By Rosalie Tirella
… Looking at our paper today made me realize: NO INTRO to our swimsuit spread!
So, here we go …
The swimsuit photos in this issue of ICTimes were taken at Worcester city/state pools and beaches. I, like we do every year, took pics of the real Worcester we all know and love: the multicultural, diverse, young, old, skinny, heavy, lithe Woo gals we see everywhere – women all uniquely beautiful. A few years ago, a woman in her late 50s was our cover gal. She looked great! Last year, a Latina gal strutted her stuff. This year, several city beauties grace our front cover (in color, off course!).
What I would especially like to add here (and I know I’m off-topic): I took my swimsuit photos during the recent heat wave – when the Woo streets were hot enough to fry an egg on, when my lil’ dog Jett hung around the window fans panting, when Worcester folks had to WAIT IN LINE TO GET INTO THE STATE POOL TO COOL OFF. During a heat wave!!! When the temp (for 4 or 5 days) was 94 degrees F – and with humidity factored in – close to 96, 97 … AND PEOPLE WAITING IN LINE TO GET INTO THE WATER.
I asked the lifeguard sitting at the front desk at the state pool (it was about 1:30 p.m): Why is this happening? Why aren’t these 50 people in the water? Why are they waiting in a heat wave? Why are they lined up like this?! There are older people in line, little children, a pregnant woman …
The lifeguard told me the state pool could only accommodate 150 folks, what with the number of lifeguards the pool had.
I said: WHAT? You mean, if no one leaves now, then none of these folks can come in to swim?
She said: That’s right. The number of life guards on duty means that only 150 folks can swim in the pool at one time. She said sometimes people wait for 2 or so hours to come in for a dip or swim.
I felt horrible. First, the city and state pools open noon and 1 p.m. – even during heat waves. Then, when city folks come by, they have to wait and cook in the hot sun for hours before they can enter the pool area. They have to stay OUTSIDE the pool area – it’s the law.
We will not begin to decry the sad state of pool affairs in Woo – how inner-city folks took it in the chin when the city shut down the city’s swimming pools three or so years ago. Only one – the new Crompton Park pool – is open these days. City officials claim that with the Wheels to Water program, and Woo’s two state pools and city beaches that city folks have plenty of aquatic options. Doesn’t look that way. We have a city of more than 180,000 people – many of them poor, without lots of resources. Heat waves can be tough for poorer folks without air conditioners or cars. They NEED our city pools for fun and RELIEF. They NEED to be able to WALK to their neighborhood swimming pools! When I was a little kid growing up in Green Island, my mom didn’t have a car, so every summer day, late in the afternoon, my sisters and I WALKED to the Crompton Park pool. An easy 10 minute walk. And when we got there? Heaven! Cool, cool water! Kids from my school – Lamartine Street School – doing cannon balls and raising hell. So much fun!
The support the City of Worcester used to give to its immigrant or first generation American families has evaporated. City pools, free music lessons, free swimming lessons at the Girls Club via our public schools, Summer’s World, art and exercise in our public schools … . all cut or cut back, leaving nice families, good kids and their parents cooking in a summer heat wave.
Believe me, the people I talked with outside the pool area during that brutal heat wave were the nicest – too nice! They waited patiently, chatted, joked around. They were so happy to be waiting in LINE to swim!
THIS IS WRONG. I wanted to MAKE SOME NOISE.
But it was so humid, even I – Rosalie T. – had lost some of my Green Island grit and Mediterranean temper! I took my swimsuit photos and told them all I would be back …