Category Archives: InCity Voices

Isn’t it romantic …

By Rosalie Tirella

It’s Super Bowl Sunday. I am watching Audrey Hepburn movies.

Today: SABRINA. Last month it was BREAKFAST AT TIFFANYS. Both movies are wonderful. Star Audrey Hepburn is beautiful and enchanting in both of them: her lithe, ballet-perfect torso poetic; her doe eyes and thick eye brows a fashion statement unto themselves, her swan neck dreamy … But I am a TIFFANYS girl all the way!! In SABRINA, Hepburn (Sabrina) is very young, gamine … knowing but filled with moon beams, as all kids are. She gets the guy of her dreams. … She is wistful, emotional, true … We feel we are in some sort of jaded fairy tale set in New York City – and we are. It’s a Billy Wilder film, after all! … yet … yet we yearn for Holly Go Lightly (Hepburn) in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANYS.

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The depth of this film, of Hepburn in this film, is breathtaking. Hepburn is a walking tragedy – she’s wearing Givenchy – but she’s still a walking tragedy. More so! Haughty, but of the streets. Shrewd, but ultimately clueless. Barely holding up all that evening couture, a torn and fragile wild heart at the bottom of the champagne glass – more Appalachian waif (she’s from Kentucky) than the NYC sophisticate she pretends to be. When her jailbird pal Salli Tomato looks at her finances and says: “$8 to sew an evening gown strap back on … 7 cents for one can of cat food …” and he looks up from Holly’s little ledger ready to cry, that’s all we need to know.

I have watched BREAKFAST AT TIFFANYS (1961), about 25 times through the years but, only last month, during a viewing after not seeing it on my TV screen for five years and having read the Truman Capote novella decades ago, did I really “get” this Blake Edwards (of Pink Panther fame!) work of art! What a movie! … Only during this most recent viewing did it hit me like a sledge hammer: Holly Go Lightly is a call girl. Behind the lovely city scenes, behind the NYC Library, 30 Rock, the skyscrapers, beneath all that mocking-bird happy talk and prattle coming out of Holly’s lipsticked mouth is a young woman who is terrified. Lost. Maybe raped by her “rats” and “super rats.” Tragic.

Why my strong emotions, my pitcher of tears, after this viewing? Older and wiser, did I feel maternal towards the young Holly? Was it my own old woman musings that made me so empathetic? Holly Go Lightly: a beautiful girl degraded on all fronts. A skinny kid from a poor country shack, her hick accent smoothened by elocution lessons, her beauty in full bloom, her long neck drenched in lovely jewelry …exploited at every turn. In a fight for survival. Yet standing oh so elegantly in front of Tiffany’s department store, after stepping out of a taxi cab one of her johns has paid for. Here she is in sexy black evening gown, earrings dripping from earlobes, standing in front of the storied store’s entrance, drinking cheap takeout coffee out of a styrofoam cup, gobbling down a croissant out of a bag. Breakfast at Tiffanys! She’s a prostitute, yet she eats her crumby breakfast in no doorway, ashamed, cowed, but standing before the iconic Tiffanys: an august, understated, historic business. Holly is known to visit Tiffanys to window shop, to see all the designer clothing, perfect clutches, diamond brooches. But Tiffanys is more than a symbol of understated wealth and elegance for this gold digger with great taste. It’s home. It’s church. It’s a comfort. It’s unconditional love that never disappoints.

Holly meets her “Fred” – George Peppard as Paul Varjak – when he moves into her apartment building. Young and beautiful, too, Paul’s almost in as bad shape as Holly is! He’s an aspiring writer – a book of short stories under his writer’s belt – but he wrote the collection several years ago and has nothing new; his typewriter doesn’t even have a typewriter ribbon in it! He’s prostituting himself, too: he’s being kept by an older, married woman whose brittle elegance is only surpassed by her cynicism.

Right away Holly and Paul, both sensitive souls, become best buds! Sleeping together platonically … Paul attends Holly’s big empty party in her big empty apartment, he meets her Cat, chats with her smarmy mentor/savior … and he falls for Holly. Holly is smitten, too – which is why she puts up the wall. Too scared “to be owned by anyone” Holly won’t sleep with Paul. Won’t let him be her boyfriend … She has a stray cat she’s taken in – but hasn’t named him. He is just Cat. She’s that afraid of commitment and love. But “Cat” is well fed and carelessly caressed when Holly returns home after her urban escapades. And Paul is always there for her, too. He listens – and understands Holly’s small, sad stories. He watches as she goes through “rat” after rat – even a Super Rat and Scared Little Mouse – as she searches for the richest man in America to marry! And use! That way she can take care of her brother Fred, a special needs guy who is in the Army for the time being. She loves her brother Fred. Dreams of being rich enough so she can buy a horse farm and bring Fred home to live with her. This touches Paul…when Fred is killed in a Jeep accident Holly loses it. Paul understands … But Holly’s with the prince of Brazil now – Paul can only advise this good but cowardly politician …how to be there for Holly. How to love her.

A few months prior, Paul and Holly had spent the night together – after a magical day spent “touring” New York: the grand public library to check out Paul’s book, Tiffanys!, shoplifting two plastic Halloween masks at a five and ten store…then the lifting of the Halloween masks, Deputy Dog for Paul, a pretty cat face for Holly … and seeing the truth, and kissing by their apartment building’s mail boxes. LOVE. The next morning: Paul knows: SHE’S THE ONE FOR ME. He’s filled with joy and turns in bed to kiss Holly good morning. But Holly, terrified of her feelings, has already fled the scene – to the NYC public library. To research Brazil: she plans on marrying that rich Brazilian politician.

A good egg but too afraid to muss his political reputation back home with loose-cannon Holly – she thinks he’s going to marry her – this latest beau dumps her, too. Yet Holly – in a cab with Paul – plans on following the morally weak and proper pol to Brazil. Paul has assumed she knows that she’s been dumped…that she will cash in her plane ticket to South America and go home with him to live happily ever after. (He’s broken off with the married broad and is now working, selling his short stories to The New Yorker) He even has the Cracker Jack ring (the prize) he had engraved for Holly at Tiffanys during their fun-filled day together – a cute, sentiment-laden engagement ring. He even has Cat!! – pulls the rough-hewn yellow tabby out of a sack and hands him to Holly.

But Holly is busy putting on nylons…lipstick…she plans to leave NYC. BE FREE. She doesn’t want to be domesticated by Paul. It is pouring rain – she yells at the cabbie: STOP THE CAB!, and she dumps Cat out into the pouring rain, into a rough neighborhood filled with garbage cans and “garbage galore”!

Paul turns to her in the back seat of the cab and explodes: HOLLY, I LOVE YOU! YOU BELONG TO ME!

Holly: I DON’T BELONG TO YOU! NOBODY BELONGS TO ANYBODY!

Paul: “PEOPLE BELONG TO EACH OTHER! YOU BELONG TO ME! You say YOU’RE FREE. But love’s a fact. I love you! I don’t want to put you in a cage! I want to love you!” … Then this truth: “Baby, you’re already in a trap. A cage you made for yourself.”

Paul gets out of the cab to go look for Cat. Holly sits in the cab dumbfounded and the taxi driver drives on. Then Holly has her epiphany. She flings open the cab door and runs out to look for her Paul and her Cat. She runs through the rough streets of New York screaming CAT! CAT! CAT! She finds Paul. He is looking for cat, too. Then …from behind a garbage can, MEOW. MEOW. It’s CAT! Soggy but safe. Holly rushes to him, scoops him up and sticks him in the front of her rain coat, against her breasts. She smothers Cat with kisses – Paul runs to her and they kiss passionately in the rain, Cat between the two young lovers soaking in all that love.

Family.

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Holly Go Lightly!

YES! SEX AND THE CITY returns!🌺

🌺By Rosalie Tirella🌺

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Carrie would adore this magenta nubby dress Rose wore to work last December! pics: R.T.

Best “news” today! Sarah Jessica Parker and her “SEX AND THE CITY” TV show is back! For just 10 episodes – but still! – that’s enough television writerly finesse and smarts and joy to get us to whip out our old vibrators and shout “Hooray!!” into the Woo night-scape!!

Lead character Carrie Bradshaw (SJP) and her TV gal pals are my age in the rebooted series – in their 50s. Wow. THIS FACT ALONE IS GROUNDBREAKING. When do we ever see 58-year-old women portrayed as sexual, curious, fashion-loving, attractive, creative humans on the little – or big – screen? Hardly ever. We’re always the cool stepmoms, the feisty grandmas, the lone women who open independent book shops by the sea. AURGH!!! What crap!!

I bet the SEX AND THE CITY ladies are still, like me and my ol’ gal pals, discussing men, relationships … their best orgasms ever … but loudly in their local coffee shop! While eating hearty, butter-laden breakfasts! They will still live in New York City, which was always filmed and portrayed so lovingly, so magically by the series’ original writer/creator/director Michael Patrick King, who is back, too, writing the episodes as I write this!

In the rebooted show, Carrie is still a writer and still married to her dream man “BIG,” the gorgeous Wall Street money guy who got around in his own private limousine in the original series and adored Carrie but stomped on her heart about a million times. Because Big couldn’t own his feelings!!!!!!!!!!! Poor Carrie!!!!

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Carrie would approve of Rose’s fringy hippie boots – parked in her laundry room!

Charlotte is back, too, and, we hope, still preppy, spacy and filled with kooky naivete. The hard-edged but mushy-hearted Miranda (the actor Cynthia Nixon who ran against DeBlasio for NYC mayor) is back, also. Is Miranda still a hard-charging lawyer? Or has she mellowed out after marriage and motherhood and is now helping her cute, cool hubby run his cute, cool neighborhood bar, Scout (named after his dog! How lovely is that!)?

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Brazen beyond belief, oversexed and proud of it, public relations maven Samantha Jones is MIA (Kim Cattrall was always the show’s prima dona), but we’ll adjust. This will still be a television hot fudge sundae for us! 🌸I’m 59 years old and, like so many of you late-40/50+ gals, I sat riveted to my TV set in the early 2000s to see parts of me come alive, to figure things out with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. To commune with my cooler soul mates as they (we) experienced/discussed: aloneness, friendship, lust, romance, men, anal sex, breast cancer, careers, abortions, halter tops, rent control … the difference between rats and squirrels (Carrie said squirrels were just rats “with a cuter wardrobe”) SWEATERS, SHOES – amazing WARDROBES! Carrie, through all those TV episodes, never wore the same outfit twice! This was rich, seeing in real life SJP was raised by a single mom and called herself trailer trash …

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How cute is ROSE’S ROSE sheath?

Watching SEX AND THE CITY educated and empowered us now old broads – I hope the new shows will, too! They’ll be about (according to SJP) COVID 19 and NYC during these socially distanced days. I am certain they will cover being a mom of teenagers in 2021, being female and aging with the love of your life … menopause and all the changes in sex drive and sex and ovary size (gone from walnut-sized to pea-sized). Hope my Carrie writes a poem to her ovaries!

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It’s Never too Late for Love!

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and Guy on their wedding day

Now you know: I was the first family member to get divorced, after 26 years of marriage. I stayed single from 1976 to 2013, busy with career, studying, being active in politics and in my community – and usually “going out” with a whole series of interesting male companions, but never ending up in a truly loving and permanent relationship.

Once I reached the age of 80, I rather assumed that I was past the age of “romantic love” and did not really expect it to strike me so late in life, set in my ways, independent, and with a full existence, financially able to sustain myself, well settled with friends and neighbors and many solitary and social activities filling my time. But, trying to be “modern,” I joined “Match.com” and began to look over the many profiles of men wanting to find someone. I had learned to look for certain things in those profiles, eliminating some right off, questioning others, and contacting those that remained.

While I am Jewish I am not rabidly so, and have spent most of my life among non-Jews, but I felt that there would be too great a gap between us if I got involved with someone who was a practicing Catholic. But then fate took a hand, and I was contacted by a man whom I had passed over: His name was Guy and he lived on Long Island, outside the perimeter I had decided on. He was Catholic and seemed not to share my interests. But he was insistent, and we talked on the phone – conversations which stretched into hours – the upshot being that he came to Worcester. And the rest is history!

We were only six months apart in age, but we began the alternating weekend commute, 250 miles each way (he was still working, so it had to be weekends). He was quite certain about his feelings toward me, but I was more hesitant. Nevertheless, on one of our Long Island excursions to Acadia National Park, he took me entirely by surprise and proposed marriage on top of Mt. Cadillac.

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Edith and Guy’s engagement photo

As those of you who knew us both soon realized, we really grew to love each other and became inseparable. We got married in September 2013, living here in Worcester. (two really CAN live as cheaply as one!!) It really seemed a marriage made in heaven: unburdened by the problems that usually create so much friction and argument among younger couples, we seemed to agree eventually on most things. Each respected the other’s ideas and opinions, often ending up on the same side.

And we gave each other time to pursue our own interests, some shared, some not. Guy made jewelry and we went to Beading Workshops where he found so many ideas for his own creations. He accompanied me to my political gatherings and listened patiently to my partisan rantings. We travelled across America to visit his sister in Arizona, fraternity brothers in California and Wisconsin, and my relatives in California and Minnesota. And always Guy was affectionate and considerate – and I reciprocated. We rather expected to “ride off into the sunset” together.

But that was not to be. He was brought down by a series of debilitating illnesses, one after the other, until he could no longer fight them and, at last, I brought him home to live out his last days in hospice in our Worcester living room.

But despite the pain of loss I still feel, I am so grateful that I had an unconditional, true love so late and so unexpectedly in my life – so rare and beautiful … but so brief …

🌺New recipe and pics from Chef Joey!!🌼

Gnocchi!

Photos and text by Chef Joey

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Joe-Joe!🌞🌞🌞🌞

A quick fast recipe! To make gnocchi:

Take about 2 good sized potatoes …
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Boil them (you can also substitute a cup of mashed potatoes).

Add a cup of flour –
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Basically, it’s equal parts potato and flour. Then add some salt, and my trick is a tablespoon of baking powder.

Mix well until like pie crust (if using boiled potato mash it). Add a little water or milk to get the right consistency …

Roll your “dough” into logs …
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Take a fork and flatten out the top to make the lines …

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Cut the logs into strips …

Cut the strips into small pieces …
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Boil in hot salt water for about seven minutes …

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… until they float to the top.

Serve with your favorite sauce …
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For the tomato sauce you see here, I took some cherry tomatoes and put them in the food processor with a couple of cloves of garlic and a handful of fresh parsley. Then I simmered it for 15 minutes:
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Enjoy!
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Gigi!!!!!!!

Inauguration 2021!!

By Edith Morgan

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Edith!🌸🌸🌸

January 20, at 12:32 p.m: Now it’s time to get to work! There was some wind, a couple of snowflakes, and then blue sky, as the ceremonies began, just before noon in Washington.

US Senator Amy Klobuchar stepped up to the microphone, made introductory remarks, as co-chair of the planning committee for the event, followed by co-chair Roy Blunt. A few moments of invocation followed …Lady Gaga then made a grand entrance, wearing an enormously bouffant red gown, she and sang the National Anthem. She was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, led by a Black female officer.

And then came Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor …our first Latina Supreme Court justice, she came up to swear in Vice-President Kamala Harris, our first female, woman of color vp. She looked pretty – bareheaded and windblown in her deep purple suit designed by a designer who is Black. Jennifer Lopez, dressed in flowing white gown, then sang two songs: her own special blend of “This Land is Your Land” and “America.”

SC Chief Justice John Roberts then administered the oath of office to our new President, Joe Biden, who had his left hand on what appeared to be an enormous antique Bible, held by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. It’s been in his family for decades.

Biden then gave his address. As we probably all expected, he touched on all the themes America needs to hear now: UNITY, renewal and resolve. He had us all take a minute of silent prayer for all the victims of the novel coronavirus and their families and friends. A constantly recurring theme was that ALL of our people are needed, and that while democracy has thus far triumphed in our country, it is fragile and needs us all to survive. We achieved the peaceful transfer of power this time, as we have so many times before. The TV cameras several times panned over the past US presidents who were there with their wives: the Bushes, the Clintons, the Obamas. The Carters were missing, as Jimmy Carter. 95, could not make it; outgoing VP Mike Pence was there also throughout the entire ceremony.

Biden listed all the great tasks before us: we have great challenges in the area of the coronavirus, jobs, business, racial justice – but together, in UNITY, we can work on all of them!! While there were no specifics, there was instead a repeated exhortation to work together, remember our shared history, our faith and reason. Biden urged us all to start afresh, listen to each other, really see one another! He promised to give his best, so that our children would be able to say “He did his best.”

After thousands of Trump lies, distortions and misinformation, we can expect that Biden will, as he promised, always level with us, the people.

Garth Brooks then sang “Amazing Grace,” asking the audience to join him for the final verse. That reminded a number of us of the rendition of that song sung by then-President Obama after the Sandyhook massacre …

As a sort of grand finale, America’s first youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, recited her poem – a most impressive rendition of all that we have been through these past four years – exhorting us to have hope, be strong in our diversity … She really brought out the rhythms and sounds of the English language to remind us all of our goals and tasks ahead. I was amazed that one so young – just 22 – and beautiful! – could be so persuasive!! She was truly a fitting finale to this very important and classy event. After the flags were retired and the guests of honor filed out, the attendees filed out quietly and in a peaceful procession.

I was glad to see that decorum and style had returned to our national proceedings. The rest of the world surely was watching and must have been impressed. American Democracy is, for now, alive and well.

🌺Countdown to the Inaugural!!!🌺

By Edith Morgan

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Edith, in her urban garden🌾🌾🌾🌹

President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration promises to be one we will not soon forget: It takes place amid the continuing spike in the contagion of the COVID 19 epidemic, so there will not be great discussions about the size of the crowd. (there will not BE a crowd!!) There will be no unusual and memorable events to fix this one in our hearts and heads.

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Go, Joe!!!

At my age (90 years old), I have seen many such events, every four years, since I came to America when FDR was President! I really do not recall anything about the events of 1944, as I was just getting acclimated to this country, and scarcely aware of national politics. And, of course, there was no TV and no other mass media, and telephones were rather rudimentary.

FILE - In this April 13, 1934 file photo, President Franklin D. Roosevelt smiles as he speaks to a Congressional welcoming committee which met him at Union Station on his return to Washington. (AP Photo)
FILE – In this April 13, 1934 file photo, President Franklin D. Roosevelt smiles as he speaks to a Congressional welcoming committee which met him at Union Station on his return to Washington. (AP Photo)

The Presidential inauguration ceremonies and parades that stick in my mind were JFK’s and, of course the 2016 one. JFK’s sticks in my memory because the weather was cold and icy and the newspapers reported there was a heater beneath the podium. And when Robert Frost read a poem of his, the podium caught fire! We were watching the TV with some friends from New Zealaind, who commented that our ceremonies were so quaint! They felt we really needed a King and Queen to carry out these ceremonies properly!

The next inauguration I remember vividly was the one which gave us our first Black President, Barrack Obama, and the approach to the Capitol was packed as full as possible. Four years later, when Trump was inaugurated, there were many fewer people assembled there, but Trump claimed, despite the obvious difference we all saw in the newsreels on TV, that it was the BIGGEST crowd ever!!! Those lies continued for the next four years. But the evidence is still there despite the exhortations to ignore our eyes and “follow our leader.”

In the past, people of all walks of life were at our inaugurations – packed together like sardines but quiet and orderly and happy! This year, there will be tens of thousands of armed police and national guard troops, guarding the approaches to the site, as well as physical barriers of cement, barbed wire and fencing and hovering helicopters and government snipers. And I suppose all kinds of surveillance equipment.

I noticed that in the past, at the ceremonies, there were whole families assembled: children in baby carriages, others sitting on their fathers’ shoulders, couples, old people – all knowing they were participating in a historical event. To see but not to be seen … It was the age before “selfies” and the incessant ego trips which are so common now.

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MLK Jr. worked closely with US Attorney General Bobby Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy – and LBJ – to pass historic civil rights laws in America in the 1960s.

I remember our various First Families strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue, with crowds lining both sides of the street, waving flags and cheering. Now, that will not happen because of the virus, but mostly because it would be too dangerous.

And, as for the speeches, I have to admit that I remember little of what was said! I was really much more intent on seeing all the people: America, our country, proudly honoring our Constitution. Lovingly following her democratic traditions …
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The global pandemic has changed the way we will celebrate tomorrow …

Breakfast time, in France …

Text+pics by Chef Joey

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Pal Joey!!!!

France. The country known for its delicious food, rich in butter … sauces, creams and, of course, flavor. One thing about the French: lunch is the meal of the day. Breakfast and dinner are the light side of the spectrum. My grandmother Hélène had an expression: “You eat like a prince in the morning, a king at noon, and a pauper at night.” This still rings true; lunch is an important meal. Here in France banks and many stores close for a two-hour civilized lunch break.

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Breakfast is typically always a warm beverage, café au lait, tea or even hot chocolate. When I was a kid in France I walked to the bakery every morning to get the paper for my grandparents and a fresh baguette. Every now and then I would get a croissant. However, it was a treat because it cost more than a loaf of bread. It still is the same here. The price of fresh bread is set by the government and cannot be more than .95 cents for a baguette. There are many different breads, all at various prices: country style, brioche, whole wheat and even double-sized baguettes called “restaurant bread.”

My favorite memory of being a child, and now doing the same for my daughter Gigi, is a fresh baguette sliced in half and filled with butter and jam.

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French toast, an afternoon snack

Confiture “Bonne Maman” is available in the states, and hands down it is one of the best. I do not go to the bakery daily; I buy the bread and freeze it immediately. Five minutes in the oven and it is as fresh as the day I bought it!

Another alternative is frying your bread in butter. It’s delicious and a great way to use stale bread. French toast is an afternoon snack for energy – I’ve never really had it for breakfast.

Another item is a piece of cake, literally! This recipe is from my grandmother, who named it after herself – Gâteau Taunte Hélène.

Aunt Helene’s Cake:

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the recipe❤

Simple and delicious:

1 plain yogurt yogurt (8 oz)

1 cup sugar (I use ½)

1 tsp rum

2 eggs

½ cup oil

2 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

Beat the eggs. Mix with the yogurt and add everything else. Pour into a pan and bake 350 degrees for about 15 mins in a 9-inch round pan. Use a toothpick to test. Simple and delicious!

New column from our intern, Fatimah!!🇺🇸❤

Worcester’s Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Celebration Ceremony

By Fatimah Daffaie, senior at Doherty High School, Worcester

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Fatimah attends Doherty High Schoool via ZOOM these days, as do all WPS students

The Martin Luther King Jr. youth celebration ceremony was held on Friday January 15, 2021, virtually through Zoom at 10:00 a.m through Worcester State University. This event is held every year; this year marked the 27th annual anniversary. Around 105 people attended this great celebration!

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photos: FD

Manasseh Konadu, a Worcester State University alumni, was the minister of the ceremony. Vanessa Ford was the vocalist of the ceremony, who sang various amazing songs throughout the ceremony. The ceremony started with a moment of silence for everyone who has passed in this pandemic and also for Edna Spencer, who was a former WSU employee who was known for her compassion, volunteerism and passion to care for others.

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Barry Maloney, president of WSU, spoke about the current events with racism and the BLM movement. His inspiring words were a highlight in the ceremony and a great reminder to continue fighting for justice! Following his speech, Mr. Konadu said, “The marathon continues, as we continue to fight.”

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Participants usually honored and celebrated MLK Jr. at Worcester State University, with terrific breakfast buffet and lots of live music and poetry readings. This year the city event was held virtually.

This message resonated with everyone that attended the ceremony, and it was heartwarming to hear such great messages throughout the ceremony, especially with all the current events that are happening in our country, which Maloney touched upon.

Mayor Joseph Petty …
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Mayor Petty. ICT file photo

… gave a speech and presented some of the awards. Mayor Petty spoke about Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and his impact till today. He said, “You see his face all over the protests … .” Mayor Petty also mentioned the current events with BLM movement rallies and the Capitol siege. He said: “Be involved, don’t be neutral.” It was definitely an inspiring speech – and a crucial speech during these times in our country.

There was a video shown of Worcester elementary school students sharing their “Dreams for the world” which were:

“Not to have covid anymore.”
“Not to have racism.”
“To be back in school.”

It was wonderful to see those young kids having such dreams … their maturity and understanding was incredible!

Then the Dr. George Storms Smith Youth Service Award was presented by Mayor Joseph M. Petty to Walter Jovel, who is part of the Teens Leading the Way and H.O.P.E Coalition. The Dr. George Storms Smith Community Service Award was also presented by Mayor Joseph M. Petty to Madison Whalen, from St. Peter Central Catholic School in Worcester.

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Everyone was on ZOOM!

Provost Lois Wims, from Worcester State University, presented Worcester State University Recipient M.L.K. Jr. Youth Recipient award to Elvis Njoki, Biology, Class of 2023 and Cristian Negron-Rivera, Business Administration, Class of 2023. Following that, there was a performance by In Da Zone, Boys and Girls Club, directed by Shauree Allotey.

The Olivia Rochelle Spencer Recipient Memorial Scholarship was presented to Genevive Baddoo, Class of 2021.

Poetry Contest winners were presented by Dorothy Hargrove, Chair of M.L.K. Jr. Youth Poetry Committee. She presented the awards to students from 7th-12th grades. Congratulations to all those students! We are so proud of such amazing young people!
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Book Review by our new CECELIA Intern, Fatimah!❄🇺🇸😀🌸

🌸🌸Book Review!🌸🌸

By Fatimah Daffaie, senior at Doherty High School

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Go, girl, go!!!

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By Stephen Covey

As we begin this new year, 2021, many people find it to be a fresh start to hopefully something better. The best way to achieve our goals is by setting successful habits that can help us become better at achieving goals faster and more effectively.

One mesmerizing book that I believe best helps with setting successful habits is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People written by Stephen Covey.

The seven habits are:

😊1. Be Proactive

In the book, Covey says that behavior is a result of our decisions not our conditions. Being proactive means that you make the decisions and plans for your life. Life is unfair and despite our hardships and terrible conditions, we still have to remember that we are in control of our situations. We have the brain power to make decisions, goals, and plans to live the life we want to live.

😊2. Begin with the End in Mind

In other words, know what it is that you are trying to achieve. What are your goals? What actions are you going to take to achieve these goals? For example, when I write a paper or prepare for a presentation, I always keep my end in mind, which is about what my audience and readers will take away from my work that is of value to them.

😊3. Put First Things First!

This is a simple and direct habit: Prioritize the things that are most important to you first. These are the things that most align with your principles and values. As a student, for example, I have to always get my work done based on priority, which means: when is the due date, how much time I have to spend on something, and how much that thing means for me and does it align with my values and principles.

😊4. Think Win-Win

Have a win-win mindset. Covey explains that habit by saying that we should see life as a cooperative rather than a competition. Going through life sometimes, there are a lot of tough times that we have to go through, so it’s easy to feel put down. Despite the tough times, we should keep healthy and positive mindsets. If athletes went into their games always thinking that they were going to lose, why even try if you think you’ll never win? Always go into things with confidence that you have the skills and preparation to do great!

😊5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood!

Stop trying to be understood! Rather, seek to understand the situation in front of you. This habit will help improve your relationships with others. This is a skill of being a great listener and understanding the situations and what someone is saying rather than focusing on the other person understanding you. I have learned from this habit that when having conversations in work, school, or family, I always keep in mind to understand what they are saying, before I respond and make them understand my response or my opinion. At this time in the world, it is very important that we respectfully listen to each other, before we say our opinion. Just listening is not enough, there should be an intended effort put in on both sides to understand what the other person is saying.

😊6. Synergize

Do not be scared from group and social interactions. There is a great power when people come together. Take this pandemic as an example, we had to come together to stop the virus. Together as a society we had to take initiative and responsibility for everyone’s health and safety. We, as people, grow together to achieve our goals and become better individuals.

😊7. Sharpen the Saw

Here, Covey talks about four dimensions: physical, social and emotional, spiritual and mental. The physical category speaks about taking care of your body by exercising and having the necessary duration by having a healthy everyday diet. The social category refers to having a social life with healthy and loving relationships and friendships. It is also crucial to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally.

As you may have noticed, these seven habits are interconnected and build on each other. Having them all together is the best way to achieve your goals effectively in the fastest way possible. These habits will also make you a better individual! I recommend this book for everyone, especially if you are trying to improve your life professionally and personally.

🌸⛄Another new column from Edith!❄🌸❄

Finances for Kids

By Edith Morgan

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Edith🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

With the students still out of school, learning at home, we have a great opportunity to fix our curriculum – the heart of the educational enterprise, which gets short shrift, coming in a poor second to the need to get good scores on commercial tests, with their very limited scope (after all, they have to conform to the machines so they have to be paper-and-pencil tests.)

What if we re-invented the purpose of public education and our primary task were to be to prepare every student to become a knowledgeable, critical and creative thinker, ready at high school graduation to assume the full responsibility of an American citizen? Would if we molded an intelligent voter and a self-supporting individual able to support him/herself while realizing the American Dream?

How then does our present curriculum fit those goals?

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Active, creative little beings! Gigi file photos: Chef Joey

Thankfully, US Secretary of Education Betsy Devos has resigned, and with her hopefully goes the noxious push to destroy public education and substitute charter, private, for-profit, “training.” I do not call it “education,” as it is generally geared to create obedient, cheap and unquestioning labor or acolytes, not really independent, responsible, life-long students. Full participants in a vibrant, actively involved citizenry!

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Keep kids learning during the pandemic!

If we are going to live to 90 years old or beyond, in the future, we need to graduate students who can handle so many years of life beyond the “working” years“ – the years when they will have put in their time at a job, a profession, a calling – and will have put aside enough to live comfortably, travel, enjoy grandchildren, develop talents for which there was not time before, etc. Also tonmaybe devote time and energy to volunteer activities, since they now have the skills and experience to help the next generation get a good start.

More and more, technology is supplying us with “labor-saving devices,” theoretically freeing us from some of the drudgery of daily life. But human services – the care of children, fellow-family members, our ill or handicapped persons – all will still require the human touch. The importance of that kind of work should be raised up in importance in our society, and paid well, because that kind of work requires special skills and dedication that are more important than working on the various machines that technology supplies to make our lives a bit easier.

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Edith and her family

Let us look closely at whose work is really vital: If the President spends a month at the golf course, what happens? Nothing much. But if trash and garbage were not collected in our towns and cities for even a week, the city of New York would come to a standstill and rats and vermin would overrun the streets …