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Thanksgiving musings on pot – not the kind you’re cooking your turnip in!

Pics and text by Rosalie Tirella

Jett. He’s a walks-in-city-parks kinda pup:

Don’t worry, Jett! We’re moving back to the city next month! A December move – brutal, but necessary.

Yep, the potheads have arrived in rural Worcester County. BY THE THOUSANDS!


As of this week, you can legally buy your weed (like a trip to Walmart) in Leicester … and hook up with your opioid-epidemic in Spencer! There’s so much that needs to happen in Leicester and Spencer: a REAL food hub like they have in Greenfield for the towns’ hungry/food insecure; a health clinic for downtown Spencer; a medical plan to combat Spencer’s opioid crisis … more polling places so it is easier for the towns’ historically disenfranchised to VOTE – their interests.


Screw my fave winter veggies that you can buy just up the road from the pot shoppe: beets, squash, taters! Forget about local farming…It is about the drabbest, blobbiest, most out-of-shape losers invading, converging on our beautiful countryside…
… parking their cars at the farms along Rt 9, skipping the produce beautifully displayed in barns … but our flinty, savvy farmers charging $5 per pot-buyer car. And they ALL made a killing!!!


Opening mary jane day, I was STUCK IN TRAFFIC on Rt 9!!!


So different from my usual commute to the Spencer ghetto – the wizz home, with the bully townie truck drivers on my ass flashing their “high” beams. Speed up, Rose!

This will be a different kind of “high” for Leicester and rural Central Massachusetts. Leicester has about six cops (all nice/smart) – five of them were at the newly opened pot shop, directing traffic, keeping all the weed buyers who were hiking up Rt 9 in the cold rain to buy the lung-destroying, brain-fuzzing, penis-wilting shit safe. What a waste of talent/resources! Sure, the towns where the legal pot stores-complexes are located – Noho and Leicester – can rake in as much as 20% of the complexes’ profits and, no, the pot stores canNOT sell to anyone younger than 21.

But a kid’s cool brilliant brain is still developing at 21, according to the pediatricians – until about 25 years. Some early-20 brains cannot handle the chemicals in their joints and bongs! They’ll have a bad trip!!!!! And: what about the weed buyers sharing their shit, once home, with their younger brothers and sisters???!

I sound like my late mother!!!

It was the early 1980s. I was 20 years old and living in a commune in northern New England, becoming a vegetarian, singing wildly off-key to banjo players, chasing chickens …

Every Sunday afternoon my distraught mother would call me up at the farm and SCREAM into the telephone receiver: “ROSALIE, ARE YOU SMOKING POT?????!!!!!! I KNOW YOU’RE SMOKING POT!!!!!!!”

She felt she had lost me.

No, Ma, I wasn’t SMOKING POT. I was group-showering with gorgeous hippie guys, wearing blue jeans I hadn’t washed in three weeks, making miso and tofu (firm and soft!) casseroles … dropping out of college/life … skipping the books … but NO, Ma! I was not smoking pot!!!!!

I was wallowing in better stuff – unlike these Leicester weed losers (I will exempt the tall, skinny, long-haired guy loping up Rt 9 – he was wearing a terrific lime green suit covered with dark green pot leaves. Loved the pattern! I took a pic of him in his great outfit but it didn’t come out) who invaded the country not to hike, visit the winter farmers markets, attend a country church craft fair or to speak their piece at Town Meeting – or even buy a fuckin’ Christmas tree for the holidays! The first day that is what I thought: all the cars and people were here for a special event. I felt warm and toasty. Hopeful about small-town America … COMMUNITY.

Boy, was I wrong!

It seemed all of Massachusetts, New England, had made the Homeric trek to Leicester – just before Thanksgiving … braved the freezing cold, walked into the wild wet wind to get their little brown paper gift bags (they look like “gift” bags you’d get at the Hallmark Store) filled with buds, brownies and cigs…weed in all its manifestatioms.

What a stupid country I live in! What a blobby, flabby populace populates Mass! So depressing to look at!

I can’t believe pot – the shit that used to be underground – and the excuse America used to incarcerate millions of black and brown men and John Lennon – is now purchased in pretty Leicester. Sanctioned by Red-Trump country. Protected by almost an entire small-town police department. Made to seem safe, OK – a Thanksgiving treat! – for the kiddies.

No thanks. I’ll skip the moron show. I’ll have my treat – a slice of Pumpkin Pie – at B-Law’s Diner, just down the road, on Rt. 9.


From now on, we’ll be seeing a different kind of regular in this neck o the woods…

Spencer story: Mean ol’ dawgs!

Photos and text by Rosalie Tirella

In Spencer…a country lunch and coffee with Cece …

… and the mutts.

My “country kids” now, since we’ve hightailed it to Spencer! Beautiful nature all over, kissing my soul – but rough, too, even around the delicate purple flowers still growing towards the sun in my small side-yard.

And there’s an adjustment period – for me – and Jett and Lilac, my two dogs. For instance, we’re learning all about Spencer dogs – the Dog Situation in the country! Different from the Dog Situation in the city! While Spencer seems strict with regards to licensing their town pooches, leash laws are thrown to the Spencer winds: big old German Shepherd mixes, big-boned pitbull mixes, big, ol’ fine-boned Doberman pinschers and big black lab crosses run free here. A plethora of protective, aggressive, just plain ol’ MEAN country watch dogs, often belonging to the town’s poorer folks, who seem to define themselves – they don’t have good jobs (the mills here closed years and years ago) or own homes (they rent all the wild, funky roaming poor people’s digs all over downtown Spencer and its side streets – folks who define themselves by their big ol’ mean dogs and motorcycles, and long hair and bandanas for the guys, and cute, sexy boyfriends for the gals.

The dogs, like the people here, go their own way.

The dogs even have the run of our downtown! Dawgs that wanna mow you down and tear the shit outa you! Dogs who are beyond command. The good folks in Spencer town hall are probably aware of this Spencer social phenomenon but know they can’t do a damned thing about it. They’d be going against nature …

Last week, I was walking Jett and Lilac ON MAIN STREET here in town. Main Street, for God’s sakes! – and just like a locomotive exploding through the Gates of Hell, from across the street, I heard a terrible growling rushing me at the speed of sound. I looked up and saw a Spencer BBQ happening outside the crappy apartments across the street – poor folks sitting in their plastic chairs at their long plastic foldable table – red meat on their grill – enjoying the gorgeous sunny Sunday Spencer September afternoon on their cement driveway right outside their front doors. A nice community affair.

And their untethered Dobermann Pinscher.

When I yelped “hi!” the fat lady at the table threw her ample arms around the sleek black Doberman pincher’s wide-as-a-barrel chest, straining to constrain him. I waved to her, smiled at her, real neighborly, but squeaked to myself: FUCK!!!!! My two goofy dogs wagged their tails at the enraged Dobbie. Yay! A party! they seemed to signal. Smell all that cookin’ meat!! – we never smell that smell on Mommy’s stove!

I pushed and tugged Jett and Lilac into seriousness and pulled their leads for them to follow me as the fat lady put a leash on her wild Doberman.

Good God, I thought to myself …safe now…ready to make a little circle aroud the Price Chopper strip mall. I wondered: Where did that mean ol dog come from? I wanted to price the supermarket’s mums and pumpkins…BUT WHOA!!!!! A lump hit me in my chest as A BIG OLD GERMAN SHEPHERD AND A BIG OL’ TAWNY PIT BULL MIX charged me and my dogs as their stringy-long-haired master scooped up their massive dog poops outside his funky old Spencer apartment, in his cement parking lot with motorcycle dutifully parked…

I felt: FUCK! We are dead!!! and just ran with Jett and Lilac straight into … the Price Chopper shrubbery! Falling into their half dead mums, clutching the big Price Chopper pole – to show the mean old dogs: SEE? WE ARE FAR AWAY FROM YOUR TERRITORY!

The mean ol’ dogs stood at the periphery of their shitty little world – and watched us …scramble off…to my car, parked yards away.


Last week I saw – on lead, thank God – a brindle, pointy-nosed bull terrier. The Spuds McKenzie dog – but dirty as it hung out with its owner and friends outside a Spencer chop shop. Its muzzle looked smudged with dirt. Or was it blood?

Even the little chihauhau next door is a mean ol’ dawg! – wants to kill my dogs. Wearing her rhinestone studded collar she CRASHES UP AGAINST HER SCREEN DOOR, GROWLING like a mad dog, wresting demons from her pint-sized soul! Her traumatic backstory? Her little chihauhau sister “was murdered right in front of her by my ex-husband!” says my very nice next door neighbor. “I’m so sorry!” I tell her. “I’ve got a restraining order against him,” she says.

And a (little, sooo adorable) MEAN OL’ DOG!!

Welcome to Spencer, Rose!


Investigation reveals the hidden horrors of eggs … and FYI Monday

Investigation reveals the hidden horrors of eggs

By Daniel Paden


Recently, on an egg farm in Oklahoma that supplies the largest grocery chain in the United States, nearly 8,000 hens essentially baked to death. In July and August, temperatures in the farm’s massive sheds soared day after day, eventually reaching 106 degrees. Unable to sweat, the chickens panted in a desperate attempt to cool themselves in the stifling conditions. Some had no access to water. It’s a terrifying way to die.

According to a veterinary expert, heatstroke “results in organ damage, respiratory distress, collapse, disorientation, seizures, and death. Heat stress causes immense pain and psychological distress and … agonizing deaths.”

This is just one of the many horrors that you are unwittingly supporting if you eat eggs.

PETA looked into the Oklahoma hen prison — which confines up to 1.2 million hens in 11 massive sheds — after receiving a whistleblower tip that birds “looked like they were rotting alive” there.

Before PETA’s investigation broke, the farm supplied eggs to, among others, The Kroger Co., which sold them under the Kroger brand. (Kroger says that it is taking steps to suspend ties with the farm, but the egg company does operate others.)

As is common in the warehouses where egg-laying hens are crammed en masse, these birds had no place to stand, sit or lie down except on the wire flooring of the cages, which dug into their feet and likely caused them to become inflamed. Unable even to spread their wings or establish a social order in such severely cramped and stressful conditions, many hens resorted to pulling out their own feathers.

These intelligent and social birds were packed so closely together in stacked cages that they had no choice but to urinate and defecate on one another.

Chickens are clean, fastidious animals who need to preen and take regular dust baths. But in these facilities, they’re forced to live in filth.

PETA’s eyewitness found that many hens had died and begun to decay inside their cages. Survivors were forced to coexist with their rotting cagemates for days on end, which was no doubt extremely distressing.

Dead chickens littered the shed floors and were eventually tossed into manure pits, where feces had accumulated in piles up to 5 feet high. In one pit, the eyewitness found a debilitated hen — still alive — amid the decaying remains of other chickens. When the eyewitness reported this bird’s plight to a worker, he said that she’d be dead soon anyway and walked away, leaving her to die.

Over several days in early August, workers at the facility yanked more than 49,000 unwanted hens out of their cages, beat their heads against metal boxes, stuffed them into the boxes and then crudely gassed them with carbon dioxide, an acidic gas that can cause extreme pain.

Hens who survived all that were dumped onto a conveyor belt and then into a truck, where they landed amid massive piles of dead birds. Workers slammed survivors against the trucks, beat them with a piece of wood or broke their necks.

Some hens survived even that — and were left to die in agony, likely of suffocation, under the bodies of other chickens.

This is not an isolated case.

In June, PETA released a video exposé of three egg farms in Abbotsford, British Columbia, showing similar conditions. Dozens of live hens were stuck in mounds of feces teeming with maggots. They had evidently fallen while being moved in or out of the cages and were simply left to die. Many were buried alive in the manure.

Hens trapped in the cramped wire cages above the manure pits fared little better. As in Oklahoma, they were forced to live among rotting corpses. Some were virtually featherless. Ammonia fumes from the accumulated excrement irritated their lungs and burned their skin.

Around the world, billions of gentle hens are suffering in squalid conditions such as these.

Even if you’ve eaten eggs your entire life, you can make a difference starting today by refusing to continue supporting such abuse. With new vegan options cropping up every week, making the kind choice to say “no” to eating eggs and other animal-derived foods has never been easier.


History Talk Looks at Fitchburg in its Gilded Age Boom: “When Samuel Holton Came to Fitchburg” on Thursday, August 23

Free Public Talk Coming to the Fitchburg Historical Society!

The Fitchburg Historical Society will present a free history discussion featuring new research on a family that moved to Fitchburg in the booming 1870’s. It is entitled “When Samuel Holton Came to Fitchburg” and will be presented by local historian and genealogist Sara Campbell on Thursday, August 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Samuel and Samantha Holton came to Fitchburg during its largest economic expansion in the late 1800’s and became successful farmers, political leaders and local philanthropists. Local historian and genealogist Sara Campbell has unearthed original documents that shed light on their triumphs and tragedies, as she traces the Holton family along the Fitchburg timeline.

When Campbell encountered the story of Samuel Holton and his family, she was intrigued about the decision that sent him suddenly east to Fitchburg in late middle age, even though his family had been based in Northfield, Massachusetts for six generations. Why did he uproot his family? What was his impact on Fitchburg? What was the city like for newcomers like Samuel and Samantha Holton?

“Everyone has a story,” according to Sara. “I found that the Holton’s were a fascinating family, a real New England success story. My research makes it possible to ‘get to know’ those who have come before us.”

Sara Campbell has taught genealogical research in Fitchburg’s ALFA program. She is a founder of the Turners Falls Genealogy Gathering, and a member of the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium. She has also taught as an historian in residence in the Erving Public Schools and has published widely in genealogy and Massachusetts history.

About the Fitchburg Historical Society: Founded by James F.D. Garfield in 1892, the Fitchburg Historical Society is an independent non-profit that was created to collect, preserve and interpret the history of Fitchburg. Now located in an historic H.M. Francis-designed building on Main Street, the Society hosts lectures, exhibitions and annual events relating to the city’s history.

This program is funded in part by the Fitchburg Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. The Fitchburg Historical Society and Crocker Family Center for the History of Fitchburg is located at 781 Main St., Fitchburg, in the historic Phoenix building. There is abundant on-street parking near the Historical Society and free parking behind the building. The building is handicapped accessible.


VA Central Western Massachusetts Debuts $2.6M State-of-the-Art Computed Tomography Suite

LEEDS, Mass. – A recently renovated Computed Tomography (CT) suite debuted at VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System’s Edward P. Boland main campus with a goal of decreasing wait times for patients visiting the Radiology Department.

“We see about 60 Veterans per day in all of Radiology, and with this new scanner we will see a decrease in wait times — and an increase in our volume,” said Linda King, Radiology’s supervisor.

Pointing above the newly installed CT Scan, King said an illuminated mural rests over a bed where patients sometimes have to remain still for long periods of time. “We wanted to put the patients at ease as soon as they enter this space, and to make them feel relaxed during the process. What better way to do that than with bright, natural art?”

King said plans for further improvements were in the works, including renovating X-ray rooms, and purchasing new equipment, among other things.

VA Central Western Massachusetts has a footprint of more than 100 miles, with eight sites of care, including Pittsfield, Fitchburg, Worcester, Springfield, Greenfield and the Edward P. Boland main campus in Leeds.

Medical System Associate Director Andrew McMahon said Radiology was just one example of several ongoing initiatives.

“Last fiscal year we invested $12 million — and this year we’ve already surpassed that mark,” he said, adding that the new CT suite cost about $2.6 million to complete.

Ongoing improvements include renovations to Radiology, Audiology, Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy, construction on several buildings, and broad infrastructure work on the WWI-era main campus, amid myriad other initiatives.

“At the center of it all is the Veteran, our patients, and prioritizing their treatment even as we improve our facilities for them,” said McMahon, who oversees all of the medical system’s facilities.


Main South tonight! 🌜National Night Out brings together Woo cops and the community! 🌃 💙

Photos/text by Ron O’Clair

I was pleased to check out the “Night Out” Celebration held this evening at the community park on Murray Avenue, located behind the Main South YMCA.


It was a wonderfully attended event! The people of the area came out by the hundreds: I estimate that more than 1,000 people turned out!


I was happy to see the youth interacting with the Worcester Police Department officers who participated in the event. We are lucky here in Worcester that our police officers have worked with the community to ease tensions between the two. It has been an ongoing process and one our newest police chief, Steve Sargent, supports 100%.

The Worcester Police Mounted Unit had the horses there earlier in the day, and they were a huge hit with the younger participants. By the time I got there, they had already withdrawn the unit. Still, it was a great time to be had for all who cared to come!





Save the planet – eat avocado ice cream!🍨🌍 … and a 🎵

Broadway Soda and Ice Cream Shop - 100 Water St-EBLuce
Rose’s childhood stamping grounds – her beloved Green Island! – are now the decidedly non-gritty, gentrified “Canal District.”😢😩 Here’s an old picture of The Broadway on Water Street. Before this 📷, it was known as The Broadway Ice Cream and Soda Shop. It’s still in biz – the formidable Billy Isaldakli now owns the eatery – and the Broadway STILL SELLS ITS HOME-MADE ICE CREAM (made by Billy on the premises). Try the Snickers or Coconut – flavors always changing, as Bill likes to experiment!🍦😊 Photo courtesy of Worcester Historical Museum.💙




Avocado–Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (vegan and gluten-free!)


1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled

3 large avocados, pitted

1 tsp. lemon juice

Agave, to taste

Mint extract, to taste

1/4 cup chocolate chips or 1/2 chocolate bar, shaved


Without shaking it, open the can of coconut milk and scoop the thickened part into a bowl. (Set aside the remaining coconut water and use for something else.)

Using a hand mixer, whip until fluffy, then transfer to a 9-inch-by-9-inch glass dish.

In a food processor, add the avocados, lemon juice, agave and mint extract.

Blend until smooth.

Place the avocado mixture on top of the whipped coconut cream.

Add the chocolate chips or chocolate shavings and combine.

Cover with plastic wrap, making sure that there is no air space between the ice cream and the plastic wrap.

Freeze for at least 2 hours.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Plenty of vegan ice cream at Trader Joe’s in Shrewsbury:



And …

Happy Birthday, Ringo Starr! ⭐✨🌠

pic: R.T.


I always liked this Fourth of July column 🇺🇸 …

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸💜💜💜. CECELIA file photo: R.O.


I wrote this piece four or five years back.🎉🎉 – R.T.


By Rosalie Tirella

I’ve celebrated the Fourth on a blanket in Boston listening to the Boston Pops and guest vocalist Johnny Cash. I’ve celebrated the Fourth at East Park here in Worcester. Always a lovely time.

Last night I was thinking about my Green Island Fourth of July’s – the years when I was a kid and lived with my mother, father, sisters and grandmother in “the Island”:

I am a little kid – about 9 – and I am standing on our three decker’s back porch. Third floor. It is the afternoon and the sun is shining sweetly. I am looking at “Val,” the buxom middle-aged lady who lives across the way from our rickety three decker in her rickety six-unit building, on her third-floor porch. A big, weed-choked, empty lot lies between our buildings but that is all. The vegetation hasn’t kept Val from inserting herself into ours – everyone’s – lives.

She is wearing a negligee today – for the Fourth of July. I can see it from my back porch. She is on her back porch talking loudly. I swear I can see her bright red lips from my third floor porch! In 10 years I will have learned the word “slatternly,” and it will remind me of Val … but today I am a little kid so Val is just … Val.

Val is very drunk on this special national holiday – in a very happy, friendly way. She is talking with anyone who passes by her building, her ta ta’s damn near falling out of her negligee as she leans over her porch railing to chat up passersby who always chat back. I am standing on my porch, quiet as a mouse, not even smiling because I know Val can be scary sometimes. On a few occasions she has battled with my granny, called my granny, also feisty, a DP – Dumb Polack – during one of their shouting matches held across their back porches. DP, my mom tells me, really stands for Displaced Persons, what they sometimes called immigrants. Val is being mean when she yells DP at my granny, who doesn’t miss a beat and yells back: KISS MY ASSY! and turns her plump little dumpling shaped butt to Val – while standing on our back porch – and tap, taps her butt which is covered in those sweet all flannel nighties with little pink rose buds on them. Bapy – Polish for Granny – wore those flannel nighties year ’round – even in the summer.

Granny is not battling Val today. Granny is inside, sitting in her easy chair we have set up for her in the kitchen, at the head of the kitchen table, a place from which she candrink her cup of coffee, eat her egg sandwich and see and comment on all the household happenings. She has been sitting there my whole life! I love her with all my heart!

But I digress. Val is out on her porch today in her negligee because it is the Fourth of July, a special day – for her and America. Val has turned and gone inside her apartment, a flat that is also home to her wimpy boyfriend, gorgeous blond 18 year old daughter from another guy, and two huge attack dogs: a German Shepherd and Doberman. Both fierce. Both having chased me up a fence more than a few times. Val doesn’t believe in walking her dogs to do poop. She just lets them out, they rush down the three flights of stairs like noisy moose and shit and pee in the little front yard and rush back upstairs. Val has them trained to a tee.

Val has come out of her flat – this time she is carrying her portable record player. I am watching all this from my back porch – not saying a word, not even smiling. Just waiting … . Val puts her record player down, hooks it up to a bunch of extension cords and I see her going back in, cord in hand. Then she comes out with a record album – a big one. I am guessing it is the same one she played last year, has the songs which we – the entire Bigelow Street neighborhood – heard last Fourth of July: patriotic tunes. The kind you can – like Val – march around on your Green Island porch to. Later I would learn these songs were written by John Philip Sousa.

Val puts on her lp. Cranks it up! Da da da da da da de da da! La da da da de da da! Boy, this music is good! Very up beat! I am tapping my feet! I look across the way and see Val crack open another beer and take a sloppy swig and lie on her reclining beach chair on her porch. I can see her relaxing through the slats on her porch through the slats on my porch!

The music is great! Val is getting drunker. …

It is a few hours later and Val is singing – to the entire neighborhood! The folks in our hood are getting ramped up! People are coming out and throwing chairs and sofas and old tires into a big pile in the empty lot a few lots down from Val’s place, diagonally across the way from our three decker flat. I go in doors and crow to my mom: THEY ARE GETTING READY FOR THE BIG BONFIRE, MA! To myself: HOORAY!

My mom, careworn, grimaces. She doesn’t say a word, never voices her disapproval of Val. But I know she is not thrilled with the situation. Sometimes she is the one who will call the Worcester Fire department when the flames of the big bonfire grow too huge and lap up the July night air and orange sparks fill our Green Island night. The fire has never spread cuz the neighborhood kids and adults have kept it in check with big poles that they use to poke at it. But the flames still worried my mom …

But the eve has just begun! I so want to be a part of the celebration and throw some of Bapy’s rags onto the bonfire! She has so many that she wraps her arms in for her arthritis. Old country ways/cures die hard in Green Island. … Bapy never really changes her clothes. Just gives herself sporadic sponge baths and peels off old rags and puts on new ones. She always smells fecund. I love her odor! I still miss her Bapy smell!! If only we could re-smell all the people we have loved through the years. The men I have been with, my late mom who held me to her heavy Heaven Scented perfumed breasts as a child and a teen, my Bapy’s immigrant odor, my long-gone dog Bailey’s gamey scent … .

Anyways, the bonfire was being readied for the big night, but my mom would never let me join in the mayhem. It was all a little too wild for us. We were the good kids. My mom the perfect mom who worked so hard at the dry cleaners and went to church with her three girls every Sunday. My mom knew everyone in the hood and was always polite and talked with folks, etc – she was not a snob. But, she liked to tell her girls, she would never sit and have a cigarette with the ladies, like half the women in our hood did – visiting each other in each other’s tenements, gossiping about folks, bitching about cheating husbands and boyfriends. My mother was busy raising her girls as perfectly as she could, making sure they went to school every day and did all their homework and got all As and went to bed early and ate well. She had no time to wallow in her poverty – or her husband’s wild ways. She – we – transcended the shit.

So, there I was, stuck on our third-floor porch. An observer. My sisters would be home from Crompton Park soon. They would love this spectacle, too! Not as much as I did. But they would hang out on the porch, eating Freeze Pops, their lips ice blue from the sugared ice treat – and watch.

My father would disappear for the day. Celebrate in his own fashion, I guess. He was as crooked as some of the guys in the hood, but he played out his crookedness in other parts of Worcester. I suspect the East Side of town. What my mom and us kids didn’t know wouldn’t hurt us.

… It was dark out now and Val was singing up a storm and marching around her porch. La di da di da!!! Bang bang! Someone had lit the bonfire and everyone was gathered around it! Except for me and my kid sisters. We were on our back porch eating Freeze Pops, mesmerized by the flames – they must have been two stories high! The folks in the hood out did themselves this year! It was like something you would see in an old Western movie – the Indians roasting an elk on a spit they had set up over the flames. People’s faces orange from the glow of the flames. Very primitive and real.
“Come out here, Ma!” I yelled to my mother. “Ya should see how big the bonfire is this year!!”

My mother was indoors getting our clothes ready for the Fourth of July cook out we would be having at our Uncle Mark and Aunt Mary’s the next day. They lived in a a cute pink ranch house in the Burncoat area – a nicer part of town. My mom liked this part of the Fourth best of all. A day off she could celebrate with her favorite sister in her sister’s big back yard, my Uncle Mark grilling hamburgers and hot dogs on the big three legged grill he had stoked with those black brickettes he always doused with lighter fluid. Yum, yum, yum ! We were all pre-vegetarian in those days – ate meat, Nissaan white rolls and buns, potato chips, soda, Cheez-Its … the typical American BBQ 1960s fare. Heaven!

Ma would have none of it. She was busy making sandwiches for the cook out at Uncle Mark’s. She wanted us in bed early for tomorrow. We kids would have none of it. The flames were roaring! So was Val! Some jerk threw too many old tires on the bon fire, so now the air smelled awful! It was thick with gray smoke. We kids started coughing. Ma came out and took a look. Her mouth fell open. She looked at her three silly girls and frowned. I knew … She was calling 911.

In a matter of minutes the Worcester Fire Department had come and the fireman were hosing down the bon fire with their big hoses. The flames were doused out! Smoke was everywhere.

BOO! BOO! BOO! shouted all the kids and adults at the firemen. You could hear their laughs, too.

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

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

10 Cruelty-Free🐱 Summer Beach🌊 Goodies … and … Ron’s South Worcester 💜 baseball pics 📷



Don’t step out the door without these summer beach essentials in your beach bag:🌊🌊


1. Spread the vegan message with this adorable tote, available from the PETA Catalog (go to PETA.ORG)!


2. Don’t burn your feet on that hot sand! These faux-leather sandals from Forever 21 come in three colors.


3. Protect your eyes from those UV rays while looking stylish sporting these sunglasses from Forever 21.


4. Save your skin from harmful rays using a cruelty-free sunscreen, such as Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen.


5. Fill up this adorable water bottle with fresh water to stay hydrated. It’s available in two colors from the PETA Catalog.


6. Don’t forget your deodorant! You don’t want to be smelly at the beach. This chamomile and green-tea Crystal Essence deodorant is vegan and cruelty-free.

Dorrie recently gave Rose a blessings box which contained vegan lip balm and some luxe shampoo and conditioner samples! Thank you, D!🌼

7. This lip balm from Hurraw! contains vanilla, chamomile, and tangerine! It’s also an SPF 15 balm, so it’ll protect your lips from the sun.



NEW South Worcester Sports logo

Some South Worcester baseball photos by Ron O’Clair …

I ran Ron’s story about city kids playing baseball in a league of their own at Maloney Field this issue of CECELIA. The league is totally Tom L’Ecuyer’s – a South Worcester guy who drives around the ‘hood recruiting his players. He began this almost-free youth baseball program several years ago and hasn’t slowed down.

The neighborhood kids form teams, practice, and play ball in spiffy uniforms in a spiffy baseball field. It’s a great deal for the neighborhood families who live around Cambridge and Canterbury streets and often struggle financially: the kids sell 1 book of 12 raffle tickets, $1/ticket, and use the money they make to pay for their team uniform. Everything else is no-cost, thanks to Tom – unheard-of these days in kiddie sportsland. Practice, exercise, sportsmanship, competition, a game in a great neighborhood baseball field with concession stand, an after-game cookout … fun … All possible because of Tom’s dedication and 💜.

– Rose T.

Swing that bat!

Go, team!

So true!

Huddle with the players prior to taking the field.



Field of dreams …

Tom L’Ecuyer, the heart and soul, of South Worcester youth baseball, is chef at each after-game cook out. The kids and their families love their fun-filled afternoon. THANK YOU, Tom!< /em>

NEW South Worcester Sports logo
The new South Worcester Sports logo!

Photos by Ron O’Clair: City Council tables voting for $ to save Notre Dame …

… until next week’s council meeting. Nevertheless, people got up to speak on the issue – most to support saving the iconic downtown building:



“Preservation Trumps Profit” placard in back row:

Barbara Haller, co-chair of the alliance to save the church from the wrecking claw, and other supporters pay close attention to the proceedings:


Gathering outside of Council Chambers of supporters, including City Councilors King and Rivera:


D 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera and former D 4 Councilor Barbara Haller discussing the plans to save Notre Dame:


Councilor King rocking hie Notorious Big shirt:


Don’t fuck this up, Worcester!


Photos from Tuesday’s SAVE NOTRE DAME CHURCH rally

The church, downtown Worcester. photos by Ron O’Clair

Former District 4 City Councilor and Main South resident Barbara Haller, center, leads the group as they pin hearts ❤ to the fence that surrounds the church.

Teach your children well!

So true! Look at Paris! The architecture there is beautiful and hundreds of years old!

Stop, Worcester! Let’s think before the wrecking ball comes down!


editor’s note: The Worcester City Council voted (unanimously) Tuesday night to support the 3-month church/building demolition delay the group was asking for. The vote is non-binding but is a symbol of the council’s – and so many Worcesterites’s! – strong support for this iconic edifice.

Here’s the alliance’s message to the council. I’ve made some sentences bold. – Rose T.

Save Notre Dame Alliance requests demolition delay for Notre Dame des Canadiens

Worcester citizen Ted Conna, on behalf of the Save Notre Dame Alliance, has petitioned the Worcester City Council to request a three-month demolition delay (delaying the start of irreversible, destructive demolition from early June to early September). This delay would not apply to the non-destructive asbestos abatement currently underway at Notre Dame. The city council will consider the petition at its meeting tonight, and prior to the 6:30pm City Council meeting, the Save Notre Dame Alliance plans a demonstration at 5:30pm in front of Notre Dame, just across the Worcester Common from City Hall.

Any action the City Council takes would be non-binding upon the building’s owner, Hanover Insurance. However, the petition asks the City Council go on record supporting the demolition delay and requesting that Hanover agree to it. At a meeting on May 2 attended by Congressman Jim McGovern, Ann Tripp of Hanover, Hanover’s Boston development consultant Don Birch of Leggat McCall, City Manager Ed Augustus, City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson, and other city officials, Hanover refused a similar request for a three-month delay.

Hanover has said they will only suspend the demolition process if someone comes forward with a private development proposal they are convinced will succeed. “But by limiting it to just private proposals, they would doom it to failure, just as that approach has failed in the past,” said Mr. Conna. “There will need to be more than just private money behind a successful effort to save Notre Dame.”

The amount of subsidy needed to make a redevelopment of Notre Dame financially viable appears to be in the neighborhood of $6 million, Mr. Conna was told by Mr. Birch. “$6 million is a lot of money, but the successful redevelopment of the Hanover Theatre, another historic Worcester building, cost over $31 million, more than half of which was public funding and charitable gifts,” Mr. Conna continued. “Show me any recent redevelopment of an historic building that hasn’t involved public money! That’s just not how these projects get done. And for that matter, that’s not how a lot of new construction gets done either. The entire CitySquare redevelopment, of which Notre Dame is a part, has benefited from public subsidies from one end to the other, with the approval of the Worcester City Council every step of the way. $94 million dollars of public money have gone into it, but so far, nothing for Notre Dame. Why not?”

The Save Notre Dame Alliance argues that a demolition delay is necessary because new information and ideas point toward solutions that could save Notre Dame, but it will take more than a few weeks to explore and execute them. The Alliance feels that sources of public and philanthropic funding have not been adequately explored, and has offered to partner with Hanover in a philanthropic drive to raise part or all of $6 million, which would include offering a major donor the naming rights to a restored Notre Dame. Congressman McGovern’s office is also working to identify potential funding sources.

The Alliance also proposes that Hanover consider siting a new commercial building on the Franklin St. side of the Notre Dame property, without razing Notre Dame. This would generate new tax revenue, and some of the profit from the new construction could help pay for the Notre Dame restoration. The short term priority for Notre Dame would be to spend only what it takes to make the building weather-tight, repair exterior damage, remove the scaffolding, and do enough site and landscape work to make the site an attractive neighbor. At that point the church would look fine from the outside, and would no longer be considered detrimental to its neighbors’ marketing efforts.

The advantages of this approach are many. First, the building would be stabilized and no longer viewed as a liability to its neighbors. Second, additional commercial development on the site would mean additional tax revenue to the city. Third, some of the profits from the new development could be used to redevelop Notre Dame. And fourth, the redevelopment of Notre Dame could then be done when both the funding and the best possible plan materialize. In the meantime, a TIF on the new construction could balance out the carrying cost of the not yet redeveloped Notre Dame. The alliance believes this approach would be a fiscally responsible way to save Notre Dame, and a win-win for all involved.