Tag Archives: Spencer

New Rose Column: SPENCER VOTES?🍎🍎

Hard Times in My Old Spencer Town

By Rosalie Tirella


SPENCER during this Election Season: I’m thinking of the sweet people I used to live next to in the poor part of this town: Elm, Mechanic, Main streets. Old row houses built for the factory workers – Spencer was once a French town known for its sheet metal workers, blue collar thru and thru. Then the SAAD factories, the mills down the road in Dudley and Douglas closed, like all our factories and mills here in Worcester, then 1, 2, 3! Spencer became poor. Spencer in many places looks like my part of Blackstone River Road …

But except for one creepy neighbor – like the creeps here who CREEP me out! – I liked the people of Spencer. The poorer folks in this big, sprawling Central Massachusetts town – my Elm and Maple street neighbors, tenants living in the long row houses, were unfailingly polite, modest … a quiet friendliness suffused their “hello”‘s, “have a nice day”‘s. And everyone was a builder/crafter: they fixed their porches, weaved beautiful fake flower wreaths for their front doors, added bits and pieces of wood to their little garden fences …

I saw their poverty and, unlike the hustlers here in my buildings, they did lots of improvisation when it came to surviving poverty: the old guys carved their own crooked walking canes, the ladies had shopping carts just like my late Mom did when we lived in Green Island, and they pulled their shopping wagons up the hill to the supermarket to grocery shop – and pulled it home. In all kinds of weather. Sometimes I’d offer an old woman a ride – proud and quietly determined, she always declined. I was nice but I wasn’t a Spencer girl. New in town.

Often I’d go to Spencer Town Hall, pictured here, to talk with Laura the Town Clerk and try to make an appointment with the Town Manager (ha!). Laura was polite but, my advocacy for the poor people fell on deaf ears. Laura, I’d say, WHY NOT HAVE A TOWN COMMUNITY GARDEN IN THAT BIG TOWN LOT NEAR MY HOUSE? The people need free fresh veggies and … What about a FOOD HUB like they have in Northern Worcester County?

My suggestions were met with a Laura smile, condescending, stubborn as a mule …

So WHEN I SAW ALL THESE POOR SPENCER FOLKS WALKING IN THE SLUSH, A WET SNOW FALLING ON A DARK NOVEMBER NIGHT TO TOWN HALL – ELECTION NIGHT IN SPENCER – I WAS APPALLED. Some folks were in their motorized wheelchairs driving along with traffic! Most were drenched, a few weren’t wearing boots …

The old Republican middle classers of Spencer had their big old Caddies and Buicks parked in the town hall parking lot and voted with ease. They came out in droves to re-validate old ways, the same old same old pols …

I voted – and asked a poll worker: IS THIS THE ONLY PLACE TO VOTE? TOWN HALL? WHY NOT A POLLING SITE AT THE PUBLIC HOUSING, IN THE COMMUNITY ROOM, OVER WHERE I LIVE? Why have the poor from my area walk in snowstorms and the cold?


Laura and all the Spencer movers and shakers were practicing their own version of voter suppression. With their small town smiles… So many people/voters living on Elm, Mechanic, Maple, Main streets and more probably looked out their windows on that election night and …left their canes by their doors…and stayed home that Election Night.

Next day I drove down to Congressman McGovern’s office off of Shrewsbury Street – Spencer is part of his Congressional District. He is supposed to represent the people of Spencer. Upset I told Chief of Staff Gladys Rodriguez Parker and other McGovern staffers what I witnessed the night before. WE NEED MORE POLLING SITES! IT’S NOT FAIR!!!

Comfy cats. Entitled cats. They gave me the same look that the Spencer movers and shakers had given me!! …and did nothing.

❤Love to all my Spencer neighbors who vote despite the voter disenfranchisement in Spencer, courtesy of Congressman Jim McGovern, oblivious Town Clerk Laura, the Boneheaded Spencer selectmen and pointless Spencer town administrator.



Are you a vegan – and don’t know it?! … Remembering Spencer😢 … and more!


Being a vegan is about having compassion — compassion for Mother Earth and all her inhabitants.

🌱🌱🌱. pics: Rose T.

Yet we know plenty of people who aren’t vegan but are compassionate, which got us thinking: Are they actually vegan on the inside, and have they just not let their true selves emerge?


🌺1. Do you close your eyes or sob during certain Disney movie scenes?

🌾2. Do you know SeaWorld sucks?

🌱3. Do you boycott plastic straws and keep a reusable one in your purse, car, etc.?

♥️If you’ve stopped using plastic straws to save fish, the next step is definitely refusing to eat fish to save them.

🌿4. Are there certain animal body parts that you refuse to eat?

We have this friend – let’s call her Sheila. We attended a wedding once at which the buffet included, among other things, BBQ ribs. As we filled our plates, Sheila turned and said something like, “I can’t eat ribs — it freaks me out that it’s, like, a ribcage.”

🐩5. Would you stop whatever you’re doing to help a stray dog?

🎀6. Do you buy cruelty-free cosmetics?

⭐7. Do you only buy faux fur?

🐈8. Would you sometimes rather hang out with animals than with people?

🌏9. Do you use reusable shopping bags?

🌏10. Do you support oppressed communities and recognize that supremacist viewpoints are whack?

🦊11. Do you freak out when almost hitting an animal while driving a car?
Remember: Good defensive driving techniques can help save more than just human lives!

✨12. Did you try “The Daniel Plan” for Lent?

😢13. Do you feel bad for animals in zoos?

😊14. Do you consider yourself an “animal lover”?

😊15. Do you like Beyond Burgers?

😢16. Do you think bullfighting is a disgrace?

🍦17. Do you buy vegan ice cream at the grocery store?

🚗18. Do you move snails to a safe place before pulling your car out of the driveway?

😢. Do you know that tiger selfies harm animals?

👼. Would you help a dog left in a hot car?

👼. Do you refuse to buy tickets to circuses that use animals?

😢. Does your heart break when you see live lobsters in grocery store tanks?

⭐. Do you do your part to reduce food waste?

🦁. Did your childhood BFFs include your stuffed animals?

🚗 Do you drive a hybrid or electric vehicle?

🌏. Do you recycle?

Jett!!! Would you rather stop and pet the dogs?

🐀. Do you choose humane rodent control over lethal methods?

♥️. Are you a feminist?

🐝. Do you refuse to buy honey in order to help save bees?

🌱. Do you feel guilty eating animal-derived foods in front of your vegan friends?

🎀. Do you catch bugs in your house and release them outdoors?

😫. Do you think raw meat looks gross?

😪. Do you refuse to hit “play” on any PETA videos marked “graphic”?

👼. Would you rather go naked than wear fur?

😫. Do you think trophy hunters have something seriously wrong with them?

😫. Would you refuse to eat your dog?

♥️. Do you have a favorite animal?

🍦. Do you choose almond, soy, coconut, oat, or other vegan milk over cow’s milk?

✨. Have you stopped eating “red meat”?

🐟. Are you a pescatarian?

🌽. Are you a vegetarian?

🐇. Does seeing fish, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, chinchillas, reptiles, birds, or other small animals at pet stores make you tear up?

If you answered yes to any of these, we’ve got news for you:

You’re a vegan!

OK, so maybe you’re not quite vegan yet … but clearly, there’s some compassion inside you that’s dying to be unleashed!

So let your inner vegan take hold. Ditching meat during Lent or eating animal-free when you’re with your vegan friends is great, but if you really want to help animals, going fully vegan is the way to go!!





By Rosalie Tirella

Its slumlords, cheats …


So much of the town living in poverty!

No services for its poor – dental, medical, psychological …

Town Hall poobas (except for Lisa and Monica at Board of Health – my ex-landlord tried to get Lisa fired for doing her job!) don’t care a bit about the struggle.

When I’d visit Spencer town hall to say: YOUR KIDS, ELDERLY, RENTERS NEED SERVICES, the guy in planning dept would say: “Rose, we can’t be proactive”!!

So Spencer rots …

So the Spencer Public Schools are half empty…

… no one eats at its restaurants on Main Street on a Saturday night…

… the majority of incoming Spencer Kindergartners aren’t ready for Kindergarten…

Spencer = Worcester County’s Appalachia!


So we are fighting the good fight! We are making the calls to politicians, advocating for the good Spencer people we have not forgotten…but are too shy to speak up.

Congressman Jim McGovern (Spencer is part of his district) will step up!

Congressman McGovern is a compassionate, strong political leader!

He will hold Spencer OFFICE HOURS/A RESIDENT/small biz LISTENING SESSION! It’s BEING PLANNED as I type …








And more!

Also …


Spencer TOWN CLERK LAURA AND THE SPENCER SELECTMEN AND TOWN MANAGER KNOW THIS! It’s the equivalent of voter suppression – only ONE place to vote in SPENCER?! – a geographically big, spread out, town! CRAZY! That’s why there are only 25+ people at your annual town meeting – when important civic decisions are made!

I voted last winter in Spencer, on a cold, wet, snowy night. As I drove up to Spencer Town Hall, I saw dozens of poor people from my old Elm Street neighborhood and from the apartment buildings on Main Street WALKING IN THIS WRETCHED SLEET/SNOW TO VOTE! SOME FOLKS USED CANES, SOME WERE IN THEIR ELECTRIC WHEEL CHAIRS!

A trail of tears!

Yet, true to Spencer form, no one complained … the disenfranchised quietly accepted their fate.

In my old Spencer Maple Street/Chestnut Street ‘hood there is a public housing complex – as well as a bunch of run down apartment buildings. Why not make the public housing complex’s Community Room a voting place?

Why not the same – add a voting site – to one of the town’s senior citizens housing complexes – for the old people without cars?!! In their community room?

Why the shady voting history in Spencer? Why not invite ALL TO VOTE?! MAKE IT POSSIBLE for the poor, the crippled, the old without cars!


So clubby club town clerk Laura, selectmen, Spencer state reps and state senators can stay in power – run the town their way. Make $$.

So the disenfranchised stay disenfranchised – and ignorant. And unhealthy and undereducated.

THIS IS HALF THE TOWN!!! – Spencer only works for its old corrupt $$ guard!

Spencer is out of touch with the rest of up and coming Worcester/Worcester County. Lagging big time!

We fondly remember so many of our nice, poor Spencer neighbors – carrying or walking their little dogs up Elm, always ready with a smile, always polite – nothing like our landlord, Spencer former-saloon owner, Spencer-property owner Charlene Stavros and her daughter Brydi Richard – they stole my $500 security deposit! and kept 20 or so pretty window rods that I had planned to donate to Abby’s House. Crooked and violent, through and through – that clan.

Spencer money people …oppress the entire town! Give it its bad name!

So WE ARE CALLING GOBI AND CO AND BRINGING UP THE POVERTY PROBLEM IN SPENCER, AND how there are no services for its poor, children, old. And how the town needs 2 NEW VOTING SITES – IN A SPENCER SENIOR CITIZEN COMPLEX AND IN MY OLD ‘HOOD. Spencer’s physically handicapped and poor/carless residents shouldn’t be locked out of voting come election time – unable to easily exercise their franchise because Spencer town leaders want to stay in power – the new, the youth, children, students, old, handicapped people be damned!

Attention must be paid!

2019: a New Year for city (Worcester) and country (Spencer)!

Photos and text by Rosalie Tirella

Or will it be the same-old-same-old?

Here at 29 Elm St., Spencer, my landlord Brydi Riccard’s girlfriend (they live here), across the way …


… is banging on my front door as I write this …


… bullying … trying to intimidate me because this morning I took photos of Elm Street for this New Year’s Day post.

Spencer’s poorer digs: Elm Street

What is wrong with this woman?

What ails a 40-something woman who has no job, perpetual housing and does nothing to contribute to society … just smokes and spies on this “outsider” as I live my life?

I haven’t a clue what ails her!

A few guesses: Living in a place like Spencer, so cut off from the direction America is heading, makes many people here afraid of anyone/anything new, I think. Also: Refusing to work, earn your keeps, contribute to society makes you … unwell, mentally and physically. Also: many here are stuck in a kind of cultural 1950s racist, rigid small town America. Many here embrace the worst of America: its racism, xenophobia, fear of knowledge, hatred of new ideas, new people. Instead, they have embraced: vaping, smoking weed/siting pot shops, smoking tons of cigs, running tattoo and chop shops …

The DEAD AMERICA that Trump trumpets!! Exploits! So he can stay President! Spencer/rural folks are the unknowing victims, pulled under the moving train!

As a New York real estate developer, Trump was a Democrat, espoused Democratic ideas, embraced gay people, even hung out with Hillary Clinton!! But he went low when he figured he might be elected prez if he played into rural America’s worst fears and prejudices! He figured right! So it has been two years of Trump blatently and not so explicitly excoriating immigrants, brown people, black people, refugees, transgendered folks, the poor … And the CRUEL JOKE IS ON ALL OF US!

We have a dumbing down – in Worcester, Spencer – AMERICA – that Trump exploits – and perpetuates. No good jobs here in rural America and in our older cities. No free college for our low-income young people so they can compete in the new, tech-driven economy and get middle-class jobs. No hope in the inner-city like Green Island or in small towns like Spencer because they have experienced years of atrophy. Of course, you’re gonna get crime, opioids, mass murders, as well as the more mundane shit: vaping, tons of mary jane, all the tattoo and chop shops.

Where are our books, America?!

Where are our civics classes, grades K – 12?!

Where is our CIVIC EDUCATION – like I was force-fed in the Worcester Public Schools as a kid? Just like the OIF got in the Lynn Public Schools when he was a kid! And he got a very good honors public school education IN LYNN!!! We both got the Sousa marches, our own personal little mini-booklets of the U.S. Constitution to keep!

I remember: In 4th grade St. Mary’s catechism class in Kelley Square we had to march around the periphery of our classroom, MARCH! – as Sister Justine, a human trapezoid, severe and pimply, but on that day ecstatic, as she played on her little portable record player: ANCHORS AWAY! The U.S. Navy rah rah song! While we 30 little kids marched around her classroom singing and, yes!, having fun, as we sang along with the record. Sister Justine rewrote the lyrics of the marching tune to teach us about Jesus. So we sang, while marching: THIS PROVES OUR LOVE FOR GOD/ IN ALL WE SAY/ AND ALL WE THINK AND DO!!!!

Let’s have our public school kids listen to John Philip Sousa again!


At assemblies! Where our American flag, big and beautiful, is carried by a WPS student down the middle of the auditorium aisle – with other students, black, brown, white leading the procession, too!

It is our American collective consciousness that we are losing and need to tap into again!!

So we can be more whole!

“E pluribus unum”! “Out of many, one”! It’s our motto, for Christ’s sakes! It’s what we are all about! WHAT REALLY MAKES AMERICA GREAT!

In Spencer, my heart breaks for the children here! Most little Spencer kids, according to state tests, are not ready for kindergarten. I assume this holds true for much of poor rural America.

The high school down the road is only half full! Because Spencer is a dying town! It is a town comprised of white old folks who have lived here forever. Trump territory! Tragic! Visit a local eatery and most customers at the diners and restaurants here are 70 years+ old! These places look haunted! Ancient. Ghostly.


BROWN, BLACK, WHITE FAMILIES AND YOUTH = VIBRANCY, LIFE … ART! Immigration, welcoming the world’s disenfranchised, is how America regenerates herself! Spencer – all of rural America! – NEEDS to get this!

But, hey, that is just the beginning. Spencer, like most of a big chunk of rural America that relied on mills and small/big factories for its wealth decades ago, needs to change! And EMBRACE EDUCATION, NUTRITION, HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE!

It has:

No health center.

No mental health services.

No WIC, SNAP hub for poor families – to feed their kids, many of whom are rail thin.

No food hub. LET US EMULATE GREENFIELD AND GET A REAL FOOD HUB FOR WORKING FOLKS HERE IN SPENCER. The poo bas of Worcester killed that food distribution dream cuz they were afraid of competition for their chi chi farmers market – a TOTALLY DIFFERENT ANIMAL WITH A TOTALLY DIFFERENT CUSTOMER BASE.

Worcester’s Cambridge Street

In the shadows of Worcester’s Canal District

So 1 in 4 kids in Worcester is hungry/food insecure.

(For America, it is 1 in 5) Go, Woo Sox! Let us have another 1,000,000 stories on the Worcester AAA Red Sox team and baseball stadium and two about Worcester’s hungry kids!

Go, Woo City Manager Ed Augustus!!

Back to Spencer:

No vibrant downtown:
Some downtown Spencer buildings need to be fixed up – or condemned! And Town Clerk Laura and the Spencer Selectmen damn well know this!!

A downtown Spencer building

But let us not forget Worcester’s shit buildings! The city drags its feet re: them, a la Spencer! God help us if this Jan/Feb we’ve got homeless folks camping out in this building and they rig up some funky propane stove to start a fire to stay warm. God help our Worcester firemen and women who will bravely enter the fire-fray because of the City Manager’s negligence!

Back to Spencer:

No diversity …No young people to plow new energy and ideas into the town!

No new investment. Because, like Worcester on many levels, the same old connected crowd gets grandfathered in and sweet-hearted-dealed in. And stays enfranchised! HOLDS TIGHT ONTO THE GOODIES/POWER!

In Worcester, former Mayor Joe O’Brien, had the right idea: HE PUSHED TO HAVE DISTRICT REPRESENTATION ON THE WORCESTER SCHOOL COMMITTEE. Like our Worcester City Council with districts 2, 3, 4 and 5 – which enable more inner-city neighborhood folks to jump into politics, run for office and REALLY GIVE VOICE TO THE FOLKS WHO LIVE in the city’s neighborhoods. Of course, the WPSchool Committee members – many of them old farts in their mid-70s and/or politically connected – were RESISTANT! SHOCKED!!! ABSOLUTELY MORTIFIED THAT THEIR COLLECTIVE CRAP-WISDOM WOULD BE QUESTIONED. Of course, they voted Joe’s just and true proposal down!

Huge mistake.

The WPS bozos cut off a great path for immigrants, minorities to represent and advocate for their kids in the Worcester Public Schools – a MAJORITY MINORITY SCHOOL DISTRICT!! now “ruled by” a bunch of old (we are looking at you WPSchool Superintendent Maureen Binienda) Irish-American Good Old Boys. Even if they are female.

These folks have been ruuning Worcester for almost a century; so Spencer isn’t the only place with its head up its ass. This is why urban spaces like Green Island, Vernon Hill AND Spencer/rural America are in trouble: the white old group, enfranchised, unwilling to relinquish power, won’t let go! They cling to power, even as their people suffer. People of color, new comers, the young … locked out.

I mean, look at the daily’s series on Worcester’s older neighborhoods: for the most part, the stories trotted out the SAME TIRED OLD WHITE retreads. Regurgitated. Again. Not exactly the most accurate picture of our city’s neighborhoods!

I am packing today, next week, …


… moving back to the city for what I HAVE MISSED MOST about it: ethnic, racial and cultural diversity … immigrant energy. New beautiful faces. Youth. The AMERICA OF TODAY!

I like my Spencer neighbors and the town’s first responders. They are usually polite, soft-spoken and carry a quiet, under-stated sense of humor. They exchange niceties with me when I’m out with my dogs, but many are so downtrodden! To see grown men limping, slow motion, down Elm Street, rail thin, clothes dirty and hanging off them … is surreal and heartbreaking. They say hello to me, I say hello back, respectfully.

The promise of America broken in two!

WISHING ONLY THE BEST for city and country in 2019!

Wednesday morning musings … Rock the boat, rock the vote

Pics+text by Rosalie Tirella

First, Rose’s vindictive landlady Brydi Ricard, acting for Ma Charlene Stavros, (B. lives right across the way from Rose) …

… has still DONE NOTHING THE TOWN OF SPENCER BOARD OF HEALTH letter has directed her to do! Rose still has no heat source up stairs and her door is still barred.

(And Brydi, FYI: We think it is disturbing when your girlfriend bangs on our door as we write our columns! Thugs intimidate … so we call the cops on thugs.)

Rose wants her exit unblocked …

… We explain all this when we call Town Hall (yesterday), but the girl secretary in Town of Spencer inspection/planning/zoning has already distanced the town from town inspector Lisa D., who is cool, knows the job and is trying to do the right thing. In “official” Spencer where the money folks run the show and you gotta toe the party line, laws and rules are thwarted.

Another example of Spencer movers and shakers doing the squirrely thing: Rose voted yesterday, at Spencer Town Hall.


Spencer is a physically large town, has 4 precincts, yet we Spencer voters all have to vote at Town Hall!

This seems unfair – voting access stacked against the poor, old, the physically and mentally handicapped … folks who often support Dems and vote more progressive.

There are so many poor, elderly men and women, moms with teeny kids, CAR-less, disabled folks in Rose’s Elm/Chestnut Street area!…HUNDREDS! WHERE IS OUR VOTING BUILDING? SO MANY HERE DO NOT WALK ALL THE WAY TO TOWN HALL ON MAIN STREET TO VOTE!

When Rose went to vote last night at Town Hall she said the voting set up does not seem FAIR. Especially hard in cold, bad weather for the walkers! The ancient poll worker said to Rose: we need one in Howe (village? too – a senior spot?)! Yes! Even the poll workers here know this voting in town hall only is a kind of VOTER SUPPRESSION – designed, unwittingly?, to make GETTING OUT TO VOTE MUCH HARDER FOR THE ELDERLY, POOR, YOUNG – people who will vote their interests and lean Democrat, more progressive…

The awful truth? This Spencer voting system is rigged in favor of older folks, home owners, middle class voters with cars – folks who will keep the status quo in power and vote Republican/conservative…in their interest.

No changes! No new voices!


SPENCER: the haves hogging it all while the people in my ‘hood – their needs go unmet! Their voices muffled! Yet they are friendly, polite, accepting of the BIG CHEAT and LIES.

They deserve better!

Voter suppression, in all its manifestations, must end in rural America!