Two “L” words …

Leo …

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

This morning: “Leo”‘s digs on Greenwood Street overflowing with crap:


The stuff that was strewn all over the sidewalk in front of his house is gone, but there’s still a bunch of refuse on his lawn, which is a foot tall. Not all Leo’s fault – a morbidly obese guy in a wheelchair. He called Vo Robert, director of St. Paul’s Elder Outreach, to ask for some help with mowing his lawn. A church volunteer, perhaps? She said “no.” She told me later, We don’t do that type of help.

Greenwood garbage…

So here’s summer and poor Leo – whom I saw in his electric wheelchair last week on Greenwood Street wearing just a pair of white briefs – very tiny whitey tightys – is overwhelmed with keeping up his house – both inside and out. Lee Hall, head housing inspector for the City of Worcester Code Department, said the City is on the case, but court doesn’t work for Leo. A friendly visit may do the trick. Meanwhile, Leo, a Worcester native and senior who lived with his mom his entire life, until she died, is stuck. If you are old or special needs or homeless, America’s/Worcester’s social safety net feels … nonexistent. Good people suffer. Alone? Old and poor with a big old house? Need help but have no family? In America – unlike in Canada, New Zealand, Finland or much of Western Europe – you’re left to dangle in the wind. Poor Leo.

Lock 50

The Canal District restaurants…like LOCK 50…HOW DO THEY SURVIVE?

I drive down Water Street lunch time, suppertime…weekends…I never see any customers inside any of the restaurants… enjoying dinner or lunch! What gives? I mean, I see a customer here and there but surely not enough to be successful – stay open. 21 years of visiting Worcester restaurants and selling ads to eateries for ICT and CECELIA…I can tell if a place is gonna make it. Most of these Water Street overpriced pubs, restaurants don’t look like they’re going to remain open for years like the old Charles restaurant on Millbury Street, or Messier’s on Millbury Street or the Broadway on Water Street. YOU NEED WAVES OF DINERS…much more than a full house on a Saturday night.

Which makes me angry that Tim Murray and the Chamber of Commerce poo bas are pushing for really poor folks to use EBT cards to buy restaurant food! Every Price C Chopper and Price Rite and supermarket in Worcester sell READY MADE SANDWICHES, CUPS OF FRUIT, CUPS OF YOGURT, PINTS OF POTATO SALAD – READY MADE. FOR A LOT LESS $$$ MONEY. Why spend all your measly snap benefits at a restaurant? BAD IDEA. Just another way to exploit poor people, Tim Murray!

Tim, check out Bon Jovi and the cool restaurants he and his wife have established for the homeless, poor …and middle class diners in New Jersey! Very cool. Pay as much as you can for your terrific restaurant quality meal. Got no dough? Still get the great meal but do some volunteer work in the restaurant. Regular customers pay full price …

That’s how you help the homeless and poor, Worcester Chamber of Commerce.

LOCK 50 …