Category Archives: InCity Voices

⚾️⚾️PLAY BALL! Retired Worcester Cop Heads Security at Polar Park🙂🤸‍♂️

By Jim Coughlin

Youth Baseball Game (April 17 1949) GC145 2
Worcester: youth baseball game, 1949. Photos courtesy of Worcester Historical Museum.

Lee Boykin grew up on Winfield Street in the neighborhood of Chandler Street’s Beaver Brook Park. He excelled athletically, playing Little League baseball for the Ted Williams League under his late, long-time coach and mentor, John F. Coughlin, who was my father.

Elizabeth Street School Baseball (May 13, 1947) GC36
Elizabeth Street School baseball team, 1947.

Attending Worcester Vocational High School, Lee Boykin was not expected to excel academically, but Lee had higher goals. He earned excellent grades, applied to Florida State University, and played so successfully there that he was drafted by New York Yankees farm team upon graduation.

Just as Lee’s star was rising in professional baseball, however, Lee suffered an injury diving for a ball during his “Charlie hustle days” of playing for the famous Cape Cod League in Hyannis, Massachusetts, effectively ending his career as a promising professional ball player.

Not to be deterred by such a mishap, however, Lee Boykin applied his obvious intellectual and athletic abilities to a profession where he could make a difference to the Worcester community and as a groundbreaker as an African-American policeman. Beginning in 1985, Boykin, like all rookie cops, became patrolman for Worcester State College and he worked on their police force until 1994, when his commanding officer, Police Chief Jim Granger, was so impressed was Boykin’s performance, integrity, and work ethic that he “ordered Lee to take the city Civil Service exam in order to help him become a Worcester police officer,” where he again started out as a patrolman but rapidly rose through the ranks to become sergeant in 2013, and then rose again to become the Worcester Police Force’s first Diversity Officer in 2019.

It was in this position that Boykin remained for just under one year, however, and he recently retired from the force in June of last year (2020). It was in this position in the WPD where he really tried to make a difference in the criminal justice system, but when I asked him what role he played in advancing diversity in the force with respect to recruiting more African American, Latino, Asian, and other minority group members into the ranks of the police department, he said, “I wasn’t as successful as I would have liked in this particular area.” “I did not have much luck,” he said, and added that it was “difficult to reach this goal in the environment of so much negative press involving the police, nationally,” and concluded that this “may have contributed to it” in local recruitment, adding that “for certain people (police work) is not an attractive job.

Still, Boykin was not deterred, as he made a point of saying in an optimistic and confident voice, that “People of color, in order to make change, have to be part of change,” Boykin is proud of having successfully recruited a new Asian- American into the ranks of the Worcester Police Department: Leon Ngo, who is currently completing his training to become a Worcester Police Department police officer.

As the new head of security for the Worcester Red Sox, Boykin was asked whom he most considers to be his hero. Without any hesitation, Boykin declared him to be “Muhammed Ali”, the late American boxing champion of the 1960’s and 70’s, because, he said, “he was “honest and not afraid to voice his opinion even when it was not wise for people of color to speak out.”

Boykin added that he’s always loved Ali’s famous quote that he “floated like a butterfly but stung like a bee”.

As for looking over his life, Boykin said that he “has no regrets,” but as the son of one of Lee Boykin’s coaches and mentors, I know that my father knew what he was doing when he spotted Lee’s talent and personal character. I cannot help but think that Lee would have given anything to have played in either professional or semi-professional baseball if it were not for his college injury,

Lee Boykin, because he has unquestionably been a leader in the Worcester community, a role model for young people, and an honorable influence in a diversifying police force that’s more reflective of Worcester’s changing demographics as a city.

As one spends time with him in his office, one cannot help but notice how Boykin so amicably and respectfully interacts with other members of his security staff, giving this news correspondent a rare mindset in the world today – a mindset that accepts the notion that whatever happened to him in the past undoubtedly happened for a reason, whether he personally agreed with what happened to him or not and that he is meant to influence and lead his colleagues by example. This is a very rare quality in many of our leaders, today.

Such exemplary leadership in our community and his dogged determination to do what’s right as a senior police officer in the WPD and now as Security Chief for the Worcester Red Sox creates a new forum for his honorable and hopeful influence as a man.

If my father could look down from the heavens above, I have absolutely no doubt that while smoking his trademark pipe, he would say in a very calm voice, “Lee, you came through for our team, again and I am very proud of you.”

Worcester should be very proud of all that Sgt. Lee Boykin has done in the past for our city, proud of all Lee will continue to do in the future, and rest safely that the Red Sox’s Polar Park is a safe place to enjoy our national pastime on a warm summer’s evening.


By Rosalie Tirella

Old school. ICT file photo: R.T.

Walter: “Is he as good as people say?”
Hildy: “He’s better!”
Walter: “Then what does he want with you?”

And so begins the classic Cary Grant/Rosalind Russell/Ralph Bellamy screwball comedy, HIS GIRL FRIDAY. Walter Burns (Cary Grant) is editor of a big NYC daily. He’s losing his star reporter and ex-wife Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) – whom he still loves – to Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy), a sweet but drippy insurance salesman from Albany. You already know how this terrific flick is gonna end, who wins Hildy … but it’s a great yarn anyways, unfolding in a newsroom when newsrooms RULED. 1930s America. Yellow journalism. Crusading journalism. Unions. Communists. Unsanitary meat packing plants, the Great Depression. FDR. A time when American reporters were considered working class stiffs: hardboiled and street smart, social outcasts, small town mama’s boys. “What’s the story?” Walter barks at Hildy during a time when reporters had more in common with the milkman than the college educated or the politicians they chased down. America hung on every word of Lippmann and other star scribes. The newsroom was a white man’s world, too – this movie is a remake of THE FRONT PAGE, an excellent film made years earlier and starring Pat O’Brian as the reporter trying to escape his too demanding editor/job.

The jaunty way Grant wears his hat, the wonderful Underwood typewriters – no back spacing and deleting. Great writers just banged it all out first draft. Rewrite men. Reporters covered the story and called in their notes to the real writers … Hildy is a great reporter AND Walter’s best writer.

Which is another reason why Walter can’t let his beautiful ex-wife go. Which is another reason why Hildy is running away from him- into the arms of a man totally “beneath” her. Hildy’s way too smart, fast, funny and jaded for the nice, naive Bruce. Hildy is a female Walter Burns!

Still, Hildy and Bruce are getting married tomorrow; Hildy visits the newsroom one last time to say good bye to Walter and to beg him to let go: “STOP CALLING ME 10 TIMES A DAY!” she shouts over Walter’s rants, who shouts over hers. She begs him: Don’t hire another airplane to write in the sky: “HILDY,

Walter is an unstoppable locomotive … so when an alleged murderer escapes jail and is loose on the streets of their city, and election time is right around the corner, and the mayor is corrupt and the cops can be bought and the judge is a patsy … well, this is a story – the scoop – of a lifetime!

As the sweet Bruce and his dyspeptic mother are hoodwinked by Hildy and Walter – who “pays” Hildy by buying a huge life insurance policy from Bruce and making Hildy the sole beneficiary – Walter and Hildy fall deeper and deeper into the story…and love. The killer – wimpy Earl Williams – ends up in the city room hiding under a roll top desk, and his gal pal Molly Molloy leaps out of a window. Bruce ends up in jail after a friendly hooker pal of Walter’s seduces him … Bruce’s mother faints and is carried out of the newsroom by a good fella … Mayhem rules … All the better for the story. The story is everything.

I love this movie. It is glamorous but rough and true to city room rhythms: Cary Grant asks Rosalind Russell to read him her lead. The paper is first mentioned in paragraph 2 of her story. Walter scolds his pretty protégé. THE PAPER SHOULD BE IN THE FIRST GRAPH! What was she thinking?!

The old phones. The big manual typewriters. The roll top desks. The notepads. The lame jokes. Smoking in the newsroom. Drinks at lunch. The
competition. The wonderment at scintillating writing, raw talent …the adrenaline rush that comes with reporting a great story under deadline… newsroom fireworks, CARY GRANT!!! How can Hildy ever leave all this crazy magic to marry an insurance salesman from Albany?

Grant hovers over, almost pushes and pursues Russell in his newsroom, his kingdom. STAY FOR THE STORY!he yells to Hildy. What he means is: STAY FOR ME.

She does.

They kiss just once. Walter pretends to want to send Hildy to Albany with Bruce. She cries over the fact. I THOUGHT YOU DIDN’T LOVE ME! Hildy says.

DON’T BE A CHUMP! Walter says.

True love in a true newsroom.

What’s up with all those patients crossing the St. Vincent Nurses Picket Line?

By Chris Horton

When I was growing up in Chicago and New York, we talked politics around the dinner table, but the first time it got real and personal, I was 17 and I got a factory job through a placement agency. My dad mostly let us learn our own lessons and make our own mistakes, but this time he sat me down and told me very seriously that if I got there and there was a picket line, I was not under any circumstances to cross it!

St. V’s Nurses strike – Worcester. CECELIA file photo

I was a bit shocked, but there was no doubting his meaning. That was a Red Line in our family – and in millions of other American families! Some of you Boomers at least should remember that! And all you younger folk with your daydreams of a simpler, more wholesome time “when rock and roll was young” and America seemed to be on the right track should know that spirit, that determination, was how we got that way, how we won the famous American Way of Life!

The St. Vincent hospital nurses have gone on strike over issues of understaffing resulting in unsafe conditions for patients and nurses having to make horrifying choices about whose needs to ignore. In doing this they have taken on one of the nation’s biggest hospital chains, Tenet, which has pulled out all stops to defeat this strike. Reportedly at one point Tenet had already spent $50 million on public relations, strikebreakers, security and police details, whereas meeting the nurses’ demands would only cost them $5 million a year.


Plenty has been written about whether the nurses’ position is right or wrong, whether they should or shouldn’t be striking. I’m not going to get into that. As one of their standard picket lines says, “There’s Something Wrong in There, if the Nurses are Out Here!” And that’s good enough for me.

My question is: What are all those patients doing crossing the picket line to get medical services “in there”? St Vincent’s is claiming that patient count is UP since the strike started! Even if they are exaggerating, I’ve seen way too many patients crossing the line, and none of them even seem embarrassed! Why are’t they switching their care to UMass? Why aren’t they demanding their doctors get privileges there so they can be seen there? Or postponing non-urgent procedures until the strike is over?

And how can one of the grass roots candidates for Worcester City Council, a darling of the progressive left in Worcester, have her picture in Facebook smiling cheerfully in a hospital bed praising the wonderful St. Vincents staff – including, by the way, the scab nurses?

Like I said, I didn’t grow up in Worcester. But I know what living in a “union town” was like. Chicago and New York were Union Towns, and I lived and worked in Lowell, Greenfield, Holyoke and Athol back in the day. If the nurses had gone on strike back there back then, folks would have refused to cross the line and that would have brought the strike to a quick end! I can’t imagine it was much different in Worcester.

Back in the day, we had plenty of problems. The racism was off the charts, and life could still be raw. But we had a sense of the world getting better every year, and life certainly seemed to be getting fairer. And that didn’t happen because the DuPonts and the Rockefellers were such good sports or because our politicians were so wise and noble! It happened because working people had some power, in the only way we ever could or will. We stood up for each other, we stood by each other, we supported each others’ struggles, and we didn’t cross picket lines! Even if it meant a serious sacrifice sometimes!

You want some of that good stuff back? Then STOP CROSSING THAT DARN ST. VINCENT’S PICKET LINE! Tell your Doctors, and tell your neighbors and friends!

Those nurses are standing up for us! We need to stand up for them too!


By Rosalie Tirella

Photos taken yesterday, Green Street. Drove by my Sir Morgan’s Cove rock ‘n’ roll club for the last time. The wrecking ball slated to kill it this week. A victim, like me and all old Worcester, of gentrification.

Sir Morgan’s Cove

A sad few minutes as I looked, for the last time, at Sir Morgan’s blank marquee, its missing light bulbs, its maroon-painted facade, now the big X slapped over its windows: CONDEMNED.


The culture’s changed: the clubs and live bands of my teen years and 20s used to be everywhere; not anymore. Even pre-pandemic, people stopped going to clubs for music and bands. Deaf to America’s sounds, history … each other. Da*ned un-American, if you ask me.

Green Island was once filled with music clubs and bars where you could hear every sort of ear candy: punk, new wave (the Odds at the X – last exit on Millbury Street), oldies acts (at Steeple Bumpsteds on Millbury Street), Polka bands (at the PNA and PNI on Lafayette and Millbury streets ) and, of course, ROCK at Sir Morgan’s, our neighborhood’s crown jewel. … A short drive and you’d be at the Aboody’s El Morroco on Grafton Hill, and jazz artists from all over America were in the room to the left, in their suits, playing for people at tables drinking gin and tonics, grooving to the music from their chairs, a couple dancing close together just a few feet in front of the sax man, the stage light glinting off his sax. Magic time.

El Owner Joe Aboody would invite you into the El’s pristine kitchen (he was a friend of my mom’s) and lay out quite the spread on the little table for us, free and fresh: the El’s hummus, tabouli, stuffed grape leaves and Syrian bread. Joe, then Richy Aboody, would chat you up – making you feel special: How’s your mother? Have some more hummus! … The old Worcester. The heart of a city …

No, I didn’t see the Rolling Stones at Sir Morgan’s Cove, but a friend called me from Sir Morgan’s that day: YOU GOTTA COME DOWN, ROSE! I’M STARING AT MICK JAGGER! … I didn’t go. If it were the Beatles…I was a Beatles girl.

But I did see jazz great Buddy Rich at Sir Morgan’s. Decades ago. We sat four yards away from him, us young and him old – a skinny old guy wearing a toupee but still swinging and swiping at his kit with might – you could see his sinewy biceps …and his ecstasy…in a place we could never be.

All gone now. Sir Morgan’s. Buddy Rich beneath the stage lights. Buddy’s wide, toothy smile and how he closed his eyes as he played on that little stage, the sweat trickling down his temples, his toothy smile so wide and beautiful.

Police body cams for the Worcester Police Department: Let’s hear about it!

By Edith Morgan


We have talked about it, and the City of Worcester has a plan. But, we the people, are still waiting for the Worcester City Council to schedule a public hearing about the program. That should be scheduled in cooperation by the Worcester Human Rights Commission and the Worcester Police Department. WPD Chief Steve Sargent MUST BE PRESENT!

Worcester City Councilor Khrystian King has been pushing to get the hearings under way, as Worcester is the last of
Massachusetts’ major cities to implement the program.

Hearings can be scheduled as soon as the two groups decide, and it has been suggested that there be one such hearing in each district.

Holding these hearings all over the city seems like a good move, as the general public really needs to be heard – and also to have their questions answered in a smaller setting than the media or the Worcester city council meetings.

The Massachusetts State Legislature is working on a set of regulations for the use of this new technology, but there is no reason to hold off hearings while the Legislature finalizes its work.

It would seem the ball is in the court of the WPD police department and th. CITY’S Human Rights Commission. Our city council subcommittee, headed by CC Kate Toomey and our City Manager, Ed Augustus, have done their part, and they are awaiting action by the other parties.

We as interested citizens and residents can get in touch with our district councilors and our legislators and demand we all speed the process!

There are still a great many questions to be answered: this program involves a sizable expenditure for the initial purchase of the equipment, but it also involves continued expenditures for maintenance. The hearings should clear up any question the public has about the efficacy of this program – what is it supposed to help, and what do the statistics from other communities using it show?

There is quite a lot of information on Wikipedia, for those who want to delve more deeply into this area. There are several versions of these body cameras, and there are also cameras that can be mounted on police vehicles. And there is the question of when the filming should start, and what should be recorded. And who will get to review the film and how soon after the event …

The quality of the pictures that aIl have seen thus far has not been great, and the scope is narrow enough so that it is hard to get the whole picture of any event. The reason that the George Floyd murder was so unequivocal and clear is that it was photographed by a very steady hand, for the entire event, and from a sufficient distance so that the entire event, bystanders and all, was included.

It would be ideal if every encounter that involves police violence could be so well documented, but body cams will come nowhere near this. Will the expense of this new technology give us enough good information to meet our objectives? To the Worcester public hearings to find out!

Joe Biden: A President🇺🇸 for US (U.S.) all!🇺🇸

By Edith Morgan


President Joe Biden’s address to Congress and America: not everyone was there. The hallowed chamber was mostly empty, as everyone was seated the mandatory six feet from everyone else. But at least all the important parts of our federal government were there, presided over – for the first time in our history! – by two women, one of them a woman of color. Vice-President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood side by side at the dais and watched the others come in. Among the special guests were the spouses of the President and the Vice President. Chief Justice John Roberts represented the Supreme Court, and a sparse number of Senators and Representatives took their places on each side: stony faced Republicans and jovial Democrats and, of course, the indomitable Independent, Bernie Sanders.

The contents of Biden’s speech were no surprise, as copies had been distributed to all before the event – although I suspect that not everyone in that great hall had really read and digested its contents. I got the message throughout that “America is back” and that our allies and friends all over the world have breathed a sigh of relief, tempered by the often unasked question “For how long?” But at least we have mended fences, reached out to friend and foe, and made clear what our values and goals are now, as of January 20.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11827661ae) US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 23 March 2021. Biden Remarks on Boulder Shootings, Washington, USA - 23 Mar 2021
Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, March 2021.

Biden spoke directly to the American people and offered detailed plans for a near and far future designed to achieve some lofty goals. The polls indicate that the majority of Americans outside Washington D.C. agree with the plans.
Overall, each initiative is designed to get all of us vaccinated (we are rapidly getting there), make sure that we eliminate childhood hunger and poverty, and give every child in America a good start in life by offering free, public pre-school. The plan also calls for community college for all and puts into the hands of parents enough money to enable them to buy food and essentials for their families. The entire package is designed to rebuild the decimated middle class, restore its powers and, in that way, rebuild our economy that has tumbled so badly under the twin weights of the pandemic and the previous administration.

Biden addressed the question sure to be asked: how do we pay for all of this? By closing tax loop holes in the existing tax structure and making the very rich and corporations pay their fair share. Biden explained that the Trump tax cuts to the very rich simply put trillions of dollars into the pockets of those who already had more than enough money and added to the huge deficit.

The cameras panned over the attendees periodically and registered the stone-faced disapproval of Republicans, while the other side often stood and applauded. At one point the camera picked up a very tanned Republican Senator Ted Cruz – dozing off during the speech. There were frequent takes of Mitch McConnell and GOP Chair Kevin McCarthy, both sitting unmoved and unresponsive.

Thus far, President Biden has more than kept his promises to all Americans and has even exceeded his goals in the number of citizens vaccinated. He has proved that he has the momentum and vision to accomplish much of what he promised, and he has found ways of doing so without the reactive participation of the Trump Republican Party. His appointees appear to be cleaning up the Justice Department, and his Cabinet members are turning around or undoing the damage done during the past administration.

It is certainly very comforting to hear that our own tax money will come back to us to begin the enormous task of removing the devastating inequities in our economic system, while still going forward and staying competitive with the rest of the industrial world. Maybe the historians who predicted that this would be the century of China will have to take a second look! Biden forcefully reminded China that while we would cooperate where possible, there would be consequences for their violations of human rights and for their disregard for property and patent rights.

While he made no direct allusion to our border problems, he did recognize that there is a need to address the horrendous problems of violence, graft and poverty in the countries to the south of us, from where many of the refugees flee to the relative safety of the U.S.

President Biden’s first 100 days have gone well – millions and millions of us vaccinated against COVID, decorum and respect restored to the White House … We, the People, seem to be watching and approving. Slow and steady, and always with his hand on the pulse of the public, Joe Biden can accomplish much – without bombast and egomania. I, for one, have heaved a huge sigh of relief!

🌻🌼On proposed Worcester School Committee District Representation: It’s About Time!🇺🇸🇺🇸

By Edith Morgan

Edith served on the Worcester School Committee, was a reading teacher for many years in the Town of Shrewsbury, and was a foster mom to many children for years …

We can do it now.We can do it easily and we can do it quickly. I am referring to the proposed change to the composition of the Worcester School Committee, changing it from a six-members Committee, which for very long has been composed primarily of white Worcester West siders – and opening opportunities for other sides of our city to be represented.

Over the years, the population of Worcester has become more ethnically diverse, but that change has not been reflected in our civic power structures. But now, with so many other changes taking place in the city, in America, the time has come to bring our school committee composition into line with the present population.

Learning Hub 2
The Worcester Public Schools system IS A MAJORITY-MINORITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. Yet its teaching staff is predominantly white, as is the Worcester School Committee.

Many years ago we realized that whole sections/neighborhoods of Worcester were not represented on the decision-making bodies of the City. So the City Charter was changed and we added District counselors to the At-Large group. I really do not know why, at that time, we did not also change the Worcester School Committee composition.

At that time, the Worcester School Committee had much more power than it now has – the main one being fiscal independence, which allowed our city’s public schools to originate their own budgets – and the Worcester City Council could not reduce those proposals.

Now school expenditures are approved by the City Council, in competition with other City departments. Other areas in teaching/our schools also have been taken over, such as the incessant and ubiquitous testing and the many strings attached to the State and Federal funding on which we so heavily depend.

Expanding the Worcester School Committee the easy way has already been committed to by the City Council, as a result of the lawsuit brought by a group of organizations which includes Worcester Interfaith and the NAACP, as well as other interested individuals.

The Home Rule Petition way avoids the need for the very cumbersome and time-consuming process of having to change our City Charter.

school supply distribution 2

Thus far the upcoming WSC race has not generated a large number of school committee candidates (nine papers with signatures in) … But people have until May 15th to pass in their papers. We will see at least two new faces on the committee: member John Monfredo has said he is not ruing again and, more recently, member Jack Foley also has indicated he will not seek another term.

But for me, these things pale into near insignificance beside the herculean task facing our nation’s schools. We are still one of the few, maybe the only one, without a curriculum that focuses on the great need of this nation’s youth to be able to think critically, analyze data intelligently, have a thorough understanding of the power structures that make up our nation, and teach kids an unbiased and thorough knowledge of our history with all its glories, as well as all its warts.

We should never lose sight of the primary job of public education today: to produce, after 12 years, a full-fledged American citizen. A person ready to function as a citizen in a democracy.
Judging from the daily news, we are a long way from that goal. And time is running out on us.

Go, WPS students!

🌷How shoes and satchels saved my grandparents …

By Chef Joey Cancelmo

Joe Joe!!!!

Picture yourself being born in a rural village in the middle of a county where your birth name is the name of the village. That’s because hundreds of your family had been extensive farmers.

A family of five girls and five boys with an age difference of 20 years, from the oldest to the youngest. World War I claimed the lives of four of the brothers; one was exempt from serving due to being cross-eyed. The girls all took turns working for the DuPont family in Paris. As nannies, the youngest should happen to meet her future husband who had immigrated by foot from Greece through former Yugoslavia, then lived in Italy and happened to start his own cobbler/ shoe manufacturing business in Paris.

Europe: Chef Joey’s family …

Chef Joey’s grandparents’ grand shoe business! They had a factory whose workers made many shoe styles.

Travelling by Metro, they were in opposite cars when their eyes met. Sounds like the beginning of a romance novel! But that is how my grandparents met! They started a family in 1928 with their first daughter – had another in 1930.

Joey’s grandparentsIMG_92671

And because business was going so well, they moved to the South of France which was starting to boom. The birth of “La Reine des Plages” – a boutique store and an affordable line of comfortable and affordable shoes and, of course, custom shoes and bags that would rival any designer today.

Tres pretty!!

Bigger houses were built, bigger factories – nuisîmes was good. My grandfather went to the USA around 1939 to look for new materials to work with and, while in New York, he heard about a War starting, wired my grandmother and warned her. And told her to seek passage to the USA.

While they were building their new house, they lived in one that was behind the new factory building in Mougins. The Germans came – kicked them out and basically took over the place. My grandmother hid my grandfather’s Panhard, a French luxury vehicle.

A Panhard

They took over the factory as the soldiers barracks, and my grandmother and now four children lived in the chicken house. Those farm-house roots are a good foundation for every situation!

The old factory, in the meantime, was making satchels for people to escape the Nazi’s clutches. People took thin leather, placed the dollar bills on top, then sewed another piece of leather on top, hiding the bills, pictures and stock certificates. They then put a liner in it so when the liner was torn out there was “nothing” hidden under the liner.

They also made shoes with hollow soles and heels and filled the gaps with sawdust so when they hid jewelry it would not make noise. My family was kind of the the underground cobbler for the fleeing Jewish families.

So my grandmothers, their sister Jeanne and her husband Pierre stayed and worked with the Germans keeping the five hectares in tact with the fruit trees farming, as that was their roots. And they tended to the store while my grandmother and her kids travelled to Portugal and then to New York on an Italian steamer.

My grandfather started a small grocery store, as the shoe market was saturated in NYC. Then they heard about Worcester. In 1942 the family made their way here, starting in Southbridge. They opened a small grocery store in Webster that my grand-dad later passed over to his sister, Olympia Pappas (Park and Shop) while he was starting his new American shoe company the “Ideal Slipper Company.”

While in New York, he learned about faux leather and took to making comfortable light weight slippers, and next thing you know they are the latest rage!! Sears Roebuck was one of their biggest customers, making every children’s sizes to match the parents’ slippers of any size.

From there the summer line turned into king Solomon Sandals, and those were pretty much all we wore growing up!

A little Chef Joey with his mom! His Dad on next photo strip. Doesn’t Joey look exactly like his pere?!

By 1970 Grandpa had called it quits. The show machines were sold to Russia, and he lived the remaining 24 years travelling back and forth to Greece France and Worcester. His village in Greece has a statue of him, and he is mentioned as a pioneer in the story of the village because of his business sense and the fact that he brought electricity to them as well! Also, fun to know: My grandfather was the person who put the now “Wingtip” shoes in style based on Apollo’s wings – being Greek -and farming shoes that had holes in them to let the water drain! Being once a farmer!

My grandmother spent seven years in the USA, learned the language and took her now fifth child back to France with my mother to tend to matters. Land had to be reclaimed, a building that was under construction pre-World War had to be sorted out. Life was getting back on track … then the highway sliced right through the middle of the property in the 1960s, the factory was sold in the mid-1970s and I, as a 12 year old, apprenticed in a delicatessen in Cannes that was once one of the shoe stores.

My grandparents lead man in the shoe manufacturing bought it for his wife, and she started the prepared food store that was open until 10 years ago after a 59 year run!

So, from farm to fortune for both of my grandparents! New worlds, new beginnings a couple of times, new languages (my grandfather spoke seven!) … NEW LIVES!

❤At Worcester State University – the excellent COVID COMMUNITY VACCINATION SITE!💙 Go, if you haven’t gotten your vaccine!❤

By James Coughlin

The Wellness Center in the center of Worcester State University on Chandler Street has been the scene of a COVID 19 vaccination site for Worcester and
Central Massachusetts residents since February 16.

In a telephone interview with Rhiana Sherwood, a spokeswoman for St. Vincent’s Hospital, she said that the hospital “is a clinical partner for the site, overseeing the operations for the vaccine distribution.” Sherwood said it is collaborative effort involving St. Vincent’s Hospital, Worcester State University, WSU, Commonwealth Health, UMass Medical Hospital and the City of
Worcester. Sherwood said that it is a large-scale site, but emphasized, “it is not an official vaccination site for the state.”

CECELIA editor and publisher Rose T. got her first COVID vaccination at WSU this week. Took her a total of 35+ minutes! pics: R.T.


“We are not one of the big sites for the state” – which she said are the official sites for the Commonwealth. Sherwood said that as of late March/early April, the WSU site has seen approximately 15,000 people with an average of 260 people a day.”

Patients need to register in advance, and have an assigned appointment time beforehand. “They have to register at the online website:, and put in their zip code, and then select the WSU location,” Sherwood said.
“It is just like the deli at the supermarket,” she said “ We are there … day to day to make sure it runs smoothly.”

All adults in America are eligible to receive a COVID vaccination AS OF THIS MONDAY, per the federal government.

Sherwood said currently the WSU
site has the advantage of “lots of [FREE] parking.”

In an interview with Linda S Larrivee, Ph D, the Dean of School of Health
Education at Worcester State University she said, “The hours of the site depend on the number of doses available. When we are at full capacity, we have the maximum number of doses. The days are Tuesday through Saturday 9 to 5 (a morning and afternoon session).”

In an interview with Maureen Stokes, spokeswoman for WSU, she emphasized
that people cannot just show up. “They need to register,” she said.

Rose’s vaccination info sheets, received at WSU.

Paula Bylaska-Davies, the Chair of the WSU Department of Nursing said there are approximately 100 undergraduate nursing students and more than 30 graduate nursing students administering the vaccines.

Among the nursing students who have given the shots is Rachel Casey, WSU
nursing student, class of 2021. “People were very appreciative and very happy to
see us,” she said. “They thanked us, over and over for what we are doing and that touched my heart. I told them it’s really our honor to be doing this.”

Those wishing to volunteer at the university can apply at http://
commed.umassmed/vaccine corps. Those desiring to volunteer must pass a CORI review. Call 508-963-1399

Cece approves!

Earth Day 2021🌍🌏🌎

By Edith Morgan

Edith working in her garden

It’s time to stop abusing our Mother Earth, folks! What we humans have done to the planet that sustains us is pure abuse, and we are waxing closer and closer to the time when finally mother nature will have her vengeance. We are committed to an economic system that can survive only with ever growing waste and expansion.


So we throw away things we have used once, or that we are bored with, or that advertising and fashion say are “passé” We double and triple wrap everything …

Too much packaging!

… and regularly throw away a huge percentage of our food, either because we are served larger portions than we can or want to eat, or for any of a number of reasons. When we were growing up, my parents would say “Eat up, because the ___________ (fill in your own people) are starving.“ We live in a “throw-away“ society where rather than fix, mend or otherwise repair things, we throw them out and buy new stuff.

Out of sight, out of mind. When we throw it out, it is gone … Or is it? Where does it all go when we dump it? China used to take shiploads of our trash, but as they enter the industrial age themselves they no longer take our refuse. Our landfills are filling up, and we have miles of floating debris in our oceans, plastics that do not just disappear but last for many more years than we live!

We have populated a whole continent, fenced in and laid claim to it all, taken from people who believed that you cannot own your Mother Earth and, therefore, it was easy for White man to just take it all and declare it as ours. And so now we are responsible for what has happened to it and what will be handed over to our children and their children.

In Edith’s yard … pic: E.M.

I am hopeful when I see so many of our young helping with clean-ups, recycling, re-using, renewing. I am very disturbed that our public schools are not at the forefront in teaching our young every year, in every area, to be aware of what we humans are doing to this planet. So far the only one where we can comfortably survive!

💜 pic: E.M.

As we go from 2 billion people to seven billion people on Earth … to maybe even 9 or 10 billion humans, displacing and extinguishing species that are part of the delicately balanced ecosystem on which life depends, do we really have a full idea of how long we can continue down this road?

I had hoped that the enforced sequestering of this global pandemic would be seen as a warning, a time for a course correction, a time to decide to mend our ways, and to cherish that which sustains rather than to overpower it.

We can still decide! Re-use, recycle, renew, share and think, think, think!!!

Glass is better, more lasting, safer than plastic, and can be re-used so many times. We can buy vegetables and fruits locally, even grow our own, without big gardens – pots work well. We can walk, bicycle, car-pool and insist that our vehicles deliver 60 or more miles to the gallon – or are free of gasoline altogether. And we can fund or enact research that shows us how to live more respectfully on this planet where everyone can thrive.

So, love your Mother Earth, treat her respectfully, and listen to what she has to say …
In Edith’s garden …hyacinth. pic: E.M.