Tag Archives: Happy 21st Anniversary InCity Times/CECELIA/INCITYTIMESWORCESTER.ORG!

OUR FIRST RESPONDERS👮‍♀️👮

By Rosalie Tirella

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Worcester’s, America’s First Responders see, experience so much trauma. How do they “process”? photo: R.T.

I know, it’s FOX, but I want to talk about a photo – a video frame, frozen in time, courtesy of Fox News TV. It’s on my Face Book page. It’s after the Highland, Illinois, mass murder. At the left, in the photo, you see the local police officer, walking away, his hands covering his face. An American First Responder in agony. A human with an all too human response – his hands covering the agony – his human “response” to immense suffering, sorrow and death. This cop is not wielding his gun. He’s not channeling Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger, chest out, running into flames and gun smoke, all macho man. He’s just a guy. A youngish man not wanting to share his feelings with the TV cameras or TV pundits or news crews … not wanting to talk at all, to anybody.

What did this Illinois First Responder, first on the crime scene, first in this latest American war zone, see? What did he hear? What did he touch? What did he smell? … Maybe this first responder is a man with his own little boy or girl, a child who was at the parade or who was watching the festivities on the local cable station before all hell broke loose in this wealthy Illinois suburb, an IT-COULD-NEVER-HAPPEN-HERE, LEAVE-IT-TO-BEAVER kind of American suburb. He’s a man, just a man, exiting his local war zone! …where he saw – maybe he was the first to see – the dead child with legs blown off; a father, dead, too, his body thrown over his little toddler as he, in his last moments of life, wanted to save his boy, give the gift of LIFE in a war zone. Nearby, his wife dead. … Did the First Responder see all this…the bloodbath, the father’s heroism?

The child will face this day for seemingly eternity: as a grade schooler, as a teenager heading to the prom, as a college student graduating from college, as a young adult just starting out … as an old person close to dying.

Did the police officer think of this as he “responded” to the murderer?

First Responders – our local police officers, state police and EMT kids (they’re often in their 20s!) – see all the horrific, unfathomable carnage. They hear the final moans, maybe prayers to God or some saint … or a loved one. They must wonder, like me, WHEN WILL THIS MADNESS END?

How do these First Responders, our local men and women, out on the job every day, sometimes not getting the respect they deserve, “process” this kind of crime scene? A scene our soldiers saw during WW II or the Ukranians experience daily as Putin pounds their country to dust? How do regular local guys and gals, our neighbors, go home … and go on living? They’re not superficial, chatty TV personalities maybe making a career out of a murder, blabbing the same cliches over and over again into mics. They’re just our local cops and “staties” – they’re not “word people.” They’re America’s first responders!

A housekeeper at a Connecticut motel spoke to me a while ago – three or four American mass murderers ago! … She was older, overworked and underpaid. She was sad over this last mass shooting in our country, shaking her head over her big rolling cart of towels, hand soap, bathroom tissue … She said she was friends with a local state trooper who was the first to respond to a local murder scene – a real nice guy – who “killed himself.” She said all the trauma was too much for him, it’s cumulative for these guys and gals. Her heart ached for her First Responder friend who chose not to “respond” any more.

🇺🇲Fourth of July, Green Island style!🗽

Here’s a Fourth of July column I wrote years ago, tweaked this morning:

FOURTH OF JULY, GREEN ISLAND STYLE!

By Rosalie Tirella

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Happy Fourth of July, Worcester! photo: R.T.

I’ve celebrated the Fourth of July on a blanket in Boston listening to the Boston Pops and guest vocalist Johnny Cash. I’ve celebrated the Fourth at East Park here in Worcester. Always a lovely time. Last night I was thinking about my Green Island Fourth of July’s – the years when I was a kid and lived with my mother, father, sisters and Polish immigrant grandmother in “the Island”…

I am a little kid – about 9 years old – and I am standing on our three decker’s back porch. Third floor. It is the afternoon and the sun is shining sweetly. I am looking at “Val,” the buxom, brassy, red-lip-stick-wearing middle-aged woman who lives across the way from our rickety three decker. Val’s in her rickety, six-unit tenement building, on the corner of Bigelow and Elsworth streets. She’s on her third-floor porch. A big, weed-choked, empty lot lies between our buildings but that is all. The wild weeds and vegetation haven’t kept Val from inserting herself into ours – everyone in the neighborhood’s – lives.

Val is wearing a hot red negligee today – for the Fourth of July. I can see it from my back porch, which I am standing on, bring a curious little kid. Val is on her back porch talking loudly, with curse words sprinkled liberally throughout her conversation to herself. I swear I can see her bright red lips from my third floor porch! In 10 years or so I will have learned the word “slatternly” from my reading the classics, and the word will remind me of my old neighbor, Val. But today I am a little kid so Val is just … Val.

Val is drunk on this national holiday – in a happy, friendly way. She can be a nasty drunk, but the Fourth of July makes her woozily playful. She is talking with anyone who walks by her building, her ta ta’s damn near falling out of her negligee as she leans over her porch railing to chat up passersby who always talk back – a few folks out of fear. They have seen Val fight on the street outside her building, they have heard her vitriol … They will kiss up.

I am standing on my porch, quiet as a mouse, smiling knowingly because I know Val can be scary sometimes. On a few occasions she has verbally battled with my 80-year-old Polish immigrant grandmother, Bapy. Val had called Bapy, also feisty, a DP. “Dumb Polack.” It was a common ethnic slur a half century ago, and Val had spewed it at Bapy during one of their shouting matches – held across their back porches for the whole neighborhood to hear. DP, my mom tells me, really stands for “Displaced Persons,” what they sometimes called Eastern European immigrants who chose to build lives in Worcester. Val is being mean when she yells DP at my granny, who doesn’t miss a beat and yells back to Val: KISS MY ASSY! KISS MY ASSY!! and Bapy turns her plump little dumpling shaped butt to Val – while standing on our back porch – and tap, tap, taps it. Her bum is covered in those sweet flannel nighties with little pink rose buds on them that Ma buys for Bapy at the Mart in downtown Worcester. Bapy wore those flannel nighties year ’round – even in the summer.

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Rosalie, before her mother’s sandwich-making station. Yum … Wonder Bread!

Granny is not battling Val today. Granny is inside, sitting in her easy chair we have set up for her in our kitchen (Bapy lives with us). Bapy sits at the head of the kitchen table, a place from which she can drink her cup of coffee, eat her boiled egg sandwich and see and comment on all the household happenings. She has been sitting there my whole life! She drives me and my kid sisters crazy, but we love her with all our hearts!

But I digress. Val is out on her porch today in her red negligee because it is the Fourth of July, a special day for America – and for Val. Val has turned and walked back into her apartment, a flat that is also home to her quiet-as-a-mouse boyfriend, her gorgeous, blond 18 year old daughter, the child of another guy, and two huge attack dogs: a German Shepherd and Doberman pinscher. Both dogs are fierce. Both having chased me up a nearby fence more than a few times. Val doesn’t believe in walking her dogs to do poop or to pee. She just lets them out of her apartment. The huge dogs rush down the three flights of stairs like a couple of moose in heat and poop and pee in Val’s little front yard. Then they rush back upstairs. Val’s boyfriend picks up the poop later – Val has everybody trained to a tee.

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Bapy lived with us. Here we all are, hanging on poor Bapy as she sits in her old easy chair at the head of our kitchen table.

Now Val has come back out of her apartment – this time she is carrying her beige portable record player and sets it on a folding chair and plugs it into an extension cord she’s run outside the apartment. I am watching her preparations from my back porch – not saying a word … just waiting. Val goes back into her house, then comes out with an lp, a vinyl record – a big one, the kind with many songs on it. I am guessing it is the same record Val played last year and the year before – the songs the whole neighborhood must listen to every Fourth of July: patriotic tunes. Souza. Irving Berlin. Some sung by Kate Smith. Some belted out by Ethel Merman. Most instrumentals – the kind of songs you can – like Val – march around to on your Green Island porch. Tubas and drums. And trumpets.

Val puts on her record and cranks up the volume of her portable record player! Da da de dum da! Dum de da da da da de da da! La da da da de da da! Boy, this music is good! Up beat! I love hearing Val’s concert every year. I am tapping my feet! I look across the way and see Val crack open another beer and take a sloppy swig. She begins to sing. Loudly. Then she marches around her old porch – then she dizzily lies down on her long beach chair, still drinking. I can see her through the slats on her porch through the slats on my porch …

The music is great! So LOUD AND PATRIOTIC! An hour later Val is up again and singing to the entire neighborhood once again. She’s turned the record over several times, playing both sides – A and B. The folks on Lafayette, Elsworth and Sigel streets are getting ramped up! They’re coming out of their three deckers. They are carrying rugs, tires, old wooden chairs, a beat up sofa… They’re throwing their chairs and sofa and old tires into a big pile in the empty lot a few lots down from Val’s place, diagonally across the way from our three decker. I go in doors and yell to my mother: GETTING READY FOR THE BIG BONFIRE, MA!

Hooray!!!

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Iconic American film actor Jimmy Cagney dancing to YANKEE DOODLE DANDY! Val danced on her Green Island porch to this cheeky American tune every July 4th.

My mother, careworn, grimaces from the stack of soapy dishes in her kitchen sink. She’s washing dishes. She doesn’t say a word. Ma never voices her disapproval of Val, but I know she is not thrilled with her. Sometimes Ma is the one who calls the Worcester Fire department when the flames of the bonfire grow too huge and lap up the July night air and orange sparks fill our Green Island night. The fire has never spread because the neighborhood kids and adults have kept it in check with big poles that they use to poke it into submission. But the flames still worry my mother …

But the night has just begun! I so want to be a part of the celebration and throw some of Bapy’s rags onto the bonfire! My grandmother has so many rags that she wraps around her withered arms to ease her arthritis. Old country ways/cures die hard in Green Island!Bapy never really changes her clothes. Just gives herself sporadic sponge baths and peels off her old rags and puts on new ones. She always smells fecund.

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Rose’s Polish immigrant grandfather, Jaju, and cousin Mary. Jaju rolled his own unfiltered cigarettes. He always smelled like Camels …

These days I miss my Bapy’s smell! If only we could re-conjure the odors of all the people and pets we have loved over the years. The men I have been with, sweaty and grunty; my late mom who held me to her big, perfumed breasts – Heaven Scent … my Bapy’s cabbage-y, eggy odor … my long-gone dog Bailey’s gamey scent.

Anyways, the bonfire was being readied for the big night, but my mom would never let me join in the terrific mayhem! It was all too wild for us good Conservative Catholic girls. My mom, the perfect mom who worked so hard at the dry cleaners and went to church with us every Sunday, wouldn’t allow it! My mom knew everyone in the neighborhood and was always polite and talked with folks – she was not a snob. But, she liked to us, she would never sit down and have a cup of coffee with the ladies of the ‘hood. Green Island women enjoyed visiting each other in each other’s tenements, gossiping, bitching about their husbands and boyfriends, smoking their cigs…Val smoked little cigars!

Our mother was busy raising her girls, making sure we went to school every day and did all our homework and got all As and went to bed early and ate well. She had no time to wallow in our poverty – or her husband’s wild ways. She – we – transcended the shit. We girls were all going to college some day!

So, there I was, stuck on our Lafayette Street tenement third-floor porch. Just an observer. My sisters would be home from Crompton Park soon. They loved this spectacle, too! Not as much as I did, but they would hang out on the porch, eating Freeze Pops, their lips ice blue from the sugared ice treat – and they’d watch Val and the bonfire.

My father, Daddy, would disappear for the day. Celebrate the Fourth of July in his own fashion, cheating on Ma. He was as crooked and violent as some of the guys in the ‘hood, but he played out his deviltry in other parts of Worcester. I suspect the East Side. What my mom and we kids didn’t know wouldn’t hurt us …

It was dark out now, and Val was still singing up a storm and marching around her porch. La di da di da!!! Bang bang!! went her steel pot covers – her cymbals! Someone had lit the bonfire and everyone was gathered around it! Except for me and my sisters. We were on our back porch eating our Freeze Pops, mesmerized by the flames. They must have been two stories high! The folks in the neighborhood had out done themselves this year! It was all like something you would see in an old Western movie on TV – perfect for roasting a buffalo or dancing around. People’s faces were orange from the glow of the flames.

“Come out here, Ma!” I yelled to my mother. “You gotta see the bonfire!”

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“Ma” and baby …

My mother was indoors getting our clothes ready for the Fourth of July cook out we would be having at our Uncle Mark and Aunt Mary’s house the next day. Our relatives, my mother’s sister, lived in a a cute pink ranch house in the Burncoat area – a nicer part of town. My mom liked this part of the Fourth of July holiday best of all. A day off from the Millbury Street dry cleaners! A day off when she could be with her favorite sister in her sister’s big back yard, my Uncle Mark grilling hamburgers and hot dogs on his big, three legged grill filled with those black coals. They made the hamburgers and hotdogs yummy! Earlier in the week my uncle had driven to the Nissan bakery by Crompton Park to buy hamburger buns and white bread and drove to Iandolli’s to buy potato chips, soda, Cheez-Its, the typical American BBQ junk food of the 1960s. Heaven!

Ma would have none of Val’s antics or the bonfire show. She was busy making sandwiches for the cook out at Uncle Mark and Aunt Mary’s. She wanted us in bed early for tomorrow.

We kids would have none of it. The bonfire’s flames were roaring! Some jerk threw too many old tires on the bonfire, so now the air smelled awful! Like burning rubber. The sky was thick with black smoke. We kids started coughing. Ma came out and took a look at the mess. Her mouth fell open. She looked at her three girls and frowned and snapped: GET IN THE HOUSE. I knew what was coming next. Ma was in the parlor, standing over our heavy olive green telephone and dialing 911.

In a matter of minutes the Worcester Fire Department firetruck had rolled in. The fireman were hosing down the bonfire with their big hoses…the water from hoses looked like waterfalls. The flames were doused out! Smoke everywhere.

BOO! BOO! BOO! shouted all the kids and adults at the firemen.

You could hear their laughs, too!

“Boo, Boo! Boo!!!” my sisters and I yelled from our back porch, laughing. “BOO! BOO!”

It had been, as usual, a fab Fourth of July! Green Island style!

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Rosalie, middle, and her two cute kid sisters

Best buds!🐾💗🐾🐾💗

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose’s Jett and Lilac

I took Jett and Lilac to a vaccine clinic a few days ago. Not the most pleasant experience. I waited outdoors, with everyone else, for my dogs to be taken in to see the veterinarian. The old, tall guy in the Caddy decided to get chatty with me. He approached us, arrogant and moneyed. I wasn’t in the mood to socialize (you know my struggle) and, when I moved us to the opposite end of the low wall, the old guy decided to yell, so all the other clients waiting with their dogs could hear: LADY, REAL FRIENDLY! REAL FRIENDLY, LADY! … His rudeness and sarcasm made me pity the two old Labrador retrievers who were saddled with him.

I thought one young woman – who looked sun-scorched and especially rough and had her beautiful but scrawny dog in one of those awful prong collars – was homeless. Her skinny dog’s ribs were prominent and fluttered in the 80-degree heat. He was agitated, yelped as he tried to get close to her. I said, “Do you need some dog food? A doggy bowl?” … She looked at me, annoyed, and shook her head No. Her young dog seemed to be losing some of his fur due to malnutrition. … Hope WARL staffers gave her some dog food/help.

The vet had to muzzle Jett when it came time for his shots and heart worm test. Jett doesn’t like being torn away from me and gets stressed around syringes, so he got feisty and had to be muzzled. When the vet tech brought Jett back out to me, after he had gotten all his vaccines and blood work was done, she said: “He’s a wild man! He’s a wild man!” Jett had trotted out like a little firecracker! The vet tech looked at him admiringly. I smiled. Earlier, after I had told her Jett was 15 years old, she said, “Look at him! Still standing like that!” All the other dogs were lying in the shade or sun as they waited their turn to be seen by the vet. They were subdued by the humidity and sunlight. Not my Jett. He was rearin’ to go! Interested, alert …feisty… adorable! My best boy!

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Lilac

Lilac is always sweet but she seemed a bit sad after receiving her vaccines. The same vet tech (who was very knowledgeable and nice) said Lilac was visibly upset as Jett put up his fight and had to muzzled. She said, “Lilac loves him so much! She was worried about him! When Jett goes, you’re gonna have to get her another friend!” As in “another dog.”

Which means I will have TWO dogs for at least the next decade. When I am pushing 70!!! It will have to be a toy poodle, pug or Corgi mix. An old lady’s dog.

Then I remembered how three years ago, when I took Jett to a vet in a Worcester County town for a complete physical/work up, to see what was up with the big lump near his groin (he’d sprouted it after the thugs at Blackstone River Road threw chicken bones out the window) Lilac was beside herself while Jett was in the exam room. I had given Jett to the vet tech for her to take him inside the building to see the veterinarian. I sat on the bench next to the entrance, outdoors, to wait for Jett, as the pandemic has just begun … Lilac is in my car, all the windows are down, the car parked in the grassy backyard under a tree. It’s cool out. I’m worried about Jett. Cancer? Fluid in the abdomen? Well, as soon as Jett disappears into the veterinarian’s building, Lilac leaps out the car’s back window, runs up the lawn and gallops straight to the door Jett just trotted through. And stops right there – and will not be moved. She stood at attention, staring at that wooden door, for the next half hour. Lilac would not, could not, be distracted. She was waiting for her best friend! I was sitting on the bench a few yards away. I called, COME, LILAC! COME LILAC! and patted my lap, my signal to her that I was gonna cuddle her, kiss her furry forehead – which she loves. Lilac didn’t so much as turn her head to acknowledge me. Her snout was two inches away from that veterinarian’s door. She would have stood that way, erect, serious, her big soft brown eyes alert, her body tense, forever …

When Jett was brought back out, Lilac was ecstatic! She galloped around her old friend, leapt into the air, nuzzled him, smelling his neck … She was happy Lilac again! Her world was on its furry axis once again! Jett was back!

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Best buds enjoying Worcester’s Elm Park!

July 4th Musings …

By Rosalie Tirella

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The old Table Talk factory at Kelley Square is razed. photos: R.T.

The Canal District is a trend that’s destroyed my Green Island and the nearby Oak Hill and Kelley Square neighborhoods. These inner-city, older, ethnic neighborhoods’ working poor folks, young, blue-collar kids, seniors and children have been thrown to the curb, thanks to gentrification. … Displaced. Evicted by new, greedy landlord/developers. Priced out

The Worcester City Council has not understood the suffering or done much to alleviate the suffering, mitigate the situation. Because they’re stupid – and because they’re middle class and cannot relate to our struggles.

In 10 years when the “cool kids” have abandoned the Canal District and moved on to the newest, trendiest trend in another Worcester neighborhood and more founding Canal District business owners grow older, move on/sell out, we’ll have a neighborhood bereft of family housing, racial diversity and socio-economic diversity. The damage will have been done. … Green Island and Kelley Square will evolve again. But how? In what direction?

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Millbury Street: How are we supporting Green Island children today?

These days I drive down Green and Harding streets and already see fewer people at the Canal District “hot spot” bars and shops. Why? Visitors realize these shops are purveyors of dry cupcakes, overpriced skirts and dresses … average stuff/food that’s way overpriced. People try it all out, spend way too much of their hard-earned money in the Canal District – then move on to other neighborhoods in Worcester or other cute, touristy towns down the road, like Putnam, Connecticut. Even Westboro has a cool, trendy downtown area!

BUT WHAT HAPPENS TO THE OLD NEW GREEN ISLAND AND ENVIRONS? THE NEIGHBORHOODS’ WORKING FAMILIES, BLUE-COLLAR WORKERS, WORKING POOR, SENIORS AND CHILDREN? How do WE reclaim our beloved old neighborhoods?

One important thing: We Green Islanders and friends need to re-establish our long-gone Green Island CDC and Oak Hill CDC – our community development corporations that were squeezed out by gentrifier Allen Fletcher and fellow snakes. We need NEW iterations of our old CDCs, CDCs with new, diverse leaders, not our nice, well meaning but naive old timers: Lorraine Laurie, Sue Moynagh, Billy Breault, his pointless niece, etc … We need to avoid this crew, jettison the old and gather new CDC members who won’t screw up this time! Won’t turn corrupt! Won’t be flattered and then bamboozled by smooth talkers Fletcher, Bobby Largesse and the late, often sharp-elbowed 3G’s Johnny G.

WE NEED NEIGHBORHOOD PEOPLE TO TAKE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS BACK!

But we need to be smart this time around – not so trusting, not so willing to say “yes” just because someone invites us to a fancy “planning meeting” and shoves plates of finger foods under our noses. We’re dealing with gentrifiers … snakes! Money people! Their gentrification of our neighborhood has wreaked havoc on our housing prices, streets, relationships …

We need to be strong enough, organized enough, to HAVE A VOICE in new neighborhood developments, new happenings, whatever comes down the pike … the continuing evolution of one of Worcester’s oldest and best loved neighborhoods: my Green Island and beyond.

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Table Talk … the old becomes trendy

SIGN O’ THE TIMES, MAYOR PETTY?🌼

By Rosalie Tirella

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Worcester Mayor Joe Petty at a Main South community event. CECELIA file photo.

Worcester Mayor Joe Petty has decided (on a whim? because he’s got nothing better to do? because he doesn’t have a life?) to run for state senator, “filling” retiring senator Harley Chandler’s seat. She’s 80+ years old. At 60, Petty’s a young senior – as am I. Truth be told at the ripe old age of 60, I just wanna write, read, bird watch, bake bread, get another dog, decoupage … But our very good, very modest, very senior citizen of a mayor has been bitten by the Ambitious Bug and decided to reach for the stars…the State House!!

A few in Worcester feel this is a bad idea. To wit: Joe’s political signage (VOTE JOE PETTY STATE SENATE) have been torn down, ripped up. All over the city and the West Side. Even the PETTY FOR SENATE mini-billboards, 8′ x 4′ monstrosities.

Petty’s campaign peeps have whined to the press. Vandalism! Destruction of property! Cheaters!

We say this is petty. Destroying a political opponent’s campaign signs is typical political season silliness, mean spiritedness, yes, unusual, no. Petty, who’s been Worcester mayor since 2012 and, before that, Worcester city councilor at large forever, knows this fact of campaign life.

On another level, we say the magnitude of the destruction may signal something more, may be a sign of the times … Maybe, just maybe, Worcester is trying to tell our good mayor: Joe! You’re a nice, modest, fair minded guy, but please do NOT run for Chandler’s seat! Don’t go to Boston! Stay away from the State House! We need someone new. Young. Female. Buy a hammock, set it up in your backyard and … retire from politics. You’ve been a fine public servant for decades. You’ve done good things for many people, especially your friends and family!, but a different voice is needed. Give it a rest – give someone else a chance to lead, to be in the spotlight, to collect a pretty good paycheck!

Let’s be real: Joe Petty has never been especially articulate. He’s never been especially inspiring or charismatic. He’s never really had much of a vision. But he was smart enough to give the Worcester visionaries creative space and support, the Woo egomaniacs the mic, the diverse Worcester a chance … That’s why we liked him and voted for him. Joe did the right things at the right time.

But his political platform planks for his state senator run: more affordable housing, more environmental justice feels, well, typically politically savvy. As mayor of Worcester Joe’s failed at the affordable housing thing…we have a true HOUSING CRISIS IN THE CITY AND IN WORCESTER COUNTY. Homelessness, old people displaced from the apartments and houses they’ve rented for years, sky rocketing rents – most apartments in Worcester at the $2,000 mark, up from $1,500 last summer – make this a problem too big for Joe’s small lens. THIS IS A CRISIS JOE PETTY ISN’T UP TO. THIS CRISIS CALLS FOR EXTREME CREATIVITY. Joe Petty is not that creative a guy. Converting CSX BOX CARS to rental homes? Rent control? Tiny houses built by our Worcester Technical High School students under the leadership of our local building trade union heads? Looking at safe spaces for the homeless who live in their cars? Establishing City of Worcester homeless camps with outhouses, community kitchens, places to legitimately camp, staffed by City of Worcester social workers and maybe a Worcester cop or two? More housing vouchers? BIG HOUSING COMPLEXES designated for low-income seniors … rental units for growing families as the Canal District/gentrification is not family friendly. The CD rental units are meant for young couples, singles or empty nesters… All of this has been out of Joe’s mental grasp.

We’re grasping… Do you think Joe Petty can advocate for any of these big, very major, outside-the-box housing solutions?

Neither do I.

Diversity. … Massachusetts is pretty racially segregated. If our Worcester Public Schools teaching staff is still lilly white and the City of Worcester had to be sued by a group of Black and brown WPS parents and community leaders to change the way we elect the Worcester School Committee, do you think Joe Petty has the mental tools – or the guts – to make our state, Massachusetts, less racist?

I doubt it. Take a look inside Mayor Petty’s office in City Hall – the Irish aunties rule the roost. God help you if you ask them to email you an attachment!

So we say: Retire from politics, Joe. You’ve done a lot of good for a lot of people. You’re a nice man, a loyal and loving husband, dad and friend. But “to every season turn, turn, turn … .”

A young man shoots for the stars, an older man looks up and sees their infinite beauty.

So, Joe, read all of Shakespeare’s plays in your new hammock in your yard. Bird watch from that hammock. Write a political memoir and hand deliver it to the Worcester Historical Museum. Visit every national park in America! Sip a glass of wine on the Seine! Run a marathon. Run a church bake sale. It’s ok to be … free.

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Worcester City Hall – Joe’s been here forever. photo: R.T.

Westminster’s “Breed Standards” 🐕‍🦺mean misery for dogs – and the people who buy them!

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

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A husky pup. Full-blooded Siberian Huskies, German Shepherd Dogs, and many large, fast-growing dog breeds often develop hip dysplasia. This arthritic condition is painful – and genetic, the result of over breeding, in-breeding …

Mutts like Lilac are “out-bred.” This often happens in Appalachia or the Deep South, as poorer folks often breed their dogs for health and a good temperament.
– R.T.

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Rose’s Lilac

For the second year in a row, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was rescheduled from winter to summer as a result of the pandemic. But in light of all the misery that the breeding industry causes dogs and the people who buy them, the show shouldn’t just be delayed — it should be permanently canceled.

“Purebred” dogs are predisposed to a slew of serious health and behavioral problems, including unpredictable aggression. This results in enormous suffering, hefty vet bills, heartbreak and sometimes even hospitalization for dog guardians. If you’ve experienced these kinds of issues with an American Kennel Club (AKC) – registered purebred, PETA wants to hear from you.

The AKC’s “breed standards” — which are used to judge purebreds at Westminster and other dog shows — call for distorted physical features and traits that can be achieved only through harmful breeding practices.

For example, dachshunds, with their elongated spines, often endure excruciatingly painful disc disease or other debilitating back problems. Many bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese and other brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds can barely breathe — let alone go for a walk or chase a ball — without gasping for air because of their unnaturally shortened airways.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are bred to have such tiny heads that more than 70% of them suffer from syringomyelia, a neurological disease, by age 5 — because their skulls are too small for their brains. Afflicted dogs often scream in pain, scratch themselves raw, grow progressively weaker or even become paralyzed.

In order to pass down certain traits called for by the AKC, many breeders orchestrate canine incest — mating mothers with sons and fathers with daughters. This practice greatly increases the odds of passing on debilitating afflictions such as hypothyroidism, epilepsy, cancer, allergies, heart abnormalities and hip dysplasia.

Labrador retrievers — the most popular breed in the U.S. — are prone to bone disease, hemophilia and retinal degeneration. Doberman pinschers, Great Danes, Irish wolfhounds and German shepherds are susceptible to sudden death from cardiac disease. Can you imagine the horror of watching your beloved dog suddenly drop dead during a walk or a game of fetch?

The cost of veterinary treatment for these health conditions can add up to many thousands of dollars over the course of a dog’s life, causing some families to experience financial hardship. Some people face the agonizing decision of whether to euthanize or surrender their sick purebreds to animal shelters because they can’t afford the extensive veterinary care required.

And if you purchase a purebred, there’s no way of knowing whether your dog will be afflicted with canine rage syndrome — another sinister side effect of breeding for appearances. Springer spaniels, cocker spaniels, golden retrievers, Dobermans and other dogs frequently purchased as family companions are prone to this horrific disorder, in which they become uncontrollably violent without warning or provocation and sometimes even attack the people they love.

The AKC knows that its breed standards cause dogs and their guardians terrible hardship, yet it refuses to make even simple changes to them that could reduce these problems. For example, pugs’ predisposition to spina bifida, a congenital abnormality linked to their curled tails, could be decreased if its standard did not stipulate that “the tail is curled as tightly as possible over the hip.” And deafness would afflict fewer Dalmatians if the AKC would not automatically disqualify dogs with patches, who are less likely to be deaf.

But clearly the AKC isn’t interested in protecting dogs or humans.

It’s up to caring people to push back against breeding for appearances and all the agony that it causes: Never buy purebreds, and don’t watch Westminster or other dog shows. If you already have an AKC-registered purebred dog who became ill or violent or who died prematurely, notify PETA. And if you’re ready to give a dog a lifetime of love and care, please opt to adopt a one-of-a-kind, healthy mutt from an animal shelter.

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Mutts like Jett are one-of-a-kind and often healthier than “pure-breds.” CECELIA file photo

☘️BUCKLEY!!! …A sign👏 for Izzy ❤️ and Charlie!❤️

By Rosalie Tirella

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The Heywood shoe factory building with its famous heart

The other day I was driving by the Heywood shoe building – now a mixed use development and a Canal District staple owned by the sweet and handsome Tortilla Sam’s “Eric” – when I noticed this sign (pictured) at the end of Eric’s property: a kind of BUCKLEY WAS HERE, as in this is the spot where an Irish immigrant named Cornelius Buckley owned and operated a general store. The historical marker tells you Buckley and his family lived on the first floor in the 1800s and lists some interesting architectural facts. More Canal District IRISH history! With a mere mention of the Lithuanians and a few other ethnic groups who passed through Green Island, now the gentrified Canal District. It’s all about the Irish and their da*n canal – which is no where to be found in the Canal District!

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BUCKLEY!!!!

When I first drove by the sign and saw the word BUCKLEY I laughed. I couldn’t help but think of Spencer Tracy spewing out the word in disgust in his FATHER OF THE BRIDE movies. Big hits in the 1950s – and still fun to watch. Buckley! Ahhh! Buckley! Buckley the gangly and hapless man-kid Spencer Tracy’s beautiful daughter – ELIZABETH TAYLOR!!!! – was going to marry. Elizabeth had fallen madly in love with this skinny nerd and would make Spencer Tracy the Father of the Bride, no longer her first love and hero. Spencer had a distinct distaste for the nincompoop BUCKLEY and was flummoxed: how could his gorgeous daughter fall for a BUCKLEY?!!! BUCKLEY!! There was always a look of quiet exasperation whenever Buckley did something ridiculous – which was pretty much everything because Spencer couldn’t wrap his arms around him… everything Buckley did pissed of the Father who hated losing his “little girl.” Forever. Kitten, I think he called her, would leave home to build a life with … Buckley. These days Buckley was kitten’s master! Buckley was in – and Pops was definitely out!

So today I say: BUCKLEY!! BUCKLEY!! As in who cares? Why should Buckley get a historical marker in the chi chi Canal District, and my old, dearly departed friends – the real Market Kings of the Canal District, Izzy and Charlie GOLUB – get nothing? Get no historical marker on the spot where their sweet little store stood?

You kiddos may ask, Rose, who were the Golub brothers?

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The Green Street Market – along with owners Charlie and Izzy GOLUB – were here! For a half century! Their little ethnic gem is gone, but Canal District history buffs should put up a sign – WITH A PHOTO OF THE GOLUB BROTHERS – to commemorate the HISTORIC space, now a parking lot.

Why just across the way from Buckley, on Green Street, sat the iconic Green Street Market owned by Izzy and Charlie. For a half century. The sons of Jewish immigrants. The sweetest guys. Joined at the hip – “close” doesn’t begin to describe their relationship. These brothers loved each other and you felt the love every time you walked into their market to buy an apple or a can of soda. You’d go into the Green Street Market pay for a grinder and then maybe Izzy would give you a little wicker basket or two for the plants in your apartment. He’d ask you how you were doing – and listened as you told him about your new job or kitten. …The neighborhood wino would walk into Green Street Market and Charlie would give him a sandwich for free. Of course, they had an incredible business …a meat counter – cold cuts cut fresh for your order. They had soups and fresh veggies and fruits. They had special Jewish foods and other ethnic delicacies. They sold the local newspapers, and they always wore big white aprons. I’ll never forget they’re big aprons because Charlie was a tall, bigger guy. So he had a really big apron. Because they were working hard and the blood from the fresh hamburger sometimes stained their hands, their white aprons were smeared with the stuff of their business. The GOLUB’s were the nicest guys…it wasn’t all about money, though they lived in beautiful houses on Worcester’s West Side. It was really about the Kelley Square neighborhood, their families, education, serving their country in World War II, reading, writing letters to their special ladies …wives who would grow to love these two wonderful men for more than a half century.

Charlie and Izzy would charm you, kid you… reminisce with you. Always in quiet tones. There was nothing crass and loud about these two men who lived deep in their Jewish faith.

The tiny spot where the market was, now owned by Allen Fletcher who turned it into a parking lot, should get its own historical marker. Because IZZY AND CHARLIE GOLUB are Canal District history, too. No, they didn’t build a canal. No, they weren’t Irish, but THEY WERE HERE TOO AND ADDED TO THE VIBRANCY OF A TERRIFIC, IF POOR, INNER-CITY NEIGHBORHOOD. Give the GOLUB Brothers and Green Street Market their historical marker!

Their market and sandwich shop was bought by Fletcher about 24 years ago, right after he bought the Ash Street School, directly behind Green Street Market. Allen rented the building to an African entrepreneur who just couldn’t make a go of the place. By then the Golub brothers had died – both were in their 90s – and the magic was gone.

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Missing the late GOLUB brothers! The two men were life-long best buddies! It was a joy to see them working together!

MOM AND BUTTERCUP ON MILLBURY STREET🌞

By Rosalie Tirella

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Innocence. photos: R.T.

I saw this little girl today, she was walking down Millbury Street with her mom, and I fell in love with them holding hands, making their way through the inner-city, daughter dressed in butter yellow tutu, mom dressed in a grey burka. They reminded me of my mom and me decades ago … holding hands as we walked “under the tunnel” after having mass at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church on Ward Street … we were walking home to our Lafayette Street tenement.

When I asked to take their photo – together, holding hands like when I first saw them – Mom declined to be photographed … was adamant about not being in the pics. She stepped back a couple of yards to make certain I didn’t even get a teeny bit of her in the frame of my photos. But she allowed me to take a bunch of pics of her little girl, me high spirited and smiling, her little girl tentative, yet definitely enjoying being the center of all the attention in the middle of busy Lafayette Street, the cars zooming by, big kids walking to Crompton Park.

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🌞

I had given mom a copy of CECELIA when I first stopped my car and ran out to introduce myself to the pair – and to ask for a photo or two. To be published in the next issue of CECELIA. They made such an interesting pair! The American Dream writ large! Child in bright yellow tutu, the buttercup of Green Island, posing for pictures, open to the world around her. A little American. First generation American. Mom, a Muslim woman: quiet, modest, covered head to toe in conservative garb – a grey burka. Over her shoulders a navy blue cape. She was a mystery to all. Half her face – mouth, chin and cheeks – ensconced in a swath of grey cloth. No words for me, just nods and a shake of her head NO when I tried to coax her into the pictures. She pointed to her little girl as if to say: she’s the one! she’s the future! The mother seemed to enjoy the attention her child was soaking up like a sponge. I imagined her smiling when the corners of her eyes – her only facial feature exposed to the world – crinkled as I explained my job to her: writer! editor! owner of a newspaper! Mom seemed impressed – and game! Yet the layers and layers of cloth to hide her body from the world – as well as her face – were a wall between us. A pretty smile, an elegant nose? We’ll never know. How long was her dark hair? No one could tell on Millbury Street. Big-breasted or flat-chested? Her loose-fitting burka swirled around her like a tent. She was a triangle – in motion – not a woman. Yet she was a woman. Which is the point. Her culture wants her modest … and still there she was – herself. I liked her. And her daughter was the innocent buttercup waving to mom who was standing behind me. She was smiling at her mother who, she knew without having to see her lips, was smiling right back.

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🌞

📽️BATMAN MOVIE REVIEW🍿🎬 by Luis🎟️

THE BATMAN MOVIE

By Luis Sanchez

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Luis Sanchez is CECELIA’s talented intern!

Gotham City’s vigilante tries to solve a new riddle in this new feature film – a new take on Batman which hit the screens this spring. I saw the movie one Friday night: my spoiler-free review will go over the good, the bad, and the dark of the movie for you!

The Batman is a superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The movie was produced by DC Films, 6th and Idaho, and Dylan Clark Productions, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. This reboot was directed by Matt Reeves and stars Robert Pattison as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, and Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon. The Batman takes on a different approach to the masked vigilante, and seeks to explore the detective side of Batman. With a runtime of 2 hours and 56 minutes, the viewer is witness to an investigation with Batman and his efforts to uncover the truth behind a series of murders committed by the Riddler.

This movie contained a lot of dark themes, as well as dark scenes. About three total scenes took place in daylight, and the rest of the movie was within the light of the moon, adding to the overall dark sensation of the movie. The Batman provides the viewer with a new and mysterious universe through its themes, characters, and realism.

The Batman makes sure to nail down the theme of Gotham being the worst possible place on Earth. We are shown how corrupt, dirty and scary it would be to truly live in Gotham City, and it makes us question why Batman is even trying to help this city if it is beyond saving. With the setting in place, Gotham City births heroes and antagonists who ultimately fight for the same cause, which is what I enjoyed deeply about this movie. We do not get any origin stories from any of the characters, and that is something to appreciate because it makes the world seem more established and stable in terms of its characters.

From the early production of the film we were told that The Batman would not be connected to the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). This allowed for plenty of creative license to the director Matt Reeves, in which he used it to his advantage. It felt truly like a Batman movie in Batman’s world with no ties to the exterior heroes, which placed an emphasis on Batman and his vigilantism.

Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman is exceptional in this film. Her character has intentions that she keeps to the heart and helps drive her story within this universe. I haven’t mentioned much about Robert Pattison as Bruce Wayne and that is because simply put, there isn’t much about Bruce Wayne in this movie. Pattison excels in his Batman persona and excels in drawing out his dark side, but Pattison keeps his Batman face even when he needs to act as Bruce Wayne. This means that in The Batman we see a brooding and dejected Bruce Wayne which is disappointing, but compared to the amount of screentime Batman had, Bruce Wayne’s persona is pushed aside. This helped Pattison focus more on being THE Batman, as the movie is titled.

I cannot talk much about the Riddler because he is not shown much in the trailer, but I can say that his character is a very realistic version of the Riddler. Paul Dano puts an emphasis on his character’s menacing side which makes the hairs on your arm stand up. His riddles are somber and violent. In fact, every character in The Batman is realistic, which makes the movie believable.

Typically we are used to a Batman that seems mythical, is able to fly using only his cape, and with a well-built Batmobile, but this Batman is quite the opposite. Robert Pattison’s Batman has real weaknesses, has to attach a wingsuit in order to fly, and has a muscle car with a rocket attached to the back (which sounds, looks, and feels absolutely amazing!). When you hear the rocket thrust, it just radiates power – which then leads to an amazing car chase!

Overall, this movie exasperates darkness. Its cinematography and direction help emphasize the gloominess of Gotham City, while its actors provide characters who have grown up in Gotham and seek change. Both protagonists and antagonists have a valuable reason to act the way they do, which makes you feel sympathy for both and places you in a struggle to choose whom to support.

The Batman reimagines its setting and characters in a darker tone, ultimately reimagining these characters into a new and intriguing universe – and film. I would rate this movie an 8/10 and would definitely recommend watching it in theaters!

🍿Movie reviews by our intern Luis📽️: always in style!🎟️🎬

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness movie review

By Luis Sanchez

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Luis just graduated from Worcester’s South High School!🎓

Marvel Studios is once again releasing another highly anticipated movie in 2022. This time we follow the former Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in his quest to save America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). This is a spoiler-free review, so feel free to keep reading if you are interested in watching this movie.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a film where Dr. Stephen Strange runs across a new character named America Chavez. She is being chased by demons, and Doctor Strange makes it his duty to help her battle these creatures. In their attempt to find the source of the demons they end up traveling across the multiverse – hence the name Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

To begin with, Dr. Strange and America Chavez have a bonding that is enjoyable. Strange attempts to guard her and frequently tries to, but America Chavez does not know whether he is trustworthy or not. It builds tension throughout the movie because as the audience we are able to see it from both perspectives, and it’s hard to decide who has a greater right to be skeptical.

Sam Raimi is the director of this movie, previously known for his direction on the original Spider Man trilogy. He begins the movie with an action scene and then continues to show that although a superhero, Doctor Strange is also a human. He does a great job at depicting someone as powerful as Doctor Strange as someone completely relatable in our lives. Also, Sam Raimi is known for his addition of horror elements into action movies. What he aims to do is sprinkle a little bit of horror elements into the action movie so it is still classified as an action movie, but with dark scenes. In fact, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness contains a lot of dark scenes, more than what was expected. Although this was advertised as a family movie, Sam Raimi gives it a more mature tone which honestly works great.

The audience that grew up watching the original Avengers is now much older, so Marvel has to produce more mature movies in order to appeal to its audience. This darker and mature tone works great for a film regarding the multiverse and its exploration. Definitely be aware of this, if you plan to bring your children to this movie. It’s not a warning but simply advice. You might want to close their eyes during some of the fight scenes due to its imagery.

Elizabeth Olsen plays Wanda Maximoff in this movie and she is great! The emotions are felt and radiated throughout the theater. I’ll be honest: I did cry at some point, and there were several times when I felt that knot in my throat. Wanda Maximoff has gone through a lot of emotional damage and it is shown once again in this film. There were moments when I wished I could just go through the screen and give her a comforting hug!

Overall, this movie brings the audience into an adventure that nobody could see coming. Being fair, I did not know what to expect and the trailers do a good job of keeping it vague. Leaving the theater, I was very happy to have spent my time watching Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Being an action movie with horror tones sprinkled throughout definitely showed a new level of maturity that Marvel’s Cinematic Universe can achieve, and it gives me hope for the future films.

I recommend this movie a lot, especially to the older generation of Marvel fanatics. I am giving it a rating of 7/10 only because I believe this film could have been a tad bit more sophisticated (cannot explain, this is a spoiler-free review), but its mature tone works amazingly well.

So grab your friends and go watch this movie in theaters! This is one of the few films that does not give you the same experience watching it at home than in the cinema.