Today, Green Island’s Christmas Tree lights up the night! God bless us – everyone!

By Rosalie Tirella

The Kelley Square Christmas Tree Lighting celebration is happening tonight at 5:30 p.m!

God love Lorraine Laurie! God bless District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller! And let’s not forget State Rep. John Fresolo!

Before Green Island became all bullshitty with Allen Fletcher and the Canal District folks with their artsy fartsy galleries and yuppie bars where girls leave their bras out on the streets (I witnessesd this lovely sight a few years ago), the Kelley Square Christmas Tree Lighting happened year after year after year. With neighborhood folks and area pols. With good cheer, good people, good times and prizes for homemade Christmas tree ornaments. With Lorraine Laurie, our beloved Mayor of Green Island, leading the charge, we celebrated the Green Island way! Unpretentiously, hopefully – and with a bit of grit.

Kids at local elementary schools were invited to get artistic and creat ornaments for the tree at Kelley Square. There were prizes given out (donated by Green Island biz folks) for the best tree ornaments. Usually the winners all hailed (no Hail Mary pun intended!) from Saint Mary’s Elementary School on Richland Street. But all the ornaments went up on the grand ol’ tree.

The nuns at St. Mary’s used to make a very big deal re: the tree celebration. St. Mary’s students’ tree ornaments were always complex, glitter happy and usually involved a shoe box or two (for dioramas). Photos were taken of the round faced winners and long Polish names very judiciously spelled in captions to go with pics, always sent to me by Lorraine.

This year Fletcher is in and the nuns are out. What a damned shame. Like the rest of the world, Green Island changes.

For the better?

Well, the neighborhood was always tough (I grew up there in the 1960s and 1970s and remember a few murders and deaths – two kids I knew. One boy my family and I loved!) and it’s still tough. (the recent murder at Crompton Park can attest to that). To me The Canal District poobahs make a mockery of the real life that happens every day in Green Island. Lives were and still are casually tossed away. Fletcher hasn’t improved the lot of anyone in Green Island … .

And yet it is Christmas and I will rejoice! I will sing the praises (and pray for) the holy folks at St. Mary’s, the ebullient Lorraine Laurie, the steadfast Barbara Haller and dedicated State Rep Fresolo and his mother and family. I pray for all the Green Island kids who (like me years ago) don’t live in big houses with parents who will take them to Disney World for Christmas vacation. I pray for Green Island parents trying to build a life for their kids – trying to keep it all together – during this brutal economy. And I pray for more affordable housing for Green Island families, more jobs that pay a living wage (like nearby Wyman Gordan factory used to) for the neighborhood men and women and … understanding.

Peace, love and understanding – like Elvis Costello sang years ago – for me and all of the people of Green Island.

Now, what’s so funny about that?

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