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

Best buds!🐾💗🐾🐾💗

By Rosalie Tirella

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!


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!

Best buds enjoying Worcester’s Elm Park!

July 4th Musings …

By Rosalie Tirella

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?

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!


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.


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.

Table Talk … the old becomes trendy


By Rosalie Tirella

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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!


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?

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.

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


By Rosalie Tirella

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.


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.




By Luis Sanchez

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

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.

My Aunt Mary – Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal secretary in the White House🇺🇲🇺🇲

By Jim Coughlin


My Aunt Mary – Mary Barelli-Gallagher – died recently (April 22, 2022) in Alexandria, Virginia, at the age of 95. She had lived a pretty amazing life for an American woman of her generation. She lived in that city, just outside of Washington, D.C, after being appointed as one of Senator John F. Kennedy’s very first staff appointments for his Senatorial office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. This was after JFK defeated Senator Henry Cabot Lodge in November of 1952.

One of my aunt’s first tasks she was assigned by Senator Kennedy was translating incoming mail coming from Italian immigrants and constituents who wrote to his office in Italian. My aunt was amply qualified to do this for Senator Kennedy because at the Barelli home in Hyde Park, Boston, only Italian was spoken!

Jim’s aunt grew very close to the Kennedys. photos submitted.

It all began when my late Aunt Mary worked at a paper company in downtown Boston where a former salesman, Kenneth P. O’Donnell (who happened to be from Worcester), had left to work for then Congressman John F. Kennedy’s senatorial campaign that year.

According to my aunt, O’Donnell recruited her to work for Kennedy shortly after Kennedy won the election. After Kennedy had ascended to the Presidency, he named Kenny O’Donnell as his Appointments Secretary, which by today’s political standards would be called “The President’s Chief of Staff.”

My Aunt Mary started working for Senator Kennedy in January of 1953. Since then, and until November 1963, my aunt worked at various times for a total of three members of the Kennedy family: John F. Kennedy; his wife, Jacqueline; and also for Jackie’s mother, Janet Auchincloss, on a part-time basis during the mid- 1950s.

After President Kennedy’s inauguration, my aunt began working as the Personal Secretary to his wife, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, in the family quarters of the White House. Aunt Mary held that position until President Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963.

America might have become a different country if the Kennedys had not been killed.

Aunt Mary later continued working for Mrs. Kennedy at her home in Washington, D.C, for about a year following the assassination, until the fall of 1964, when Mrs. Kennedy moved with her children to New York City.

During the Kennedy administration, my aunt never traveled publicly with the President or his wife on their official trips. However, the one time that she did was on November 22, 1963, the day of the President’s assassination in Dallas, Texas. Immediately after President Kennedy was rushed to the Parkland Hospital in Dallas, my aunt sat right next to Jacqueline as she kept a vigil immediately outside of the hospital’s Trauma Unit One. The ER doctors had told my aunt “not to change any of her expressions.”

Later, when the President’s casket was brought home to Andrew’s Air Force Base, just outside of Washington, D.C. in Maryland, when they were deplaning from Air Force One, my Aunt Mary was right next to Jacqueline Kennedy and the President’s younger brother, Robert F. Kennedy, who at the time was serving as Attorney General of the United States.

In happier times, on the President’s Inauguration Day on January 20, 1961, my aunt was the last one to see JFK out of his house in the Georgetown section of Washington, D C. when he was still “President-elect Kennedy.” Earlier that day, my aunt was in the room when still Senator Kennedy rehearsed his soon to be legendary inauguration address before heading out to the White House to meet with outgoing President Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower.

Autographed to Aunt Mary

In August of 1962, my aunt had arranged with the President’s personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, for members of my immediate family to come down to Washington, D.C for a complete tour of the White House that was topped off with a private audience with the President in the West Sitting Room of the White House! While we were waiting for the President to arrive, we were all a little bit on edge. However, when a big brown door was opened, the President of the United States began walking towards us and he looked very rested, tanned and was brandishing a very big “Kennedy smile.” As he approached our family, my mother literally jumped up and screamed, “Mary, he is even more handsome than in his pictures!” My aunt later said, “she squirmed, embarrassed that he (JFK) might have heard – needlessly at that. He not only heard but obviously loved it.”

My older brother John was equally, if not more, complimentary to the President of the United States. He said, “I am not going to wash my hand (the one that “shook” Kennedy’s in their handshake) for a week.” At first, the President did not know what to say. It was almost as if he was caught off guard (if only for a second) by my brother’s great compliment. The President began to laugh and then he immediately flashed the most beautiful smile that one could ever imagine.

This interaction our family had with the most powerful man in the world has long remained as very powerfully charged memories amongst members of our family.

Also in this meeting, upon the President’s hearing that my mother, Eva, had married a fellow Irishman, it was now the President’s turn for a return compliment to our family. He quipped, “So another member of the family went off to marry an Irishman.”

My cousins Christopher and Gregory, who live in Alexandria, recently told me their lives were much connected and intertwined to the members of the Kennedy family, especially during the Kennedy administration. During that time at the White House when Caroline Kennedy’s childcare worker was of on Wednesdays, my cousins would be the childhood playmates for Caroline, either at the White House or at my aunt’s home in nearby Alexandria.

A slice of American History🇺🇲

There is a little known fact that the President was allergic to animal fur. This made it necessary for the Kennedys to give Caroline Kennedy’s very much loved cat, “Tom Kitten,” to the Gallaghers. So Caroline would he happy to come and visit with the Gallaghers so she could spend time with Tom Kitten! In fact, the White House cat is buried in the back yard of my aunt’s home in Alexandria, Virginia.

My aunt very often said that her relationship with Jacqueline Kennedy “was like that of a sister.” In July of 1960, my aunt had traveled with the Senator and his wife to be with them at Democratic National Convention when he was competing for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Jacqueline Kennedy happened to walk into the Senator’s room and caught my aunt changing one of her daughter Caroline’s diapers. This made Jackie quip, “So, Mary, you are part of the family.”

My aunt once wrote about her long relationship with the Kennedys: ” … when I was a child, I never dreamed that I would work at the White House, walk with Presidents and be on a first-time basis with the First Lady of the United States. Jackie Kennedy was like a sister to me and neither time nor distance can erase the memories of the years we shared together.”

As I sit in my hotel room in Alexandria, Virginia, penning this tribute to my aunt for the CECELIA newspaper, Mary Barelli Gallagher preparing to later attend a Funeral Mass of the Resurrection at St. Mary’s Basicilia, (and later to take her to her final resting place), my aunt remains my hero, right alongside President John F. Kennedy and all the Kennedys.

My aunt’s association with the Kennedys has inspired me over my many years of being a researcher and lecturer on The Kennedy Presidency.

And, yes, to those who wonder what keeps me going with my unabated passion for a state holiday in the state of Massachusetts, it is the relationship that my aunt and my cousins and members of my family had with the 35th President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, JFK.

And as President Kennedy very often said, “God willing, that goal will be achieved.”