Category Archives: InCity Voices

A tale of two Covids

Text and photos by Chef Joey

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Joe Joe!

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

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

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

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

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Fun in the sun?

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

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

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

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Boo!

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

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

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

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

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Parlez vous Francais?

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

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

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

BOOK REVIEW

BY FATIMAH DAFFAIE

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

By Jonathan Kozol

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Fatimah!🌸🌺🌼🌷💐🌹🌿🌿

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The solutions that Kozol provides in his book:

providing more resources for these schools

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

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

The world needs change.

People need to study and educate themselves.

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

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

By Rosalie Tirella

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So it was real.

Earth Day approaches🌺🌸🌹🌷💐🌿🌾🌼

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and Guy

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

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Something to remember this Earth Day …

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

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

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HELP SAVE THE PLANET – Eat LESS MEAT!

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

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

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

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

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

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Veganism REDUCES GREENHOUSE GASES …

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

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Do we need so much packaging???

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

🇺🇸🗽🌺Easy Rider, Uneasy Rider🇺🇸🌺🍊

By Rosalie Tirella

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

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

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

So now I am watching the gorgeous Peter Fonda …
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🌼🌼🌼🌼🌼

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE OLD FARTS CLUB

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rosalie with Cece – December 2020

I am 59 1/2 years old. OLD. A proud member of the Old Farts Club. The Old Timers Brigade. The Wiser Than Most (or Many) Circle of ❤💜💚💙LOVE❤❤. Yes! John Lennon was right! “Love is the answer/and you know that for sure.”

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Achy in the a.m., getting up in the middle of the night to pee … and pee again … looking at my jowls in the mirror and deciding to live with them … slathering petroleum jelly on my elbows and knees to make them soft …mulling over this tidbit from my ob-gyn doc: “Your ovaries used to be the size of walnuts – now they’re the size of peas.”

Missing the movies I came of age with! Hungry for their sharp-elbowed energy and starry-eyed idealism! Mine, too. I am pretty cynical these days, fearing for the planet and all her animals! This week I am gonna rewatch EASY RIDER …
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… but also love SHAMPOO, THE GODFATHER, TAXI DRIVER, THE LAST WALTZ, GO ASK ALICE.

Go ask Rose! I know a lot now! Oodles of wisdom shooting out of my fingertips, the snub of my nose, the ends of my crooked toes. My body closes in upon itself … Wish I was 30 again – with my wisdom carried in my change purse, like clinking dimes and pennies! Half my age – a life time ago! But you can never go back in time …

Like most of my older gal pals I talk with over the phone or hang out (we are “older” and are more hands-on than our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and grandkids, the Instagram/Snapchat crowd), I wake up wicked early. I mean really early. Like 5 a.m! We all do! Sometimes one of my gal pals texts me at 4:30 a.m! I text her back! How funny! I used to relish sleeping late as a kid, my mom yelling from our Green Island kitchen into my bedroom: STOP HUGGING THE PILLOW, Rosalie! Time for school!

Now I’m up with the frogs, moles and feisty English sparrows. While it’s still pitch black. I walk into my kitchen and pull open the kitchen window drapery and look for the moon … and am amazed at its beauty. Why didn’t I appreciate its eerie loveliness decades ago? Is it because in a decade or two I will be saying “Goodbye” to it? Twenty years goes by in a wink – I’ve had InCity Times for 20 years. Feels like seven. Eight tops.

Sometimes, I watch the sun rise. By slivers, wisps of orange across the dark grey eastern horizon. It’s a quickie deal – quicker than you’d think. A few minutes and it’s over! Like me! Like every living thing! I feel GRATEFUL. Another day of life! I walk to my dining room and clean up after my two pups (paper-trained by the dining room table) and pour myself a big glass of water and give Jett and Lilac a few Milk Bones. Still grateful, I start working on CECELIA. Sometimes I will go back to bed and listen to a news podcast, Michael Moore, Ezra Klein. Sometimes I will start cooking breakfast, from scratch!:

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Vegan breakfast meatballs ready for the frying pan!

This was my late mom’s routine: Up at 5 a.m. for years and years. On Lafayette Street decades ago, before my kid sisters and I were up for high school or our peripatetic Daddy had roused himself from his apnea-tinged sleep – eating breakfast with Ma before he took off for the day to do who knew what, go who knew where.

I see my pretty and sweet mother grabbing the big box of Corn Flakes from the table and gingerly pouring the flakes into Daddy’s chipped cereal bowl. She sprinkles granulated sugar from the sugar bowl on them. She has cut Daddy’s orange in quarters and placed it on a pretty saucer. She has poured the milk into his fresh cup of coffee, Maxwell House. One teaspoon of sugar added, just like he likes it. Daddy couldn’t care less, of course. He’s a wild heart; we have all lowered our expectations. Except our Polish immigrant grandmother, Bapy, who sometimes throws her hard boiled egg sandwich at Daddy out of pure ill will. She knows exactly what he is. But sometimes I hear my parents talking and laughing over their Wonder Bread toast and orange juice, made from “concentrate,” in a can, mixed in with a half gallon of tap water by Ma in the big white porcelain pitcher I love so much. I love to sit at our ugly green kitchen table and watch Ma make a new batch of orange juice – it smells so good – so orangey! Daddy is giggling now! Ma is laughing that husky sexy laugh of hers. She’s wearing her black negligee. No robe …

I am glad I am facing old age alone – not with a man like my late father, no matter how good looking or sexy. I don’t hate my father any more. That’s part of getting old, too: the pain of youth and middle age fades through the years, and you see the other’s “story.” My father’s was a rough one …

And so I give that extra treat to Jett, off my breakfast plate. What the heck.
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He’s old, too. 13 1/2 years old. Jett’s got a benign cancer on his flank. We are both overweight. But that’s OK. We will try to walk off our winter flab in the afternoon sun during our walks and my pups’ runs in the dog park. We will chase each other around in the snow, me and Jett, me laughing, Jett “smiling” that Husky grin of his.

Old friends!

🇺🇸Leading in Texas! Go, AOC and Beto! America’s Future!🇺🇸

By Rosalie Tirella

The TEXAS catastrophe shows us all that Joe Biden is too old to be President of the United States.

Joe’s a good man, but he’s a shadow of what a vital, vibrant president needs to be! Now!

Joe Biden should be in Texas. Now!! On the ground! Looking at all the damage! Meeting all those poor people! Mourning with them. Giving them hope. Hands on! Brainstorming with all those recalcitrant Texas officials! People died! People froze to death … in their homes, by their cars. That little boy in the news, 11 years old, so cute in his jacket, running outside to play in the snow in his yard. Then going home…to freeze to death. An American tragedy.

Helping on the ground – like Beto O’Rourke and AOC have been doing. That is what Biden should have been doing. But he couldn’t. Too frail. Take away the cool aviator sun glasses, the tight blue jeans, the short jacket with the collar turned up thug-style and you have a fragile, frail old man with an immune system that’s pushing 80 years old. Reality can’t mesh with the public relations imagery. A facade.

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AOC: US congresswoman and future of the Democratic party.

AOC and BETO: They are YOUNG, STRONG beautiful … They saved, are saving, lives in Texas. They have been the real American political leaders during the Texas debacle. They waded into all that pain … AOC raised $3+ million for Texas Food banks and visited with the people, volunteered at the Texas food bank. To see her packing food boxes with the food bank volunteers was wonderful! BETO? All over the state! A fountain of energy and movement!

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El Paso resident Beto O’Rourke came within 3 percentage points of unseating US – Texas – Senator Ted Cruz last election cycle.

Beto led efforts to check on hundreds of thousands of Texas senior citizens. To make sure they were taken to warm shelters or to bring water and food, if they could stay in their homes. Beto saved lives!

Texas Senator Ted Crus was high tailing it to Cancun.

Cruz needs to be voted out of office.

Texas Gov Abbot = useless. Beto needs to run against Abbot – TO WIN office AND BE THE NEW GOVERNOR OF TEXAS. O’Rourke came within 3 percentage points of unseating the odious Cruz last election cycle … He ran for prez. Three times the charm, Mr. O’Rourke!

President Joe Biden sent $$millions of federal money and power generators to Texas, and he declared the state of Texas an EMERGENCY, eligible for even more federal assistance. Biden WAS good … But was he inspiring, charismatic, an American leader we’d follow to the hinterlands? Nope. At 78 and terrified of COVID and mixing with us hoi polloi, Joe is afraid of getting sick. Of dying in the age of the ever mutating corona virus. Let’s be honest. Biden only interacts with us Americans under very controlled, sanitized circumstances. This is NOT GOOD ENOUGH for these times.

Beto and AOC and other young American leaders MUST CONTINUE TO STEP UP AND LEAD AMERICA.

Beto and AOC: two young charismatic Democrats who are the Dems’ FUTURE. BEAUTIFUL TO LOOK AT and BRILLIANT. They’re at the FOREFRONT of the issues. They understand climate change and what we need to do as a country to turn things around. They have the health, strength and energy TO BE WITH US AMERICANS EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. Not hiding in their basements, hungry for the next nap.

My dream team: President Beto and Vice President Alexandria …

Their day – our day – will come!

⛄Missing Bernie⛄ … We almost made it!❄❤

By Chris Horton

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A Bernie for President supporter and volunteer – a cashier at Price Chopper supermarket, Worcester. photo submitted.

A year ago I was volunteer coordinator of We Want Bernie for President, Worcester – and we were winning! We were six weeks out from winning Worcester. Bernie had swept the first three primary contests, and we knew he was going to win the nomination. We were riding the wave of a popular political uprising against the rule of the billionaire class, fueled by the people’s anger over years of being robbed and swindled and denied the benefits of living in an advanced technological society.

We were going to beat the crap out of Donald Trump at the polls
in November.

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)

We were on fire! In six weeks we would defeat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, her home state, ending her campaign. She had hoped to displace Bernie – or at least to derail our campaign – by peeling away the professionals, the intellectuals, the upper middle class. We settled that matter, right here in Worcester. She may have been a great voice against the banksters, but Bernie was our voice, the voice of the working people and the youth, the powerful voice of a great growing coalition, Black, brown and white … native born and immigrant, English and Spanish culture, united in a common cause.

A year ago Covid-19 was just a little cloud on the horizon, but the gnawing fear of another Trump win was already weakening our campaign, with almost half the voters at the doors too terrified of Trump to care about the issues.

Then, after Bernie solidly beat Joe Biden in their one-on-one
debate, exposing him as a liar about Social Security, the whole media establishment, the whole political establishment and the labor and civil rights establishments suddenly all agreed that the hapless and uninspiring Joe Biden had won, and was our last best hope for stopping Trump.

The final blow was COVID-19 shutting down our rallies and our door to door campaign.

With our press coverage nearly cut off, the negative ad campaigns going into high gear and our allies were begging Bernie to give up and support Biden, scarcely two months from now last year Bernie would have to yield.

In the end, faced with Donald Trump – an out-of-control would-be dictator and a genuine threat from an armed white-nationalist movement openly intending to force his reelection by fair means or
foul – many of them openly calling and preparing for a civil war – Bernie called on us to turn and fight them.

Not all of us could bring ourselves to just trust him and do it, but those
who did made all the difference.

I was honestly not that surprised, nor were the other veterans of the campaign of 2015 and 2016, those of us who had had the heart to try again. (Not all of us could!) What, we wonder, wouldn’t our billionaire class be willing to do to stop us next time?

And how many of us would have the heart to try yet again?

So here we are, seemingly back where we
started six years ago, but under the surface everything has changed. We, the regular people, have spoken out, we have felt our power and we have discovered each other. We have new language for what we know and believe. We’ve seen the little man behind the curtain and we’ve shouted that the Emperor has no clothes.

Worcester Homeless Children Need Your Help!⛄

⛄Upcoming Opportunities to Give Back⛄

Horizons for Homeless Children is working to improve the lives of homeless children and their families across Worcester. With new safety measures in place, they are back to bringing play opportunities to young children living in family homeless shelters.

Harbour House Photo
💙

❄Due to the continued rise in rates of family homelessness, volunteers are needed more than ever. Horizons for Homeless Children currently seeks volunteers to support their Playspace Program, which hopes to serve over 1,375 children each week in local homeless shelters — including those in the Worcester area.

Each Playspace is supported by trained volunteers, called Playspace Activity Leaders (or “PALs”), who play with the homeless children residing in family shelters. Starting mid-March, volunteers will be returning to shelters’ outdoor play areas across the state to do socially-distanced games and activities with the children.

Horizons is offering New Volunteer Orientations online via Zoom on both Saturday, February 27, 9:30-11:30 AM and Tuesday, March 2nd, 6-8 PM. Individuals who are interested in signing up can do so at http://www.horizonschildren.org/playspace.

Each Playspace has two-hour volunteer shifts that occur throughout the week. For many children living in Worcester shelters, Playspace visits may be the only opportunity to listen to stories being read, create an artistic masterpiece, dress up as a superhero, play a musical instrument, and just have fun.

The children’s interactions with the PALs is key – the committed volunteers are what makes the program so healing. The uninterrupted attention from PALs fosters trust in the children and creates opportunities for parents to take a class, do some cooking, or even take a much-needed break for their own self-care.

Outdoor Photo PAL-Child
Volunteer this month!

“Our Playspace Program helps make sure that children can experience the joys of childhood, no matter where they live,” said Kate Barrand, President & CEO of Horizons for Homeless Children. “Critical developmental milestones happen at such a young age, and volunteers like those in the Worcester/Framingham area help ensure children living in shelters are given the opportunity to learn, play, and thrive. They are an incredible corps of people that help make this program possible for us and our shelter partners.”

Horizons for Homeless Children created the Playspace Program with the belief that play is essential to healthy childhood development, and every child has the right to play. To make healthy play possible for children living in shelters in Massachusetts, regional staff build and maintain developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed, “kid-friendly” spaces within the shelters. Horizons for Homeless Children then stocks these spaces with books, toys, games, and arts and crafts materials.

Outdoor play areas typically include some sort of large play structure and are meticulously inspected every year to ensure safety for all. Shelter outdoor spaces are also stocked with numerous versions of toys like balls and hula-hoops, and plenty of hand sanitizer. Horizons for Homeless Children wants all children, families, and volunteers to feel safe and comfortable while they attend outdoor shifts, and has restructured their program to reflect the current times.

Worcester is home to 8 beautiful outdoor Playspaces at which volunteers can support infants, toddlers, and school-aged children. During Playspace volunteer shifts, PALs lead play activities to help each child heal from the trauma of homelessness and gain the cognitive, physical, and social/emotional skills essential to future social and academic success. Last year, the Playspace Program supported 2,549 children in the Framingham/Worcester area; state-wide, the program supported almost 17,000 children. This year, the Playspace Program hopes to serve even more children and families.

To learn more about the Horizons’ Playspace Program, or to sign up for any of the upcoming trainings, please visit www.horizonschildren.org/playspace

It Was 57 to 43

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and Guy

The final vote was 57 to 43, to indict Donald Trump. But even such a great majority was not enough, as it would have taken 67 votes – one of those supermajorities requiring a two-thirds vote of all 100 senators.

Before the vote, Mitch McConnell advised his Republican minions
to “vote their conscience.” He then proceeded to vote for acquittal.

After the vote, he again addressed the Senate – this time at more length, and said that President Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the acts that formed the basis for the impeachment. He listed all the various unlawful behaviors , the violations of both civil and criminal law, and left no doubt that he knew that Trump was guilty of them all. But, he insisted, Trump has not gotten away with any of them YET (and he emphasized the “yet”) pointing out that we have both a functioning civil and criminal justice system, who will be waiting for him once out of office.

And so, while I am upset that we could not convince 10 more Senators to follow their consciences, there is still hope that the American judicial system will function.

While all of us breathed a sigh of relief when this vote was over, we all realize that the great damage done to all our systems is by no means repaired, and may well take years to undo: the Biden-Harris administration has a huge job before it, to clean up the Aegean stable of corruption left behind, and to replace it with people who will administer our laws fairly and for the benefit of all Americans.

Meanwhile, citizen Trump faces a myriad of legal problems: some go back to before he became President, and others date to the four years he was in office. Some are the result of personal misbehavior – like the many suits brought by the women who have accused him of various acts of sexual predation or harassment, or who were bribed or silenced , sometimes with ‘funds donated for other purposes; then of course there ae still all the legal questions about his tax returns, and his business practices.

At the moment many of us are watching the suits brought by District attorneys in Georgia, where he attempted to force the government to “find” just the right number of votes to allow him to defeat Joe Biden; and of course the District Court in N.Y. is also looking for him on various criminal charges. And then there are the many attempts to use the Justice department to prevent the publication of books by Amarosa, Michael Cohen, John Bolton, and Trump’s niece Mary Trump. All those books were revelations about various nefarious activities he engaged in, that were NOT part of his duties as President, but whose pursuit nevertheless were paid for by us, the taxpayers.

Most disturbing to me was his use of the Justice department as his personal legal team, and his threats and vengefulness against not only those who would not be totally and blindly loyal to him, but also against their families.

The entire January 6th event will be thoroughly investigated soon, by a commission composed of people well versed in law, history , and justice. And I am hopeful that at last the long-denied spot that rightfully should have gone to Garland will at last begin to undo the damage, as he becomes Biden’s attorney general.

It sometimes takes years to right the ship of state, but we are on the way.