Tag Archives: CECELIA

DRONE TIME!

By Rosalie Tirella

Snack time…

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Jett and Lilac. photos: R.T.

… thinking about drones. So it’s drone time around here, too! I’m thinking it’s not enough that our faces, bodies and voices are captured 24/7 on miscellaneous cell phones – hand-held and sophisticated … or mounted store cameras and apartment complex cameras, city hall cameras, motel cameras, hotel cameras and barroom cameras or gas station cameras, traffic light cameras, school building cameras, corridor cameras, car dashboard cameras, public library cameras, college campus cameras, elevator cameras, office building cameras, your roommate’s cameras, your bank’s cameras, your drugstore’s cameras, your supermarket’s cameras, your dog park’s cameras, your next door neighbors’ cameras, your McDonalds and DD’s cameras…let’s bring on the flying kind, too! The real smart ones! The kind that can seek you out to take your picture! Not smart enough to bomb you to hell, like the ones being used by the Ukranian military – American-made and making a difference in the war – but just smart enough, if you close one eye, to take away your last strands of dignity.

Our proposed Worcester drones – which our city manager looks to approve – are supposed to help us. Flying over tree tops or Jordan Levy’s apartment complex, they’re supposed to make our city a better “community”: tracking down runaway boys or abducted girls or the old guy with Alzheimer’s who’s walked away from the nursing home grounds … or a bank robber, gun-wielding and desperate.

But helping the homeless? To scan a dog park or a homeless encampment and to take a photo. Of what? Of a dog shit*ing? Or a homeless person shi*ting? Of a dog chasing a ball? Or a homeless guy scratching his balls? In the woods where he thinks he’s got privacy, like the dog in the dog park. But he doesn’t.

This could get sticky.

What about the homeless lady taking a discrete pee on the outskirts of the homeless camp – or just on the edge of the woods where she sleeps with her boyfriend, wrapped in big comforters, covered in nylon sleeping bags. I once saw a homeless couple greet the day after spending the night on the Worcester Common – yards away from the City Manager’s Office in Worcester City Hall. Would a drone have alerted City Manager Ed Augustus to the two people stretching out from under their blankets, raising their thin white arms in the thin sunlight of dawn, with 40 cents between them? Would the drone have scooted them away from City Hall to a less conspicuous sleeping spot? Or would the drone have given them $5 bucks for coffees?

Would the few rotten apples in the police department or City Hall watch a homeless couple having sex in the woods? Hugging in the woods? Fighting in the woods? When to step in? How do you monitor a relationship between two people on the edge? What right have you to butt in?

I don’t mean to drone on and on, but I’ve seen how City Manager Ed Augustus has handled the homeless of Worcester, without the potential of drone-cruelty: he’s handled our most bereft carelessly, thoughtlessly, cruelly. With garish lights turned on bright in the Green Street tunnel, with manufactured work sites magically popping up in the exact same spots where the homeless are sleeping along Millbury or Green streets. With proposed city ordinances ordering the homeless to stop begging for money on street corners or highway off ramps. Or else it’s jail for you!!! Or simply by placidly sitting on the city’s federal COVID funds and refusing to use the money to build tiny home villages or communal camps for the homeless. To alleviate suffering. The federal COVID money was earmarked for this country’s neediest! It is supposed to be used to help underserved communities in all American cities and towns.

Worcester cops and DPW guys do Ed’s dirty work for him. The cops come to identify the problem, then the City of Worcester QUALITY OF LIFE trucks drive down to collect the homeless folks’ gear, like old sleeping bags and backpacks stuffed with a change of clothing, and the city guys throw them into the back of the old truck like garbage. They call it the city’s Quality of Life team, but they’re not thinking about the homeless person’s quality of life if they’ve just stolen everything that person needs to live their his or her life, fragile and frail and wispy as it is. City Manager Ed Augustus will do anything to push the city’s street homeless out of our city woods, our sidewalks, our parks …

Why give Ed a drone?

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Worcester’s Bell Hill. Make it a real tiny home – with heat!

We may save the earth – but not in leather shoes!

By Ingrid Newkirk

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Ingrid with some friends

… The United Nations has just warned that we must slash greenhouse-gas emissions by 43% by 2030 and reach peak emissions before 2025 at the latest — or time will be up and the game will be over.

With the stakes so high, it’s easy to feel despondent. But if governments won’t act, we can, and individual acts do add up, as surely as individual bubbles create a pot of boiling water. Here’s one often overlooked, simple action among many that does make a difference: Ditch leather.

Leather is an extremely lucrative coproduct of the meat industry, which is one of the world’s biggest polluters and contributors to the climate catastrophe. Animal agriculture — of which leather is an integral part — is responsible for nearly one-fifth of all human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions.

Clearing land to raise animals and grow crops to feed them is a leading cause of deforestation, including 80% of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. A report released late last year by the conservation group Stand.earth linked more than 100 fashion brands to Amazon deforestation via their leather supply chains. Brazil supplies more than 20% of the world’s total leather exports, making it the single largest source of animal hides.

And remember the admonition not to waste water? Well, animal agriculture uses a massive amount of water, contributing to droughts and the spread of wildfires, and the chemical- and waste-laden runoff from factory farms poisons our waterways — killing fish, creating algal blooms and potentially spreading disease.

Formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives and various oils, dyes and finishes — some of which are cyanide-based — are used to prevent animals’ skin from rotting in the buyer’s closet.

PETA Germany investigated the billion-dollar leather industry in Bangladesh and found child workers soaking hides in harmful chemicals. Its investigators visited the poor residential district of Hazaribagh in Dhaka, where 15,000 laborers toil in more than 200 tanneries. Workers stand barefoot in toxic chromium effluent and handle acids and bleaches that can cause chronic skin diseases, respiratory conditions and cancer. According to the World Health Organization, 90% of workers in Hazaribagh’s tanneries will die before they’re 50. And the scene is repeated along India’s waterways and elsewhere.

And then there are the animals. More than 1.4 billion cows, goats and sheep — and millions of other animals — are killed for leather every year.

Buying leather supports both slaughterhouses and factory farms — in which animals’ eyes and lungs burn from the reeking ammonia fumes emanating out of their own accumulated waste and they’re also castrated and dehorned without any painkillers.

PETA’s most recent exposé of the leather industry’s live export horrors revealed that after enduring a grueling journey halfway around the globe in filthy conditions and without sufficient food or water, some cows are so weak and sick that they no longer have the strength to stand up. So a crane is employed to hoist them up off the ship by one leg, which can cause excruciatingly painful joint dislocations and broken legs. At the slaughterhouse, the animals are often killed without even being stunned first: They’re pushed to the ground, sometimes they’re tied up and their throats are cut.

The good news is that there are many options that don’t subsidize violence and misery or destroy the environment. Today’s innovative vegan leather offerings are made out of everything from pineapple leaves and apple peels to cactus, cork and mushrooms. One creative company in India makes biodegradable leather out of discarded temple flowers that would otherwise end up in the Ganges.

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TOPSHOP VEGAN PLEATHER JACKET is so cute and doesn’t harm animals! DITCH LEATHER JACKETS!! BUY VEGAN!!!

According to the latest data from the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, a ranking system created by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, cow leather contributes more to global warming, water pollution, water depletion and greenhouse-gas emissions than any synthetic or plant-based vegan option.

Killing animals for their skin comes with the same environmental baggage as killing them for their flesh. Leather destroys the planet, kills animals and endangers workers. Why not embrace environmentally friendly and ethical fashion by going leather-free? Our earth really can’t wait any longer.
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DON’T TORTURE AND KILL THEM!!!! BUY PLEATHER AND OTHER VEGAN JACKETS, COATS, BOOTS, SHOES ETC!

1. City of Worcester garbage truck guy… 2. Lafayette Street auto body shop turns Lafayette Street into junkyard

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Two City of Worcester issues …

1. A few days ago: City of Worcester trash guy driving his huge city trash truck barrels into the Quinsigamond Village post office parking lot on Greenwood Street. The p.o. is closed. He leaves with his package, pictured below…and he tries to exit the parking lot by backing into Greenwood Street with his HUGE garbage truck, rather than drive the long way out. And he’s wearing his HIGH CRIME navy blue sweat shirt while on his City of Worcester job. Classy, City of Worcester, classy!

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City of Worcester garbage truck guy

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He tried to back his truck into busy Greenwood Street! But before that, he barreled through the Burlington/Price Chopper strip mall, in front of stores’ walk way filled with pedestrians and this street violinist who was entertaining shoppers:
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This violinist was “plugged in”!

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Beautiful music interrupted when garbage truck guy drives through the strip mall main road way, right by this violinist, with his multi-ton garbage truck! And a lot of pedestrians entering and exiting the strip mall’s stores!

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2. Green Island’s Lafayette Street is zoned residential/industrial, but a teeny auto-body shop has no right to overrun Lafayette Street with their cars and trucks – the vehicles their guys are working on! Talked with a neighborhood resident last week: the person said the business’ cars are perpetually parked on Lafayette Street. He has no place to park his vehicle! And he’s a resident!

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Lafayette Street 😢😢😢

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Rosalie grew up on Lafayette Street. There used to be a small sign shop where the sprawling auto body shop is. The sign shop guys were polite and stayed in the shop with their work. Today: disrespect for the neighborhood – and the City of Worcester does nothing about it.

Worcester Building and Housing Code Dept is located on Meade Street, two blocks away from this dump, yet the City of Worcester doesn’t ticket them or anything. The City of Worcester allows this business to turn an entire street, with its three deckers filled with families + kids, into its personal junk yard. This auto-body shop needs to move to bigger digs – not make Lafayette Street an extension of its biz with 20 vehicles parked outside its doors. Would City of Worcester Code Director Amanda Wilson or City Manager Ed Augustus allow this vile sh*t show to happen in their neighborhoods? The noise pollution. The air pollution. The sheer ugliness of the scene. Nope. This disaster usually happens – is allowed – in poor and/or minority neighborhoods. Because the neighborhoods have no clout. Because the politicians, their friends and family don’t live there.

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After we wrote about these guys the first time, they removed all their signs identifying their auto body shop. Pathetic.

Environmental justice now!

MOMS❤️

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose and her mom at Crompton Park, many years ago!

Mother’s Day…almost 10 years without a mom – my mom! Truth? The void hurts every day – not just on Mother’s Day. When I was a little girl I felt I had three moms! I felt so lucky! Three wonderful Polish women loved me – good, honest, resilient women nurtured me, encouraged me to read and write, be good and resilient, too. My aunt Mary, at the far left in the photo of the three St. Mary’s girls, was married to a school principal and made sure I got all the older books discontinued from my uncle’s school library: BORN FREE, Christmas song books with beautiful illustrations, books with illustrations of lambs on their cover – wreaths of flowers draped over their chubby necks. I thought the book title read: COME FLOWER ME! when it really read COME FOLLOW ME! (These days I like my first (mis)reading best.)

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Rose’s Aunt Mary, far left.

My other aunt, pictured here seated on the roof of The Block during a coming home party for my uncle, her brother, during WW II, was the trail blazer. She got her driver’s license and bought herself a car. She left home and became head housekeeper for the Bishop of Springfield. My mom said Aunt Lilly was a speed demon on the highway – and liked to drive with her shoes off, her right naked foot on the gas pedal, her left naked foot commandeering the brake pedal.

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Rose’s Aunt Lilly.

My mother looked to her older sisters for help in raising me and my two kid sisters since she didn’t have much of a husband, no car and very few resources. My two aunties stepped up! Aunt Mary’s husband, my Uncle Mark, took us – my mom, me and my sisters – to all our pediatrician appointments on Lincoln Street. He was always so wonderful to my mom and full of good cheer for us kids. He told corny jokes and laughed and kidded with my mother in Polish and in English. He too was first generation …both his parents came to America from the “Old Country.”

My mother was the baby sister of the family – the meek one who was underweight as a little girl and hospitalized. Ma used to say: “I can still see Bapy peeking out from behind the hospital curtain, looking at me, so worried about me.” Bapy had also been a good mother.

Often times Ma was clueless about getting us through stomach aches or soothing us to sleep. That’s when Bapy – my fourth mother! – came to the rescue with her block of white lard. Schmarluz we used to call it. Bapy, Ma’s Polish immigrant mother and my grandmother, lived with us and had a million opinions (pontificating in Polish for everyone in Green Island to hear) and a million and one solutions to every problem known to mankind. Her mom died in Poland when Bapy was only five. Her father, whom she loved dearly, remarried. But Bapy’s stepmother was cruel: beating Bapy and making her do all the work on their farm in Poland – including raising her younger siblings.

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Aunt Lilly, left, and Bapy

Bapy had a short fuse – but a big heart. Her love for all animals – my white hamster Joy, Mr. Ed the horse on TV, our cat Jimmy, later our dog Belle – was all encompassing. All our pets loved Bapy best, the dogs sleeping at her fat misshapen feet and the cat drowsing on the left arm of her beat-up old arm chair – parked at the head of the kitchen table where Bapy could see all the action of our poor little household.

Bapy would tear a piece of lard from that big block of lard and smear it all over my naked body – focusing on my stomach. What a relaxing, fragrant rubdown. My stomach ache went away and I smelled like a basted turkey.

Motherhood – the poor kind, sometimes the best kind …

Forsythia

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the gorgeous forsythia. I have been snapping pictures of them wherever I go, getting out of my car to look at the butter-yellow flowerets up close.

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💕💕

Their yellow is so cheerful and full of zest…makes me smile. The flowers, running up and down strong slender branches are so touchable! A child could have her mother cut five or six branches for her teacher at school, wrap them in aluminum foil for a gift. For her desk, if the teacher has a pretty vase – and they always did when I was a little girl. The walk to school with the flower present, the wind blowing the child’s hair and forsythia, the child’s occasional caress. In the classroom her classmates’ poking them would not disturb the forsythia too much.

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❤️

They are without fragrance, which makes me think: bush or flowering plant? I don’t know. I never bother to Google/ research flowers, as I want to experience them in the moment – the way a child would perceive them. I know that’s impossible, but I try. Too much information stored below my old cranium! I think lots of it is useless and detracts from the important stuff like the ecstacy of flowers.

I love all the forsythia I see on the road, but the abandoned forsythia bushes on the side of the road, by old stone walls where houses once stood – in city and country – these forsythia are the ones I love best! No one has bothered to crop their wild blond crowns with Home Depot hedge trimmers. Or doused them with fertilizer so they grow abnormally thick and fat. No, they are in a pretty natural state…and I love them when they grow wild and free, long slender branches reaching to the sky, the sunlight pouring through the same big spaces between the branches. The forsythia look like a crowd of rowdy concert goers – all arms raised, together, hoping to touch the kaleidescopic lights and meet YES band mates after the concert.

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Rose’s favorite

They’ve struck a chord with me, that’s for sure. I’m remembering how they were all over the Green Island of my childhood – before it became all industrial wasteland or the Canal District, part 2. I remember how they signaled SPRING to me and how fun it was to walk down Lafayette or Grosvenor or Millbury streets and see them peeking out of backyards – or lining the grassy triangle of the City parking lot right outside the dry cleaners on Millbury Street. My mom worked at the dry cleaners for decades, as a counter girl, and I was always a little jealous of her view: loads of tall, yellow bushes just beaming sunshine on an already sunny person. My mom was a single working mom raising three girls and caring for her elderly mother, my Bapy, back home on Lafayette Street. She may have stumbled now and then beneath her heavy load but she was a happy person. She loved her mom and adored her three girls – the lights of her life. So often, after Prov Jr. High or even Lamartine Street School, I’d visit my mom at work and see her lugging piles of dirty laundry or working the old cash register on the Formica counter top or reaching into her vest pocket for her pen and little pad of white note paper to make a note. I’d look out at the forsythia, just a few yards away from Ma, and feel happy. It was springtime. My mother and the forsythia were spring!

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🙂

CONGRESSMAN JIM MCGOVERN VISITS UKRAINE 🇺🇦🇺🇸🇺🇸

By Rosalie Tirella

Respite this a.m. …

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❤️

A reassuring respite with our Congressman Jim McGovern! This morning McGovern was a guest on the MSNBC MORNING JOE news TV show. And he was pure Worcester! Everyone else on the popular cable TV show looked so polished, lacquered and botoxed. Not a hair out of place. Every implant (boob and tooth) safe and secured. Designer eyeglass frames scintillating under the lights. But our Jim sweated sweat droplets under those hot TV lights! He looked different from the TV hosts and other guests. He looked real, “average” in the best sense of the word! Like my Uncle Stan used to look on a Sunday morning at church. Modest. Serious. Totally grounded in the day to day. America’s every man.

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Congressman Jim McGovern🇺🇸

Jim has just returned from his trip to Ukraine, part of a congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The group met with Ukraine President Zelensky – for THREE HOURS! – to show American support for the brave Zelensky and all Ukranians and to learn more about Ukraine’s needs – and dreams. A SOVEREIGN UKRAINE!!

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Putin has murdered thousands of Ukranians and destroyed their country!

On MORNING JOE Jim repeated the Dems’ talking points, but he was passionate when he insisted on stopping the killing of Ukrainian children, babies, women, old people … stopping the rapes, the starvation, the leveling of modern-day Ukranian cities … When asked about his impressions of Ukraine President Zelensky, McGovern said he was very impressed with Zelensky, with his mastery of all the facets of this awful war started by the Psychotic Putin.

But it was Jim’s tee shirt that made me smile this morning, got to me. …
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Jim: a human rights crusader for decades! pics: R.T.

That greyish tee shirt that peeked out from under his nondescript pale blue button-down shirt. A true undershirt. For all of America to admire! Because Jim wasn’t wearing a necktie, like all the other guys on MORNING JOE. Because didn’t care what he looked like on national television! It was all about alleviating Ukranians’ suffering. Jim’s whole TV outfit looked like a Mart special: average eyeglass frames (no contact lenses for McGovern!), nondescript (polyester-blend?) dark blue suit jacket; a pale blue, nondescript button-down shirt; and in place of a necktie, his drab tee shirt. Call it “sexy indifference.” More man than vain politician. More human being than vacuous TV show host. Kudos to Jim! He represented Worcester beautifully – the best part of all of us!❤️🙂

When the punishment encourages the crime

By Kathy Guillermo

Prediction: The winning jockey of this week’s Kentucky Derby will be fined for a whipping violation. I’m confident of this because there’s a huge financial incentive to break the rules.

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Horse racing: an inhumane “sport”! Photos: PETA

Jockey Frankie Dettori was fined $13,600 in March for “using the whip to excess” on the winning horse Country Grammer in the $12 million Dubai World Cup. In contrast, his 10% share of the first-place prize money was a whopping $750,000. The fine was just a token cost of doing business.

When Sam Waley-Cohen recently rode Noble Yeats to victory in the 2022 Grand National, he was banned for nine days and fined £400 for whipping violations. Had he not been an amateur jockey, he would have pocketed £50,000 to offset the paltry £400 fine.

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Many horses die every year due to injuries and doping – at all levels of American race tracks.

And when Victor Espinoza was fined $1,500 for whipping Express Train more than six times in the 2022 Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap to win by a head, his jockey’s winning share for that race was $39,000, so the $1,500 fine was a tiny fraction of his paycheck for that race. Espinoza is also known for hitting American Pharoah 32 times in the stretch of the 2015 Kentucky Derby, so he knows how to calculate the risks and rewards of relentlessly beating a horse.

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😢

Increasing fines and suspensions to make them commensurate with the prize money would be a start. But more must be done. Currently, only the jockey is held responsible. Trainers and owners can quietly tell the jockey to win at all costs and that they will cover any fines, and maintain their hefty overall profits.

Furthermore, proceeds from jockey fines and suspensions don’t reimburse the betting public, which is regularly bilked by the cheaters.

There is, however, a simple fix, and it’s only two letters: DQ.

Horses under jockeys who violate whipping rules should be disqualified. This means no prize money for the jockeys—and nothing for the trainers or owners, either.

Just as Maximum Security was disqualified in the 2019 Kentucky Derby for interference—a ruling that was made before any official finishing order was posted—whipping violations must also be adjudicated by stewards right away. They should review the number of strikes and any other potential whipping violations and take immediate action.

Making a quick decision on a whipping disqualification would also avoid situations such as the fiasco at last year’s Kentucky Derby, when Medina Spirit’s drug disqualification wasn’t official until months later. Bettors who put their money on the ultimate winner, Mandaloun, lost out. Winning money redistributed to trainers and owners months later doesn’t trickle down to the bettors.

Ultimately, and most importantly, this new policy would protect horses. We need deterrents for whipping infractions, not “encouragement”—racing’s euphemism for painfully striking a horse. With plummeting approval ratings of the sport, the last thing the racing industry needs is for egregious whipping to be penalized with only a slap on the wrist.

Churchill Downs should take preemptive action and establish disqualification protocols for whipping violations to avoid yet another shameful scandal on the first Saturday in May.

The former St. Vincent’s nursing school … senior housing today?

By Rosalie Tirella

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Vernon Hill: Can this part of the former St. Vincent’s nursing school provide Worcester seniors with much needed affordable housing? Pics: R.T.

The City of Worcester has dropped the homeless ball! Hope at least? Providence Street, on Vernon Hill – the Worcester Senior Center, which is now City of Worcester property (it used to be the St. Vincent’s Hospital nursing school) and a grossly underutilized HUGE SPACE with three seniors usually milling about and give City of Worcester staffers being useless and unhelpful.

Let’s make terrific use of THIS PART OF THE BUILDING, pictured. It’s slated to be CONVERTED INTO STUDIO APARTMENTS for seniors – affordable housing! Let’s do it ASAP! I see workers there, windows seems to have been changed out… Hopefully, the City is creating much needed affordable living space! Now! For older folks, not just for young families.

The rooms, pictured, used to be dorm rooms for the female nursing students. All young girls…18, 19, 20 …many recent St. Mary’s High School graduates. The pretty Polish girls with their long hair braided and hanging down their straight slim backs. No nonsense. The Catholic girls were proud of learning at another Catholic institution – St. V’s nursing school. They didn’t wear scrubs – they wore nurse in training uniforms (sheaths – not even skirts). White shoes. White tites. They looked perfect. I remember watching them as a little girl, from the Winthrop House Girls Club, across the street: There they’d be … Three or four of them, walking together…serious, pretty, crossing Providence Street to to go to the hospital, St. Vincent’s, to train to help people, save lives. Back then it was THE career for smart girls! … It was all so beautiful and serious on Vernon Hill, years ago …
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Millbury Street: many Worcester seniors and young people are homeless.

Rose on home and homelessness

Text and pics by Rosalie Tirella

Home …

End-of-the-day slice of pizza at Highland Street’s BOOMERS PIZZA. It’s pepperoni. They ran out of plain slices. Jett and Lilac got (most of) the pepperoni slices😉.

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BOOMERS PIZZA on Highland Street has the best pizza!

… Seeing I didn’t grow up in a cottage, a stand alone house that my family owned, I’m not too keen on houses. They always seemed like such a big responsibility. Apartments I like – they’re in the thick of city life – city “personified.” But lately, because of my situation I think, I’ve become sentimental about HOME. I am very interested in houses and porches and front yards … and the people who live there …

Driving by this little white house in Oxford today made me almost cry. Totally unremarkable house but it MOVED me! Made me all emotional! Why?!

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The Oxford house …

I think it was the front porch. The front porch with its ornate posts. Several posts with curly cue tops all lined up in a row. It felt vintage. It felt 1940s – mostly reminded me of the Jimmy Stewart Christmas movie IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, the scene outside Mrs. Bailey’s house – which looked a lot like this one in Oxford.

Ma and her grown son George Bailey, played by James Stewart, are outside, in front of their front porch. It’s night time and there’s a wedding reception/party going on inside – George’s younger brother Harry just got married to his college sweetheart and the whole town, Bedford Falls, is celebrating.

Except George. He is lagging behind Harry even though he’s a smarter, wiser, finer person. The scene is very sweet – Ma Bailey gently pushes George out of the front yard, playfully hinting that Mary, lovely and back home from college, would love a visit from him. Stewart says: shucks no, she’s not for me, Ma … Ma says, Why George, Mary lights up just like a fire-fly when she sees you!
She slaps his ol’ fedora on his handsome head and literally pushes him out the front gate. With gentleness and a good mother’s wisdom and love.

It’s such a quiet, intimate little scene full of whispers and smiles and a hug and a kiss, practically on the lips! All played out in front of a house that looks like this Oxford house – an average, unexceptional house. But it’s the backdrop to George and his mom’s love for each other. Which makes it a remarkable house. A home.

🏡🏡🏡🏡🏡🏡

Homeless Crisis is Worcester

Today I had an interesting conversation with a staffer at Central Mass Housing Alliance on Salisbury Street. The staffer said CMHA meets all the time with City officials re: Worcester’s affordable housing crisis/homeless crisis. They meet with Mayor Joe Petty, City Manager Ed Augustus, district city councilors…over and over again. They repeatedly tell our city officials, as they give them CMHA reports: LOOK AT THESE STATS. PEOPLE ARE LIVING IN THEIR CARS. WORCESTER RENTS ARE ASTRONOMICAL. PLEASE DO SOMETHING!

She told me: The city officials are politely dismissive of her and the group. City poo-bas take CMHA reports and thank them for their reports. … That’s it. No empathy. No disbelief at the $2,000 rents. Not an iota of an idea or suggestion. No offerings of emergency help. Or just plain help. No game plan.

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So many people sleeping on the sidewalks in Worcester!

Re: the tiny houses that were to be built for the homeless in Worcester, she said the City “has been holding the money for three years.” And not released it so CMHA and other housing leaders can hire contractors, architects, construction workers. … I assume she means the millions of dollars Worcester has received in federal and state COVID funds. Lying fallow as our city leaders lie to the papers about their plans to help the city’s workers/working poor who is are being pushed out of Worcester in droves.

A former city worker told me a few hours later, after I recounted the distressing conversation: They’ll never do anything. They’re looking to attract outsiders… It’s not about helping locals.

I agree. If CMHA is lobbying city leaders every week for more affordable housing…talking about the housing crisis in Worcester… giving city officials and city councilors reports with suggestions, and city leaders are smiling and exchanging pleasantries but doing nothing, then they’re telling us working people/poorer folks: WE DON’T GIVE A HOOT THAT RENTS ARE CLOSE TO $2000. FORGET RENT CONTROL. FORGET MORE HOUSING VOUCHERS. FORGET THE TINY HOME VILLAGES…. We’re gonna drag our feet on this issue until you go away, until the issues are forgotten, until the street folks perish.

Shame on Worcester’s mayor, city manager and city councilors.
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Are Worcester’s city leaders ever gonna use the city’s millions$$ in federal COVID funds? The money was supposed to fund local projects that are meant to support a city or town’s poor and underrepresented communities!

Rose’s Green Island – in style?

By Rosalie Tirella

Back in the old neighborhood today. Some of my beloved “L” streets, the streets of my Green Island childhood, streets “closer to home” and infused with so many bitter and sweet memories – Lamartine, Lodi, Lunel, a bit of Lafayette – are changing. Bull dozed big time. They call it “gentrification.” We used to call it home! … Memories of a neighborhood teeming with poor kids, the kids society said wouldn’t amount to much, but many of us transcended hardscrabble lives to become more than a crime stat.

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Lamartine … L. photos:R.T.

And there was so much to do – together! We Green Island kids and our dogs roamed these L streets, in packs, dogs unleashed, kids untethered, too! We played whiffle ball, dodge ball, marbles, red rover, double dutch jump rope, Chinese jump rope, soft ball. We had best friends we hung out with – had sleepovers at each other’s apartments. Our dogs got into occasional fights, as did the boys – and girls. One girl was raped. Another got pregnant. No judgments. Life flowed on. Tough as nails, this little Worcester neighborhood was.

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These L streets were also filled with: walking to Lamartine Street School to play my accordion for Mr. Gilman, my fourth grade teacher. Mr. Gilman played a hot accordion and wanted us students to love the musical instrument as much as he did. The lessons were after school and free to all the kids in Lamartine, grades 4 through 6. … My kid sister played baseball with Rich Gedman! in the sandlot on the corner of Lafayette and Bigelow streets, right outside our third floor kitchen windows. Years before Rich became a pretty famous Red Sox player – and Woo Sox head batting coach. Rich lived a few houses up the street from us, with his parents and kid brother Paulie and little sister Danielle. He was a quiet kid, always polite to the grown-ups but, boy oh boy, could he whack the he*l outa those baseballs when the kids got together to play ball! Over the three decker roofs, two lots down, up into the clouds Gedman’s slugged balls flew. The other team’s outfielders always backed up when it was Rich’s turn to hit. As Rich finessed the sand beneath his feet with serious sneakers, waiting for that ball to come sailing by him, the other team’s outfielders ran almost all the way to Crompton Park, readying for Gedman to whack that ball a block away. If the bases were loaded, Rich’s teammates were already walking to home.

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Home.

Green Island: to me, the finest, grittiest, saddest Worcester neighborhood of all.

Now our history is being turned into contactors’ dust, lattes abound and $2,500 apartments that few working people – let alone poor people – can afford to rent keep popping up in a neighborhood that I hardly recognize.

“Where do the children play?”