October 1999

October 1, 1999

The Springfield Library and Museums Association has formally announced the appointment of John D. Hamilton as Director of the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. The main event today was having my lower right wisdom tooth pulled by Dr. Terichia. Half the crown had come off, causing occasional pain but nothing regular. A simple extraction, but had to have an x-ray for $18 on top of $105 for the extraction. The dentist said I might experience some pain and bleeding. I was in and out in half an hour.

First thing this morning I drove out to Ace Hardware in the Acres and bought a flimsy, Chinese made caulking gun. On my way home from the dentist I stopped at 39 Greenlawn Street for a tag sale. It was run by an old man named Chris Longhi, and a number of books for sale had the name Elana Longhi in them. I bought a book that caught my eye because it had a stamped likeness of an Aztec calendar stone. Longhi said he went to Mexico once but is now moving to a small apartment where he won't have room for books. I thanked the man for selling it to me and told him I would take good care of it. He told me he had no knowledge of Lorenzo J. Larson.

I stopped at another tag sale on Talbot, but nothing good there. From across the street I was hailed by Ken Mills, who said, "I never thought I would see you in leather!" I told Mills that my true nature has been coming out since Mother died. He politely expressed regrets, having not heard of Mother's death. He told me he still delivers oil for a company in Northampton and does lawncare on the side.

I went around gathering signatures for the Northgate referendum, starting with Doyle the Twig Painter, who cheerfully signed. He was using brushes, not twigs, on a beautiful wharf scene. The music guy Sampson next door also signed, he told me he and Doyle are old friends who look after each other's shop. Then I went over to Mrs. Staniski, who has had the crack in her pavement fixed. It looks good. She had just finished waxing her kitchen floor and agreed to sign. She said Carol's operation was a success, no problems.

Next to Eamon's, where I found him sitting in a lawn chair by his garage in a tank top, shorts and leather slippers. He invited me to sit down, which I did while he read the petition and signed it. Eamon told me that the High School of Commerce has been approved for the International Baccalaureate Program. He has sent a letter to the paper asking why the City felt it had to take Northgate by eminent domain so swiftly. I told him I saw Professor Gordon of WNEC Law on TV, discussing the eminent domain taking and saying he saw nothing wrong with citizens collecting signatures to have a referendum to reverse it. Eamon said Karen Powell told him that the signatures of many 16 Acres business owners show that most live outside the city in places like Wilbraham, Hampden and East Longmeadow.

The Union-News Extra came today. Real estate broker Paul C. Montafusco arrived promptly at 2pm and appraised my house as worth $65,000. Rather low, but good for settling Mother's estate. I told him I have property in Wilbraham I am interested in selling if he knows any potential buyers. He left at 2:30pm. The mail brought the Morgan Stanley certificate from New Jersey. I also got a birthday card with a teddy bear on it from Mrs. Staniski. Fred called from the American Cancer Society. I told him I used to donate but never will again.

October 2, 1999

Lovely fall day.

Having eaten nothing but pumpkin pie yesterday, I cooked up a pork chop, potatoes and corn. I had supper for breakfast! You can do all sorts of things when you're a bachelor living alone. Drove down to the Breckwood Shops. Along came retired Officer R. Brown in a cap and blue jacket, headed towards Louis & Clark to mail something to a local genealogy society. He was jovial, and told me he has personally collected over five hundred signatures so far. I apologized for having collected so little. Brown lives at 140 Maybeth on the corner of Sunrise Terrace. While we were chatting, a police car pulled up and we spoke with Officer Taylor #282, who signed the petition. The cop told me, "I saw you on TV with that guy Devine, you were quite effective."

Next I swung by Angelo's for peaches and a melon. I also returned the cheap caulking gun to the hardware store, which cheerfully let me credit the refund toward more caulk, which I will apply with a knife. I headed over to Durham Caldwell's to get him to sign the petition, and arrived just as he was putting something in his mailbox for the mailman. Dudek was out gardening and told me he works at the wastewater treatment plant in Enfield. His wife lost her job at Deluxe Check Printers when they closed recently. A friendly enough man, nice to talk with. I also got a signature from Maurice G. Murphy of 111 Mary Coburn Road. He said he teaches history at Chestnut Accelerated and I gave him Eamon's number.

From there I headed out to the Acres Big Y. Standing by a card table with petition papers and brochures was Scott Santaniello in a brown suit. I gave him a $20 contribution to his campaign and congratulated him for helping with the referendum campaign. "We might end up with twice the number of signatures we need," Santaniello said. I asked if he would ever consider running for mayor some day and he replied, "We'll see how this election goes." I proposed that CANE should endorse a slate of City Council candidates and Scott said Karen Powell was working on such a list.

When I got back I found a bag hanging on the back gate with a birthday card from Ann and two Harvard Gazettes. The mail brought a reply from Day Funeral Home and printouts from Tommy Devine of the Masslive Springfield Forum with Steve Kelly's comments praising my eloquence at the City Council meeting:

The most eloquent speakers were Tim Ryan and Barbara Garvey. Wesley Miller, who said he used to teach college English and who dresses as if he borrows his clothes from the dressing room of Willie Nelson or James Dean (he's the gent wearing leather and taking notes in the front row in the picture in today's paper) was also quite eloquent.

Eamon called, perhaps thinking to cheer me up the night before my birthday. He said he hasn't heard from Nader the Hatter in ages and fears he may be ill. Eamon also accused Judge Eileen Griffin of being "a noted lesbian." Her picture is in the paper at a Springfield museum event, shown hanging out with women from Longmeadow and Wilbraham. Eamon says Devine calls to hear his editorials nearly everyday.

October 3, 1999

My 58th birthday. I got two cards from the Staniski's and that was it. Some good times should remain, and then downhill, for that is what old age is, alas.

James A. Brown of the Citizen Action Network has a letter in the paper asking of the Northgate land taking, "Why was Mayor Michael J. Albano in such a rush to take over this property? He certainly knows that we have a petition drive in progress to get this matter before the voters of Springfield." Attorney James G. Sololove works at One Beacon Place in Boston. The Stony Brook Energy Center Open House will be Saturday, October 16th on Moody Street in Ludlow. The Pioneer Valley Brewer Club is presenting an Octoberfest Grand Dinner on Taylor Street in Springfield October 5th.

Irving Cohn returned six books with a note saying I help him "to keep up with a world of constant change." I cleaned up the breezeway and then headed to Elms for the farewell ceremony for the Irish visitors they have been hosting. I wore a sport coat, tie and boots for the event. There were 81 people present, including staffers, the visitors from Ireland and media people. No big shots like Eddie Boland or Billy Sullivan attended, but Congressman Neal was there without his wife.

The event was held in the front hall of a fancy 1920's building with Catholic touches. There was a green ribbon across the fireplace with a table of food on each side. They served melon and grapes, a bowl of punch, strawberries cut in half plus large pieces of cheese with crackers. There was an information table that had maps of the Dingle Peninsula, information about Ireland in general, but nothing special. There were also copies of the last two issues of Hungry Hill Magazine.

Richard Neal spoke first, but I couldn't hear him as there was no public address system, despite there being a number of old folks there. The visitors from Ireland presented a gift consisting of a painting of a primitive Irish stone village, which I thought absolutely ugly, but an Elms art professor praised the work for its "spirituality." Two women wearing tight tops sang a few Irish songs, which was much appreciated by the audience. The whole affair was festive but disappointing, so I left.

On my way home I stopped at Open Houses at 87 Bellwood and 28 Ashland. A number of honking birds flew over 28 Ashland in V formation while I was there. I think 28 Ashland is a cute number which is selling for $128,00 and has been extensively renovated. The real estate agent Denise Vaudrin told me five or six college students were the previous tenants and they wrecked the place. While on Ashland I collected 12 signatures for the Northgate stadium referendum. Of course that was also an opportunity to gather neighborhood stories for my History of Birchland Avenue. The lady at 61 Ashland told me she's been there since 1961, but is not the original owner, who was someone who came from the North End. However, the original owner became bored in the Acres and chose to return downtown. We agreed that downtown in 1961 was very different than it is today and no one would miss downtown now.

Durham Caldwell waved and reminded me he had already signed. The Lee family still have the metal "S" in their front door left by the Sullivans. An Oriental woman there told me she is now a citizen and smiled when I told her she was eligible to sign. 123 is a stately colonial with a two car garage. The owner Kevin says he has a degree in Sports Management and works in the Equipment Room at Springfield College. He said he loves being in 16 Acres. Claire St.Germain at 205, whose landscaping is impeccable, told me she has lived in her house for 40 years. She said the Acres is "a very nice place to raise kids."

The elderly couple at 213 already signed but told me they don't like all the school buses that drop off kids at the portable classrooms across the street. The man, who is 81, told me they went to a party for Chris Johnson in Agawam and Mayor Albano was there "acting like a bigshot." He added that he believes that the people on Birchland are more politically active than the people on Ashland. Edward J. Hart has lived at 239 for thirty years in a five room ranch for which he paid $15,000. He disliked the quiet and secrecy with which the city installed the portable classrooms without consulting the neighbors. However, he claims the street is very quiet in the summer and weekends, perhaps even quieter than Birchland. When I got home, Karen Powell called to inform me that they have about 8,000 signatures and will set up their tables at Food Mart and Stop&Shop on Sunday.

October 4, 1999

Overcast, raw and rainy.

Minneapolis Methodists are complaining about Jesse Ventura's positive comments about atheism. I like Ventura. Today was the Grand Reopening of Radio City Music Hall. The Maine Marine Academy is in Castine, Maine. Professor Joel Miller, of the University of Utah, will speak at Clark University in Worcester on November 8th.

I threw out some old Ludlow Bank checks, which are obsolete since they were taken over by Albank in 1995. All these bank mergers are silly. Went out to the mailbox at 1:15pm and found a box from Hein containing eight copies of my new book. Looks like they got everything right. I called Scott Fiddler and asked him to send ten more copies. I consider the arrival of my new book my birthday present this year, one of the nicest presents I ever got.

Went to Louis & Clark and got today's paper for the Business section. Misty out when I left. I also mailed Bernard at Day and the Harvard Alumni Directory. Then I brought a copy of my new book to Eamon, who invited me into his parlor. He has lavish, fine furniture, chiming clocks of all sorts and lots of figurines. There is an immense framed painting of his Mother and Father hanging in the front corner of the living room. I inscribed my book to him, describing him as a "highly esteemed Citizen, Gentleman and Scholar." Eamon told me he eats whenever he's hungry, not at any set times. "All I had was a tuna fish sandwich for lunch," he complained, "and still I gain weight!" I only stayed a few minutes lest his neighbors talk about how a known homosexual was seen entering his house.

Flash of lightning at 9:04pm, followed by thunder 15 seconds later. Today I dined on melons, lasagna and peppers. I haven't been getting bank statements from Bank of Western Mass so I called Ann in Customer Service in Holyoke and she said she would look into it and get back to me. I called Carellas Insurance and got young Bill, who said he'd send me the forms. I also informed Carellas how much I enjoyed the Greek festival Glendi this year. I called TV22 because they had no stock quotes and I was told that their computer is down so there was no stock quotes on any of their newscasts today.

I called Steve Kelly of 5 Elm Street at 737-8417. He picked up his phone directly and has a young sounding voice, but told me he worked for the Springfield Newspapers for 27 years. Kelly is originally from Minnesota. He said "it used to be pretty good" when he started at the paper, but gradually deteriorated until he finally left after "I told Larry McDermott to his face that he was a moron so he fired me." Kelly then sued them and eventually "they bought me off." Kelly said the newspaper employees are scared of McDermott because he is quick to threaten to fire them. I told Kelly that I saw his post on the Northgate meeting and he said that was one of five recent postings on Masslive by him that were taken down. At the meeting he said he sat behind Karen Powell, who talked so much he couldn't hear so he told her to shut up. I informed him that Karen is a friend of mine and then gave him Eamon's number.

Next I called Eamon himself and described to him my conversation with Kelly. Eamon said he thought the name sounded familiar and recalled that Kevin Claffey gave him a copy of the court file of Kelly's lawsuit against the paper and thinks he still has it. Eamon said he will call Kelly himself tomorrow. Eamon added that he hopes Kelly can help confirm a story he heard about David Starr being stopped by the police for traffic violations and that Starr got Matty Ryan to help him out of the jam. If so, that might explain why the paper "never went after Mr. Ryan" when he got into political trouble. Eamon also spoke again about his friend Jack Tillotson, who used to work for the paper but got exiled to their Pittsfield office by Dwight Brouillard, whom Eamon doesn't think very much of. Eamon was shocked when I told him that Kelly described the Springfield Newspapers as "probably the most morally corrupt operation possible, it's incredible." I assured Eamon that yes, he said that.

October 5, 1999

Overcast, 43 degrees first thing.

A.I.C. graduate Stacia Filipiack Falkowski has founded an environmental group called Citizens Against Pollution. Dr. Dennis Drake works in the Chemistry Department at Elms College in Chicopee. Dr. James C. Shattuck is the Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Hartford.

Last night the light was on over at Kelly's, so she must've been just getting home then. Drove out about 2:30pm and dropped off magazines at the Cohn's. Then I headed down to American International College for the Tuesday Morning Music Club event. There was a man at the door checking tickets and a lady handing out programs. I told the lady that I wanted to be able to hear so keep the sound turned up. The sound was indeed quite good. Mary Alice S. and her husband arrived late but sat in the front row. I had a nice chat with them and they were both very friendly. Refreshments were served afterwards, supplied by the Marriott, consisting of various cookies (I had chocolate chip) plus coffee. Afterwards I went upstairs and told Alvin Paige's secretary how much I appreciate A.I.C. making the place available to the Music Club. I also got lots of stuff out of the freebie rack in Shea Library.

Dave Madsen reported tonight that the stadium opponents have collected over 11,000 signatures and stated that a referendum could end up killing the deal for the stadium funding. There is still no stock market quotes on TV22, so I called to complain again to Tammy the receptionist. I advised her to tell management that they should tell viewers what they want to hear about, not just the news that they want to tell them. I called Aunt Maria, who said she's been going to Springfield a lot for doctor appointments. I mentioned my birthday and she said she was sorry she didn't send me a card, to which I replied that I didn't expect one. "Are you happy?" I asked her. "Considering my age," she replied, "I am as happy as I can be." I concluded by promising to call again in a few days. Socrates Babacas called but I didn't answer. He is becoming a pest.

Eamon called and said Nader the Hatter's father got an equity loan on the Grenada Terrace property and gave the money to his daughter to purchase a new home in 16 Acres. Eamon wondered whether that's taxable, and I replied that it depends on the circumstances. Old Mr. Nader is 83. Eamon feels Dorothy Szuch is the reason for the Hatter moving to Florida. Nader has to be out of his Maple Street apartment by November 1st because he is the only tenant left and the owners want to rehab the building. Eamon is holding off on calling Steve Kelly, he wants to do some background research on him before contacting Kelly in due time.

Next I called Landmark Real Estate and got Gail Pelletier, who says she's a cousin of Claudia at Cat's Paw. She said she grew up in Monson and knows Mrs. Auchter. She told me that Mrs. Auchter's daughter Sarah is studying Environmental Law at WNEC. I also called and spoke to Jeff at Woronoco, who said Julie A. Cyr is off today. I called Tom Devine about 7:05pm and got his mother. I told her about Steve Kelly and other political things. She said Tom would not be back until around 11pm, but I told her I would not be up at that hour. I also told his mother how I am always grateful for the political tips Tom gives me and I repay the favor when I can with insider information of my own.

October 6, 1999

Clear and cool. Gas is $1.25 on the corner of Alden.

I inscribed a copy of my new book to Atty. Terry Scott Nagel. I wrote, "With highest esteem and thanks for the many kindnesses, especially support for my Spring 1981 publishing program." Antiques on Boland Way has completely taken over the space where the liquor store was. Sandra J. Bevilacqua works for Carellas Insurance Agency.

I drove out to the Woronoco stockholder's meeting in my orange suit and lumberjack boots, biker jacket, no collar, before 9am and parked on Salem Street in the first space right by the church back door. Then I took my signed book over to 175 State Street and left it with Debbie for Terry. I walked down the hill to the Chamber of Commerce, where I ran into R. Denver talking with Sally Fuller (wearing a business suit with black and white athletic shoes). Denver congratulated me on my speech to the Council, saying, "I was very much impressed with your oratorical abilities."I presented him with a copy of The Harvard Gazette and nodded politely to Sally.

I then headed to Tower Square, where I went to the toilet then up to the stockholder's meeting. I was introduced to the company lawyer Douglas P. Foucette, who told me that stockholders are allowed to speak according to the rules established in their by-laws. I asked for a copy of their by-laws and he said he would mail them to me. He asked if I had a card so I unzipped my jacket and pulled one out and gave it to him. I asked him for his card so he opened his wallet and found one, which was dirty and stained on the back. I counted 75 people present, 61 males and 14 females.

The meeting itself was uneventful and very short. We were welcomed by Cornelius D. Mahoney, Chair of the Board of Woronoco Bancorp Incorporated. When the end came they said they'd take comments and I got up and said that Westfield is a proud city and told them their stockholder's meeting should have been held up there. I was followed by a stockholder who said he had 25,000 shares and wanted to know what they planned to do in order to increase stockholder value. The next stockholder to speak was Joe Stephano, who said he had 60,000 shares. Good grief! At the end we were all gifted with a fancy pen and were served refreshments in the form of danish, nice muffins and a choice of drinks but no fruit juices. As I left I took a parking validation sticker, not because I needed one but because I have never seen one before.

On the way back I made copies at CopyCat and got bananas and beets at Angelo's. Going down Boston Road I saw Doyle painting under his umbrella with several people hanging around. I also swung by the Eastfield Mall, where there were not many cars parked by the cinema but a good number wandering around the mall itself. When I got home I was surprised to see Dickie N. crawling around on his roof. The only thing I ate yesterday was a Burger King Whopper. Today I had the refreshments at the stockholder's meeting and once home ate two baloney sandwiches. I called Hein and got Paul Martelle. I ordered five more copies of my new book for $34.80 each and asked if they intend to get into electronic publishing. He said yes, but they are not quite there yet. I informed him that I hoped to do future projects in emerging formats.

Still no stock market quotes on TV22. They show whether it went up or down, but no longer show quotes for individual stocks. Looks like Hayden Wayside Furniture is sneaking back into business. There was a very poised, articulate, young (Jewish?) woman who was their TV spokesperson for some time before they closed. Today on TV22 at 5:38pm she was back on for Hayden Computer Furniture of Enfield! Socrates Babacas called and I picked up. He says the stadium is dead and they will start turning in signatures for the referendum on Wednesday. Meantime, Karen P. is urging everyone to keep collecting because they may need more if some are disqualified.

October 7, 1999

45 degrees at 7:45am when I got up.

Stayed up until 3am typing and sorting through papers. Mother commingled things and I found a bunch of certificates of deposit mixed in with bank statements. Steve Forbes was on TV this morning talking about "a new birth of freedom" but I can't see him as president. TV22 continues to have no quotes of individual stocks. A story on NPR said that seat belts improve student behavior. Our culture is shot through with bondage and discipline.

I dined today on microwave warmed up chicken, potatoes and onions. Very good. I put out a pile of mail at Louis & Clark and made a couple of copies. I then went out to Fleet Bank in the Acres where Socrates Babacas was just coming away from the teller window with a fistful of $20 bills. "Well, hello Attorney Miller," he said. "I just cashed my Social Security check!" On a carpenter's truck in the parking lot I saw a bumpersticker, "When was the last time a Republican helped working people put food on the table?" When I got back I found a Tom Ashe campaign brochure in my newspaper mailbox by the garage. Fred Whitney had called while I was out.

I called WFCR and John Montinar picked up and will send the contest rules. Called for a free orthodontics video and got a female who replied, "Right now our system is down, could you give us a call later?" I hung up. Why couldn't she write down my name and address? I called Census Jobs and got a recorded message, "A recruiting representative will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you and good-bye." I then called Julie Cyr directly at Woronoco and she said she checked with research on Tuesday and I should be hearing from them soon.

Sandy from Carellas called saying they got the paperwork and asked about 124 Maynard Road in Wilbraham. I told her it is a camp with a small cottage on it. She said there would be no problem. I called Lawbook Exchange in NYC and got Gary Talbot and alerted him to my newly published book. Then I called Hein, but Fiddler was out of town on business so I left word for Paul that Talbot of Lawbook Exchange will be ordering copies soon. "We're in business to sell books!" said I.

October 8, 1999

42 degrees on the breezeway at 7:30am.

There was a frost last night and the Dahlia and Zinnias are gone. Farewell, I loved you!

Union-News Extra came today and a shipment of books was left by the garage door. The stock market quotes are back on TV22. The Quadrangle Cafe is about to get longer hours and a more varied menu with more soups, sandwiches and salads. This morning I came across a stray copy of T. Devine's Heroes and Villains from 1996 and I filed it in my archives.

I drove out to Five Town Plaza and closed Mother's last checking account, where I was waited on by Linda S. who remembered my name. I must have been talked about in there. Next, I drove downtown and parked on Salem. Someone has stuck up small stickers of The Ten Commandments all over downtown. I walked to Westfield Savings and used the $15,000 in Mother's account to open a CD at 6.1% over three years. Then I stopped at First Church and got their list of Wednesday noon organ recitals.

Next I stopped at the Bar Association where I was told that Judge Moran had left for the day, so I left a copy of my new book with Patricia. I also stopped at candidate Brenda Branchini's and made a $5 contribution to her "fun-raiser" next week at Cherry Bombs. I took the time to discover where 5 Elm Street is, and it's that really old little brick building with apartments upstairs. I peeked in the window and it seems a tad rundown. Suddenly old man Ravosa appeared and I explained to him my interest. I also asked him not to tell Steve Kelly I had come by.

Since I had some extra time, I decided to try to collect some signatures for the stadium referendum from people around Court Square. I was soon startled to discover sitting on a bench with a pile of paperwork, Tom Finneran, Speaker of the Massachusetts House, trying to be inconspicuous. I approached him and introduced myself and told him I appreciate some of the more thought provoking statements he has made, and he thanked me. I gave him a copy of the stadium petition and quickly told him the issues, as well as informing him about my grandpa having been a four term Democrat in the Vermont legislature. He was very polite. Suddenly a tall aide to Finneran came up and I went along.

So I danced down Main Street, collecting signatures, coming to rest in front of Tower Square, where I stayed until 12:30pm. Despite my juvenile delinquent outfit I did surprisingly well with old ladies and of course also with my fellow juvenile delinquent types. Two Latinos came along, brightly clad in the latest loud fashions, who pulled up their pant legs to show that they were wearing ankle monitoring bracelets that they had just been fitted with at the courthouse. I told them to wear them with pride and both cried out in harmony, "We do! They signed.

About a dozen people I approached told me they had already signed. Some declined to sign because they were from out of town, like one couple who were visiting from Maine. White male, working class types said no more that any other class. Atty. George Nassar signed, but most business types did not. A Jewish woman named Kellogg signed, telling me that one of her parents was a Protestant. One old lady said she was glad to encounter me so she wouldn't have to walk down to Northgate Liquors to sign. Blacks and Latinos almost always signed. Perhaps they are flattered to be spoken to so respectfully, and after they sign I always shake their hand. In the end I wound up with a miserable 200 signatures total.

Got a note in the mail from Rev. R.A.S. thanking me for my gift to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Music Ministry. Artist Louise Minks of Leverett sent me a thank you card for the photo and negative I sent her. She wrote, "Autumn colors always overwhelm me and sometimes inspire me to get out and paint." Eamon's present answering machine editorial is fabulous: "Daylight News Central has received over 500 calls regarding suggested names for Springfield's new baseball team. It's a tossup between the Picknelly Polecats and the Picnelly Pirates. Callers suggested that Mayor Albano's Springfield Baseball Corporation and the City Council are behaving like nasty, weasel-like creatures. Others contend that the eminent domain taking of Northgate Plaza reminds them of robbery on the high seas. Whether it's the Picknelly Polecats or the Picknelly Pirates, it all stinks to high heaven!"

When I heard the editorial I couldn't help but to call Karen Powell and alert her to it and also took the opportunity to congratulate her on all she has done. We had a good chat. I told her my story about running into Speaker Finneran and how I told him about the Northgate controversy, which pleased her. Karen is afraid that Raipher Pellegrino is planning to block their referendum with a legal challenge. Atty. M. Moriarty has already discussed with her some of the legal hurdles they may face. I also told her about Steve Kelly.

October 10, 1999

Rained last night, heavily overcast at 7am.

Youth thinks that it is immortal, and that is good because youth must dream and youth must dare.

A man who just wrote a book about Reagan was on WFCR and said, "I don't think Ronald Reagan ever had a close friend in his life." He wanted to save America from various problems and he often did. At Eamon's urging I have written a letter to the Valley Advocate about cynical journalism and have completed my millennium statement for the Modern Language Association. I inscribed a copy of my new book to send to Peter Westervelt via Colby Classics.

Out just after 10am, made copies, got the paper out of the trash can at Louis & Clark, where I put out the mail to Paini and Day. I left my last petition paper in the backdoor of the Powell's, along with some material related to the Cecil Group. Next I came through the Goodwill at the X, which has more junk books (lots of health titles) than they know what to do with. Stopped at a tag sale on the way home, but bought nothing. Mowed the lawn this afternoon and then came in to take a bath. My Lewis-Caulton sign was vandalized sometime today. I stapled it back together and then called and left word on Lewis-Caulton's recorder.

Dined on a Swanson Fish and Chips Dinner, baloney sandwiches and scrambled eggs in the morning. The mail brought an invitation from Emily Bader inviting me to the opening of the rare book exhibit Gutenberg to Gates: 500 Years of Books from Printing Press to Computers with author Charles Mann, Professor Johnathan Tryon and librarian Guy McLain. Babacas called, rang four times, but I ignored him. An effervescent male wrong number asked, "What do you think of the videos I picked up at the Big E?" I replied, "I haven't had a chance to look at them," and hung up.

Fred Whitney called and said that he didn't hear my speech because he doesn't watch the City Council meetings. I told him he can still see it because they always replay them several times. Whitney also told me that Brian Santaniello became a Republican because he wanted a job with Governor Weld. He didn't get one, but continued with the GOP because he thought he might get hired by Cellucci. Now he is switching back to a Democrat because he may be getting a job with the Secretary of State, a Democrat. So much for Brian Santaniello and the GOP.

Eamon called to remind me he wants to borrow the O'Reilly book. Eamon says his sisters sometimes help him with the housework, but he's a naturally tidy person. He then recalled that the Royal Meat Market at Winchester Square was run by the same Jew who ran the North End shop that sold bad fish. He then recalled how Charles K. Treiber wanted to put an auto and machinery museum in the Indian Motocycle Building. His wife works in the Registry of Deeds. Eamon suggested that I call Charlie Treiber at 846-4397 because "he knows a lot of history."

Eamon then talked about how from 1962-1968 he had a job as a salesman for medical companies. His territory was New Hampshire, Vermont and Western Mass. Eamon decided to leave the field in '68 because he was offered a job with the State Department of Education with a real nice pension. He said he was ready for a change, recalling how he woke up one morning in the Cadillac Motel in Vermont asking himself, "What am I doing here?"

Eamon says his nephew Gareth Sullivan, the son of the former Fire Chief, was an aide to Mayor Albano, but has now been made the Community Relations Director for the Fire Department, replacing Bernie Wells, a fireman who held the job for years. Eamon is glad his nephew got out of Albano's office, but thinks it's silly that he got a job for which he has no real background for.

October 11, 1999

Heavily overcast, 63 degrees at 7:45am.

You get nice things, you struggle to get them, you feel good to have them and use they sparingly so they will last, then you die and they end up with people who don't really appreciate them.

Columbus Day. According to the ABC Evening News the 6 billionth person will be born sometime tomorrow. They said the population hit one billion for the first time in 1800. Governor Davis of California has signed a needle exchange law. Local news voice Don Duquette on WFCR said e-coli bacteria was found in Belchertown. Kathy Esser works for Landmark Realtors in Monson.

The Springfield Marriott is selling sandwiches with the names of local attractions. One is called the Stage West (sliced ham and Swiss cheese) but Stage West has been replaced by City Stage. "The Symphony" is sliced roast beef with cheddar cheese and the "Museum of Fine Arts" is a grilled herb chicken breast sandwich on a croissant. Each costs $14.50 and come with a salad, fruit and a cookie or bag of chips.

Left the plants out last night but can't tonight. Workmen are continuing to put a new roof on the house on the corner of Catalpa. Inscribed my new book to Jordan Luttrell, wrapped it but haven't sent it. I used many layers of wrapping paper the same way he wraps up rare books for shipping. I also inscribed a book to Kevin Marmion for his "wonderful abiding sponsorship of Legal Poetry." I've been sorting papers and fishing out jewelry for Mother's urn. I found a note stating that we found an arrowhead in the garden at Wilbraham in 1950. I also found Father's bowling champ medal from 1933. I came upon an old Forbes & Wallace credit card with hippie flowers on it, as well as credit cards from Steiger's and Lechmere.

Mid-afternoon I drove out to Indian Orchard and everything was open. I stopped at Cat's Paw where I had a nice chat with Claudia and Vince. They thanked me for telling them how to register historic paintings. Then I dined at the Acres Burger King on a coupon, I was the only one in there at 4:15pm. At the Goodwill I ran into the Allards dropping off donations.

I called Fred Whitney and asked how he was doing gathering signatures and he said he only got three names. He told me he will turn them in at City Hall tomorrow and get a receipt. I also called Aunt Maria and found her more jovial than sometimes, she actually said, "I'm glad you called." Aunt Maria said she had a nice supper of beef and potatoes tonight. My aunt at one point asked if I still wanted the oak desk in the front room because Joe asked about it. So Joe is trying to pry the oak desk away from her now? I said we could talk about it when I come over around Thanksgiving, then I wished her a Happy Columbus Day and ended the call.

Eamon called and told me he put up a new message about putting a house of prostitution where Steiger's was. I listened to it later and wasn't thrilled about it, although Eamon claimed it got 50 calls in the first few hours and several comments left by anonymous callers. Eamon told me he spoke with Nader the Hatter, who has to be out of his apartment by November 5th. Nader still talks to his girlfriend in Rhode Island on the phone, but their relationship is "in the past." Now Nader says he wants a condo by the sea and a Latin woman. Dorothee Szuch is in Switzerland visiting her mother for a few weeks and her husband is in New York with his mother, who is ill. Eamon then talked about marriage, claiming that he once lived with a woman in Mexico for a few months but never married her or anyone else because his mother "had a very strong personality" and another woman could never have tolerated it.

October 12, 1999

Pleasant, 51 degrees at 8am.

Today is the day the 6 billionth person is presumed to be born. There were 3 billion people in 1960. 370,000 babies are born in the world everyday. Norwich University is being asked to return students it is training for the Indonesian military. A new Walgreen is going up at the corner of Parker and Boston Road. Woronoco is running a commercial saying, "At Woronoco Savings we remember what's important." Notice they don't actually say the customer is important. The cedar in the middle of the front lawn is a lovely yellow.

A very hectic day. I cut down the artichokes, raked up stray branches and backed the car out of the garage so I could get the lawnmower. The Ciantras were walking by and we had a nice chat. After the yardwork, I decided to drive down to the Breckwood Shops and put out the mail, but my car was dead! So I went in and called ALA, but got a recorded message that "no one is available." Not a very nice way to treat people! So I called the ALA number for Allen Street and got Gina, who took my membership number and address and said someone would be there within twenty minutes to an hour.

I had called at 9:40am and so I waited. The mailman came down the street at 10:05am. When they still hadn't come by 10:37am I called again and a young woman answered but I was silent and hung up. I pushed around the vacuum, leaving the garage and breezeway door open so I could see out and anybody could just walk right in. Nobody came. At 11:03am I called again and this time I got Janet, the receptionist. I told her my story and said I am leaving to walk over to Breckwood to do errands and I would call when I got back. She said, "I trust you have another vehicle," and I told her she was being presumptuous and hung up.

As I walked to the Breckwood Shops, I came upon Mr. Mancusco, who was out front raking leaves. He told me he had already raked up seven bags. Mancusco is now 85 and thinks President Clinton is a disgrace who will hurt Al Gore if he is the nominee. Mancusco is not opposed to a baseball stadium in Springfield, but thinks it should be located in Blunt Park. The problem, he says, is that Mayor Albano is trying to do too many things at one time. Once Mancusco wanted to take his wife for a ride on Picknelly's riverboat, but decided not to when he found out the price was $10 per person. He thinks the price is too high for families to take their children and believes Picknelly should charge no more than $3 per passenger. I told him I agreed with everything he said.

As I arrived at Breckwood, police car #66 was just coming out the exit by CopyCat. I made copies there, then put out the mail at Louis & Clark, where I also bought the Hartford Courant. Ex-Officer Brown was there and told me he has collected over 600 signatures for the stadium referendum. Brown told me he hates Albano "with all the intensity of my being" and we both chuckled. I crossed Breckwood to Dunkin Donuts and bought half a dozen donuts, then bought a half gallon of milk at Sunoco and walked home. As soon as I got back I called ALA and told them I was back. Soon a black man arrived in a tow truck from Five Star Towing and cheerfully jump started my car. I then drove out to Sears to get a new battery, where Mike agreed my five year guarantee was still good and I only had to pay $36.69 for the labor to have it installed.

The mail brought my Chevron certificate but it was incorrectly made out to John Wesley MILLS. I called their number and spoke with Mrs. Brown, telling them their mistake has cost me time and I expect to be compensated. She said they would send a letter with a postage paid envelope to return the incorrect certificate in. I lamented again having to waste my time and said whoever made the mistake shouldn't be working there, but added that it doesn't really matter because no matter who you hire these days nobody can get anything right.

Next I called Laurie Bongeorni at Landry-Lyons and she will come Friday about 11am to appraise the house. She said she grew up on Catalpa and believes she has seen me at Open Houses. She also told me her father was an excavation contractor. The law office of John Defoe in East Boston called looking for Atty. Jacqueline Miller so I told them they had the wrong number. I called Fleet Bank and asked to speak to Terri Haskins, but they said she was on vacation until next week. Babacas called but I didn't pick up.

At 6:00pm I left for the candidate forum at the John Boyle O'Reilly. Ex-rep Fred Whitney was there in a dark suit with a gold elephant stick pin he said he got from a friend he used to work with. Whitney said he got only three signatures because all the people he asked told him they had already signed. He showed me the receipt he got from Clerk Metzger when he turned them in. It was a good gathering with candidates having tables set up and a stage with speakers for speeches. Everyone was cordial to me, including Bill Foley, who told me he saw comments about my council speech on Masslive. Marshall Moriarty and his wife were there, and at one point I introduced them to Michaelann Bewsee. Mayor Albano was present but we didn't speak. Before the speeches started I concluded it had been a long day so I discreetly stepped out the door.

October 13, 1999

Lovely day, simply lovely.

The Springfield Library and Museums Association has elected four new trustees - Noel Leary of Longmeadow and Brian McCook, Elsie Smith and J. Michael Wallace, all of Springfield. On the evening news Peter Picknelly was praising Fran Gagnon for the museum display Picturesque Views of the Connecticut Valley. Judith D. Kelly is Manger of Special Events for the Springfield School Volunteers. The Plant Lady is a plant care service offered by Donna Centore in Enfield, Connecticut.

Went to Louis & Clark, where I ran into the woman who told me I remind her of Elton John. She said she no longer works at Pride and now works at Newsstand, where she gets better benefits and free magazines. From there I went to the Border Buster Expo on the Eastern States grounds, where there was a sign in front saying it costs $5 or a business card. I told them charging just $5 was bad strategy because it makes the event sound inconsequential. Russell's Sixty Minute Photo was giving free photos of yourself set to certain themes. I chose the Red Sox one, they wanted to know if I wanted them to add a cartoon cap but I declined. Rob Wallace, who took my picture, said they have been in business since 1980. I think it's a lovely photo of me:

Petluck, showing his age more than ever, was there and we chatted. I spoke of his wife and he corrected me that she is his "companion." Geoffrey Little of Tellitcom was there and promised to send me information on his development corporation. Ashley Shea of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission was there and I told her they need to work more closely with Connecticut. She promised to send me stuff about their latest projects. Northeast Utilities had a booth manned by Michael Levin, as did WestMass Area Development Corporation, manned by Bob Pyers. One booth served spicy meatballs, others gave out candy.

Not many people around when I first got there, but business picked up as it got closer to the free lunch, which consisted of soda pop, a tossed salad provided by The Marriott, cheese casserole, rice and half a chicken breast provided by a place in Enfield and strawberry shortcake for dessert. The Springfield Newspapers were not passing out free papers, just copies of their last business section supplement. I asked, "If you're a regular reader of the paper, why would you want a copy of what you've already read?" I received a silent stare in response.

Tonight I dined on a Hungry Man Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie. It's pretty good, but not as good as the Marie Callender pies. Terry Scott Nagle has not yet sent a thank you for the copy of my new book I sent him. I called Karen Powell and told her Whitney turned in his signatures. She said they have 80% of the signatures they need verified so far. Eamon called and I told him that the latest issue of BusinessWest makes the economic outlook for Western Mass look even worse than anyone thought.

October 15, 1999

Rainy overnight, sun out by 10am.

Cooked up some cauliflower and beets and ate the last donut with a can of fruit and a banana. In the late afternoon I drove out and made copies, then left off a bag of stuff with Mrs. Staniski. She told me a black man named James Smith patched her cracked driveway. I dropped off a bag of stuff at Whitney's backdoor, then to Eamon's, where I found him using his gas grill at the entrance to his garage. While I was there dropping off stuff his mailman delivered his copy of BusinessWest.

I headed downtown and parked on Salem, then went to the Museum of Fine Arts and viewed the new exhibit on photo pointilism carried to an imaginative extreme. Next to Westfield Bank where I opened a $1,500 CD with Rick Zabielski. At City Hall I paid the water bill, then peeked into the Election Office and saw two women working on the petitions. Leaving I encountered Judy Matt entering City Hall. She is always extremely polite. Then into the courthouse where Patrica returned my books and said the Judge enjoyed them and would enjoy more.

I walked to the Mill Street Fleet where Barbara Corgan was at her desk. She told me she has been working in banking since 1980. She showed me the paintings they have of South End scenes and a Jeff Kern panorama of the Springfield skyline over the Connecticut River. The Angela Davis poster is badly weathered but still visible on the metal back door of the store on the corner of Main and Bliss. I saw a helicopter hovering directly over the South End Armory building, perhaps someone taking pictures of downtown.

As I got back to Birchland, I found Lucius in his driveway. He returned my books with thanks and added, "You must have quite a library," then added, "You can tell a lot about a person based on what they have on their bookshelf." He and his wife are about to leave for Florida but will be back around Christmas. He says he used to have a lot of birds in his backyard, even eagles, before the neighborhood became so developed. His lot and and the one next door used to belong to the Boilard family and at one point there was a croquet court in the woods! The broker lady Laurie Bongiorni arrived at 11:30 to do an appraisal at 11:30 and left at 12:05pm. Her maiden name was Ely and as a kid she used to play in the Nichols lot. She said she would have a quote by the weekend.

My first Woronoco dividend came today, $1.06 on 25 shares. This morning someone from Wadsworth Press called looking for Storrowtown. Brenda Branchini called and I told her she could put up a sign on my lawn. Called Banner and got Stephanie in Customer Service, who connected me with Judy Corbin in Claims, who told me Mother's Monarch policy was an endowment which matured in 1988. Called Who's Who and got Julia in Customer Service who said they are "in the process of shipping as we speak."

On the news this morning, WFCR said the Helter Skelter Motorcycle Club was found to have riot gear stolen from the Connecticut State Prison and a prison employee is being charged. They also had a story on "food insecurity" in the suburbs, the new buzzword for hunger. On the TV evening news we saw Solicitor H.P. Carroll and the whole Law Department lined up before the camera to say the Powell's petition drive is unconstitutional because a referendum can not be held to overturn an eminent domain taking. I called Karen and she said she isn't worried about it and was told the Election Office is forging ahead with certifying signatures. 4,600 have been approved so far, a rate of about 70%. Karen told me she has photocopies of all the petition papers and the Election Office won't stop verifying signatures unless they get a court order. I also told her about Whitney and the trade show at the Expo.

October 16, 1999

There are so many interesting and exciting things to do that you can become depressed thinking of all you can't do for reasons of time or money, rather than rejoicing in how nice it is you could do what you did. For Queen Elizabeth, an orange was a novelty, we have lost the ability to see much of anything as novel because fantastic new possibilities are unfolding before us at such a rapid rate that we can hardly absorb it all. Last night I awoke from a dream where I was in the woods with a number of friends I can't identify, we were all naked and eating jelly beans and Mother was trying to climb a staircase that was there in the woods with us. It was in color, quite a Dadaist experience.

Was thinking about Fran L. Zipee, who was Director of Music in the Springfield schools after Richard C. Berg (Charlie Berg's father) left. She directed the Homer Street Band and Orchestra in which I played as a child. I have a picture of the Homer Street group on the stage in the basement where we went to practice. The little Wheeler twins were in the group and it was a pleasant period of my childhood. WFCRwas playing Straus's opera Arabella today, which was the name of Mary Ellen Waller's doll.

I wore my completely purple outfit for the first time today. As I drove out I dropped off three books and a catalog at the Cohn's. Then to Louis & Clark to make copies of stock certificates because CopyCat was closed. Cindy asked about the progress of the petition campaign. As I left, I held the door for an old man who said he recognized me from the Yorke Show and we talked about Dan. He said Yorke called Albano "a prick" on the radio and I agreed that wasn't right. He told me he always votes for the man, not the party.

Got the paper out of the trash can. Then out to Burger King, where I got a Whopper for 99 cents with a coupon. Lots of tag sales around, but their contents were a joke. At the Church in the Acres I had a good chat with the Koziel's. Mr. Koziel is a smart old man, I recall that one of his kids worked in computers at Monarch. I inquired about Ellen Balch and was told she's traveling. I spoke with Camille from Concord, New Hampshire, where she is a bookkeeper at Franklin Pierce Law School. She said she learned her trade at Springfield Technical Community College and she and her husband have lots of stock in Harley-Davidson and Budweiser, which I thought was a charming portfolio for a hip, working class couple. The sale itself was an absolute dud and I bought nothing.

Then over to the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company for their Open House. In the basement of their headquarter building by the jail we were served cider and coffee plus a nice spread of pastries. A mini-school bus was used to drive us out to the plant. An engineer of about 40 showed us around, he told me he got his degree from STCC. It is a clean, well maintained facility. The guy in the master control room said he has an Associate's degree from STCC. After the tour we were bused back to their headquarters and could have had more refreshments, but I left. As I did so I took a couple of pictures of the back of the jail and of the power plant. The MMWEC tour was the sort of thing Father would have enjoyed. Years ago, when the West Springfield generating plant opened, he went on a stockholder tour of it. I was a little kid and not involved.

Lynch was mowing his lawn with his red rider mower when I got back. The regular Saturday mailman arrived at 2pm on the button and brought Plough and the Ford certificate. I also got a thank you letter from President A.S. Caprio at WNEC, thanking me for the "material you sent me some months ago" and claiming, "I had not seen the May Valley Advocate interview with you." But because I was in the Advocate he couldn't take the risk of being surly to me because it might be dangerous. A polite and very limited thank you, but better than when we first met, where having been poisoned against me by others, he refused to let me be seated at their economic summit. Not an archival quality letter, but one I shall save anyway.

October 17, 1999

Lovely fall day.

Chopin died exactly 150 years ago today. NPR says that student loan default rates are 10% and the government is clamping down. Historically black colleges are where the default rate is the highest. Taylor Rental is offering millennial themed balloons and other items to "create your own Millennium party!" Dined today on bananas, donuts, bacon and eggs and a Swanson Meatloaf Dinner.

Peak color now, the leaves are coming down slowly and most are still in place in all their glory. I was up from 9pm to 2am and slept until 8am. Out at 9am to Food Mart for the specials. Lots of customers at Food Mart, which now has big signs with Five Town Mall in a pinwheel pentagon. Heading to the Boston Road Stop&Shop to redeem bottles, I noticed that next to the Walgreens going up on the corner of Boston Road and Parker is a small, empty lot being offered for sale by Atlantic Rental Properties. The new hardware store complex is going up fast. The bottle machine at Stop&Shop used to give you coins, but now you get a tape that you have to go inside to redeem.

I then crossed the street to see Fight Club at the Eastfield Cinemas. There wasn't much business as there were only ten of us in the extra large theater. It is a good film, Sy Becker gave it 3 stars. I think in some ways it conveys the leatherman philosophy. The fights are wonderful on film, in reality much less so, but what can we say? The gagging of the bigshot in the Men's Room by the waiters recalls the gangbanging of the cops in Larry Townsend's book. It is a good film with good ideas about the nature of man.

When I got home, I saw that Socrates Babacas had called while I was gone. I called Stop&Shop and spoke with the manager Dan Grogan. I told him that today my cashier (whom I didn't name but it was Hilda) was so preoccupied with talking with the cashier at the next register that her head was turned completely away from me. He apologized and said cashiers should give customers their undivided attention and next time I come I will get a can of Dole Tropical Fruit for free. Belltone Hearing Center in Wilbraham called. I read them the riot act, saying I've told them before that Mother is deceased! They said they won't call again.

Eamon called and I told him about Fight Club which he said sounded to him like a gay film. During Eamon's drinking days at the Stonehaven, he used to hang around with Pat Amatio, Paul Kranic, Dr. Johnson the eye doctor, Judge Landers, Eddie Hurley and Bill Conlin. According to Eamon, a Chicopee attorney used to split fees with Judge Landers on drunken driving cases, a thousand apiece. They hired Maurice Kirby as their accountant because they figured he was as crooked as they were.

Eamon then recalled how Pat Amatio was married to a secretary at Mass Mutual and they lived in the penthouse of a Mulberry Street home. He had an English bulldog and owned some cigarette machines and a tobacco shop in the Whitney building that had a red carpet in front of it. One day Eamon asked Pat Amatio how he was and he said not so good. He lifted his shirt to show that he was black and blue all over. "The boys got me," he said, referring to the mafia, who were angry because his cigarette machines were infringing on their territory. He thought that because he was close to Judge Landers he was safe, but they got him anyway. Later that day he went to the hospital and two days later he died. Nobody did anything about it, with Eamon guessing this happened "about 1970."

October 18, 1999

Rained last night, overcast this morning.

These glasses frames are the worst I've ever had, the lenses keep falling out and the left nostril rest has fallen off a second time. The new Central High handbook is out. Last spring I corrected the English and style and the newer version appears much improved. At the time Assistant Principal S. sent me a nice letter. J. Bernard Miller was Treasurer of Hearst Consolidated Publications in 1939. Father had a few shares of stock in the company, it was one of his earliest investments.

On the radio they were playing the Brandenberg Concerto #2 in F with Wynton Marsalas playing the trumpet, today is his birthday. The mail brought a disc from Terry Nagle, who is a singer and trombonist with a very snazzy group The Gypsy Wranglers. The disc is called Step It Up And Go. Unfortunately, I don't have a disc player, but someday I'll get one, until then the disc is set aside lovingly with several others I have.

I drove out at 2:50pm and reflected on how much gas the car uses just driving between the various shopping centers. It's five miles to Food Mart, then from there to Stop&Shop, it's all rather silly. At Bank of Western Mass I got a $400 money order for Hein. Mrs. Maggi waited on me. She likes her new house and doesn't mind that it doesn't have a fireplace because she wouldn't use it anyway except around Christmas. I mailed the payment to Hein at the mailboxes in front of Filene's at Eastfield Mall. In Filene's the Christmas decorations were up already! There were only a few cars parked in front of the cinema.

I called Hungry Hill Magazine which rang five times before the voicemail came on and a young woman's voice said, "We are not available right now." I left a brief message identifying myself and requesting a reply to my letter of February 27, 1999. I called the Union-News about the Copy Editor job they've been advertising for weeks and asked for Maria Grady. I got her secretary Kathy, who connected me with Judy in personnel. She wouldn't discuss the salary range and although the job is "very important" it is not publicly recognized on the masthead or anywhere else. She suggested I send a resume and I told her that since they are uncooperative with those making inquiries they shall get no resume from me. Didn't say who I was.

Karen Powell called and said they have all the valid signatures they need and Deezer Sullivan will be on the Dan Yorke Show tomorrow morning. Socrates Babacas called wanting the Powell's phone number so that he can offer them legal advice, I said I don't have it. Fred Whitney called to tell me that he was down at City Hall today and they were "furiously working on the petitions." At suppertime I called Tom Devine and he was friendly. He said comments praising me have appeared on the Masslive Springfield Forum, but were taken down by their censors. I told him about my research into Steve Kelly.

Michaelann Bewsee called asking questions about legal matters which I didn't know much about really. She thanked me for introducing her to Marshall Moriarty and said she enjoyed the event. I called Stacia Filipiak and she picked up as soon as I said my name on her voicemail (that's happened before) and said she was very grateful for my alerting her to Eamon's phone editorials. She also made me promise to go hear her at the 16 Acres Civic Association on November 16th.

Eamon called and we talked about the memorial at St. Michael's where Mayor Albano was pictured in the paper sitting with Donald J. Dowd. Eamon said Dowd was a bartender who supported Kennedy for President and became friends with Joe Napolitan and Eddie O'Brien. He got appointed to the New England Regional Commission but when asked for his qualifications he replied, "I like people and I'm a former bartender." Eamon says Dowd was "nothing but a political hack who carried water for the Kennedy's for 40 years."

October 19, 1999

In the 20's last night, pleasant 44 degrees on the breezeway this morning. The solution to capital punishment or not capital punishment is to let the prisoner decide. Jennings on ABC News said Venice is sinking into the sea at a rate of ten inches a century. Why not say one inch per decade?

I turned on the furnace today and am keeping the temperature at 70 degrees. Also wrote to Henry J. Hyde in Ohio and Gary Johnson in New Mexico. The Tuesday Morning Music Club was playing at Westfield State today, but I did not go. Instead I cooked a cherry pie. This evening I cooked a pork chop and microwaved a potato with two onions. I am probably eating too well, but it's difficult to cook a dab of food and just eat that. Drove over to East Springfield to get a Whopper Jr. at Burger King. It was nicer, fuller and fresher than they serve in 16 Acres.

When I got home I saw that my Lewis-Caulton sign had been blown down by the wind. I retrieved it for later repair. Following the instructions on the last page of the grey booklet A Guide to Estate Taxes 1997, I called and was told that I needed to verify that my house is not worth over $650,000. She was surprised that the literature being passed out in Springfield is out of date, she said there is more recent literature available. Bernard Robbins called saying he wanted reservations for 16 for Thanksgiving dinner. I told him I sell books, not dinners. A woman from Dr. Kodali's office also called looking for Storrowtown.

Eamon called and says the new theater going up at Liberty Plaza will have 16 screens and he wonders where all the viewers will come from. Eamon told me that he was on The Tom Colton Show three times. He also sang Danny Boy on TV22 the day the station went on the air in 1953. He then recalled how the Navy had good food, with steak and eggs a couple times a week. Eamon went to the VA today for his long time problems due to a concussion he suffered in the service. He says he has pain in his head two or three times a week. It is aggravated by lots of light so he sometimes has to wear sun glasses even inside. Eamon then told me about a Catherine Fitzgerald who specialized in special education who worked downtown at the little statehouse. She had a very masculine woman come in three times a week to do typing. Eamon feels sure she was a lesbian because "they were everywhere" in the State Education Department.

October 21, 1999

Very lightly raining and 49 degrees at 7:25am when the trash truck came by.

Big news is the Boston Red Sox lose to the Yankees and thus the pennant, which they have only won once. Who wants to root for losers? Al Gore delivered a speech on childcare at a Washington D.C. Methodist church today. Mayor Albano was on Channel 40 announcing that 400 free tickets to a basketball game will be given away to children. That's how they inflate the turnout. WFCR says someone from New Haven is interested in bringing baseball to Springfield. Will they ever shut up about baseball? The Sheraton of Springfield is offering a Bright Nights package for $69 with "one night's deluxe accommodation." Al Dente Ristorante is on Elm Street in West Springfield.

Bleak and wet all day. The back Birchland maple is yellow, other trees haven't really started to change color. I brought the plants out for the day, brought them in for the night. Did two loads of wash first thing this morning. I fixed my Caulton sign and put it back out. Cooked up some broccoli and had Stouffer's Lasagna, plus a can of Progresso Vegetable Soup. Their soup is on sale for 99 cents, whereas Campbell's is on sale 2 for $3. Obviously Campbell's is clueless.

Went to the Louis & Clark and discovered that my letter to the editor was printed in the Valley Advocate, which is nice. Got the paper out of their trash can and ran into former librarian Irene Fariss, who said she has written a long poem about the pilgrims, but can't get anyone to publish it. I told her about my new book. Then bought gas at the corner of Alden for $1.26 per gallon, first time I have paid $16 for a fill-up in a long time. Bought radishes at my beloved Angelo's, then out to Walmart to complain about my glasses. I was waited on by a friendly, young black woman who convinced me to upgrade my frames from the $36 model to the $68 frames They are very nice now. Then to Big Y, where I bought some frozen pies on special.

Spent part of the afternoon reading about the science of killing. Bay State Plumbing and Heating called looking for Storrowtown. At 5:40pm Laurie Bongiorni called from Landry-Lyons, saying she would be by with my house appraisal in five minutes. I waited in the driveway as it was only slightly raining. She arrived at 5:55pm and handed me a very professional looking binder.

Eamon called and told me that Karen Powell is getting legal advice from Kaufman, Rep. Holland's brother. Cohen of Northgate has a Boston attorney who is going to file something as soon as Angelo Puppolo makes his complaint. Kateri Walsh is running a sticker campaign for City Council, but Eamon says he would never vote for her. Mo Turner from the Advocate is coming to interview the Powell's tomorrow. He praised my letter in the Advocate, which they printed exactly as I wrote it:

I am proud of the Advocate for printing Paul Fitch's hot-headed letter complaining about cynical journalism. The true cynical journalists are the newspaper publishers, editors and reporters who write up booster drivel for a readership they hope will be too dumb to see what's going on - or at least too inarticulate to reply.

Also cynical are the career politicians whose true visions are of bigger jobs and fancier pensions as they plan, program and promise wonders, but deliver only unsubstantial, evanescent fun and games. Accessories to cynicism are the political hacks and lackeys with fat salaries who, under the direction of their political handlers, are endlessly engaged in much ado about nothing at taxpayer's expense.

The Dark Ages are long past and the Light Age has dawned with the electronic media. Lots of people who can't read Greek or do differential equations and who have trouble with grammar, spelling and simple math are nonetheless living in a sort of enhanced illiteracy: They do know what is going on and they won't be fooled.

J. Wesley Miller, Esq.

October 23, 1999

Lovely, cool fall day.

Given a choice between spraying bullets and spraying paint in a body shop, a lot of guys would rather be spraying bullets. That's just how it is. F. Robert Naka is Chair of the Graduate School Fund of Harvard University. Joseph Appleton is President of HB Solutions.

Cold weather this weekend will bring the leaves down and I will have a lot of raking to do next week. I drove out first thing and visited AIC and Springfield College. After parking at AIC, I saw Reggie Wilson at 16 Massachusetts Avenue scraping his front porch for painting. I told the AIC librarian about registering paintings and he was very cordial. He seemed to know me but I don't recall ever meeting him. I looked at newspapers and got Devine's newsletter off the freebie rack.

Then down to Springfield College where I noticed the painting of Ruth Evans standing in a light green dress was gone. I asked Bob Kudly, whom I've had dealings with before, and he said it was taken down for cleaning. I walked around Springfield College a bit and then drove down to the Quadrangle, where I looked into the lunchroom at the Museum of Fine Arts which had just ten customers. A lot of children were playing on the green. Then into the library where I nodded to Jennie White, who was taking a book truck into the stacks.

For supper I cooked a potato and a couple of onions and finished the cherry pie. The mail brought a letter from Mrs. Guidi who says the Beech tree at 37 Crest was hit by lightning. The bank statement also came, Paini hasn't cashed his check. I called TV40 this morning and told the woman who answered that Beth Carroll made a grammar error last night. She offered to connect me to the News Director but I hung up. Eamon called and said he thinks the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is probably honest, but he's not sure. I told him about Picknelly's rare book.

I believe you should stimulate your body in as many ways and places as possible. The big question with Buddha is, what's going on with his crotch? Wearing the bondage helmet with a blindfold produces an experience like transcendental meditation. Monica Lewinsky is a role model. Her great achievement is erecting a tombstone over puritanical sexual mores. She has made cocksucking normal, adult behavior. The scandal is that Clinton lied and exploited an intern. He was also faithless to his probably puritanical, Fran Gagnon like wife. But Monica has made cocksucking acceptable, respectable and even expected conduct between loving and consenting parties.

October 25, 1999

Elizabeth Dole is out of the presidential race. I don't like her or her husband because they are both proud and condescending. Why should she be the nominee just because he was? Sy Becker awared his worst rating, the seldom seen Golden Goose Egg, to the film Bats, which he called a bad copy of Hitchcock's The Birds. Fleet Bank has a new ad saying, "You know the things you were putting off until tomorrow? It's tomorrow." The Springfield Symphony box office is at 75 Market Place in Springfield.

I drove out around 9am and got today's paper out of the trashcan at the Breckwood Shops. Then I drove downtown to attend the Springfield Library booksale and parked in the new lot by Blake House. Last night's rain clouds had cleared so they had the sale outdoors under a tent. Jim Contavitch has been a faithful booksale worker for years and as always did most of the work. A couple of library workers were rolling out the boxes of books and Jim would carry them into the tent where other workers laid them out on the tables.

I spent $46 on mostly non-fiction books. I flattered Contavitch on the job he was doing and he made sure I saw two books he thought I might like, one on the Crusades and another on the role of the Irish in the American Revolution. I had told Eamon that he should come because there would be naval books there, but he didn't come so I grabbed a few for him. Contavitch said the military books were not from the library's collection, but had been donated from the estate of a collector. I told Jim I would carry my own books to the car because the exercise is good for me.

I swung by the Basketball Hall of Fame and there were only eight cars in their parking lot. Then I drove up to STCC to check out the elder continuing education fair, but there was nothing of interest. I crossed the street to the Burger King and got a 99 cent Whopper. When I came home there was a little black car parked at the Cohn's with Mrs. Cohn standing outside. I paused to speak to her, and she told me the girls are visiting but are leaving first thing tomorrow. She asked if I saw Zachary at the book sale but I told her he wasn't there. The mail brought the Allstate certificate and the Randolph Herald. I also got a letter from Harvard thanking me for nominating Silber. For supper today I had brussel sprouts and ministrone soup.

Eamon called and asked me for the address of the Northgate lawyer and I gave it to him. He told me to call Karen for the latest updates. Eamon then recalled that his doctors during his time at Bethesda were Doctors Druckmiller and Elroy Kurth. I read him the fundraising letters I received from Mayor Albano and City Councilor Bud Williams. Among those supporting Wiliams listed on the invitation were Senate Majority Leader Linda J. Melconian, Albano, State Reps. Ben Swan and Cheryl Rivera and School Committee member Marjorie Hurst. The Williams fundraiser will be held Oct. 29th at the The Waterfront Club on Hickory Street and William's campaign treasurer is Valarie Little of Fenwick Street. Eamon said that Bud once "got in a jam" over drugs and that Ray Jordan had to convince Matty Ryan to get him out of it.

Eamon then told me about the time he was at the Chestnut Hill restaurant back in his drinking days, when two drunks started roughing up the old guy who was minding the place. Eamon jumped in and helped fight the ruffians off, but got his thumb bent in an abnormal way. Dr. George Sotirion treated it unsuccessfully until Dr. Goldberg on Maple Street finally straightened it out. Eamon says he used to go the Vanilla Tree with Dr. Carl Cirioli because they liked to fool around with the black girls there.

October 26, 1999

45 degrees at 8:15am, very windy today.

It's a race to see how much I can accomplish before I die. Last night on ABC they talked about the decline in gym classes in high schools. I feel gym should indeed be part of the school curriculum, but continue to feel that sports are over-emphasized.

Went to the dentist today. Dr. Torscha took an x-ray and said he could put in an implant for $1285 or simply remove it. I chose removal. I like Torscha, but one of his two nurses held her hand on my throat throughout the extraction. The other nurse took my blood pressure and pronounced it "excellent." I got one stitch but now the adjacent tooth no longer occludes as it should. I was charged $185. From there I went to the Graduate School Fair at WNEC in the former Rivers Gym. They had more schools participating than formerly I think, but I was in and out.

Victor J. Morone called looking for Storrowtown. Socrates Babacas called and I invited him to attend the Simon for Mayor rally at Karen's and he seemed pleased to hear of it. Eamon called and said his telephone editorial got 42 calls today. He also called Madison to inquire about my ephemera collection, but got the runaround. He was referred to Dick Newman, then to Michael Stevens and finally to a Harry Miller, but got no information.

Nader the Hatter called about 5:30pm and wanted to come right over. He arrived at 5:50pm in a black 1981 Jeep Cherokee with 250,000 miles on it that belongs to Dorothee Szuch. He said he has to get out of his apartment by November 1st and is storing a lot of his stuff out in Indian Orchard. His sister Kathy and her husband Jerry Larose are moving to 16 Telbar Street off Parker. He brought me two books and I gave him a bottle of sherry. Nader declined pie and ice cream and left at 6:10pm. He will be leaving for Florida with his dad very soon. I shall miss him, he has been a good friend.


November 1999

November 1, 1999

Lovely day.

Halloween passed without incident around here. I put out my Lewis-Caulton sign today, did the dishes and read some of the material that has piled up on my kitchen table, a mountain of it. Then I called Tom Devine, who had asked me for copies of the pictures I took at the Simon for Mayor rally and told him I would drop them off before the end of the day and pick up the S&M books I lent him. He said he found the S&M volumes "disgusting" but agreed that Rich's book on the Marines is good. I then called Karen Powell and told her I will give them pictures of the rally.

So out to the Breckwood Shops and got the paper out of the trash, which included the four section 175th Anniversary insert. Then to Walmart at 8:45am, but was told their photo department doesn't open until 9am. I complained to Marta, a Latino at Customer Service, that I was given the wrong information as to when their photo department opened. She told me a dollar would be deducted from my photo bill for their error. I returned at nine and got my prints, which are just fine. I decided I would give the Powells 13 pictures, Robinson 5, Babacas 1, Branchini 2 and Devine 8. While at Walmart I ran into Donald C. Myers of Forest Park Antiques, who complemented me on my recent speech. I also bought a can of Spam for $1.78.

From there I went to the McDonald's on Boston Road and had a bacon and egg bagel with a coupon. Next I left a picture with Mrs. Babacas, then took the Powells their pictures, which I left with Karen, before leaving some housewares at the Goodwill. I left Devine's pictures on the back porch, where he had left my books on the table. He also left me a sample Kid's Voting ballot with pictures of the candidates on it. A black man next door was blowing leaves out of his hedge onto the Devine's driveway. Nobody appeared to be home at the Devine's at the time.

Called Peter Kessler and left a message. On his answering machine he has a sombre, snotty, businesslike recording. Hurwitz, very friendly, called from 787-6626 and said it took him a while to read my memos and thanked me for praising the downtown Visitor's Center, which will remain open even after the new one is finished. I called Devine and he said he got the pictures and will send me a print-out of how they look on his website.

The Citizen Action Network (CANE) has announced their endorsements, which include of course Simon the dog for Mayor, plus Bill Foley and Tim Ryan for City Council because "they have stood up against big money for the people of Springfield." They also endorsed non-incumbents Scott Santaniello, Carol Lewis-Caulton, Brenda Branchini and John Ryan, whom they said "will not be swayed by the powers that be." They also suggest voting for Tim Rooke and Angelo Puppolo as people "we have been able to work with in the past." They stressed that they do not support Brian Santaniello or Bud Williams because "they have shown total disregard for what the people say."

Here is Eamon's current phone tape: "Tuesday the voters of Springfield should vote to take back their city from the monopoly rag Union-Snooze, the arrogant, dishonest Albano Gang and the rubber stamp City Council and School Committee, including all the career hacks behind the baseball stadium. Don't forget to write in Simon the dog, but do not write in Albano's candidate Kateri Bennett Walsh, who is only running in an attempt to secure gainful employment."

November 2, 1999

Gas is $1.25 at Pride in the Acres. Election Day.

I'm reading George Ryley Scott's History of Corporeal Punishment. It makes it very clear that Catholics have used flagellation for sexual arousal for hundreds of years. The scheduled presentation by poet Maya Angelou at Symphony Hall has been cancelled due to the death of her brother Bailey J. Johnson. Nancy Zare of the Springfield College Holocaust Committee is seeking new members.

Up at 5:30am. I arrived at the Rebecca Johnson School at 6:25am and M. Anzalotti of Parker Street and Officer Joe Carelock (badge #85) of Surrey Road were already there. My precinct 4-A has 1,130 registered voters. Precinct 4-B also votes at Johnson. The warden in 4-B was Joseph Louis Jones of Pearl Street, the brother of Morris Jones. Joe believes the city is purposely trying to drive blacks and Latinos out of downtown, which he says is racist in nature and must be resisted. The day was eventful in many was and an unusually large number of issues came up. For instance, Kateri Walsh was running a sticker campaign and people were leaving the paper the stickers peel off of behind and I had to go around picking them up occasionally.

There were coffee and donuts when I arrived, but that is all the food we were offered all day. My aide Gloria Harris is wonderful and does most of the work, but doesn't like to be crossed in any way. Martha Edwards of Manilla Avenue is friendly, quiet and a good helper. Nan Arnold of Roosevelt Avenue was somewhat slow, but able to help. She can read, but may not know the letters in the alphabet because when someone gave her a street she had to go through all the pages to find it.

Thelma Williamson of McKnight is absolutely wonderful, the ideal worker. Thelma has a smile cemented on the smooth skin of her round face and the touch of white in her hair seems premature. Thelma is a remarkable person in addition to her nice personality. She has a degree in criminal justice from AIC and worked as a prison guard in Somers. She started her masters but never finished. Her son also has a degree in criminal justice from AIC and her husband drives an automated trash truck for the City of Springfield. He started as a lowly trash picker-upper and then graduated to truck driver. Officer Joe brought about ten magazines to read and as always he was helpful in a million ways.

There is always running around to be done for one thing or another. On my lunch break I went directly to Glickman and voted as #60. In the parking lot I saw a bumper sticker reading, "Bad Cop - No Donut!" I then went to the Five Town Mall and dined on a sub before going into Spag's, which has a warehouse type arrangement and some incredible bargains. They have a book section with tables and chairs but not many books. They did have the newspaper history book for sale, which has lots of credits in the front including Gormally, but no mention of F. Gagnon.

When I got back Deezer Sullivan came around and ordered that no signs were permitted outside the polling place unless someone was with them - no signs just stuck in the ground and abandoned. Later Anzalotti said he had never heard of such a policy and he has been working the polls for 55 years. Armando Dimauro first got him the job and he has always been grateful to him for that. Anzalotti also works part time bagging for Big Y because he needs the exercise. He informed me that Walgreens will be moving to Boston Road and the Acres Big Y will take over its space but it will still not be big enough to be called a World Class Market.

Today was also Kid's Voting Day, for which Tom Devine gave me a sample ballot, and their table was set up between the two precincts. At one point Durham Caldwell, wearing a Kid's Voting t-shirt, was supervising. A skinny, female photographer from the Union-News came along with Peter Goonan and wanted to speak to the warden. I informed him that I am a critic of his paper, but would tell him whatever he wanted to know. He asked about the turnout and I told him it was about average, although turnout in a minority neighborhood like this is often unfortunately low.

One of the special pleasures of working the polls is getting to see old friends. Darnell Williams came by and gave me an NAACP flyer. I hadn't seen him since we worked together on keeping Alden Street open to neighborhood traffic. I saw Michaelann Bewsee holding a sign for Carol Lewis-Caulton. Ed Lonergan came by to vote and said to me that Election Day is the only time all year that I do something remotely like an honest day's work. Ray Jordan came by and shook everybody's hand but paid little attention to me, so I reminded him that I am a fellow Harvard alumni. He then jovially came up and squeezed my hand. Candice Lopes also came by to vote. Victor and Fran Gagnon of Worthington Street voted in the early evening, as well as Ann Richmond of 156 Buckingham and Ted Crossett.

Tom Devine's friend Jordan Williams also voted, I told him I would be giving Tom some of my pictures from the Simon rally. The Rev. J.P. Morgan voted just after the Gagnons, followed by former 16 Acres Librarian Dorothy J. Pelte. She told me she has been retired for seven years and was recently released from the hospital. Brenda Branchini came by with her clean cut teenager. Rosilyn Hodges, a black business student at AIC, expressed opinions about downtown similar to Eamon's, so I gave her his number. She said downtown has gone "nowhere but downhill" since Forbes & Wallace left. Marjorie Hurst was around and I told her about Eamon and his research into false attendance figures. She listened, but she is a known supporter of Negroni. Her ears perked up when I told her Eamon has copies of all the articles written by the New York Times about Negroni.

Young Ben Swan Jr. voted and I told him I was glad to meet him. I also had a good chat with Frank Buntin about what happened to the Mason Square Development Corporation. He said it became too political and lost its funding. Buntin complained that Mary Hurley kept trying to tell him what to do and he wouldn't go along with her advice. Buntin claimed his own salary was paid with private funds and that David Starr used to donate $10,000 per year but stopped because he felt they weren't accomplishing anything. Fred Whitney finally appeared when it was time to empty the ballot box and when we did so we found a 1998 ballot that had stuck to the top of the ballot box so we gave it to Officer Joe to give to Deezer Sullivan. We had to ask three voters to show ID's, William J. Pitty of Florida Street, Gilberto Padillo and Mariane Baez, both of Armory Street.

It had been predicted that there would be a light turnout but in my precinct it was about normal. The results of my precinct were for Mayor, 147 votes for Albano and 19 write-in votes for Simon the Dog. For School Committee McCollum got 154, Jose Tosado 121. Tom Ashe 104. For Council, Lewis-Caulton 158, Bud Williams 152, Bill Foley got 122, Brian Santaniello 109, Dom Sarno 99, Puppolo 97, Dan Kelly, 83, B. Garde 82, Tim Ryan 82, Scott Santaniello 80, T. Rooke 78, Brenda Branchini 64 (I'm so sorry she lost), John Ryan 58. When I arrived home I found that Bob Robinson had left a packet of photos but no note.

November 3, 1999

Sunny, nice day.

The Hartford Go Local Biz Expo will be held at the Hartford Civic Center on March 16, 2000. Today's paper has a picture taken yesterday by David Molnar of Karen Powell and "Simon the canine candidate" standing outside Marcus Kiley Middle School holding a sign with the names of the candidates endorsed by CANE. Of course, talking about the Simon candidacy and CANE's activism at this late date does the Powells no good.

I have brought in the plants for the winter and placed them in locations where they can get some sun. Sent out the mail at Louis & Clark, which included pictures for Robinson and a thank you note to The Hatter. Then I drove downtown and parked on Salem. First I stuck some pictures from the Simon rally in Brenda Branchini's mail slot. Then I delivered a note to Mark Russell Smith, saying he doesn't look like a real hippie. I left a copy of my book Coke in Verse in an orange bag with Berman's secretary. I also left something for Richard Garvey with the receptionist at the Springfield Newspapers.

Pieces are falling off the cheap wooden front they put on the Fuller Block in the '80's. I complained at the time that it wouldn't last and now it is deteriorating and the Masonic cornerstone in Freedman's old block is pretty much gone. Came through City Hall and went to the Election Office to tell the girls about my Election Day experiences and my recommendations for improvement. They promised to inform Commissioner Sullivan. Finally, at the Visitor's Center I had a friendly chat with the girl about the advantages of putting up posters with a staple gun. On the way home, I stopped at Burger King on State, but the line was so long I didn't stay. On the corner by the Motocycle Building, a city truck #3791 ran a red light.

I called Fred Whitney and told him all about Election Day at Precinct 4-A. He was friendly and appreciative and said he was grateful "to be able to get someone of your caliber." Yet he still hasn't written the recommendation I asked him for. Whitney also says he is campaigning to have the pay for precinct wardens raised to $12 per hour. According to him, at one time there was an age limit of 70 for working the polls, but it was shot down as age discrimination. Whitney also said he is furious that Scott Santaniello, whom the Republicans raised over $1,000 for, has announced following his Council defeat that he is switching to become a Democrat.

November 4, 1999

45 degrees at 7am this morning.

They are putting a new sign in front of Eastfield Mall, raspberry and pink with bright blue neon. It looks nice. The Monarch Credit Union merged with the Telephone Worker's Union in May of 1987.

The South Church tag sale was largely a dud, but I had good conversations with old and new friends while in line. Melinda McIntosh was first in line and I was fifth. Melinda buys mostly clothing, she said she took a vacation day to come to this sale. Melinda told me that a group of Russian ladies are being very greedy at sales recently. They walk up to the clothing rack and put their arms around everything and say "Mine!" Sometimes at an outdoor tag sale they will arrive three or four to a car and while one distracts you with questions or haggling, the others rob you blind.

Dan Myers of Forest Park Antiques came but didn't hang around long. Jim Serrafinis is my new bookseller acquaintance. He looks Jewish or Italian and has long hair in a pigtail. He was wearing the latest style youth wear and always wears shorts with neat socks above sporty boots. I spotted him reading a modern fiction catalog so I went over and said hi. He knew all about Oak Knoll (which to my shame I didn't until recently) and he sells books over the internet. Jim lives five minutes from South Church which puts him in Precinct 4-A. I got a few books but nothing exciting. I exchanged pleasantries with the elderly lady running the book section but I failed to tell her that Mother died, I should have. She delicately made it clear to me that she knew I was gay and didn't approve. Such people only inspire me to be even more extreme.

From the tag sale I went to the Notman service at Trinity. Donald Ogilvie Notman, formerly of Skyridge Lane in Springfield, died at a local nursing home at age 91. He was an underwriter at Monarch Life Insurance for 45 years and a member of Trinity Methodist Church in Springfield. He was also a past President of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Springfield Country Club. I signed the guest book and noticed fourteen people present and not many cars in the parking lot. I saw no one I recognized from Monarch nor anything Masonic.

I was quickly in and out, then headed up to Chicopee for the Commerce 99 event. Charles River Hospital West has a big renting/leasing sign in front from McDonough Real Estate Services. This year the business fair was the best it has ever been, a good show. A couple of people there remembered me from my appearance last year in my orange suit and asked why I was conservatively attired in black leather, so I had to explain that I had been to a funeral. I noted the absence of the Westover Development people. Sally Fuller and I exchanged greetings. The Springfield Newspapers were giving away 175th Anniversary candy bars. The person at the City Stage booth told me they have sold 3,000 season tickets this year.

From there, I went to my dentist Dr. Frontera, and read magazines while I waited. The dentist checked me out and declared my teeth okay. On the way home I stopped at Food Mart for some of their grocery specials. When I got home the phone was ringing and when I picked up it was a woman who asked, "Is this Paul?" When I told her she had the wrong number she hung up in my ear! I had so many snacks at the business fair that all I had for supper was a can of soup and a sandwich. TV22 had a feature this evening about former Valley Advocate writer Kitty Axelson-Berry, who now helps people to record their personal history.

Eamon called and complained that although the paper endorsed the write in candidacy of Kateri Walsh, they never printed how many write-in votes she got. I told him I heard on TV she got around 3,000 votes. Eamon alerted me that his friend James K. Tillotson has his picture in today's paper. Tillotson's brother John was the ad manager for the Springfield Newspapers for over 20 years, but was shipped off to their Pittsfield office where he had a stroke and died.

Jim Tillotson told Eamon that when he taught in the Springfield school system he worked briefly under Dr. Negroni and considered him to be "full of shit." Negroni was only his boss for one year, but Tillotson told him point blank that he was "interested in teaching the kids something, not protecting their self-esteem." He said Dr. Negroni replied, "So you're not going to be a team player?" Tillotson was Assistant Principal at Kennedy under Willard Wright when he retired.

November 5, 1999

Today is the 20th Anniversary of The Morning Edition program on National Public Radio. I'm reading Aramco and It's World (1981). A lavish book that was discarded by the Winchester Square Library, it is the best possible general book on Arabia (lots of maps) and should not have been junked. A good starting place to get to know the Mideast.

WFCR says State Auditor Joe DeNucci is complaining that too many defendants who can afford a lawyer are passing the costs on to the taxpayers and wants to cut back by insisting on better income verification. The news on TV22 had a story about a little boy like I was, Bret Couture, with glasses and a thin frame, who is being bullied as a sissy. The parents complained and Negroni responded personally and instituted a "Gentle Warrior" program that teaches kids how to fight back.

Bob Robinson is one of the people I am having difficulty documenting. The mail brought from Household Finances a misdelivered letter for Brian R. Woodward. Tom Devine sent me a print-out of his web page coverage of the Simon for Mayor rally. He used a number of my pictures, including the one of himself with Bob Powell, and had a delightfully clever write-up:

Simon Powell, the canine companion of activists Bob and Karen Powell, agreed to work like a dog in order to defeat Springfield Mayor Michael Albano, who was otherwise running unopposed. I personally attended the Simon for Mayor rally as the informal master of ceremonies, for which I arrived elegantly attired in a suit and tie usually reserved for Halloween, as we all stood in line and proudly shook the paw of the mayoral contender.

I also spoke in Simon's behalf as he barked out his campaign promises of a return to good government, an end to corruption, the liberation of the county dog pound, repealing the leash law and imposing a tax on cats. Afterwards, we all enjoyed a dog's lunch until the rally had to disperse amidst never substantiated rumors that the candidate had run off with a bitch in heat named Monica.

Amazingly Mayor Albano did respond to our rally, declaring the next morning on Bax and O'Brien that if dogs could vote they would support him over Simon in gratitude to Albano for the planned new Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Shelter.

Despite Simon's dogged campaigning, many voters felt that a canine mayor was redundant, Springfield having already gone to the dogs years ago. Although every dog has it's day, Election Day was not to be Simon's as the dog eat dog tactics of the Albano camp successfully smeared Simon as a real son of a bitch. Yet even in defeat, Simon the Mayoral Pooch was still able to garner over 600 write-in votes.

Did a load of laundry today. Went to Burger King with a coupon, earlier I perused the Valley Advocate at Louis & Clark. There appeared to be so little of interest in it this week that I didn't even take one. The news account of the hearings on the petitions showed Russ Denver saying he is "waiting with baited breath" for the decision of the court. Eamon called and said the paper is calling the Commerce 99 trade fair a big success. He also spoke with Karen Powell who told him she's happy their petitions are being accepted.

I received a speechless Unknown call at 11:36pm.

November 6, 1999

Lovely day, 52 degrees on the breezeway at 6:50am.

Australian politicians are telling President Clinton that he should stay out of their politics. WFCR is having another fund drive and also listed their fiction contest winners, but I heard no winner mentioned in the category of fantasy.

Worked on this diary this morning, then drove out about 9:30am to the library book sale at Forest Park. They have a large basement room that was laid out for the sale. Some of the books were definitely ones they'd recycled from previous sales. I saw none of the big shots from Friends of the Library. I did see Ed Lonergan, who told me they had to have a sale because "the stacks are sagging" under the weight of all their books. He said they donated some art books to Western New England College. I told Ed that I saw that that his dad had died and expressed condolences, for which he thanked me very much. Durham Caldwell was at the sale and has been a lot more polite to me since I told him I bought his book. He now calls me Wesley.

Jon Contavitch was once again doing all the lifting, at the end he carried my books up the steps and out to the curb, where I brought the car around from Food Mart where I had parked and picked them up. When I remarked to Contavitch that it appeared he was doing all the work he replied, "That's the story of my life." I got a few nice things, including two books I will give to Nader the Hatter, two to Zachary Cohn, two to Eamon O'Sullivan and one to Ann Staniski. The best thing I got was Primary Colors, inscribed to MassMutual executive Tom Wheeler.

From there I drove to Burger King to dine again on a coupon, and then to the Cohn's, where I gave Irving two free passes to the Antiquarian Book Fair in Boston for Zachary along with the books I got for him at the library sale. Mr. Cohn told me that Mr. Penniman has been taken to a nursing home because he got so bad his wife couldn't handle him. When I got home the Union-News Extra in a blue bag was draped over the mailbox, not hung on the hook.

I needed some 3x5 cards and turned up some old change of major cards from Colby with the names of some old friends and professors on them: Robert M. Whitelaw, Joanne Randel, William W. Allen the Classics Professor, Bob Crespi, John Alden Clark and others, the whole zoo. The signature of Literature Professor Archibald William Allen is rare because of the size of the department and the fact that he didn't teach there long. For fun I dialed Nader the Hatter's old number 734-6780 and got a message saying it has been "disconnected, no further information is available." I then called the Powells to tell them to see Devine's website for coverage of the Simon rally.

November 7, 1999

47 degrees on the breezeway this morning.

Cooked a cherry pie and dined on a Swanson Roast Beef Dinner. I also microwaved potatoes with pepper and margarine on it. Worked on this diary and read this morning. I drove over to the Firehouse Tavern on Mill Street for the Grand Opening of Jack Hess's car museum. They had cheese and eclairs, but I only had one hunk of cheese. I gave Mrs. Hess a $10 contribution, for which she offered me the book on the Knox car, but I told her I already had it and asked her to accept the money as a gift towards the museum.

Hess himself remembered me and we had a good chat. He told me he was waiting for Fran Gagnon to show up, which I think may have been a joke. I told him about the Moore Drop Forge medal I recently got. He talked about Neal's replica 1886 medal. I also spoke with Richard Stevens, an expert on the original Duryea automobile, who told me he is Jewish and had many unpleasant experiences as a youth growing up in Springfield. He and Hess were the hosts. At one point Hess told me that the interstate was put on this side of the river in part because Eddie Boland and his friends owned a lot of land in the North End. He also said the land where the new animal shelter is to be built was owned by numerous political figures over the years. Our conversation was most interesting.

From there I brought a few things over to Eamon. On the way I again noted that 924 Carew at the end of Nottingham has its cement wall damaged as if it had been rammed by a car. Next door to the cute little house at 9 Tacoma was a tag sale with some nice stuff. As I approached his house, Eamon was just getting back from walking his dog. I gave him a box of reading material and he gave me his.

Eamon said he had just mailed a letter to Larry McDermott, under a false name, of course, in which he called McDermott and David Starr "carpetbaggers from out of state." Eamon then discussed his cousin Jimmy Sullivan, who had a $50,000 job with the turnpike, retired with a 70% pension and then was hired the next day by the Basketball Hall of Fame. Jimmy's brother was former Mayor Billy Sullivan, whom Eamon described as "a big dunce." Jimmy was also on the Civic Center Commission.

I told Eamon about my talk with Hess at the museum and he agreed that Boland and Judge Daniel Keyes of Chicopee were heavily invested in land in the North End and the riverfront at the time the highway was built. Boland and Keyes also owned the land at the far end of Vernon Street that was erased by the highway which once had been two story storefronts. They also owned the land where Kresges was replaced by the Federal Courthouse. One of Boland's top political operatives was Tom Donahue, who had once been the local political reporter for the Springfield Newspapers. Eamon again recalled how Ted Dimauro told him that Boland's wife Mary got a $350,000 commission when the Tapley Street post office was transferred to the city.

On the way back home I stopped by the Evangelical Covenant Church, which had about 25 cars in the lot, and stopped just long enough to get the dedication program for their new sanctuary. I told them I couldn't stay for the ceremony, increasingly I am like Mayor Albano, who shows up at things just long enough to fulfill his own purposes and then leaves. I too am tired of sitting through bullshit events.

November 8, 1999

42 degrees at 7am and sunny.

New York City is a three hour drive from Springfield. Albany, New York is only 90 minutes away. The Springfield Marriott is located at the corner of Boland and Columbus Avenue.

For breakfast I had tomatoes on toast. Wrote checks and mailed them to the registry, Baystate Gas, Bell Atlantic, Ultramar, Punderson and Northeast Utilities. I then put the mail out at Louis & Clark before 9am, got today's paper out of the trash and made copies at CopyCat. Then over to Angelo's for fruit and veggies. Next I left off a bag of reading material for ex-rep Whitney on his back doorknob.

From there I went to the Evangelical Covenant Church on Plumtree where I found the church offices have relocated to the basement. I was cheerfully greeted by the Rev. Greg McCaslin, Assistant Pastor. I gave him my card, congratulated him on their new improvements and told him I was looking for Burt. He told me he was at a conference, so I told him to tell Burt that I think his thank you letter for the the photos I gave him is overdue. I added that if he sputters and grumbles, tell him I said, "That ye not be judged, judge not." At this I wished McCaslin well and departed with him looking somewhat taken aback.

I then went up into the new Sanctuary and looked around. They have pictures of all their former pastors on display, including one of John Lind (1952-1961) who had a son who was a nice fellow at school but not in any of my classes. Formerly they were the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church at 17 John Street, a structure in the North End. Next I went to the Family Care Medical Center and spoke with Judy. To get a blood test I have to pay $61 to the physician, $12 to draw the blood and $74 dollars to have the blood analyzed. I had difficulty getting those figures out of her until I told her I am a lawyer and entitled to know the costs before I contract to do anything.

I swung by the Eastfield Mall, where I found a dozen cars parked by the Showcase Eastfield Cinema. Walking through the mall I saw only a few meandering shoppers. They have put up their Christmas decorations. I never see them being put up, maybe they do it at night after it closes. All the palm trees that once decorated the mall are gone, they were a prominent feature of the mall when it first opened. I asked the customer service lady what became of them and she said they had to be removed because they had grown too tall.

From the mall I drove out to Cat's Paw, where things were popping. Vince was raking his front treebelt while inside Claudia was appraising a lot of glassware someone had just brought in before I arrived. It did not appear to be the most choice stuff. Jack Hess was there, buying a pitcher with an image of the Springfield Municipal Group on it with Gill's seal on the bottom. Hess told me an archivist at the Springfield Armory Museum told him that many historic items there have been stolen, probably by staff. Hess believes dishonesty at museums is a major problem. They had maybe 35 copies of Time for Springfield (1978) priced at a dollar each and I said I'd take two. I also bought a Hampden Savings penny bank and a kibbie chocolate spoon. It was fortunate that I happened to go there and both talk to Hess and get a few collectibles.

Coming home, I found the mailman at the corner of Talbot. Kelly was raking her lawn. Eamon called and told me he had just got off the phone with Dan Spellacy, who told him that Richard Cohen, who was just elected Mayor of Agawam, rented an apartment there just a few days before filing to run. His father is a golfing buddy of David Starr, whose paper endorsed Cohen for the Agawam mayoralty. Eamon also told me that he called Eric Bachrach at the Community Music School and asked him how many of their students are local. He replied that only 60% of the students are kids from Springfield. Eamon said Bachrach is from the Bronx and was brought up here by David Starr. Eamon confessed he recently sent an anonymous letter to Starr - he's sent quite a few to various people lately - criticizing a misleading article about the city's bond rating that made it sound better than it actually is.

November 9, 1999

Chilly last night.

WFCR had a story today featuring Scott Southworth of the University of Wisconsin complaining that students should not have to fund organizations they don't like through an activity fee. TV22 has a new woman on the air, feminine and lovely, named Sonia Baghdady. She does well. Peter Picknelly is still advertising his New Year's Eve party at the Sheraton. Marcus Printing is located in Holyoke and Metcalf Printing is in Northampton.

Drove out at 10:55am and got the paper out of the trash at Louis & Clark and then made copies. After that I dropped off the latest issue of U.S. News and World Report and some internet things at Devine's. Stopped at Walmart for Spam, chili and stuffing on special. Next I got some baked goods at Freihoffer's and later had a crispy chicken sandwich at McDonald's. Back home, I called Evangelical Covenant and asked for Aggie but got Sharon and I told her to remind Burt that he owes me a thank you note and she said she would. Unknown called and was again voiceless so I cried, "Speak thou fearful and rude knave!" The line went dead. I had answered with my usual very waspish good afternoon.

Eamon called and we talked about an unusual article that appeared in Sunday's paper. Eamon can't figure out how they happened to print it. It's about a Professor Sanders who wrote a study criticizing consultant reports that exaggerate the positive effects Civic Centers have on economic development. Eamon figures they printed it just to show that they were being objective at least once about the Civic Center expansion proposal, thereby avoiding criticism from people like Charlie Ryan, who often accuses the paper of printing only one side of the story. Eamon told me he has talked to Ryan about the Northgate lawsuit and Ryan says he's never seen such a mess. Eamon described Ryan as in his early 70's but in good health and he drives down to Boston on legal matters all the time.

Eamon recalled how the nuns used to "scare the living daylights out of us" with threats like, "Mr. Sullivan, I am going to put you down this ventilator shaft that goes straight to Hell!" He claimed they used to brainwash kids through fear. Eamon's father was a foreman at U.S. Tire in Chicopee for 37 years, but when he died his pension ended and his mother was forced to live on $600 per month Social Security. Eamon talked to Nader the Hatter, who is still in the area staying with his sister but will leave soon to bring more stuff down to Florida. The Hatter's father worked for Hamilton Standard for a long time and has a good pension with them.

Eamon told me that weatherman John Quill has been divorced twice and is about to marry his third wife. Eamon doesn't think Quill owns any part of TV22, the company was always tightly held by Bill Putnam, Kitty, Putnam's parents and Joe Deliso. He said he'll ask Keith Silver about the company's current status the next time he sees him. Eamon recalled that Bill Putnam once told him that the only job he ever wanted in city government was Police Commissioner, but he never got it because they knew he would shake things up. Eamon says he was told that Putnam's mother begged him not to sell the TV station, but he couldn't resist the wonderful price Charlie Ryan negotiated for him.

November 11, 1999

Mild, springlike, 67 degrees at 3:55pm.

The Basketball Hall of Fame has a half page ad in the paper thanking "each and every one of the 7,648 fans who supported the Hall of Fame NBA game and activities on Thursday, October 8." Also in sports news, the head of the New Haven baseball team is using the reverse selling technique of saying what a bunch of losers his team has been down there so he wants to bring them up to Springfield. Also, the news said people are thinking of fixing up and reopening the Bing Theater. That's nice, but where are all the theater goers going to come from?

Saw birds flying South last night. I opened all the doors and a couple of windows because it was warmer outside than inside. I planned to read today, but never got to it, which happens too often. Dined today on my last pork chop, potatoes and brussel sprouts with two cups of tea. I walked a bag of magazines down to the Cohn's at 10am and hung them on the back doorknob because there was nobody home. I drove out and got the newspaper out of the Louis & Clark trash, then went over to Five Town Mall, where there were lots of people parked in front of Spag's and Food Mart. The mall was buzzing with activity although Mailboxes was closed. Then I drove past Eastfield Mall, where there were many cars parked outside the cinema.

Left home again at 4pm to attend the Chamber of Commerce After Five gathering. It was held at Westfield Bank and Baystate Hospital gave everybody little slinkies meant to be stress relievers. Prominently featured businesses included United Personnel Services, Baystate Blood Donor Center, AAA, Cocchi Marketing and, of course, Westfield Bank. The head woman at Westfield Bank came over (I was wearing my orange outfit and jacket) and we chatted about the Eagle coin pendant she was wearing. She said she has numerous Eagle dollar coins in a safety deposit box.

Mr. Parker, the advertising guy from East Longmeadow, told me he has put away his bike for the winter. After he asked me about my orange outfit, I in turn asked about his business. He candidly replied, "You know all that garbage that's inserted in the Sunday paper every week? Well, I print it." I also chatted with Walt Carroll from NPR about their fiction contest, but he was defensive and said that my entry must have been considered. I left at 6:05pm with the latest Chamber flyer, which has a Barry Moser woodcut on the cover.

Burnham Ward called looking for Storrowtown and banged down the phone without apology when she realized she had the wrong number. I called Karen Powell and congratulated her on the cover story about her in the Valley Advocate by Maureen Turner. Then I called Mark Wiernasz, the Assignment Editor at TV22 (the News Director is Mike Garreffi) and told him I got charged for all four calls I made to vote in their Northgate/stadium survey, meaning there was no attempt to block multiple calls from the same person, "making your survey even less scientific than I thought." "Thank you for your call," was all Wiernasz said in reply and then hung up!

Is Susan Goodman, a reporter on TV40, the daughter of Attorney Alan Goodman? TV40 says a survey shows that one out of three high schoolers don't know what continent Vietnam is on. Charlie Ryan's picture is on the front page of the paper, shown speaking before the Supreme Judicial Court yesterday. Ryan defended CANE and Judge Neil L. Lynch has taken the matter under advisement. Eamon has Judge Lynch's address and is writing to him.

November 12, 1999

Clear blue sky, cold last night.

Left at 8am for St. Cecelia's Tag Sale in Wilbraham. I was about 20th in line and Melinda McIntosh was first. Melinda told me that she considers Heather Haskall to be her "chief rival" at tag sales. The Polish lady from up Boston Road was there, cheerful, the first time I've seen her this year. The church was full of stuff. I looked in housewares where people had already grabbed the good stuff, but I still got a Turkish pot and a carved India box for $10. I also got a 1934 West Lynn Creamery crate.

In the book section I found two books with Rita Ewig bookplates in them. I also found a shipping label in one book addressed to the M.J. O'Malley Company in West Springfield from Mass Mutual. Another book had a brass bookplate with the Lord's Prayer on it. I bought a book on Arizona (1984) in mint condition, which I gave to Colleen by hanging it on her door handle when I got home. On the way back I got a few groceries at Stop & Shop. The mail was here at 2:30pm.

Eamon called and said he spoke to Nader the Hatter and his dad was up to Northampton. The doctor is confident he can help him after some tests. The house has been sold after they fixed the front porch. Eamon then told me he just hung up from talking with his teacher pal Gingras, who described the school system as "worse than ever." He told Eamon that things are especially bad at Commerce, with a nearly 50% absentee rate and students hanging out in the hallways while classes are in session. Gingras said Commerce has four security people, as well as six Assistant Principals, one of which, a black woman named Dr. Henry, makes $72,000 per year. Gingras told Eamon that as far as he can tell she doesn't do anything all day. Buddy Langford, whose former welfare agency had a funding scandal, now teaches two classes, each with only four or five students, for about $40,000 per year. According to Gingras, Langford "doesn't do a damn thing at all."

Commerce's new principle Jerome Winegar is hardly around, often away at meetings with Dr. Negroni. Gingras says Negroni holds meetings with the faculty and drones on and on and expects people to take notes. Once Negroni caught Winegar nodding off during his talk so Negroni sent a long memo to everyone about the importance of staying alert at meetings. Another time Negroni got mad at an obviously bored audience and shouted, "I've just about had it here! I've got two years to go and I don't care what happens!" Gingras claims that Negroni doesn't give a damn, he just came in, ripped the city off and will retire with a nice pension to Florida or Puerto Rico, perhaps even get another job with the government and further fatten his pension.

November 13, 1999

Overcast today, 49 degrees at 10am.

Rumors of Bill Clinton's sexual philandering date back to when he was Governor of Arkansas. The mail today included a nice letter from Professor Lynn H. Lees about Professor A.P. Watts of UPenn. Also a newsletter from the University of Vermont addressed to Mrs. Blanche W. Miller. Philip C. Haughey is President of the Friends of the Boston Irish Famine Memorial in Braintree. Wayne Turner is the Membership Chairman for the Tuesday Morning Music Club.

I drove out to St. Cecilia's again and got some more used books. A used book implicitly carries the recommendation of its previous owners, who thought it was worth having in the first place. On my way back to Springfield I noticed there was a good crowd parked at the Eastfield Mall. Then I bought a paper and made some copies at Louis & Clark, came through Angleo's and bought gas across the street at Cumberland Farms. I continued down to Main Street, where I fished a current Union-News out of a trash can in front of the Bank of Boston building. My letter to McDermott warning him of how easy it is to find free papers has apparently had no effect.

Next I drove over the Memorial Bridge to go visit Aunt Maria. The lawn was covered with leaves. The mailman was just going by as I arrived so I brought it in to her, a large envelope from a Pauline Sosnovich of Royal Street in Agawam. Next door Joe was blowing leaves over on his lot, but I kept out of his view. I even parked the car out of sight. Inside I found all the lights on, Aunt Maria's room the usual mess with clothes all over the floor and bed. However, the living room was picked up, the kitchen had no dishes in the sink and there was a store bought pie in a box on the kitchen table.

I found Aunt Maria examining a long grocery tape while sitting in a chair in the living room. Her new large screen TV was on full blast. She didn't turn it off, but we were still able to talk. She was pleasant and didn't try to start a fight. I gave her a Freihoffer's cake and she said it would go well with her Meals on Wheels. I didn't see the cat and Uncle George's bedroom door was closed. The back door was also all closed up.

Aunt Maria's speech was rambling as she asked me, "Do you have a TV? Are you happy? Do you have any friends?" Later she recalled, "You were such a cute little kid, too bad you never had your own little kid." She described herself as "happy as a bug in a rug" adding, "I find I'm having an easy time dying." Her mind is declining, she even asked at one point if I lived in Springfield, but she is comfortable and her surroundings are reasonably neat and clean. I left at 2:59pm and got home at 3:33pm.

When I got back Mrs. Staniski called, wondering if I had the flu since I haven't been by. I told her I'm fine and will bring her some reading material soon. She said Ann won't be able to come until the day before Thanksgiving. Carol needs therapy for her knees. Socrates Babacas also called from 783-3598 and said he feels the stadium scam is dead. Babacas told me that Raipher Pellegrino is the son of a judge and Babacas doesn't think very much of him, claiming Pellegrino had to use his influence to become a judge because he couldn't make enough money in his law office. Raipher's mother is on the Police Commission.

Eamon called right after Babacas and told me he has been talking with A. Gingras some more about Commerce. Gingras described the school as "a study in total breakdown" and claimed that Jose Tosado is "totally taken in by Negroni because of their shared Latino background." The teachers have given up and no longer waste their time giving kids detention. The school has multiple administrators but most of them "don't do a damn thing." Each Principal works under a unique contract, but Eamon is finding it hard to get copies.

November 14, 1999

43 degrees and overcast at 8:15am.

Cat's Paw is located at 45 Parker Street in Indian Orchard. Paul J. Lapointe is President of the Massachusetts Twisters and Massachusetts Youth Indoor Soccer League.

Went to bed after midnight last night, then up at 8:15am, which is late for me. I headed out a 11:55am and made copies at Pride in the Acres. Then I drove down to the Duryea Museum and gave some copies of my history articles to Hess who is always cordial. They have now installed the original gas pump for the former Fire Station in the downstairs lobby.

Then out towards Indian Orchard, where I noticed on the way that Pizza Hut on Boston Road is closed, but a new one has opened where Jaycox was on Sumner Avenue. Red Lobster is also closed and up for sale. Their lobster prices were extremely high and they seemed interested in peddling everything else but lobster, especially shrimp. I went there once with my parents to dine, but we never went again because it was too expensive.

I stopped at the Eastfield Mall and found lots of cars parked around the cinema. The men's room is all fixed up, they must do their refurbishing work at night. Lowe's Hardware was taking job applications in the Food Court. I had two 49 cent burgers at their McDonald's. Across the road, Springdale Mall has been renamed Lowe's Plaza.

Left Eastfield about 1:25pm and headed to The Indian Orchard Mills. I paid two dollars to get in and they were serving crackers and cheese with a cash bar. David Bowerman, who did the sculpture I liked downtown, had two pieces on display but he himself wasn't around. Eamon told me once that Bowerman is a friend of Nader the Hatter. I especially liked Peter Barnett's sketches of Wales.

I had a good chat with Angel Pettis, who said she's a housewife who would rather do art than watch TV or read romances. She likes The Mills because of the company of the other artists. She also likes the old building with its antique features and how quiet it is, although she can sometimes hear people down the hall. She shares her studio with Julia Courtney, whose pieces I also admired.

In the gallery two guitarists, Joe Wilson and Victor Rosarie, were lightly strumming away. I had an interesting conversation with Ann Marie Kreybig, who said she would love to be an arts lawyer like me. Kreybig's son, a high school senior named Nicolas Manning, was playing Corelli on his violin. I spoke to the youth, who told me he is in the Amherst Orchestra this year. Kreybig's daughter, whose picture was on the door, is doing graduate work in Russian at Princeton, while another son is fluent in Latin and likes Greek history. A remarkable family.

It was raining as I drove from the Mills over to Trinity, where the parking lot was full so I parked in the street. I just ran in and grabbed a program, but a good crowd was there. When I got back home, I cooked up some brussel sprouts and dined on potatoes and onions. Eamon called and claimed that someone is replacing Michael Fay as Circulation head at the paper. Eamon also heard that Peter Picknelly has been buying a lot of land lately.

November 16, 1999

Overcast, windy, 37 degrees at 7:30am.

Dead men tell no tales, unless like me they kept a diary. A view of the inside of a library should be called "a bookscape." In an imperfect world the greatest source of imperfection is man. Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit is being performed at City Stage this month in honor of Coward's 100th birthday. Greniers Fine Photography is located at 850 High Street in Holyoke.

Temperatures are ten degrees below normal. I found a lot of clear glass in the street between my mailbox and Colleen. I swept it up. The decline of a neighborhood could be traced to the frequency of broken bottles in its streets, but ordinarily such trivial records are not kept. I went out at 8:15am and got the paper and the latest release by Tom Devine. I also got a copy of Moody's out of the trash. Then I brought a bag of things to Mrs. Staniski, who said she just got back from her morning walk. She had five bags of leaves sitting just inside her fence.

Got beets and broccoli and grapefruit at Angelo's. I also bought Hot Pockets with a coupon at Food Mart. I went to the 16 Acres Civic Association meeting to hear Pat Sullivan. The Association President Marshall Moriarty greeted me cordially. After Sullivan's talk on neighborhood improvements, I approached him and he told me he thought my TV appearance with Devine was "excellent." I told him that his Uncle Eamon is "one of the brightest minds in the city." When I got back The Reminder was hanging on my mailbox hook.

Ryder Truck called looking for Storrowtown. First I called Gale Research in California and they promised to send one of their posters that say, "Build Something Monumental - Your Library." I called Vannah at the Advocate but he wasn't in and their voicemail system is down. I called back later and got Vannah but he said he couldn't talk because he was racing to meet a 2pm deadline. He said he would call me back but never did. Then I called Charlie Ryan's office and left word that if he needs my legal help on Northgate I volunteer to do whatever I can. I also called Karen Powell about the essay by Richard Rodrigues "Old Neighborhoods and Baseball Stadiums." I told her it's about San Francisco, but some things in it are relevant to Springfield.

I called the Union-News and Kathy in the comptroller's office told me the paper's most recent circulation figures are accurate as of September. I then asked for Michael Fay and I was connected to a receptionist who said he is no longer with the company. I asked if they had a forwarding address for him, so she connected me to Fay's former secretary, who told me he is in Trenton, New Jersey but she doesn't have his phone number or address.

I had a bowl of vegetable soup in the evening. Eamon called and we discussed theories of management style and I told him Donald Dunn at WNEC Law Library was a manager who had excellent rapport with everyone and never let his employees down. Eamon said a management style is developed through "recurrent patterns of behavior exhibited over time" and not any single trait. Eamon says Nader the Hatter left for Florida today. Eamon also said he got a form letter from Mayor Albano urging him to donate to the Basketball Hall of Fame so he stamped BULLSHIT on it and returned it in the prepaid envelope.

I told Eamon about my trip to The Mills in the Orchard and told him I suspect Heidi Coutu paints from postcards and photos. Eamon told me that Doyle the Twig Painter has his paintings reprinted in Holyoke in large quantities in black and white and then colors them with watercolors "almost like painting by numbers." Eamon told me he spoke with reporter Kevin Claffey on the phone, who told him that "Larry has claimed another scalp" with the departure of Fay. Claffey described McDermott as "not well liked" at the paper because David Starr makes him do all the dirty work.

November 17, 1999

Sunny but cold, 35 degrees at 7:30am.

MassLive.com has a new slogan, "MassLive Means Business." Southpaw, a seller of used, rare and out of print books, is located in Conway, Massachusetts. I saw Kelly putting out more bags of leaves as I drove out first thing and made copies and got the paper out of the Louis & Clark trashcan. Then I got $9 in groceries at the Boston Road Big Y, after which I got an egg and bagel with a coupon at the McDonald's across the street.

Mark Goldberg called from Bluestone, so I told him not to call again and he politely apologized. Robert Connally 782-4905 called wanting to make reservations for a luncheon at Storrowtown. I said I get a dozen wrong numbers a week for Storrowtown and have given up feeling I have an obligation to be polite and then I hung up! Next I called TV22 and asked for the news department and got Mark Wiernacz. I told him that Brenda Garton erroneously referred to "Presidents Hamilton and Lincoln" in last night's broadcast. He said nothing so I went, "Good afternoon?" He replied, "Good afternoon." I said, "You're supposed to thank me for calling," but he hung up in my ear!

Tom Vannah from the Valley Advocate called and was apologetic about not getting back to me earlier. He said one of their reporters interviewed Richard Garvey "in Northampton" and he told them that David Starr doesn't like to be corrected. Garvey also told them that he doesn't like the direction Starr has taken the paper. Vannah told me he graduated from Bates in 1982 and was editor of the school paper there.

Eamon called and said loafing cops use the back lot of the Quadrangle to hide-out. He informed me he has written a letter to Chief Meara saying that although her Police Department looks good on paper, it really isn't working and she should spend less time at seminars and public relations events and more time managing the department. Eamon says he's gotten lots of calls regarding his current answering machine tape:

In 1989 Springfield's inept, rubberstamp School Committee hired the slick charlatan Superintendent Peter Negroni from the last place ranked, worst performing School District 12 in the Bronx. Mayor Albano called him "the biggest change agent in the country." Ten years later, Springfield has one of the worst performing school systems in the state. The only changes we've seen are high absenteeism, drop out and suspension rates, the lowest test scores, the doubling of Mr. Negroni's outrageous salary and some fancy new buildings built for children who can neither read nor write.

November 18, 1999

I never find copies of the Wall Street Journal in the trash can outside the SIS Center anymore. The CANE fundraiser to defray the legal costs associated with defending the stadium petition drive, will be held at the Italian American Veteran's Club in East Longmeadow on November 21st. The event includes a ziti dinner.

Called Gay at Baypath 565-1000 and told her about Margaret Thatcher's article in Hinsdale's Imprimis. She thanked me graciously. Libby Medina called from the Census and reminded me of my appointment. She told me to bring my driver's license and Social Security card and two references. The mail included something from Staccia, the Judge's Chambers and a lovely cartoon from Eamon showing the Springfield Public Schools portrayed as a ship sinking like the Titanic.

I headed downtown and parked at the Quadrangle for the premiere of the film Telling Our Stories: Massachusetts Public Libraries, where I found a copy of today's paper in a nearby trashcan. The front of the Pynchon Building is dug up for pipes and drains to service the Seuss sculptures. The film's premiere was held at the Davis Auditorium in the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts. The door to the art museum opened at 5pm and we were allowed to wander around. We each got a nice booklet about the event. There was free wine, Perrier, all sorts of food such as ham, chicken, meatballs, tomato soup, grapes, kielbasa on crackers, roasted potatoes and cashews. There were about 125 people present from the count I made at 5:45pm.

I saw David Starr being interviewed by WSPR. Emily Bader and Marjorie Guess spoke, as well as the filmmaker Maribeth Edmonds. City Councilor Bill Foley was present. I chatted with several people, including Commissioner Cameron and told him to his face that I think making a movie about the libraries is a waste of time and they should have spent the money on books. I also told him about how the state's Equal Opportunity Office made a film three or four years ago that was premiered at a wine and cheese party at MassMutual with guest speaker Scott Harshbarger. However, state law changed soon afterwards, making the film inaccurate so it was never publicly released, a year of work and bundles of money spent for nothing. He hurried away but remarked in departing, "I respect your opinion."

As for the movie itself, it is very good technically though not very enjoyable. The film featured the Belding Memorial Library in Ashfield, Bradford M. Field Memorial Library in Leverett, the Mason Square Library in Springfield and others, including of course the Boston Public Library. Filmmaker Edmonds is not from Massachusetts but has done films for other state agencies. She seems like somebody who has political connections, her filming skills are competent but the movie's narration included a lot of gibberish. I can think of no useful function the film serves so I am right, it is a waste of money.

November 19, 1999

Nice day, 55 degrees at 4:35pm. Gas is $1.27 around town.

Amazed to hear Tom Brokow tell the world that conservative Hillsdale College President Roche has had a 19 year secret affair with his daughter-in-law. He has resigned as president of the college and William Bennett, the goodie-goodie former Secretary of Education, has severed his connection to the school he described as "deep in scandal." I told Eamon they could use a Leatherman for president. Also in the news, a McDonald's has opened at the Peter Pan bus station where the pizza parlor was. WFCR says their fundraiser is over with more than 2,700 listeners contributing. My old lockermate from WNEC Law, Jay Nathaniel Michelman, is now advertising in the phone book with his picture.

This evening at 5:15 the Bright Lights at Forest Park turned on to a countdown by Sy Becker. This is their fifth season. Judy Matt was on saying over a million cars have gone thru in the last four seasons. She claimed that most of their success is due to always adding new stuff each year. A $15 a ticket fundraiser to help meet the legal expenses of CANE's efforts for a citywide referendum on the proposal to build a baseball stadium at Northgate Plaza will be held Sunday from 4-7pm in East Longmeadow. Robert G. Lange is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Academy of Arts and Letters.

I typed some this morning and then got a big pile of mail ready to go out. I left at 9am, and saw that Ballard Street is being patched where you drive out of Ashland. At the Breckwood Shops I put out the mail with Jeanne at Louis & Clark. I made copies at Pride, then dropped off some reading material at Eamon's. I noticed that the Salvation Army is gone over on Belmont. Along Bay Street I found on the edge of the road near Central High an abandoned milk crate from Crowley Foods in Binghamtom, New York. It is maroon with solid sides and hand holes rather than lattice, like most other crates. I am beginning to have quite a collection of milk crates.

I drove into the city and parked at the Quadrangle. I went in and looked at the Benton paintings carefully, then into W.V.Smith and looked at the textiles of India display. I also dropped off a letter for Bader in Periodicals and then walked down the hill, where I found today's paper in a trash receptacle. Before going home, I stopped at the Boston Road McDonald's and bought two fish sandwiches for $2.22.

Belle Rita Novak called and told me she has written a letter to the editor about a liquor store in her neighborhood. She agreed to meet me at First Church for the concert. Eamon called and said of thin women, "The closer to the bone the sweeter the meat." We discussed the deadly collapse of the bonfire at Texas A&M. Eamon described it as the biggest gung-ho jock school in the nation and 70% of all military officers are Texas A&M alumni. Eamon says he has sent a letter to the Education Commissioner urging him to audit all figures coming out of the Springfield school system because they are fraudulent.

Talked to Tom Devine and he says that the Valley Advocate is moving to Easthampton in March because their owner doesn't want pay the rent at their Hatfield mill location with a waterfall, which they also consider to be too remote. He told me my pictures of the Simon for Mayor rally got lots of hits. Devine asked if I was going to the Powell's fundraiser and I said no because I will be going to hear Bishop Marshall speak at St. Michael's. As for the news that Dan Yorke is leaving for a job in Rhode Island, Tom said it was a shame and he hopes it's just a ploy to get the station to pay him more money. He noted that Yorke is the only local talk show that lets the Powells come on. I told Tom to tell Yorke that he has always had my respect and I wish him well.

November 20, 1999

Overcast but very mild, 50 degrees at 7:30am.

A football player and a wrestler at Heidelberg College were arrested and expelled from school after being accused of videotaping themselves raping an unconscious woman and then showing the tape to other students.

In the middle of the night I completed eight sonnets. I spent most of today reading and writing. At 9:30am I left for my census exam. Everywhere on the way I saw people doing outdoor work. I had been told that my experience on past censuses was an adequate reference, but was told when I got there that they'd still like two more, so I gave them Stuart Graham and William Metzger, the WNEC Law professor who wrote on my Harvard form that I could use more education.

The test was given from 11:05 to 11:35 and I was out by 11:40am. The test was delayed five minutes because a Latino woman had to go to the toilet. While waiting, I cracked everyone up by asking if we could use calculators. From the exam I went to Dick's in West Springfield and bought a jock and cup and then dined at the Old Country Buffet, which is now the Hometown Buffet. I had the chicken dinner for $6.60 total.

Eamon called and said he just got off the phone with Jim Tillotson, who told him that he gets paid $70,000 by the school department, another salary from his elected post in Chicopee and a third salary administering G.E.D. tests to inmates at the jail. Tillotson expects his retirement pension will be worth at least $50,000 per year. Eamon also told me that Gingras called and said he has a class where 25% of the students are totally illiterate. No one at Commerce will tell you what the exact enrollment is and if you continue to ask you get reported to Negroni.

The funding for schools is based on the enrollment and Gingras suspects that the official numbers are inflated to get more money for the Springfield schools. Commerce is overstaffed, with some teachers having very few students. Buddy Langford has two students in one class and three in another. Some of those hired are political hacks, and Eamon claims that the Sheriff's Department is the same way. As an example, Eamon mentioned disbarred lawyer Daniel O'Malley, who works a job evaluating inmates. The mobster Jake Nettis has a son who has a big job at the county jail, and Al Bruno's son also has a jailhouse job.

November 21, 1999

Very mild, sun out, 55 degrees at 11:30am.

Tom Reilly is the Massachusetts Attorney General. Thomas J. Amidon, class of 1961, is President of the University of Vermont Alumni Association. I had a hum in my right ear part of the morning. At 10am I drove over to McDonald's and got hotcakes without sausages for $1.35. As I left the house there was an ambulance backed up to the chocolate colored house at 90 Birchland. On the way over to McDonald's I saw there was a large congregation gathered at Evangelical Covenant Church with around 40 cars in the parking lot. McDonald's was packed.

From there I headed downtown in my black jeans outfit and went to St. Michael's to hear the Bishop. I got their current ephemera and sat in the back pew on the left hand side. There were about 65 people there and the music was just dreamy. I had to leave 3/4 through however to meet Belle-Rita Novak at First Church for the concert. Belle-Rita says she likes Gershwin. Rev. Loeach was at the concert, turned and waved to Belle-Rita and then gave me an enormous smile when he realized we were together. The church has a new painting, a restored antique oval of Little Red Riding Hood, given by Jean Sessions of 29 Porter Drive, Agawam. We looked at a First Church picture book and it showed Fred Whitney's son, the Webers and John Sessions. Belle-Rita asked whether I noticed the almost all white racial make-up of the audience and I said I always take note of such things. I told her that even at the Thanksgiving balloon parade there are few minorities, for some reason they seldom come out for cultural things.

Following the concert, Belle-Rita invited me to her house for supper. I brought along two small bottles of Harvey's Bristol Creme. She said she doesn't drink but would serve them to guests. I also gave her the newspaper clippings about her I had saved for her. At one point she mentioned that she had an Uncle Emmanuel Miller on her mother's side. We had a wonderful repast of cheese and crackers, a tasty, tossed salad, bread, and a chicken and noodle casserole that was nicely flavored. We talked politics, she is mostly disappointed with what is going on in the city. On her walks she has found abandoned trash bags around and sometimes searches inside them for something with an address and then returns the bags by dropping them on the owner's doorstep. Belle-Rita is no nonsense.

I mentioned seeing the crowd at Evangelical Covenant and she described them as "extremely conservative." Belle-Rita noted that each week at the X Farmer's Market she gives a free table each week to a community group, and recently it was Mrs. Goad from Trinity, whom she thinks has a good way with people. She also revealed that she worked for two years at Brightwood Hardware and praised Community Feed in East Longmeadow. Belle-Rita suggested that the Tuesday Morning Music Club should invite a class from Homer Street School to each of their concerts since they are right by American International College. What a splendid idea! I bought an X Farmer's Market bag for $10 and departed. As I left I noticed a car in her driveway with a Vermont plate. Does she have boarders? When I got home, Mrs. Penniman was out and said that her husband is "not doing too good."

Eamon claimed that he tried to join the Marines but they rejected him for having bad eyesight. He also announced that "someone" had leaked him some official attendance figures for the High School of Commerce. They show what Eamon called "shocking" levels of absenteeism, with attendance ranging from a high of 57% November 18th to as low as 37% on November 10th. Easmon said no one is checking or verifying any statistics, so they could be even worse. With the enrollment that low, the teachers have nothing to do and charging the taxpayers for kids that never show up is "getting money under false pretenses."

Eamon moaned that schools today pay too much attention to "silly ass computers" in order to keep the kids occupied and amused. He recalled that when he attended Glenwood there were seven teachers and a custodian. "Now there are 41 people there," Eamon exclaimed, "including teachers, supervisors, aides, it's unbelievable!" I told him that when I taught at Warner School all the teachers parked in the front or back of the school. Now they've paved over part of the playground and lawn to provide parking for all the staff. Eamon has tried to interest President Silber in these issues, but he says it should be handled by the local school board. Eamon has also sent the same material to Vannah at the Advocate but he has never done anything with it.

November 22, 1999

Overcast and misty.

On the news tonight, Brenda Garton said that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. I've written two more hard-core leathersex sonnets. I will see about sending them to a porn literary agent and see what happens. My check cleared for $850 so supposedly work is progressing on the tombstone in Bethel. Cory J. Turer is a Waste & Recycling Consultant for Somers Sanitation Service in East Windsor, Connecticut.

Went to CopyCat and saw that Daniel Pelletier was mowing his lawn. I took the Cohn's some magazines and Mrs. Cohn sadly reported that Mr. Cohn was operated at Baystate yesterday for colon cancer. He is expected to recover okay but will be needing plenty of things to read as he rests. I told her to give him my best. At Louis & Clark I got the paper and told the Indian woman (from India) on the front counter about an aquamarine car in the parking lot with its parking lights on and she exclaimed that was her car and thanked me profusely. As I was leaving I held the door for a party pushing a woman in a wheelchair and they thanked me graciously although I was in leather attire. From there I drove up to Barnes & Noble at the Holyoke Mall. I told Assistant Manager Karen Lynn about my books and she said she will look into making them available.

Dined today on Progresso Beef Barley Soup, a ham and cheese Hot Pocket and Munchkins I bought with a coupon at the donut place across from the Breckwood Shops. Eamon has a wonderful new voicemail tape: "Superintendent Peter Negroni has been going through the motions for ten years, planning, promising and programming but failing at execution and delivery. Despite fancy new schools, the children are unable to read or write. Our schools have become psycho-social holding pens where the diplomas aren't worth the paper it's printed on."

Eamon called and said he was down to the Boston vets hospital and claims the Big Dig is making a mess of the city. I think Eamon goes to a lot of medical appointments and that's too bad. Eamon recalled that Dr. Gilchrist, his father's doctor, told him his father's life could have been saved had he sought treatment a few months earlier. Eamon explained that the school enrollment numbers are always changing because of the "mercurial movement" of kids and their parents in and out of the city, most to schools in Chicopee or Holyoke but even back and forth to Puerto Rico. Eamon is wondering whether Tom Ashe will be any good on the School Committee. Jose Tosado is already in Negroni's pocket. If Ashe wants to use his position to get jobs for friends and family and Negroni hires them, then from that point on Ashe will have to behave. "That's how it works!"

Eamon then talked about the Mass Turnpike, which he described as "riddled with corruption from the start." The contractors all cut corners to save money to add to their profit margin. "The construction companies robbed the Commonwealth blind." This reminded him of the old Hillman Street garage, where they left out metal support plates to save money and in less than ten years it was starting to collapse.

November 23, 1999

Mild, springlike day. 63 degrees at 2pm.

On TV George Stephanopolos said Hillary Clinton's senate campaign is floundering. I tried to play along with the Do You Want to be a Millionaire Show. I was weak on film and pop culture, but was still smarter than the contestants, one of whom didn't even know that Mark Twain's real name was Samuel Clemons. Dumb! Leonard J. Frigon is President of the Western Mass Federal Credit Union in Chicopee.

First thing, I got together a pile of outgoing mail and then drove out to drop the mail in the mailbox at the Breckwood Shops. I dropped off some reading material on Tom Devine's porch and then bought gas on Boston Road. From there I drove downtown and parked on Salem. I had my purple outfit on as I dropped off a bag of stuff with Atty. Berman's secretary, cashed a $75 check at Westfield Bank and then had Shkena make me a foot long ham and cheese grinder, which she filled up good. I found no Wall Street Journals in the trash but did find today's Union-News. Another piece of wood has fallend off the Fuller Block ornamentation, that makes two. I looked in Johnson's which is still unoccupied. I could see the little guy who's been the janitor for years pushing a dry mob on the floor of the main store.

Lots of cars circling the Federal Building, it was stupid to build it without any parking. Was it Boland who owned the land? I got back to my car at 11:30 and then headed up to the mall at Ingleside. I walked around Pier One and Kaoud's Oriental Rugs next door. Then to Barnes and Noble, where I bought Larry Gwin's book on Vietnam. Next I got the Ambercrombie & Fitch Xmas catalog, which comes in a green bag with a warning label on it. Very soft porn indeed but still quite sexy. I then sat down in their food court and ate the grinder I bought at the downtown Subway. I really didn't stay very long and didn't bother to walk all around. Filene's Basement is going out of business. I took a consumer survey and was given a coupon for a free Stouffer's Chicken with Stuffing Dinner. The survey lady's name was Helen.

Read newspapers this this evening. I see that Alberta Robertson, the book dealer from Johnson's Bookstore, has died at the age of 90. She once told me she had a son up in Chicopee who was a divorce lawyer. She was the manager of the Second Hand Book Department and continued to work there part time after she retired. Robertson lived in Wilbraham for many years, and the obit says she worked for the Springfield Libraries from 1928 to 1946, when she joined Johnson's.

I spoke to Dr. Mullan's Michelle about getting Mother's medical records and she said they will cost 25 cents per page but probably won't come to more than $20. Medical Care Partners is the current name of their practice. Eamon called and said he had been over the Edwards Bridge and the traffic was two way. Eamon then recalled the time that Vincent DiMonaco told him how he was having lunch at The Fort with David Starr and Arnold Friedman and told Eamon "your name came up in conversation." At the time Eamon was in touch with the National Civic League about the All American Cities Award for which Springfield was being considered. Eamon had been in touch with their New York office and told them that several things in Springfield's submission were "absolute fabrications." When they finally checked it out they were "flabbergasted to see that I was right, it was all fraudulent."

David Starr told DiMonaco he was "ticked off" by Eamon's interference and said he felt that Eamon's activism "is not good for Springfield." DiMonaco asked if either of them had ever met Eamon, and when they both said no, DiMonaco replied, "Maybe you should, he's forgotten more about this city than all of us know put together!" Councilor DiMonaco later called Eamon and asked if he would like to meet with Starr and Friedman to which Eamon replied yes, adding, "I'll pay for the lunch!" However, Eamon soon heard back from DiMonaco, who told him, "They have no interest in having lunch with you."

November 26, 1999

Overcast, 63 degrees at 5pm, gas is $1.30 per gallon.

Stock market down 29 points. John Quill, the TV22 weatherman, aged 83, has married a woman named Pauline, also 83. It was reported that they were both widowed, but I think John Quill was divorced. His son Jim Quill briefly appeared on camera. I still save pictures of people in leather jackets, such as one recently showing motorcyclist Jim Fountain of Ludlow in the the Brightside Toy Run.

Dined on two dropped eggs, grapefruit, beets and donut holes. Out at 7:45 and got today's paper out of the trash at the Breckwood Shops. Stopped at the Acres Big Y and got milk, cranberry juice, ginger ale and margarine. Going through some files I came upon a certificate presented to me on June 11, 1950, when I was 6 years old. It was given to me by the Rev. Leslie W. Johnson at the Wesley Methodist Church in Winchester Square here in Springfield. I also received a bible for Children's Day, which they always made into a big event. The children were paraded to the front of the sanctuary to receive one thing or another, usually religious in nature. I also received a hymnal for singing in the youth choir, as well as a wooden cross. In June 1950 I would have been in Mrs. Dickinson's class, who started the school year as Miss Muzzie but got married.

Michelle from Dr. Mullan called, telling me I can pick up Mother's medical file Monday for $10. I called George Gouzounis at A.G. Edwards and talked to him about the balance of my account. I then called Hungry Hill Magazine and got the usual recorded message. I called Aunt Maria and Shirley answered. She said Meals on Wheels didn't come on the holiday but brought extra food the day before. Next I called John M. Lovejoy in Wilbraham and asked if he received the material I sent him. He replied that he was "into something right now" and "can I call you back?" I responded, "You promised me a thank you note, either send me the note or refund my postage!" Then I hung up the phone in his ear!

Reading my new Vietnam War book today. I also started reading Jeanna Bourke on killing and find it fascinating. Yesterday was Thanksgiving but I didn't watch the Macy's parade. I had the Stouffer's Chicken Dinner I got for doing the survey at Eastfield and a Mrs. Smith's pumpkin pie I cooked up. The chicken dinner was okay, but not much chicken and too many croutons in the stuffing. It was unusual to see so few cars going by on Wilbraham Road whenever I looked out the window. I found a child's Thanksgiving card in the road by my mailbox so I brought it inside to save. I have always been committed to saving lost voices.

November 28, 1999

57 degrees and heavily overcast at 7:15am.

The peace process in Ireland appears to be really moving at last. Mount Washington Hotel, which has always closed at the end of the season, will be open all winter this year. Their New Year's Eve party will cost $7,000 per ticket. Breezed through Rigg's How to Stay Alive in Vietnam, one of many books I read and don't always mention in my diary. The December issue of Lawbook Exchange has a nice ad for my book The Reports of Sir Edward Coke. Arika Dumas is Administrative Assistant for the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts and Letters.

Rain fell most of the night. Mail a little late today. I drove out at 9am and got today's paper out of the trash and made copies at CopyCat of my old Riverside Season Pass. I bought some veggies at Angleo's and from there I went to Mrs. Staniski's, where I found Ann outside with her leaf blower. She told me she is a workaholic who never wants to retire. I didn't go inside, but told Ann to remind her mother to feel free to call me if she needs anything.

Dined on a frozen chicken dinner, parsnips and bananas. Larry McDermott used the word "carpetbag" (although he is a carpetbagger himself) in his editorial, "Little People Win Big on Election Day." The big story today in the Union-News today is that the 90% reimbursement from the state for the already demolished Armory Street School won't come this year and may not next year. Mayor Albano says he was assured of the money, but not in writing. Councilor W. Foley was on the news saying that, "We were assured that we were going to be funded, that the letter verifying it was only a formality."

Eamon's new tape editorial is this: Moody's Investor Service has given Springfield a near junk-bond rating due to mismanagement for years by inept career politicians and their hack appointee department heads, auditors and city treasurers, many who don't know the difference between a debit and a credit and are unable to read a balance sheet. City Hall is a glorified political employment agency where employee evaluations are unheard of and employees simply go through the motions, ripping off the taxpayers as they wait for retirement.

Eamon called and talked about how to make a silencer for a M16. He then recalled how his father's first wife died after having a son William, who went on to serve in Europe during World War II. His brother Raymond the fire chief was in the Navy and served in the Pacific. His brother Robert, whose son is Patrick the Park Commissioner, served in Africa. So Eamon had numerous military role models in his family. Eamon then went on to claim that most of his co-workers at the Department of Education "were draft dodgers." Eamon accused Albano of ordering the ripping down of Armory Street School and Carew Street so that the city would be locked into building new.

A Mrs. William W. McCarry of 29 Gilman in Holyoke called and then apologized when she realized she had the wrong number. She told me she's 76 and doesn't drive, which makes it hard for her to deal with her husband's medical problems. I thanked her for apologizing and wished her husband well. When I was young I was tenderhearted and never liked to see animals killed. Socially I was rather self-conscious, inclined to keep to myself. I was not a normal, mischievous boy, but rather more virtuous than my companions. I have always been shy with girls and never thought of getting married.

November 30, 1999

A lovely, late fall day. 47 degrees at 9am.

I finished Bourke's book on intimate killing, which I will give to Eamon. American International College is promoting its former sports stars Jim Calhoun, Mario Elie and Kevin Collins, all of whom went on to have roles in professional sports. George Talbot told me they have already sold five copies of Coke in Verse. That's not bad. The Reminder came today. Eating a bowl of Cream of Wheat this morning I found a bug in it.

Made copies at Pride first thing this morning, where I ran into Virginia Giaquinto from down the street. She said she saw me on TV with Devine and said I did "a very good job." I put out mail at Louis & Clark to the Boston Phoenix and to Vannah at the Advocate. I also sent out a letter to the Pope proposing that Martin Luther be made a saint. I got today's paper out of the trash as well as two girlie magazines Voluptuous and Buff in mint condition. I then dropped off a bag of stuff at Eamon's and picked up the bag he left for me. Cal's Variety seemed to be doing a brisk business.

I headed to Dr. Mullan's and paid for Mother's medical records, but I don't see the letters from oncology in there. Then I drove downtown and parked on Salem. There were no papers in the trash but I did get a poster off a pole for AIDS Day. I ran into Brenda Branchini, who cheerfully thanked me for the picture I sent her. She said she will consider running for office again and definitely will remain active in city politics as a reformer. I stopped in at the Education Center and found a WNEC Law School 25th alumni magazine with Bouchard on the cover.

Next I swung by Graziano Gardens in East Longmeadow to see Santa's castle. I told them they should make a postcard of it. I bought chicken nuggets for the first time in ages at the Eastfield Mall McDonald's, where I also got a free Santa candle. I stopped and got a free calendar at 16 Acres Gardens. There was a sign saying you could take only one free calendar, extra ones cost $3 each. On the way back I left a bag of things to read at the Cohn's.

No more in today's paper about getting money for new schools. However, WFCR had a story this morning about not getting the funds. Mayor Albano told WFCR he is going to build "two new schools per year for the next ten years." I called Leonard Collamore and got his son David and told him about the $450 chair at Antiques on Boland Way that has an image of Christopher Columbus on it with a padded floral seat. Eamon called and said he believes that most problems can be solved with "a positive attitude and a bit of creativity, cooperation and courage." I called Tom Devine, who had nothing special to say. I advised him that when he does his Heroes & Villains list for 1999 that he give Mike Albano a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Villains category.