September 1999

September 1, 1999

I greatly enjoyed the Phillip Glass Violin Concerto on WSPR today. I called Merriam-Webster and asked for Mr. Bicknell and spoke to Ann Brown, who said he was "in a meeting but he received your material and thanks you very much." I said he is supposed to send me a thank-you note and she replied, "He will if he hasn't already." So are we going to have trouble with Bicknell?

I drove out close to 4pm and made copies. I then took a Coolata coin from Dunkin Donuts over to the Coin Exchange and gave it to the guy, but he had no new medals of interest. Then over to White and Sumner and into Radzicki's and we talked about the Iris painting which he said came out of a Springfield attic that contained many treasures. I also identified a yellow Tiffany bowl for them which turned out to be with $300.

Eamon called and said Nardi, who has two or three kids, is now living someplace in an apartment. He recalled visiting with the family many times in their house on Ardmore Street in the old days. Eamon says Nader the Hatter is talking about buying a very expensive house in Florida and fixing it up to sell. Eamon said Nader often thinks up projects that never get completed. Eamon told me he gave $700 towards a safety lock Nader invented and was going to patent, along with three or four other investors, but only he and Libby ever contributed and nothing came of it. That was when Nader went to Holland. When I told Eamon about the books I acquired that had once belonged to a nursing student, he said he once had an excellent nursing book, but gave it away to a woman who was going to nursing school. Eamon is very generous.

September 2, 1999

Intellectual capital counts and time off is better than money. Devin R. Adams of Elm Street in West Springfield is a former employee of Jalbert Electric and I Like it Like That Bakery. His favorite writers are Stephen King and Carl Sagan.

First thing I left some magazines at the Cohn's with their cleaning woman. I never noticed before, but Mr. Cohn has a little desk by the kitchen table and obviously conducts business there. I stopped to see if they had any Valley Advocates at Louis & Clark, and for the second consecutive week they had none. I recalled to the clerk how Schermerhorn's stopped distributing them after they started attacking Matty Ryan and I said I hope they are not going to do the same. The clerk replied no, that they have always supported the Advocate. A woman in the her 30's in line behind me piped in, "It's my favorite paper!" I then went next door to the fitness place, which also had none, and the manager said the stopped carrying it because "it's not the sort of paper my customers read." That sounded like nonsense, but I said nothing.

Next I swung by Karen Powell's and dropped off some things. We chatted briefly at the her back door but her dogs would not stop barking. From there I drove to the 16 Acres Big Y mall, where the pizza parlor in the corner, which always had an enormous pile, had none. The manager said he didn't want them anymore because they made a mess of the place. Yet, there were other papers on the windowsill, including the latest BRAVO, the CANE report and Devine's newsletter. Finally, I went to Blockbuster Video where there was a large pile. I remarked to the clerk that I wonder if Albano people have been going around urging merchants to drop the Advocate. The clerk smiled and said that Blockbuster will always support the Valley Advocate.

I stopped by Gateway Hardware on Boston Road, but Tom McCarthy wasn't there. His place looks good and was not too badly affected by the road widening, which is virtually complete. As I left I grabbed a Caribbean Labor Day Parade poster. Then to Mrs. Staniski's, whose lawn was freshly mowed by the black man. She had a lot of books to return to me and she thanked her profusely for them, as they helped sustain her through the hot weather. Mrs. S. is a nice lady but aging rapidly. I gave her the McDonald's toy of Snoopy and Woodstock to give to Ann, who is still reading the Western Mass/Pioneer Valley anthology. Before I left, she gave me a bag of chocolate chip cookies she made for me and some hollyhock seeds she said came from The Colony in Kennebunkport, Maine.

From there, it was over to Eamon's where I left my bag for him in the chair next to the open garage door. Then came the difficult part of the day, when I went to visit Aunt Maria Giroux. I was there from 10:58 to 11:14am. The lawn was mowed and there was a white plastic chair by the front steps. The rhubarb patch is plucked nearly clean and no sign of activity in the shop. I went inside and found the place relatively picked up. Aunt Maria was sitting in her chair in the corner of the living room, looking at a new Panasonic TV. She has a new, white telephone with large numbers that Ruth got her.

Aunt Maria was friendly at the start. I gave her a poster of Vermont and two bottles of Mother's perfume. I put the five Swanson frozen dinners in the freezer and showed her the bag of canned goods I brought. She turned off the TV with the remote and told me about a girl she had come in and do some cleaning for $10, but she has since decided to do all the cleaning herself. When I asked her, "What's the state of your medical plan?" she snapped back, "None of your goddam business! Now, get out of here and take the stuff you brought with you if you want!" I said directly to her, "I want the IBM stock!" to which she shouted, "You are never going to get it!" Without further ado I departed. Aunt Maria has always been an attention glutton, getting people to dedicate large amounts of time caring for her. Spoiled brat is the bottom line.

From there I drove over to the Old Country Buffet and dined for $6.50. When I paid, I told the lady that I used to dine at their restaurant on Boston Road all the time and I'm mad they closed. She replied, "I am too." On the way back I stopped at the former Valle's Steak House on West Street, where I addressed the Rotary Club in 1976 and where Mother and I once took Aunt Maria for Thanksgiving dinner. I learned that it is now Razzl's Night Club, a very large and fine facility for that sort of thing.

When I got home I called Maureen Turner and left a message saying that I think the Advocate may be being boycotted and wishing her a nice Fall. Eamon called and read me the editorial in today's paper criticizing Tim Ryan and Bill Foley for opposing the baseball stadium. Eamon called it "one of the meanest editorials" the paper has ever printed. Eamon's cousin Tux Sullivan, who has written two books on baseball, thinks the whole stadium project is laughable and so does Spellacy, who calls it "a joke." Eamon then recalled the time Carol Malley Schultz came by the Ryan headquarters on Sumner Avenue, the only person from the paper to do so, and expressed shock that Charlie intended to criticize the newspaper coverage he was getting. "You're going to take on the newspaper?" she exclaimed, as if they were above all criticism. After he hung up I called Tim Ryan and left a message of support with his secretary, who thanked me.

September 3, 1999

Lovely day.

Arrogance and Ignorance are twins running in a viscous circle. Paul Caron's office is at 535 Main Street in Indian Orchard. The members of the Springfield Baseball Corporation include Cheryl A. Rivera, Peter Picknelly, Michael J. Graney, Allan Blair and Tom Russo. Ronald F. Goulet is President of the North End Community Center. Angelo Della-Ripa is the proprietor of Razzl's Night Club in Springfield.

First thing, I cooked up a mess of broccoli and stewed tomatoes. Paul Caron sent a letter endorsing Jack "Righty" Keough for State Representative, stating, "I feel that Jack Keough is the right candidate for the job of serving as your next State Representative." Eamon called and said his cop friend Spellacy told him to "wear your bullet proof vest if you go downtown at night." He should know.

We discussed Armory Street School and I suggested the building looks in too good shape to tear down. "No doubt about it," Eamon replied, and suggested the problem is the failure to maintain the schools properly. If he was running things, Eamon would privatize the custodial services because a private firm would supervise them better. He says there are five or six custodians per school with no accountability or supervision. He claims that many custodians "don't know what they're supposed to be doing."

Reached Tom Devine, whom I have not spoken with for some time. I mentioned my visit to see the the Twig Painter and the photos of nude people on the wall, but told him I didn't look close enough to see who was in them. He replied that "it's just as well you didn't look too closely." Tom told me he has copyright papers from Doyle, but hasn't read them yet. I suspect Tom is quite close to Doyle so I asked him if Doyle is still friends with Tom McCarthy across the street, and he said yes. I wondered why Doyle seems less interested in me after the mailings he sent and Tom replied, "Maybe because he's afraid you'll embarrass him." So, by being way-out I have caused some people to pull their heads in.

Tom says he gets the impression that "Mayor Albano likes you," but I said that may no longer be true. I also told him how there seems to be an organized effort underway to get merchants to boycott the Valley Advocate and Tom said, "I wouldn't be surprised." Devine wanted to talk about the mean editorial in the paper, he feels the stadium project will fail and cited Mo Turner's article suggesting that the city did not follow instructions and wrongly classified Northgate as a blighted area. Tom says he sometimes exchanges e-mails with Mo Turner but was vague when I pressed him for details. I asked if he thought Mo was well off, but he refused to speculate except to say she is from Long Island, which is an expensive area. I told him I don't care if she has money, I want someone who can bear my child. Maureen Turner remains a research project in progress.

September 4, 1999

Nice day, but the drought continues.

Eamon claims to be able to to recognize which unsigned editorials are by McDermott or David Starr, based on their writing styles. Over 100 displaced by the Holyoke fire. Northeast Utilities claims they had a profit for a change, 14 cents per share. Jeremy in the comic ZITS has a hippie van. B. John Dill is the President of The Coleman Group.

Dined on cornflakes, three peaches, a plum, broccoli and hot dogs. I drove out and made copies at Breckwood and put a few letters in the Louis & Clark mailbox. Then I drove to Forest Park and put out the major mail there. The antique shop up the street is asking $5 for old road maps. Since I have several hundreds of them, my collection must be worth thousands of dollars. The Clock Mill was closed for vacation. Dined at 16 Acres Burger King on a 99 cent coupon (a big one, not a little one) and took pictures of the construction work at the library and the awnings in front of the Goodwill.

I set out for a tag sale at the corner of Puritan Road and Puritan Circle. The sale was unremarkable except for one thing, a box of fundamentalist religious tracts. They were about converting Jews, converting Muslims, Billy Graham, you name it. They had belonged to Rick W. Lidwin of 16 Oliver Street in Chicopee Falls, who had printed his name with mechanical precision on a number of the items. I took all the controversial ones, they are wonderful. I also spotted a sale on Balboa, where I bought a Sealtest milk crate dated 7/86.

Home at 4:30pm, I watched the news and took a nap. Awoke at 10pm and decided to go cruising downtown. I drove past Doyle's art gallery and saw the lights were on, but couldn't see in because of the large painting on display in the window. Arrived downtown at 10:30 and found no parking around the arch, so drove around Worthington and Stearns Square but found no parking spot. Finally I turned back towards Main and parked opposite Hampden Savings Bank.

The lights atop Monarch Palace were an impressive red, white and blue. Gus & Paul's were just closing with three fashionable, young women sitting on the patio out front as workers stacked chairs all around them. Inside, Spaghetti Freddy's was also empty but with their lights still on, having closed just a few minutes ago. Down the hall at Champion's Sports Bar, the story was very different, the place was absolutely packed. There were another 40 people in Mad Maggie's Billiards. Departing Tower Square, across the way Pizzeria Uno had a good number of people inside and on the terrace. Kaos was getting ready to open at 11:30am, it stays open until 5am. They serve no liquor, but no doubt many customers have been drinking at the bars all night and of course may sneak in a vest bottle along with pot or whatever.

Friends had 58 customers, the usual sort, yuppies in their 30's. The stairway was open to the leather bar, so I walked up the green lit stairs and paid a $2 cover charge. It was a long, narrow room, painted all black with art deco mirrors and prints on the walls. There was no live band, but blaring rock music with several mirror balls revolving with blinking colored lights. Some guys were wearing white t-shirts, but no leather anywhere. Lots of conversation, but no action. Back on Worthington Street, I saw that Theodore's had maybe 40 people in it. The band was on break and their instruments were at rest on the stage which is just inside the front window. Naismith's had maybe 30 people at the bar, with the owner checking ID's.

Fat Cat and Cat's Alley, two adjacent storefronts, had a band and a good crowd of about 75. Suddenly a police officer approached and started speaking to me, but I pretended not to hear. Finally he loudly asked, "Sir, are you looking for something?" The officer, whose badge number was 481, was quite friendly. I told him I was counting noses in the bars to see how business really is. The cop said downtown will become more populated the closer it gets to midnight. He said nothing about my purple pants. "All set." he said and walked on.

Over across Stearns Square, the Cafe Manhattan had a good crowd, maybe 50 customers. Caffeine's as always was packed, with maybe a hundred people. The Hot Club was rocking with a police officer standing outside. The Tic-Toc had maybe 30 inside. Eamon says the Tic -Toc has the burger anywhere, served custom made, fat and beefy. Eamon says he's taken Nader the Hatter there several times, he's also taken the Hatter to the Mardi Gras, where girls will dance in your face for a dollar, which seems pretty cheap to me. Eamon claims the strippers look nice, but they're airheads. He says he sees a higher class of girls at someplace in Ludlow, where he sometimes goes.

Sivio's just before Dwight had only 8 customers and nobody at the tables. How does it keep going? The Pub, the oldest gay bar in Springfield, is dominated by a U-shaped bar and a couple of game machines. The bartender was an older man. I cut out and crossed the street to the Judge's Chambers, which had 23 customers with the cheerful proprietor greeting customers as usual by the door.

I'd never been to David's at night before. I paid $3 at the door and then $3 for a Budweiser and sat at the bar for about twenty minutes. The place was filled with kids in their twenties, well dressed, bright and clean. There are pool tables up front and young latino male and female bartenders. No food as far as I could see. They had wonderful dance floor lights, worth watching though there were no dancers. I soon left having engaged in no conversation, although I did have repeated eye contact with a tall, well dressed black man with a collar around his neck who said hi as he passed. I left at 12:15 and headed home, the lights were still on when I passed Doyle's.

September 6, 1999

Lovely day, but ground wet this morning and humid.

John Boyle O'Reilly died in Hull, Massachusetts in 1890. This is the 17th season or Wheel of Fortune, and I am sick of it. The best music on WFCR is to be heard on Sunday mornings and especially in the middle of the night. Clarentha A. Coleman is Director of Personnel for the Springfield Public Schools.

Spent most of yesterday and today at home reading. I wrote a letter to President Caprio this morning, then dined on bacon, eggs and a peach. Went out first thing to the McDonald's on Allen Street and had a steak, egg and cheese bagel with a coupon. The manager asked where I got the coupon and I told him at the Taste of Springfield. Read a morning paper that someone had left behind in the restaurant. Next I went to Food Mart to get some brown bread and other items on special. I made copies at Pride and mailed something to Moriarty at Breckwood. I found a MARS Night Club Grand Opening featuring D.J. Michael Kane flyer lying on the ground.

When I got back, I came across an old lock from the Waterbury Lock and Specialty Company in Milford, Connecticut that Mother got out of a bargain bin somewhere. I remember it never worked and when I sent a letter of complaint I got it back with a notice of no forwarding address. Perhaps they were already out of business when Mother bought it, yet she never threw it away.

Eamon called and told me that over the years he has given away thousands of dollars in clothes to the Salvation Army. He fears an economic downturn is coming soon. We got to talking about former governors, and Eamon said that Governor Foster Furcolo's administration had homosexuals in high positions. "Chris Mahoney, his chief secretary, was one." Eamon hears that Senator Brian Lees may be gay, but has never seen any evidence of it himself.

Eamon has heard nothing from Nader the Hatter. He did speak recently with Tony Ravosa, who told him that Tony Jr. is no longer with the Massachusetts Port Authority and is making more money as a political consultant. Yesterday Eamon was walking past the Springfield Newspapers building when he ran into an old friend. As they were chatting, David Starr and Larry McDermott walked past and gave Eamon dirty looks. Eamon gave them a big, friendly grin in return, thinking this would annoy them more than responding in kind. "Oh Sully!" his friend exclaimed. "They didn't look like they liked you too much!" Eamon laughed and told his friend, "It's a long story."

September 7, 1999

Red sun at dawn.

TV22 was showing us their new studio on the 6am news. It is supposed to be the premiere studio between New York and Boston. The Business section of the paper had an article about Mary Kay Wydra of the tourist bureau, she is an unmarried 34 year old who is a Springfield College graduate. Barbara Wallace is Senior Vice President of the Bank of Western Massachusetts.

Typed a letter to Wesley Church. Drove out to Pride at 7am and made copies, but on the way I dropped off something for Caprio. His car was not in his space so I left my stuff with Susette Curto, who was very cordial. No campus literature lying around. Actually, my first stop was at the Cohn's. She was at the kitchen table and he appeared and returned the Polish grammar book. He said Zachary has a hit a snag and won't be down to visit as planned. He also said "it's too bad" that Mr. Penniman's health is failing. Then down to Breckwood, where I saw two cop cars parked across the way at Duggan. I got the paper out of the Louis & Clark trash can as usual.

Then out to the Forest Park Post Office to put out my mail, including my letter to the Anti-Defamation League in Boston. The clock shop was open but I didn't go in. Bombed down to the Quadrangle, where I tried to park by Lido's, but the lot was full. Cops having a union meeting? I finally found a spot on Worthington. On the way downtown I paused at Fred Whitney's and left some stuff, including the Harvard recommendation forms. The garage door was open and his car was inside, but no one came to the door. Road work is still clogging the Edwards Bridge.

At the library I picked up Devine's latest newsletter, which includes a flashback to his Heroes and Villains of 1996. I then left a few items with the security guard at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. The Museum of Fine Arts lunchroom is closed for remodeling, silly because they just opened. Then I picked up my Mass estate tax forms at the old post office. The blood drive people had a table set up and a woman invited me to donate. I pointed to my leather jacket and replied, "I hear you don't want any from queers." She nodded and said, "So sorry." That took care of that.

My next stop was the current Federal Building, and I had trouble getting in. The metal alarm went off and they couldn't find the source until we realized it was the zipper on my fleece. I got the federal estate tax materials, then looked at a display of building plans for a new Federal Courthouse. They all look awful, although some are better than others. One proposed plan looks like nothing but big panes of glass held together by coat hanger wire.

I swung by the SIS Building and dropped off something for Christopher Bramley with his receptionist Joan Lewandowski. Then I made a deposit at the Bank of Boston, wandered through City Hall, then over to the courthouse, where I found Moran impeccably clad, cordial, complaining of back pain and not ready to return the book I loaned him. I decided to go the The Fort to dine, where I was greeted at the door by Rudi. I sat at the table under the bottle openers, but walked around a little first. I found the tunnel out to the back alleyway, it really is an immense and eccentric structure. Matty Ryan was there, seated with an old man. I had onion soup and a mug of beer and left a $2 tip. Down on Dwight in the porn shop next to David's, they have a small sex toys department with an nice iron collar, but Larry had no idea what the price was.

When I got home, the mail was already here and there were no calls while I was out. The mail included a letter from Marshall Moriarty, Chairman of the Springfield Republican City Committee, inviting me to a meeting about ward representation at Christ Presbyterian Church on Allen Street September 13th. Eamon called and said he was downtown filling out the papers to have his tax lowered as a disabled vet. He asked me to sell him my Roche's Collected Works of John Boyle O'Reilly. I said he's a friend and is free to borrow, but the set is not for sale. He argued that he is afraid to borrow lest something happen to it, so I told him if so he is forgiven in advance. I also gave him the number of East Bay Books. We talked about the ad in the paper for Halloween jobs at Riverside.

Eamon's caller ID shows his editorials get regular calls from Jahn Foundry and John Cameron. Eamon is surprised because he hasn't said anything about Jahn Foundry since the time of the explosion. Eamon told me Spellacy called and told him that Starr, McDermott and Wayne Phaneuf came down to the police station and complained that they are not being given regular updates on important investigations and their reporters always have to ask. But Chief Meara was not around, she goes to a lot of official functions.

September 9, 1999

Raining this morning, then hot and humid.

Manhood is a current issue. Formerly both the church and military taught young men discipline. Such is no longer the case and things are getting out of control as young men aspire to male stereotypes. Nastiness prevails. A monument to the kids killed at Kent State was unveiled today. What a disgraceful adventure Vietnam was. Why didn't they unveil the monument on May 4th, the actual date? Henry J. Duffy is Curator of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire. Just Friends on Hampden Street in Springfield has a monthly Latin Night with Nina Arena. Wes and Mim Herwig took a birthday cake to their daughter Daphne Fleury of West Brookfield.

Trash went promptly. Dined on dropped egg, a peach, corn flakes and then later Franco-American Ravioli. Reading about Edwardian fiction. An awful lot of these authors were educated at home, as Grandfather George Manuel Miller was. A lot of little moths on the breezeway today. Drove out to the Acres looking for the Valley Advocate, but nobody had one. Then to the Eastfield Mall, where they were giving away a free vegetable brush. Went past the theater and the ticket seller lady told me that business is usually slow except on weekends.

The mail didn't come until 5:30pm. What's up? None of it was First Class. I called Merrian-Webster and Ann answered, saying that Bicknell was in a meeting. She connected with John Morse's secretary and I left my complaint with her. Eamon called and said he is a member of Cosco for $35 per year, but he isn't sure he's getting his money's worth. We talked about the opening of the riverfront in Hartford. He also told me that the article in the Advocate dumping on McDermott is excellent. We also talked about the Talented and Gifted program in Springfield, which Eamon says is a mess.

Eamon told me he listens to WMAS because he "likes the oldies." It will cost $287,000 for United Wreckers to clean up after the fire in Holyoke. Eamon said his brother Raymond the Fire Chief, who died young despite working out three times a week, told him once that the Holyoke Fire Department has the wrong fire fighting philosophy. They fight fires from the street, instead of aggressively going into a building and knocking the fire down from the inside.

September 11, 1999

Rainstorm at dawn, biggest shower we've had for weeks.

A lawsuit has been brought on behalf of the disabled, claiming that the courthouses in Plymouth and Franklin Counties deny adequate access to the handicapped. There was a picture in the paper of Thomas F. Moriarty, history professor at Elms College, walking through the old Elms Library in Berchman's Hall. The Boston Nasty Boyz are performing at Club Escape on Paine Street in Chicopee. The Pioneer Valley Brew Club is located on Taylor Street in Springfield.

Years ago the Gallagher's painted their house lilac and then later put maroon paint over it except for a patch on the back of the roof, I suspect because it is a difficult spot to get to. Dick Nichols never finished painting the sides of the gables at the back of his house and they are tacky looking. Out bright and early at quarter to ten. Kelly has pulled the weeds out of her lawn and reseeded. I got the paper out of the Louis & Clark trash can, then stopped at several tag sales. I got some video boxes that were marked H.O.T. 1900 Wilbraham Road. I also saw a desktop paddle wheel such as I once saw the reception desk of the Valley Advocate many months ago. At the Evangelical Covenant Church the base to the steeple has been mounted on the roof. A new building is going up just beyond Angelo's and Arnold's on Bay. The Pier One building at the corner of Parker and Boston Road has been demolished and the land leveled.

From the tag sales I proceeded downtown and parked on Dwight near the old Federal Building. I went to the fair on Mattoon Street, where I had barely arrived when a woman carrying a canvas covered violin case called out to me. She was wearing a white blouse, red shirt and short heeled black shoes. I realized it was Stacia Flipiack Falcowski, the violinist/vocalist from Indian Orchard. She told me she studied with Maurice Freedman and was in the Junior Symphony, just like me. What a coincidence! She described herself as an environmental activist with a degree from UMass. I mentioned Eamon and Belle-Rita and promised to send her info on how to get in touch with them. A few minutes later she was performing alone and at one point asked me what I would like her to play. I suggested Meditation from Thais, as I know no one who studied under Freedman could fail to know it. She played it very nicely.

Then I walked around and studied the crowd. I saw no posters. Mattoon Street was looking pretty empty compared to past years. There was no Doyle the Twig Painter or other local artists who had once been Mattoon Street regulars. There was lots of empty space and no booths near Chestnut. There were two food booths at the top of Mattoon, one run by the Hispanic Baptists and the other by someone in the neighborhood. Good gay community turnout, I spotted a few couples holding hands. I talked to the Preservation Trust Lady and asked if Fran Gagnon was still involved with their group and she said she used to but no more because "she's busy with other things." I said I didn't think much of her and the lady volunteered "a lot of people don't."

I then spoke with a man and woman at Encore Players and they were very forthcoming. They said that in the old days under Steve Hays, Stage West was very friendly to them. But shortly after Hays left, things changed, certainly after moving into the city, and now Stage West has nothing to do with them, no sharing, no communication. They said Stage West is no longer sensitive to the kinds of shows Springfield audiences want. I recalled that Eamon told me he has been to Encore performances and they were good, despite the acoustical problems at the Sanderson Theater. Louise Minkshad had a sign "Artist of the Day" on her easel.

From Mattoon I went over to Glendi 99, where I paid $6 for a gyro plate, which turned out to be different than the one I used to buy at Madison. In Wisconsin, the plate was piled high with meat, lots of onion, tomato wedges and with sauce poured generously over the whole business. It was a feast and I got one every month or so. However, at Glendi it consisted of only a gyro sandwich with a little rice on the side. I drank no beverages. There was a long table of Greek desserts, however, I bought nothing. There were a few men standing around to pick up dishes and wipe the tables.

In the basement of the old library they had an art show, but the prices were far too high, selling for thousands what was only worth hundreds. There were few of the beautiful Greek scenes I recall from the last time I went. Upstairs they had a good tag sale going, which included the Diamond Gold Connection dealer, a fine table of Russian religious icons and nice boxes of carved wood featuring images of bears and rabbits. There were several hundred under the tent, watching a line of red, white and black clad Greek dancers.Bradley and his wife were just arriving at one sale as I was leaving. He asked me, "Do you still wear orange?" Apparently, he has a problem with it. I decided I had enough for one day and exited. Home at 4:20pm. The mail brought a nice thank you letter from John M. Morse at Merriam-Webster for the painting registration forms I sent him.

For supper I had a Marie Callendar Chicken Pot Pie, which has good crust. An Alice Quinlan called asking, "Are you the John Miller who went to Holy Name School in Chicopee? When I replied no, she apologized for bothering me, but it was the only way she had of finding this person. Called Aunt Maria and she answered with a hearty hello. Called Crosset and Powell about the upcoming Republican meeting featuring Whitney. Tom Vannah of the Valley Advocate returned my call and we had a cordial chat. I congratulated him on his piece on McDermott and told him that many are praising Mo Turner's piece on the Police Department. I informed him about Spellacy also liking it because it was critical of the Meara regime. He seemed quite interested as I told him how I got my season pass revoked by Riverside. I had no problem hearing Vannah's voice, which was not always the case when I spoke with Maureen.

Eamon called and we talked for about 15 minutes about the lawsuit by Dianne Wilson over injuries she received at Riverside in June 1998. Eamon said Chicopee is paying $70 per day for substitute teachers and more if they work for an extended period. Eamon has not yet received an invitation to the opening of the Irish Cultural Center Grand Opening. We talked about the decline of Protestantism in Springfield and all the churches that have closed or merged. I was surprised by how little Eamon seemed to know about the Protestant faith.

September 12, 1999

Sunny, a beautiful day once again.

Worcester now wants a baseball stadium. Thirty years ago it was civic centers. Anthony Lake, former National Security Adviser, will speak at the Springfield Public Forum on October 21st. Muhlberger is not in the phone book. Dined on tomatoes and toast.

Increasingly things are being put in squeeze containers, and now they are going to sell peanut butter that way. I'll bet manufacturers like squeeze containers because food is left behind that you can't squeeze out and that means more sales sooner. No scraping clean a squeeze container. I came across some of the last checks from Shawmut signed by Father in 1985, and it is obvious his handwriting was failing.

I went to bed this morning at 12:35am after listening to some Swedish composer's Reminiscences of the Norwegian Mountains which was hauntingly beautiful. Out to McDonald's with another coupon for a free steak, egg and bagel sandwich. My supply has lasted all summer and I have two coupons left. The McDonald's on Allen was well filled as it always is, but next door at Wendy's there was only three cars in the lot. As I left, I pointed out a loose door latch to the McDonald's janitor, a black gentleman with pigtails.

Next I made copies at Pride in the Acres and photographed the progress on the new library roof. The Goodwill, whose Grand Opening I missed on the 9th, had a large red balloon in front. From there I headed downtown and parked on Spring right near the back door of Technical High. I headed over to the second day of the Mattoon Fair, it was a beautiful day and a good turnout. A line of about 20 were waiting at the Spanish Baptist Church food booth. There were people all around and I took pictures. The Jozephczyk's were there and I said I'll have to have them over sometime. I then drove over to the North End to check out Glendi again and parked in front of the Peter Pan bus garage, the old trolley shed. There was more people there than yesterday and I ran into Mr. and Mrs. Cohn. We exchanged pleasantries.

When I got back, the Allard's were just going out to eat. He asked, "How are you doing now, living all alone?" He also said they hated the oak tree that died during the drought and claimed the city will have to remove it because it is on the tree belt. I suggested they might be sluggish about doing so and promised to have them over for sherry sometime. Eamon called and we discussed McDermott's latest diatribe against lengthy letters. Eamon claims I wouldn't last a week married to a woman. Could well be.

September 13, 1999

Dined on cornflakes, peaches and a Subway grinder I bought downtown, generously prepared by Shkena, who after a hiatus still remembered how I like vinegar and oil. D'Affunchio's Ristorante and Pizzaria next door is closed and available for rent thru Colebrook. I think Lou Dramin's was in there and the art deco motif goes back to Arden's. The Reminder was delivered and the mail came at its heels, delivered by the regular guy. The General Edwards Bridge will be closed tomorrow, it has been tied up on and off all summer.

Took a pile of mags down to the Cohn's and Mrs. Cohn was at the kitchen table and I left them with her. Her husband was out. Poked my head into Penniman's, but she had her hair up in curlers so I simply said hi and extended my good wishes. I didn't hang around. Got the paper out of the Louis & Clark trashcan. From there I went to drop off film, which would be developed by noon (I don't really need such good service) at Walmart. The clerk at Walmart was an Oriental guy named Lenny so I asked him if he had ever heard of Lenny Bruce. He laughed and said, "That's who my parents named me after!" However, he admitted than he has never read anything by Lenny Bruce. The film developing cost $6.46. I counted 31 cars in the parking lot. The new pavement on Boston Road is really nice, the orange lines in the middle remain to be painted.

Next I headed down to Merriam-Webster, where I left something for Mr. Morse with their chubby receptionist Ann. Directly across from their main door was a light blue car with the driver's side window smashed out. I saw a cop standing around Pearl Street so I told him about it. There were cars parked illegally all along Pearl by the Armory fence and every one of them had an orange ticket on it. Then down to the Greek Cultural Center where I got a Glendi 99 poster. From there I drove back downtown and and parked on Salem. At City Hall I ordered seven copies of Mother's death certificate, which they said would not be ready until 3pm tomorrow. Got a grinder at Subway and then headed home, pausing to photograph the steeple raising at the Evangelical Covenant Church. I told the person in charge I would give them copies, it turned out to be Ralph Carlson, a Vice-president at Spaulding in Chicopee.

At night I went to the Republican City Committee meeting wearing my Raising Hell is My Business t-shirt. It turned out the meeting was quite worthwhile. I had hoped Brian Santinello would be there so I could tell him I think he's an Albano toady who only turned Republican in hopes of getting a big job in Boston. However, although he had been at the GOP picnic, he was not there tonight. Candidate Scott Santaniello was there, he has signs all over town but is somber rather than smiling and doesn't speak very loud.

Marshall Moriarty arrived late, but made some good comments about the need to recruit more minorities into the party. I doubt that will happen, but Marshall's heart is in the right place. The Powell's were there and were chatting with Fred Whitney when I arrived. Karen told us she is going to run her dog for Mayor as a joke write-in candidate because Mayor Albano has no opposition this year. I mentioned Wavy Gravy's Nobody for President joke campaign and she remembered it. Mr. Whitney wasn't all that friendly towards me, I don't think he liked the way I was dressed. His son walked by me without speaking. Bob Magovern of Agawam was there. I counted 26 attendees in all, no blacks or Latinos.

While I was chatting with a young Italian fellow who lives in Longmeadow, recently graduated from Worcester Poly in Chemical Engineering, a tiny mouse appeared in the hallway. I stepped on him and threw the corpse in the trash. We figured he probably got in through the back door of the church. I put a dollar in the collection pail, they served coffee, donut holes, stale cookies but nice brownies. I put Eamon's phone number on the blackboard at one point and told everyone to call "to find out the latest news."

The whole event was Whitney giving a presentation, after being introduced by Mary Kaufman, about the need to change from at-large to a ward representation system. Whitney stated that the current system "has killed democracy in Springfield." He spoke politely, honestly and with confidence, coming across as a real teddy bear. I could hear Whitney just fine. Later I told him he should develop his speech into a scholarly paper. Whitney said Tom Devine has been appearing regularly on Kateri Walsh's radio show on WHYN. We both agreed that it is difficult to get elected in Springfield if you are not Irish or Italian.

Eamon's present answering machine editorial is about the need for term limits. Eamon called and talked about his oldest brother Gerald, who died of scarlet fever. Eamon got it too and it stunted his growth, so as a kid he had to be tough in order to handle bigger kids who gave him a hard time. Eamon said Peter Hogan, who vacations at Groton Long Point in Connecticut, told him that Eddie Boland just spent $1.2 million for a place down there. It's more private than on the Cape where a lot of big politicians go.

Eamon then talked about Boland's adviser and life long friend Daniel Keyes, a Chicopee judge. Keyes never gave any politician more than $25 and his son was a disappointment to him because he never became a lawyer. Young Keyes was briefly Hampden County Treasurer, but was defeated by Rose Marie Coughlan. The son also sold life insurance and Eamon described him as "light as a feather" intellectually. Eamon then told me how he himself once tried to sell life insurance, but he couldn't stand the idea of scaring people into buying by talking about heart attacks and the need to provide money for loved ones.

September 14, 1999

It was a busy day. Peter Pan has closed its pizza shop in the Springfield bus terminal, McDonald's will move into the pizza shop's former space. Dined on Swedish meatballs and peppers. Spoke to Karen Powell briefly, she told me that Picknelly's son was involved with the Cellucci campaign. According to her, the Picknelly family deals with both Democrats and Republicans and "play both sides of the fence."

Went out to cut the lawn, and brought out Sweet Pea and Honey Pot so I could take their picture sitting in the driveway. I also clipped down the goldenrod, which has crowded out the phlox in the garden. Kelly was home watering her lawn. Both Mrs. Penniman and Martel drove by and waved. The Allard's went by in their black Cadillac. The street sweeper came by, which seemed silly, they should have come by after the trash gets picked up tomorrow.

At Breckwood I sent a mailing to Tom Vannah which included a note for him to give to Maureen. I also got the paper out of the Louis & Clark trashcan. Then I left off a Harvard vita form on Fred Whitney's back doorknob, after swinging by Walmart, where I bought four rolls of film for $9 and dropped one off for developing. Then I drove downtown and parked in the parking lot for Jeff's Frames and walked over to City Hall to get the copies of Mother's death certificate, 7 for $56.

From there I headed to the unveiling of the bust of State Representative Andrew M. Scibelli (1911-1998). The ceremony was on Main Street in the South End, opposite Margaret Street, with a reception later at the Our Lady of St. Carmel Society. The bust of Scibelli is by Wilbraham artist Carl Sundberg. Governor Cellucci, a friend of Scibelli when they both served in the statehouse, was there along with Mayor Albano. All the big shots were present, Peter Picknelly arrived in a white and cream Rolls Royce. Fran Gagnon and her husband sat right in front of me, he nodded to me but she remained sullenly silent. Had a chat with Leonard Collamore, who said he still collects Columbus material. Mayor Albano gave me a big smile and a handshake. I heard someone call "Wesley" and it was Marshall Moriarty. Joe Carvalho was there chatting with the Quadrangle lawyer and City Councilor Bill Foley.

I spoke with the sculptor Carl Sundberg, who described himself as "a Swede who converted to Catholicism." I told him it was wrong that his name appeared no where on the program, although he was introduced at the end. I told him how much I admire his work and that the Scibelli bust has a great smile. An honor guard stood behind the monument throughout the ceremony. This was the third event I've been to recently where Kevin Kennedy has stood in for Richie Neal. Eddie Boland was there sitting with former Mayor Sullivan. Boland looked feeble and hunched over, that beach house he bought for a million must be some kind of estate planning.

President Caprio was there with an umbrella (it sprinkled slightly but soon stopped). Gagnon's umbrella was white and gold. Some Italian women sang the Star Spangled Banner and the Italian National Anthem. Many people spoke of how Scibelli was an early riser and used to call people at five in the morning. Several people spoke besides Governor Cellucci, including Picknelly, Albano, Heribero Flores, Cheryl Rivera, Tom Finneran, Linda Melconian plus Representatives Bill Nagle and Tom Petrolati. Paul Caron said hi.

At the reception at Mt. Carmel, the refreshments were lovely. They served cream puffs with real cream, little cakes from LaFiorintina plus a platter of veggies from which I took only one tomato. They had a plate of cheese, finger rolls filled with egg salad (I consumed two) deviled ham and tuna fish. When I got back to the car I gave Jeff a program for letting me park at his shop. On my way home I stopped to see Mrs. Staniski, who I found sitting on her front porch. She said she had been over to see Carol, who has had a knee operation and can't drive for a while. Ann is expected this weekend.

September 15, 1999

TV22 had a reporter on talking about food safety at the Big E and said the stands are inspected "by the town of Springfield." Louis & Clark has stores in Baystate Medical Center, Mercy Hospital, Chicopee, Wilbraham, Breckwood Shops and one on Page Boulevard. The Dance Company is in most of the old lawnmower place at the plaza. As of the end of August my Hampden account has $2,916.79 in it.

Dr. Thomas G. Little has died at age 87. He was an oral surgeon in Springfield for over 35 years and his daughter Susan Little, a thin, dark haired girl who often wore plaid skirts, was in my 8th grade class in Room 203 in Buckingham. At one point she invited our class to a picnic at their large house on Parker Street about opposite Hillcrest Cemetery. I think her family moved to Longmeadow in 1958.

I've been reading and working on the estate. At Louis & Clark I mailed the quarterly tax payments to the IRS and a note to Lois the artist. Ciatras was there but sheepishly just said hi. Then I delivered the steeple pictures to Aggie in the ground level office at the Evangelical Covenant. There were lots of cars in the parking lot so there must have been something going on. It was starting to sprinkle as I arrived at the Albank on Island Pond Road. Then to STCC, where the lady in the President's office took my letter. I walked around the campus a bit and picked up a few posters.

Next to Eamon's, who was out so I left my magazines in a chair by the garage. Then to Savers, where I found a used book with a John A. McDonough business card in it. I also bought a hardcover Portable Arthur Miller, an unusual find. A young guy in a red Savers employee cap told me that if something doesn't sell in about a month they take if off the shelf. I also popped into Food Mart and bought the specials, especially the Swanson dinners and Progresso soup. I could survive just buying the foods that are on special. I stopped and got a McDonald's double cheeseburger with bacon for 99 cents, on the way home I saw Doyle doing his twig painting under his umbrella.

I called Sheila at the Probate Office and she immediately recognized my voice. I told her a lot of people recognize my voice and asked if there is anything funny about it. "Nothing at all," she said, "It's just a very distinctive voice. You said once you were an English teacher and I'm sure you were a very good one." She said she would see that I get the form. Called and spoke to Karen Powell briefly, she said she doesn't think Larry McDermott is all that bright. She also agreed with me about the Seuss statues, they need color and motion to better represent the style of Seuss' work.

Eamon called and said Nader the Hatter called him on Monday. He also thanked me for the magazines I dropped off. Eamon said he was down talking to Dick Serkin at Feinstein's Leather, who told Eamon he believes the baseball stadium will fail. Serkin has heard rumors that the Mardi Gras may buy the Exeter Building and tear it down for parking. He said of David Starr: "He'll step over a dollar to pick up a dime."


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.

October 27, 1999

47 degrees on the breezeway at 7:45am.

Tax payment day. First thing, before the trash was collected, a street sweeper came by. It used to be the trash was picked up, then the street sweeper came by to tidy up. Having them come before is foolish. Out a 9am, made copies, then paid my taxes at the Wilbraham Town Office at 9:31am. On to Fernbank, where at 222 Maynard Road, the fancy shingle house way in, they have a little rounded stone wall with pretty flowers and a small bench. Fernbank is secure, the next house had a large white car on the side of their lot.

The former State Line Potato Chip plant has a sign on it saying it is for lease by the Foley Company. The Lakeside restaurant appears to be out of business, closed up tight. The big brick place that was formerly Belli's is for sale. I stopped at Ford of Wilbraham to see about clearing the title on Mother's car. I also told them I have 1935 and 1973 model Fords if they know anyone who wants them.

Left there about 10:12am and went to Bank of WMass where I was waited on by Mrs. Maggi. I then made some color copies at Staples, driving there behind a PVTA bus that had a sign on the back, "If you can't see my mirror, I can't see you." Next I left a bag of stuff at Mrs. Staniski's back door, but I didn't knock because I could hear her practicing piano.

Continuing downtown, I parked on Salem at 11:04am. I paid my taxes at Springfield City Hall, then swung by Mayor Albano's office and left an invitation for the Simon the Dog for Mayor rally with his chubby, Irish aide Nick Breault. Then I left one for Russ Denver, on the way running into genealogist O'Connor (glasses on a shoelace around his neck) walking with Dorothy Pepin. The food court in Tower Square has new flooring down, very elegant, more space, possibly more sanitary than the previous arrangement. I left a Simon invitation for Peter Picknelly at the Sheraton, officer David immediately got on his walkie-talkie to somebody the moment I got out the door.

I stopped to see Brenda Branchini, who was wearing bibbed overalls, and she told me she intended to go to the dog for mayor rally. I then stopped at First Church and retrieved my knit cap that I left behind Sunday. Then to give Hurwitz an invitation where I met his son Mike. Finally, at the Union-News I left invitations for Starr, Garvey, McDermott and Phaneuf with the black woman at the reception desk. Then back to the car, dropping off an invite for Fred Whitney on the way home, where I arrived at 1:10pm.

Atty. Kamberg Berman called while I was out, but fortunately I missed him. Carellas called from his insurance office and wanted to know if I'd like a policy on my Maynard Road property but I declined. I called Aunt Maria, who told me she now gets Meals on Wheels, which she described as "delicious, I don't think you'll ever get better food than this." I recalled how she used to be against the program, just as she was once opposed to going to McDonald's, but then loved it when she finally did go with Mother. She was much friendlier than she has been, I told her I'll see her in early November.

Eamon called and I chatted with him for awhile. He told me about Bill Putnam's wife, a Fitzgerald with whom he had nothing in common. She didn't like being in public although she was quite intelligent and she died about 14 years ago. Eamon says he's certain that Bill's relationship with Kitty Broman is intimate. Then he talked about Sherman Bowles of the paper and how he used to laugh at Dick Garvey behind his back. Bowles owned a few businesses, Atlas Trucking, Longchamps Chocolate out of NYC and owned a lot of wooded land up in Maine. Eamon claimed that the only person at the paper "with any brains" was Sidney Cook and that the recently published history of the paper is "full of lies."

October 28, 1999

Sunny and 43 degrees at 9am.

I dined today on micro-waved potatoes, onions and sprouts. A review of Fight Club in the Boston Globe calls it, "A dark, simmering comedy of male rage." A&E has a biography special on Pablo Picasso this Sunday. The General Manager at Riverside Park is Tim Black. Nichols Fine Antiques is located in Plainville, Massachusetts.

I left word of the Simon for Mayor rally at the Powell's on Tom Devine's voicemail first thing this morning. Visited the Cohn's briefly, Mrs. Cohn told me that Zachary was in Hudson the day of the Library booksale so he couldn't attend. From there I went to McDonald's for a breakfast of a bacon and egg bagel bought with a dollar coupon. Then I got groceries at Super Food Mart and for the first time used the self checkout machine. When I got back at 11:05am there was a bag from Mrs. Staniski hanging on the back gate.

Raked the side lawn. Mail arrived here exactly at 1:35pm. Following raking the leaves I called Mrs. Staniski, who said she still feels sad when she stops at my house because it is too soon after Mother's death. She told me Carol's 21 year old son works for Old Country Buffet and I said getting away from home would be the best thing that could happen to him. Ann had to go to a convention in Burlington, so they drove up and stopped in Bethel. She said she had her picture taken in front of Miller Church, which she said has been "freshly painted." It was locked so she couldn't go in. Then on to Burlington, but it rained the rest of the day so she sat at the hotel reading while Ann went to the convention. We agreed to go out to eat together sometime soon.

I left a message with Paul Martello about what I've been doing to promote my books. "We want to sell these things!" I said. I then left word of the rally on Belle-Rita Novak's tape. Eamon called and said he wants to be cremated and have his ashes buried either in Bourne on the Cape or in Agawam. Called Madison again about my archives but has still gotten nowhere. They always tell him to leave his name and number, but no one ever gets back to him. I told him Michael Stevens is the person he should talk to. Eamon then talked about Rep. Catjakis, who has one son who is "a thief" who was involved with the collapse of All for a Dollar. Another son is the jail guard who was in the news for beating up a man in handcuffs. He simultaneously held a job working for the turnpike. His friends are trying to organize a fundraiser to help him with his legal expenses.

October 30, 1999

Sunny and 47 degrees at 8am.

WFCR claimed today that the the Internet was started October 29, 1969 at Stanford. Tonight I cooked myself a can of Campbell's Beans, onions and sprouts. For breakfast I had cake and a banana. Took a bath and finished the raking today. My Lewis-Caulton for Council sign got knocked over again. I fixed it and then left word with her about it and also the Simon rally. Out first thing to Angleo's for potatoes, onions and bananas. then over to the tag sale at Trinity, whose parking lot needs repaving. I didn't arrive until 10:30 and was well back in line, Melinda McIntosh and the black ladies were at the front, as usual.

I did extremely well, got a complete set of the multi-volume Smithsonian Antique Encyclopedia. Forest Park Antiques had a booth and the guy congratulated me on my TV appearances with Devine. He says he's opening up another shop in Connecticut. Somebody was asking $10 for a 1964 Mass license plate, but I already have one. I found a few antique books that had once belonged to the Attleboro Public Library, including a 1845 Methodist hymnal in good condition. I bought a fistful of postcards from Mike Jacobs of Matrix Gallery in New York, who told me all four of his daughters are lawyers. Melinda said she got a couple of things.

For lunch I got a 99 cent Big Mac in the Square, the service was very slow. From there I swung by the mall, where there were 34 cars parked outside the cinema. I got pastries at Freihoffer's and I cashed some checks to have money for the week. When I got home I saw that Mrs. Penniman was out, so I asked about her husband, whom she described as "not doing well." Someone had left a flyer for me with a Kateri Walsh write-in sticker attached.

I decided I should alert a few more people about tomorrow's Simon rally, so I got on the phone and left word with Tim and Maureen Ryan, plus the bartender at Just Friends. I also spoke to M. Bewsee, but she said ARISE has too much going on tomorrow for her to attend. Chatted with Eamon, who liked Berman's letter. Eamon said he's received lots of calls on his latest phone editorial dumping on Kateri Walsh.

October 31, 1999

Sunny, 59 degrees at 9:30am.

Had scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, carrot cake, milk and a sugary orange drink for breakfast. Also a banana.

I went to the Powell's Simon the Dog for Mayor rally and arrived at 1:30pm. I wore my orange suit. Socrates Babacas arrived just after me. Robinson the Valley Advocate photographer was there. He apologized for not getting my material to me, but said he would bring it by tomorrow. I gave him my card and said I'll be home tomorrow. Later he noticed me taking pictures and asked me to send him any with him in it. Brenda Branchini came with her little dog and I took her picture.

The Powell's had a picnic table set up in their garage, which is quite tidy, with plenty of food, a cooler of soda and beer and a campaign themed cake. I took a bag of potato chips. I'd say the gathering peaked at 25 attendees around 3pm. A colorfully attired Tom Devine arrived with his friend Jordan Williams. I asked Tom why I never see him driving, and he replied that he has his license, but since he doesn't own a car, has little opportunity to use it.

The candidate was in the backyard with Karen posing for pictures as Robinson rolled around on the ground getting different angles. At one point Tom Devine gave a delightful campaign speech, full of humorous dog metaphors, cliches and puns. Afterward there were Simon for Mayor signs and I took one along with a Tim Ryan sign which I promised to put up in front of my house. After I left I tried to get my film developed at Walmart, but they said it was too late for today and I would have to drop them off tomorrow.