Category Archives: Rosalie’s Blog

9/11. 20 years later.

By Rosalie Tirella

VIETNAM WAR DOG
Another American hero! Our troops worked hard these past months to evacuate US canine soldiers, their partners and beloved friends … out of Afghanistan!

I remember, too, President Biden! That day and the days and months ahead when everything changed: War and more war. The surveillance state on steroids. Anti-Muslim sentiment. Gitmo. Water-boarding. “Rummy is Yummy” (and a liar)! Judith Miller reporting LIES in America’s premier newspaper. Beheadings and more beheadings. Filmed for all the world to see! Some great reporters lost in the fog of war – one beheaded on film, another’s Jeep riding over a homemade bomb. Those homemade bombs were hidden everywhere! Our soldiers had their legs and arms blown off. Seeing these young people on the TV news shows with their new, bionic limbs made me cry. Dick Cheney = Darth Vader = Bush’s Brain! Bush, so unyielding, so righteous in his folly. Condy Rice! She was beautiful and played the piano beautifully…as our boys and girls were warped by war. A volunteer military where only 1% of us serves. So we’re clueless about war, personally and as a country. … Sadam Hussain’s human meat grinders, his gold statues toppling … his tons of porn. Finally captured! Hiding in a tiny hole, underground, begging – arms raised as he surrenders – to live another day! Begging for mercy after he killed and tortured the “other” for decades. After he murdered thousands. After he urged his soldiers and followers to die rather than capitulate to America! He surrendered with bells on his toes! We did not blow his brains out. He was arrested and had a fair trial – and his people executed him.

It’s been a terrible 20! All the changes changing us!

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

I remember, too, President Biden!

Here’s to peace! Tranquility. Trumpless times! Pristine lakes and rivers. Big fat Polar bears with chubby cubs! Blue skies and clean air, here we come! Let’s embrace free community college for our working poor and universal Pre-K. We’re out of Afghanistan – let’s wallow in peace!

iStock_24290090_George-Clerk-400x208
Let’s save our planet!

https://youtu.be/raIUKhwQ-6s

New! 1 column from PETA; 1 from Rose

In the Canal District Talkin’ Trash!

By Rosalie Tirella

You’d think with thousands of people in the Canal District DAILY, the City of Worcester would have A PLAN TO EMPTY CD GARBAGE CANS DAILY … and maybe even hose down the streets a few times a week. There’s nothing quaint or easy peasy about the situation: It’s not a few paper cups tossed into a few trash receptacles. It’s heaping – we mean heaping – trash cans at the end of each and every day, overflowing onto Millbury, Water and Green streets’ sidewalks BECAUSE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE VISIT THE NEIGHBORHOOD DAILY! Thousands on weekends.

20210905_070337
Outside Bobby’s Hotel Vernon, Kelly Square! pics: R.T.

20210902_164737
Wah Wah Water Street!

20210902_101721
Millbury Street – outside the old Vernon Drug Store. Bring us a drugstore, CD poo bas! I remember my late mother buying us kids hot fudge sundaes at Vernon’s soda fountain! Bring us an old fashioned ice cream counter, CVS!!

20210905_070414
Outside the old Oscar’s Cleaners – now a laundromat but still owned by the Asadorian family.

20210905_070502
Millbury Street – outside the old Steeple Bumpsted’s. Remember their iconic tee shirts?

Why should it be on the Canal District’s small biz folks to do major garbage removal? THIS MESS IS SOMETHING FOR THE City of Worcester DPW department to tackle! – people with garbage trucks carrying working men/women with big muscles wearing those protective gloves. IT’S A JOB, not an afterthought. The biggest slob of them all: Bobby Largesse’s Hotel Vernon. He never empties the trash …

🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵

Americans deserve better: It’s time for new leadership at NIH

By Dr. Alka Chandna

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is our nation’s foremost medical research authority, charged with the lofty and admirable goal of seeking scientific knowledge to “enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.” But under the leadership of Director Francis Collins, the agency has repeatedly failed in this mission and squandered tens of billions in taxpayer money.

UC-Davis-Monkey-Lab-Redacted-Video-Screenshot-4-602x280
Stop needless animal testing! Hundreds of monkeys in labs, alone, isolated – living HORRIFIC LIVES!

UC-Davis-Monkey-Lab-Redacted-Video-Screenshot-2-602x281
Lots of animal research is not applicable to humans! STOP THE ANIMAL TORTURE – INCLUDING NEEDLESS INHUMANE TESTS ON SWEET MICE, BEAGLES AND GOLDEN RETRIEVERS!!!!

GEN-white+mouse-COI-JO

Collins’ apparent lack of interest in fostering scientific excellence and his inability to steer the agency toward innovative, cutting-edge research makes him ill-suited to lead NIH, and his continued occupation of the captain’s chair threatens to torpedo this country’s position as a world leader in scientific research.

It’s time to fire Francis Collins.

Collins’ reign at NIH, beginning in 2009, has been marked by an acute lack of vision. Inexplicably choosing to mine the dusty defeats of the past for future success, Collins has directed nearly half the agency’s taxpayer-funded budget of $41 billion toward cruel and senseless animal experimentation, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that animal studies seldom result in effective treatments and cures for human diseases.

Ninety percent of basic research — the kind that Collins loves and most of which involves animals—fails to lead to treatments for humans. A whopping 95% of pharmaceutical drugs that test safe and effective in animals are unsuccessful in human clinical trials. And in its strategic plan for 2016 through 2020, NIH actually acknowledged that “animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans.”

Yet, in spite of these clear failures, NIH just can’t seem to quit animal experimentation. At a workshop earlier this year, the institute discussed the well-documented difficulties of applying results from animals — including dogs, cats, monkeys, mice, rats, and rabbits — to humans. Its solution? Continuing to chase the unicorn, it settled on “better” animal experiments.

But Collins’ loyalty isn’t even to science or the health of Americans — it’s to the old methods and to his constituency, which is largely made up of animal experimenters. So our tax dollars are helping to prop up the animal experimentation industry. Myriad animal breeders and suppliers as well as companies that make everything from lab cages and equipment to kibble have found a good friend in Collins, who continues to provide for them with $19 billion a year.

That’s not just a waste of money and a waste of precious lives — it’s also a wasted opportunity. It’s endless suffering for those who desperately need new treatments that are left undiscovered. It is, at its core, poor leadership.

Collins has also refused to curb, or even acknowledge, the rampant negligence, cruelty, and repeated violations of federal law in his agency’s own animal laboratories.

From January 2018 to June 2021, 75 cases of serious animal welfare violations were documented in NIH’s Maryland laboratories. Animals suffocated, starved, and died of dehydration. They were injected with the wrong drugs and subjected to unapproved procedures. They became entrapped in parts of the equipment and died while frantically struggling to escape. One mouse burst into flames — yes, you read that right — when experimenters failed to notice that alcohol fumes had built up during a heat-generating surgery.

But not a word about any of that from Collins, who either doesn’t know or doesn’t care. Either way, it’s an indictment. That’s not how a leader leads.

NIH should be the world leader in cutting-edge scientific research. Squandering billions looking for solutions to this century’s problems with cruel 20th century methods is not leadership. Just the opposite. NIH needs a leader with vision, one who embraces the advancement of human-centric methods that can produce real-world remedies for human maladies. It’s what we deserve, and quite frankly, it’s what we’ve already paid for. Collins has had more than a decade to move NIH into the future. He has proved himself incapable. It’s time for someone new.

Alka Chandna is vice president of laboratory investigations cases at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.

CANAL DISTRICT FUTURE, PAST

BY Rosalie Tirella

Late last night – I should say super early this morning – I drove through my old stamping grounds, Green Island, now dubbed “The Canal District.”
20210905_063537
pics: R.T.

All the gentrifiers were fast asleep – it was 2 a.m. – but THERE WERE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE OUT – AND IN A CELEBRATORY MOOD! SCORES AND SCORES OF YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR OUT ON MY OLD STREETS. Hispanic kids, Black middle-aged ladies, Black men, Asian-American girls, most exquisitely dressed. Their gatherings were just getting started! On the corner of Harrison and Water streets a hundred or so 20-somethings, all impeccably coiffed, were hanging out in the street and parking lot; the autumn breeze was chilly to me but the kids were just chillin’: laughing, flirting, chatting. I drove into the scene smiling … Down on Millbury Street the old PNI Club was hosting a party with celebrants just heading out to their cars with gift bags. All folks of color. All looking lovely. A wedding party? A birthday bash? As a child my Polish relatives and their friends had held their wedding receptions at this PNI, at the end of our old Eastern European neighborhood, Green Island. The Polish bride was always pretty and wore white like she meant it! The Kielbasa was home made – smoked in a shed in Chicopee by her uncle. The pierogi were plenty and varied made by the chochi and Bapy’s who taste-tested a batch for lunch before bringing down their huge Tupperware containers filled with potato, blueberry, cheese, mushroom and meat pierogi. We danced and danced like the peasants we were – all polkas. And we sang Polish drinking songs, too. “MAY YOU LIVE ONE HUNDRED YEARS!!” It was a scene right out of THE DEER HUNTER.

20210905_063640
Rose’s old neighborhood

But last night, looking at the PNI, peering into the door way and seeing the Hispanic crowd all happy and danced-out with their trays of homemade food, I thought: HERE IS A NEW MOVIE. THEIR MOVIE. And I felt great about it.

Over on Harding Street, behind 3Gs sports bar, another group gathered. A bit more raucous than the other two …but I drove through it feeling safe. A hundred or so kids of color. It was their night, not this old lady’s.

The Canal District scene in day light is youngish blond bland girls, isolate, catty and hard. The boys their knights for the day with no fashion sense. This scene is difficult to take because Worcester is a majority-minority city, and there are usually two people of color in this Canal District day scene. You need money to attend most of their parties. They drive up the rents in my old ‘hood, and the old factories all have new windows. Their spacious, high-ceilinged, high-end apartment lofts now, not my Polish grandfather’s – Jaju’s – sweat shop.

I had a weird experience: an old biz pal put me up in his converted CD factory building. Now lofts and stained hardwood floors and painted beams. Beautiful. My pal is living proof of HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. He said my plight moved him, so he gave me respite, shelter from the storm. Simple as that – but oh the world to me!! His assistant showed me downstairs: WE HAVE A COURTYARD! she gushed. But as she opened the big glass door and I walked out into this cobble-stoned yard inside the factory with four high brick walls and no ceiling – just a square of sky – all around me – I winced. The building’s five stories high – and windows all lined in a row…heavy doors across the way. It felt like prison. I thought: THIS WAS THE SHOE FACTORY WORKERS’ “BREAK ROOM.” How awful. Jaju had one like this, I bet, in Douglas, at the textile mill he worked at. … A soft-spoken man who never questioned his lot in life, Jaju was stoic, but his son, my uncle, worked a summer off from Holy Cross college with his dad in the Douglas mill and told my mom: IT WAS LIKE WORKING IN HELL.

20210905_063801
Old Green Island factories: brandy new for the kiddos!

20210905_063807
Newly installed new windows …

The factory in the Canal District was built in the 1860s, pre-union, mostly exploitative piece work, pre-OSHA, too. Hundreds of men – immigrants from Europe like my Jaju – toiled all day in the room I had slept in! And now I stood in what I felt was a perpetually dark space, a controlled space, a trap, not a courtyard. It was where the guys smoked a few of the cigs that their daughters or sons had rolled for them the night before for work. Then it was back to toiling …

🌸🙌🌼🥟Just in from Rose …

I’m thinking today …

20210902_173107
Rose musing with mutts …

… about the differences between Worcester’s Canal District and the Boulevard Diner.

This a.m: at the entrance of the gentrified Canal District – a poor person’s seat/home at the Peanut (I miss my ICONIC, SAFER, SLOWER Kelley Square!):
20210903_115350
At the Peanut …

20210903_115358
😡

Except for Father Madden and Bill Riley at St. John’s Church on Temple Street, most Canal District denizens shun the homeless, push for their ouster.

But travel a few blocks down and enter Shrewsbury Street where you have the Boulevard Diner, a place where homeless folks always get a free cup o’ Joe and sandwich. Staff even built a community food pantry-shed – take a staple or snack, leave one … And this afternoon: PAINT IT LOUD AND PROUD: DINE AT THE BOULEVARD DINER ON SHREWSBURY STREET! The historic diner gets rechristened! Nice job!
20210903_120559
The Boulevard Diner…today!

20210903_120547
🙂

20210903_120536
💚

– text+photos by Rosalie Tirella

At the Millbury lake: soldier’s gone fishin’!

By Rosalie Tirella

20210828_150625
Rose, Jett, Licac…with open hand.

What were the odds of our paths crossing? … Mine and the soldier dad’s. The day after the Kabul suicide bombers detonating themselves in a blood bath of body parts so that the ISIS-K gunmen could feel empowered and plunge into the swelling crowd of US soldiers and thousands of Afghani people to finish the job. To aim the muzzles of their AK47s willy nilly, blowing up babies, tearing toddlers’ arms off, ripping old men’s faces to the bone, shooting out the hearts of young women, virginal and some beautiful. And killing our American military men and women – American soldiers, USA warriors and protectors … “Kids” to me, an old lady.

Our American “kids” were doing all the right things at the Kabul airport: cuddling babies, offering bottled water to young women in ankle-length dresses overcome by the garbage, dessert heat, desperate pleas all around them …sitting dazed in the desert sands. Some American soldiers were photographed by the news agencies holding young boys’ hands as they led them inside the airport to the planes, planes that could hold an entire Afghan village!

Maybe this Millbury soldier had held his little boys’ hands as they embarked on a plane to fly to Disneyland … perhaps. I’m in Millbury, sitting on a rock at the edge of a pond, looking at the soldier dad, a US soldier – active duty – imagining … He is teaching his two little boys to fish at the muddy mouth of the little pond this August afternoon. He’s with HIS Dad, who’s 67 and a Millbury native, a blue collar guy recalling when you could buy a cup of coffee in town for 50 cents and none of the gourmet bakeries with their $5 cupcakes had yet moved in. He’s the gentle hand, smiling, pulling out his smart phone to take pictures of his grandsons with their catches dangling from their fishing rods – the rods are kiddie sized but totally functional. I wince as I watch the kivers flap listlessly in the sun, their green-yellow scales twinkling in the sunlight.

I notice the soldier son has bulging, well defined calf muscles and biceps; his shoulders are wide and lightly sculpted. He wears his shorts, tee shirt and sneakers like a uniform. His shorts are perfect, with creases in front; sneakers spotless, tee shirt smooth and pristine looking. His baseball cap is not soft and faded like some guys’ – it’s stiff and white looking. A bit nerdy. His cap hides the top half of his face – so he seems expressionless as I continue to search for his eyes.

“They [President Biden] thought this [withdrawal] through their third [hole],” he just said. He sounded disgusted. Fed up. You could tell he hated President Joe Biden and probably voted for Trump (both times). You could tell he expected only incompetence from Biden and cabinet. He was curt to me, dismissive of my small talk. Earlier he had said: I’m regretting the move back. I was away for ten years. We should have stayed in Colorado. But I’m back. In Massachusetts.” He said “Massachusetts” like he was spitting out one his sons’ earthworms.

“Too liberal for you?” I said. Then, making things worse: “You know, I’m a liberal Democrat and I run a little lefty paper in the city, but even I think Biden screwed up! And I support our soldiers! You can be a progressive Democrat – a liberal- and still support our troops!”

The soldier dad was unimpressed with my patriotism and continued to bait the fish hook at the end of his older son’s line…the boy wasn’t putting the hook into the worm right. The soldier seemed unhappy. He was sharp with his boys – giving orders to them, judging them for just wanting to loosen up a bit and goof off fishing. But he made them stand at the end of the lake with purpose…they didn’t dare leave their fishing posts. I sensed he loved them but was demanding a seriousness that three year olds lack. His littlest boy seemed sheepish. The soldier dad didn’t raise his head once to look at me, but he did mention something about “this end of the lake getting crowded” and maybe they should decamp and move up a ways.

From me, I guessed.

Which made me clap enthusiastically as his three year old caught his first ever kiver. YAY! YAY! HOORAY! I said. GOOD JOB! And I clapped my old veiny hands and clapped and clapped. This pleased the little boy to no end who now smiled at Jett my cute lil’ Husky mix. Jett was excited, too – he couldn’t take his eyes off the semi-circle of a fish flapping on the end of the little boy’s fishing hook. Jett had caught and killed a snake in the Millbury Dog Park the day before; the hunter in him was roused.

The little boy seemed to bask in my praise – over-the-top because his Dad had treated him so like a little soldier – scolding him for muddying his sneakers by the water’s edge, directing him to walk away from the water so he could clean off his sneakers and re-tie the laces, even though they had never come undone.

As I turned to focus on Jett, the little boy squealed: I WANT A WORM!!! He shouted mightily into the summer sky. Dad put one on his hook and the little boy giggled at me – he had gotten my attention! I watched him, with the help of his strong soldier Papa, pull the rod back and then flick it forward so the little plastic ball that acted as a buoy landed out a ways in the lake. Everybody watched it – the fish hook wasn’t far off – to see if a fish would tug at the worm. Grandad had taken a photo of the little boy and his first catch of the afternoon. Seeing his pretty fishy hanging lifeless from the line, the little boy, worried, sweet and good hearted like all babes in the woods, yelled to his father: “Can we put him back?” I wanted to hug him and shout: YES! YES, WE CAN! LET’S! But I knew Dad would be against it – and be angry with me for softening his son. So I shut my mouth.

The soldier dad’s tightness stayed there with us all at the lake. Not even his good sons could make him smile. Maybe he was hiding his pride and happiness. Or was it marital strife that made him act so determined at the pond surrounded by kivers, kids, silly Jett? Military training? Massachusetts? All of the above? I loved his little boys but wanted to leave. He was too oppressive. I said goodbye to the boys and grandpa. Soldier son went right on baiting his sons fishing hooks, ignoring me. I could tell he was thinking: Chatty, opinionated, liberal old broad. FROM MASSACHUSETTS.

But his 3 year old looked back at me and gave us a weak smile. I could tell he still wanted Jett, me and Lilac around, but he’s got to be the brave soldier … and eventually learn to have fun on his own. Maybe he’ll grow up to be a vegan.

ON THE ROAD WITH ROSE

1. OUTSIDE THE BOX

BY ROSALIE TIRELLA

20210814_204443
Jett. pics:R.T.

The magical hour of our journey. Jett seems to thrive in this in-between world. He loves to look out the car window and see the city lights at night …the world rolls by his blue eye and his brown eye and he’s curious. My little husky mix loves jumping on a just made bed and soaking up the air conditioning while I unpack our gear and turn the TV on to Turner Classic Movies. He meets all kinds of people who pat his geriatric head, and the little kids love his tail that always curls up like a little flag. At 14 1/2 years old, this is Jett’s last great adventure. With me and Lilac, of course!

A few of my friends are going their own way, too – and liking it. They’re way past caring what the world thinks of them. They are wise, know the score. They’re fine with being untethered, unfettered …at 60! We don’t give a da*n what you think of us! Freedom, baby! Freedom! It’s addictive!

Dorrie just bought herself a camper and told me she’s “glamping” in Barre and having a terrific time. Just Dorrie and her dogs in nature. No pesky people, no city stress…she left it all behind in her gorgeous Victorian in Worcester, which she plans to sell. Was it Emerson who urged us to: “Simplify, simplify, simplify” ?
…Dorrie’s friend is sailing up and down the East Coast in a smallish boat with her boyfriend. Their home? Their boat – and wherever they drop anchor for the night.

Is it COVID that has made us brave? Has liar Trump catapulted us into honesty? Has our dying planet made us want to live Hendrix’s lyrics? “Excuse me while I kiss the sky!!!”

My cousin – 61 – just became a dad. For the first time. He and his young wife have left their cottage in Western Mass and are “bouncing around” Massachusetts, their two-month baby in tow … along with their two little dogs. When we talked on the phone they were heading to their motel. My cousin left his great job at the hospital to focus all his attention on his new born baby whom he adores and can’t stand being apart from for more than two minutes. Maybe the nurses at work found this irresponsible, just “dropping out” like that. But my cousin has never sounded giddy on the phone. These days, at 61, with two hip replacements and his finances thrown to the wind, he sounds positively giddy!

And me, meeting Worcester County in a more personal way, seeing so many more people than I normally would … talking with strangers and learning their stories. Seeing the pain and seeing how we try to transcend the pain. Brave souls, me included! And wanting to write it all down …

2. PUPS AND HOME

BY ROSE T.

The early bird catches the dog park. Jett and Lilac love their romps (twice daily) in the park, though Lilac is getting a bit clingy. She seems extra protective of me these days. My smart girl.

20210810_171728
🏵🌸

I am more Jett – hyper and in-the-moment. Lilac is more thoughtful, almost wise. I think she dreams “HOME”! A few months ago, when I picked up some blankets and afghans from our old apartment on Blackstone River Road- and smelled their gameiness with a frown – Lilac wagged her tail furiously, dove onto the blankets which I had thrown onto the floor, and she rolled in them, reveling in the smell of our old apartment: HOME. This made me cry.

Lilac had seen the truth, our situation for what it is. Jett and I couldn’t have cared less about the ratty afghans. I think that’s because I have lived in crappy apts my whole life- and am unsentimental about all of them.. And for Jett, he adores me – really really loves me. I am the apple of his ice blue eye. To him, my beloved husky husky mix, ROSE = HOME. Rose is where his heart is. Lilac is attached, too, but not as intensely. With Jett it’s a primal thing. His mistress Rose is with him, so he is complete. He is Home.

Another discovery: seeing a city unfold its wings in the early morning. The truckers rousing in the DD parking lot…the homeless walkers stopping to put their knap sack and bags on the sidewalk – to repack, reorganize … take stock of their stuff. Important stuff. The new day lifts spirits…I go to the grocery store for fresh fruit and seltzer water. And to pee. I see my face in the big mirror by the door: I am old.

3. WEIRD STUFF AND YWCA EMPATHY

BY ROSE T.

Another night (saw a quasi fight break out at McDonald’s), another day (stay safe out there, all you traveling souls!) in my life …
Weird. In happier times I’d never think to wear cut-off blue jean shorts or buy a hamburger at McDonald’s special for Jett and Lilac. I feel guilty about doing both – so not me – but these trying days have made me do weird stuff.

Weirder still: I’ve just come to realize how few truly empathetic people are out there. The listeners. The soul soothers… You apply to SMOC, WCAC – Worcester’s premier social service agencies – re housing and your dire straights and…they do nothing. SMOC’s Chris Orcutt, the directors of WCAC barely acknowledge you, never return calls … But your gas station-owner buddy rises to the occasion- listens, hears you, gives that extra treat to the dogs…comes up with an apartment lead. While pumping gas. Always looks cute; these days his handsomeness is rounded with gentle concern when he talks with you. And last week he went out of his way to try to repair my jalopy so as to not slow us down

… Or take the front desk lady at the YWCA last night …A Hispanic lady sitting at the brandy new desk in the remodeled YWCA lobby. I was feeling grubby …needed a shower. I shower every day – to music courtesy of WUMB.ORG.

Making the shower ask is uncomfortable. Abby’s House is anti-dog. So are my relatives! Friends were busy with their Saturday nites. …But when I presented my hygiene conundrum to the front desk lady at the YW, she knit her brows and right away began working the problem. No, I wasn’t a Y member. Yes, I was smelly. Yes, I had toiletries. No, she didn’t have a towel to give me…And yet she moved quickly, talked with the maintenance girl and found me a family shower to shower in. I brought my make up and bath kit…laid out creme rinse, pretty soaps from Dorrie and had a luxurious shower at the YW at Salem Square last night. I dried my hair. Put on deodorant. Slathered on the moisturizer. Ahhh…

Now I could face the world with a modicum of confidence. Thank you, YWCA shower angel!
20210819_172217
On the road …

4. RED LIPSTICK AND BULKIES

BY ROSE T.

When the going gets rough, the tough get going … to the makeup display corner to buy red lipstick. Pretty tube. Nice rose-red color. No brush necessary – apply straight from the bullet.

20210822_073758
💄💄💄💄

20210822_073740
💄💄💄💄

I’m in the Canal District, wearing my new red lipstick, but forget about the kiss – CRAVING a Widoff’s bulkie! Right now! The hot pillowy rolls just bought from Widoffs! For my mom on Lafayette Street! After Sunday mass …with my kid sisters and all the city’s church goers …now cued up in the bakery, holding tight to their snippets of paper with numbers on them- the ones they pulled out of the red dispenser when they entered Widoff’s. The counter girls – pretty kids from our high schools – will yell out your number and then it’ll be your turn to shout over the crowd of customers: 1 dozen bulkies – seeded!

Then the walk home…me eating a so soft, hot bulkie, torn in half, no butter (that’s for home) but still melt in your mouth delicious! Its poppy seeds are stuck between my teeth…I’ll eat two more, buttered, at home! This one’s for the road! My sisters will eat theirs at the kitchen table like good girls.

That’s what I’m missing now. Home in that wonderful Widoff’s Sunday Morning Scarfing Down a Bulkie after Mass.

Now we’ve got pot shops, hookah shops, tattoo shops, tapioca balls …in Widoff’s place. Instead of Lederman’s and Widoff bakeries and their tremendous freshly made bulkies, today I see some stupid hookah supply place with its big ugly hookah pipes – not bulkies!!! – in the display window! Lederman’s is now home to some ridiculously trendy exercise joint and a bo bo shake shack that I don’t evenunderstand. Never see any customers.

20210822_073507
Water Street

20210822_073445
Wistful for Lederman’s Bakery (and Widoff’s, right across the street!)

Miss my bulkies!

At Elm Park – Check out ART IN THE PARK!

I don’t want to give too much away, but check out a few of the new COOL SCULPTURES in Elm Park. The ART IN THE PARK installation, after missing a year during Covid-19, pre-vaccine, is back! Better than ever! With the walkers out walking and the pups excited to sniff new territory, Sunday morning begins …

20210815_070244
😊

20210815_065937
😊

20210815_070113
😊

20210815_070203
😊

And smiled at Dr. Morse’s STROLL MARKER … Such a gentle, sweet man – so passionate about public health and keeping Worcester healthy. Loved visiting Dr. Morse on Meade Street – Dr. Morse was old school – dressed in a suit and tie for work … unfailingly polite, so willing to take the time to explain the health issues. Ahead of his time … miss an ol’ ally:
20210815_070034
❤❤❤❤❤❤
– text/pics: Rosalie Tirella

Kelley Square Field of Dreams

By Rosalie Tirella

20210808_200538
Rose, this week: driving by an “American tune”

Baseball can be so corny.

I guess that’s why we love it.

No matter how much teeth-grinding I engage in over the Kelley Square stadium being the final nail in the gentrification-coffin of my old beloved neighborhood, Green Island, I love driving by the ballpark just before game time and seeing the dads, uncles and big brothers leading the little boys in their lives into the stadium … down Green Street, up Madison Street, across Harding.

The little boys are four and five years old, and their tiny hands are engulfed in Dad’s big, reassuring paws because there is a ton of traffic. The boys are walking all jangly, half running!, as they strive to match the pace of the man-heroes in their lives – pops, big brothers and granddads taking them to their first baseball game! Invariably, they are in classic little boy uniform: soft blue jeans, sneakers that you can hold in the palm of your hand, a small cotton tee shirt (blue, green – often older – ready to catch the mustard and ketchup from clumsily held Coney Island hot dogs ). A baseball cap, often on askew, “caps off” this all-American picture as the little boy hustles down the street with the tall grown-ups, part of the baseball parade – women, teenaged girls and their beaus, old timers – that is winding its way to the baseball park.

Always, as I watch this scene from my car (idling in traffic on Green Street), I smile. I’m oblivious to the traffic jam I’m in! A few times, a few tears have rolled down my cheeks.

Baseball …

https://youtu.be/Ug4bsd4LqqM

WORCESTER’S SCHOOL DAZE

By Rosalie Tirella

Working on our September CECELIA. Here’s our August issue …
20210803_102429
💐

… and me:
20210803_102623
📕📒📘

… Can you believe it’s really BACK TO SCHOOL as in BACK IN SCHOOL? Yay! No excuses this school year, WPS Superintendent Binienda! So many low-income Worcester kids have lost precious learning time; upper-middle class kids have the educated parents and resources to weather this storm … a once in a century global pandemic.

The City of Worcester must mandate that all its teachers and teachers aides – all school staff – be vaccinated. Or be tested for COVID daily! STOP THE SPREAD!

But the new Delta variant is insidious, wicked contagious. You can be fully vaccinated and still contract DELTA COVID! It’s a rare occurrence – you can have no or mild COVID symptoms – but you still carry the same FULL Delta viral load as the unvaccinated do. You become the super-spreader!This is all surreal, right out of a dystopian sci fi short story – and brought on by us stupid stupid humans – desecrating and trashing our Mother Earth and her animals. So now it’s Mama Earth’s time – COVID, WILD FIRES, FLOODING …THE PLAGUE!! The rebalancing of the scales. THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF US SELFISH HUMANS?

So the gesture seems miniscule…the City of Worcester tries to get things right. Too late? But let’s honor each other and the earth: the WPSchools should open with the science we have … all WPS staff fully vaccinated and following Boston and Springfield’s lead: mandate all WPS staff and students wear facial masks while in school.

On mankind’s horizon: a new UK COVID strain. It doesn’t react to our COVID vaccines the way the other COVID viruses did – it remains pretty much unaffected by the shot/s.

Now what? Develop a new vaccine? Tweak the ones we’ve got?

Tragedy strikes the rich and mighty – we humans may finally get what we’ve deserved for eons.

Face the Changes

By Rosalie Tirella

Can you believe it? The only person to enter our SPIN THE GREEN ISLAND contest and answer all but two questions correctly – adding even more names, more dates to the neighborhood lore – is LORR-AINE LAURIE, the “Mayor of Green Island.” Miss Laurie – who wrote a little history on the old neighborhood as an undergrad at Anna Maria College – not only knew who the manager of the old Supreme Market was (Bill) – she told us Sid owned the Millbury Street hotspot. Lorraine wins the $100 cash grand prize.

20210711_120930
Lorraine, left, holding her favorite newspaper. photo: R.T.

Speaking of hot spots, that’s what my old neighborhood has become: the city’s entertainment hotspot. Worcester’s party mecca. Fun, fun, fun. I drove through the re-branded “Canal District” last night and realized, with a wince, that the branding took: there were THOUSANDS of people drinking, eating, congregating (Delta COVID breeding ground here we come!) in the bars and pubs, attending the Woo Sox game. Hundreds and hundreds of vehicles stashed in over-priced parking lots and jammed into every square inch of street. Everyone was white and had money – except for the homeless people camped out around St. John’s Church, sleeping in sleeping bags in nooks outside the rectory. I saw two Black people – one was a homeless guy sleeping on the concrete outside of St. John’s – and zero Latinos, unless you count the folks working at the restaurants. Back of the house.

I drove through my old stamping grounds last night, dumbfounded. Befuddled. Bummed out. It was a different world from the racially, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood of my childhood and teen years. All the working-class grit was gone. All the paint stores and fabric shops and kids shoe stores and Catholic school nuns – poof! Evaporated! Not a trace of them and their quirky world views – and pain. And happiness. I saw how definitively Allen Fletcher and his gentrifiers had won – and how badly Lorraine Laurie and I had lost.

No, Lorraine, the neighborhood will never get a supermarket! No, Lorraine, we’ll never get a CVS or Walgreens – a real drugstore where people can by shampoo on sale or get their prescriptions filled. And no, Lorraine, we’ll never get a fully manned, operational bank branch like the old Mechanics Bank on Millbury Street of the 1960s and ’70s, with its polite and professional tellers who gave us kids lollipops when we went with Ma every Friday so she could cash her check from the dry cleaners. Once – long after the bank branch had closed – my sweet and very poor mother had to cash a big check: that big crook GOLEMO, owner of the dumpy mouse-infested Golemo’s Market on Millbury Street, charged her SEVENTY DOLLARS!

So Fletcher and his ilk failed us. I knew they would. You were naive, Lorraine. Duped by their charming manners and endless pointless meetings with dessert and finger foods and hot coffee in cool cafes. You thought you were being heard but your voice was being muffled. You were being hustled by hyper-educated, well spoken millionaire HUSTLERS. So the poor will continue to go unheard and be exploited in our old neighborhood, Lorraine.

Congrats on your $100 prize.