Tag Archives: Worcester

“Extended” traveling time!🚗🥿🥿

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose’s desk and living area at the Extended Stay motel in Westboro. pics: R.T.

To tip$ or not to tip, that is the question. As an older woman traveling alone (with Jett and Lilac, of course), an older white woman with not a lot of dough$ but not a lot of needs, either, (I travel with my own electric tea pot, tea cup and a box of green tea), tipping for me has become looking into the soul of the kid or old lady manning the motel’s front desk … not so much caring if the floor in my room requires slippers to be worn at all times (yes, all Extended Stay motel suites in Westboro) but if the overworked/underpaid housekeeper smiles when she or he gives me an extra soap or two – is genuinely nice to me. Human to human. So my tip has nothing to do with the motel per say … its carpets or coffee bar or bathtubs. Yes, I want it all clean and functional, but mostly the quality of my stay has to do with how the help makes me feel.

As in: Wow, that young woman at the front desk is so positive about life (and extended stay – 1800 Computer Drive, Westboro)! The way she described the bonfire she and her boyfriend started last night outside their home…how lovely the cedar smelled…how happy it made her feel. Of course, I went out and bought this positive young woman a little tub of hand cream, pretty facial wipes and cute Memorial Day potholders – in case their bonfire got too hot!

At one motel, an Econo Lodge, the East Indian owners were brutal, but their cleaning staff was outstanding! I still miss those ladies! One housekeeper, an older woman, gave me magazines from her house! She said she did this because she saw the newspapers and notepad in my room. She was a reader, too! She also gave me a cute little green dog poop bag dispenser, complete with doggie bags. “You’re the only one here who cleans up after your dogs,” she said. Of course, every time I saw her I gave her $5. Every time.

Her colleague was also wonderful. I came into the Econo motel hungry. I asked her for a snack. She went into her and her husband’s room (like a lot of young help, they lived at their motel) and came out with the food they had: a Cup o Noodles, a can of Campbell’s chicken soup, and a Ramen noodle package. I microwaved the cup o noodles – the soup tasted like old sweat socks. I tipped this young woman every time our paths crossed. These ladies were so … human. So kind to my dogs … Their good hearts not burnished at some hotel conference, not angling for my dollars. They were just good people, most likely raised beautifully by a parent or aunt or grandparent. Raised carefully, not stupidly, the way the desk guy here at this Extended Stay motel suites in Westboro – Evan – tall and Igor-looking – sneers at me – or even yells at me when I ask for assistance. Amazing! I should say: Abusive! You ask him to close your stuck window, and he sighs and shakes his head as if it’s your fault his motel has stuck windows. Plus, noisy refrigerators and generators that make your room tremble.

Did Evan put me in this room on purpose? Some of the male “guests” and workers you see at these places are a bit … frightening. I was once at a motel where several police officers served an arrest warrant to the guy across the hall. I heard the click click click of their cocked guns, no doubt trained right on his door. The cops were pros: quietly they asked him: Will you come out? Or shall we come in and get you? He opened the door and left with them …

To have Evan, a staffer, represent the hospitality business with such surliness feels almost as criminal …

My hunt for a cute affordable apartment in Worcester … the dream…fades into the gentrified sunset of Worcester. This fact, after ONE YEAR of searching for home, has me stressed. Ten years ago I could get into a huge three bedroom flat in a Woo blue collar neighborhood with $200 bucks in the bank, $20 bucks in my back pocket, and my gamey smelling Nova Scotia retriever Bailey in the back seat of my jalopy. The old school Worcester landlord would look at this mess, this writer/newspaper editor and think: She’s poor. She’s alone. Look at that car. It’s just Rose and her dog. AND THEN HE’D RENT HIS APARTMENT TO ME BECAUSE HE FELT SORRY FOR ME. After 13 years of living in a terrific apartment on Perry Ave, the landlord, a retired Worcester police detective, said: It was just you and your dog, Rose. My wife and I felt bad …

Even at Blackstone River Road…home of thug tenants…but not such a bad landlord…Ken the landlord had a heart. Tommy the handyman once said, You know Rose, Kenny told me he rented to you because he felt sorry for you.

I believed Tommy. And I knew the old Worcester was disappearing forever as I smiled and offered him a cup of tea …
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Jett resting on his blankets at the Extended Stay motel.

Worcester Memorial Day🇺🇲 Weekend Thoughts🇺🇲 …

A REAL CITY – WORCESTER!

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose, at the dog park, earlier this Memorial Day. pics: R.T.

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Lilac, at the dog park.

I took offense recently when a Worcester politician told the papers: Finally! WORCESTER IS A REAL CITY!! He was talking about the shiny new Worcester: the touristy Woo, the city I can’t relate to: our new ball park built by Rhode Island contractors, the fancy restaurants I can never afford to patronize, the $10 artisan bread and $10 slices of pie I will never buy.

The Worcester pol was talking about our beer gardens and roof top bars and specialty lagers (and the shootings that go with them) and the hundreds of spoiled Boston kids moving into our new Soviet Union-style downtown apartment complexes – really, glorified dormitories – bankrolled by their moms and dads who can pay their $2,000 rents.

The politician was crowing about our day spas and bo bo teas and ridiculously expensive sweaters, pocketbooks and bras.

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The chi chi Canal District, home to overpriced clothing and toast … and Worcester’s new ball park.

We winced at the quote. For us, Worcester has always been a REAL CITY. A great city with grit and heart. The comings and goings of this real city – sometimes obstreperous, sometimes delicate – have always thrilled us! We love our immigrants from all over the world, our workers with their state college degrees, our old people, young couples, school teachers, children on swing sets, puppies and sea gulls and hospitals and teenagers and babies and city parks … artists and grand public junior high schools built during the Roosevelt presidency … state-of-the-art public high schools readying our students for Harvard and beyond…our straight folks, gay folks… We’ve got it all. We’ve always been a real city. But modest, wearing hand-me-down jackets, never bragging about bank accounts or vacation trips, leading with a big heart, being open, sometimes rude, usually opinionated, most often caring … unabashedly sentimental, friendly and proudly ethnic.

Case in point: 1:30 p.m, today, on Foster Street, at the Korean War Memorial Plaza. A beauty of a plaza near our downtown, with statues of a little boy and soldier, flags atop flag poles, a granite tombstone with dedication, a granite wall with dates to remember, history to honor.

The Korean War Memorial Plaza was totally paid for by Worcester champion and insurance sales czar Frank Carroll. Frank’s a parishioner of St. John’s Church on Temple Street and built the stately St. Francis food pantry, dining room and prep kitchen next to the church. Thousands of hungry people have been fed at St. Francis thanks to the generosity of Frank Carroll, an ally of St. John’s pastor, Father John Madden. He’s my priest, too! I call him “Padre”!

This afternoon I was at the edges of the City of Worcester’s annual Memorial Day ceremony at the plaza Frank C built … honoring our city’s fallen heroes on Memorial Day. Worcester Police Officer Sean Lovely was there, playing his ubiquitous bag pipes like he does at all City of Worcester events and ceremonies. His music was wistful, beautiful. There were Worcester veterans in their uniforms saluting our flag and their fallen brothers. There were wreaths to be silently, solemnly laid and a good-sized crowd gathered around to watch, to bear witness: to say, WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU. The Worcester soldiers – kids – who died in the Korean War.

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Everyone there basked in Officer Lovely’s lovely music and the beauty of the plaza and their memories of our men in uniform. The vets were wearing their summer whites, so crisp and bright and perfect. The crippled Vietnam vet made his way to the ceremony, his tough guy leather vest sporting a logo of a club and people important to him. He was perfect, too. A Worcester cop stood at attention as he made sure the crowd was safe and the ceremony unfolded with dignity.

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The real Worcester. My real city.

2014 Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Sailors of the Year
Honoring America’s military men and women. File photo.

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THE PBS MEMORIAL DAY TV SPECIAL

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The PBS tv special was excellent!

I got to watch last night the always patriotic, classy and moving PBS Memorial Day TV special honoring our US military vets🇺🇸 and fallen heroes🇺🇸. The television special, filled with songs, stories, US military bands and singers, speeches, real battle video clips, hugs and standing ovations for our veterans – the young, old, wheel-chair-bound and walker-dependent who are present in the audience – had me wiping away the tears. Our vets🇺🇸 were seated in the front rows of this outdoor concert venue in DC, complete with grateful and diverse audience: they all looked beautiful. The tv special may screen again on PBS today … definitely on-line. Actor Gary Sinese (of Forest Gump fame and many WW II tv/film specials) has dedicated his life to honoring our vets and American history. He has been hosting this PBS special – accompanied by guest US military generals and American actors and Broadway luminaries and singers of all races and ages – for more than 30 years. The soldiers are wearing their dress uniforms – their chests sparkle with their medals that shine under the spotlights; their ribbons flutter in the wind. Gary wears a suit. The female guests wear gorgeous, tasteful evening gowns, and the male guest speakers or singers wear suits. Dignity. Respect.

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Retelling our American history, honoring our fallen war heroes.

… I’ve watched lots of these annual PBS Memorial Day tv specials, sad but ultimately proud🇺🇸. Quality TV for the family. We need more American TV like this show – not the soft porn, violent, loud, in-your-face, gross-out TV that pollutes our living rooms every night, dragging our culture even further down – sadly, often reflecting it.

– Rosalie

BUTTERCUPS

By Rosalie Tirella

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Buttercups at the dog park. Photos: R.T.

Yellow is my favorite color, so cheerful, fun and inviting. Wild flowers are my favorite flowers, better than the ostentatious beauties you find at the florist’s, trapped in plastic vases or ugly bricks of foam, dyed, cropped, cut … some even invented in scientists’ laboratories!

So these are my favorite days, my yellow wildflower days, with nature literally right outside my car door!! Spring time, not judging me, but sighing “Goodbye, Rosalie!” as the forsythia fade, leaving their branches dark and naked and the clumps of buttercups thin out and the dandelions’ yellow Afros turn grey then blow away …

Summer’s at all our fingertips now, the way the buttercups were caressing my old hands yesterday at the dog park. Or popping out between my toes as I sat on my blue and white checkered blanket watching Lilac play. …

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There was a faint dusting of buttercup pollen on Lilac’s nose from sticking her face in the buttercups. I know my girl: she’s a hunter. Lilac was not smelling wildflowers, she was hunting for mice and moles and earth worms and snakes. To eat them! We people can’t smell a buttercup very well, but I bet a dog knows the buttercup aroma wafting beneath his belly. A dog’s nose – Lilac’s nose – unlike the noses belonging to us humans – has millions and millions of olfactory cells, receptors that smell a little buttercup quite nicely I bet. It must be fun to be a dog in spring!

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Lilac.

I picked a buttercup yesterday to admire its beauty more closely. One of its small yellow petals fell on my thigh, wilting almost as soon as it landed on my skin. It was that delicate.

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Aren’t we all buttercup petals?

The “old dog” and “small dog” side of the dog park has been allowed to “grow out.” So the grass stays unmowed, and Lilac and I play fetch in a mini field of beautiful buttercups. Jett, who has always turned his snout up at silly dog games, prefers to sit amid the buttercups and the dandelions, watching what could be the last spring flutter by him. He is 15 years old, deaf, a bit confused in the fields, looking for me to wave COME, JETT! or a loping Lilac to run back to him to lead and herd him back home – to me.

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Jett amid the buttercups.

I remembered yesterday the buttercups of my Green Island girlhood: a few tall handfuls growing at the base of the stockade fence. Our landlord was having an affair with our downstairs neighbor. He had fixed up the old yard for her: put up a new tall fence, stuck a bird bath in the middle of our dirt yard and built a little open shed for his three deckers garbage cans, several that, in the summer heat, attracted little white maggots that I used to run to and examine as closely as I did the buttercups by our stockade fence.

But it was the buttercups that I picked and brought upstairs to my mother, sometimes running them under her pretty chin to make it a faded yellow. She was always very busy so I quickly put them into the old Sanka jar I had filled with tap water in our bathroom. Our third floor tenement was my little life science center: jars of earthworms I had dug up in the field across the way, buttercups and dandelions in washed now empty jars of Sanka instant coffee that I had filled with water. Gifts from my Polish immigrant grandmother who lived with us. Bapy. Bapy drank about a million cups of Sanka a day – Ma made her extra cups and kept them on the stove. Bapy would heat her cups of Sanka by placing the cups in a little saucepan of boiling water that was always on the rear burner of the gas stove. As kids we couldn’t walk through the kitchen without old Bapy yelling from her floppy old easy chair set at the head of our old green painted kitchen table by our mother so Bapy could be in the thick of family life, butting in at every turn: Rosie!! SANKA!…Mary!!! SANKA!!! Trina!! SANKA!!! CECELIA! SANKA!! Then my sisters and I dutifully, sometimes grudgingly, walked over to Bapy’s coffee dribbled, boiled egg stained place mat and grab her old coffee stained coffee cup and place it in the pan of now cool water and turn the gas flame on beneath the whole grungy set up to make the water boil to heat up Bapy’s cup of coffee. So we had a ton of empty Sanka jars around our house.

Sometimes I’d give my Bapy a little SANKA jar full of the yellow buttercups I had picked in our backyard. She’d take it, hold it up to her crinkly old face, then proudly set it before her cup of Sanka and plate of boiled egg and say: Jenkua, Rosa! with gusto!! Thank you, my Rosalie! Bapy, 78 and worn out from life, was riddled with arthritis and claw-like feet. She had grown up on a farm in Poland – ran it as the oldest daughter of a dad who had remarried a wicked lady who made the young baby run the farm and raise her younger siblings. My Bapy did it all, so she knew everything about raising children, goats and cows and crops of vegetables … and she loved flowers! Bapy had a long hard life that was full of worry and strife in Green Island. At the end she had no teeth and hardly ever smiled. She stumped around the house, often cursing to herself in Polish at our ner do well father, Daddy!! RED DEVIL!! DOG’S BLOOD! she’d yell in Polish whenever she saw our handsome, womanizer Daddy waltz through the front door (I’m sure she knew my father’s true colors from the instant she met him). But, for us kids, all kids, she always had a nickel or quarter in her threadbare little change purse she sat on, hidden under the seat cushion on her easy chair. And was a big – the best!!! – hugger. So she grabbed me and pulled me to her flat old breasts and hugged me hard, for a few seconds, to thank me for the buttercups. That was my beloved Bapy: a pain in the neck but, ultimately, the Polish Queen of Green Island Buttercups!
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Lafayette Street: Bapy sitting in her easy chair at the head of our kitchen table. Her three granddaughters are celebrating Rose’s birthday.

Jett👑💕

By Rosalie Tirella

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Jett👑👑👑👑

Da KING👑✨⭐! My JETT👑! I was at the Worcester Animal Rescue League yesterday. The staffer we’ve known for almost two decades walked up to my old boy🐾💕, sitting with Lilac in the back seat of my car, his tail AND butt wagging at the sight of his beloved Rushelle and she said to Jett, more than to me: THIS IS THE PERFECT DOG.

Jett. Perfect.

I said, Yes!

Perfect, she said again.

And I nodded in proud appreciation.

Rushelle said: I just went into our files. I was the one who did the adoption. I did Jett’s adoption 15 years ago. (I adopted Jett from WARL) Then we both smiled at each other, masks on, but the corners of our eyes crinkling up in happiness. And it all felt so beautifully wistful, the way life should unfold: in love, in respect. In seeing beauty in an old Husky mix with a fatty bump on his side, deafness in both ears, dementia closing in. Yes, Jett was perfect.

Jett was mine because of WARL/Rushelle. He’s been loved by me – and the WARL staffers – for 15 years. We’ve made the journey together, our long and winding road of caring 💕

I said to Rushelle, tears behind my big sunglasses: What am I gonna do when I lose Jett? He’s my favorite dog!
Then: I’M DOING THIS ALL FOR JETT! I admitted this crazy fact aloud for the first time in a year: on the road for weeks and weeks!!, in motels!!, hotels!!, in friends of friends digs, loping through dog parks at dawn, digging under farms fences at dusk. JETT – AND LILAC – AND ME … MAKING MEMORIES. Family.💕

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Jett at the dog park at dawn.

DRONE TIME!

By Rosalie Tirella

Snack time…

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Jett and Lilac. photos: R.T.

… thinking about drones. So it’s drone time around here, too! I’m thinking it’s not enough that our faces, bodies and voices are captured 24/7 on miscellaneous cell phones – hand-held and sophisticated … or mounted store cameras and apartment complex cameras, city hall cameras, motel cameras, hotel cameras and barroom cameras or gas station cameras, traffic light cameras, school building cameras, corridor cameras, car dashboard cameras, public library cameras, college campus cameras, elevator cameras, office building cameras, your roommate’s cameras, your bank’s cameras, your drugstore’s cameras, your supermarket’s cameras, your dog park’s cameras, your next door neighbors’ cameras, your McDonalds and DD’s cameras…let’s bring on the flying kind, too! The real smart ones! The kind that can seek you out to take your picture! Not smart enough to bomb you to hell, like the ones being used by the Ukranian military – American-made and making a difference in the war – but just smart enough, if you close one eye, to take away your last strands of dignity.

Our proposed Worcester drones – which our city manager looks to approve – are supposed to help us. Flying over tree tops or Jordan Levy’s apartment complex, they’re supposed to make our city a better “community”: tracking down runaway boys or abducted girls or the old guy with Alzheimer’s who’s walked away from the nursing home grounds … or a bank robber, gun-wielding and desperate.

But helping the homeless? To scan a dog park or a homeless encampment and to take a photo. Of what? Of a dog shit*ing? Or a homeless person shi*ting? Of a dog chasing a ball? Or a homeless guy scratching his balls? In the woods where he thinks he’s got privacy, like the dog in the dog park. But he doesn’t.

This could get sticky.

What about the homeless lady taking a discrete pee on the outskirts of the homeless camp – or just on the edge of the woods where she sleeps with her boyfriend, wrapped in big comforters, covered in nylon sleeping bags. I once saw a homeless couple greet the day after spending the night on the Worcester Common – yards away from the City Manager’s Office in Worcester City Hall. Would a drone have alerted City Manager Ed Augustus to the two people stretching out from under their blankets, raising their thin white arms in the thin sunlight of dawn, with 40 cents between them? Would the drone have scooted them away from City Hall to a less conspicuous sleeping spot? Or would the drone have given them $5 bucks for coffees?

Would the few rotten apples in the police department or City Hall watch a homeless couple having sex in the woods? Hugging in the woods? Fighting in the woods? When to step in? How do you monitor a relationship between two people on the edge? What right have you to butt in?

I don’t mean to drone on and on, but I’ve seen how City Manager Ed Augustus has handled the homeless of Worcester, without the potential of drone-cruelty: he’s handled our most bereft carelessly, thoughtlessly, cruelly. With garish lights turned on bright in the Green Street tunnel, with manufactured work sites magically popping up in the exact same spots where the homeless are sleeping along Millbury or Green streets. With proposed city ordinances ordering the homeless to stop begging for money on street corners or highway off ramps. Or else it’s jail for you!!! Or simply by placidly sitting on the city’s federal COVID funds and refusing to use the money to build tiny home villages or communal camps for the homeless. To alleviate suffering. The federal COVID money was earmarked for this country’s neediest! It is supposed to be used to help underserved communities in all American cities and towns.

Worcester cops and DPW guys do Ed’s dirty work for him. The cops come to identify the problem, then the City of Worcester QUALITY OF LIFE trucks drive down to collect the homeless folks’ gear, like old sleeping bags and backpacks stuffed with a change of clothing, and the city guys throw them into the back of the old truck like garbage. They call it the city’s Quality of Life team, but they’re not thinking about the homeless person’s quality of life if they’ve just stolen everything that person needs to live their his or her life, fragile and frail and wispy as it is. City Manager Ed Augustus will do anything to push the city’s street homeless out of our city woods, our sidewalks, our parks …

Why give Ed a drone?

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Worcester’s Bell Hill. Make it a real tiny home – with heat!

We may save the earth – but not in leather shoes!

By Ingrid Newkirk

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Ingrid with some friends

… The United Nations has just warned that we must slash greenhouse-gas emissions by 43% by 2030 and reach peak emissions before 2025 at the latest — or time will be up and the game will be over.

With the stakes so high, it’s easy to feel despondent. But if governments won’t act, we can, and individual acts do add up, as surely as individual bubbles create a pot of boiling water. Here’s one often overlooked, simple action among many that does make a difference: Ditch leather.

Leather is an extremely lucrative coproduct of the meat industry, which is one of the world’s biggest polluters and contributors to the climate catastrophe. Animal agriculture — of which leather is an integral part — is responsible for nearly one-fifth of all human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions.

Clearing land to raise animals and grow crops to feed them is a leading cause of deforestation, including 80% of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. A report released late last year by the conservation group Stand.earth linked more than 100 fashion brands to Amazon deforestation via their leather supply chains. Brazil supplies more than 20% of the world’s total leather exports, making it the single largest source of animal hides.

And remember the admonition not to waste water? Well, animal agriculture uses a massive amount of water, contributing to droughts and the spread of wildfires, and the chemical- and waste-laden runoff from factory farms poisons our waterways — killing fish, creating algal blooms and potentially spreading disease.

Formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives and various oils, dyes and finishes — some of which are cyanide-based — are used to prevent animals’ skin from rotting in the buyer’s closet.

PETA Germany investigated the billion-dollar leather industry in Bangladesh and found child workers soaking hides in harmful chemicals. Its investigators visited the poor residential district of Hazaribagh in Dhaka, where 15,000 laborers toil in more than 200 tanneries. Workers stand barefoot in toxic chromium effluent and handle acids and bleaches that can cause chronic skin diseases, respiratory conditions and cancer. According to the World Health Organization, 90% of workers in Hazaribagh’s tanneries will die before they’re 50. And the scene is repeated along India’s waterways and elsewhere.

And then there are the animals. More than 1.4 billion cows, goats and sheep — and millions of other animals — are killed for leather every year.

Buying leather supports both slaughterhouses and factory farms — in which animals’ eyes and lungs burn from the reeking ammonia fumes emanating out of their own accumulated waste and they’re also castrated and dehorned without any painkillers.

PETA’s most recent exposé of the leather industry’s live export horrors revealed that after enduring a grueling journey halfway around the globe in filthy conditions and without sufficient food or water, some cows are so weak and sick that they no longer have the strength to stand up. So a crane is employed to hoist them up off the ship by one leg, which can cause excruciatingly painful joint dislocations and broken legs. At the slaughterhouse, the animals are often killed without even being stunned first: They’re pushed to the ground, sometimes they’re tied up and their throats are cut.

The good news is that there are many options that don’t subsidize violence and misery or destroy the environment. Today’s innovative vegan leather offerings are made out of everything from pineapple leaves and apple peels to cactus, cork and mushrooms. One creative company in India makes biodegradable leather out of discarded temple flowers that would otherwise end up in the Ganges.

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TOPSHOP VEGAN PLEATHER JACKET is so cute and doesn’t harm animals! DITCH LEATHER JACKETS!! BUY VEGAN!!!

According to the latest data from the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, a ranking system created by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, cow leather contributes more to global warming, water pollution, water depletion and greenhouse-gas emissions than any synthetic or plant-based vegan option.

Killing animals for their skin comes with the same environmental baggage as killing them for their flesh. Leather destroys the planet, kills animals and endangers workers. Why not embrace environmentally friendly and ethical fashion by going leather-free? Our earth really can’t wait any longer.
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DON’T TORTURE AND KILL THEM!!!! BUY PLEATHER AND OTHER VEGAN JACKETS, COATS, BOOTS, SHOES ETC!

1. City of Worcester garbage truck guy… 2. Lafayette Street auto body shop turns Lafayette Street into junkyard

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Two City of Worcester issues …

1. A few days ago: City of Worcester trash guy driving his huge city trash truck barrels into the Quinsigamond Village post office parking lot on Greenwood Street. The p.o. is closed. He leaves with his package, pictured below…and he tries to exit the parking lot by backing into Greenwood Street with his HUGE garbage truck, rather than drive the long way out. And he’s wearing his HIGH CRIME navy blue sweat shirt while on his City of Worcester job. Classy, City of Worcester, classy!

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City of Worcester garbage truck guy

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He tried to back his truck into busy Greenwood Street! But before that, he barreled through the Burlington/Price Chopper strip mall, in front of stores’ walk way filled with pedestrians and this street violinist who was entertaining shoppers:
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This violinist was “plugged in”!

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Beautiful music interrupted when garbage truck guy drives through the strip mall main road way, right by this violinist, with his multi-ton garbage truck! And a lot of pedestrians entering and exiting the strip mall’s stores!

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2. Green Island’s Lafayette Street is zoned residential/industrial, but a teeny auto-body shop has no right to overrun Lafayette Street with their cars and trucks – the vehicles their guys are working on! Talked with a neighborhood resident last week: the person said the business’ cars are perpetually parked on Lafayette Street. He has no place to park his vehicle! And he’s a resident!

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Lafayette Street 😢😢😢

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Rosalie grew up on Lafayette Street. There used to be a small sign shop where the sprawling auto body shop is. The sign shop guys were polite and stayed in the shop with their work. Today: disrespect for the neighborhood – and the City of Worcester does nothing about it.

Worcester Building and Housing Code Dept is located on Meade Street, two blocks away from this dump, yet the City of Worcester doesn’t ticket them or anything. The City of Worcester allows this business to turn an entire street, with its three deckers filled with families + kids, into its personal junk yard. This auto-body shop needs to move to bigger digs – not make Lafayette Street an extension of its biz with 20 vehicles parked outside its doors. Would City of Worcester Code Director Amanda Wilson or City Manager Ed Augustus allow this vile sh*t show to happen in their neighborhoods? The noise pollution. The air pollution. The sheer ugliness of the scene. Nope. This disaster usually happens – is allowed – in poor and/or minority neighborhoods. Because the neighborhoods have no clout. Because the politicians, their friends and family don’t live there.

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After we wrote about these guys the first time, they removed all their signs identifying their auto body shop. Pathetic.

Environmental justice now!

MOMS❤️

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose and her mom at Crompton Park, many years ago!

Mother’s Day…almost 10 years without a mom – my mom! Truth? The void hurts every day – not just on Mother’s Day. When I was a little girl I felt I had three moms! I felt so lucky! Three wonderful Polish women loved me – good, honest, resilient women nurtured me, encouraged me to read and write, be good and resilient, too. My aunt Mary, at the far left in the photo of the three St. Mary’s girls, was married to a school principal and made sure I got all the older books discontinued from my uncle’s school library: BORN FREE, Christmas song books with beautiful illustrations, books with illustrations of lambs on their cover – wreaths of flowers draped over their chubby necks. I thought the book title read: COME FLOWER ME! when it really read COME FOLLOW ME! (These days I like my first (mis)reading best.)

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Rose’s Aunt Mary, far left.

My other aunt, pictured here seated on the roof of The Block during a coming home party for my uncle, her brother, during WW II, was the trail blazer. She got her driver’s license and bought herself a car. She left home and became head housekeeper for the Bishop of Springfield. My mom said Aunt Lilly was a speed demon on the highway – and liked to drive with her shoes off, her right naked foot on the gas pedal, her left naked foot commandeering the brake pedal.

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Rose’s Aunt Lilly.

My mother looked to her older sisters for help in raising me and my two kid sisters since she didn’t have much of a husband, no car and very few resources. My two aunties stepped up! Aunt Mary’s husband, my Uncle Mark, took us – my mom, me and my sisters – to all our pediatrician appointments on Lincoln Street. He was always so wonderful to my mom and full of good cheer for us kids. He told corny jokes and laughed and kidded with my mother in Polish and in English. He too was first generation …both his parents came to America from the “Old Country.”

My mother was the baby sister of the family – the meek one who was underweight as a little girl and hospitalized. Ma used to say: “I can still see Bapy peeking out from behind the hospital curtain, looking at me, so worried about me.” Bapy had also been a good mother.

Often times Ma was clueless about getting us through stomach aches or soothing us to sleep. That’s when Bapy – my fourth mother! – came to the rescue with her block of white lard. Schmarluz we used to call it. Bapy, Ma’s Polish immigrant mother and my grandmother, lived with us and had a million opinions (pontificating in Polish for everyone in Green Island to hear) and a million and one solutions to every problem known to mankind. Her mom died in Poland when Bapy was only five. Her father, whom she loved dearly, remarried. But Bapy’s stepmother was cruel: beating Bapy and making her do all the work on their farm in Poland – including raising her younger siblings.

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Aunt Lilly, left, and Bapy

Bapy had a short fuse – but a big heart. Her love for all animals – my white hamster Joy, Mr. Ed the horse on TV, our cat Jimmy, later our dog Belle – was all encompassing. All our pets loved Bapy best, the dogs sleeping at her fat misshapen feet and the cat drowsing on the left arm of her beat-up old arm chair – parked at the head of the kitchen table where Bapy could see all the action of our poor little household.

Bapy would tear a piece of lard from that big block of lard and smear it all over my naked body – focusing on my stomach. What a relaxing, fragrant rubdown. My stomach ache went away and I smelled like a basted turkey.

Motherhood – the poor kind, sometimes the best kind …

Forsythia

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the gorgeous forsythia. I have been snapping pictures of them wherever I go, getting out of my car to look at the butter-yellow flowerets up close.

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Their yellow is so cheerful and full of zest…makes me smile. The flowers, running up and down strong slender branches are so touchable! A child could have her mother cut five or six branches for her teacher at school, wrap them in aluminum foil for a gift. For her desk, if the teacher has a pretty vase – and they always did when I was a little girl. The walk to school with the flower present, the wind blowing the child’s hair and forsythia, the child’s occasional caress. In the classroom her classmates’ poking them would not disturb the forsythia too much.

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❤️

They are without fragrance, which makes me think: bush or flowering plant? I don’t know. I never bother to Google/ research flowers, as I want to experience them in the moment – the way a child would perceive them. I know that’s impossible, but I try. Too much information stored below my old cranium! I think lots of it is useless and detracts from the important stuff like the ecstacy of flowers.

I love all the forsythia I see on the road, but the abandoned forsythia bushes on the side of the road, by old stone walls where houses once stood – in city and country – these forsythia are the ones I love best! No one has bothered to crop their wild blond crowns with Home Depot hedge trimmers. Or doused them with fertilizer so they grow abnormally thick and fat. No, they are in a pretty natural state…and I love them when they grow wild and free, long slender branches reaching to the sky, the sunlight pouring through the same big spaces between the branches. The forsythia look like a crowd of rowdy concert goers – all arms raised, together, hoping to touch the kaleidescopic lights and meet YES band mates after the concert.

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Rose’s favorite

They’ve struck a chord with me, that’s for sure. I’m remembering how they were all over the Green Island of my childhood – before it became all industrial wasteland or the Canal District, part 2. I remember how they signaled SPRING to me and how fun it was to walk down Lafayette or Grosvenor or Millbury streets and see them peeking out of backyards – or lining the grassy triangle of the City parking lot right outside the dry cleaners on Millbury Street. My mom worked at the dry cleaners for decades, as a counter girl, and I was always a little jealous of her view: loads of tall, yellow bushes just beaming sunshine on an already sunny person. My mom was a single working mom raising three girls and caring for her elderly mother, my Bapy, back home on Lafayette Street. She may have stumbled now and then beneath her heavy load but she was a happy person. She loved her mom and adored her three girls – the lights of her life. So often, after Prov Jr. High or even Lamartine Street School, I’d visit my mom at work and see her lugging piles of dirty laundry or working the old cash register on the Formica counter top or reaching into her vest pocket for her pen and little pad of white note paper to make a note. I’d look out at the forsythia, just a few yards away from Ma, and feel happy. It was springtime. My mother and the forsythia were spring!

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🙂

CONGRESSMAN JIM MCGOVERN VISITS UKRAINE 🇺🇦🇺🇸🇺🇸

By Rosalie Tirella

Respite this a.m. …

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❤️

A reassuring respite with our Congressman Jim McGovern! This morning McGovern was a guest on the MSNBC MORNING JOE news TV show. And he was pure Worcester! Everyone else on the popular cable TV show looked so polished, lacquered and botoxed. Not a hair out of place. Every implant (boob and tooth) safe and secured. Designer eyeglass frames scintillating under the lights. But our Jim sweated sweat droplets under those hot TV lights! He looked different from the TV hosts and other guests. He looked real, “average” in the best sense of the word! Like my Uncle Stan used to look on a Sunday morning at church. Modest. Serious. Totally grounded in the day to day. America’s every man.

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Congressman Jim McGovern🇺🇸

Jim has just returned from his trip to Ukraine, part of a congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The group met with Ukraine President Zelensky – for THREE HOURS! – to show American support for the brave Zelensky and all Ukranians and to learn more about Ukraine’s needs – and dreams. A SOVEREIGN UKRAINE!!

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Putin has murdered thousands of Ukranians and destroyed their country!

On MORNING JOE Jim repeated the Dems’ talking points, but he was passionate when he insisted on stopping the killing of Ukrainian children, babies, women, old people … stopping the rapes, the starvation, the leveling of modern-day Ukranian cities … When asked about his impressions of Ukraine President Zelensky, McGovern said he was very impressed with Zelensky, with his mastery of all the facets of this awful war started by the Psychotic Putin.

But it was Jim’s tee shirt that made me smile this morning, got to me. …
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Jim: a human rights crusader for decades! pics: R.T.

That greyish tee shirt that peeked out from under his nondescript pale blue button-down shirt. A true undershirt. For all of America to admire! Because Jim wasn’t wearing a necktie, like all the other guys on MORNING JOE. Because didn’t care what he looked like on national television! It was all about alleviating Ukranians’ suffering. Jim’s whole TV outfit looked like a Mart special: average eyeglass frames (no contact lenses for McGovern!), nondescript (polyester-blend?) dark blue suit jacket; a pale blue, nondescript button-down shirt; and in place of a necktie, his drab tee shirt. Call it “sexy indifference.” More man than vain politician. More human being than vacuous TV show host. Kudos to Jim! He represented Worcester beautifully – the best part of all of us!❤️🙂