Lorraine Laurie and D-4 City Councilor Barbara Haller …

By Rosalie Tirella

… are picking up the Santa Suit this afternoon (and some of the folks) for the lighting of the Kelley Square Christmas Tree later today!

Yes, once again District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller proves to be … well, herself … quietly doing the right thing for the ‘hood.

Barb will be gathering up Green Island neighborhood activist Lorraine Laurie at 3:30 p.m. Together, they will pick up the Santa suit and then drive around D-4 to round up folks for the festivities at Kelley Square, which start around 5:30 p.m. State Rep. John Fresolo will also be there. Wagon rides and resfreshments will round out the fun event.

Sorta wistful for me. This is Haller’s last time leading the Green Island holiday festivities (with Lorraine) while wearing her District 4 City Councilor hat.

Things change. I grow wistful …

Years ago (10) when I first started InCity Times, Lorraine told me to visit St. Mary’s Elementary School on Richland Street and talk with the principal, an ancient (very nice, if by the books) nun who ran St. Mary’s – and the school’s Christmas Tree annual ornament contest. Her assistant principal, also a very old nun (they must have been in their late 70s/early 80s) was also on hand. Together – thrilled to get press – the old women (one of them with a limp) took me to a few classrooms. The kids were all busy making their Christmas ornaments for the Kelley Square tree. The nuns were serious about this and so were their young charges – quiet, focused, just the way I remember the old St. M’s when my two kid sisters attended the Polish/Catholic grammar school. The students’ Christmas ornaments would go up on the Kelley Square Christmas Tree! The creators of the three or so best looking works of art would be awarded prizes!

Everyone was excited!

Well, the nuns are gone. A “civilian” is head of St. Mary’s now. And (of course, why make the extra effort?) there is no longer a school-wide Kelley Square Christmas tree ornament contest. No sparkly, felt-covered, paper-plate-enhanced and styrofoam-ball-glued trinkets for the Kelley Square Christmas tree. (though there will be plenty of lights)

Sometimes the past – wrapped in elderly nuns wearing their black and white habits – and their old fashioned desire to do the right thing – evaporates right before your eyes.

Then there is D-4 City Councilor Barb Haller. Haller didn’t win re-election. This has broken my heart, too. I believe this is a huge loss for D-4, the Worcester City Council and the City of Worcester. Haller has done so many great things for D-4 – without fanfare, without asking for credit. Quietly and with focus Barb, has made us a better place.

This is her last “official” stint as Kelley Square Christmas Tree cheerleader (avec Lorraine, of course!).

Things change …

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