Category Archives: InCity Voices

There’s something about Mary!

By Rosalie Tirella

Mary Keefe

I agree with State Rep Mary Keefe on all the issues but could never warm up to her. She’s always seemed like, well, … an as*hole. Or been one to me. And I never liked the way Mary treated the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center – located next to the Pickle Barrel in Worcester’s Piedmont neighborhood: LIKE IT WAS HER PERSONAL INNER-CITY CASTLE. Mary Keefe parlayed her brief directorship of the center to a State Rep seat. After she won the election, the center went silent. For years. And Keefe is in the position to fund it! Yet it hasn’t been open to its inner-city neighborhood since Mary used it as her political spring board. No director there. No outreach worker. No after school program. No referral services. Nothing, thanks to state rep Mary Keefe who, when she leaves an inner-city neighborhood center closed for several years – just a 7-minute walk from her Crown Hill home – shows us all how oblivious she is. Shows us all she doesn’t care about the people of Piedmont, many poor, most folks brown and Black. Residents who could have used support during COVID, school closures, now the affordable housing crisis and inflation. Neighborhood people who could have availed themselves of the services of a vital, STAFFED neighborhood center!

Not on Mary’s radar.

Entrance to the neighborhood center. Photos: R.T.

The neighborhood center used to house, years back, several of Mary’s pals! – many thought they were her political pals who used a city neighborhood center to run Mary’s political campaigns. Once, at night, I popped in to the center …the lights were on. Was it staffed again? Nope. I saw community/political organizer and Mary Keefe ally Kevin Ksen in the back office tapping away on an office desk top computer. He said, Rose, I’m not working on Mary’s campaign.


Dante and Kevin’s hang out!

That night Kevin was being “supported by” pals Dante Comparetto and his gal pal. The two were slumped over each other, seated together on a lumpy sofa in the front room of the center. They looked stoned out of their minds. Supporting Mary Keefe’s run for political office, too. Wimpy, former one term Worcester School Committee member Dante Comparetto. He promised so much and did nothing but wilt under what little backlash he got from colleagues and voters. Wimpsville. And his girlfriend, now wife (both living in DC, last we heard) also helping run Keefe’s political campaign out of a City neighborhood center.

Then the center went quiet. It’s still closed.

So when I saw Mary Keefe a few days ago, leaving the Highland Street Price Chopper with her groceries, I yelled: HEY, MARY! WHEN IS THE PLEASANT STREET NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER OPENING UP AGAIN?

The neighborhood center is located in Piedmont, a Worcester inner-city neighborhood that’s seen its fair share of struggles…

She said: WE’RE HIRING A NEW DIRECTOR SOON! and hurried to her silver car and zipped out of the Price Chopper parking lot.


Mary’s silver vehicle zipping out of the Highland Street Price Chopper parking lot.

Baby rabbit and kind printer

By Rosalie Tirella

Lilac, after the fact … pics: R.T.

I drove to Providence to get the rest of my CECELIAs. While the printer guy was loading my car trunk with my newspapers, I brought my dogs out to pee. Lilac, who was on her lead, as was Jett, pulled me to a stack of pallets, shoved her strong neck under the tall stack of wood and pulled out a baby rabbit. It was in her mouth a bit of blood where Lilac’s teeth had sunk in … the soft middle. I gasped. But whispered to Lilac: DROP IT! DROP IT!! Lilac dropped the rabbit. She knew I was upset. The little rabbit – very young – went into shock and didn’t move, though sometimes they play dead when caught by a predator. I’ve owned dogs for 32 years…it’s all instinct. Not angry but firm, I led Lilac and Jett back to my car and commanded INSIDE and they both jumped into the back seat, Lilac looking a bit sheepish.

The young rabbit was hiding under the stack of pallets

I walked back to the baby rabbit, lying on its side, on the grass in the hot sun and saw the big puncture wounds that Lilac’s canines had left in its slim body.

Fatally wounded …

I said to the loading dock guy: Fred, I sound brutal but it’s suffering. Lilac can finish the job quickly. It’s instinct. It’s fast. Over in a minute. The baby won’t suffer for the next five hours before he dies.

Fred, got upset: NO! LEAVE IT, ROSE! JUST LEAVE IT ALONE!! It might just be hurt.

He threw me an accusatory look. I didn’t see the little rabbit under the stack of pallets! Lilac made no excited noise as she grabbed at the little rabbit, and the babe made no noise as Lilac bit into it.

If Fred hadn’t been there, pissed off at me, I would have put the rabbit out of it’s misery …and let Lilac finish the job – and then pulled her off. She and Lilac have all their vaccines … But Fred stood watching me, reading my mind …

I said to myself: Lilac’s teeth are big even though she’s a medium-sized dog – and she clamped down on the baby’s middle. IT’S SUFFERING!

Fred loaded my car trunk with CECELIAs. I splashed some water by the rabbit’s snout making a teeny puddle and cut out the bottom of my McDonald’s lemonade takeout cup to create a very small low water dish. I filled the with an inch or two of water so if the baby recovered (doubtful) and needed to drink fresh water to revive itself, he could.

The bunny’s home – a patch of woods just yards away …

Then we left. Drove off. Once on the road I cried, pissed at Fred for thinking the rabbit would be ok. The baby did wiggle one of its big brown ears after a few minutes and its long lanky legs, they pushed feebly into the summer air as as if to hop away to safety …but he couldn’t.

Still crying, I called the Seekonk police department and told them about the suffering bunny. The female dispatcher was unmoved, said the town’s animal control officer does not deal with wildlife. She gave me two phone numbers to call – one to a rude vet assistant who said NO! WE CAN’T HELP! He told me about a wildlife sanctuary an hour away and said I would have to drive the rabbit there if I wanted the rangers there to examine the rabbit.

I said: I’ve GOT A CAR FILLED WITH NEWSPAPERS AND TWO DOGS, BOTH HUNTERS!!! Plus I’m 60 and stressed!!! And there’s no ac in my car! … I hung up, angry.

I was shaken – not upset with at Lilac, a good dog with Shepherd and Hound roots… serious, smart, a hunter. I was certainly not mad at the bunny, all sweet innocence, like Lilac, also following instinct: not dashing into the little patch of woods less than 10 yards away from where we stood, staying out, in hiding with two dogs and a human walking about. It hid ever so quietly under the stack of pallets …

On the highway I called the printing press’ co-owner, a good guy. I had wiped the tears from my eyes. I said: I’M SORRY, BOB!! I’M SO SORRY!!! I LOVE ANIMALS!

“Rose, Rose, Rose,” Bob said in his gentle tone of voice. “Sometimes things just happen. Sometimes things just happen. We’ll take care of him.”

Bob’s words soothed me. They always make peace, they’re always wise, in that quiet way. Bob’s voice is a bit thick, gruff, older. But it is always a balm …

I drove down the highway, back to Worcester …

Driving CECELIAs back home.

Best buds!🐾💗🐾🐾💗

By Rosalie Tirella

Rose’s Jett and Lilac

I took Jett and Lilac to a vaccine clinic a few days ago. Not the most pleasant experience. I waited outdoors, with everyone else, for my dogs to be taken in to see the veterinarian. The old, tall guy in the Caddy decided to get chatty with me. He approached us, arrogant and moneyed. I wasn’t in the mood to socialize (you know my struggle) and, when I moved us to the opposite end of the low wall, the old guy decided to yell, so all the other clients waiting with their dogs could hear: LADY, REAL FRIENDLY! REAL FRIENDLY, LADY! … His rudeness and sarcasm made me pity the two old Labrador retrievers who were saddled with him.

I thought one young woman – who looked sun-scorched and especially rough and had her beautiful but scrawny dog in one of those awful prong collars – was homeless. Her skinny dog’s ribs were prominent and fluttered in the 80-degree heat. He was agitated, yelped as he tried to get close to her. I said, “Do you need some dog food? A doggy bowl?” … She looked at me, annoyed, and shook her head No. Her young dog seemed to be losing some of his fur due to malnutrition. … Hope WARL staffers gave her some dog food/help.

The vet had to muzzle Jett when it came time for his shots and heart worm test. Jett doesn’t like being torn away from me and gets stressed around syringes, so he got feisty and had to be muzzled. When the vet tech brought Jett back out to me, after he had gotten all his vaccines and blood work was done, she said: “He’s a wild man! He’s a wild man!” Jett had trotted out like a little firecracker! The vet tech looked at him admiringly. I smiled. Earlier, after I had told her Jett was 15 years old, she said, “Look at him! Still standing like that!” All the other dogs were lying in the shade or sun as they waited their turn to be seen by the vet. They were subdued by the humidity and sunlight. Not my Jett. He was rearin’ to go! Interested, alert …feisty… adorable! My best boy!


Lilac is always sweet but she seemed a bit sad after receiving her vaccines. The same vet tech (who was very knowledgeable and nice) said Lilac was visibly upset as Jett put up his fight and had to muzzled. She said, “Lilac loves him so much! She was worried about him! When Jett goes, you’re gonna have to get her another friend!” As in “another dog.”

Which means I will have TWO dogs for at least the next decade. When I am pushing 70!!! It will have to be a toy poodle, pug or Corgi mix. An old lady’s dog.

Then I remembered how three years ago, when I took Jett to a vet in a Worcester County town for a complete physical/work up, to see what was up with the big lump near his groin (he’d sprouted it after the thugs at Blackstone River Road threw chicken bones out the window) Lilac was beside herself while Jett was in the exam room. I had given Jett to the vet tech for her to take him inside the building to see the veterinarian. I sat on the bench next to the entrance, outdoors, to wait for Jett, as the pandemic has just begun … Lilac is in my car, all the windows are down, the car parked in the grassy backyard under a tree. It’s cool out. I’m worried about Jett. Cancer? Fluid in the abdomen? Well, as soon as Jett disappears into the veterinarian’s building, Lilac leaps out the car’s back window, runs up the lawn and gallops straight to the door Jett just trotted through. And stops right there – and will not be moved. She stood at attention, staring at that wooden door, for the next half hour. Lilac would not, could not, be distracted. She was waiting for her best friend! I was sitting on the bench a few yards away. I called, COME, LILAC! COME LILAC! and patted my lap, my signal to her that I was gonna cuddle her, kiss her furry forehead – which she loves. Lilac didn’t so much as turn her head to acknowledge me. Her snout was two inches away from that veterinarian’s door. She would have stood that way, erect, serious, her big soft brown eyes alert, her body tense, forever …

When Jett was brought back out, Lilac was ecstatic! She galloped around her old friend, leapt into the air, nuzzled him, smelling his neck … She was happy Lilac again! Her world was on its furry axis once again! Jett was back!

Best buds enjoying Worcester’s Elm Park!


By Rosalie Tirella

Worcester Mayor Joe Petty at a Main South community event. CECELIA file photo.

Worcester Mayor Joe Petty has decided (on a whim? because he’s got nothing better to do? because he doesn’t have a life?) to run for state senator, “filling” retiring senator Harley Chandler’s seat. She’s 80+ years old. At 60, Petty’s a young senior – as am I. Truth be told at the ripe old age of 60, I just wanna write, read, bird watch, bake bread, get another dog, decoupage … But our very good, very modest, very senior citizen of a mayor has been bitten by the Ambitious Bug and decided to reach for the stars…the State House!!

A few in Worcester feel this is a bad idea. To wit: Joe’s political signage (VOTE JOE PETTY STATE SENATE) have been torn down, ripped up. All over the city and the West Side. Even the PETTY FOR SENATE mini-billboards, 8′ x 4′ monstrosities.

Petty’s campaign peeps have whined to the press. Vandalism! Destruction of property! Cheaters!

We say this is petty. Destroying a political opponent’s campaign signs is typical political season silliness, mean spiritedness, yes, unusual, no. Petty, who’s been Worcester mayor since 2012 and, before that, Worcester city councilor at large forever, knows this fact of campaign life.

On another level, we say the magnitude of the destruction may signal something more, may be a sign of the times … Maybe, just maybe, Worcester is trying to tell our good mayor: Joe! You’re a nice, modest, fair minded guy, but please do NOT run for Chandler’s seat! Don’t go to Boston! Stay away from the State House! We need someone new. Young. Female. Buy a hammock, set it up in your backyard and … retire from politics. You’ve been a fine public servant for decades. You’ve done good things for many people, especially your friends and family!, but a different voice is needed. Give it a rest – give someone else a chance to lead, to be in the spotlight, to collect a pretty good paycheck!

Let’s be real: Joe Petty has never been especially articulate. He’s never been especially inspiring or charismatic. He’s never really had much of a vision. But he was smart enough to give the Worcester visionaries creative space and support, the Woo egomaniacs the mic, the diverse Worcester a chance … That’s why we liked him and voted for him. Joe did the right things at the right time.

But his political platform planks for his state senator run: more affordable housing, more environmental justice feels, well, typically politically savvy. As mayor of Worcester Joe’s failed at the affordable housing thing…we have a true HOUSING CRISIS IN THE CITY AND IN WORCESTER COUNTY. Homelessness, old people displaced from the apartments and houses they’ve rented for years, sky rocketing rents – most apartments in Worcester at the $2,000 mark, up from $1,500 last summer – make this a problem too big for Joe’s small lens. THIS IS A CRISIS JOE PETTY ISN’T UP TO. THIS CRISIS CALLS FOR EXTREME CREATIVITY. Joe Petty is not that creative a guy. Converting CSX BOX CARS to rental homes? Rent control? Tiny houses built by our Worcester Technical High School students under the leadership of our local building trade union heads? Looking at safe spaces for the homeless who live in their cars? Establishing City of Worcester homeless camps with outhouses, community kitchens, places to legitimately camp, staffed by City of Worcester social workers and maybe a Worcester cop or two? More housing vouchers? BIG HOUSING COMPLEXES designated for low-income seniors … rental units for growing families as the Canal District/gentrification is not family friendly. The CD rental units are meant for young couples, singles or empty nesters… All of this has been out of Joe’s mental grasp.

We’re grasping… Do you think Joe Petty can advocate for any of these big, very major, outside-the-box housing solutions?

Neither do I.

Diversity. … Massachusetts is pretty racially segregated. If our Worcester Public Schools teaching staff is still lilly white and the City of Worcester had to be sued by a group of Black and brown WPS parents and community leaders to change the way we elect the Worcester School Committee, do you think Joe Petty has the mental tools – or the guts – to make our state, Massachusetts, less racist?

I doubt it. Take a look inside Mayor Petty’s office in City Hall – the Irish aunties rule the roost. God help you if you ask them to email you an attachment!

So we say: Retire from politics, Joe. You’ve done a lot of good for a lot of people. You’re a nice man, a loyal and loving husband, dad and friend. But “to every season turn, turn, turn … .”

A young man shoots for the stars, an older man looks up and sees their infinite beauty.

So, Joe, read all of Shakespeare’s plays in your new hammock in your yard. Bird watch from that hammock. Write a political memoir and hand deliver it to the Worcester Historical Museum. Visit every national park in America! Sip a glass of wine on the Seine! Run a marathon. Run a church bake sale. It’s ok to be … free.

Worcester City Hall – Joe’s been here forever. photo: R.T.

Daddy and me

By Rosalie Tirella

Spencer Tracy played the wise and firm but gentle husband and dad in many movies of the 1940s and ’50s.

Yesterday: Father’s Day. I sat still with myself, my dogs … and felt neither love nor hatred for my long dead Daddy-o. I didn’t feel like writing about him either. Why try to understand someone so inscrutable? Why plumb the depths of a non-relationship? Yesterday my father, my “Daddy,” was far away, just another Worcester blue-collar guy who couldn’t make it in his city – and skirted around the edges of community. Then he died. Worcester lost nothing, and the stunted Tirella family tree shook down another wormy crab apple from its gnarly bows.

Some things about my father still stick in my craw: He loved a beautiful Romanian hairdresser while he was married to my mom – and had a baby with her, my half-sister. No desire to track down this sis! Daddy was a life-long cheater who bought little trinkets for this girlfriends but never gave my mom so much as drugstore perfume. (Heaven Scent was her fave!)

He got my late mom pregnant (with me) in his pick-up truck. A good Catholic girl like my mom who went to mass every day with the nuns at St. Mary’s School once upon a time must have really been sexually turned on by Daddy-o. She was young and pretty and ripe for the picking! Swept off her feet by my handsome father, this bad boy Italian doo-wop. She had always loved Dean Martin … My Polish granny, Bapy, hated the man – forever. Throwing pieces of her egg sandwich at him on numerous occasions, screaming: RED DEVIL!! DOG’S BLOOD!! DEVIL!! in Polish whenever my father crossed our Lafayette Street tenement threshold, Bapy knew Daddy had ruined her youngest, gentlest daughter’s life. But with his muscle shirts and handsome high forehead and red hair that he gelled and combed high and light hazel eyes, my father owned Ma. They both knew it.

Daddy also owned a tough German Shepherd dog and worked on fast cars (he was a mechanic of sorts).

So it was the renegade and the saint. Opposites do indeed attract!

Rose’s late mom was a devout Catholic. photo: R.T.

So they got married, and so my father proceeded to fight the marriage/his deprived little family for the next 25 years. Being tethered to me, my mom and little sisters dragged him down, even though I was all A’s at Lamartine Street School, my sisters were cute and sweet and my mom worked 60 hours a week at the Millbury Street drycleaners as a counter girl to support the family … plus she kept a nice house and cared for us kids and Bapy, her mother, who lived with us.

My mother should have let Daddy go, but she only fell out of love with my father in her late 50s. After menopause.

Like I was saying, my father was far away from me yesterday, so I tried to think of the dad I would have liked to have had as a kid. Couldn’t think of one in real life, but I found myself admiring the film actor Spencer Tracy … and the television dad that I loved all through my childhood: Ward Cleaver of the 1950s TV show LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. From age 6 to 12 I watched LEAVE IT TO BEAVER every morning before walking to school, while eating my breakfast. It put me in a good mood for my school day. My sisters watched, too.

Ward Cleaver was everything my real father wasn’t and could never be: a white collar professional (I think we found out he was an engineer in one episode), a cool, calming presence (my father was red hot! – strode through our Lafayette Street tenement red-faced, yelling in Italian, taking a swipe at my mom’s pretty cheek with the back of his rugged hand). Ward was never too interested in his two sons, Wally and the Beaver … my dad was more than disinterested, he was dismissive…but at least the workaholic Ward gave his family a beautiful house in a beautiful suburban neighborhood filled with nice normal people, mostly white. (I lived on Lafayette Street in the 1960s and 1970s – when the old Polish ghetto was black, brown, white, violent and poor. No Lafayette Street kid lived in a house like the Beaver’s! I think I felt this way as a kid: even if my dad was preoccupied with his job, I wouldn’t have cared. I would have a fun big brother, terrific food to eat, a wonderful house to live in and a big beautiful backyard to play in. The one big difference? No terrific real life CECELIA, my mom – Ma was serious but spent time sketching with me, picking autumn leaves beneath Green Island trees and then pressing them with me – in her special big dictionary with its hundreds of pages. Ma took us downtown to shop at the Mart and she took us swimming at the Crompton Park mud hole and we went to church every Sunday morning looking pretty and feeling positive. There should have been a TV show about my mom – she was that wonderful.

The young CECELIA

And … my real life mom let me have dogs, kittens, pet mice, hamsters, turtles, salamanders, guinea pigs, gold fish. All those warm and or cute pets made such a big difference in my childhood! The Cleaver home, even on our old Philco parked in the corner of our kitchen where we kids could watch TV as we ate our bowls of Frosted Flakes or Sugar Snacks and Bapy snacked on a Widoffs bakery bulky and butter always seemed a bit too perfect, empty in a way. Once Beaver sneaked in a baby alligator, but by the end of the episode Ward had made him realize the cute tiny fella would soon outgrow their bathtub. And then what? I felt for the Beave! No pets!

So besides having no pets and no mom CECELIA, life with Ward, the father, would have been pleasant enough. I would have been very ordinary and – like my mom – dreamed of the perfect Eisenhower teen years and young womanhood…the prom/big dance with a handsome boy who had pinned a corsage on my taffeta evening dress …pale pink satin gloves …a demure one-piece bathing suit for when my beau and I drove to the beach in his convertible…college, Bryn Mawr maybe…then marriage to a college-educated young man with a promising$$$ future. …

Most Eisenhower wives and moms were expected to master the art of hostessing and cooking/baking. photo: J.C.

… Shrimp cocktails before dinner. Steak dinner for father. Orange and lime Jello for the kids…two or three kids. Cute and happy and well loved.

I know that was my late mother’s dream. While a live in housekeeper/maid for the Bishop of Springfield she had bought and collected things for her perfect life, her perfect marriage, her perfect family once she was back in Worcester:

– soft pink gloves…for church. Up to the wrist.
– pretty costume jewelry – matching necklaces and earrings (I used to play dress up with them on Lafayette Street!)
– stamps from envelopes mailed to the Bishop – letters from priests and missionaries stationed all over the world: Africa, Italy, Baltimore … Ma kept them in a maroon velvet box. (On Lafayette Street, I used to open and close that velvet box just to hear the soft “fffttt!”sound it made when it was shut …I loved the exotic stamps, too. They cost a penny or two or three …

And then there was her GOOD HOUSEKEEPING COOK BOOK – a yellow cover tome from 1960 covered with 1950s women – clip art June Cleavers – baking cookies, frying eggs, serving dinner … being the role models for every striving Eisenhower mom and wife. Mom’s second Bible. Handed down to me when I was 17! Chapters on in-laws! Chapters on camping with grace and style! Paragraphs on buffets for family reunions and church supper spreads. Each chapter had its introduction…followed by the recipes, from appetizers to desserts. And drinks. All sprinkled with that Mad Men clip art – angular, lots of contrast and geometric shapes. Lots of canned and frozen and boxed food went into these Good Housekeeping Kitchen-tested and seal of approval-awarded recipes. Back then frozen and canned was all the rage. Fresh fruits and vegetables for peasants. Immigrant families like ours … Ma read this cook book /guide cover to cover so that she could be the perfect wife for Daddy. The perfect mom for us kids. The perfect church lady! The perfect school mom who made cupcakes for the class field trip! The perfect hostess for all our kiddie birthday parties on Lafayette Street, complete with balloons, party hats and twirlers and pin the tail on the donkey game pinned to our beige kitchen wall. … But to Daddy, Ma (and by extension, we kids) had failed.

And so began our long goodbye …



By Luis Sanchez

Luis Sanchez is CECELIA’s talented intern!

Gotham City’s vigilante tries to solve a new riddle in this new feature film – a new take on Batman which hit the screens this spring. I saw the movie one Friday night: my spoiler-free review will go over the good, the bad, and the dark of the movie for you!

The Batman is a superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The movie was produced by DC Films, 6th and Idaho, and Dylan Clark Productions, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. This reboot was directed by Matt Reeves and stars Robert Pattison as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, and Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon. The Batman takes on a different approach to the masked vigilante, and seeks to explore the detective side of Batman. With a runtime of 2 hours and 56 minutes, the viewer is witness to an investigation with Batman and his efforts to uncover the truth behind a series of murders committed by the Riddler.

This movie contained a lot of dark themes, as well as dark scenes. About three total scenes took place in daylight, and the rest of the movie was within the light of the moon, adding to the overall dark sensation of the movie. The Batman provides the viewer with a new and mysterious universe through its themes, characters, and realism.

The Batman makes sure to nail down the theme of Gotham being the worst possible place on Earth. We are shown how corrupt, dirty and scary it would be to truly live in Gotham City, and it makes us question why Batman is even trying to help this city if it is beyond saving. With the setting in place, Gotham City births heroes and antagonists who ultimately fight for the same cause, which is what I enjoyed deeply about this movie. We do not get any origin stories from any of the characters, and that is something to appreciate because it makes the world seem more established and stable in terms of its characters.

From the early production of the film we were told that The Batman would not be connected to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). This allowed for plenty of creative license to the director Matt Reeves, in which he used it to his advantage. It felt truly like a Batman movie in Batman’s world with no ties to the exterior heroes, which placed an emphasis on Batman and his vigilantism.

Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman is exceptional in this film. Her character has intentions that she keeps to the heart and helps drive her story within this universe. I haven’t mentioned much about Robert Pattison as Bruce Wayne and that is because simply put, there isn’t much about Bruce Wayne in this movie. Pattison excels in his Batman persona and excels in drawing out his dark side, but Pattison keeps his Batman face even when he needs to act as Bruce Wayne. This means that in The Batman we see a brooding and dejected Bruce Wayne which is disappointing, but compared to the amount of screentime Batman had, Bruce Wayne’s persona is pushed aside. This helped Pattison focus more on being THE Batman, as the movie is titled.

I cannot talk much about the Riddler because he is not shown much in the trailer, but I can say that his character is a very realistic version of the Riddler. Paul Dano puts an emphasis on his character’s menacing side which makes the hairs on your arm stand up. His riddles are somber and violent. In fact, every character in The Batman is realistic, which makes the movie believable.

Typically we are used to a Batman that seems mythical, is able to fly using only his cape, and with a well-built Batmobile, but this Batman is quite the opposite. Robert Pattison’s Batman has real weaknesses, has to attach a wingsuit in order to fly, and has a muscle car with a rocket attached to the back (which sounds, looks, and feels absolutely amazing!). When you hear the rocket thrust, it just radiates power – which then leads to an amazing car chase!

Overall, this movie exasperates darkness. Its cinematography and direction help emphasize the gloominess of Gotham City, while its actors provide characters who have grown up in Gotham and seek change. Both protagonists and antagonists have a valuable reason to act the way they do, which makes you feel sympathy for both and places you in a struggle to choose whom to support.

The Batman reimagines its setting and characters in a darker tone, ultimately reimagining these characters into a new and intriguing universe – and film. I would rate this movie an 8/10 and would definitely recommend watching it in theaters!

✝️Bishop McManus and the Nativity School🙏… Worcester County’s hot🔥 housing market 🏡 and more …

Bishop McManus and the Nativity School

By Rosalie Tirella

Jesus on the cross at the long gone Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. photo submitted

The Diocese of Worcester’s Bishop Robert McManus is in a pissing contest with the Nativity School in Worcester. The good Catholic Bishop is threatening to strip the good Catholic school (that mostly serves poor Black Worcester boys) of its Catholic status ASAP – which would stop it from performing holy mass or even sponsoring masses! This comes after the good, equally anal and vindicative Catholic Jesuit college, Holy Cross, banned, as punishment for the good Bishop’s petty actions against the Nativity School, Bishop McManus from this May’s graduation ceremony at Holy Cross. Where the good Bishop has – for years – proudly sat up on the Holy Cross dias dressed in all his fancy bishop vestments blessing and smiling beatifically on all the Holy Cross grads striding across the HC stage – filled with local, state and national dignitaries – to grab their diplomas. This after the good and holy Nativity School dug its heels in and refused to remove the BLM and gay pride flags flying outside the Nativity School (the old Lincoln House Girls Club on Lincoln Street).

This is why so many have fled and continue to flee the Catholic church.

It usually has nothing to do with Catholic gospel, the church music, God or Blessed Mary or Jesus and his beautiful THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST AND THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST teachings. No, it’s often a result of the holier than thou, unforgiving style of self-righteous, unforgiving and proud bishops, priests, nuns, etc. The brass of the Catholic Church. The elementary school nuns who slapped the palm of your hand with a ruler if they thought you were “bad.” The priests who forbad your sweet, single, working mom from receiving Holy Communion because she was legally separated from your abusive, cheater, loser father – her husband. The Catholic kings and queens who often lorded it over the parish poor and dispossessed. For the misguided power play. The thrill of winning. Being RIGHT.

What does Jesus have to do with all this abusive, nasty crap? If Jesus were still preaching on earth, let’s say in Worcester, what would He say to all these Catholic knuckle-heads? The Bishop and Holy Cross poo-bas and even the Nativity School principal and board of directors?

What would Jesus think of this mess? All done in his name … all done in the name of the Catholic faith and being a “good” Catholic.

Bishop McManus is an old guy. My pal has to drive him to the furniture store to pick out a new mattress! The Bishop thinks BLM is radical! He’s just being an old out of touch guy. And you know the Catholic church’s stance on gay marriage etc. And Holy Cross SHOULD know better, but decided to hurt a clueless old man, the Bishop. The Nativity School is in the right but too cool and progressive for the old fart Bishop.

Maybe the Bishop and Nativity School principal should sit down together – at the Holy Cross student union cafe – and talk. Break bread. Make peace. Compromise.

This “unholy” mess brings all local Catholics down!


Housing, Joe Petty, homelessness, rent control…

Worcester’s affordable housing crisis has created Worcester’s homelessness problem. photo: R.T.

1. Based on the nepotism and pointlessness of Mayor Joseph Petty’s office – we’re talking office director Mary Orosko who doesn’t know how to email an attachment and never returns phone calls – and Petty political office head Dan Raiscot – who never returns phone calls either – why should I vote to send Joe Petty to Boston next election cycle? Why should he replace retired Harley Chandler? I’m voting for his opponent, the gal from the YWCA. She’s young, politically experienced and savvy and will (hopefully) advocate for women and girls once elected …

2. The landlord of the apartment I had my eyes on IN DUDLEY/WEBSTER! has raised the rent by $300 per month since last week!!! WHEN I FIRST SAW THE APT LISTING! For no reason whatsoever!! No special work was done on the crappy studio apartment! No add-ons added!! The unscrupulous landlord did this JUST because they could … TO GOUGE THE TENANT!! The housing and rental market IS OUT OF CONTROL in Massachusetts – TOO MANY HOMELESS PEOPLE, too many poorer blue collar tenants pushed out of units if the building is sold…or if the landlord feels like he or she can get away with it. … Our legislators in the STATE HOUSE in Boston need to enact rent control!!! Now!!! To stop homelessness, displacement, the degradation of blue collar neighborhoods …to stop landlords from being greedy a-holes!!! Our state legislators must step in and enact rent control! And build more affordable housing. Cities and towns must step in, too.

🌹🌹🌹… My old landlord Ken Buzzell sold the Blackstone River Road building where I lived plus his two other residential buildings across the yard for $1.2 million!!!!! Blackstone River Road!!!! He sold it all to a young guy …. The young guy is investing in Worcester three deckers all over city.

… Our state and city housing markets have no guardrails! Unscrupulous investors come in and buy old buildings/three deckers in our poorer neighborhoods, slap on some paint, do a few cosmetic tweaks … and raise the rent by hundreds of dollars!!! BECAUSE THEY CAN!!! Not only in the Canal District but all over WORCESTER and the SURROUNDING TOWNS – Worcester County!! Government must apply some pressure, brakes – poorer tenants are being gouged!! Enact the laws that will save … families…kids…seniors!!!

– Rosalie

My Aunt Mary – Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal secretary in the White House🇺🇲🇺🇲

By Jim Coughlin


My Aunt Mary – Mary Barelli-Gallagher – died recently (April 22, 2022) in Alexandria, Virginia, at the age of 95. She had lived a pretty amazing life for an American woman of her generation. She lived in that city, just outside of Washington, D.C, after being appointed as one of Senator John F. Kennedy’s very first staff appointments for his Senatorial office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. This was after JFK defeated Senator Henry Cabot Lodge in November of 1952.

One of my aunt’s first tasks she was assigned by Senator Kennedy was translating incoming mail coming from Italian immigrants and constituents who wrote to his office in Italian. My aunt was amply qualified to do this for Senator Kennedy because at the Barelli home in Hyde Park, Boston, only Italian was spoken!

Jim’s aunt grew very close to the Kennedys. photos submitted.

It all began when my late Aunt Mary worked at a paper company in downtown Boston where a former salesman, Kenneth P. O’Donnell (who happened to be from Worcester), had left to work for then Congressman John F. Kennedy’s senatorial campaign that year.

According to my aunt, O’Donnell recruited her to work for Kennedy shortly after Kennedy won the election. After Kennedy had ascended to the Presidency, he named Kenny O’Donnell as his Appointments Secretary, which by today’s political standards would be called “The President’s Chief of Staff.”

My Aunt Mary started working for Senator Kennedy in January of 1953. Since then, and until November 1963, my aunt worked at various times for a total of three members of the Kennedy family: John F. Kennedy; his wife, Jacqueline; and also for Jackie’s mother, Janet Auchincloss, on a part-time basis during the mid- 1950s.

After President Kennedy’s inauguration, my aunt began working as the Personal Secretary to his wife, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, in the family quarters of the White House. Aunt Mary held that position until President Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963.
America might have become a different country if the Kennedys had not been killed.

Aunt Mary later continued working for Mrs. Kennedy at her home in Washington, D.C, for about a year following the assassination, until the fall of 1964, when Mrs. Kennedy moved with her children to New York City.

During the Kennedy administration, my aunt never traveled publicly with the President or his wife on their official trips. However, the one time that she did was on November 22, 1963, the day of the President’s assassination in Dallas, Texas. Immediately after President Kennedy was rushed to the Parkland Hospital in Dallas, my aunt sat right next to Jacqueline as she kept a vigil immediately outside of the hospital’s Trauma Unit One. The ER doctors had told my aunt “not to change any of her expressions.”

Later, when the President’s casket was brought home to Andrew’s Air Force Base, just outside of Washington, D.C. in Maryland, when they were deplaning from Air Force One, my Aunt Mary was right next to Jacqueline Kennedy and the President’s younger brother, Robert F. Kennedy, who at the time was serving as Attorney General of the United States.

In happier times, on the President’s Inauguration Day on January 20, 1961, my aunt was the last one to see JFK out of his house in the Georgetown section of Washington, D C. when he was still “President-elect Kennedy.” Earlier that day, my aunt was in the room when still Senator Kennedy rehearsed his soon to be legendary inauguration address before heading out to the White House to meet with outgoing President Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower.

Autographed to Aunt Mary

In August of 1962, my aunt had arranged with the President’s personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, for members of my immediate family to come down to Washington, D.C for a complete tour of the White House that was topped off with a private audience with the President in the West Sitting Room of the White House! While we were waiting for the President to arrive, we were all a little bit on edge. However, when a big brown door was opened, the President of the United States began walking towards us and he looked very rested, tanned and was brandishing a very big “Kennedy smile.” As he approached our family, my mother literally jumped up and screamed, “Mary, he is even more handsome than in his pictures!” My aunt later said, “she squirmed, embarrassed that he (JFK) might have heard – needlessly at that. He not only heard but obviously loved it.”

My older brother John was equally, if not more, complimentary to the President of the United States. He said, “I am not going to wash my hand (the one that “shook” Kennedy’s in their handshake) for a week.” At first, the President did not know what to say. It was almost as if he was caught off guard (if only for a second) by my brother’s great compliment. The President began to laugh and then he immediately flashed the most beautiful smile that one could ever imagine.

This interaction our family had with the most powerful man in the world has long remained as very powerfully charged memories amongst members of our family.

Also in this meeting, upon the President’s hearing that my mother, Eva, had married a fellow Irishman, it was now the President’s turn for a return compliment to our family. He quipped, “So another member of the family went off to marry an Irishman.”

My cousins Christopher and Gregory, who live in Alexandria, recently told me their lives were much connected and intertwined to the members of the Kennedy family, especially during the Kennedy administration. During that time at the White House when Caroline Kennedy’s childcare worker was of on Wednesdays, my cousins would be the childhood playmates for Caroline, either at the White House or at my aunt’s home in nearby Alexandria.

A slice of American History🇺🇲

There is a little known fact that the President was allergic to animal fur. This made it necessary for the Kennedys to give Caroline Kennedy’s very much loved cat, “Tom Kitten,” to the Gallaghers. So Caroline would he happy to come and visit with the Gallaghers so she could spend time with Tom Kitten! In fact, the White House cat is buried in the back yard of my aunt’s home in Alexandria, Virginia.

My aunt very often said that her relationship with Jacqueline Kennedy “was like that of a sister.” In July of 1960, my aunt had traveled with the Senator and his wife to be with them at Democratic National Convention when he was competing for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Jacqueline Kennedy happened to walk into the Senator’s room and caught my aunt changing one of her daughter Caroline’s diapers. This made Jackie quip, “So, Mary, you are part of the family.”

My aunt once wrote about her long relationship with the Kennedys: ” … when I was a child, I never dreamed that I would work at the White House, walk with Presidents and be on a first-time basis with the First Lady of the United States. Jackie Kennedy was like a sister to me and neither time nor distance can erase the memories of the years we shared together.”

As I sit in my hotel room in Alexandria, Virginia, penning this tribute to my aunt for the CECELIA newspaper, Mary Barelli Gallagher preparing to later attend a Funeral Mass of the Resurrection at St. Mary’s Basicilia, (and later to take her to her final resting place), my aunt remains my hero, right alongside President John F. Kennedy and all the Kennedys.

My aunt’s association with the Kennedys has inspired me over my many years of being a researcher and lecturer on The Kennedy Presidency.

And, yes, to those who wonder what keeps me going with my unabated passion for a state holiday in the state of Massachusetts, it is the relationship that my aunt and my cousins and members of my family had with the 35th President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, JFK.

And as President Kennedy very often said, “God willing, that goal will be achieved.”

Why should the 🚓WPD get drones if Worcester cops act like this?🚔🚓

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

This morning…

Millbury Street…

Several police cruisers spotted in the Canal District, on Millbury Street

June 8, 2022 … the a.m. … several Worcester PD police cruisers parked by the homeless persons sleeping nooks on Millbury Street in the Canal District…I stop to see …

My message to the several cops on the scene:
Worcester Police Officer Padavano (white cop facing camera, below), you’re so young and dunderheaded! Don’t ever disrespect a citizen who just asks you, an overpaid PUBLIC SERVANT: What happened on Millbury Street just now, officer?

Padavano, right

What an ugly little person you are – and, of course, your fellow Worcester cops were just as vacuous – and threatening me with tickets if I don’t “move along.” Threats and more threats. THIS IS WHY WORCESTER NEEDS A CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARD! I hope and pray Acting Worcester City Manager Eric Batista can stand up to these City of Worcester cop-bullies!


I would never give Officer Padavano discretion when it comes to using drones – or grant that privilege to any of the Worcester cops I saw on Millbury Street this morning! Would these officers respect a homeless person needing privacy as he pees in the woods near one of several Worcester homeless encampments? Would photos be circulated – just for giggles? What do you think?


That “attitude” on full display. But these guys have GUNS, TASERS, HANDCUFFS, PADDY WAGONS – EVERYTHING TO KILL OR TRAUMATIZE.

“Extended” traveling time!🚗🥿🥿

By Rosalie Tirella

Rose’s desk and living area at the Extended Stay motel in Westboro. pics: R.T.

To tip$ or not to tip, that is the question. As an older woman traveling alone (with Jett and Lilac, of course), an older white woman with not a lot of dough$ but not a lot of needs, either, (I travel with my own electric tea pot, tea cup and a box of green tea), tipping for me has become looking into the soul of the kid or old lady manning the motel’s front desk … not so much caring if the floor in my room requires slippers to be worn at all times (yes, all Extended Stay motel suites in Westboro) but if the overworked/underpaid housekeeper smiles when she or he gives me an extra soap or two – is genuinely nice to me. Human to human. So my tip has nothing to do with the motel per say … its carpets or coffee bar or bathtubs. Yes, I want it all clean and functional, but mostly the quality of my stay has to do with how the help makes me feel.

As in: Wow, that young woman at the front desk is so positive about life (and extended stay – 1800 Computer Drive, Westboro)! The way she described the bonfire she and her boyfriend started last night outside their home…how lovely the cedar smelled…how happy it made her feel. Of course, I went out and bought this positive young woman a little tub of hand cream, pretty facial wipes and cute Memorial Day potholders – in case their bonfire got too hot!

At one motel, an Econo Lodge, the East Indian owners were brutal, but their cleaning staff was outstanding! I still miss those ladies! One housekeeper, an older woman, gave me magazines from her house! She said she did this because she saw the newspapers and notepad in my room. She was a reader, too! She also gave me a cute little green dog poop bag dispenser, complete with doggie bags. “You’re the only one here who cleans up after your dogs,” she said. Of course, every time I saw her I gave her $5. Every time.

Her colleague was also wonderful. I came into the Econo motel hungry. I asked her for a snack. She went into her and her husband’s room (like a lot of young help, they lived at their motel) and came out with the food they had: a Cup o Noodles, a can of Campbell’s chicken soup, and a Ramen noodle package. I microwaved the cup o noodles – the soup tasted like old sweat socks. I tipped this young woman every time our paths crossed. These ladies were so … human. So kind to my dogs … Their good hearts not burnished at some hotel conference, not angling for my dollars. They were just good people, most likely raised beautifully by a parent or aunt or grandparent. Raised carefully, not stupidly, the way the desk guy here at this Extended Stay motel suites in Westboro – Evan – tall and Igor-looking – sneers at me – or even yells at me when I ask for assistance. Amazing! I should say: Abusive! You ask him to close your stuck window, and he sighs and shakes his head as if it’s your fault his motel has stuck windows. Plus, noisy refrigerators and generators that make your room tremble.

Did Evan put me in this room on purpose? Some of the male “guests” and workers you see at these places are a bit … frightening. I was once at a motel where several police officers served an arrest warrant to the guy across the hall. I heard the click click click of their cocked guns, no doubt trained right on his door. The cops were pros: quietly they asked him: Will you come out? Or shall we come in and get you? He opened the door and left with them …

To have Evan, a staffer, represent the hospitality business with such surliness feels almost as criminal …

My hunt for a cute affordable apartment in Worcester … the dream…fades into the gentrified sunset of Worcester. This fact, after ONE YEAR of searching for home, has me stressed. Ten years ago I could get into a huge three bedroom flat in a Woo blue collar neighborhood with $200 bucks in the bank, $20 bucks in my back pocket, and my gamey smelling Nova Scotia retriever Bailey in the back seat of my jalopy. The old school Worcester landlord would look at this mess, this writer/newspaper editor and think: She’s poor. She’s alone. Look at that car. It’s just Rose and her dog. AND THEN HE’D RENT HIS APARTMENT TO ME BECAUSE HE FELT SORRY FOR ME. After 13 years of living in a terrific apartment on Perry Ave, the landlord, a retired Worcester police detective, said: It was just you and your dog, Rose. My wife and I felt bad …

Even at Blackstone River Road…home of thug tenants…but not such a bad landlord…Ken the landlord had a heart. Tommy the handyman once said, You know Rose, Kenny told me he rented to you because he felt sorry for you.

I believed Tommy. And I knew the old Worcester was disappearing forever as I smiled and offered him a cup of tea …
Jett resting on his blankets at the Extended Stay motel.