Category Archives: Music

Worcester’s changes, big and small

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

While eating breakfast today with CeCe …



… I thought about the changes – big and small – happening in Worcester, my hometown. Big change: Quinsigamond Village is getting the Blackstone Visitors Center – a bigger-than-I-expected new building now under construction where the OK Wool mills were once located. And next door, part of this urban renewal project, a park with benches, paths and a sleek slice of the Blackstone River. The park is being carved out of the patch of woods that stretches from the beginning of McKeon Road, behind the OK Wool site, to almost the street’s end, a block before its intersection with Cambridge Street:


The urban ecosystem has been defiled … trees cut down, bushes torn up, wild grasses dug up to make way for the new development. The buzzsaws are whirring in the summer heat; the dump trucks are hauling stuff away; cement trucks, with their huge rolling barrels of cement, are making tight turns in the small parking lot of the teeny, three-store ghost strip mall that’s been vacant since I don’t know how long. Working guys wearing hard hats work a full day. The few store fronts will be gobbled up by the Blackstone Visitors Center, too – part of the project.

A small, but heartbreaking change: the wildlife that called that sliver of nature in the middle of our old blue collar Swedish neighborhood is out of balance, freaking out! Rabbits and raccoons are mowed down by cars on McKeon Road as they flee their noisy, shrinking home. The birds seem to be falling out of the sky (heart attacks?) as the heavy machinery and men move in, taking over …


Their teeny paradise is more fragile than ever as it’s devoured by mankind. Invaded, destroyed, sunny day by sunny day. Good work days for the work crews; deadly days for the deers, rabbits, coyotes – all the wild animals who’ve adapted to the space nature had bestowed upon them, right across the street from Holy Cross college. Across McKeon Road sits Holy Cross or “The Cross” as it is known to the old timers and older alumnae. The small Jesuit school ate up the other side of the woods in 1843.

One of the McKeon Road entrances to Holy Cross.

The animals adapted and pretty much stayed on their side of the road. For all these years, except for the past five or so, there weren’t even street lights! Nighttime you’d drive up McKeon Road, a hill, and it felt a little perilous, the road winding, the college dark on one side, the woods dark on the other. But through the woods there were the city lights sparkling, just over your shoulder, beckoning you to admire them. And you had to turn to look at them and smile at the twinkly prettiness. The Old Worcester. Sigh…

Now it’s all changed. The New Worcester. Gentrified in Green Island with bars and pubs filled with people who eat and eat and take pictures of their plates of food. Things are going the same way in the direction of “The Cross.”

A while ago, in the middle of busy mid-day traffic, I slammed on my brakes to let a leggy, shell-shocked fawn cross McKeon Road to stumble onto the Holy Cross campus, the woodsier side where I walk my dogs almost daily. The fawn was skanky, smudged with dirt. It looked undernourished; it was all legs: skinny, dirty little rib cage body riding atop those sharp-kneed limbs. Still, I could see its white spots – a babe in the Worcester woods! And those big brown melt your heart eyes. You could tell it was terrified as it galloped crazily, obscenely, with those race-horse legs. I was struck by her degraded majesty. I quietly sat in my halted car, even turning off the car radio so as not to further stress her … so she could make her mad, wild, clumsy dash, into Holy Cross, literally falling over her legs sometimes … looking for her “Ma,” no doubt. Poor thing.

Of course, the drivers behind me, got right on their horns and started swearing at me up and down McKeon Road. This being the new, faster, meaner, smart-phone-toting Worcester everyone was in a BIG hurry to get somewhere important. And to photograph the event with their smart phones. Everyone was pissed off. At me for holding them up. They let me know just how they felt with blaring horns and “asshole” this or “bitch” that or FUCK YOU. I didn’t react so as not to send the fawn back over McKeon Road: I wanted her to safely complete her frenzied pilgrimage to Holy Cross, where things would be quieter in the teeny patch of woods there. Maybe she could hide there until her mother found her …


I stuck my left arm out of my car window and dramatically pointed at the fawn, as if to say to the pissed off hordes: See? See how wonderful she is?! Let her cross! Watch this miracle hobble up the hill!

“FUCK YOU!” Whahh! Whahh! went a slew of horns. It was a symphony of hatred. Obviously, my fellow drivers weren’t interested.

I didn’t care how they felt. I just sat calmly in my idling car and, solicitous now because I had fallen in love with her, felt the fawn was mine and that I was responsible for her, watched her scramble up the Holy Cross hill, all sharp-angled beauty and frantic – not at all graceful. She was terrified. When she disappeared into Holy Cross woods – maybe this took all of three minutes – I stepped on the gas, my fellow drivers on my ass now, tooting their horns and STILL cursing me!

It was the first time I had ever seen a fawn in “the wild”! Her white splashes of spots, even darkened with dirt, blew me away! Yes, I’ve seem deers. One even up close in Auburn while walking Jett and Lilac. My dogs, on leads, and I almost literally bumped into a large doe as we turned a building corner. Both parties froze and stared at each other – WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?! – before the doe bolted away.

Last week I was walking the dogs at Holy Cross, at the edge of the school’s baseball fields, right across from the woods, right on the cusp of McKeon Road, when I noticed a ragtag family in a jalopy even crappier than mine driving up and down the college entrance road and then finally stopping by the trees (pictured above). There, father (the driver), mother and baby (in her car seat in back) sat, staring at the clutch of trees. The dogs and I hadn’t begun our walk, so I made us mill about: I wanted to watch the car watching the Holy Cross trees. Finally, suspicious, even though it was none of my business, I asked them sternly: “Can I help you?”

The mother, exiting the car, disheveled, now looking more like a girl (the man’s daughter?), said breathlessly, as if under a spell: “We saw a deer go up here! We saw a deer!”

It must have been big and beautiful and they must have, just like me with my fawn, stumbled across her while driving up McKeon, and seen it very up close and very personal. Their paths had crossed! And the humans were enchanted! I knew the feeling. I smiled and said, “A while back I saw a fawn up this very same road.”

The girl was too mesmerized by her dream – the one that had pranced before her eyes. She got back into the car, and slowly, very slowly, the car crawled up the campus hill once more. Looking for their deer.

Were they planning on, hoping to, capture the graceful animal and drive it home for their very own? Maybe they lived in a house with a big backyard. Maybe they lived in a trailer park surrounded by tin and cement. I lifted my smartphone and snapped a picture of the car, making sure I got its license plate in the picture’s frame. They saw me do this and drove off.

And then last week, this:

I’m walking the dogs at Holy Cross, same path …


… and as we make our way to the practice batting cage, right outside the practice baseball and football fields, I see a young rabbit dangling high from the heavy cord netting of a batting cage. I run with the dogs straight to the rabbit; they want a go at it. BACK OFF! I scream, and they know mom means business. So they back off and lie down in the grass, still excited …


… I try to work the dangling rabbit out of the net. It is limp, not stiff. In shock?? Does it have a chance? Its neck is wrapped three times in the cord netting. It must have struggled like crazy, entangling itself more and more the harder and harder it fought to free itself. Its frenzy only made things worse.

I didn’t take a photo of the rabbit like that because it felt exploitative and cruel. I didn’t have a nano-second to lose if I wanted to save it! So I ran, with the dogs in tow, back to my car, to fetch my big Dollar Store scissors. Stored in my driver’s side cubby, I use them to cut the heavy string that’s tied around my lifts or bundles of CECELIA newspapers on delivery day.

I ran back to the rabbit, a brown sugar cotton tail and commanded Jett and Lilac to lie down and stay, which they did, sensing the seriousness of my voice. I began to cut the rabbit free. First, I took its furry little paws out if the netting. Then I began working on its neck. But the problem was, and it was at this point I realized the rabbit was dead, the netting was wound so tightly around its neck I could barely cut it free. I struggled to get the scissors’ blade between the rabbit’s neck and the batting cage netting. It had panicked, and since it’s head was bigger than the netting “holes” it could not pull its head free. So it kept plunging forward, through a new “hole” in the net – which only ensnared it more tightly. It had done this three times – I felt and saw three bands of the netting cord choking its light brown neck – before it gave up, asphyxiated. Still, I went on, cutting the first cord, then the second, then the third, really struggling to slip the scissor blade gently between animal and rope.

The rabbit looked young and healthy when it softly fell to the ground.


I plopped down on the ground, too, exhausted. Then the dogs and I sat there with the rabbit for awhile, just to be with it … to show our respect … acknowledge the fact that it had BEEN. Mystery achieved!

Then I began cutting the batting cage netting like a madwoman and cut a big chunk of Lilac’s leash for rope (I knew she’d follow me back to the car). I cut and cut that ol’ net and strung it up with Lilac’s leash – making an open tent flap. I tied several knots in the leash to make it super secure so another rabbit or any wild thing wouldn’t get caught in it and suffer and die a horrible death.


With all the cars and trucks thundering by. The noise, the desperate aloneness in all that noise. The hot sun beating down on you as you twisted in the wind choking to death. Coyotes, wolves and dogs (I once saw Lilac kill a rabbit in the woods) kill rabbits quickly, efficiently – go for the throat or the belly. Nothing like what happened here on the Holy Cross baseball fields.

Then my dogs and I got up and had our walk. Nature makes millions of rabbits. I have seen scores and scores of these happy, bouncy little creatures. And always, beneath their cuteness, the strength, the nobility. God.

After our walk my pups and I got into my car to drive home. I looked out of my car window.


I had done quite the number on Holy Cross’s batting cage, but nothing compared to what it had done on the rabbit. Repercussions? I decided there wouldn’t be any. Stroking Lilac who had affectionately stuck her nuzzle under my chin like she always does after our walks, I told my dogs: “It’s a Jesuit college. Jesus would have done the same thing.”

Then we drove down McKeon Road, the shrunken woods to our left and, at the bottom of the hill, the half-built Blackstone Visitors Center, all concrete and corrugated roof tops … me missing the way Worcester was all the way home.


Tomorrow – Sat! VA Central-Western Mass Hosts Army Wellness Event/Health Screenings🇺🇸 … and a 🎵

pic: R.T.

VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System is hosting a day-long Post Deployment Health Re-Assessment at the Edward P. Boland main campus tomorrow, Saturday, July 21.

Headed by the Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn Transition and Care Management Team, the healthcare system will partner with the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s Medical Command in providing key services to one of the country’s oldest Army units.

Sarah McNary, the OEF/OIF/OND Transition and Care Management Team manager, said one of the event’s goals is to educate and enroll eligible Veterans into the healthcare system.

“The purpose of this event is to integrate VA services into the military medical readiness process so that service members are better aware of the resources available to them when they have injuries related to their service,” McNary said, noting that many service members slip through the cracks for VA care simply because they are unaware of the resources.

In addition to the service members receiving military medical support, McNary said participating service members would also learn about VA mental health services. She said at the core of the VA’s push to connect with service members was the goal of reaching out to members who might be at risk for suicide. “Our hope is to diminish suicide through collaborative, consistent engagement with service members and the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s medical command.”

Tomorrow’s Post Deployment Health Re-Assessment, or PDHRA, will start at:

7:30 a.m. with Army National Guard members arriving on the campus for an orientation before the day’s events begin.

The Massachusetts Army National Guard’s medical command will be on hand to lead the service members through medical screenings, which normally would occur on a military installation. This is the second time that this unit will be hosted on the Leeds campus of VA Central Massachusetts Healthcare System, and introduced to VA medical and mental health providers who will answer questions, and begin the process of orienting the service members to the services offered at the VA.

In addition to McNary’s team, VA providers from Primary Care, Environmental Exposure, Mental Health, Voluntary Services, Dental, the Vets Center, and Veteran Benefits Affairs, will be on hand to provide information and initial intake services to Veterans.

McNary and Dr. Dana Weaver, the chief of Mental Health at VA Central Western Mass., among other VA and Army leaders, will welcome the service members to the VA hospital campus, and orient the members regarding the day’s medical screening process.

“Our goal is to connect with service members long before they separate from the military,” said Dr. Weaver. “We know that the majority of Veterans who die by suicide each day were not engaged in care with us in the VA. We want to do all that we can to ensure that service members are aware of the resources and help they have available to them when they begin to transition to civilian life.”

More than 180 service members assigned to the Massachusetts Army National Guard, 181st Infantry Battalion, will be on hand for the Army and VA medical event.

The unit recently deployed in support of the War on Terror, and the military is mandated to screen its service members for medical and mental health issues upon return from deployments.

The 181st Infantry Battalion is the oldest combat regiment in the U.S. Army. The regiment was started in 1636 and participated in the American Revolution, American Civil War, War with Spain, Mexican Border Campaign, World War I, World War II, and in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the global War On Terror. Most recently, the 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry, was mobilized in 2017 for one year of multinational service in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt.

For more information:

The event kicks off at 7:45 a.m. in the Learning Center of Building 1. The Edward P. Boland main campus is located at 421 North Main St., Leeds, Mass. … For additional information, please contact VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System Public Affairs Officer Andre Bowser at 413-333-6602, or e-mail


Thursday wrap-up and a 🎵🎶

If Notre Dame is demolished, this street is gonna look like Vladimir Putin’s childhood ‘hood! Putin: a KGB hood (its “executive director” for many years), a destroyer of free speech, human rights…a ruthless killer … to whom THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (Trump) kowtows! Tragic! Treasonous! – R.T.

The hideous and the noble … pics: R.T.

“Censure in the United States. … In the United States, governmental censure is done when a body’s members wish to publicly reprimand the President of the United States, a member of Congress, a judge or a cabinet member. It is a formal statement of disapproval.” – Wikipedia

Back to…

One cool corner:

One ugly corner, right across the street:

From the Save Notre Dame Alliance:

POP-UP ART SHOW this Saturday!

Just a reminder about the Show Us Your Notre Dame art show this Saturday, July 21, at the Worcester Pop-Up, 20 Franklin St.

The show runs 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

With Hanover seemingly slamming the door on our latest idea, it makes the art show more important than ever. We may be hanging the art work up as the building is being torn down.

A few of the artists have dropped off their work at my house because they can’t be there on Saturday. I can tell you that seeing it person is WAY more powerful than looking at the little pictures on our webpage.

Here is the link to the facebook page about the show

It’s important that people click that they are going!!!

Also, of course, spread the word if you can.


McGovern Profile Photo 1ab(1)
Congressman McGovern

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Names Congressman McGovern as Farm Bill Democratic Conferee

U.S. Congressman James P. McGovern, Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee’s Nutrition Subcommittee, was named yesterday by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve on a conference committee to complete a five-year long reauthorization of the Farm Bill.

“With America’s farmers, producers and ranchers facing plummeting prices, rising retaliatory tariffs and a struggling farm economy, we need a real robust, bipartisan Farm Bill more than ever,” Leader Pelosi said.

“While House Republicans chose to advance a destructive and partisan bill that fails farmers and hungry families, this conference will provide an opportunity to return to the grand bipartisan tradition of robust Farm Bills. Our diverse and dynamic House Democratic Conferees will bring the strength of their values and wide-ranging expertise to the work of hammering out a bipartisan Farm Bill that honors our responsibility to the men and women of agriculture and hungry families.”

Earlier this year, House Republicans passed, without a single Democratic vote, a partisan Farm Bill that included extreme cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In doing so, they turned their back on a long history of bipartisanship as well as the economic security of millions of Americans.

“Farm bills are supposed to be an investment in our farms, our farmers, and the programs that help to feed hungry American families. Farm bills shouldn’t be about beating up on poor people, but the House Farm Bill significantly reduces and cuts benefits for millions of the most vulnerable in our country,” said Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA).

“The House’s bill was drafted in secret and is not reflective of the 23 hearings that our Committee held on SNAP over the past two and a half years. The only bipartisanship throughout the whole process was the bipartisan opposition to this awful bill.

“In the Senate, the process couldn’t have been more different. Democratic ideas were heard and incorporated into the final text. SNAP benefit levels were maintained, and vulnerable families would continue to have access to modest food benefits when times are tough.

“As we work to reconcile the differences between these dramatically different pieces of legislation, I will fight for a bill that — instead of hurting our most vulnerable citizens — works to end hunger now, helps our family farms, and supports rural communities. I’m honored to serve on this conference committee, and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance a bipartisan Farm Bill.”

The following Democratic Members will serve on the Farm Bill conference with McGovern:

House Committee on Agriculture:

Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota

Congressman David Scott of Georgia

Congressman Jim Costa of California

Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio

Congressman Filemon Vela of Texas

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico

Congresswoman Ann Kuster of New Hampshire

Congressman Tom O’Halleran of Arizona


You ruthless killer of your own people!:


President Obama, we miss you … your intellect, your integrity, your love for your wife, daughters and extended family, your hatred of guns and the killing of our children in our schools … . We’re at the polar opposite with Trump. He’s totally unfit for the presidency!

The OIF dumped me cuz he said I didn’t make him feel this way😥😥:

P.S. He often made me feel this way.

Tumbleweed connection 🔆

Text and pics by Rosalie Tirella

Yesterday I stumbled upon a paperback and decided to keep its arresting cover. I tore away its yellowed pages and chucked them into the recycling bag.


I lovingly(!) trimmed the front cover’s edges and, on Fourth of July weekend – America’s birthday weekend – stared, mesmerized, at that rugged face.

What was the attraction??

Everything. He was/is America: sex, money, guns, movement, freedom. That’s us, still, in a nutshell.

The book’s title, CATLOW, has a subhead that says it all: “CATLOW FIGURED IT ONLY TOOK TWO THINGS TO GET THE GOLD AND THE GIRL – HIM AND HIS GUN!”


The book cover also got me thinking of my Polish immigrant grandfather, Jadju, and his obsession with television Westerns…

There I am sitting on my Jadju’s lap in Green Island, a toddler, enveloped in his cigarette smoke watching all those great, sometimes corn ball, TV cowboy shows. Jadju was a chain-smoker and rolled his own cigarettes, unfiltered! While he smoked, he held me on his knee and together we watched Rawhide – both of us fascinated by the guns, the galloping horses, the saloon gals … the majestic American West. … Sometimes there’d be an old John Ford classic on… Stage Coach, starring a young John Wayne, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, also starring John Wayne. Some of America’s finest art, though we didn’t know it at the time. John Wayne: everything a man was supposed to be…tough, yet romantic …

Westerns were HUGE when I was a kid, and my immigrant grandfather, like lots of new Americans back then, watched all the TV Westerns (there were a ton of them in the 1950s and 1960s). They were entertainment, and they were a magical map of America, an amazing country they seldom experienced beyond their neighborhood. Rawhide, Bonanza, Big Valley, The Lone Ranger, Davy Crockett, The Rifleman, Maverick, Daniel Boone, The Wild Wild West, Jesse James … Some of these TV Westerns were made in the ’50s and were in reruns. No matter. Jadju rewatched them all in his stoic way, his heavy, creased faced serious … studying Maverick’s or Little Joe’s predicament… waiting for the inevitable gun fight, the show’s climax, the part where the hero always won … and the bad guys – Indians, Mexicans, the bears or mountain lions (everything our president Donald Trump reminds us we once loathed) – always died with fanfare, falling over cliffs, tumbling into the ravine, drowning in the roiling red river… kicking and raising the brown dirt or the desert sands or the clear cold waterfall as they met their maker. Kaput!

For Jadju, these TV shows were about America, a country that left him, after all his years of living in her, clueless. Still, he was fascinated! America, a beautiful country he left Poland for; the U.S.A., a country in which he planted all his dreams, a country he CHOSE to come to, sight unseen, as a teenager, with just a big wooden trunk filled with clothes, blankets and mementos on his back. A country that, in the end, used him up. His career? He slaved away in a textile mill in Douglas. His riches? He lived poverty-stricken in a congested tenement in the congested “Block” in Worcester’s congested Green Island neighborhood. He did marry the love of his life, the pretty, feisty Bapy, also a Polish immigrant. And he considered their five kids, one who died in childhood, to be their treasures. Jadju neither read nor spoke a word of English – he only understood his God, his Old World Catholicism, his wife and, half the time, (especially my mom, his fave) his kids. His perks during his seventies, his Golden Years? Me (I loved my gentle Jadju!) and sitting in our living room, peeling his fine, tracing-paper-thin cigarette wraps from a small cardboard container and lining them with tobacco to smoke. I remember watching him running the tissue paper and tobacco through his little metal machine, which “rolled” the cigs, making them ready for the smoke … all while watching his Westerns.

Sometimes during the stampeding horses scenes, just to make things more exciting, Jadju would let me clamber atop one of his ankles and he’d grab my little hands and raise his old foot up and down, up and down, and I’d pretend I was sailing on one of those galloping pinto ponies in the TV show!

Pop pop pop! went the blanks out of the Lone Ranger’s gun. I clapped my hands in delight. My grandfather squinted and studied the hero’s every hip swivel, every draw of the pistol. Jadju always dressed for the day – dark pants and a clean white dress shirt, collar crisp, buttons buttoned to the top except for the first button. … On our old back porch Jadju and I would sit together, he looking formal in his white shirt sitting in his wooden chair, me sitting on a long little wooden bench he had made for me (Jadu was no slouch when it came to carpentry) … Out of the dark gray wet modeling clay I patted gleefully, Jadju would mold a perfect little horsey for me. Then he’d take some more clay and pinch and mold a little saddle, then he’d make a kind of stick cowboy, and finally a cowboy hat with a big brim! Then he’d sit the clay cowboy on the clay saddle and place him on his dark clay pony and set the pony on the porch rail for me to admire. Then together we would recite a Polish prayer that ended like this: “And Jesus made the stones came tumbling down!” If I had made a little tower with my A B C blocks, he’d let me smash them down, and I’d recite the prayer again! We’d both laugh!

Jadju was an artsy craftsy guy… Here’s the tin cup he made himself. Almost like the ones in the cowboy movies, the tin cups from which the cowboys drank, while sitting around their blazing campfires:


Here’s Jadju’s shaving cream mug, so precious 💙💙💙 to me!


Jadju had the thick features of a Pole; his cowboy heros had classic American good looks for the era: Angular. Waspy. White. The strong, handsome, silent types. When I was growing up, the face on this CATLOW book cover – even three quarters hidden underneath a red bandana – was the American ideal. What kind of girl could NOT fall for that gorgeous, weather-beaten puss?! Beautiful killer. Rootless interloper riding his runty, but sturdy mustang, both of them only half-tamed, through the tall prairie grass, everything epic about flora and fauna. That was the way on TV: Grand Canyon, mesas, buffalos, two thousand to a herd, and when they roamed, the earth moved! Biblical! Exciting!

But here we were on Lafayette Street. This was America, too!

Jadju and his little buddy Rose on their Lafayette Street back porch.

But Jadju tried to turn it 100 years back! When he worked in the Douglas mill, on his time off, he’d go fishing with his friend, a Black guy, that my Bapy, when she first met him, feared. Jadju would have none of it! He told her, as they sat down together at the kitchen table: “Woman, cook the fish and bring us some beer!” My late mother always told me that story with a smile. Jadju, unlike his TV cowboys, wasn’t a racist; he was good, gentle… He loved the fields just a half-hour walk out of the neighborhood. When my mother was a little girl he would take her blue berry- or mushroom-picking. Together they’d pick berries, mushrooms and bring home “the stuffing” for Bapy’s pirogies. He raised and slaughtered rabbits on our back porch so Bapy could make rabbit stew, but the Worcester Board of Health shut the operation down. He loved nature; he DID have a horse in Poland. So did Bapy. Not for show and excitement though, for farm work.

I wish Jadju’s immigrant journey had happened earlier and had led him to the West, like the Swedes. He would have loved the wide open ranges, even if it meant killing himself with work to cultivate the land or build his house. He would have loved being in the middle of nature. He owned and played the harmonica. How lovely would it have been to hear him serenading a big country sunset? Instead, he got the Woo ghetto. But he wrung his own little private Colorado out of it. And there was always Gun Smoke, John Ford, Henry Fonda…the tumbleweed connection.

It’s gonna be another HOT 🌅🔆 one!! … cool off with these vegan drinks!🍹 … and 🎧🎵

Text+pics: Rose T.

Rose woke up in a sweat. It’s the new WORLD…EXTREME WEATHER – more intense, lengthier EVERYTHING! Brown skies everywhere…mud slides, emaciated Polar bears giving birth to fewer cubs. Back in the Big Woo: super hot for a super long time, even for July:

grungy Rose

People, TRUMP (the orange devil!), we can never get back to the GARDEN at this rate! In a few millennia, we, Earth and Co., will have been a dream. WE KILLED the miracle! The magical elephants, whales, the rainforests, sky …


Rose lives on the fourth floor in a building in Worcester’s ghetto, two yards away from Interstate 290. Whew! Global Warming is killing it here! Climate change takes a bigger chunk outa poor people in poor neighborhoods – all over the world!

Her pets seems fine, though. Taking it easy-breezy:




But the beat goes on! THIS MUST BE…

Before we get to the COOL, HEALTHY, VEGAN, SUMMER DRINKS, FYI, kids and parents, the USDA food trucks are all over the city (our parks, public swimming pools, neighborhood centers, public libraries) offering:




Take advantage of this healthy fare, homeless teens, of which we have so many!! There are no forms to fill out, no questions asked …




Cool, Crisp Mint Watermelonade!

5 cups watermelon

1–2 lemons, squeezed

Ice cubes

1–2 sprigs fresh mint

Liquefy the watermelon in a blender or food processor.

Pour the liquid watermelon into 1 or 2 glasses.

Add the lemon juice, drop in the ice cubes, and top with the mint.

Drink up!

Makes 1 to 2 servings



Banana Berry Smoothie!

8 oz. soy milk

1/2 frozen banana

1 cup frozen raspberries or berry of your choice

Put all the ingredients into a blender and purée until smooth.

Makes 1 serving.



Iced Mint Tea!

5 cups water

2 tsp. ordinary black or Darjeeling tea leaves (2 tea bags)

1/4 cup sugar, to taste

1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

2 Tbsp. lemon juice, or to taste

1 tsp. lemon rind

1 tsp. orange rind

1 cup crushed ice

4 slices lemon

4 slices orange

4 fresh mint sprigs

Boil 1 cup water and brew the tea in it for a minute.

Remove from heat, add the sugar and mint leaves, and let cool.

When cold, add more water, lemon juice, lemon rind, and orange rind.

Mix well and taste to adjust the sweetness.

Refrigerate until chilled.

To serve, pour into tall glasses with crushed ice and a lemon slice, an orange slice, and a mint sprig floating on the top.

Makes 4 servings.



Sunday musings … and 3 🎶🎶🎶

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Snack time with Cece …


Such a fun, affectionate lil’ girl! She’s healthy now; no more limping and collapsing from sporadic feedings at the old place, paws splayed out, Chaplinesque, funny but heartbreaking.

Adopted/saved by Rose!


These days the meals tumble down from feline heaven: Friskies; canned, stinky 9 Lives tuna and turkey with giblets.

When I pulled Cece from the old place she was covered in dust! Just 5 or 6 weeks old, not yet weaned… so today she’s runty; they call her a “patio cat.” But cute and mischievous, nonetheless!

She hops onto my shoulders from the kitchen floor for kisses and a little kitty massage. Then using my right shoulder as a launching pad, she makes a virgin leap (so strong and graceful now!) onto the old washing machine that makes that damn loud banging noise during the spin cycle.


No, Cece!!!


I pull my young and curious cat out of the cabinet she’s leapt into and scold her with smooches💜. I think of all the cats who’ve come before this one: city strays, all of them. Ghetto girls and boys I’ve rescued in my private storyville …

… Grabbed from the maws of pitbulls in Hartford (Chester)…


Pulled from the brink of starvation from the Harding Street feral cat colony I maintained for a decade (Teddy). A DECADE.


That was a long, strange trip, my Green Island feral cat colony! Feeding and watering, every day, all the wild Green Island cats, doomed, of course. Fearing the human touch, they were fated to be homeless! Suffering so in the depths of winter and summer, despite the pretty snowfalls in December or the sensuous heavy “perfume” wafting from the lilac bushes across Harding Street in May. A weird sight! All those pretty little violet flower clusters blooming on the edge of all that pain! Sometimes I’d stumble on a homeless guy squatting under the abandoned rusted RV parked in the lot and chat with him. Sometimes I’d chat with the amiable guy who owned the lot and parked his extra car there.

There is always some hope for the babies, so I’d live trap the little kittens. They could be tamed down by a volunteer and adopted out. But the adult cats were another story. If “lucky,” they’d survive the extreme weather (I put in cardboard boxes lined with hay for their warmth in January) only to be run over by some jalopy barrelling down the street – for kicks! – once the snow melted or the heatwave passed. Their vomit or diarrhea (that’s what roadkill does) greeting me the next day. Me searching for the wounded (or dead) cat in the beautiful wild lilac bushes…traumatized.

I’ve been a cat lover since toddlerhood! I remember all the inner-city felines who’ve wrapped their silky (or puss-encrusted!) tails around my heart. Not so different from the people in this neighborhood! They too skirt around the mundaneness of Worcester life and move me. They are jobless men, in their prime…welfare cheats too used to cheating to feel anything but entitled to cheat some more!…depressed young girls and boys. Obese women. Scrawny women. Kids hiding in their apartments cuz the neighborhood is so rough; they sit on sofas and watch TV behind pulled blinds. When they come out to play, their laughs sound puny. Often fed junk food – drinking that damn red “punch” in gallon jugs bought at the Dollar Store! – they’re as runty as CeCe. Human feral cats. They’ll bite you, if you handle them the wrong way!

I’m listening to John Mellencamp this morning. An under-rated artist overshadowed by the brilliant Springsteen, his contemporary.


I’ve listened to both guys for years – and loved both their visions!

Where’s your vision, Worcester?

I’m bracing for the worst this work week, expecting the City of Worcester to turn its back on the embattled Notre Dame church and allow Hanover to knock her down, faring no better than our feral cats! Or our poor kids! I’ll drive by each day and see Notre Dame’s knocked out windows and collapsed walls. I’ll see the wrecking ball fly, the dust rising …


Remember when she was grand? A part of our lives?

Notre Dame
photo courtesy of the Worcester Historical Museum

I do! I have, but cannot locate, the photos of my cousin standing next to the Notre Dame (Our Lady) statue seen in the above photo of Notre Dame. The statue was located outside the church the way many old immigrant parishes planted their patron saint in front of their house of worship. St. Stephen’s got a St. Stephen statue. St. Joseph’s, a St. Joe 😉. As a little girl growing up in Green Island, I believed this big statue of Notre Dame – taller than me – was made of PURE GOLD! My mother said maybe it was just dipped in gold, or covered in gold leaf …

Was the photo of my cousin taken after a First Holy Communion ceremony? A Confirmation ceremony? I can’t recall. I do remember my cousin was wearing a suit – one size too big!

Say GOOD BYE TO STORYVILLE, Rose! Good-bye to a childhood landmark. For me, as a little girl, we didn’t attend Notre Dame. St. Mary’s was our church. But walking to downtown with “Ma” and my two kid sisters (we never owned a car), Notre Dame was the official beginning of Downtown Worcester for us. Its unofficial WELCOME SIGN, telling me: You’re here Rosalie! Downtown! Fun time!

After the half hour walk, it was a well deserved reward. You had walked up your streets, saw Green Island up close and personal: down Lafayette Street where we lived… we trekked past Eddy’s Penny Candy Store, Helen’s Corner store, all the three deckers stuffed with kids, our buddies and classmates at Lamartine, plus all their free roaming, pre leash law!, dogs and cats…Then we walked down commercial Millbury Street, jam-packed, lined! one after the other, skinny alleys separating them, with mom and pop stores, most with apartments on top – again these abodes stuffed to the gills with people and their pets! What a sweet, sad symphony of life! Lisbon’s Shoe Store, Supreme Market, White’s Five and Ten, Sedick’s Hardware Store, Messiers Diner, Charles Restaurant, Vernon Drug Store, Millbury Furniture, Oscar’s Dry Cleaners, the fruit store, Bueleher Brothers sausage shop, a fish market… You could live and die on Lafayette and Millbury streets, and 90 percent of your needs could be met without venturing outside the two streets and their tributaries…It was a world unto itself! People called it a ghetto. I guess it was. I long for it every day! 💜💜💜

Ma, me and my sisters walked Downtown almost every Saturday where there were even more stores and people! There was Woolworths to look at the pet hamsters and mice! American Supply where Ma had an easy chair on layaway and would make another payment on it! Denholm’s for the rich folks. Barnards for fancy secretary work blouses and skirts and bridal wear. The Mart for new underwear for us kids and Ma. White, cotton and no nonsense. Six to a package!

But first the walk up our terrific Green Street, past Jack and Jill children’s clothing store, Molly’s Beauty Parlor, Coral Seafood restaurant, Prifti’s Candy Shop, the Atlas Fabric shop, the restaurant supply building, the PNI club…more people walking to stores, in and out of opening and closing doors! Ma knew lots of people. Often, we’d stop to talk with the person Ma had almost literally bumped into. “Yes! Rosalie got all A’s again!” Ma chirped. A counter girl at a dry cleaners pinning her dreams on her smarty pants first-born!

But we had our hearts set on Downtown Worcester! And I knew we were there when coming out from under the bridge on Green Street, looking to our right, we saw the magnificent Note Dame church! The exclamation point to: HERE WE ARE! The beautiful reward for our half-hour walk, which was reward itself in the sunny days of spring, summer or fall, even winter when we put on our layers of sweaters and flimsy cheap coats! We we poor. We had nothing! We had everything! Notre Dame! The red sticky cherry atop the hot fudge sundae of our journey! After our downtown errands and shopping, we’d head to Woolworths where Ma would treat me and my sisters to hot fudge sundaes with real red cherries on top, before our walk home. The day an adventure to talk about for the rest of the week!

Now, today, what do the Lafayette Street kids have to see? Dirty, filthy cars and trucks illegally parked by the mechanic there – shamelessly clogging up Harding/Lafayette streets; homeless youth under the Green Street bridge, strung out on heroin; gentrification all along Green Street, now half-abandoned because the soft, spoiled millennials lost their free, next-door parking lot and are too fucking lazy to walk the length of two buildings to get to an eatery! Pathetic. Store owners have had to make little videos, as if for little children, to show able-bodied 20- and 30-somethings just how easy it is to walk to their businesses from parked cars! Such a different world from the truly diverse, bustling, tough and beautiful working-class Green Island in which I grew up! Now its the white, gentrified Canal District. If the old timers could come back from the dead and see what was going on in the old neighborhood, they’d never stop throwing up.

So, Goodbye Notre Dame! I don’t think the City of Worcester will adopt you for FREE, a gift from developer Hanover, then pay the few hundred thousand$$ to permanently make you a hollow beauty surrounded by urban garden,trees, benches, picnic tables. A place to celebrate life’s milestones…a place nurtured by our Worcester Public Schools students, like Randy Feldman and other local urban visionaries envision … a kind of new, sacred city space for today’s Worcester kids and grownups.

No, it’ll be smashed to smithereens, flattened and covered with cement and turned into another big box apartment complex, or it’ll be covered over with blacktop and made into a parking lot. It’ll all be so ugly …

The urban beat goes on.

tweaked: Happy Birthday, Paul McCartney! 🎵💿🎶🎧

Text and pics by Rosalie Tirella

Today is the Beatles’ Paul McCartney’s birthday! As I walked through my kitchen this early afternoon, here in lower Vernon Hill, my own private ghetto😉 … the coffee percolating, Cece keeping me company as she always does during meal time …


… I caught the beginning of Paul’s “Fool on the Hill,” written when he was with the Beatles. I was struck by the aloneness of the tune and stopped in my tracks to soak in the lovely loneliness. To really listen to the song. The fool atop the hill, the only one around for miles and miles! Half crazy! Or at least the world believes he’s nuts. No matter to him: there he stands, indifferent to people’s mocking and prejudices, alone and unbowed, face naked to the sunlight, spinning around and around until he’s dizzy, his arms out like a pinwheel! Smiling at the cotton ball clouds, doing his thing, singing his song! He’s utterly alone, yet fulfilled.

This afternoon I thought about the fool. So inspiring! “He sees the sun going down, and the eyes in his head see the world spinning ’round …” Paul sings. The fool is no fool! He knows where his talents lie, he knows his place in the natural world …

McCartney was just a kid when he wrote the tune – around 20. Maybe even 19. He was just a kid when he wrote all his “sad” masterpieces: YESTERDAY, SHE’S LEAVING HOME, FIXING A HOLE, ELEANOR RIGBY – all the beautiful, alone Beatles tunes. …

They’re about abandonment, wistfulness, despair … Yet often the songs are stories (McCartney loves to tell stories) of a shining soul defiant in a hostile world! 1960s youth zeitgeist? I say, oh, to be so young! – at any time! TO SEE AND SPEAK THE TRUTH before it’s muddled in adulthood! Before the lies – big and small –
move in … . “SILLY PEOPLE RUNNING AROUND, WONDERING WHY THEY NEVER GET PAST MY DOOR!” Paul sings in “Fixing a Hole.” Cheers, brother!

Ensconced in gorgeous solitude, Paul McCartney songs get to me – got to me as a kid growing up in Green Island. All these Paul Beatles songs are GREAT – even though you may think they’re a bit melodramatic! They feel deeply … like the brilliant youth who wrote them. Like all youth! Remember when you were 16? Every day you let your heart out to twist in the wind! You unfurled it like a flag …

When I was a teen growing up in Green Island …


… I’d listen to the Beatles in my bedroom, on my Emerson turntable, with its two big black speakers and dream – lose myself in all the sonic rivers and streams of a Beatles tune. Especially the ones written in ’67 and ’68. The Revolver (’68), Rubber Soul years (’67)…

Rose’s new old speakers. She loves her vinyl!

I was 15 years old and looking in the mirror for the first time and seeing a pretty young woman’s face staring back at me. Then I’d riffle through my Beatles paraphernalia to find Paul’s prettier face staring back at me!


It was beautiful! The soul behind the soulful eyes even more beautiful, to me! All the Paul sad songs, imbued with his longing, feelings of abandonment, despair, even prayers … feelings I felt at 16. Sexual feelings. For the blond haired boy in homeroom and the tall, tanned, dirty, lanky boy-man who dropped out of school and worked in the junkyard next door. He couldn’t read; I cried over him!

A beautiful, amazing world – wide open. My Green Island family slamming it shut! Piling up against the wooden door, their asses making a THUD. Abusive Daddy; prayerful, submissive Ma; my two, heart-breaking kid sisters; and always our feisty Polish immigrant granny, Bapy, yelling in her broken English: “Rosie, get me Sanka!! Heat me Sanka!!”


Shut up, Bapy! I wanted to scream in Polish as I jumped off my bed where I was stretched out on my belly listening to SARGENT PEPPERS LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND. Yep! Bapy called! And I had to come when called, just like a golden retriever. Bapy was demanding I get up out of my Beatles reverie to grab her dirty, cracked, hard-boiled-egg stained coffee cup half-filled with her tepid Sanka and put her crappy cup of instant coffee into a boiling pan of water. Gross! I wanted to be left alone with the beautiful Beatles in their beautiful nehru shirts! To lie on my bed, with the pink curtains billowing in, listening to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” …


Those Paul songs, swaddled in violins, horns, cellos, symphony orchestras … His lyrics, rough and tumble, from the streets and tenements: “We struggled hard all our lives to get by … She’s leaving home, Bye Bye!…” Mother, in the middle of the night, clutching her natty bathrobe, watching her favorite daughter leave home … forever. Her careworn face too tired for tears. Watching her daughter leaving home for good armed only with the foolish certitude of the young poet. Mother says: Bye Bye!! Bye Bye, Rose!!

When I was a young girl growing up in Green Island, Paul McCartney got to me in ways my mom, school, most books, couldn’t … . Sure, he was adorable and, like most Baby Boomer teenaged girls (and not a few boys!), I fell for his CUTENESS. Those big, sad, puppy-dog eyes. The flirty way, in the early days, he shook his head as he played his (left-handed) bass…(“Watching the skirts, you start to flirt, now you’re in gear!”) Yep! I was a Paul groupie! I knew, through Tiger Beat magazine and the cheap paperbacks I bought or got, …

Rose still has the McCartney bio a friend bought her when she was a student at Burncoat HS!

… that McCartney was left-handed, that he dumped beautiful model Jane Asher for beautiful photographer Linda Eastman, that he loved all animals and had an Old English Sheep dog named Martha about whom he wrote a song …

Paul, Martha and Jane

I read all his song lyrics, pored over his every sentence in every interview I could get my hands on, cut out his newspaper interviews, if I was allowed to, and pasted them into my Beatles scrap book. I tried to dress like Paul – blue jeans and loose, flowing, beautiful, flowery, colorful shirts …

But at the heart of my attraction was the sadness, the loss: Paul’s mother, a nurse, had died of breast cancer when he was just a little kid. His father, a cotton salesman, raised Paul and his little brother.

Paul, right, and his brother, Michael

I understood Paul’s predicament. We were two peas in a pod: I had no real father. I missed a parent, too – a parent I needed to love and be loved by. I just had this asshole Daddy who popped in every other year or so to make Ma and the whole family miserable.

Beatle John Lennon also lost a parent – his mother Julia, who was too young and wild to raise her son. So she gave John up to her sister Mimi to raise …

John Lennon

When John was a teenager Julia came back into his life – only to be run over by a bus!! She died just as John and she were beginning their relationship.

Lennon once said he and McCartney bonded over the loss of their moms. They were alone together. That meant everything. So the searching began, musically … these two working class kids, who just happened to be musical geniuses, remembering, trying to reach their mothers, through sound…

Rose, in Green Island looking for her father, hating her father, yet longing for a Daddy. The good Daddy who sang Frank Sinatra songs in the kitchen and liked to walk in the woods. But this Daddy seldom showed up on Lafayette Street and, when he did, he didn’t stay for very long. Went away … but where??? Died.

How does a working-class, 15-year-old girl figure it all out? Become the hero of her song?

She listens to the Beatles, of course! She buys all their records at Strawberries or Jordon Marsh downtown and replays them hundreds of times in her beat up old bedroom in her mother’s Lafayette Street flat.

Like Paul and John, Rose cries, too!

And always you are pissed off! A hard attitude to cop, if you’re a good Catholic girl. FUCK IT ALL! You snuggle under your bed covers and listen to “Let it Be” one more time. Paul sings: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, Let It Be.” Ma loves this Beatles song! She thinks it’s about the Virgin Mother in heaven and praying to her. You read somewhere that it’s really about Paul’s mother – her name was Mary.

All the things you love on Millbury Street … you see and hear them in Beatles’ songs. Their working class Liverpool is your working class Worcester. Their frustrated parents, your frustrated parents. Their neighborhood, your neighborhood! All the beautiful flowers, animals, rainbows and sky are in their music and lyrics! For you! How lucky you are to live in their time, when they made their melodies and lyrics.

You are in a secret society – the lonely hearts club band – a club whose members are fatherless, motherless, blue collar, alone Baby Boomer-strivers, chip-on-your-shoulder cool, bedraggled, glorious. You don’t say the word “artistic” cuz you’re poor. But you feel this way. You begin to write essays …all the time. Your father, whenever he’s home, laughs at you tapping at your cheap orange typewriter at the beat-up kitchen table. “Fuck nut!!” Daddy yells to Ma. “Poetry?! She should study to be a secretary!” Annoyed, he stumbles, pigeon-toed, to the refrigerator to grab a plum for his walk out.

But the fool at the kitchen table keeps typing away. She knows better …

Paul’s brainchild

Father’s Day breakfast casserole and a 🎵


If you’re looking to treat your dad to a delicious and cruelty-free breakfast tomorrow, look no further than this tasty breakfast casserole.

This recipe can easily be altered to fit any occasion and any set of taste buds. Looking for a kick? Add in diced jalapeños and serve topped with salsa. Or add in fresh spinach and sliced mushrooms for a country-style favorite. No matter how you like it, you can make it your own.


Father’s Day Breakfast Casserole


For the ‘Egg’ Mixture:

1/2 cup plain soy milk
1 lb. extra-firm tofu
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/3 cup nutritional yeast

For the Casserole:

1 pkg. Gimme Lean Sausage
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 qt. shredded hash browns (frozen is OK)
1 pkg. Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds


Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place all the ingredients for the “egg” mixture in a blender and blend until smooth.

Crumble the vegan sausage and brown slightly in 1 tablespoonful of the oil in a pan over medium heat.

Use the other 1 tablespoonful of oil to coat the bottom of a large baking dish. Layer the hash browns, the sausage, and the vegan cheese along with any other ingredients that you would like to add.

Pour the egg-like mixture over the layered hash browns, sausage, and cheese, then sprinkle more cheese on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes 10 servings

💜💜💜Paul Westerberg 💜💜💜

A Father’s Day message from Stephen, a column by Imalay🌸 … and a 🎵!




Positive Moves!

By Imalay Guzman

These days it has become easier for people to think and act negatively. Life can be so difficult and stressful – it can be easy to just say “f*%@ it all.” Facing life’s challenges head on isn’t something most people do. If anything, they avoid it or put it off until they have no choice but to deal with it. To get what you truly want in life, like a car or even buying a home, almost always comes with an obstacle. Perseverance is sticking to your plan.

The deterrent?? What often happens is people become prisoners in their own mind. I’ve came to realize that we all over think the things we want to accomplish. This in a way isn’t a bad thing, but at times when we over think things we end up second guessing our ability to make it happen. Life is only as good as your mindset. The power that comes from your thoughts creates energy that can either push you to greatness or hold you back from it. Your way of thinking can alter you decisions. Trying to keep your thoughts positive can be difficult, if you’re feeling the world is falling down around you.

This is completely fine! It takes practice to be able to keep your mind level. In the moments where you’re feeling yourself slipping, try to think of the reason why you are doing what you’re doing. Our feelings can have an impact on the moves we make going forward. Taking a deep breath and giving yourself a little pep talk – believe it or not! – helps.

It’s all in your mind! You can lose that weight you’ve been trying to lose. You will pass that test you’re stressing yourself on. Train your mind to look at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty. A positive mind can get through anything.

Don’t you feel like once you get bad news or something goes wrong, everything from that point on has no meaning or value? When you feel like that, remind yourself about the things in your life that bring meaning, that bring value. Believe everything happens for a reason beyond your belief. That if something didn’t work out right now, it will eventually.

All the hard work that you put in to changing your life for the better doesn’t go unnoticed. Remember: not everyone – sometimes not even your own best friend! – will be happy for your success. In the long run, all the obstacles you overcome will only make you stronger and wiser. You won’t always see the benefit of all that you have done right away. Believe me when I say, at some point in your life you will!

Don’t compare yourself to others because some people get a head start or boost! There’s people like myself who had to figure it out all on their own. I will say the feeling of overcoming a hard point in your life and knowing that you managed to handle it, is AMAZING! You appreciate things more once you break a sweat for it.

Confidence has no competition! You should only compete to be a better you. Nothing is impossible … it always seems impossible until you get it done!