not looking good either – and America (Worcester). Massachusetts, like every other state, has its own take on the pandemic!

However, I also have a new opportunity to discuss what I experienced when I travelled to Disney World Florida last week. …

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Florida is Covid 19 exempt, except for where they make you wear masks to get in. However, feel free to take them off when you get into the house that Mickey built. In Florida it is OK to pump gas without a mask; grocery stores give out free masks at their service desks – you can dispose of them/leave them there.

Disney was a surprise – they had safety guidelines emailed and texted to me and posted everywhere. Disney Paris and Disney Land California are both closed due to the pandemic, but there’s (the now disasterous) Spring Break in Florida and there is income to generate, after all.

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Fun in the sun?

So after the cost of a few signs, it was business as usual at Disney, Florida. A temperature check at the entrance to the Park allows you to get in – if you are less than 100 degrees. Once in the park, the lines are still cleverly disguised behind walls and little signs telling you 45 mins from this point. …

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Most workers at Disney World make little more than minimum wage.

The safety signs tell you there is hand sanitizing gel before the line – its machines reluctantly mustering the energy from their spent batteries to dribble the gel in your hand. The pipes and chains that guide you through the labyrinth/maze to get to the entrance of the rides are full of children’s hand and mouth slop; broken masks adorn the walkway, and there is no wiping down of rides between “guests.” It remains the great load and unload magic that has been perfected over the years, except this time there is a sign that says you are safe to ride. A fatigued hand sanitizer is on the exit of the ride – it becomes a familiar friend, as you embark on the next ride.

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Boo!

They have made great stride in the dining experience. You take a QR code, scan it and log into your Disney account. You then order your food – they give you a window of time until it’s ready. Once you get the code you can go into the restaurant and procure your tray of fried magic. Tables are cleaned once they are freed up from the exhausted parents who must clammer back to the park. You can reserve a sit-down dinner or lunch weeks in advance, but the Disney magic meal is only there for those who have an excellent credit rating. The cost of a one-day ticket was $136, plus tax per person, $5 less if under 11. To go to both parks (Magic Kingdom and Epcot) on the same day was another $69 each – all tickets incurring the Florida tax rate as well.

Ironically, “Gatorland” in Orange County, Florida, is far less expensive at $31 a person. It requires masks before entering the park – they can be removed to walk around and smoke, so that is convenient. The good news is they fumigate the “Gator Train Ride” between guests, so while the threat of Covid is lower than the lung cancer, there certainly are many hundreds of crocodiles to see😪.

Flying home on full domestic flights with strict boarding was comforting, landing was as if there was a fire and best man for himself despite the row-by-row announcement. Flying back to France was spaced out with a maximum of 40 passengers aboard the Boing 777 that held 400 passengers but only allowing 10% capacity.

So I had to procure a Covid test in Worcester. My choice was limited to two testing centers and, because I am not part of the Reliant medical group, I could not make an appointment. So the very efficient Mercantile Center that operates 11 AM to 3 PM 3 days a week was my choice. I was swabbed and released. I received my results in a timely fashion and boarded my plane. Upon landing in France, I went to the Pompidou Center here in Cannes that is open Monday to Saturday 8 am to 4 pm, closing for lunch for 90 minutes, of course in true French style. It is one of 21 centers covering this town of 75,000 residents for convenience.

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Parlez vous Francais?

So Tuesday I placed my now 6 year old back in school full time with her 2nd negative Covid test result in 3 days. It’s back to normal, except there are no clothing stores open in addition to bars, hotels and restaurants.

The good news is they extended the exercise parameters to 10 kilometers on the weekend – to get a good run in.
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Chef Joey is back in Cannes cooking his culinary delights!

Fatimah’s book review on “The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America”

BOOK REVIEW

BY FATIMAH DAFFAIE

“The shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America”

By Jonathan Kozol

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Fatimah!🌸🌺🌼🌷💐🌹🌿🌿

During this pandemic, reading has been one of my favorite things to do with my free time. One book that was very life changing for me was “The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America.” An amazing book by Jonathan Kozol. Kozol has visited nearly 50 schools in the United States, with the majority made up of Black and Hispanic students. Kozol shares his outrage for what he saw in America’s schools and his passion for change; that mixture of outrage and passion together create change!

In the book, Kozol writes about the obsessive focus on tests in schools and the need to pass these tests so that the schools can get the funds and any resources they need. These standardized tests are starting to control the teaching … Some schools even had to get rid of recess so as to use the time to get ready for the tests. More than a quarter of a year is wasted on these tests’ preparation.

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Many students need school supplies – often bought for them by kind-hearted teachers!

Kozol also describes the way he felt about high officials. He says, “All children can learn. … If the officials who repeat this incantation honestly believe all kids can learn, why aren’t they fighting to make sure these kids can learn in the same good schools their own children attend?”

This is the sad reality of our world. Kozol’s outrage is something that many people in America feel every. But not everyone takes the necessary actions. Kozol uses the tactics of anger and emotion to get to the reader. This can also be the most effective with people who themselves have been through that kind of life. But, also at the same time, it will be annoying for those types of leaders because they only think they are doing the right thing because they are serving their children and their needs. I share Kozol’s outrage: all children deserve the best education, and it is everyone’s responsibility to help with providing all children with the best education!

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The lack of resources for these schools was something that society did not have much knowledge of because people outside the schools never visited them – or care about their students. This quote by Kozol perfectly explains society in this situation: “Playing games of musical chairs with children’s lives, when half the chairs are broken and the best chairs are reserved primarily for the people of his class and race, is cynical behavior in a President.”

A lot of our leaders forget that all children should have all the resources they need in order to get their education.

Kozol also does a great job describing the terrible conditions of these schools. The schools that Kozol visited had unsanitary conditions and lacked many of the necessary resources. School classrooms and resources were spread out, creating a disadvantage for all students. Kozol says, of one classroom, “… the room smelled very bad, and it made me sick to my stomach. There was blood all over the place.”

The solutions that Kozol provides in his book:

providing more resources for these schools

all community leaders should be responsible for helping the schools that need resources.

Kozol lets the reader know the reality that some school children in America have to experience every day in school – and outside of school. Kozol makes his arguments in compelling ways.

The world needs change.

People need to study and educate themselves.

Instead of blaming the people – calling them bad – listen first!
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These school days students will need PPE!

Happy Birthday, Ken, from Barbie and me!🌼🌼🌼

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose’s Barbie doll looked like this one, except her hair was ash blond.

Barbie’s Ken turned 60 this past week. The news stories were very p.c. … very boring. There was little Barbie and Ken doll Baby Boomer history in the feature stories but lots of Ken p.c. revisionist spin for 2021: KEN IS SO DIVERSE! KEN COMES IN NINE SHADES! KEN HAS EYES OF ALL COLORS! KEN COMES IN MANY BODY TYPES! KEN HAS VERY NURTURING CAREERS LIKE WORKING AT AN ANIMAL SHELTER! KEN IS ALWAYS SUPPORTIVE OF BARBIE! KEN IS BARBIE’S BEST FRIEND! This year Mattel has made Ken In A Wheelchair. He is blond, blue-eyed, very cute …

None of this really makes sense to me, a Baby Boomer who grew up with Ken and Barbie and is roughly the same age as they are.

I remember my first Barbie. I was 6 years old, and I took her out of her box and said to my boy cousin seated in the front seat of the car, with his dad, my uncle: SEE, JOE? MY BARBIE HAS REAL EYELASHES! She didn’t, but it was the excuse I needed to tease my cute cousin, stick my doll under his chubby round face and shake it.

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Rose, years ago, in her mom’s Green Island kitchen. Right before her birthday party. Would she be gifted a new Barbie doll?

Barbie!! Tall, thin-waisted, blond … dreamy. My lithe, 11+-inch-tall plastic movie star. A beach beauty, who, to me, was a senior – all grown up! – in high school! I imagined Barbie lived by the beach, in California, and loved to swim and go surf-boarding. She had long, elegant wrists, sun-bleached hair and looked wonderfully tan (so healthy!) lying on her beach blanket and slow dancing with Ken at her prom. Barbie and her friends had Coppertone tans and dune buggies! Barbie the doll was Gidget from the late 1950s movies tall and poised! Sandra Dee now had breasts and a boyfriend named Ken AND an INCREDIBLE WARDROBE plus AMAZING ACCESSORIES! Like teeny suitcases for trips to Paris or Rome! A teeny record player with teeny 45s. I never gave Ken a second thought: he was another Barbie accessory.

That was the point: You BOUGHT BARBIE TO BUY ALL HER CLOTHES AND HAVE FUN WITH FASHION. You dressed Barbie up. You placed her in the breakfast nook in her Barbie Dream House that was big and that folded into a giant cube with a handle that you could carry to your best friend’s house for a sleep over. You bought Ken as the Boyfriend, not knowing about sex. You did not think about careers or your future when you played Barbie. You did not think med school when you put her friend Stacey or her kid sister, tomboy Skipper, into the bath tub with you and made them swim. You played Barbie to play dress up …to mix and match outfits to create FASHION. You compared your Barbie’s outfits with your cousin Mary’s Barbie’s outfits. “Mary” always “won” because you were a poor girl from Green Island and your mom couldn’t buy you all those great Barbie dresses, complete with matching tiny belts, shoes, purses and hats. Mary’s dad was an elementary school principal who bought his sons huge Tonka dump trucks and his only, precious daughter whatever she wanted. That meant THREE vinyl Barbie wardrobe cases for Mary, stuffed with Barbie skirts, skorts, dresses, blouses, scarves and go go boots. To go to a sleep over at Mary’s house was to covet little Barbie sweaters and white Barbie boas, teeny matching Barbie hair brushes and combs, and pink Barbie peace sign necklaces. Groovy …

Unlike Mary, four years older than me, long-haired, long-legged, tall and beautiful, I, Rosalie, was thick-waisted, had a gap between my two front teeth and sported mousy brown hair cut by my mom’s alcoholic hair-dresser on Green Street. I was 12 years old and a 7th grader at Providence Street Junior High School, home to students who, like me, looked nothing like Barbie. But I still loved my doll! She was … accommodating. For instance, we lived with our Polish immigrant grandmother, Bapy, in Green Island. Bapy played Barbie, too, taking her old blue woolen knee socks and cutting the toe and ankle ends off to create a sexy navy blue strapless evening gown for my Barbie. Bapy, with her big scissors, trimmed and trimmed and turned the toe part of her old sock into a cute knit hat for my Barbie – now the toast of the shtetl!

Once I went to a neighborhood Christmas party at the PNI on Lafayette Street and got a truck as a present from Santa. No worries! I could never afford the Barbie Dune Buggy, so I stuck Barbie on top of my new blue truck and pushed my doll around our kitchen floor. My Barbie finally had wheels! I had a little grey and white pet mouse named Gigi that my mom had bought for me at Woolworths. Sometimes I’d put Gigi in the truck with Barbie and push them gingerly through our flat. My mother would be apprehensive – and a little repelled. Bapy just laughed.

Ken. Sixty Years Old. Wow. The Ken and Barbie dolls of my youth grew old, right along side me and my friends. We got educated, skinny, fat, pregnant, married, divorced, cynical … pooped out. Barbie tried to keep up with us. She changed with the times: there was Curvy Barbie, Latina Barbie, Doctor Barbie, Boardroom Barbie, Psychotherapist Barbie. Ken evolved, too. But I still like to think he lusts for his girl from a distance … that he “respects” Barbie too much to have sex with her on prom night.

I will always love Ken and Barbie! I bet you Black girls tried to color their Barbies black with magic markers in the early 1960s. In the ’60s, Dianne Carrol starred in JULIA on TV: she was a beautiful single mom, a nurse who looked … like a Black Barbie. We kids cut our Barbies’ golden locks, made them bald even. Our grannies gave them outfits. Our dogs chewed on their torsos. They were hard plastic but permeable. They were made by Mattel, Mr. and Mrs. Mattel naming Barbie and Ken after their own two children.

So it was real.

Earth Day approaches🌺🌸🌹🌷💐🌿🌾🌼

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and Guy

It seems that every year, at this time, as the snow melts and recedes, it leaves behind a whole moraine of litter in Worcester, that succeeding layers had hidden from us until now.

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Something to remember this Earth Day …

That is why in April every year, around the dedicated Earth Day celebrations we have held a city-wide clean up, with hundreds of volunteers and truck loads of trash hauled away by the DPW. Of course, in the past year, the virus prevented the yearly pick-up, and so I expected a lot more litter on our streets and parks.

The Regional Environmental Council just sent out its yearly request for coordinators and volunteers for this year’s clean up.

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HELP SAVE THE PLANET – Eat LESS MEAT!

So, for at least a few days, our city will sparkle in the springtime sun. But the slobs will not long be deterred.

As restaurants and fast-food purveyors re-open, the litterers will be busy. And it is not just the snackers, but also the shoppers, the smokers and their butts, and the thirsty, with their “nips” and full-sized bottles who will immediately seek to fill every available space on our sidewalks and gutters with their debris.

We have managed to reduce the plastic bags from our grocery stores, but it seems that packaging is now double and triple what it used to be. When I unpack my purchases, I fill a bag of recycles with the wrappings. None of that would be a problem, if we all trimmed our trees and bushes regularly so they do not hang out onto sidewalks and do not harbor all sorts of debris every time there is a wind.

We do have a weekly, very efficient trash and recyclables pick up. Twice a year the leaves are swept from our streets. Our local property taxes pay for that. And so far no one has suggested we pay to hire more workers and buy more trucks.

So what do we do? When I visited Montreal many years ago they swept their streets every day. Most large cities in most nations are very clean; some even have flushing outlets in their sidewalks that rinse them off regularly. There are many different solutions, but the basic one is that residents take pride in the appearance of their cities and do not feel they have the right to use public spaces as their personal trash cans.

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Veganism REDUCES GREENHOUSE GASES …

We can turn this around – at least in the coming generation! It begins in Kindergarten class and must be practiced throughout our 12 years of schooling. It does not take extra staff or extra equipment to pick up our rooms, our playgrounds, or the spaces we use. And it takes no time away from instructional time. It is simply a matter of values.

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Do we need so much packaging???

We in Worcester have so many new and beautiful buildings, so many improvements to our city parks, so much landscaping to beautify even our parking lots. So, if we ALL make it our task to pick up – maybe carry a little litter bag, like the owners of dogs do! – we can begin to make a dent in this problem, until the next generation just naturally, as a matter of habit, picks up any trash they see.
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Lilac says: Don’t feed the geese at Elm Park and, dog owners: bring a poop bag! pic: Rose T.

🇺🇸🗽🌺Easy Rider, Uneasy Rider🇺🇸🌺🍊

By Rosalie Tirella

During these most UNEASY times I am rewatching the 1969 film EASY RIDER.

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I first saw it when I was just 18 years old, years ago, as an undergrad at Main South’s Clark University, the same campus I saw THE HARDER THEY COME, starring Jimmy Cliff. I was blown away by The Harder They Come but felt Easy Rider was a kaleidoscope of stuff I couldn’t grasp. Loved the cool guys. Loved the cool music. Didn’t really “get” the movie.

Which is ironic, seeing I WAS RIDING ON THE BACK OF A MOTORCYCLE at that time. My “driver” a very cute guy pal of mine, five years older and into Cat Stevens. And I would drop out of college and move to a hippie commune in Vermont. And my Clarkie pals would buy tabs of “acid” and “drop” acid. And we slept with each other. Occasionally. Everything that’s in EASY RIDER! … I guess youth blinds you to your youngness.

So now I am watching the gorgeous Peter Fonda …
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… and thinking about the pretty gorgeous guy I was holding tight, my crotch up against his butt, as we did loop da loops in the seven hills of Worcester in the late ’70s. And we zoomed down 290, too. It was on a brand new shiny brown Honda – 250 (I think) – my pal’s – the easy rider. A Woo guy in college by Boston, a hep cat who WAS a free spirit, a guy asking himself a ton of existential questions, a man who LOVED feeling FREE on the ROAD and having deep conversations.

I was always a bit nervous when we took those low turns on his bike, and I was not trying to be free or understand the meaning of life like he was trying to do. I just wanted to be with this smart, fun, cute guy and thought: HE’S TALL AND CUTE AND HE KISSES SO GREAT!!! So, I, a senior at Burncoat Senior High School, rode on the back of a Honda at 17 one summer. To my mother’s consternation. I rode with him a bit when I was 18 and 19, too, my mom, Cecelia, appalled. And utterly helpless. She was losing her little girl. Would her little girl lose her virginity to this slick college boy she didn’t much like? This was the beginning of Ma and I not saying much to each other. For about three years.

But my guy pal and I were never searching for AMERICA. We were going to Hampton Beach, necking and stroking each other’s private parts in the sand, on the grass, in the rain! Yes, three years later, I would move to that hippie commune in Vermont and become a vegetarian and wonder: WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LIFE? Like right out of EASY RIDER. And today Peter Fonda reminded me of my pal when Fonda, at the beginning of the film, tells a poor hick motel owner living off the land with his beautiful Latina wife and their five little kids: “You’re doing your own thing, in your own time. You should be proud.” Today, you could say that about me and my choosing INCITY TIMES/CECELIA/writing for my life and, yes, feeling pretty FREE because of it. And proud.

Today my body is too old for mud and motorcycles. Still my spirit soars as I watch EASY RIDER and see so much more than when I was wearing my friend’s extra bike helmet and holding on tight to his sexy, sinewy abdomen. Today, the times are tumultuous but none of us, like the main characters in EASY RIDER, straddle our bikes and careen into America to make Mardi Gras, with thousands of dollars rolled into a long clear rubber tube snaked into the tear-drop gas tank of our motorcycle, which is painted in stars and stripes. After selling a ton of cocaine to … Phil Specter.

This is the beginning of EASY RIDER: Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) are rich. Now they can be FREE.

But it is not how it all starts. The film actually revs its engine and roars into our cultural consciousness after the big drug deal. It is as if the director, Hopper, doesn’t want the tawdry scoring of drugs to interfere with THE EPIC ROAD TRIP, THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS of a gorgeous NATURAL WORLD/America filled with very poor Americans, very prejudiced Americans and Americans – the young – who drop out of the mess, leave society to commune with nature and do their own thing: like start free communities where everyone lives “deliberately” and gathers together in big circles on the grass or beach to sing songs to the sun (we did just that on my Vermont commune), or drop acid (like my Clark boyfriend and his friends – my friends, too). … We looked grungy and didn’t wear deodorant, and we slept with each other (“just friends”) … and tried not to get caught up in the mess called capitalism.

That’s when the EPIC ’60s ROCK MUSIC – The Band, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix – pours down on the guys in the movie (and us in the movie house) as they ride away from society and into this great and terrible country, the roads open, the opening credits rolling … Jack Nicholson meets them in a jail cell. He’s brilliant …