Tag Archives: Worcester

“The Searchers” forever!📽

By Rosalie Tirella

I’m watching – for the 10th time!! – one of my favorite movies, THE SEARCHERS. The John Ford masterpiece starring John Wayne, Ward Bond and Vera Miles and the breathtaking Monument Valley, a bigger “character” in the movie than even the human actors, except for John Wayne. The movie still stands. Tall, graceful, haunting 70 years after it was made. Nothing soft or sentimental about this movie. It is true … and, for me, depicts both sides of the Indian/White Man rift with brutal truth. Yes, one side had to annihilate the other!! – this country was so gorgeous!! – worth fighting to the death for! The two cultures were incompatible; it would have been impossible to co-exist. Rape, murder, devastation of homesteads, even the brutal taking of scalps (initiated by the Whites) took place on both sides.

Wayne is racist in the movie, but director Ford isn’t, so his vision, his story, isn’t. The forced march of the Comanches, the American barracks the women and girls are held in, the slaughtering of all the women and children in an Indian camp by American soldiers, the murder of Luk, even the old scrawny Indian extras of the movie – real Navahos from a nearby reservation – break your heart.

Back to the story: Wayne’s niece is kidnapped by Skar and his band of Comanches during one of Skar’s murder raids. Skar is the John Wayne of Indian country – big and tall and strapping, the wise and brutal king – he must be killed. Skar and his band of marauders torch the homestead and kills the family of Wayne’s character, Ethan: All murdered: Ethan’s brother, Aron; the nephew; sister-in-law Martha and another niece. The women are raped before they are killed. Seven-year-old Debbie is spared – she is kidnapped by the Comanches. To see Wayne making his way through the charred rubble, to watch him pick up the blood-soaked blue dress of his true love, Martha, to know what he understands … He calls MARTHA!!! at this ground zero – not the name of his brother. But MARTHA!!!, his brother’s wife. This is the person who is HOME for Wayne in The Searchers:

I don’t care what anyone says, Wayne was a great actor!!! His visage grows darker and heavier with each loss in the movie. To see that close-up of him as he leaves the barracks where white Indian teenaged girls, all kidnapped when they were little, are housed in, is to see a beautiful portrait … of hatred. Wayne becomes mad – eaten up – by his vindictiveness. He WILL FIND DEBBIE, he tells fellow searcher Marty! EVEN IF IT MEANS SEARCHING FOR HER FOR YEARS! But when he finally tracks Debbie down, after five years of searching, he learns she has assimilated…lives with the Comanches as family, is the wife of an Indian, will have his children, Ethan turns on her, hates her. She must die. He intends to put a bullet in her brain. She is no longer his people, his family – but belongs to the other tribe.

As I watch this movie in my early old age, it feels Shakespearean. Epic like Homer. Or Steinbeck. I love when Wayne speaks … never coming down hard on a line, like his sidekick Marty does to show “emotion” (it’s like the young actor has turned it up to 11 for the entire movie!). Nope. Not the Duke – he’s marinated in nuance. His creased and heavy face tells his story, reflects his pain, his hurt, his loneliness, his aloneness. Ford shoots him so lovingly. And when he does cry out, it’s feels Olympian.

I won’t give away the film’s ending, in case you’ve never seen it, but to hear John Wayne, middle-aged, heavy shoulders, deep-voiced tell Marty he will find Debbie, that it is their inexorable fate, like “the turning of the earth” … WOW. Or to hear Wayne talk of the Indian after-life, as if he almost believed in it himself … after shooting out the eyes of the Indian buried in the red dust so the Indian’s a lost, restless wanderer in the afterlife, for eternity. As bereft and homeless as Ethan is in this amazingly beautiful country! The way Wayne uses his hands and arms in the movie, with graceful flourishes, to mimic the wind, winding paths, forks in the road, geese in the night sky is to watch and listen to a poet tell his story. You are captivated by his adventure!

The movie is BEAUTIFUL to look at. The final shot of the film is beautiful and heartbreaking. What does it mean? No happy ending for Ethan! He’s got no home, even after his gallant act, with the Jorghunsans. They are white and friends – but they don’t welcome him into the fold the way they do the young Marty. He doesn’t fit in. He can’t fit in! The Indians fear and respect Ethan but reject him, too. The heavy wooden front door closes shut on him, and he walks into the sun absolutely alone, with that signature John Wayne walk. He’s outside, with the other untamable things. A force of nature in his own right. What cabin, bunkhouse, tee pee could ever hold Ethan?

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New column from Edith🌸🌺 – in Rose’s space☕

Rosh Hashanah 5781

By Edith Morgan

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Edith!🌸🌸🌸

The Jewish New Year is coming up – this year will be 5781, probably the oldest continuing celebration of the beginning of another year. (the next oldest seems to be the Chinese, which is well over 4,000 years old, and the Cambodian, which is over 2,500 and the Christian calendar which is 2,020 years old. The newest should be the Mohammedan, which is about 1500 years old.)

Rosh Hashanah, celebrated every year on the first day of Tishri, the seventh month in the Jewish calendar, is the first of the 10-day period culminating in the day of atonement – Yom Kippur.
Most non-Jews are probably acquainted with the two most traditional aspects of this holiday period: the blowing of the “Shofar,” the hollowed-out ram’s horn which is specially treated to be hollow, and curved, so that it emits a haunting sound during this period; and the apple sliced across, with honey on the slice, symbolizing the wish for a full, round and sweet year for all.

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Edith honors all LIFE …

This period is dedicated to days of self-examination, reminding ourselves in what ways we have failed ourselves, others, our God – leading then to regretting and remorse, and finally to attempts at restitution where possible.

Then, ultimately, on the day of atonement (Yom Kippur), when we are enjoined to fast and abstain from all pleasurable activities and begin truly the New Year with renewed purpose to do better and improve in all areas.

For me, this period always is an opportunity to stop and reflect on what I regret having done or left undone, and to determine that I can and will do better in the coming year.

We all need a time like this, when we drop everything and “take stock” quietly and “off the clock” – taking a good look in the mirror and seeing if we are really happy with what we see. So much of the time we are plunging headlong into activities, habits and demands that we lose perspective and just blindly run on. Taking a whole day off to stop and think without the distractions of daily life would do us all good. I know it helps me to re-focus and repurpose my life!

So, to all my Jewish friends: I wish for you a full, round, sweet year in 5781. And, if you are not Jewish, enjoy a slice of apple and some honey, as those things are so good for all … and some introspection, repentance and self- improvement is good for us all …

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As more parents teach their kids at home, why not teach THE TRUTH ABOUT ANIMALS?

From PETA.ORG:

The Hidden Lives of Pigs

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When in their natural surroundings—not on factory farms—pigs are social, playful, protective animals who bond with each other, make nests, and relax in the sun. Pigs are known to dream, recognize their own names, learn “tricks” like sitting for a treat, and lead social lives of a complexity previously observed only in primates. They’ve been seen showing empathy for other pigs who are happy or distressed. Many even sleep in “pig piles,” much like dogs sleep nestled together. Some love to cuddle, while others prefer space. And they don’t “sweat like pigs.” They’re actually unable to sweat, and they like to bathe in water or mud in order to keep cool.

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People who run animal sanctuaries that include pigs note that they’re more similar to us than you might guess. Like humans, they enjoy listening to music, playing with soccer balls, and getting massages. They can even play video games! Read more inspiring stories and learn more fascinating facts about animals like pigs in the bestselling book Animalkind.

What the Experts Say:

Pigs communicate constantly with one another. More than 20 types of oinks, grunts, and squeals have been identified, which they use for different situations — from wooing their mates to expressing hunger. Newborn piglets learn to run toward their mothers’ voices, and mother pigs sing to their young while nursing.

They also have very long memories. Dr. Stanley Curtis, formerly of Penn State University, put a ball, a Frisbee, and a dumbbell in front of several pigs and was able to teach them to jump over, sit next to, or fetch any of the objects when asked to—and they could distinguish between the objects three years later.

Biologist Tina Widowski studies pigs and marvels at their intelligence: “When I was working with the monkeys, I used to look at them and say: ‘If you were a pig, you would have this figured out by now.’”

Scientists at the University of Illinois have learned that pigs not only have temperature preferences, they can also figure out through trial and error how to turn on the heat in a cold barn and turn it off again when they get too warm.

Pig Prowess:

Pigs have been known to save the lives of others, including their human friends. According to BBC News, a pig named Pru saved her guardian’s life by dragging her out of a muddy bog. “I was panicking. I didn’t know what to do and I think the pig sensed this,” she said. “Without Pru I wouldn’t have been able to get out of the mire.”

In addition to Pru, there’s Priscilla, a pig who saved a young boy from drowning, and Spammy, who led firefighters to a burning shed to save her calf friend Spot. Lulu found help for her human companion, who had collapsed from a heart attack. A pig named Tunia chased away an intruder, and another, named Mona, held onto the leg of a suspect attempting to flee until the police arrived.

Many who have ended up in sanctuaries found their new homes after jumping off slaughterhouse-bound trucks and escaping. And in England, a stone carving of a pig named Butch was placed upon a historic cathedral after he and his friend Sundance escaped from a slaughterhouse and roamed the country for several days before being captured. Fortunately, a national outcry against slaughter allowed the duo to go to a sanctuary.

The Worcester Public Schools – always in style! New column from John + more🍁🍁

AVOID, THE PANDEMIC SLIDE! KEEP YOUR CHILD READING!

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

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Kids need to READ!

As a former Worcester elementary school principal (Belmont Community School) and, now as a Worcester School Committee member, I continue to talk to parents about the importance of reading. I have spent endless hours talking about the “summer slide” that takes place during school vacation time due to children not engaged in learning activities. Please remember that the summer slide is real, for our schools see the decline in reading and math achievement just from being away from school.

I have seen many articles on the “Pandemic Slide” or the “Covid Slide.” Many researchers using existing data on learning loss typically seen during school summer vacation predict that summer loss and the loss in the COVID 19 spring could potentially cause academic setbacks for many students. In the worst case, they may retain only 70% of the gains they had made in reading and only 50% of gains made in math.

Thus, parents, who are the child’s first and most important teachers, need to do all that they can to offset any educational loss. I would encourage parents to tell their child that reading activities will be an important part of their lives during this coming school year.

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Reading … recipes, directions, comic books, magazines, short stories, novels, biographies …

Let’s focus on reading. Reading aloud. For parents of toddlers let me emphasize that reading aloud to young children is the most important way to get them started on the road to being a successful reader. Read to and with your child as often as possible. This is a way to spend time with your child and, if it’s convenient, read at bedtime. Twenty minutes of reading aloud will accomplish more than you can ever measure.

“The more I read,

“The more I know

“20 minutes a day will help me grow.”

Consider reading books of interest to your child and for the real young ones consider: Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Curious George Books, Bob book set by Scholastic and cardboard books like The Little Blue Truck. Outstanding authors to be considered include Tomie DePaola, Jan Brett, Patricia Polacco, Eric Carle and Laura Nameroff just to name a few.

Books in the primary grades: Look for book series. I love the Magic Tree House books, for they are high interest and very entertaining. Your 6- to 10-year-old reader can join time-traveling duo Jack and Annie in their magic tree house, as they adventure through history. Young readers can travel through history without leaving the comfort of home with Mary Pope Osbourne’s award-winning series, The Magic Tree House!

Other series for this grade level: the Junie B. Jones series, which is a set of 27 books. The series’ is about a young girl, Junie, who has a friendly, bright, funny and spirited personality. Junie B. lives with her parents, Robert and Susan, and her baby brother, Ollie. She does get into many very funny situations.

In the grade 4-6 series for the sports-minded kid: the Matt Christopher series is outstanding. Matt Christopher wrote more than 100 novels featuring a variety of sports. Very entertaining, and the sports-minded student will love them. Another outstanding writer is Lois Lowery. She has written a variety of fictional books from Number the Stars to the fantastical The Giver.

Other books that I recommend are the Harry Potter series, the Mary Poppins series, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series. There so many more! The important takeaway is get books into the hands of your child!!

Another great activity during the Pandemic: having a Family Night on the Weekend. Bring out the popcorn and read a book! Once in awhile get a movie based on a book that the family has read. Show the movie and compare/contrast. Many of these movies can be obtained at your local public library.

You can also gather activity books. Give children their own activity book with crossword puzzles or number games customized for their specific age group. Set a “due date” to keep them on track – but let them work at their own pace.

Going right along with reading please consider having your child at any age have a diary. Have your child write the highlights of his/her day each evening before going to bed. How about your child’s thoughts on this pandemic? Other writing activities can be writing a letter to a friend that due to the pandemic they may not have seen, or writing to a relative. They could write to their classroom teacher, for many students will not see their teachers for awhile if they are on a remote learning schedule. Be sure your child writes about their favorite book and parents send me their essay: John Monfredo, 8 Cherokee Road Worcester, Ma. 01606. I’ll be selecting the best report by grade level and will award the winner a new book!

I hope that I have raised interest in more reading during the COVID crisis and shown how parents can support their child. It’s so important to have “all hands-on deck” during this global health crisis. I am confident that you will make a difference in the life of your child. Need additional tips, parents? Write to me!

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59

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rosalie, left, and her kid sister, years ago.

Driving down Green Street into the new “Peanut Square” makes me feel old. Old because all the upstart trendy shops on my once working class childhood street/magical touchstone – the new all-bacon restaurant, the bo bo tapioca drinks, the glorified high-calorie pub food, the black bralettes, the shabby-chic reclaimed/refinished furniture – are meant to attract the young. I would have loved this new Green Street if I were “newer” – say 25 years old, or maybe even rounding 30 … Ahh! The perfect blouse! Now I know that guy in philosophy class will notice me! … Hey, what’s the customer next to me buying? She’s prettier than me! Sigh. … Cool end table at this shop! Perfect for my new one-bedroom by the highway!

I will be 59 years old next month. I call it 60. May as well. I usually go a step further and label myself an “old broad.” The chuckles rounded with … sadness, wistful feelings.

When you are old like me, cool end tables don’t excite you the way they did when you were 25 and an apartment virgin. You have lived in a bunch of apartments! In third-rate cities with your – or so you thought – first-rate dreams! The funky sofas and vintage lamps you have scored through the years blend into each other these days. A waste of time, all that ridiculous shopping. But necessary at the time! I was 27 and in love with blues, all hues. These days the chairs and plant stands and water gobblets are an afterthought as you begin to ponder … death. YOUR death!! A very real, tangible kind of possibility. Now an impossibility. You are 60 now and can imagine it death “happening” to you. Say in 10 or 20 years. The blink of an eye! It will, like birth, be painful. It will, like birth, be a solitary exercise. Vintage end tables seem pointless compared to the Grim Reaper. I fear the reaper!!

You dream of your estranged sister, both of you kids in your childhood home in your dream, in the old ugly living room on Lafayette Street watching The Honeymooners on Bapy’s black and white Philco TV. The conversation you had with your estranged sister in your dream two weeks ago feels more real than the chit chat you had today with your pal down the street! …

Lucky times, missed opportunities. You see the big picture and realize: It was all a crap shoot!! You controlled so little of it all! Your birth. Your birthplace – and time. Your family. Even your marriage. Your remarriage. Your move to this city or a hightail to that town…and then life just sorta unfurled. Sometimes slowly, sometimes fast enough to give you whiplash. Sometimes with such heart-wrenching beauty or cruelty. You marvel at all the goodness in the world and you’re horrified by all the ignorance. You realize the men who loved you in your diaphanous blouses can leave you, no matter how seductive you look in that billowy blouse. For new girls in new blouses. Maybe made of linen – or (horror of horrors) even polyester! And he sticks with polyester girl – and you say: POLYESTER!??? … You realize blouses have nothing to do with love! Having similar ethnicities, churches, work ethics, childhoods and values are better predictors of “love” and successful relationships. Two neuroses “clicking.” That’s what love means to me at 60. I don’t take it too personally these days.

At 60, you look at all the gourmet donuts, fancy sugar-laden cupcakes (again gourmet), artisan pizza pies in all the Green Street shop windows and your arteries ache.

At 60, you have seen a lot, and you begin to make up your mind about people in about 20 minutes. This is bad. But you’ve been around and think you sense the patterns – like the old f*rt (a stereotype!) you’ve become! You see and ignore: the shallow bland blond rich white girl with nothing to say; the arrogant blobby millennial guy who works in IT and thinks he’s attractive but is a fat slob to you and most Boomers who were slim, at times anorexic, when we were young. Then there’s the white trash young woman and her six kids … the junky homeless guy … the pointless WASP money guy, so oblivious to the working class.

They all have their stories but you cannot hear them. A disgrace! You are alarmed at your closed mind, but you are trying to make sense of your little existence! You realize you were just a drop in the universal water bucket but you were eternity, too. Just like all the other people-drops …

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Edith in Rose’s space! New column!🌸🌿🌺🖋

Fall is Coming!

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and family❤

September has crept up on us – days are shortening and the autumnal equinox looms ahead. Mother nature moves ahead inexorably, …

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… regardless of us. We can choose to go along and cooperate with nature or try to overcome and overpower her, as we so often have done, to our chagrin.
Our gardens have slowed down, the grass is growing more slowly, even the weeds have not come back as plentifully as earlier. And things are ripening.

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Edith’s urban garden💚

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Pie crust ready for all those autumn apples!

Apple picking time is near, and with it the wonderful treats that apples make possible: apple pie has made it as a symbol of America (“As American as apple pie!!”) and every year we learn about more great uses for the many kinds that are on our grocery shelves. I love Macs, Galas and all the varieties in their many colors and flavors. I eat at least one fresh apple daily. Did you too grow up believing that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”?

And did you begin your eating of solids with apple sauce? And did you wrap cored apples in pie crust, add cinnamon and honey and bake them? I could go on forever with the many uses of apples and their health benefits. So, get out and pick apples – and enjoy!


vegan apple pie!

Apples keep a long time and are very ”portable”! I often carry one along for a quick snack …

September also brought us VOTING – the primary. Now the final slog to November 3 and the presidential election. At last an end to the incessant campaign ads and mud-slinging – when I hope we will get down to work and pick up the pieces and rebuild our nation.

September also brings us the beginning of flu season – this year on top of the CORONAVIRUS! So there is no respite from the hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing that we are practicing. The ordinary rituals of school opening are now “virtual“ to a large extent … technology is more and more invading the education process, and new methods for imparting knowledge and information and skills are being tried – with mixed success.

And despite all the turmoil, I still look forward to the yearly beauties of fall in New England: the great final blush of autumn leaf and flower everywhere, before the winter …

The country as a whole seems to be veering off the cliff of extremism and seeking a middle course away from the cliff to greater cooperation and understanding and less labeling, lying, violence and name calling.

I will be celebrating the New Year in the Jewish calendar, which this year comes close to the beginning fall here. And I am hopeful for a healthy, sane, safe, year, trying to remember the path prescribed by the prophet Micah (and I paraphrase freely!!): “What does the Lord require of thee but to practice justice, love mercy, and walk HUMBLY with your God”

New column from Chef Joey!🇮🇹😉

Back to School Snacks!

By Chef Joey

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Chef Joey!

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Having a 5-year-old (Gigi❤) …

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Miss Gigi eating Papa’s home-cookin’! pics: Chef Joey

… I have created a snack space in my refrigerator. These snacks are usually what Gigi picks for herself from the fresh fruit section. Right now, it is cherries, bananas, grapes, oranges and apples. Right next to that are squeezable oranges – and the only drink option is water. Soda and juice is havoc on young teeth – not to mention sugar is not healthy for growing bones. The fiber and natural sugar in fruit is key to having a healthy child.

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Frozen veggies sometimes contain more vitamins than veggies in your supermarket produce section! … And plenty of VEGAN options in your Trader Joes freezer aisle.

While your little one is sitting at the table doing lessons, …

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… slice up an apple and squeeze a little lemon juice and toss the slices in there – it will stop the apple slices from turning brown. Have healthy snacks at the ready … even celery with peanut butter versus crackers with empty calories are a good snack with protein. Gogurt yogurt sticks frozen are a great snack too in moderation.

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Joey’s fresh fruit bin

The bottom line is you can snack on carrot sticks for $2 for a couple of days, celery and peanut butter too … and a dish of raisins satiates a food craving. Use your intuition and take it back 50 years ago when there was not all this processed stuff in the grocery store! You will feel better and save more money than you thought possible.

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Sweet potato sticks – healthier than French fries!

Since you are at home during the novel coronavirus pandemic use the time to bake your own cookies, quick simple, healthy – and a $2 bag of flour yields about 200 or more cookies and pancakes!

Here is a quick pancake mix that costs peanuts. Society makes us think we must buy it boxed – nope you make it fresh!

PANCAKES

Mix:

1 cup flour

1 tsp sugar

pinch salt

1 tsp baking powder in a bowl

Add 2 tbsp of oil and then ¼ cup of milk of your choice, for lighter milks (like almond etc.) add a bit more.

Add a beaten egg for extra protein and that’s it.

Make sure your pan is nice and hot and have it pre-greased with a high heat oil (like sunflower) rubbed with a paper towel. And there you have it! Instead of syrup, use fruit. This also works in a waffle maker.

Have fun, and you can turn the pancake mix into a home economics class!

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Zucchini pancakes made by Chef Joe!

New column by Edith!📚📙🖋🐾🐾

Back to School!

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and family on Edith’s 88th birthday! photo submitted.

After all the hand-wringing about how much our children are missing being out of school since March 2020 and how this hiatus will stunt their growth, we are finally going to resume some kind of schooling, first virtually, then in a ”hybrid” system (part on-line and part in person). Finally, when all is more or less back to “normal,” back in the old schoolhouse full time, though probably in smaller classes.

There has been incessant attention to the physical safety of students and staff and to making our school buildings and equipment as virus-free as possible.

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Kids still need school supplies! Donate pens, notepads, scratch pads and more to the Friendly House, Girls Inc and SWNC! These nonprofits serve poor Worcester families. pics:R.T.

But somewhere in the rabid pursuit of the CORONA 19 virus, we seem to have lost sight of the main reason our children are in school: to become fully capable, well-functioning members of American society. That means acquiring the language, basic math and the basic knowhow to be a competent family member, a member of a neighborhood, of a city or town, a state and the United Sates of America.

For that, ability to read, understand, and use the English language fully and comfortably is absolutely basic.

A knowledge of basic math is vital, also, as we all become tax payers, workers, consumers, credit card users, savers and home buyers or renters.

So our graduates need to understand how our financial system works and to have practice in navigating the various forms in use – registration forms, license forms, contracts of all kinds (especially the tiny print designed often to evade responsibility or even mislead).

Not all our children have two parents who are adept at navigating these pitfalls, nor do the parents always have the time.

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Joey’s Gigi working on her homework. Chef Joey is an excellent Papa! pic: Joe C.

With our planet under great stress, a good understanding about the environment and our responsibility to that, should also be taught.

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A clear understanding about how government functions at all levels, and each student’s responsibility in the scheme of things is important! Science – especially the scientific method and how hypotheses are formed, how evidence is collected, and how conclusions are reached, need to be emphasized throughout high school!

Needless to say, every branch of science has its own vocabulary, so that terms need to be carefully taught.

Our language has suffered a real degradation of meaning (as happened in Germany under the third Reich), and emotionally loaded words are bandied about without careful attention to their meaning. Our students should be taught to think critically about “alternative reality” as well as the 3 “P’s”: puffery, propaganda and prevarication!

Our kids will grow up totally surrounded by advertising, political pressure – and just plain lies. They must know how to identify these lies, while still maintaining their own opinions.

Our schools need to be the bulwark standing in defense of democracy. That means our students should be familiar with the Constitution, state and local laws, and customs. Democracy is fragile, and must be protected in each generation – it can not be merely handed down.

The achievement gap between minority and white students may widen, but with a life expectancy of 80+ years, that can be made up. I see many already working hard to close that gap. Technology is not sufficiently widely available in poorer homes, or in the homes of new arrivals, but much is being done to try to provide these tools.

But let us not fool ourselves into thinking that technology can or will solve the real problems facing America – skills and general information can be gotten, but those things that make for a full-adult and decent human being, an asset to this country, to family, neighborhood, city and state, can not be acquired from a screen. Parents, teachers, friends – all are role models, and they can not be replaced by a machine! Nor are they learned in large groups!

So it may be a blessing in disguise that we are forced to have smaller groups of students, enabling teachers and aides to better see when bullying and harassment occur. So, whatever form our children’s education takes, let us keep our eyes on our main duties, not the latest techy toy!

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FYI:
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Movie Time!

By Rosalie Tirella

Funny. I’m watching Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in YOU’VE GOT MAIL. On my TV. This Nora Ephron rom-com from the 1990s (I love her Meg Ryan movies💚) is based on the Jimmy Stewart classic movie of the early 1940s, THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER: guy meets girl through writing of letters/emails, falls in love … but no! The love of his life, the object of his bookish desire, can’t be the horrid woman he works with/against. She hates him, too! In fact, they go around crowing to each other about their secret pen-pals and how the Hanks/Stewart can’t hold a candle to their true love’s wit, erudition, compassion … It’s all in their letters/emails …

Finally, secret pen pals plan on meeting in person – in a coffee house. The gal will be at a cafe table reading a book – and displaying a rose, laid across the cafe table.

But the guy now knows the gal is from his work world, knows her identity, so in a love jest, he meets up with her, teasing her about her lover pen pal – making her furious but ultimately getting her to fall in love with him. Jimmy Stewart and the Jimmy Stewart of our day, Tom Hanks, are funny and charming in these scenes … and winsome, handsome.



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Of course, our gals fall in love – want their secret writer/lover to be Hanks/Stewart!!! I will not give away the endings of both movies … But just now I cried, burst into tears while watching YOU’VE GOT MAIL. Not at the happy ending – but at Meg Ryan arguing with her current boyfriend in A CROWDED MOVIE THEATER! I cried at the old America, at HUNDREDS OF FILM LOVERS SITTING NEXT TO EACH OTHER, SHOULDER TO SHOULDER, enjoying – together!! – a movie! This is what made me cry! Our past life – before COVID 19, before facial masks and six feet apart and elbow bumps when greeting old friends. I cried like a baby over this scene, pre-global pandemic, arguably one of the most pedestrian scenes in the movie!

I miss all the casual closeness, the casual but deep intimacy, society’s grubby humanness … sharing germs – and laughs and tears – at a filled-to-capacity movie house.

The DVDs and Video cassettes will do for now …

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… but when things get better, when the vaccine comes out and I have been vaccinated and our COVID flick fades to black, I am driving to Northampton, to a real movie theater, a beautiful one – not a ghastly humungous mall cineplex in Worcester – and I am gonna buy a bucket of popcorn, a box of Jujus and sit smack dab in the middle of HUMANITY AND WATCH A MOVIE WITH A FULL HOUSE of my fellow humans. Laugh with them, snicker with them, gasp and tear up, too. While watching the movie. Together, with them!

THIS IS HOW FILMS WERE MEANT TO BE EXPERIENCED!

It will all come back … eventually. This is just the middle of the movie we are all in now. There may be a Tom Hanks pandemic epic classic on the horizon!

That’s a Wrap! Republican National Convention column by Edith!🇺🇸🇺🇸

The 2020 RNC Convention Show

By Edith Morgan

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Edith

I did not know what to call it: after a very brief and perfunctory convention that did the real business of a true party convention, but without any attempt at giving voice to other possible views or candidates within the party, with no platform (since whatever Trump decides in the moment will be it), the evening RNC SHOW began on Monday and ran for four days, through Thursday, August 28. At which time Donald Trump brazenly accepted the nomination, in front of the White House, the American people’shouse. That was merely the crowning, in-your-face portion of this show’s violations of the Hatch Act – Trump’s thumbing his nose at the public and its laws, to let us know that the laws do not apply to him or his family or cronies.

I found particularly offensive the naturalization ceremony, not only for its inappropriateness during a political campaign, but also because if the extended and unusually long and inclusive swearing–in, which included an oath to serve in the military or to do public service, etc… none of which are usually included in such a ceremony. It was, like the rest of the RNC SHOW, a carefully orchestrated rainbow of five persons, including a member of all those excluded by the Trump administration during real life at the White House.

I listened carefully to every word and watched gestures and facial expressions – and had to admire the speech writers for all these presentations, for their skill in creating this four-day long paen of praise for all Trump’s accomplishments, describing an America I could not recognize.

Of course the Trump family spoke in full force and could not say enough GREAT things about the great love, caring, empathy and generosity of dad or hubby President Trump. Every time I see the women of Trump, I am reminded of “The Stepford Wives.“

In this four-day performance of “unreal TV”!!, we were treated to a constant barrage of warnings about what the “Trojan horse Joe Biden” would cause to descend on us Americans: our cities, our economy, our families, our jobs, all in ruin. To be saved by another four years of Trump!!!

We are all going to be great again – again. Much lip service was given to the additional funding of military objectives, to promises to end our foreign wars, to bring our troops home, to getting our allies to pay for their own defenses, and to bringing jobs back, as well as to continue to cut taxes. Most of the claims of accomplishments can not stand close scrutiny, and even the first few media fact checks done around the time of the presentations proved that the entire RNC Zshow was a compendium of “ alternative facts.” It was all a well orchestrated show, a glossy show, featuring infinitely the carnival barker about whom it all revolved: Donald J. Trump.

We heard from Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump, Lara Trump, and finally Melania Trump, who advertised her “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign. Ha ha. Karen Pence, Larry Kudlow, Joni Ernst, Rep. Crenshaw, and Billy Graham’s granddaughter, as well as Kentucky’s Rand Paul – every one full of praise for what Trump has accomplished, invoking God and the flag, giving some standard American history and supporting the second Amendment – while properly demonizing the “Democrat –run cities” which were described as being overrun by rioters and looters. They supported, in various ways, a “law-and-order” regime and tried to scare suburban dwellers into fearing the invasion of low-cost housing. Read: Blacks and Other Minorities.

Occasional chants of “Four more years!!” erupted, but since most venues were virtual, that only happened at the two outdoor events, where there were many people, not masked and close together. What global pandemic?! All emphasized the duty to vote – and to give their Donald another four years.

Let’s not.