Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org – ICT website

Breakfast time, in France …

Text+pics by Chef Joey

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Pal Joey!!!!

France. The country known for its delicious food, rich in butter … sauces, creams and, of course, flavor. One thing about the French: lunch is the meal of the day. Breakfast and dinner are the light side of the spectrum. My grandmother Hélène had an expression: “You eat like a prince in the morning, a king at noon, and a pauper at night.” This still rings true; lunch is an important meal. Here in France banks and many stores close for a two-hour civilized lunch break.

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Breakfast is typically always a warm beverage, café au lait, tea or even hot chocolate. When I was a kid in France I walked to the bakery every morning to get the paper for my grandparents and a fresh baguette. Every now and then I would get a croissant. However, it was a treat because it cost more than a loaf of bread. It still is the same here. The price of fresh bread is set by the government and cannot be more than .95 cents for a baguette. There are many different breads, all at various prices: country style, brioche, whole wheat and even double-sized baguettes called “restaurant bread.”

My favorite memory of being a child, and now doing the same for my daughter Gigi, is a fresh baguette sliced in half and filled with butter and jam.

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French toast, an afternoon snack

Confiture “Bonne Maman” is available in the states, and hands down it is one of the best. I do not go to the bakery daily; I buy the bread and freeze it immediately. Five minutes in the oven and it is as fresh as the day I bought it!

Another alternative is frying your bread in butter. It’s delicious and a great way to use stale bread. French toast is an afternoon snack for energy – I’ve never really had it for breakfast.

Another item is a piece of cake, literally! This recipe is from my grandmother, who named it after herself – Gâteau Taunte Hélène.

Aunt Helene’s Cake:

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the recipe❤

Simple and delicious:

1 plain yogurt yogurt (8 oz)

1 cup sugar (I use ½)

1 tsp rum

2 eggs

½ cup oil

2 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

Beat the eggs. Mix with the yogurt and add everything else. Pour into a pan and bake 350 degrees for about 15 mins in a 9-inch round pan. Use a toothpick to test. Simple and delicious!

By Edith: “The voting is done!🇺🇸 Now for the ballot count🇺🇸!

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and family🇺🇸

Editor’s note: This column was written the day after election. Edith Morgan is my best writer!👏👏👏👏
– Rose

I voted early and in person. And then, last night, on November 3, I sat up until after midnight to get some feel for what was happening in our country. But I finally had to go to sleep, when it become evident that there would not be a final answer to the question of who won the presidency. (Regardless of Trump’s spurious claims that he won!).

As of early afternoon on [November 5, here is what we know: Democrat Joe Biden has 264 electoral votes, Repub/incumbent Donald Trump has 214 R.T.] … [Several swing states are still in play, although Biden has won Michigan R.T.].

The counting continues, and we can expect to have to wait many hours for final results – maybe even days. Delays due to legal maneuvers could lengthen the time before we have a final tally every where.

The “Blue Wave” I had hoped for and expected did not materialize. Rather, it was a slow and steady trickle, with millions of Americans voting early and by mail, so that the expected huge surge on Tuesday was kept manageable. Here in Worcester, at least, the polls were not overwhelmed: no one had to stand in long lines out in the cold and blustery weather.

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I have tried to watch for any reports of violent or threatening behavior anywhere, but apparently so far the protective plans taken by most of the election officials and their governors seem to have prevented any outbreaks. Of course, we will never know how many voters were fearful enough to stay home, especially if they had planned to vote in person on election day!

I was very disappointed that Mitch McConnell was not defeated; but of course if the Democrats manage to flip the Senate, then he will become minority leader. I was also hoping that Lindsay Graham would bite the dust, but he also managed to squeak through for another term.

I don’t know what to make of the election results so far, except that I am badly disappointed in the results. I had hoped that the American people would hand down a resounding message to Trump: that lying, violence, threatening, bragging and supporting authoritarians, bigots, the KKK were not acceptable by an American president. I was hoping for a resounding endorsement for science, responsibility and generosity! So far, these things seem to be struggling to be in the American mainstream, while for four years, we have watched Trump shred democracy, break all manner of law.

Trump promised to get rid of laws … his illegal strongarm executive orders are now mainstreamed into every facet of the Executive Branch. There is so much work left to be done before we clean out the Aegean stable created by the Trump administration and its acolytes. But I have to believe that more and more citizens will finally see that the ship of state is listing badly and needs help.

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FYI:

President Donald J. Trump has COVID 19

By Edith Morgan

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Edith

The COVID 19 virus is truly an equal opportunity invader – and seems finally to have reached the supposedly safest house in America -the Trump White House.

After Trump called the virus a “Democrats’ hoax” and saying it would just disappear and telling reporter Bob Woodward that he knew how deadly it was but did not tell the public because he did not want to panic us … and leading millions of Americans to avoid wearing face masks … now has come home to Trumpland. Trump and wife Melania are at Walter Reed Hospital, under quarantine, and for all practical purposes out of mainstream life for a couple of weeks.

This is so close to the November election! Trump is – of course – in a Presidential Suite in the hospital, getting the best medical care in the world … and he claims he will carry on his presidential duties from Walter Reed. He does not look well …

Meanwhile, Trump has exposed so many people around him: not just family members, but staff, military personnel, Secret Service men and women and all those tasked with guarding and transporting him, not to mention the thousands packed together in his rallies.


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Most of us have continued to listen to Dr. Anthony Fauci and our doctors and the research scientists who have continuously reminded us to wash our hands, wear facial masks and keep our distance.

Let us all hope that the very professional staff at Walter Reed, who have in the past performed so many near-miracles, will be on top of this problem and that Trump will quickly recover, without the really bad time that Boris Johnson of the UK experienced.

Do you all recall the story of “The boy who cried wolf”? After so many lies, misinformation, flip-flops, and incessant tweets, my first instinct was that this news was just another diversion caused by Trump because of his plummeting poll figures to provide an excuse to delay the election – or to say it was all rigged. When you have been lied to often enough, you begin to question everything.

I will assume for the time being, that this is the real thing: apparently the Trump tweets that used to come in the middle of the night, by the dozens, seem to have stopped – a sign that Trump is not up to doing that!

There are so many questions, but this White House is so secretive that we can only speculate.
So, stay tuned, wear your masks, wash your hands, stay 6 feet apart and keep healthy – flu season is just around the corner.

Tale of Two Worcester Police Departments?🇺🇸

First:

WOW

By Rosalie Tirella

Yesterday I saw our WPD – our day to day beat cops – at their BEST. Guns were fired on Hope Ave. and WHOOSH!!!! I was driving in South Worcster running my biz – but SoWoo quickly became A MOVIE! It was like the ENTIRE Worcester Police FORCE WAS RUSHING TO THE GUNFIRE. Scores of guys from all directions. To Save people. To get the bad guys! To put themselves in harm’s way for … the citizenry. In a matter of minutes!

On Cambridge Street I saw WPD police cruisers converged on a three decker.

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Cambridge Street. pics: R.T.

Up a ways on Canterbury I saw one of their cool undercover vice squad guys zooming to the action. So young! So fearless. Now the lights were flashing and the the siren was on in his crumby hoodmobile. The cop looked just like a punk. I mean. WOW.

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Webster Street

Then a ton more police cruisers on Webster Street where several kids were stopped, on the sidewalk, outside their vehicle looking … concerned. One cop was GINGERLY leading one of the kids into the paddy wagon. Handled with care. No police brutality to my eyes. And, of course, Hope Ave. was yellow taped and our boys and gals in blue were down there on top of things. Pics were taken of this long black box in the driveway of the Webster Sq Firehouse by a cool lady cop.

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Webster Square Fire Station

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Hard at work. Serious stuff.

Traffic was stopped and slowed down. All the cops were working together, no yelling, no strutting their stuff. … I couldn’t even hear them talk! And believe me, I was doing some serious rubber necking! Our police officers were total professionals. The WPD at its finest.

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Now, a letter from one of our readers:

Hello Rosalie,

I am emailing you to let you know of the problem of fireworks going off and the WPD response to our complaints. I live at 44 Elm St. and a man comes to the parking lot of the Ghanaian Presbyterian Church almost every night (except when it rains) and shoots off fireworks. He has set a nearby bush on fire (photo attached) and terrified two Yemeni children rescued from the fighting living next door.

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photo submitted

I am terrified he will set the trees under my unit on fire or disrupt the gas meters on the outside of the building. When I have called the WPD …there is no action taken when the fireworks are being shot off at that moment. Last night (7/8/2020) the police claimed they never heard of the Ghanaian Presbyterian Church (the former Chestnut Street Congregational Church)!!!

Today, myself and a friend went down,in person, to WPD headquarters to speak to an officer and were sent home with a promise of beat officers coming to speak with us. We came home and waited…no one called or came.

My friend called the WPD again…said no information or contact info was left…we left contact info. This is so frustrating.

Could you cover this problem? I am sure we aren’t the only people who have experienced this recently.

Althea Fiore
Worcester

Editor’s response: Althea, we’ve been on this CITY-WIDE ISSUE since the end of June!! THESE NEW FIREWORKS ARE MAJOR. LIKE EAST PARK FIREWORKS. LOUD. PROPULSIVE. LIKE BEING IN A WAR ZONE. They can start fires in buildings, if fired too closely – which they usually are, right in the middle of our densely populated city neighborhoods. We call, too. And we stay on top of the guys that shoot the works! You have to! The cops are overwhelmed with major stuff(see my above post). … We called you – and left a voicemail. Call us!
– Rose T.

Delivering new issue of CECELIA … This Season of ♥️: Show cats and dogs some ♥️ – get them “fixed”! + more🌷

If you love animals, here’s what you should do this February♥️

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

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Rose’s Cece is “fixed,” as well as Jett and Lilac. pics: Rose T.

If you love animals, here’s what you should do this February♥️: Make a date with your veterinarian. No, not for dinner and a movie – a date to have your pets “snipped.”

February may be associated with romance, thanks to Valentine’s Day, but it’s also Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, and if you have an animal friend who still hasn’t been “fixed,” there’s no better time to do it. Many veterinarians, spay/neuter clinics and animal shelters offer special deals on spaying and neutering in February, helping you save a little cash. But more importantly, having your animals fixed can save countless lives.

In many parts of the country, February is the last chance to “beat the heat” and get cats spayed before longer daylight hours shift their breeding cycles into overdrive. “Kitten season” begins in early spring and, for many shelters, brings a big influx of felines and a mad scramble to accommodate them all.

As cute as kittens may be …

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A few years back: kitten Cece♥️

… the consequences of their overpopulation are anything but. Many shelters have no choice but to make room by euthanizing older cats who’ve been there a while and are less likely to be adopted. Other facilities turn away newcomers — leaving them in the hands of people who can’t or won’t take care of them. Many end up on the street, forced to fend for themselves.

Sterilizing cats before kitten season strikes can prevent a catastrophe. And that goes for dogs, too. An “oops” litter of puppies can happen just as quickly as unplanned kittens can. And unless those pups are fixed, they can soon go on to have litters of their own, further worsening the problem.

Spaying and neutering aren’t just vital to ending animal overpopulation and homelessness, though—they’re also one of the best decisions you can make to protect your animal companions’ health.

Spaying spares female animals the stress and discomfort of heat periods, greatly reduces their risk of mammary cancer and eliminates their risk of diseases of the ovaries and uterus—including cancer. Early “fixing” is a good thing: Females who are spayed before their first heat cycle not only avoid pregnancy but also have one-seventh the risk of developing mammary cancer.

Giving males the “snip” cuts their risk of prostate cancer and eliminates any chance of testicular cancer. It also helps keep the boys out of trouble: Neutered males have less of an urge to roam or fight. And altered animals are less likely to contract deadly, contagious diseases, such as feline AIDS and feline leukemia, which are spread through bodily fluids.

If your animal companions are already fixed, give yourself a pat on the back—and then get to work finding another animal who needs to be “snipped.” Chances are, each of us knows someone—perhaps a family member, neighbor or colleague—who just hasn’t gotten around to making that appointment yet or who can’t afford it.

We can make a world of difference by encouraging those people to have their animals sterilized, offering to drive their animals to and from their appointments or even paying for the surgery ourselves. It’s money well spent: Spaying one female dog can prevent the births of 67,000 puppies over the course of six years, and fixing one female cat can prevent 370,000 kittens from being born in seven years.

A trip to the vet to have a cat or dog “snipped” may not be the most romantic thing you can do this month, but it’s one of the best ways to show animals that you love them.♥️♥️♥️♥️

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FYI:

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Yesterday, delivering new CECELIA … Presidents Day, winter vacation/schools out, a quiet Kelley Square/Green Island. A few pics by Rose:

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GREEN ISLAND BOULEVARD?!?!!!!

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Wish I had seen Marc Bolan:

More Chef Joey Yum Yums! 🎂🌽🍅🍆 …

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Chef Joey says, Spring time is veggie time! Go, Joey, go!!

Text, photos and recipes by Chef Joey

These days we have the convenience of running to the market for pre-made items. Heck, you can even buy pre-made mashed potatoes! I was floored when I saw that, and for the price of two portions, you could buy 10 pounds of potatoes and feed 10 to 15 people!

I always have root vegetables stored on my stairs. I tend to buy 20 pound bags of onions and potatoes and 10 pound bags of carrots, just to have them on hand. They come in very handy, and you save money when you buy these staples in bulk.

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Spring!

Vegetable Stock!

Here is a simple recipe for vegetable stock, and it costs less than buying it.

You will need the following:

2 potatoes chopped evenly

2 onions coarsely chopped

2 carrots peeled and chopped (so you can eat them!)

1 stalk celery chopped

2 leeks split cleaned and chopped (they can hold dirt)

2 turnips peeled and chopped

5 or 6 cherry tomatoes split

salt

Place all the ingredients in a large pot. Cover with 6 ½ cups water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.

Then turn the heat down to simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Strain into a bowl using a colander, and press gently down on the veggies to extract the maximum flavor.

Chicken Pot Pie!

You can use the veggies with tofu or sautéed chicken to make a chicken pot pie!

Literally, take a cup of your broth and thicken with a teaspoon of cornstarch that you mixed with a little cold water.

Add the cooked chicken meat and veggies.

Pour onto a pie plate, cover with a crust and you are done!

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Flower power!🌸🌺🌷💐

One last recipe for you …

Veggie Casserole!

It is so easy – especially with summer veggies coming up. You can modify it each time by adding additional herbs!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup uncooked long grain white rice (brown or wild rice works, too)

2/3 cup water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds zucchini or summer squash or both, cubed

1 cup sliced scallions

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1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt

5 or 6 basil leaves sliced

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon oregano – fresh is best

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes – plum are best or minis cut in half

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese – divided

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 1 ½ quart casserole dish and set aside.

Cook the rice in the water, bring to a boil and simmer covered. If using brown or whole grain, follow the package directions.

In the meantime, in a sautee pan, add everything from the oil to the paprika.

Sautee 5 minutes.

Add the rest and 1 cup of the cheese.

Place into the casserole dish and cover with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes until hot.

*****
Chefs, if you are looking to replace the animal ingredients in your recipes for health or ethical reasons …

Vegan-Cooking-Tips2

Always in style!: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church – as a SHRINE!!!😇😇😇 the vets at Veteran Homestead … and Worcester news you can use!

From Mauro DePasquale, Mount Carmel Preservation Society:

Important update:

Despite the fact that the Worcester Historic Commission voted not to do the study to explore a historic district at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church on Mulberry Street (OLMC), we are, in no way, giving up on our mission to save Our Lady of Mount Carmel church.

Despite many people feeling discouraged, as long as the church stands, it is not over.

It is important that we recognize how far we have come, specifically how the church is still standing and, most likely, would not have been if it were not for the efforts of the Mount Carmel Preservation Society (MPS).

We are moving forward with our appeal to the Vatican to oppose the merger of OLMC and Our Lady of Loreto parishes.

We will also appeal to the Vatican the demolition of the church building as soon as the Diocese issues the required decree of suppression.

We are pursuing an alternate (as an option of consideration) plan to save the church by preserving it as a shrine to OLMC, fully supported and sustained by the MPS.

We have just made a formal proposal, regarding our plan to make the church a shrine, to Monsignor Pedone and the Diocese and await their response.

A shrine is a sacred place where, with the permission of the Bishop, people can gather for daily prayer, celebrate Masses, hold special religious events such as baptisms, weddings, etc.

This could benefit the Parish, Diocese and community as a historical sacred tourist attraction as well.

We are also waiting for approval of our application for non-profit status and expect to have that approved very soon. Non-profit status will allow us more flexibility with fundraising, as we definitely need to continue to raise funds for legal costs and for the support of our proposed shrine to OLMC.

Plans are already underway for another MPS fundraiser and we will update all of you when we have the details.

We need the active involvement of each MPS member at this critical time. We must stay united and positive as we persevere in saving the church from demolition.

Our Sunday Prayer Vigil is ongoing at Mt. Carmel Apartments at 10 a.m., Sunday.

To donate visit http://www.preserveourladyofmountcarmel.org

Tickets for tonight’s (3/11) fundraiser are available at the door – $20. This wonderful music event is hosted by First UNITARIAN Church at JOHN HENRY HAMMER Coffee shop at 7 pm Main and State St., Worcester. Near the old court house.

Next meeting will be announced soon.

Thank you for your support. Stand Tall and God Bless you.

Mauro DePasquale, MPS

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From our friends at Veteran Homestead!💜💛❤

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The Second Annual Veteran Homestead Star Spangled Go-Kart Challenge

… at F1 Boston in Braintree

Thursday, April 6

5 pm – 9 pm

Come compete for racing glory where your donation goes to support the veterans in our programs thanks to the support and generosity of F1Boston.

Gather your friends together for a FUN night of go-kart racing, food, drinks, prizes, pool, networking and, of course, mingling with our veterans.

Form your team now and don’t miss this opportunity to support our heroes, the military veterans who are responsible
for our freedom.

Don’t feel the need for speed?

You can attend, cheer on your favorite team, enjoy food and drink while supporting our veterans. The donation is $150 per person.

Call or email Cindy to participate and for costs and more information 978-632-1271.

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REC WORCESTER 🌺EARTH DAY🌸🌻 NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUPS AND BEAUTIFICATION!🌻🌸🌹🌺💐

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Saturday, April 8

8 am – 12 pm

We are excited to invite you to join us for this year’s REC Earth Day Neighborhood & Garden Cleanups!

This is truly a community-wide event in which residents come together every year to give Worcester the Spring-cleaning it deserves.

Last year, more than 1,000 volunteers came together to pick up more than 50 tons of trash at over 60 sites in Worcester!!!🌸❤

Please feel free to contact Pat Barnosky with any questions or concerns
– earthday@recworcester.org – 508-799-9139

Thank you for joining with your neighbors and friends to support the 28th Annual REC Earth Day Neighborhood & Garden Cleanups!

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15 GREAT CRUELTY-FREE COMPANIES! Buy their cosmetics and personal care products – NEVER tested on bunnies💜 – at CVS, Walgreens, Target or your local supermarket:

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And this, from a gal pal. Highly recommended by Allen Fletcher!😉

“Ma” – FOREVER in fashion! … Happy International Women’s Day!❤!

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

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Here’s a photo, taken years ago, of my late mom – “Ma”💛💛💛💛 – and Polish immigrant granny – “Bapy”🎵💐🌻🌺🌹🎺 – in their tenement in “The Block,” on Bigelow Street in Green Island.

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Here are my late mom’s polyester work vests – bought at the old White’s Five and Ten (and more!) on Millbury Street – decades ago – and worn by my mom, to work at the dry cleaners.

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My grandmother never held a job outside the home – her husband, my grandfather, was the breadwinner toiling in a textile mill in Douglas. But my mother and her two sisters, my aunties, were, like all poor girls from poor families, work horses! From 14 1/2 years old to 65 years old they worked as maids, cashier girls at the late great Eden Restaurant on Franklin Street, cooks, counter girls at Oscar’s dry cleaners on Millbury Street. Typical jobs for daughters of typically poor immigrants – young women whose paychecks often helped support a big, struggling Irish-, Italian-, Eastern European- family.

As a kid watching Ma put on one or the other of her polyester work vests I knew she meant business. She was getting ready for a full day at the dry cleaners, where she worked for minimum wage, 60 hours a week. She walked to work (we didn’t own a car). She walked to work pulling a shopping wagon (also bought at White’s) behind her for light grocery shopping at the end of her work day. She carried a brown paper sack that contained her lunch: thermos of black coffee, a sandwich in a baggie and an apple or banana for dessert. Ma was the most disciplined person I have ever known – she never ate more than a sandwich at lunch or a bowl of cereal at breakfast. Never second helpings for her. She was anti-gluttony. She used to say to us kids: “Eat to live! Don’t live to eat!” And she meant it. She was a pillar to no-nonsense, fad-free good health.

She had to be! As a single mom, not on ANY government assistance (which she was eligible for but too proud to accept), it all rested on her small shoulders, the ones on which her little polyester work vests hung. She had our Lafayette Street tenement to pay rent on, utility bills to pay, her three little girls to feed and clothe, a tired old Mama (Bapy) to feed and care for and (usually) a gaggle of my pets to feed and love!: Belle the English Setter mix, Raj the tabby cat, Gigi the mouse, Tommy and Speedy the turtles, Joy the hamster, Horatio the Old English Sheep dog mix, Sally the salamander. Sometimes I had two dogs at once! It was crazy!!! And then there was Ma’s peripatetic husband, my father, “Daddy,” a wild, gorgeous hunk of a man with a red pompadour who swept Ma off her Keds and breezed in and out of her life for years. Looking to get laid by Ma, looking for mothering from Ma, the mother of all mothers!, looking for her pity, her understanding, her quiet, dependable love … We never really could figure him out. He yelled so much. He called Ma such horrible names! Fuck nut! Donkey! He made me cry. But he never made Ma cry – or she never showed us her tears.

Here’s Daddy holding my two kid sisters on his lap:

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In short, Ma’s life was BIG, RICH, ROILING, SAD, STRUGGLING and old school CATHOLIC. Mostly, I now see, it was deeply meaningful and loving.

I didn’t always think so. In my early college years I was ashamed of Ma and my life with her – She was, we were, so poor in Green Island! We had no car, no clothes dryer even (as a college freshman a friend had to teach me how to use a dryer in the laundry room!), no vacations, no nice restaurants, no trips to museums outside of Worcester Public Schools field trips. Ma was “ignorant” – stuck in her dead-end job, never even finished 8th grade! A loser! She prayed too much – kow towed to silly Catholic saints on her small dime store prayer cards, like this one, which I have today and keep on my night-table at all times:

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All writhing souls in purgatory, inextinguishable flames of a painless hell licking our faces, Jesus’s pierced heart and crown of thorns – King of pain! – blood drip drip dripping on us penitents, now dead, awaiting ever lasting life in a pit of fire … Ugh. Depressing. Guilt-inducing. The brutality of old school Catholicism, the way it KILLED your spirit, killed MY spirit, my need for God – FOREVER. Today I am a Godless Green Island girl! … a card-carrying atheist, if ever there was one!

For a few years (in my early 20s) I didn’t even speak to my mother! So angry was I at Ma for our poverty, her abusive husband – my abusive “Daddy.” I’d lie in the top bunk bed in my college dorm room and think to myself: This room is so much warmer than my bedroom on Lafayette Street ever was – ever could be!

Ma’s beauty slipped away from me …

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Then, years after college, when I was helping Ma move into her last apartment, I came upon her work vests. She had retired from the dry cleaners a year ago. I asked her: Ma, can I have them? Maybe wear them around the house when I do chores… She said: Sure.

It’s funny: Next day, when I put on one of Ma’s drab little polyester vests, I felt POWERFUL – like I knightress in shining armor!!!! I could not believe the energy, the happiness … the LOVE I was feeling. I was wearing Ma’s coat of mail, the holy vest that she wore into battle against poverty each and every day. It had chinks in it and was blood-splattered and tear-stained! And here it was – all mine! So beautiful! Years ago I thought it was the ugliest piece of cloth I had ever seen! Its Whites Five and Ten polyester roughness! Its boring color! Its utilitarian un-fashion. No style statement was this vest! BUT IT WAS! All along! I remembered the contents of its pockets, years ago, as Ma readied herself for her work day: a few pens, pencils, a little scratch pad, roll of Life Savers, a scapula or two…

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Here is one of Ma’s scapulas she’d take to work each day – in her vest pocket!
Also, she’d have a little dime store Novena prayer book held together with staples – Novena prayers for St. Francis, St. Jude … She would read it, pray her holy Novena prayers during her half hour lunch break at the dry cleaners, sitting in a metal folding chair by the counter, still on the look out and responsible for her customers. No break at all!!

To all the saints – Jude, Martin, Theresa, Anne, Joseph and Mary! – saints who Ma prayed to, average people who helped Ma get through her hard life – I now say THANK YOU to you! Ma’s faith in you was real, life-sustaining! She saw you transcend your pain and suffering – so she transcended hers!

Sometimes in her vest pocket Ma would have a five dollar bill too! – a little fun, a gift for her girls after school. As little kids my sisters and I visited Ma everyday at the dry cleaners, after Lamartine Street or St. Mary’s schools, to say hello! She’d dig into her vest pocket and give us her “pocket” money so we could run down to Pete’s Dairy Bar on Millbury Street to have some fun: buy a small order of french fries, a hamburger, hang with the other kids there after school before going home to do our homework. One of my kid sisters took a few quarters and played the Pete Dairy Bar pinball machines, while my other sister and I sat in our booth eating our french fries and burger – me reading my Tiger Beat magazine, in between greasy bites!

Maybe we heard a Beatles song play on Pete’s juke box. We’d laugh as owner Pete and his waitresses joked with all the kids – the place was always packed with kids after school! We were in kid heaven, thanks to our Ma!

Happy International Women’s Day to all the blue and pink collar moms out there who are making lives for themselves and their families each and every day! You rule!❤❤❤🎺👠💐🎵

“Strange Fruit” …

Strange Fruit

By Abel Meeropol

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop