Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org – CECELIA website

Little wallet picture

By Rosalie Tirella

Instagram and Snapchat: social media platforms that are all about taking photographs. Millions of photos, now, fast, full color, full on via your cellphone (usually) and then “sharing” them with the world – really, whomever you like (a few close friends or Obama-millions). Pictures that can disappear in seconds (Snapchat) or often highlight bottles of beer, slices of pizza or exotic locales (Instagram). The first
category: junior high stuff; the second: show-off-y stuff you flaunt to impress your co-workers or peers – who don’t really spend time witj you – or much like you to begin with.

No, today I sing the praises of the pictures taken when I and my mom were young. Photographs taken in big, maroon-velvet-drape-ensconced photo booths at Woolworths or with your $10 Kodak “Instamatic” camera – the little rectangular box camera that every American kid owned in the 1970s. It came with “flash cubes” that looked exactly like ice cubes! and made everyone’s eyes red in the color pictures you took.

Those photographs of my youth – and my mother’s young adulthood – maybe because film for your camera cost money, or you first had to put 50 cents in the front slot of the Woolworths photo booth before you could take your pictures – felt, look, years later, GREAT! Intimate! Real! Candid – in-the-moment! True feelings revealed – blatant, out there. Or really really suppressed – inadvertantly out there!, exposed, just like film.

To me these old photos seem more genuine than today’s billions of Instagram public relations pap, pictures that feel staged, are disposable, forgetable, less composed, as in well-thought-out than the photo journal of my youth. Photos of: my old Green Island neighborhood after the flash flood, my sister’s First Holy Communion photo – in front of the red dump truck … my father with his big Italian-bread belly hugging his old white Fruit of the Loom tee shirt. My mom, her hair in bobby pins so it would get curly, looking right at me, annoyed as hell cuz I am TAKING HER PICTURE! Today is her day off! Me pouncing on my cousin’s big sun-yellow Tonka Truck on Christmas morning! I want his toy! I never get great toys from Santa on Christmas morning!

LOVES. Really. The moments in that photo booth with your boyfriend. Being hugged, kissed, smooched even! Or you were alone in that photo booth at Woolworths doing something important, making a statement in your nice top or suit jacket – making/taking those two or three rows of tiny black and white photos of yourself for your true love, maybe fiance. This was about commitment. You were creating something – a keepsake of you – for your love. A tiny black and white photo your honey would put in the photo section of their wallet – a little wallet picture. A little wallet picture of you that they would always have, that they carried with them pretty much everywhere they went. You would be with them. At all times. With a flip of their plastic photo gallery they could see you – or show you off to friends or family. Or if it were really serious that plastic frame, next to the spot where you displayed your drivers license. No flipping – there you were, next to his license, for him and the world to see – at all times.

Somehow, I don’t know why, but I had the little wallet pictures my mother and father made of themselves: just three, teeny and fragile. One is of my father, Daddy, when he was 12. He looks so adorable – big smile and his curly hair, cut in a bowl-shape by his dad, my grandfather from Italy, Sabino, frame his round cute face. I think I spy a few freckles! The second photo: of my mother when she was about 14 – a student at the old Worcester Girls Trade School. She is also smiling – her big pretty smile – all her teeth perfectly aligned and white, no orthodontist needed. God’s gift to her! Or curse?: Daddy used to say he married Ma for her smile, her perfect teeth – and I believe him. He was a shallow person who scorned my mother’s natural goodness/sweetness – and he had lousy teeth! They were all pulled out by the time I was a teen – just gums a flappin’ but he was still handsome and charming (when not abusive).

Up until a few years ago, I used to put these two little wallet pictures of my parents – so mismatched in marriage, so wrong for each other in real life – TOGETHER!! Like they were happy together! Really and truly happy! On my refrigerator, that is. Overlapping each other, a refrigerator magnet keeping them together! Stuck together. STAY! STAY!

So opposite of Daddy, a womanizing free spirit, who disappeared from our Lafayette Street tenement for weeks – or months and months! – at a time. As a little kid, I needed to look at pictures of my father just to remember what he looked like. And that I had a father. Somewhere out there, past Green Island. But now he was MISSING! Like the little kids in the pictures on the half gallon milk carton on our kitchen table! Would I get Daddy’s photograph put on milk cartons, too?!

Then there is the third one – and a fourth, if you count another little wallet picture – but not taken in a photo booth. A bit larger than the little wallet pictures taken in drug stores or coffee shops. These two little wallet pictures are of my parents taken 15 or so years later after the first set, when they are in adulthood, in the middle of parenthood, jobs, homelife. They are serious pictures now. Ma fake smiling and Daddy unsmiling. Both are looking straight at the canera’s lens … . Even though married to each other, looking lonely.

These little wallet pictures make me sad, send me searching for reasons, feelings … My father is in a suit, a heavy autumn one, with clip-on dark necktie. He looks handsome with his Roman nose and his thick curly hair styled high up in a pompador. But he looks mean, too. Angry. Bitter. Totally alone. And he is only what? 29? 30? 32? Married to my sweet mother! My sisters were just born. Twins! I am only 1 1/2 years old – at my cutest. I still remember my mother sitting me up on her and Daddy’s big bed, up on the nubby pink bedspread. Daddy is whistling a tune and smiling and patting my chubby leg! Ma took a picture earlier – I looked so cute, like a little doll. She had even entered me in a baby photo contest. And I had won first prize!!

That’s when Daddy took off for about three years! Good! No more Daddy slapping my mother’s pretty cheek! Hooray! No more Daddy calling my pretty mother “Mule”! or “Fuck nut”! Yipee! Stop all the clocks! Freeze time – PEACE ON EARTH. Or at least in our third floor Lafayette Street tenement … Ma holding me on her lap as we sit on the sofa watch the Red Skelton Show on TV … or Ma taking out her special speckled box and letting me play with her fancy jeweley – big pink stone necklace, a gold snake bracelet, with slit snake eyes and gold rattle tail! I have put the snake around my little neck and am parading around the kitchen, in front of Bapy, my old Polish granny, who is sitting inher delapidated old easy chair at the head of our kitchen table. She is wearing layers of flannel nightgowns to stay warm and doesn’t take baths like the rest of us. She smells … fecund♥️! Bapy old and arthritic stays nestled in her nest and tries to tap my lil’ bum as I run in front of her giggling, wearing Ma’s snake jewelry! Baby is laughing and singing an old Polish folk song for me – her fave grandchild – to dance to. I oblige!

Then Daddy will return, years later, and after a brief honeymoon period with Ma, will be just as shitty! Scream just as loud! Disparage us all, red-faced, lunging at the front door, banging it! Bapy throws her hardboiled egg sandwiche at him and calls Daddy: “RED DEVIL!” I am scared! My little sisters are in their bedroom, holding each other and crying!

WHY DIDN’T DADDY LEAVE FOR GOOD??? Hook up with one of his whores, for good?

Who knows … Maybe part of the answer is in the little wallet picture … pic#4. Of Ma, at her big sister’s house off Webster Square. It is Christmas day. She is standing in front of my aunt’s big Christmas tree. She is smiling, but it is a stiff forced smile. Perfect but more brave than happy. Her hands are folded at her waist. She is dressed for the holiday … wearing her jewelry, a nice skirt and blouse … still, to me, she looks sad beneath the perfect smile. Like something serious is happening somewhere: which it is – her husband is now Nowhere Man, gone, a loss, an adult man in the male-dominated early ’60s who does not have a job and therefore does not provide for her and their three little girls. Ma lives with her mother in an old flat on Lafayette Street – not in the cottage of her dreams, with the husband of her dreams. Daddy has, in actions and words, jilted her. Us kids, too. She is now and forever a single working mom, RESPONSIBLE FOR IT ALL – working at the drycleaners down the street, 60 hours a week, for crappy minimum wage. No car. Pulling groceries home, with her three little girls running and giggling behind her, in a rickety shopping wagon. Even in the pouring rain, her plastic five and ten rain bonnet tied tight under her chin, even in the pelting snow, her snow boots soaked making squishing noises in the slush. Her life. Her hard little diamond of a life. Her three little precious girls the rose gold band it is set in! The little wallet picture, sealed in plastic, now frayed at its edges, meant to be carried in a husband’s wallet, in the space right next to his driver’s license!, says it all.
Little wallet picture #4. pics: Rose T.

Ma, AD – After Daddy

P.S. This song was the inspiration for above column.

Worcester: Burncoat High School’s food pantry … + more🍎🎶

For the holidays: another Edith Morgan story geared to our needy WPS students and families. This Christmas may be a good time to make a donation to the school’s food pantry! … And whatever you say about Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda (hire TEACHERS OF COLOR, Maureen! Flagg Street School has an all white teaching staff and student body!), she has done a lot at South High, at Burncoat, now for our entire school district, to alleviate poverty in our community. To help ALL poor WPS students and their families! Food pantries, gently used clothing stores, health centers, dental clinics, free washers and dryers – they are ALL IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS, throughout our city! These extras HELP ALL STUDENTS OF ALL COLORS! Let’s remember Maureen’s compassion and good works for WPS students. The times are a changin’- but we’ve got to appreciate her strong past!
– Rosalie T.

The Food Pantry at Burncoat Senior High School

By Edith Morgan

Staples and “extras” – always needed at Burncoat. pics: PETA.ORG

A breakfast dish for the entire family using ingredients found at most community food pantries

I went to Worcester’s Burncoat Senior High School, on Burncoat Street, this week to write about their food pantry (one of several in the city), I discovered that even here, in the heart of my neighborhood in the Lincoln/Burncoat area, hunger stalks homes and families.

And so, about three years ago,
the Burncoat Food Pantry was born:
I spoke with the school’s assistant principal and a guidance counselor
who filled me in about their activities to relieve hunger among some of their students. As a retired teacher, I know very well how hard it is to learn and concentrate on an empty stomach – and how much energy it takes just to get through the morn-ling till lunch time.

Like most of the food pantries
in Worcester, in churches, neigh-
borhood centers, and other schools,
Burncoat High School’s operates during school hours: as the big sign outside the school’s front entrance says, the pantry is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nonperishables, like canned goods and staples, can be donated during those times, and should be left inside the front door.

While Burncoat has a large percentage of students eligible for free and subsidized lunch, about 5% of the student body of around 1,000 is really suffering from hunger. It is these students who came to the attention of staff and counselors, and for whom the pantry was established.

On Fridays, they can select cans and staples to take home, from the rows of donated goods in the pantry.

In its first year, the pantry distributed 19 turkeys with all the
trimmings; the following year 36
bags were distributed; this year there will be 50 bags of turkey and other Thanksgiving goodies given out.Getting donations, doing all
the work to keep up this effort, is, according to school officials, a coordinated effort, with many generous people pitching in: Each school department is assigned items they are to contribute, and I was told of examples of different ideas being implemented for raising money and donations – and both staff members with whom I spoke repeatedly praised the great generosity of everyone in the community. Assumption College, some
local businesses, neighbors -everyone gives! The Language Honor Society, for example, held a food drive; Life Skills students help to organize the donated materials, etc. Cooperation among schools also was mentioned: Before establishing this pantry, Burncoat staff visited South High School, which also has a successful food pantry.

I came away from my visit to Burncoat High impressed with the caring atmosphere and the attention paid to the total student.

Anyone who lives in the area (or
anywhere around), is welcome to
contribute, or help out! Favorite
items for year-round needs are:
pasta, rice, beans, soups, and the
perennial favorites – PEANUT


♥️Vegan recipes – no animals harmed!♥️


This song exudes my old Worcester – the “ol’ neighborhood” guys – Worcesterites down to their long underwear and can of BUD! A Woo Classic, by Elliott Smith!:

Skatepark plans, Steve column … South High’s Andy’s Attic🧥 … 🍎Soup’s on! + 🎶

So many of our city kids – WPS students – could use warm winter coats and jackets this holiday season!❄️🎄♥️ At WORCESTER’S SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL – ANDY’S ATTIC: DONATIONS OF GENTLY USED/NEW WINTER COATS, JACKETS, hats, sweaters, scarves, mittens and more needed! A few years ago ICT writer Edith Morgan introduced you to the school’s AWESOME in-house clothing store for kids! We repost the story, below.
– Rose T.


By Edith Morgan

Come with me and take a most remarkable trip, into a huge storeroom, with what seem to me to be 15-foot high ceilings, lined with metal shelves from cement-block wall to wall – and every row filled with “gently-used” clothing of every kind. As I enter, to my right stands a giving tree, festooned with pictures of students who have put in at least 20 hours already, and whose continued work will earn them a star for every ten hours more, s they fulfill their community service duties.

The room is alive with busy students, filling “orders” from families who have sent in requests. Other students are folding, sorting newly arrived donations, straightening shelves or drawers full of new items (the socks and underwear are new, as most people really prefer to wear such items new), The students come willingly and on time, and when asked why they participate in “Andy’s Attic, they all told me how heartwarming it was to know that they are helping truly needy families to be properly and warmly clothed – some even had been recipients themselves, and now were “paying it forward,” so someone else could feel what they had felt when someone cared enough to help them.

Since October 2013, hundreds of bags full of complete outfits in the right sizes have already been sent out, and every day about 36 students show up to help.

Why the name ”Andy’s Attic”?

The idea grew out of the tragic death of a 16-year old Shrewsbury student, Andrew Reese, whose parents and friends wanted to honor his memory. When the project outgrew its Shrewsbury quarters, after a couple of moves, Shrewsbury resident and South High teacher Christine Foley approached her principal, now WPS superintendent, Maureen Binienda, who provided the large basement room that used to be her supply closet. After a huge clean-up job and truckloads of moving, the “attic” was ready.

At first, South High students received the donations – many were needy themselves, but as the project grew, Christine and her volunteers found that behind every student in need was a family in need. And soon word spread, with “orders” coming in from other towns in Worcester County.

In the summer of 2013 the Reese family moved to Florida, and Christine Foley took over the project. She enlisted the help of several major Worcester organizations and got the project under way. Staff and students worked to get it started, and what I saw today would be the envy of any large business, with students performing the many tasks required to run such a great enterprise. We should all be very proud of the students who week after week see to it that Andy’s Attic takes care of those who are in need.

If any readers want to help, besides winter clothing, Andy’s Attic always needs: new socks and underwear, and “gently used” clothing of all sizes. Sometimes a special request has to go out for sizes not in stock, so Andy’s Attic can always use cash to purchase what is needed. For more information or to drop off donations:
South High Community School
170 Apricot St, Worcester
Principal: Jeff Creamer
phone: (508) 799-3325



By Steven R. Maher

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick and tired of the impeachment drama of President Donald J. Trump. I think getting this thing over with as quickly as possible is the best outcome possible.

Given Republican numeric dominance of the Senate, and given the Republicans have decided to hang together, Trump’s survival was forecast from the start. The Democrats would impeach Trump in the House and a Senate majority would vote against impeachment on a party line basis. Trump would survive.

When this whole thing began, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) reportedly stated he planned an immediate Senate vote on any impeachment bill presented by the House. That’s the smart thing for the Republicans to do. Vote as quickly as possible and get it behind them before the New Year.

The Republicans might drag this thing out for weeks. Can we blame them? Some Democrats wanted to drag this out as long as possible. The Republicans might feel the same way – exploit their position to enhance their electoral prospects in 2020.

My feeling is that the American people will blame whichever party drags the country’s agony out the longest. The Democratic House should vote out a one count impeachment bill solely related to the Ukrainian bribery episode. The Republicans should vote down as soon as possible the impeachment charge. They maybe we can back to some type of normalcy where the two parties spend time rhetorically attacking each other, instead of trying to put each other in jail.

I believe that Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense when he involved himself in the Ukrainian situation.

Trump has learned a valuable lesson from all of this, though he would never admit to it. His power is not limitless. Donald Trump will be remembered as the fourth President in America history to be subject to impeachment proceedings, right down there with Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. But the best thing now is to let history judge Trump.

My expectation is that 50 years from now Donald Trump will be judged harshly.





4 green apples, peeled and cored, plus more for garnish
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 lbs. (8 cups) red kuri squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 carrots, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/2-in. piece ginger, grated
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Pinch ground cloves, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
2 cups low-sodium broth
2 cups water
2 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the apples in baking dish and roast for 20 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic, cooking till tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients. Chop the roasted apples and add. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Purée in batches in a food processor until smooth, then return to the saucepan. Heat over low heat, thinning with more water, if necessary.

To serve, ladle into shallow bowls and garnish with sliced apples, freshly ground cinnamon, and a pinch of ground cloves.

Makes 12 servings!

Adapted from A Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays.


Skatepark at Crompton Park Design Workshops!♥️🙏♥️❄️

The City of Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks wants to hear from you!

There will be two meetings, open to all, to tell city officials – who destroyed the previous skatepark in the Canal District – what kind of skateboard area you want in Crompton Park:

⌚Dec 9 and Dec 11 – both gatherings @ 6:30 p.m. – at the newly reopened Green Island Neighborhood Center located in the old field house, by the pool!

Be there, young people!


Wednesday wrap-up!😊🎄🧦❄️ + 🎶

Worcester Historical Museum ANNUAL MEETING! TONIGHT!
Wednesday, December 4, 4:30PM

All are invited to join us at 30 Elm Street to review the busy past 12 months, participate in the election of officers, and learn about what is ahead for
Worcester’s past.

With a presentation of the George Bancroft Award to Deborah Ellstrom for “preserving a history that might have too easily slipped through the cracks.”

Thank you for another great year!

😊For 144 years, Worcester Historical Museum has been the only local organization solely dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of Worcester’s history in all time periods and all subject areas. WHM offers exhibitions and programming for all residents to know, enjoy, and share their heritage. Regarded as a major local history museum in New England, WHM’s mission is to inform and inspire.

Our Story. Our History. Our Future.


From City Hall, Main Street, Worcester




6 P.M.


Framingham Hosts 104th Annual Farm Bureau Meeting!🥦🍎❄️🌎

TODAY, Dec. 4, Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) members and guests will flock to Framingham to attend the organization’s 104th Annual Meeting. Over the course of two days, attendees will participate in workshops, learning sessions and establish policy for the upcoming year.

Topics of discussion at this year’s meeting will including grant opportunities for farmers; regulations on hemp and labor; and small-scale egg production. Additionally, a meet the candidates forum will be held, during which potential leadership candidates for the organization will discuss their platforms and answer attendees’ questions.

“Our two-day meeting is made possible through generous hosting of Cape and Islands and Hampden County Farm Bureaus,” said MFBF President Mark Amato. “This is in addition to sponsorship from companies such as John Deere, Farm Credit East and American National Insurance Company. We can’t thank these group enough for their continued support of our organization.”

As part of the annual event, fundraisers for the Massachusetts FFA and MFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) committee are scheduled to be held. FFA will hold a silent auction and the YF&R committee will host a BINGO night. All proceed will be donated back to these groups.

The meeting will conclude on Friday with the business meeting of MFBF delegates and Board of Directors. During this meeting delegates will set policy priorities for the organization in 2020 and vote on Board of Director positions.

“Our grassroots policy development process is a key component of our organization,” Amato said. “When we speak to legislators, they recognize that our policy is set by our members and these solutions are what a constituent wants to see happen. Personally, I’m looking forward to solid discussion during the policy development process and hope to see many of our members this week at the annual meeting.”

Following the statewide meeting, if a resolution has national applicability, MFBF’s leadership will bring the resolution to American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting for consideration.



Butternut Squash Soup


1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 bay leaf

6 sprigs fresh parsley

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. whole peppercorns

1 cup white wine

5 cups water

2 large onions, diced, with 1/4 cup reserved

3 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pinch of nutmeg, to taste

2 Tbsp. oil, optional

1/4 cup Corn Nuts snack, plain flavor, coarsely crushed, for garnish


Place the carrot, celery, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf, white wine, water, and all but 1/4 cup of the onions in a large pot, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Strain the soup, discard the pulp, and return the liquid to the pot.

Add the squash and remaining onion to the pot and cook over medium heat until the squash is tender.

Transfer the squash, onion, and one cup of the liquid (reserving the remaining liquid in a separate container) to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Season it with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Add the oil, if desired. Blend again until oil is incorporated.
Pour the purée back into the pot and add some of the reserved liquid, stirring to achieve desired consistency. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle Corn Nuts over each.

Makes 4 servings🥦🎶❄️🌎🧥🍎😊





Honoring those who died on Dec. 3, 1999: our WFD FALLEN SIX – Heroes Forever!

By Rosalie Tirella

More love and respect, this eve. Be there! file photos: Rose T.

This evening, 5 – 8 p.! Please attend the City of Worcester’s Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Fire remembrance ceremony at the Franklin Street Fire Station, or join your neighbors in lining the streets as firemen and women from surrounding towns walk solemnly, but proudly, past Union Station to the Franklin Street Fire Station, built at the site of the inferno, to honor the city’s Fallen Six: Lts. Thomas Spencer, James F. Lyons III, Timothy P. Jackson Sr. … Firemen Paul A. Brotherton, Jeremiah M. Lucey and Joseph T. McGuirk. They died in that massive brick hellscape, that antiquated cold storage building, stories high, to save a couple of homeless people. A homeless guy and gal who had camped out in that old brick working-class hellhole for animals, slaughtered animals, sides of raw beef now, hanging from big iron hooks,lined up like bloody dominoes … the heroes rushed in to save the lowliest among us. The two people living there must have sensed its macabre history, but they stayed to stay warm! On cold December nights in Worcester! The guy at the diner sometimes fed them. No one judged them harshly – even after the fact. … The couple’s candle was lit, they ran away as its small flame flickering on the candle wick leapt to clothing? bedding? and in a matter of minutes exploded into flames, an inferno. It had engulfed their makeshift bedroom and their few paltry belongings and now was raging up stairs, down byways and in dark corners in search of fresh air, oxygen, for fuel, to stay alive! The homeless couple were too mentally ill to add it all up, explain it all to authorities. (Why not more staffed special needs homes/residences for these people, like in the 1970s, when they were first released from institutions like Worcester State Hospital?)

So six good men died. Awful deaths. Frightened at the end, maybe alone, maybe in each other’s arms.

Never Forget: THEY DID NOT DIE IN VAIN. They died doing a job they loved, with guys they adored, for the good life in towns and cities they loved. They were brave family men … fearless sons … strong leaders. Martyrs. Their wives and kids still mourn their passing.

But like a phoenix rising up from the ashes and rubble, Worcesterites came together to knock down – erase that horrid building – and in its place erect a beautiful new fire station – the Franklin Street Fire Station. A simple life-sized statue of a kneeling fireman in boots and fire gear/work clothes kneeling to honor his fallen brothers says it all. Signals that this spot is hallowed ground. Holy air, land … snow, today. That what happened here 20 years ago, in this city working class ‘hood, on this frozen December night, will never be forgotten.

The Six Men will aways be loved – as men, as heroes. And, if you believe all the religious pap, they are in heaven cavorting with the angels, miles and miles above burning buildings … I say: THEY ARE HERE NOW – OURS!


Tonight, if you go: Firefighters and civilians are expected at the ceremony, which begins at 6 p.m. with a march from Union Station to the Franklin Street fire station. Firefighters from surrounding fire stations are expected to line the route.


End America’s Tiger Craze! (editor’s note: Fake “Sanctuaries”: Ecotarium in Worcester and Southwick’s wild animal farm in Mendon! Boycott both!)

By Jennifer O’Connor


They should not be held captive in people’s backyards!:
Canada and America must change their laws – no exotic animal backyard collectors!!

Even if you don’t pay much attention to wildlife issues, most people are aware that tigers are critically endangered.

As detailed in a new National Geographic exposé, there are more tigers in captivity in the United States than there are in the wild — worldwide. Roadside zoos operating as breeding mills play a huge role in creating a very real overpopulation crisis for captive tigers in America.

Tiger cubs are irresistibly adorable, which also makes them moneymakers. Sleazy roadside zoos across the country churn out cubs to exploit in “encounter” sessions and photo opportunities in which people pay to hold and be photographed with them. They’re prematurely taken away from their mothers — some just hours after birth — so they can “get used to” public interaction. The window of profitably is short since cubs quickly grow too big and strong to be “managed.” After they age out, tigers typically spend the rest of their lives in cramped cages often in deplorable conditions. They can’t be released into the wild, and all the reputable sanctuaries in the world can’t provide enough refuge for all these big cats. The heartbreaking cycle continually repeats itself.

Some roadside zoos dupe customers into believing that they’re helping to “save” endangered tigers, while others don’t even bother. Some take to the road, hauling the helpless cubs around the country on the fair circuit, stopping in shopping malls and parking lots.

Even though they appear harmless, tiger cubs are strong and have sharp teeth and claws, leading some exhibitors to take drastic action to curtail their natural instincts. One Indiana roadside zoo forcibly smacked cubs with a riding crop and told “playtime” participants to hit cubs on the nose if they got too “rowdy.” The same outfit hired a veterinarian to declaw 12 big cats, which was illegal. After the surgery, they suffered without any pain medication.

It’s deeply disturbing to imagine what happened to 23 tiger cubs who died at an Oklahoma breeding mill in one seven-month period.

Such abuse is not limited to the United States. A Canadian tiger trainer was caught on video gleefully admitting, “I like hitting him in the face.” Another was charged with cruelty to animals after a tiger and a lion were found living in a dark cage amid mounds of feces, rotting chicken parts and mud.

Tigers are apex predators. They are the largest species of cat in the world. They are strong, agile, superb hunters. They love to swim. When denied all their fundamental biological needs, they can become listless and depressed. Many pace incessantly in an effort to cope with their frustration. Others act on their natural instincts and inflict serious — often fatal — injuries on their keepers. Such acts of defiance are usually their last.

The time is long overdue for the government to impose laws restricting individuals from breeding dangerous exotic species. Until then, you can help these displaced tigers by refusing to participate in exploitative displays and by supporting reputable sanctuaries that give them refuge.


🍎Vegan Holiday Treats!🍎


Elliott🎶 Smith❄️

By Rosalie Tirella

I’m on an Elliot Smith discovery songbook tour. So, you are comin’ along! Here is “Condor Ave” by Elliott Smith. I love this song’s lyrics – a perfect song for tonight: a desolate, dark, break-up kinda nite. The protagonist’s feelings disregarded by his ex: she just drove off!, didn’t even pack her clothing! She’s sailing away in the Oldsmobile. She sailed past the junkyard, surreal carnival barker screams filled the air. The boyfriend, feeling abandoned, is enraged – he slams the screen door over and over again – so hard that those stupid wind chimes go flying!

That is how it feels tonight.

When I lived on Ward Street, like three yards from Interstate 290 by Kelley Square, with thousands of cars and trucks speeding past my door 22 hours a day (there was always a break between 2 a.m. and 3:30ish), I felt the opposite! Snow fall felt romantic. Magical even! I lived in the fourth! floor apartment of Chef Joey’s dad’s building. My place had just been renovated to look vintage 1940’s beautiful. Original, big, heavy sliding pocket doors; original, maple dining room cabinets with window panes and linen drawers … high plastered ceilings, original windows with woodwork cleaned and stained shiny dark. All the walls had been painted a creamy, dreamy white. I’d look out of any of my 10 windows and see Worcester spread out before me like a still from a Woody Allen movie: my mini-Manhattan! Worcester’s city lights, the stars in the sky, the glass tower downtown with its top floor changing colors!: now a wavy gravy green, red, then orange. Cool! … The white, simple, but elegant steeple of St. John’s Church with its own small spotlights.

Then they would come: millions of snowflakes, sheets of twinkly snow-powder, rushing down with slanted directness. You could see the snowflakes against the light that shone from the street lights on Ward Street and just by looking up into the Worcester night air. Winter storms didn’t feel like no break-up song then! I miss that wonderful apartment – it made me feel in the middle of it all! All the city action! It stimulated me! Made me happy to get up in the morning and be ALIVE in a real city like Worcester.

Then there is this Smith tune:

And this one:

So beautiful. How did I miss them? There are scores! I’m excited by their newness (to me)!

Smith lived in Amherst a few years after I left that great college town – maybe our paths crossed once or twice, as he was coming in and I was leaving. He matriculated at Hampshire College; I was at UMass. It was during the days of local band heroes Dinosaur Jr., led by Amherst native don J Mascis. And even though Aimee Mann was from Boston, I would still run to see her and her group, Til Tuesday, whenever they played at the Blue Lounge in our student union. Grunge was percolating in Washington state and Oregon. After college graduation, Smith left Amherst for Portland. All the guys back then, in Amherst, had the same slacker hipster vibe as Smith. Few had his musical genius:

I was wrong! His lyrics are GREAT!

And still he never stopped hurting. … They found him dead, with two knives sticking out of his chest. Horrific. A beautiful mind leaves us, but what stays forever with us: all his beautiful collage-songs. They will always speak to the hurting heart!

Actor and Native Son Denis Leary comes to Worcester – but half our three deckers cry out for the spotlight!

Text+photos by Rosalie Tirella

Dear Worcester City Leaders:

Why keeping losing our princes?

In light of Denis Leary’s visit here to help Worcester honor the six WFD firemen who died 20 years ago fighting the Cold Storage Warehouse inferno on Franklin Street … Why not tamp down on the star-gazing (we love Leary, too!) …


They are the problem, they are firetraps! They are seldom up to code … landlords don’t want to fix things to make their property safe … many landlords will not even rent to people of color!… many rent leaded apartments to families with toddlers! They are blatantly BREAKING HOUSING LAWS. Worcester City Council, as our housing stock, our three deckers, get older and older – 100+ years old at this point!! – we need to have a gameplan to keep our historic old buildings safe – and looking good.

Firemen and -women don’t see color

Inevitably, every winter, when it’s freezing cold out – like it was the night of the Stockholm Street fire that claimed WFD Lt. Jason Menard’s life – tenants in our three deckers struggle with the subfreezing temps. Many of our three deckers just have: a parlor heater in the living room and a gas heater log in old gas stoves in the kitchen. That is it. No central heating! And some buildings are so drafty! I grew up in an ice box, decades ago, on Lafayette Street in Green Island. We had 2 space heaters going in our third floor tenement in an old three decker (that we loved♥️) during winter-time. As a little kid I wore a knit hat to bed! … Folks STILL improvise in all sorts of ways – many drag out their electric space heaters in our old neighborhoods – and set them too close to their beds, bed linens, curtains or laundry. They just wanna get warm! We cannot blame them! I’ve been there! Then … DISASTER STRIKES … LIVES ARE LOST, OUR CITY MOURNS.
Lt. Menard honored as he is brought to the graveyard! He was just 39 years old!

But we rise up again! We are resilient, we denizens of these old New England mill towns. We are the sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of factory workers … immigrants. We are tough.


But this shouldn’t keep happening! The new city task force that will study this situation and make recommendations MUST FOCUS ON THE REALITY IN OUR APARTMENTS, LIFE AS LIVED BY our working poor and working class!

WHY HAVE CHILDREN, OLD PEOPLE, FIREMEN DIE every Worcester winter because it was too cold in three decker flats? Why not CLOSELY LOOK AT EACH TENEMENT – and make landlords make improvements? WE ARE TALKING HALF THE HOUSING STOCK in Worcester!!

And why not build new, affordable housing? Why not enact rent control? And if the old guys on Meade Street in the Housing Code Dept. are not up to their cushy City of Worcester jobs as housing/code inspectors, lay them off – and HIRE A NEW YOUNG DIVERSE WORK FORCE to really do the job! New city workers for a new Worcester!


Giving thanks at the Boulevard Diner!

Text+pics by Rosalie Tirella

Today @ the Boulevard

An urban oasis of love!

Thanksgiving at The Boulevard♥️ Diner! The sweetest waitresses – the tastiest veggies – the most grateful, polite customers!

Becky and the girls☕

Wonderful volunteers

You went out into the nippy November day and your heart was chilled. You entered the Bully, like it was a chore. Photos for your Thanksgiving Day photo essay.

Inside … magic!

You sit at the “Bully” counter with the other guests …

You “order” a big plate of carrots, peas, squash, potatoes, a mug of coffee – cream, please, because it is Thanksgiving. You skip the bird out of your love for birds and all animals. Becky serves you your meal, smiling, happy to be with family, friends, the community.

Soon Becky and the gals’ (volunteer waitresses today) goodness washes over you. Son Chris is helping out, too. …


… You see Becky and the Boulevard family treat Worcester’s needy, sitting in the booths or at the counter, like family, so sweetly – with such care – and professionalism! The real kings and queens of Worcester! More turkey? More gravy? A meal to take home? they ask their customers, many homeless young adults with stuffed backpacks and plastic bags filled with their clothing. This upsets you! You feel: They are too young for this – where is Worcester’s affordable housing?! They are just beginning their lives – where is Worcester’s living wage jobs for all? (You donated a Marshalls tote bag filled with shirts, socks, fuzzy bathrobe, jacket … Other folks brought in handmade knit scarves and hats – or pumpkin and apple pies!)

Some of the guests are astounded at the waitresses’ generosity! And the portions!! They smile as they eat. More coffee? Another roll? the volunteer waitresses ask them. No, thank you! they say. I may have to take some of this home!

Jim and manager Lisa cooked most of the food – including the turkeys😢 – early in the morning, at Jim’s church. Then they brought all the prepared food to the Bully. Jimmy, tired, is napping in the van now.

You begin to feel warm and cozy in the snug East Side diner! Everyone is smiling and so happy! You feel grateful and content, too. Some people want to donate a dollar or fiver to the diner as a thank you gift! Nope! Becky and the gals say! No money, please! There is no money in the cash register today! They sound giddy as they say this! They know they are blessed. They work hard to be successful, but they give back, too. Worldly but innocent! Strong yet vulnerable! Just like Jesus wants! We are in this life – at the Bully – TOGETHER!

Happy Thanksgiving!🥔🥕☕ + more♥️ + Alice🎶!

This holiday season I will be missing the Frank Carroll Plaza all decked out in holiday twinklies! file photo: Rose T.



The Boulevard Diner is serving free Thanksgiving meals to all in need!- spiritual, as well as nutritional!♥️🥕 file photos: Rose T.

Lisa and Becky – the ♥️ of the Boulevard!

Today, are you LOOKING FOR a great Thanksgiving Day meal with all the fixings? Or: just some wonderful COMPANY? Repartee? A few prayerful moments? FELLOWSHIP? … you have NO DOUGH$$$? In other words, you need A FINE PLACE TO DINE THIS THANKSGIVING DAY for FREE.

Then head over to the Boulevard Diner on Shrewsbury Streer around noon FOR THEIR FREE COMMUNITY TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING MEAL! Open to all in need!… Jim and family/staff are cooking up a ton of homemade veggies, stuffing, gravy, pie, coffee, the main dish! Plus: they will gift you with LOTS OF LOVE, smiles and encouragement – all served up by the lovely waitresses at the “Bully!”

For the community!

Worcester at her most gracious, fun, open-minded … Christian!

– Rosalie Tirella


Fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities

from RespectAbility.org:

10 Tips for Including People with Disabilities in your Holiday Celebration

With the holiday season upon us, it is easy to hold a gathering where all guests — with and without disabilities — feel welcomed, respected and have fun. All it takes is some planning. With some help from Alie Kriofske Mainella, an expert on working for inclusion of people with disabilities, here are some tips to ensure your gatherings are inclusive, thoughtful and welcoming to all:

♥️1. Don’t be afraid to include guests with disabilities.
People with disabilities have their disabilities 24/7, so they know how to create work-arounds so that they feel comfortable. If you know someone has a disability, use a simple strategy — ask the person what they need to be fully included. All too often people with disabilities are not invited to events, or don’t go because they feel embarrassed to “put someone out” by asking for a simple thing that will help them attend. By telling them that their presence is valued, and asking what they need, you will build a new level of trust and affection. For example, one of the biggest things that aging loved ones need is a ride. So help them find a carpool or send an accessible taxi or Uber to pick them up and return them home.

♥️2. Include a line about disability accommodations in the RSVP.

Keep in mind that not all disabilities are visible, so you may not know that someone you want to include in your event has a disability. By including a line about accommodations and food allergies in the invitation’s RSVP, you are already letting guests know that everyone welcome. If it’s an event for children, parents can tell you, right off the bat, what their child’s needs might be to attend the event. They will be happy you asked! “We want everyone to have fun — please let us know if you have dietary restrictions or require other special accommodations to attend! We will do our best to meet special needs.” Note that you aren’t promising to meet all needs — if you can’t find a sign language interpreter at the last minute or there is another issue, for example, you will be able to let your guest know in advance. Indeed, they may be able to help you find a solution!

♥️3. Physical Access

Most public places are accessible. However, because religious institutions are exempted from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many of them are not fully accessible. Thus, if your event is at a venue that is not physically accessible to all, move it to a place that is. That can mean a different room in a place of worship, or to a completely different place. Venues should have a ground level entrance or ramp, an elevator if it’s upstairs, and accessible bathrooms. Most public places (hotels, restaurants, bowling, video games, pools, bounce houses, etc.) are usually equipped for people with disabilities. Just check with the venue ahead of time. If you have someone coming who uses a wheelchair, you should also put the food on a table that is low enough for them so they can take it themselves

♥️4. Special Diets and Fragrance Allergies

Anyone can have allergies, celiac disease or lactose intolerance, but you won’t know unless you ask on the invitation RSVP. Making sure there is an option for cake, snacks, treats and other food for these guests can be as simple as picking up a gluten free cupcake to serve with the cake. It is thoughtful to have refreshments that everyone can enjoy and/or asking people not to wear perfume to your event.

♥️5. Addressing attitude

Kids and adults can be daunted when encountering someone who is different from them. If children are at the event, you can talk to them at the start of the event about kindness and respect for each other and each other’s differences. A holiday gathering is a great opportunity for kids to learn about one another.

♥️6. Involving parents

Holiday gatherings can be exhausting for the hosts. Asking a parent or two to volunteer to help out, particularly if it’s a big group, can lighten the load for the hosts. Parents may feel more comfortable, especially if their child has social anxiety issues, if they are invited to stay or help as an option.

♥️7. Sensory overload awareness

Holiday gatherings can cause sensory overload for any child or adult. But for a person with autism or a sensory processing disorder, a large gathering can be really overwhelming. Offer opportunities for guests to take a break, perhaps in a quiet room away from the crowd. Some venues may have options for turning down music or minimizing stimulation — and that is useful anywhere there are a lot of kids! Latex allergies (balloons) and chemical sensitivities (use of highly scented cleaners or staff wearing perfumes) are real issues. Solutions: Use alternative mylar balloons. Ask people to not wear strong scents, and choose unscented cleaning products. Avoid flashing lights that can trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.

♥️8. Communication

If a guest attending the gathering is non-verbal or communicates in other ways such as American Sign Language or a communication board, talk about it with the guests. Installing free Dragon software onto an iPad in advance can enable you to speak with someone who is deaf as it instantly transcribes what you are saying. Having an interpreter can be worth the cost, as all the people can communicate and maybe learn a little sign language! Remember to speak directly to a child or adult whether s/he is verbal or not.

♥️9. Reading, Cognitive Access and Vision Issues

Children and adults with cognitive, learning disabilities or vision impairments might not be able to read the menu, instructions for a scavenger hunt or a game score sheet. Pictures and verbal instructions are useful, as well as pairing children with those who can help. It’s always great to have an extra pair of reading glasses around if you are inviting seniors. But you can always tell someone who can’t see or read what they will need or what to know.

♥️10. Enjoy the gathering!

Don’t let inclusion stress you out. If you are reading this list and considering these tips, you’re already doing more than most! Stay positive, smile and have a great time!