January 2000

January 1, 2000

27 degrees at 7:45am.

The cold is still here, damned overcast, the sun crying to come out. Dined on broccoli and lasagna. Carellas Insurance Agency is located at 180 Union Street in West Springfield.

Called the nursing home yesterday and got Debbie who said Aunt Maria is "just fine" and there are no plans for her to come home until "she has a talk with her physician." She said ladies come regularly to visit her and Aunt Maria told the staff that she wants nothing more than to live to see the millennium. I watched TV last night and TV22 was celebrating the Grand Opening of their new station. Judy Matt was shown at Court Square, where there were already 800 people gathered by 6:30pm. I went to bed at 11:30 and that was it.

I waved to Michael today over the hedge, but didn't call anyone to wish them a Happy New Year. Eamon called me and said he spoke with ten people today and six of them had colds. He complained that they're saying it will take three weeks to fix the hole in Main Street in front of Tilly's. He said in NYC a main installed in 1894 burst at the corner of 93rd and 2nd and it was fixed in a day. He says it's tough to get people to do things right. Eamon said his sister Kathleen had a wonderful New Year's at Chez Josef for $100, dancing to a big band with a continental breakfast served at midnight. Candice Lopes called reminding me that I got an invitation to Albano's inauguration tomorrow. I thanked her saying I'll try to come.

Went to McDonald's for hotcakes, no sausage. No Valley Advocates at Louis & Clark so I drove downtown and got an Advocate out of a newsbox and bought a Union-News out of a box in front of the post office. Richard Garvey is gone from the paper's masthead, although he and Fran Gagnon were cited in their millennium coverage as local experts on the history of the valley in the last century. Downtown was pretty much deserted. I walked around Court Square and found a little confetti on the ground and got the millennium program from First Church out of a trash can, then home.

January 3, 2000

Heavily overcast all day, 50 degrees at 10:40am.

The news said that as the Millennium begins there are 35 wars in progress around the world. In the 50's and 60's we were told that technology would make it possible for a shorter work week, but the opposite has happened with workers now required to work mandatory overtime as Americans work more hours than any other country on Earth. Technology makes life more competitive as everyone struggles to keep up.

Kelly still has her green backyard lights up. I have put the sample of millennium graffiti I got off the ground in Court Square on New Year's Day in a tiny baggy to preserve for historical purposes. They successfully suckered me into going to the pre-Inaugural event at First Church, but not Mayor Albano's inauguration itself. I wore my purple outfit with bondage collar with two big queer buttons attached to my crotch area, a real innovation, but nobody said anything. Went downtown and parked on Salem. The porn shop told me they sell six or seven copies of Leatherman magazine each month.

I arrived at First Church just as the service was starting. The guy at the door said it was not a public event, but I pulled out my invitation and that took care of that. There were around fifty people present, it looked like all the Albano people were there. Candice Lopes spoke and a group from the Golden Agers sang. The sermon was about wisdom. Ms. Van Orter engaged me in conversation briefly, I also congratulated Loesch on his sermon and he was very cordial. The breakfast was disappointing, no eggs or meat, just danish, muffins, bagels, fruit juice, coffee, grapes, berries and sliced melons. As I left by the back door I saw Peter Picknelly talking with his real estate man. I waved to him and he grunted as I walked out. Lots of buses with school children in them were arriving for the inauguration. I waved to Albano himself as he walked towards the auditorium.

The mail arrived late. Called Nader the Hatter and left a message telling him I have a present for him. Called Tom Devine who told me that housing values have gone down on Breckwood Boulevard. Talked with Stacia who said the assessor came by and pointed to all the problems with the house. She said her house dates back to 1790, but her father jacked the house up and rebuilt the foundation in 1925. She also said she saw a movie recently at the Academy of Music in Northampton and remarked how that city is so nice "while downtown Springfield has nothing." I told her TV22 had a story about Gary Goss of Northampton, who takes damaged classic film posters and restores them back to good as new.

Eamon called and complained it took him over twenty minutes to place an order for paper with Staples. Eamon told me that School Committee chair K. Shea has passed out this year's committee assignments. Tom Ashe got an inconsequential appointment but Jose Tosado is on the Superintendent Evaluation Committee. Eamon says Tosado has spoken of putting pressure on principals to improve performance but never is critical of Negroni.

Eamon was also intrigued to see a sidebar in the paper claiming that the New York Times stated that Dr. Negroni is under consideration for Chancellor of the New York City Schools. Eamon said he recalled hearing a similar claim years ago, so he decided to get to the bottom of it by making some calls. He called Dr. William Thompson of the Board of Education who said that Negroni is not under consideration. "No truth to it all, sir," he said. Later he spoke to Ralph Blumenthal at the New York Times who declared, "We printed no such thing!" He tried to call Wayne Phaneuf at the Union-News but couldn't get past his secretary.

January 5, 2000

Raw, 42 degrees and sunny at 7:30am.

The Dow took a dive yesterday, but has recovered today. City Stage is putting on Lost Highway: The Music and Legend of Hank Williams thru January 23rd. I have read quite a lot of books in the past year, filling in gaps in my education in many areas. The more libraries there are the more librarians to get into mischief and do things like throwing away books. Xerox has fired 40 employees for surfing the internet on company time. This complies with The Miller Glitch Thesis: Employees often purposely slow down their rate of work in order to ensure there will always be enough work for themselves and their co-workers to do.

Today I went to visit the urologist Dr. Mostafavi. I arrived around 2pm yet had to wait about an hour to see him. They wanted $100 up front, then took a urine sample. The Doctor is a personable young fellow with a degree from Tufts. He said that if I want him to do a biopsy it will cost $750, so I told him that doctoring must be a profitable business. He said he felt nothing wrong and that prostate cancer grows slowly, so there's probably no need for a biopsy this time.

On the way back I stopped at Bickford's on Boston Road for liver and onions ($6.54). Almost stopped at the Boston Road McDonald's for their two Big Macs for $2 special, but with my weight at 197 that would not be good. I also went to Freihofer's and then to Stop&Shop, after which I withdrew $2,500 from the Bank of Western Mass. I drove over to Hillcrest Cemetery and went into their office. They have, I think rather inappropriately, a model train that chugs along a track hung from the ceiling around the office and out into the waiting area. It's cute but makes a noise with is irritating. I didn't complain but asked Director Len Bergeron about it and he said it was donated by "a lot owner."

We walked over to the mausoleum and he said they had enough space for many years before it was full. He also told me there are 25 bells in the carillon and the temperature in the mausoleum never goes above 70 degrees. He said to have my name engraved on the vault would cost about $1600. When I suggested that seemed expensive, he said many people don't have it done because they prefer the privacy. For my $2,000 plus another $300 in fees, I got my "Right of Entombment" certificate. Before going home I swung by Louis & Clark to put out the mail.

My Blackstone rare law books came from Jordon Luttrell came today in a white box and were in nice condition. Received a pretty note of thanks from Terry DeRiso Barton thanking me for remembering her in the matter of McCreach. I called St. Francis and was told the Bishop will have a prayer breakfast after Mass tomorrow. Not sure if I will go, my cold has not gone away.

Chatted with Eamon, who told me he ordered some checks but they came through with his named spelled without the O in O'Sullivan. Nobody can get anything right. Eamon also recalled his friend Larry Humphries who worked in Reichart's framing shop. He was an expert on dance and other artsy things and was a good friend of David Starr. Eamon says he listened to Albano's mayoral address on TV and was disgusted when the Mayor mentioned the city's bond rating without stating that it is currently just above junk bond rating. Eamon spoke again with Blumenthal at the New York Times who told him that when Negroni left NYC for Springfield "they were glad to get rid of him."

January 7, 2000

Overcast and 34 degrees this morning at 8:45am.

The General Edwards Bridge is now finished and open. Saturday I read a third of Law Quibbles (1724) and found it a practical guide to the law rather than an expose of dishonesty by law professionals. I plan to copy some of my rare books so I can put them away for safekeeping and will only use the copies. WFCR this morning played Mozart's Concerto #7 in F (1776).

Decided not to go hear the Bishop although I would have liked to. The reality is my cold is still here, although I took some medicine last night. Bank President Thomas Burton of Hampden has sent me a letter saying he is closing my account due to my "loud, rude and offensive behavior" that was "simply not appropriate for the situation." I will respond in due time.

Found the Union-News Extra by the mailbox. My letter advising that motorcycle jackets for school uniforms has appeared in International Leatherman Magazine Issue #27 page 21. How wonderful, now I have been published in a queer leathersex magazine. I drove out to Fancy That and the lady told she has just gotten over a cold. Then to the porn shop and got the two most recent issues of Leatherman. I didn't know that one had my letter in it until I got home because the magazines were sealed in a plastic bag.

When I got back I saw that Houser Buick had called from 781-0419. Later Nader the Hatter called and said his father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Nader is leaving on Friday to close on a condo he's buying in Florida. Eamon called and said his sister has the flu, apparently the flu shot she got is not working. Eamon was grumbling about a letter in the paper from J. David Keaney, a staff assistant to Congressman Neal, urging that the rebuilt Armory Street School be named after Eddie Boland. The letter identifies Keaney as living in Springfield, but Eamon heard he has a $400,000 condo in West Springfield in Windpath by the golf course. I said they probably want to name Armory after Boland so that the new courthouse can be named after Neal.

In another example of nobody getting anything right, Eamon mail ordered a sweater and the size he got is too big. John Silber recently sent Eamon a letter praising Eamon for his "brilliant analysis of Springfield's educational challenges." President Silber also told him that nothing can be done about cheating on state tests or the false attendance figures in Springfield unless some courageous teachers and administrators "stand up publicly." Silber said they need signed affidavits from eyewitnesses to the cheating "otherwise it's just gossip."

January 9, 2000

36 degrees and overcast at 9am.

On the last meeting where I was President of the Student Government at Colby in 1963, I gave everyone who served with me a certificate of thanks for everything they had done. I was surprised when Bob Gula came up later and gave me a thank you certificate from the Student Government. Attorney John D. Hewitt lived in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1961. Realtor James C. Brody had an office at 31 Elm Street in 1961.

NBC News says that the true millennial bug is influenza. My cold is slowly subsiding, but it is still preventing me from performing as I'd like to. The mail didn't get here until 1pm and included the electric bill. Most of the day I spent writing belated Christmas letters to the people I didn't have a chance to write to earlier. Drove over to the McDonald's on Allen for hotcakes around 9am. Read the paper there, which had an editorial supporting naming Armory Street School after Congressman Boland.

I had a slice of ham as my main meal. E.R. Trumble called looking for Paul Caron. When I told her she had the wrong number she replied, "I'm sorry to have bothered you." I called the Springfield Newspapers and was told by the receptionist that Howard Datus was in charge of the Cries & Whispers column, but I ended up talking to George Chapman and left an anonymous tip that J. Wesley Miller of Springfield had a letter published in Leatherman magazine. Chapman said he would pass it on at the daily "editorial meeting." Called Tom Devine several times but didn't reach him until 8:29pm. Tom asked if I had received a Christmas card from Doyle the Twig Painter and I replied, "No, I must have scared him off!"

Eamon called and said Officer Spellacy told him that it is futile to try to drive Negroni out because he has the political support to stay as long as he wants. Eamon wants to get copies of the attendance records in Springfield and show them to the state. Eamon accused today's educators of trying to dismiss cheating on state tests by calling it "co-operative learning." We both agreed that Springfield's schools have "passed the point of no return." Eamon also recalled how the woman who did the payroll at the Department of Education told him once that the higher ups at the Department were "deathly afraid of me" and that is why they kept giving him assignments "out in no-man's land."

January 11, 2000

Overcast, 40 degrees at 7:30am.

I can think of no lawyer I would like to see nominated to the State Supreme Court more than John M. Thompson. I loved his celebrated Sacramental Use of Marijuana Defense even if it didn't prevail. A commercial on TV22 showed a lot of punk youths saying, "It's time we were judged by what we do, not by how we look." Excellent. As a child I had a slingshot with a light pastel green handle and a sling of red rawhide.

Finally changed my calendars today. I drove out at 9:45am, made copies, then dropped off a copy of my Leatherman letter at Devine's. From there I bought some coleslaw and a muskmelon at Angelo's, before heading over to Eamon's. The house at 922 Carew Street opposite Nottingham, which had its cement wall damaged, has now been fixed. Eamon has a large Year 2000 pennant hanging out front. He said he is starting to come down with a cold that he thinks he got from his sister's husband. He told me he is going to give up his real estate broker license because he doesn't want to meet the new re-licensing requirements. Eamon said Feinstein Leather still has no heat, so generous soul Eamon got two portable heaters from his attic and brought them down to them. Feinstein told him later that when he turned both of them on at once it blew a fuse.

I went up to Elms College but found nobody on the third floor of the former library, so I left my stuff with Jenna in the Academic Dean's Office. Then I went to the Polish National Credit Union and walking around Chicopee I thought what a nice downtown they have, although everyone I saw was white. On the way back I stopped at the Burger King by Springfield Plaza and bought two Whoppers for two dollars. Springfield Plaza is starting to look tacky with overflowing dumpsters and flocks of seagulls in the parking lot.

Next I went downtown to the Quadrangle, where the guy who used to run the Forest Park branch helped me find a book. I saw McLain walking around. Then I crossed the street to deliver a copy of my Leatherman letter to Dr. Negroni, who was sitting in his office chatting with Committeeman Kenneth Shea. I handed Negroni the letter and he said, "Thanks, Wesley" as I departed. The medallion in the pavement in front of the Campanile is not as sturdy as it looks and needs a new foundation.

The mail came at 1:25pm. Dined on corn chowder, hot dogs and fruit. Called Mrs. Staniski, who said she went to lunch with her daughter Carol, whose birthday is this weekend. I told her if she needs anything feel free to call. Called Hurwitz and left word with his wife about the Back to Main Street article in the Regional Review and told her how to get a free subscription. She was most grateful. Called the nursing home and got Debbie who told me Aunt Maria is in Room 115 and "she's doing fine." Her mind is good and she is pleased to have survived until the millennium. She's not complaining, has regular visitors and hasn't mentioned wanting to go home.

January 12, 2000

Sunny and 40 degrees at 7:45am. Gas is $1.29 at Watershops Pond.

I went out on errands at 9:30am. They are putting up a frame (pre-fab, I think) for a new two story colonial at the eastern corner of Arliss and Wilbraham Road. One day the floor was going in, now today they are working on the second floor. I deposited $500 cash at Albank at 9:50am. A woman in line told me her daughter had just come down with the flu. 10:05am I arrived at the Wilbraham Town Office, where they are putting a new roof on. A lady told me the old roof has been on over 25 years. They are also fixing the air vent over the Collector's Office.

Went to the Assessor's and got abatement forms and then spoke with J. Pearsall the Town Planner. We talked about my wanting to get rid of my Wilbraham property. I told him about the damage Fernbank suffered in the hurricane of 1958. From there I drove to Fernbank itself and found everything secure, although some leaves need to be removed from the roof. At the Wilbraham Post Office I put out my tax payments and lots of other mail. I arrived at the Eastfield Mall at 11:15am and dined on 39 cent McDonald's burgers and a small order of fries. I left Eastfield at 11:45am and stopped by Angelo's at 11:55am but bought nothing.

At 12:09pm I arrived downtown and parked on Salem Street. I walked down the hill to the Census Office where Cindy in charge of recruiting took my photocopies of the relevant documents. She asked when I was last employed by the census and I said 1990. She said she will put the material in my file and then Dave, a big, fat, tall man showed me out. I saw no minorities working in the Census Office. Tilly's is open again and the area around it has been made into a kind of courtyard. I stumbled upon a "Black Cat Found" poster, I've seem many lost pets signs but never one that thanked the public for looking for it. On the way back I paused at A.I.C. to research Blackstone and his poem.

Home at 1:15pm. The mail came at 1:25pm. The title certificate for the car arrived so I can forget about that. No phone calls from Eamon today, he must be sick. I called and left an encouraging get well message on his tape. Eamon's current phone editorial is critical of Robert McCollum, saying he has no expertise for heading the School Building Committee and "should have the decency to declare himself unqualified and resign." There is a wonderful story in the Valley Advocate by Maureen Turner this week on how Mayor Albano let the cable company screw the city, and how cable endowment funds are being channeled through a dummy corporation headed by Gary Shepard to funnel money to the stadium project.

January 13, 2000

36 degrees at 8am.

Got up shortly after 7am and it was snowing steadily. WFCR predicted 4-8 inches and claimed it has been 303 days since we last had snow. WFCR also played Mozart's 13 Piano Concerto and reported that a third of the nation will be Hispanic by 2100. There are simply too many people. All Things Considered had a feature on Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico, who wants to legalize most drugs. I immediately sent him a note praising his efforts.

There was also a wonderful story about a Jewish philanthropist who is putting up $70 million so that Jewish youths can get a free ten day visit to Israel. I think it is good for Jewish youth to connect with their history and heritage. TV22 showed the Grand Opening of the U.S. Census Office in Springfield, saying they need workers and flashing a number on the screen.

The mail came at 1:30pm, but no books were delivered. I pushed the thermostat up to 65 degrees and made a hamburg and spaghetti casserole. Spent much of the day going over the Frank Wilson papers. I found a delightful receipt for five dollars of hay signed by a Kinley Cox of Bethel in 1929. That's a hick first name you never hear anymore. Unfortunately, the bulk of letters between Grandpa Wilson and his family were last seen twenty years ago in a rucksack in Aunt Maria's attic, but no one can find them now.

My oil tank is 3/8ths full. Chatted with Kathy at Who's Who. She was in New Providence, New Jersey and told me they only got a dusting of snow before it turned to rain. A friendly young woman, she said they will send me my Certificate of Inclusion next week. I also informed her that the message on their answering machine is too informal for Who's Who and she may tell her bosses I said so. I had a nice chat with Kim at the McDuffie School around 11:15. She clarified that the correct term is "Head of School" not Headmaster as in the Union-News headline "MacDuffie installs new Headmaster." Kim said, "The newspaper got it wrong" (her very words). I urged her to have a nice day and she said something cheerful in reply. The current Head is Kathryn P. Gibson.

Not a peep out of Eamon, so I called in order to leave him another encouraging get well message on his tape. However, Eamon suddenly picked up and said he is feeling much better. According to Eamon, Moody's has just upgraded the bond rating of Massachusetts, that's the state's rating, not Springfield's. Eamon said he just got off the phone with Charlie Ryan and they had a long discussion about Mo Turner's stadium article in the Advocate. Charlie said he would alert someone about getting the story more coverage, maybe Bunny Riedel.

January 16, 2000

27 degrees at 10:30am. Gas is $1.31 at Breckwood.

Alan Greenspan says interest rates will be going up soon. Father went to the re-union of his graduating class from the University of Vermont in 1978. Father completed his Real Estate course at WNEC in 1979. Kelley had the green xmas lights on her backyard tree on last night. I like Progresso's Beef Barley Soup.

Heard Mozart's Piano Concerto 14 at 9:30am. We ended up with three inches of fluffy white snow yesterday. My cold hasn't gone away yet, and may have gotten worse from shoveling snow. I've been sick and mostly staying home these past days working on the Wilson papers. I am compiling a wonderful collection of Bethel business letterheads and throwing away the duplicates. Also getting a lot of great old postal stamps off the envelopes.

I did venture out to Woronoco Savings at the Big Y to transfer my certificate with them, which started at $30,000 and has grown to $43,000. I was waited on by a young, friendly Lebanese woman named Magda Colen, who said she just got over a cold she'd been fighting for two weeks. Dined on warmed over fish and chips with canned fruit. The mail bringing me some new books arrived at 11:00am. Gov. Gary Johnson sent me a thank you letter for my writing to him to praise his desire to legalize drugs. I included in my letter a tearsheet from the Valley Advocate on the drug war which was enhanced by my "Wear Orange...." stamp.


February 2000

February 1, 2000

27 degrees and sunny in the morning.

As of today, America has had the longest continuous period of economic expansion in history, 107 months reaching back to 1991. Housing sales in the valley are up 7.7% over last year. Today is Primary Day in New Hampshire, with McCain predicted to trounce Bush while Gore should edge out Bradley. WFCR says the Catholic Diocese of Vermont is busing people to Massachusetts to demonstrate against gay marriage. Howard I. Kalodner was the Dean of WNEC Law School in 1981. Mother lived at 356 Belmont Avenue in Springfield in 1926.

I received in the mail today a catalog from Bauman Rare Books. I called Tom Devine and his sister Deb answered, saying he had gone to the Pine Point Library. My, he goes to the library a lot! I saw him recently walking down Boston Road, either on his way to the library or maybe he was going to visit the Twig Painter. I left word with Deb about the prices being asked by Bauman for Ayn Rand books.

Today I dined on a cheese sandwich, hotdogs and veggies. Completed reading Damn the Torpedoes, a good book on what goes on in the military. When I went out for the mail I found a bag from Mrs. Staniski containing Harvard material from Ann and a tin of homemade cookies, popcorn and peanuts. In return I will inscribe one of my books to her.

I called Moriarty at Elms, who said he's preparing for classes. I quickly told him to get a Bauman catalog to see the Bartlett books in it. He thanked me politely. Next I called Riverdale Gardens and asked Debra Kratouil how Aunt Maria is. She replied, "She's doing okay." I asked if Aunt Maria has been discharged and she replied, "I can't tell you that over the phone because of patient privacy." I was then urged to call later when Ann Smidt would be in. So later I called back and the receptionist Mary got me Ms. Smidt, who told me, "I was told not to let out any information regarding her status. This was her request!" Then she banged down the phone in my ear.

This evening on TV22, Jerry Gretzinger said Six Flags will open May 6th (let's see if they send me any advertising). Six Flags has a new 208 foot rollercoaster that will have a speed of 70mph and dip into an underground tunnel. There was also a story about new signs on the expressway pointing to City Stage, Symphony Hall, the Quadrangle and the Civic Center. Eamon called and expressed concern that his interaction with Davis has been all telephonic. In the past when he has contacted the Inspector General he has gotten a letter with a consent form to sign.

Kelly had her green backyard Christmas lights on this evening.

February 3, 2000

Today was a lovely day, 25 degrees at 10:30am. Gas is $1.35 at Breckwood Shell.

The Fed has raised the prime from 5.5% to 5.75%. Senator McCain was on the Leher News Hour and said that young people 18-26 are cynical, alienated and they don't vote. Also in the news, Boston's Big Dig was estimated to cost $5.8 billion in 1991, but the price is now $12.2 billion. Maureen Turner has a fine essay in the Valley Advocate with a picture of Charlie Ryan. There was a commercial on WFCR for Dr. Joseph Brown's Obsessive-Compulsive Treatment Center in Stafford Springs. Aunt Maria should have consulted with him years ago. In Northampton the gay/lesbian bar The Grotto wanted to have nude dancing but were turned down.

F.M. Wilson lived on a dairy farm in Vermont in 1935. Mother had a miserable wage during the Depression, but I found a receipt today showing she still gave a contribution to the Springfield Hospital Campaign fund in 1931. Doubtless Monarch twisted the arms of their employees, but my parents were always generous to charities. Remember George Gopen the lawyer who did an article on college English to which I replied? I looked him up in MLA and he has disappeared. Remember when I was out to Palmer there was an old Western Auto store that I parked in front of and chatted with the manager? Well, a story in the January 23rd paper shows Joseph Adamski going out of business after almost 60 years.

The mail brought a Walmart credit card application with an invitation to the Grand Opening of their new store in South Hadley. I also got a thank you note from St. Mary's of Turners Falls for my "wonderful remembrance of Robert B. McCreech." It was thoughtful of them to write. A polite Kevin Devine called looking for Storrowtown from the number 782-3882. Carol stopped by in her mother's chocolate brown Voyager and I gave her some things for Mrs. Staniski. Carol told me that she hasn't had a cold in four years. She is a friendly soul who was brought up by good people.

I spent part of the day reading newspapers and I am up to about page 250 in Foxx and Kloppenberg's A Companion to American Thought (1995), which, as such reference books go, is quite well done. Virtually no typos, but little attention is paid to the thoughts of freaks. I also read John Marks newsletter from Ann and The Baystate Objectivist's Heroes and Villains of 1999. Went out at 9am and dropped off a bag of reading material with the Cohn's maid. I also dropped off stuff at Eamon's, who was not home and has a very mediocre Valentine Day flag up. There was a long line at Fleet Bank, where I cashed a check with Susette Goncalves, who told me her sister works at the Ring Nursing Home. I was in full uniform, including my chain locked collar and Queerboy Sissypansy dog tag attached to it. I looked quite freaky today, have to keep working at it.

Next I headed out to the Whately Antique Book Shop in Hatfield, where Eugene Povirk was in charge. He told me about how six years ago historian Henry S. Commanger was taken to a nursing home and Amherst College, which had provided him his house, asked his wife to leave so they could let some other faculty member have the house. He had about 5,000 books which his wife offered to Amherst College, but they didn't even come to look at them. Povirk and his partner Barbara E. Smith bought the books and he told me there were many valuable volumes in it, including an annotated copy of Profiles in Courage. Left Hatfield at 12:12pm, dined at the Buffet in West Springfield and was home at 2:11pm. On the way back I stopped by briefly at the AIC library and saw that the Chronicle has not published my letter.

February 5, 2000

27 degrees and overcast at 8:40am.

Have to leave things as they are, live with it.

I never empty the trash without scraping the mud off my boots into it. Had two eggs and toast for breakfast and dined on Stouffer's Lasagna tonight. Bridgeport National Bindery is on Silver Street in Agawam. Mr. Arthur H. Dakin lived in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1932.

I'm reading a catalog from the super expensive furniture dealer that moved into where Hayden-Wayside was. I put a pile of mail in the mailbox and then drove over to Indian Orchard. I had trouble with my garage door, but I cleaned the track and had no more trouble. First, I went to Pride for copies and then to Angelo's for salad. In the Orchard there were a lot of For Rent signs along Main Street. When I got to Tassinari Book Bindery, it was all closed up. I went into the K & D Deli and the lady said the bindery is closed today. The people shopping in there openly stared at my collar, jacket and the rest of my costume.

I proceeded down to the Quadrangle and bought a blue ticket to see the exhibit on Tibet. I found E. Bader and two others in attendance. Heather Haskell was talking about the exhibit and a very polite Chinese lady asked me to take off my chain so it wouldn't distract anyone with its tinkling sound. Naturally I complied. The Tibet exhibit was absolutely wonderful. Then to the Smith where they had a beautiful blue-green Buddha. In the library I saw they have my new book in Rice Hall. They also still have my book on the history of Buckingham Junior High School.

My phone identifier showed a James G. of 84 White Birch Drive called while I was out. The news showed the closing arguments being given in the Northgate Plaza case. Valliere gave the Northgate position, while the City Solicitor tried to hog the camera all he could. This afternoon I found a small puddle of oil around the base of the oil burner, which looks as good as new although it is now 45 years old. I called Punderson and got Trish, who said someone will come by as soon as possible.

The repairman arrived at 7:25pm and left the truck running because he was afraid it might not start, even though it was a Punderson truck! He told me the problem was a little nut that was not tightened as much as it should have been and said it was the fault of the person who was here last time and therefore there was no charge. The repairman was a light skinned black man who looked like he would have been a good football player in his day. He cleaned up diligently and left about 7:45pm.

Eamon called and said his sister was in the house when I came yesterday, she does some chores for him. And in keeping with my ongoing research on nobody getting anything right, yesterday Eamon called Randall's in the afternoon and a young fellow took his order for carrot muffins. This morning he called to find out if they were ready and they said they didn't have them. The lady said the order got garbled and apologized. Eamon told me he chatted with her for a bit and she told him that the Ludlow schools are awful. Eamon and I used to talk regularly for an hour or more, but now our typical call is about fifteen minutes.

February 7, 2000

28 degrees and sunny at 10:32am.

On the ABC News Peter Jennings discussed whether the descendants of American slaves should be given reparations. Yes, but the restitution should be given from the endowments of Southern institutions. Hillary Clinton announced that she is running for the U.S. Senate from New York. Senator Kennedy has checked into the hospital for what sounds like the flu. Heard on WFCR that a UMass gallery has an exhibit of rare Tibetan photographs. Is there a Tibetan PR campaign to develop friends in America in case they need the Marines to turn back a Chinese invasion? There was also a new ad for Hampden Savings Bank on WFCR this morning.

We have a foot of snow around here and it looks like winter. Did a bit of housecleaning. My cold is almost gone, I've had it for over a month. Drove over to the McDonald's on Allen for hotcakes. They are expanding the side walls so the place is something of a mess right now. I mailed James Sappenfield and the Extension application at Breckwood after making copies at Pride. At the Goodwill Patty greeted me enthusiastically, noting that she hasn't seen me lately. They were selling their hardbound books for half price so I got several books very reasonably.

Called Westfield Bank and Erica said their best interest is 6.10%. I called Duggan Jr. High and asked to speak to the librarian. I got Ellen Hayes who said she was not the librarian but was in charge. I told her I just got a book at the Goodwill, A Short History of Espionage (1963) and their property marks are on it and no discard marks, with a card in the pocket indicating it was last signed out Novemeber 3, 1967 to M. Wallace in Rm 213. She snapped back, "I have a class, could you call back later?" I replied that I am a lawyer who charges $200 per hour and that I was merely calling to inform her that when you discard books you should mark them as discarded. Again she snapped, "I am not the librarian!" to which I suggested, "Well, then tell the librarian." "Certainly, good bye!" said she, no thank you, and then banged down the phone in my ear!

So I called Duggan again and Carrie connected me to Mrs. Clement and I told her of my conversation with Ellen Hayes. Mrs. Clement explained that sometimes they put books on a table in the hall to give away. I informed her that without a discard stamp I had a responsibility to check to be sure it was not stolen. She was very supportive and even told me that her maiden name was Miller. She apologized and said she would send me a thank you note for my trouble. Nader called and said he's back from Florida where he just bought a cheap condo 15 minutes from the beach. He said he used Eamon and me as references. I told him I have a cold and the house is a mess, but I will come by before he leaves and give him a book.

Eamon called and he's delighted by Larry McDermott's editorial about all the letters to the editor they got last year, followed by a listing of all the people that sent letters. The editorial sneers at people who send anonymous or fictitious letters and described three, all of which had been sent by Eamon! McDermott didn't realize they were all from the same person because Eamon used a different typewriter with different fonts for each one. One complained about the quality of the free chocolate bar the paper passed out for promotional purposes, in another he called McDermott and David Starr carpetbaggers and in a third he called Larry a lightweight. Eamon laughed as he recalled how he and Jack O'Neil once sent four fake letters opposing the proposed new high school on the site of Kavanaugh Furniture and the paper printed all four!

February 8, 2000

22 degrees and sunny.

Religion is the millstone around the neck of ethics. People clearly see that religion is a lot of nonsense and it makes them think ethics is also.

WFCR Morning Edition is starting a three part series on compulsive gambling. TV40 had a story with Malcolm R. George, formerly of Ludlow Savings, presenting a check for $500 to the John DiNapoli Gold Badge Club. So where is George now? Dined this evening on Banquet Turkey Dinner and tossed salad.

I drove out to Tassinari's in Ludlow this afternoon, second place on the left, a big industrial building that must have been let go for a song by somebody moving out. A couple of cars in the parking lot and a white bindery delivery truck with snow all around it and none underneath. I left Leslie's Spanish-American War atlas-sized book to be rebound in black buckram and Three Trials (1818) to be rebound in standard brown buckram for $35, too much, but he appears to do good work. I also left James D. Haig's Kings Inn Library to be done in Kelly green buckram for $25.

Tassinari has a very large work area with a lot of machinery and at least one other worker. There is a large rack with many rolls of cloth at the very back. Across the front of the building are offices, including Tassinari's corner office with an ornate desk with an incredible mess atop it. Indeed, the entire bindery is messy. The office has a picture of the Pope being presented with a book bound in white leather by a priest. I commented on it and Tassinari said the Pope has a number of samples of his binding that Polish priests have had him do. I told him I'm a little hard of hearing so he spoke louder. There was a bookcase of leather bound Works of Spencer which he said had previously belonged to the President of the University of Hartford. A very nice fellow but his prices are high.

Went by Cat's Paw on the way home and they had a sign in the window, "On Vacation - Be Back Late February." On the corner of Boston Road and Parker, where Circuit City and Auto Zone are now located, there used to be an Edwards. With Walgreens going in across the way where Pier One was and the theater and other new tenants at Eastfield, you could say the mall area is experiencing a renaissance.

Frederick Whitney called while I was out but I did not call him back. Kevin Devine called and I said, "You've called here before, get the number right!" He said, "I'm sorry." Laura called from Colby College looking for money. I could've told her no and hung up, but naturally I gave her an earful. I told her how I offered land once to Colby and they said no so I told them no more gifts from me. She asked if I wanted her to remove my name from their calling list but I said, "Oh no, let them call every year." Laura said she doesn't know what her major will be.

The mail brought a pretty thank you card from Mrs. Staniski for the book I gave her. Enclosed was a picture of Ann and her and two tall grandsons. Also received a note from John Rixon. Reading Herb Goldberg's The Hazards of Being Male. I like it. Also reading Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and it's Quarrels With Science. It rips apart literary studies as bullshit on precisely the same theory I have held, that literature majors are trained in nonsense and judged by their ability to produce nonsense. It rates history highest among the non-sciences, slyly adding as long as the historians are content to gather facts and not fool around with interpretation. My position exactly.

February 9, 2000

Sun glowing through, 25 degrees at 7:15am.

The Sunday paper has an article about people wanting to change the names of Amherst and Turners Falls because they are named after Indian killers. Kelly had her green backyard lights on last night.

A note to Richard Garvey was in one of the books I got at the Goodwill the other day. This suggests that Garvey has given books to the Goodwill, maybe when he cleaned out his office at the newspaper. I'll have to keep my eye open for more. Eamon called and we discussed what mischief we might do to McDermott. Eamon also recalled Bruce Sheffield, who lived on Ardmore Street. He was a salesman of men's clothes at Paramount Clothes for years and later worked for John P. Lynch at the Registrar of Deeds. Paramount Clothes was owned by a Jew named Hugo Roth.

From home I went directly to the Woronoco branch in Big Y, where Magda helped me again. Ms. Cyr was also there. I took out two checks, one for A.G. Edwards to buy some G.E. stock and one for Jordan Luttrell. Then downtown where I parked in the first place right in front of the Church on Salem, which was very messy from not having been plowed. At the SIS center I found the Wall Street Journal in the trash can but with coffee all over the bottom so I left it there. At A.G. Edwards I bought ten shares of General Electric.

Then into Subway, where Shkena is on vacation so a young fellow waited on me. The price of their deli-baloney grinders have gone up from 99 cents to $1.29. Came through Westfield Savings and the place was empty of customers except for me. At Antiques on Boland Way a lot of their stuff is reproductions, probably from estate liquidations. Miller Framing has J. Gnatek art priced at $50 and higher. I walked down to the newspaper to get a copy of Sunday's paper for McDermott's column. They had none behind the counter, so they called upstairs to circulation and a lady brought one down.

From there I went to the Chamber Channels After Five at the Museum of Fine Arts. It was a big disappointment. I arrived about 5:15pm in my full orange uniform with boots, chain and collar and scalped head. I had my raspberry glasses on and a copy of my new book to show to people. A black man came up and told me he loved my outfit, so I gave him my card. A Chamber of Commerce secretary collected tickets in the middle of the MFA lobby. At a side table was some MFA literature.

In the past these Chamber of Commerce events have had various kinds of good, such as meatballs, veggies and fruit platters, hotdogs and chicken wings. This time there was essentially no food, just a cash bar at the far end. It was a real let down, but perhaps the perspective of the MFA is that you got into the museum for free, so what else do you expect? Several businesses had tables set up, and I flattered Longmeadow Florists by telling them that now that Hall Galleries is gone it's nice that there is still a place to get nice things. The PVTA was passing out 25th Anniversary chocolate coins. Wolf & Company had freebies but I didn't take any.

I'd say there was about 200 people there, but I saw very few going upstairs to see the wonderful Tibetan exhibit. Petluck and his female companion was there, but he said all the noise overwhelms his hearing aid, so I just shouted that I'll see him at the Friendly's annual stockholder's meeting. I chatted with R. Denver and showed him my book. I also talked with Marlene M. Ryan, who used to be a legal assistant but is now in accounting. I approached Alan R. Goodhind, who asked if I ride a motorcycle. I hadn't realized he was involved with Mass Mutual, so I promised to send him information about Father. I left the MFA about 6:15pm and didn't take note of the time that I got back. Former State Rep. Fred Whitney had called while I was out.

February 12, 2000

Sunny and 47 degrees at 2:15am.

Dined on chicken, salad, fruit and bread. Did some housekeeping in the morning. WFCR says the University of Vermont is being sued over an athletic hazing incident. Also, Burlington's City Council has rejected a Shaw's chain supermarket. The TV40 evening news mentioned a December "water cooler poisoning incident at WNEC" which police are investigating but not close to solving. Whatever happened has been pretty well hushed up.

I am mostly over my cold after almost two months. Called Lowe's and their ribbon cutting is tomorrow at 8am. Mother used to have a two wicker chairs from Adaskin's in her bedroom on Crest Street. She brought them to Birchland, but used only one and it wore out long ago. The twin to it now sits in the basement, like new because we never used it. There is a box of papers sitting on the seat, which I glanced through and found this wonderful letterhead from a long vanished North End business Mark Aitken Florist and Decorator dated December 11, 1903:

Made copies at Pride and then mailed letters to Goodhind, Connie Wilson, Marleen at Morrissey, check to Luttrell, all with my Wear Orange stamp. I wrote to Garrett today but didn't mail it. Pride had the new Valley Advocate, but when I got to Louis & Clark they had none. Got veggies at Angelo's, after which I swung by the O'Sullivan place and got a bag of reading material from little Eamon himself. Eamon has told me in the past that as a baby he was in the Isolation Hospital for a month with scarlet fever. They were afraid he would die, but it only stunted his growth. His older brother Gerald died of it at the age of five.

As we chatted, Eamon wondered whether the MFA has a sprinkler system, as fires go through open spaces in a flash. This started us talking about the old Colony Club fire. Eamon recalled how at the time he was a rental agent for Union Court Apartments, where Bill Putnam's mother moved from Longhill Street to an apartment on the top floor, Maple Street side. The fire started around 8 or 9pm and roared right through the Colony Club.

From there I went to Savers, where I bought three books, Padiman's Ex Libris (very good) Hefley's Textbooks on Trial and Turner's book on Northern Ireland. Then to Stop&Shop for roasted chicken. Stopped on the way back at Forest Park Antiques but nothing good. Fancy That has been cleared out for inventory. The mail brought a copy of Investor's Business Daily that was addressed to Carol Dine, 22 Jeffrey Road. Still no thank you note from the lady at Duggan.

Fred Whitney called while I was out. Unknown called late at night, but hung up before I could answer.

February 13, 2000

At 2:49am I sang Happy Birthday over three octaves to Eamon's answering machine. Peanuts creator Charles Schultz has died of colon cancer. Today I dined on salad and a chicken pot pie.

I went this morning to the not-so Grand Opening of Lowe's Hardware. There were around 70 people present. It was chilly, although 28 degrees isn't all that chilly. Many sat in their cars until it was time to go in. The mayor didn't show up and there was no actual ribbon to be cut. There were a few balloons inside the door and everybody got a free yardstick. It's an immense store with lower prices than Home Depot. It will certainly kill the neighborhood hardware stores just as the Eastfield Mall killed downtown.

Lowe's has office furniture and appliances which Home Depot does not carry. They had good buys on steel doors and sinks, faucets and stained glass rooster lamps like Eamon's. Some employees looked at me suspiciously, perhaps because I was wearing my all white plastic Dupont coverall with purple pants, biker jacket and collar. There were anti-shoplifting posters around about a "War on Shrink." From there I went to the Allen Street McDonald's and had hotcakes without sausage and read today's paper.

Thence to services at Trinity Church, which was well filled. The Goads are doing a good job of rebuilding the church. I notice that they always print his sermons, but I have never seen any of hers printed. I had no problem hearing. Nobody said anything about my outfit and everybody was friendly, purple pants and all. Many young people in the congregation were casually dressed.

When I got home I called Lowe's and spoke to Brian the night manager. I told him I had applied for a job with them, but never heard anything back. I said, "You have a war on shrinkage in progress, but you might also have a war with a disgruntled person you said you would get back to but did not!" Then I hung up in his ear!

February 14, 2000

Still reading in my book of American ideas. The Blair Witch Project is up for a Golden Raspberry Award because it was "overly hyped." I agree. On TV57 someone said, "Great souls have small use for small morals." Jim Lindblad of 1069 Parker Street advertises with the motto, "Is Money Low? Book a Show!"

Dirt Rag Magazine came in the mail with the cover ripped savagely, a third of it gone completely. Also received a Grassroots Lawn Care flyer. At 12:15pm the phone rang and it was Storrowtown Village, with a very cooperative lady named Irene wanting to make reservations for 65 people for an event following a wedding. I told her she had the wrong number and she told me that Betty at Storrowtown had told her she would connect her to somebody who could help and "she just clicked it over to your phone."

So we parted and I dialed Storrowtown and got Betty and told her what happened. She replied, "I'm going to transfer you to our boss who is the Director of Storrowtown Village." I got Denis Picard and we had a pleasant chat. I made it clear that I have to put up with wrong numbers from Storrowtown all the time, but this was the first time I ever got a wrong number from Storrowtown itself! At the end I told him that their mistake is okay this time, but if it happens again I will charge them with harassment. A very professional call.

Eamon called and had a lot to say. Charlie and Joan Ryan sent him a birthday card. Eamon is annoyed by all the church related solicitations he gets because his mother often gave to religious organizations. He says he throws them in the trash unopened. Eamon also told me about his neighbor who works for the city and leaves at 7am, comes home a few hours later and doesn't leave until he goes back to work to check out at three o'clock. Eamon then recalled how he sent letters to Sen. Jesse Helms, who was blocking Bill Weld's ambassadorial appointment, telling Helms that Weld is a phony. Eamon sent a few letters to Paul Cellucci on various topics, but none were ever answered.

Eamon then told me about a pastor at Sacred Heart named Edward M. Kennedy, whose dad was rich from railroad money and people complained because Rev. Kennedy owned land on Lake Congamond in Southwick and had valuable Waterford collectibles. The church forced him to sell the land and collectibles because it looked bad to have a rich priest. Eamon said he keeps hearing that a group of gay priests meet weekly at The Fort downtown on Friday afternoons around 2pm.

Next Eamon complained about the article in the paper saying that Chief Meara is hiring seven public information officers. Eamon believes she should handle the info herself. His friend Dept. Spellacy is retiring at the end of March and he doesn't want a party or a plaque. "They can put the plaque where the monkey put the plum!" he told Eamon. Spellacy's friend Fitchett is putting on a private party to honor Spellacy on May 27th, to which Eamon has been invited to sit at the head table. Spellacy is still mad about how he topped the written exams but was denied the job of Chief by the Assessment Evaluation people who are unacquainted with real life police work. Spellacy claims they wanted a woman police chief and nobody else had a chance.

We talked a bit about a 60 Minutes story that said 40% of cops beat their wives. Eamon asked Spellacy about that once but he told Eamon, "There's some abusers but I won't get into details." Eamon recalled how in 1960 he urged Chief Raymond Gallagher to give new hires a psychological exam. Gallagher told Eamon he did not approve of requiring it. I told Eamon about my neighbor Edward R. Gallagher at 1480 Wilbraham Road. Eamon claimed that Mike Albano once told him, "The Springfield police take care of their own when it comes to domestic violence."

February 17, 2000

Sunny and 33 degrees at 8am.

The United States is spending more on prisons than on universities. The female General Manager of City Stage was on the news talking about integrating the arts with education, as suggested by the new Council that David Starr is forming. There was also a story on a big residential development near Mt. Holyoke. Naturally, I opposes that. Main Street from Court Square to Boland Way will be closed tomorrow for repairs to the water main that broke. A job that should have taken hours has taken weeks!

Serv-U, whose owner Steve Rosencrantz used to say on his TV ads, "Where have you seen that lately?" is closing their stores in Springfield and Westfield. Their Northampton and Enfield stores will remain open. It's too bad to see local businesses having a rough time, less than a week of Lowe's was enough for Serv-U.

We got an inch of snow last night but it melted off by noon. I was up early today reading newspapers. Still reading in American Ideas. Had bacon and egges fro breakfast, dined this evening on chicken and potatoes. I drove out around 2 o'clock, first leaving the misdelivered letter at 22 Jeffrey, then left a bag of material with Mrs. Cohn, who was seated at her kitchen table. I put out the mail at Louis & Clark, then crossed the street to Dunkin Donuts, but they were all out of jelly donuts.

Going down Breckwood Boulevard I honked at Tom Devine, who was walking towards WNEC, but he didn't respond. I stopped at the Pine Point Library and got some Teacher Excellence Award nomination forms and signed my name in their big, gold Millennium book, writing that people should call Eamon's number. The thin, male librarian told me that the book is of acid-free paper, but I wonder. It's not bond and looks like plain paper to me.

From there I took a bag of stuff to Mrs. Staniski, who was waiting for her mailman. She said Ann is taking her to Arizona to visit her cousin. Then I made a deposit at Ludlow Bank and complained about the layout of their bank statement. Stopped at the Evangelical Covenant Church and had a chat with Sharon in the office. I gave her my card and told her I am still waiting for a thank you letter for the pictures I gave them. Also stopped at the AIC Library and my letter has still not been published in the Chronicle.

Priceline sent me a credit card made out to Joseph Miller, which is unusual. I won't be using it, but will keep it because I collect cards. Fred Whitney called while I was out. I called Saks Fifth Avenue and told them they should more precisely label their items for sale, as what they call a bowl I would call a vase. I called Duggan school and Carrie gave me Althea Clement's voice mail. I politely reminded her of the thank you note she was going to send me but did not. On the news, Charlie Ryan is supporting Republican John McCain for president. McCain is getting a lot of endorsements around here from Democrats.

February 19, 2000

Snowing and 27 degrees in the morning.

McCain has conceded to Bush in South Carolina where bush got 53% and McCaine 42%. WFCR this morning said that Florida is dropping race and gender preferences for university admissions and state contractors as "a step towards ending affirmative action." The stock market took a tumble. Dined on broccoli, Weight Watcher's Salsbury Steak and Macaroni Dinner with fruit and orange juice.

I am almost better from my cold. Tried to repair my copy of Blewitt, which is well thumbed having been bound in the 1800's. Finished Fox and Kloppenberg's book on American thought and then wrote them a nice letter telling them it is a fabulous book. At 9:50am I drove out as the regular mailman was going down the street early, usually he delivers around 1:30pm. It really only takes one hour to deliver this route but he often makes it last three hours or more. Made copies at CopyCat and then crossed the street where they still had no jelly donuts, telling me they always sell out early. I bought a dozen donuts with a coupon. Then I got gas at the Cumberland Farms by OLSH, which is five cents cheaper than elsewhere.

I got my shipment from Timothy Hawley today. I called the Evangelical Covenant Church and got Aggie who told me Mrs. Carlson wasn't in. Also called Baypath and told Claire about the upcoming conference entitled "The Thatcher Years." Next I called the PVTA about their failure to hyphenate "twenty-five" on the cover of their flyer. Tina the receptionist told me that Michelle Goldberg is in charge of their brochures, but that particular one was made by a new employee named Tammy Poulos, who doesn't come in until noon. I told her to tell Tammy about the error, but Tina hung up without thanking me for my communication.

Called Tom Devine who is very hoarse with a cold he came down with on Monday. I told him I saw him walking the other day and asked if he has a driver's license. He said yes, but since he doesn't have a car he doesn't use it very often. Tom told me that the Twig Painter received the materials I sent him on copyrighting his paintings. I asked Tom if he is still writing essays for the local GOP newsletter and he replied yes, one will be coming out in a few days. Devine wonders whether Charlie Ryan has left the Democratic party completely or is only going Republican to back McCain.

At one point I urged Tom to write a letter to the Union-News praising Eamon. Tom said he has already had one letter to the editor published recently and he was surprised McDermott didn't censor it. I asked Tom if he's still releasing episodes of The Ogulewicz Chronicles and he said yes, offering to mail them to me. I told him to save his pennies and I'll come by sometime and pick them up. I used to get the Chronicles at Louis & Clark, but haven't seen any lately. Tom said that Fred Whitney told him he has been trying to reach me to work the primary. I didn't tell Tom how I've been purposely dodging Whitney's calls. In fact, Whitney called today but I didn't pick up. I haven't heard from Eamon for a couple of days.

February 20, 2000

Overcast and 34 degrees at 8:45am.

I called Eamon and told him I'd be by to drop off some stuff. I wore black slacks, timber boots and my notorious purple pants, which I have worn several times with no trouble. Left at 9:20am and made copies at Pride in the Acres. Then to Eamon's, who came to the door and said he was watching TV. He gave me a bag that included stuff he got from Don at the Mass Department of Education. He also gave me a copy of a letter he once received from Walter Cronkite agreeing with Eamon that Pat Robertson is a stinker.

From there I headed to the Exposition grounds for the Camping Show. After paying to enter, they stamped PVC in big blue letters on your hand. I have no desire for a camper, but Father wanted one, a Winnebago, but Mother wouldn't go along. However, they did go to Florida and Nova Scotia, while I stayed behind and watched the house. The campers were selling for ridiculous prices, one the size of a Peter Pan bus was selling for $149,000. The campers that fit on a truck were cuter and more realistic. There were a lot of booths offering campsite rentals.

I got a nice picture of a moose from one campsite renter, The Moose Hillock Campground in Warren, New Hampshire. Years ago in Madison I had a couple of opportunities to purchase antique moose paintings that I now regret having passed up. At the Girl Scout booth I asked how much profit they make on a $3 box of Girl Scout cookies. The lady said about half the cost is profit, although if you buy from a Girl Scout she gets a commission. I replied that as a Cub Scout I sold 36 jars of Christmas candy, more than anyone else in my troop, and got no commission at all. The girl replied, "Times have changed!"

I picked up a handful of road maps, including the latest one of Massachusetts. Markham Meadows Campgrounds in Connecticut passed out wooden nickles good for $5 off. The most interesting item was a genuine 1931 covered wagon camper with green trim, a tiny thing, but quite sensible with bunks in back and a gas stove on the side. It was part of the display booth of Lake Schroom Valley Resort in Warrensburg, New York. They were passing out postcards showing it being displayed at the 1932 Olympics.

From there I got burgers and fries at the McDonald's up the road and then got some books at both Goodwill stores (Sumner Avenue and Sixteen Acres). The lady behind the counter at Sumner Avenue said, "Hello stranger, haven't seen you in here for a long time." Was she flirting with me? Anyway, I had a friendly chat with her. Got home a little after 3pm. I have not seen a newsletter from Friends of the Library lately. I did receive an invitation to a $125 fundraiser for Mayor Albano. I got my first 2000 penny today and I'm letting Sweet Pea and Honey Pot fight over it.

February 22, 2000

Lovely day, 31 degrees at 6:45am. Gas is $1.33 at Cumberland Farms.

President's Day. The memorial service for Peanuts' Charles Schultz is today. Property taxes are rising in Vermont. No more in the news about about the flooding at the German Gerena Elementary School and the $40,000 worth of books destroyed. Apparently the incident has been hushed up. A Wesley Stevens who tutors child actors was on WFCR today. Tony's Pizza appears to have less and less toppings, especially pepperoni.

Typing my diary this morning and cooking a pumpkin pie. After that I wrote a memo to Gary Shepard at the PVTA. I also wrote a letter to Dean in Bethel about doing a postcard of the Lympus Church and mentioned my new Waller book. I looked over the books I got at the Goodwill the other day. I especially like The President and Fundraising by James L. Fisher and Gary H. Quehl (1997). It confirms many of my suspicions about campaign fundraising.

I have five plants that I water once per week. Four of them are on the kitchen table so they get better light. There is still ten inches to a foot of snow on the ground. Drove out at 9:10am and bought the paper for a story about an increase in the number of people in Springfield who are applying for tax rebates. I also made copies, then dropped off a few things for Devine. Next I got some veggies at Angelo's and from there I got groceries at Stop&Shop.

Crossing the street, I put out the mail at the Eastfield Mall Post Office. Then I had lunch in the food court consisting of a gyro and fries for $5.04. Tasted fine with beef but I would have preferred lamb. Coming home, I saw a car with New York plates outside the Penniman's and a tall kid walking toward the door with Mrs. Penniman. I stopped and she invited me in. Mr. Penniman was sitting in a wheelchair next to the bed in the front corner bedroom and I greeted him. I think it's nice that he's home from the nursing home. I hope Aunt Maria will also be able to come home. We chatted a bit and I left.

Eamon called and told me how he sold fruitcakes as a Cub Scout. He got an invite to Albano's expensive fundraiser and told me he gave it to "The Deputy" meaning Spellacy. M.M. Keenan rang wanting the Foster House (the restaurant up in Westfield Mother and Aunt Maria sometimes went to). She didn't apologize for dialing the wrong number. Colleen the receptionist at Moriarty and Connor confirmed to me that Marshall is the Chairman of the Springfield Republican Party. Unknown called, but I did not pick up.

February 24, 2000

Sun coming out at 7:45am, 33 degrees.

There was a big story this morning on WFCR about how the University of Vermont has a problem involving hazing by the hockey team. Someone blew the whistle and a lawsuit was filed. University President Thomas Gustafson has set up a commission to investigate. Somebody on WFCR also said that George W. Bush "is in the place he's in due to heredity, he's not one of the brightest talents around." Socrates Babacas' BCL Associates is located at 224 Birchland Avenue.

Nonsense pays better than commonsense, so most of what is published is nonsense. Kingsley Birge at Colby spoke of there being two kinds of scholars, those who published and those who read. I don't think Birge as Chairman of the Sociology Department published much. Why don't schools ever ask their graduates what they think was wrong with their education? Punishment for problems should come out of the hide of the educators, not the students.

I hadn't noticed this is a leap year! Cooked up some cauliflower and spent time leafing through my new books. I often take a nap in the afternoon and then work until late in the evening. Brenda Garton got it wrong on the news by saying that Lowe's is located in the old Lechmere building. Lowe's demolished Lechmere and built from scratch. Also in the news, Old Navy opened at the Eastfield Mall today.

Called Jeff the Framer to discuss re-backing some of my posters and paintings. His assistant answered and instantly recognized my voice. What is it about my voice that everyone remembers? A nice girl called from Arthur Murray Dance Studio offering me some lessons. Since she was nice, I thanked her for calling but told her to take my name off their list and don't call again! Called Evangelical Covenant Church and Sharon said, "Mrs. Carlson and Angie are not here now." I asked who is the Chairman of the Board and she said John Larson is the Chair of the Building Committee. I asked who the Minister reports to and she said Royce Layman, who is a teacher in Ludlow.

I called Duggan looking for Mrs. Clement but Terry said everyone is on vacation until next week. Called the library and asked for Guy Mclain and they connected me with Art and Music, where Linda said she didn't know where he was. I left word about the Gutenberg article and said Guy doesn't have to call me back. Eamon called and told me he has mailed two letters to the paper using fake names. Eamon also said he would never marry a young wife because they are only looking to inherit your estate. Eamon and I heard two clicks on the phone while we were talking.

Shepard from the PVTA called, but I didn't answer. I called ex-rep Fred Whitney and he picked up promptly. Boy, was he cheerful when he learned it was me. I politely said that Tom Devine had told me that he was trying to get in touch with me. I also mentioned how last fall I asked him to give me a recommendation and he gave me various excuses for not getting around to it. I told him to not mention my name to anyone, including Tom Devine or Marshall Moriarty, and I promised not to talk about him to others. I said, "Good day, Sir," and hung up. Whitney immediately called back, but he let it ring only three times before hanging up. My relationship with Whitney has been one-sided - I put in more than I get out. It was I who introduced Whitney to Devine, the Powells and ARISE. I also took him a good deal of literature, yet, no recommendation.

Unknown rang six times.

February 25, 2000

54 degrees at 4:35pm.

Up at 3am, the light was on over in Kelly's kitchen. Dined today on juice, fruit, toast, bacon and eggs and a can of Progresso Minestrone Soup. Finished reading Snodgrass' Encyclopedia of Utopian Literature. It taught me some things, but overall lightweight, as the works cited are often secondary rather than seminal works. It's a book by a diligent high school teacher type.

The mail finally came today at 2:05pm. Drove out and left a big bag of magazines with a smiling and very pleasant Mr. Cohn. I see that Durham Caldwell has a Bradley for President sign in front of his house. I then went to Louis & Clark, where I bought postcards and made copies. I ran into Socrates Babacas, who is always chasing a deal but never making one. I went to Tom Devine's and dropped off a copy of the review of Ayn Rand's Anthem in Utopia. His driveway is unpaved and was quite icy. Tom came to the backdoor looking like he just woke up and was wearing nothing but tight jeans. Finally, I headed to the Goodwill where I bought Norwich's British Heritage, an absolutely beautiful book.

Called Heritage Hall about Aunt Maria. Debbie got me Mary Ellen, the nurse in charge, and she was most helpful. She told me Aunt Maria had two ladies visiting yesterday and went out today for a follow-up visit with Dr. Titus at Mercy Hospital. To have the information so concisely delivered was more than I could have hoped for. Chatted with Eamon and told him about the guy at Jeff's recognizing my voice. I recalled how when I was a little kid at Homer Street I heard my voice on a tape recorder and thought that my voice didn't sound anything like my voice sounded to me. Eamon said he thinks I have "a homosexual voice."

I told Eamon about running into Socco Babacas and Eamon said he believes Babacas is suffering from mental illness. Eamon also admitted he has lied on job applications, "Nobody checks them, I know how it's done." I then told Eamon about the Lesbian Wars book I am reading. Eamon recalled how he was once chatting with a lesbian in a downtown bar (he admitted it was when he should have been working) and her butch came along and started accusing Eamon of trying to steal her lover and soon it turned into a shouting match. Eventually Eamon "hit the bitch" and knocked her to the ground. Eamon claimed it was necessary in order to defend himself.

February 26, 2000

45 degrees at 7:45am, rainy day.

The Dow took a dive to below 10,000. Shares of General Electric have fallen by $10 since I bought it, but I think it will revive. Tom Brokow had a Fleecing of America feature on the Big Dig in Boston. With gas prices up, I have curtailed my driving. I have also curtailed my use of oil here in the house. I'm a real slob of a typist, usually done with my notes strewn all around, it is a wonder that so much gets written down.

Talked with Eamon in the early afternoon. He said he renewed his subscription to the Springfield Newspapers for 13 weeks at a third off by telling them he is a retired person living on a fixed income. Eamon told me that over the years he has acquired teaching certificates in History, Social Studies, English and Business. Eamon also intimated that "higher ups" in the Police Department told him that Brian Lees is a homosexual. Eamon says the police look the other way when officers misbehave because of drunkenness. He then described Mayor Albano as someone who "talks in riddles and out of both sides of his mouth."

A lot of dirty snow around. Dined on fish and chips from Big Y. I predicted to Eamon yesterday that a decision on the stadium/Northgate would be coming on Friday and indeed it came late today. ALBANO LOST! We the People have won, thanks to Charlie Ryan. I first heard the decision handed down by Judge Constance Sweeney in Hampden Superior Court on the TV22 News at Five. I then switched to TV40 to see what they were saying but they were commenting on the anniversary of the Jahn Foundry explosion of exactly one year ago. They spent a lot of time bragging about how they had news of the blast on the air first, completely oblivious to how they were missing the most important story of this year!

Albano was unavailable for comment as he was "attending to family business." Jim Coppola of the Union Market was interviewed. Jennifer McCarthy of the liquor store was on, and so was Bob and Karen Powell. Karen thanked Ryan and Professor Zimbalist, but made no mention of the Valley Advocate, a serious omission. Jim Polito interviewed Ryan, who said he was surprised by the length of the Judge's decision. TV22 gave generous coverage to the Northgate story, but TV40 droned on about the Jahn explosion for about an hour. I called TV40 twice to complain, the first time she brushed me off with a sassy tone, so I called back and asked, "Is this the History Channel?" She slammed down the phone.

February 27, 2000

Overcast and 43 degrees at 1pm.

Captain Underpants, an irreverent kid's book series, have sold over 3 million copies. The motto of the John Harvard Society is "Generosity in the Spirit of John Howard." Todd Crosset, Professor of Sports Management at UMass, will be giving a lecture on Sexuality in Sports Organizations: Gender Segregation and Issues Around Sexuality at Radcliffe on March 14th. Razzles down the North End is closing. My telephone bill went up ten cents, the phone company is constantly nickle and diming the public.

Did a load of wash. Karen Powell called and invited me to a party today to celebrate the stadium decision. Went and had hotcakes without sausage at the Boston Road McDonald's. Before I left I called Albano at 788-4461 and left a message that there's a gathering about the stadium (not saying whether pro or con) at the Powell's on Mohawk Drive this afternoon. I also called Michaelann Bewsee and Marshall Moriarty. I called Belle-Rita Novak but she said she couldn't go because she was babysitting. Belle-Rita also told me that one of her best friends went through school with Mike Albano and she said he had a reputation as a bully.

From McDonald's I went to the Open House at 1288 Parker Street. The basement was a mess but the rest of the house is nice. Out back there is some woods and I asked if any of the land comes with the house, but surprisingly the saleslady didn't know. About 2:15pm I arrived at the Powell's Northgate Victory Party and was the third car to arrive. By the time I left there were 14 cars parked around the house. The sun never came out but the temperature was in the 50's.

The party was inside with the dogs in the backyard. The Powells have a nice house with a fireplace. Their living room has a copy of the Constitution hanging on the wall. They have an office with a computer, copying machine and fax. The kitchen and dining area was crowded with guests. First thing Karen asked me to sign a nomination form to get Pat Buchanan on the presidential primary ballot, which I did to be accommodating. Bob Powell was passing out copies of the court decision. A man named James Wilson showed me a reply he received from Mayor Albano to a suggestion Wilson made to turn the Little Statehouse into a Senior Center. I told him that Albano never responds to anything I send him. Wilson also said he doubts the Technical High School building can be saved because the roof is badly damaged.

The owner's of Northgate Discount Liquors brought food, rolls of various kinds, a good variety of cheeses and cold cuts with two types of salad, potato and macaroni. Marshall and his wife were there. He seemed a bit distant but did tell me he is a 1971 graduate of Amherst College. I made no mention of my break with Fred Whitney, but we talked about a Sixteen Acres House Tour. Several people noted that Tom Devine was not there. Bob Powell showed me the many certificates and awards he has received for target shooting, one was from Smith & Wesson. He said he has a competition coming up next week. Carol Lewis-Caulton arrived late, no one came from the Valley Advocate although Karen said she had alerted Mo Turner. When I left, I photographed each of the 14 vehicles present. Home at 3:35pm.

February 28, 2000

48 degrees at 7:30am.

Congressman Neal is giving a talk tonight on Ireland at Mt. Holyoke. Orangemen should attend but won't. TV22 news tonight described the "serious political fallout for Mayor Albano" over the stadium decision. Albano says he still wants to build the stadium, but without taxpayer dollars. Peter Picknelly was also on, saying that Albano was "totally genuine in his desire to bring baseball to Springfield and I praise him for that." Picknelly said he thinks that a proposal to put a stadium in the South End is too expensive.

I wrote two consumer complaint letters today, one to Taste Maker's Ground Black Pepper for their brittle plastic caps and the other to Progresso for the string bean stem I found in their minestrone soup. Next I called the Evangelical Covenant and spoke with Barbara Roberts who said Sharon is gone for a week on vacation. Called Mrs. Penniman, who told me her husband has been home since before Christmas and although the burden of his care is great she takes it "a day at a time." Overall she said "it's a terrible situation to be in," especially since his health collapsed "just when he was getting ready to enjoy retirement." I invited her to call me for help anytime and she politely asked how I have been.

D. L. Jameson called looking for Storrowtown. Called East Longmeadow Library and Joanna told me that the book I'm looking for on lying is not in their database. I called the City Library and Ed Lonergan said he will check to see whether they have the book at UMass. Ed did tell tell me that they have the set on English and Welsh antiquities in Rice Hall. I also inquired with Sister Mary Gallager in rare books at Elms.

Called Mrs. Staniski, who has had a cold for the past three days but it is going away. I then called Karen Powell and asked her when it was that she first heard of Judge Sweeney's decision. She said she got a phone call from Andy Cohen and then Karen immediately called her husband Bob at work. Charlie Ryan called her about an hour later, saying the media had called and asked him to come down to Northgate to be interviewed and Ryan urged her and Bob to do the same. When they arrived at 5:15pm she and Bob were interviewed immediately while a crowd of reporters also surrounded Ryan.

Next I called Duggan, where I got Karen who connected me with Ms. Clement who said she gave my name and number to the Principal Thomas Keating. Ironically, Keating was on the evening news tonight in a story about 40 windows that were broken over the weekend at Duggan which will cost over $6,000 to repair. Eamon called and said his phone editorial on Northgate got over 50 calls today. Eamon is unhappy with the interest his money is making at Union Federal and is considering switching to Westfield.

I offered to give Eamon the Valley Advocate's number, but he said he already left his comments on the stadium decision on Maureen Turner's voicemail at 247-5182 Ext. 223. We both mocked TV40 for its poor coverage of the decision and their bragging about their coverage of the foundry explosion. He said their lack of coverage shows that their motto, "Coverage You Can Count On" is a joke. Eamon says he doesn't like Governor Cellucci, whom he heard had trouble with the mob in years past over money he lost at the ponies. Eamon feels just as Cellucci couldn't handle his own finances, he is now having trouble with the Commonwealth's finances.

February 29, 2000

Sunny and 39 degrees at 7am.

Leap Year, Sadie Hawkins Day. Zinnias are my favorite garden flowers because they come in so many different colors, sizes and shapes.

My copy of The Pantheon came today from Jordan Luttrell by UPS. It included a card in Luttrell's sloppy handwriting, which I am saving as a relic from the antiquarian book trade. Out at 9:20am to Hampden Savings where I tried to open an account with $15 cash. The short, black lady teller told me I needed at least $50. She asked me my name, but I said since I can't open an account she didn't need it.

The insurance lady was there at her desk, so I walked over and sat down. I asked her whether their motor club gives away free road maps, which are eventually marketable as ephemera, but she didn't know. She told me about their program and I told her it sounds like AAA, but more expensive. I admitted I already belong to AAA and then told her how Mary Irvine is so helpful that whenever I ask her to do things she often replies, "I already did it." I explained how I could never betray her loyalty by joining a competing motor club. (Ironically, later in the day I saw Mary Irvine pushing a cart in Food Mart.) Anyway, I never told her my name.

From there I went to Big Y and withdrew $200 from Woronoco and paid my credit card. Then to the Breckwood Shops where I put out my mail and made copies. The Daily Hampshire Gazette had a remarkable insert from an undertaker with all the prices on it, which I found in a trash can at Louis & Clark. Then I went back to Hampden to continue my adventure. I walked in and waved $50 at the sweet, black teller and announced I had enough for a bank account. She asked me to step into the Manager's Office, also a black woman. This manager lady curtly said, "We're not opening an account for you" and then added if I have any questions to call Tom Burton. In other words, get lost! I replied that "most banks want to keep their old friends, but not Hampden!" I departed noting that the time was 11:10am. I also noted that the clock in the bank was off by seven minutes. Once again, Hampden Bank has wasted my time.

I then dined on a Subway sandwich at Five Town Mall. The price there is 99 cents, but downtown the price has gone up to $1.29. While there, I ran into Joseph J. Caputo Jr. who lives in the yellow house at 205 Birchland. He told me he bought his lot on our street from a priest at Holy Cross. Birchland is a street of custom cottages, not big houses but special little houses. He bought his house in 1955 and is an electrician by trade. We congratulated ourselves on the People's victory on Northgate. Caputo complained that Albano "never held a private sector job" and is "just like his father who ran the garment worker's union." He said Albano tries to "push people around" and that the mayor after Albano will have a big mess to clean up.

Balise of Wilbraham called and it was Richard Stred saying he "heard you were looking for a vehicle." I told him I have a lovely 1985 Ford LTD which I praised in every way. I also told him about Lizzie the Model T and how I would like to place her with a loving purchaser who would fix her up and cherish her. I said I was in no rush, as she has been confined to her garage for fifty years. I told him it was Mother's darling car until she bought the '49 Ford. He connected me to William, also of Balise, and he was very much interested. I told him the garage is now surrounded by snow and ice so we'll have to wait a few months. I think I may have a buyer, the only issue is how much of a sucker he expects me to be to take it off my hands.

Eamon called and told me he will ask his car dealer friend in Florida how much I should charge for Lizzie. He also told me that Tom Devine called twice today. Eamon said several people have told him over the years that Albano was a bully in high school. Charlie Ryan told Eamon he stopped by the City Council meeting last night and all they did was approve licenses for used cars. Ryan thinks Springfield already has too many car lots.


March 2000

March 2, 2000


WFCR is having their March fund drive. The news says Mayor Albano is withdrawing his request for $4 million in state funding. TV22 also said that four thousand parking tickets have been handed out downtown so far this year, with someone shown promising that "those who park illegally in downtown Springfield will pay the price." That's a real good way to drive people out of downtown, for sure. The 112 year old Cherry & Webb is liquidating by April 1st. They have a store in Longmeadow and had one at Liberty Plaza where Steiger's was. The also had one at Eastfield Mall but they closed. I always wanted one of their gift coins but not at the prices they charged.

Read newspapers until midnight last night. Jordan Luttrell wants to sell me Fragmenta Antiqua and I guess I'll have to buy it. Went out and there were no Valley Advocates at Louis & Clark. I did run into Officer Bobby Brown, who is the president of the retired cops and firefighters organization. He described himself as "Protestant and over 70." He wants to start a recall petition against the Mayor and described Albano as "a bully." He said he has filed a Freedom of Information request on the finances of the Basketball Hall of Fame but they have stonewalled him for years. I told Brown I collect manuscripts of historical significance and if he has any I hope he will think of adding them to my archives. Brown also told me he once appealed his taxes and got a substantial refund.

From there I went to the Quadrangle and left my letter for Hamilton with the Pynchon receptionists before pausing briefly in Rice Hall. Next I went to the AIC Library and looked through the Chronicle, which has not published my letter. While I was standing there reading, a short man dressed in brown came up to me and asked, "Are you Attorney Miller?" I replied, "Yes, but who are you?" He replied, "I am Arthur Gingras, a teacher at the High School of Commerce and a friend of Eamon T. O'Sullivan." We stepped into a seminar room and chatted for ten minutes. He told me he once visited with John Silber in Boston and asked me some questions about the fall of Monarch. Before we parted Gingras told me he lives on West Silver Street in Westfield.

Back home, I spent some time reading, then dined on apple cider, Stouffer's Lasagna and cauliflower. Unknown rang and when I picked up it was voiceless. "Who are you?" I asked. "Your failure to speak is discourteous." Eamon called and said he got me some McCain for President literature from their headquarters at Converse Carlisle. He also got a McCain button and some plastic signs. Eamon also told me he had a talk with Charlie Ryan. Charlie told Eamon that he is too old to run for mayor and there are too many problems. Ryan accused Albano of "leaving a terrible mess for the next mayor to clean up."

Fred Whitney called while I was out. I read Tom Devine's essay Mayor Albano Should Resign, which is very well written. I called Devine and he told me his cold is somewhat better and that he usually communicates with Mo Turner by email rather than phone. He also told me he is going to the McCain rally in Boston Saturday with Mitch Ogulewicz. Eamon informed me that Charlie Ryan is going as well. Tom then asked me if I was working the polls Tuesday and when I asked why he asked he replied, "They're desperate for help." Devine said the tax on his house jumped, but they didn't appeal it "because it's useless." I told him no, not at all, and told him how Eamon claims he always wins his appeals. We then tried to list all the lawsuits that have been brought against the Albano Administration, such as Gerry Daniele's $100,000 settlement and the $700,000 paid in the Schoolfield case.

March 3, 2000

38 degrees and sunny at 8:15am. Gas at the corner of Alden and Wilbraham Road $1.49 per gallon.

The full name of Monarch in 1930 was The Monarch Accident Insurance Company. Although dead, Mother is still getting mail. Serenade Chocolatier is at 5 Harvard Square, Brookline. Tracy Fleming is Customer Service Manager at the Bank of Western Massachusetts on State Street.

Listened to WFCR in the morning as always. They are calling themselves "exemplary radio, radio at its best." That is correct. Their news said President Clinton had promised to connect all of U.S. students to the internet by the year 2000 but only 78% are in fact connected. The problem with Clinton is, despise him though you may, what's he done that's so wrong? Mike Albano would like to be like him but Albano is no Clinton. J. Carvalho was on saying that the Seuss statues have been delayed. Makes you wonder if they are short on money or experiencing cost overruns, but they're not talking about those issues yet.

The stock market is up, GE is finally over what I paid. I went to the Bank of Western Mass to get the money to pay Luttrell. Mrs. Maggi is always very friendly. I also left left an envelope with Greg Michael at WNEC. Wood framings are going up on the corner of Parker and Boston Road in front of the former Edwards, but there's no sign telling what it will be. Then I drove into the city and parked in front of the Baptist Church as usual. Down the hill to the Chamber of Commerce where I bought a Chambers Channels ticket for next Wednesday. I also left off some items for Russ Denver with Linda, including info about my new book, pictures of Tibetan art and my Best Teacher application.

From there I crossed the street to Monarch Place and left some Italian stuff for Peter Picknelly with the new security guy Roberto. Into Fleet where I was told that their special rates offer had ended and was only for people with Fleet Gold Accounts. I visited the Boland Way Antique Shop, which had a sale on Springfield themed souvenir glassware and crockery, but I buy only metal. In Tower Square, the U.S. Factory Outlet had about twenty racks of clothing and two registers open. Factory Outlets is being permitted to display merchandise at the center court among Spaghetti Freddy's, Dunkin' Donuts and Hannoush Jewelers, which is a sure sign that business is bad and they may be on their way out. Passing through Tower Square there were some shoppers but not a crowd.

It was pretty raw out so I didn't do much walking around outdoors as the day got progressively wintry. When I got home, I warmed up some leftover fish and chips. There was a lot of mail, including seven pieces for carol R. Dana at 22 Jeffrey Road. I called Gordon McKellick, a postal police officer, and he said he would send an envelope to return it in.

Called Aunt Maria's house and her phone still rings but no one answers. So I called Heritage Hall and Lisa answered and I asked her how Maria Giroux is doing. She replied, "I'm looking at her right now." I asked about her appetite and she said "picky." As for visitors, she said Aunt Maria has had a few, all women. I then inquired whether she thought Aunt Maria may be coming home soon and she replied, "I do not." She also described Aunt Maria's mental state as "varying from day to day, sometimes good, sometimes not so good." Later, Unknown called but I didn't answer because I was napping.

Eamon has a new phone editorial calling for Mayor Albano's resignation. I called him and Eamon complained that his Cadillac forces him to spend more on gas. Eamon said he was up at Ingleside Mall for two hours today, describing the mall as well filled with people. While there he looked at watches at Penny's, then went to Hannoush to examine their top of the line watches. Eamon asked how their Tower Square store is doing and the clerk exclaimed, "Terrible!" I then told Eamon about my postal problems and he said his mailman Randy doesn't arrive until 4:45pm. Eamon said Gingras the teacher called him and told him that the Oriental and Russian students at Commerce do wonderfully because they have a great work ethic and love learning. Most Hispanic students, however, have little interest in academics.

March 5, 2000

Sunny and 34 degrees at 6:30am. Gas at Cumberland Farms on Boston Road is $1.46.

My throat still bothers me, but overall I feel better. The snow is just about all melted. All this grief counseling they have today for kids is bad. When I was a kid the Sangers died and nothing was made of it. In High School I went to Helen Flanagan's funeral but not L.W. Smith's. No counseling. I fear counseling may rub the grief in rather than relieving it. My Father put a window in the garage out in Wilbraham so that Lizzie our Model T would have a view of the river. Father lived in a simpler world of goodness, where romantic sentimentalism was still possible.

I drove out and left a copy of the Wall Street Journal on Tom Devine's back steps. Got stuff at Angelo's, which has been somewhat rearranged. They have new cash registers and the floor plan has been changed so that you have to go to the back to get the fruit and then have to pass the regularly priced vegetables to get to the bargain ones. Had hotcakes and sausage at the Boston Road McDonald's, then headed to the Goodwill where I bought two used books and mailed my order to Luttrell in the mailbox in front. The mail brought a thank you note for the pictures of the steeple raising from Matthew Burt at the Evangelical Covenant. Dealing with him takes up time and psychic energy, but research is what I am about and as a conservative Christian he fell for my stuff hook, line and sinker.

When I got home I raked the backyard. For supper I had the chicken I got at Food Mart and cooked it with onions and potatoes in the microwave. I also spent three hours cleaning out Mother's closet and putting things aside for the Goodwill. In the news, Rev. Ann Geer is stepping down as head of the Council of Churches because of a back problem. On TV40 Tommy Reilly was on talking about "the need to tell the truth" about the real costs of the Big Dig. He said "people have not been candid." Joe Malone is a mess as Treasurer, Weld is a mess as Governor and the Republicans have made a mess of the Big Dig. Republicans always boast that they can handle money, but can they?

Eamon called and said he heard that a lot of local political people are going to McCain's rally in Boston today. We also discussed CANE, which Eamon praised. At one point Eamon referred to David and Larry at the paper as "Toots" Starr and "Twinkles" McDermott. Eamon complained that McDermott's columns are well written but too biased. He said McDermott is not stupid, but his intelligence makes him dangerous because he might actually carry out his ideas. McDermott's latest column complains about over population, but his paper is always pushing economic development, which brings more people. I asked Eamon if he had a nickname for me and he replied, "Gabby Miller." I exclaimed, "Oh no, I want my nickname to be "Sucker." Eamon insisted, "Your nickname is Gabby Miller and it can't be anything else."

March 6, 2000

38 degrees at 6:30am.

On WFCR Priscilla Drucker said that "funding Public Radio is messy, but that's good because democracy is messy." There was also a segment about how meningitis can be spread through saliva. "Don't share drinks!" they exclaimed, which made me think of the rite of Holy Communion among Episcopals.

Mother was always a nut for putting clothes hangers on every door from which they could be suspended. I have removed all of them and can now close her closet door, which never completely closed due to the hangars.

Out at 9:10am and was fortunate to find today's paper in the Louis & Clark trashcan. I ran into Officer Brown, who said he was on Western Mass Genological Society business. After putting out my mailing to the WNEC chaplains, I went across Breckwood Boulevard to get a doughnut with strawberry frosting at Dunkin Donuts. Professor Anzalotti was there, saying he was on his way to work. He said he was surprised not to run into me at the the poll worker orientation meeting the other night. I told him I would not be working the polls due to a personal matter. He told me, "We're going to miss you a lot." I replied, "Mr. Anzalotti, you are one of the finest gentlemen it has been my privilege to know." On my way out I ran into Mr. Wilson the UPS man and we exchanged pleasantries.

Then to Evangelical Covenant to leave some photo negatives with Sharon. Next I headed to the Goodwill and dropped off several bags of Mother's clothes. All the regular workers were there except Patty. When I got home, I trimmed the hedges by the blackberries and picked up dead branches. This is the first serious exercise I've done in some time. The mail came at 1:15pm and included a postcard from Fred Whitney warning that I would lose my position as a poll worker if I don't contact him immediately. I also got a catalog from Lawbook Exchange and will order The Taproot Lawyer by Michael Thomas (1959). Tonight I dined on a Healthy Choice meal of potatoes and ham. There wasn't much to it and the picture on the box was misleading. You can be sure I will complain.

March 7, 2000

Sunny, mild day, 35 degrees at 7:30am.

Today was Super Tuesday and in Massachusetts John McCain beat G.W. Bush as Al Gore beat Bill Bradley. The Catholic Church is going to have a Day of Forgiveness this Sunday in which it is apologizing for all the injustices it may have committed against women, minorities, indigenous people and also for the Crusades and Inquisition. Well.

On WFCR, Madeline Brown had a story on the rise in the number of foster children. They also had a story about how Vermont has turned down a pipeline to Rutland. At one point they crowed that The Today Show reaches only 4.9 million people each morning, but National Public Radio reaches 8.8 million people daily. They also said they try to "respect your intelligence" in their stories, something we rarely get from the Springfield Newspapers.

Betsy Lowenstein is the Library Director for the Nantucket Historical Association. Wolf & Company is a certified public accounting firm with offices in Boston and Springfield. I left for the Tuesday Morning Music Club concert at 10:05am and parked on Massachusetts Avenue. The club officers spoke using a microphone and you could see that a lot of the men in attendance wore hearing aids. Do men have bad hearing more than women? Clearly there are more men members now than a decade ago, when it was primarily an old ladies' group. Yet, I was still one of the youngest people there. They served several trays of assorted cookies without providing napkins. Mrs. Staniski was there but left at the break.

On my way home I stopped to vote at Glickman. Durham Caldwell was standing outside leaning on a sign for Senator Bradley. He has been more friendly and pleasant ever since the time I made fun of him on the phone. The Cohn's were just leaving the polls as I arrived, she seemed to be walking with a limp. There were only two elderly ladies working the polls, I was voter #86.

When I got home I called Mrs. Staniski and asked her why she left the concert early and she said she had a lot of errands to do. She told me that she was "appalled" to see Mary Alice Stusick and her husband sitting in the front row, noting that they are "too busy to go to church but not too busy to go to concerts." I said I hoped she wasn't appalled by the way I was dressed and she said no, that times have changed and today anything goes. She did add that she is glad that she has two "red-blooded American grandsons who are into life."

Called Heritage Hall about Aunt Maria. They say she wants to come home and has said so repeatedly. Nurse Laura told me that Aunt Maria had no visitors today and is still forgetful and unsteady on her feet. She did say that Shirley comes all the time. I told Laura that Aunt Maria's birthday is on March 23 and that she always celebrates St. Patrick's Day.

On the evening news Tom Brokaw talked about rising telephone rates and fees, saying that American phone users are getting "nickled and dimed" by the phone companies. Eamon called and told me Moore is taking an exam to become a contractor, but he only wants big jobs and wouldn't want to bother with my little ones. Eamon then recalled how he rode into Boston a few times on the bus with Peter Picknelly, who told him that he has to pay $100,000 to insure each bus. Eamon then expressed delight that his latest answering machine editorial attacking Albano has gotten a lot of calls, including ones from the Basketball Hall of Fame, City Hall and from state and county offices.

March 8, 2000

A person on TV said that Sen. Bill Bradley is losing because he's too boring and speaks with a "passionless, Spock-like vibe." The estimated cost of Boston's Big Dig in 1993 was $6.4 billion dollars. Now it is $12.2 billion and counting. Harold E. Quackenbush, manager of the Ocean State Job Lot store on Boston Road in Springfield, is featured in an article by Patricia Norris about orange prison jumpsuits available at $4 apiece. There was no ad for Hampden Savings Bank in last Sunday's paper. USA Town and Country Recycling is located in East Windsor, Connecticut. Antoine V. Wilson is a Postal Inspector in Springfield.

While raking the backyard today I saw three crocuses in bloom, one snowdrop and lots of blooming daffodils. Irving Cohn came by and we had a good chat. He said Zachary is in Prague trying to buy illuminated manuscripts from churches but they don't want to sell. Mr. Cohn politely tried to feel me out on my political orientation. He doesn't like conservatives and feels America owes its greatness to the openness of our universities. We both agreed that long term trends favor liberalism. I brought in my McCain for President sign, the nice plastic one with the wire frame, and added it to my collection of political signs.

I called the Bushnell Box Office and asked if the Bushnell has an organ, but the guy who answered, who sounded like he's from India, said he didn't know. Ashley Shea of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission called from West Springfield. She told me she has only lived in the area for about two years. Ashley is so sweet that I told her I would send her some Tuesday Morning Music Club tickets. Eamon's new phone answering machine editorial talks about "The Albano Difference" just as I suggested. Eamon says his tax consultant told him that since he can no longer claim his mother as a dependent he will have to pay more in taxes. Eamon said he got a phone call from John Smith in Washington about the material he sent them on Commerce and said he would forward it to someone named Richard Rafa for further examination.

At about 3:15pm I headed out to the Chamber Channels meeting being held at the new Channel 22 building in Chicopee. First I sent out some mail in the box in front of the Goodwill. Then I headed over to Ocean State Job Lot, parking by Lowe's, but they were completely sold out of prison jumpsuits. I left a message with Colleen to call me when they got more. I then headed over to the Liberty Ocean State Job Lot where they had three so I bought one. As I was leaving I ran into Mo Jones and he asked why he didn't see me working the polls. I told him it was "a personal matter." While I was out that way I went to Savers and then dropped off material at Eamon's. I told Eamon about the little crack in my new driveway and Eamon suggested I complain loudly and demand that they patch it at once.

From there I drove to Chicopee and was amazed to see the TV22 parking lot totally full. I ended up parking on the road behind the place near some abandoned railroad tracks. The station is ideally located, come off the expressway on the left and the station is the first left down the road. I wore my "Raising Hell is My Business and Business is Good" t-shirt. There were maybe 200 people there, the place was so packed you could barely move.

There were pastel colored balloons all around which was quite nice, and several NBC banners hanging on the walls. I spotted one security guard. In the middle of the room was a long table with an ice sculpture of the NBC peacock and the WWLP logo. They had veggies and fancy bread bits and all kinds of cheese and crackers. The prize attraction was some good size shrimp, but I only had one because I'm not all that crazy about shrimp. They also had stuffed mushroom caps and cheese filled pastry balls. No fruit. Coffee served along with brownies and raspberry strudel. There was a cash bar and catering was done by White Gloves, whose employees I have never seen wearing white gloves. I took a plate of goodies to a man in a wheelchair, he thanked me but never ate it.

Sy Becker was there chatting with Russ Denver. Lefkowitz and another 22 official were talking for a long time. I recall how Lefkowitz sent me a nice letter after I corrected their copyright notice. I noted Sally C. Fuller, the Chair of the Chamber of Commerce Teaching Excellence Awards. I also saw Suzanne R. Cloud of Bottaro-Skolnick and asked her if they were giving tours of the building. She said that they were planning to but because so many people came they were not. I had hoped that at least we'd be able to see their broadcast studio. I saw Bill Pepin chatting with a group so I got down on my knees and whined, "Please let us see your new building, please, pretty please?" Pepin and the others laughed, but no luck.

Roy Scott was there and jovially introduced me to the people he was with as "an individualist." I spoke with Pendergast the financial consultant. He told me he was raised Catholic, but switched to Protestant because he didn't like the Catholic rituals. I buttonholed a TV22 employee, Account Executive Lowell McLane, and asked him about the building. He said it has no basement and there is a large garage outback. I asked about their archives and he said most of it goes back only about 15 years. They have almost no tapes of the 1950's and 60's, but Rollie Jacobs saved a lot of sports material and they contact him when they need old sports footage. At one point I made some negative comments about the Springfield Newspapers and how their news is distorted and inaccurate and he nodded in agreement. I stayed until 7pm hoping they might let a few of us see the rest of the building but alas they did not. The TV22 Chamber party was memorable, but not all it could have been with booklets and tours.

Home at 7:45pm. On the evening news Anita Wilson mispronounced the word "presidential."

March 10, 2000

Lots of fog and 47 degrees at 8am.

The Nasdaq closed above 5000 today. Women are now 46% of the workforce. America will soon be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. The completion date of the Basketball Hall of Fame has been pushed back, just like the Quad Dr. Seuss park. Student Advisor Lucille Zukowski was one of my favorite people at Colby, very friendly, professional and with impeccable English. Her husband Walter worked in the Business Administration Department, with which I had no dealings. The Regal Bostonian Hotel is located in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The pair of falcons are back nesting at Monarch Place.

High School kids in Holyoke are working to make a virtual reality tour of the Wistariahurst, claiming it will be be "possible to take a trip to Wistariahurst Museum without even leaving home." I've told the Pilgrim Society they should do something similar, in ten years who is going to travel to tourist destinations except by internet? Received a letter from Russell Denver thanking me for nominating Eamon O'Sullivan for a Teaching Excellence Award. I called the Springfield Business Improvement District and asked to be put on their mailing list. At one point they asked if I was The Twig Painter. Also got a wrong number from someone looking for the offices of Kenneth Stoll, a New York City investment firm.

My lower right tooth aches, so I made an appointment via Kelly with Dr. Gianetti for Tuesday at 11:30am. Tonight I ate spaghetti with hamburg and potatoes. They will be recruiting census workers at Eastfield Mall on Sunday afternoon. If they want to attract minorities why not in Memorial or Mason Square? I went out at 9:55am and left some magazines on the Cohn's doorknob, then to the Allen Street McDonald's for a 99 cent sausage McMuffin. Next I made copies at Pride and put out a lot of mail at the Breckwood Shops. I saw Mrs. Boyle as I came out of Louis & Clark and she waved as she got into her little white car. Next I dropped off a copy of Boston Magazine at Tom Devine's, where there were men putting shingles on the roof.

From there I bought oranges at Angelo's and then dropped off some reading material at Mrs. Staniski's. She gave me a bag of eight cookies. Then I headed over to the East Church rummage sale. Melissa McIntosh was third in line and we spoke briefly. She said she is an only child and never wished she had siblings. She also told me she has never been to Whately but knows who Barbara E. Smith is. I bought a few books and two puzzles of Big Ben and the Empire State Building. I also bought a West Lynn Creamery crate. When I got home I found my dumpster rolled up to the garage door, uppity neighbors telling me they don't like it left by the street. Unknown called, but when I picked up it was voiceless.

Eamon's latest phone editorial denounces Larry McDermott's recent column as "New York Post tabloid kind of journalism and sensationalism." Eamon called and I asked him who his dentist is and he replied he doesn't have one. He told me when he worked for the Department of Education he was covered by Medical West, but no longer has that coverage. He also told me he never receives mailings from the Chamber of Commerce. Eamon's friend Spellacy told him that Chief Meara is fat and has a refrigerator in her office full of candy and snacks of all sorts.

Eamon also claims that Raipher Pellegrino's mom Kathy is getting $77,000 to run the Springfield Parking Authority although she has no known qualifications for the job. Mayor Albano has given Raipher a two year $69,000 contact to be a legal aide to Chief Meara, which is enough with his City Council time to get him vested in the city's retirement system. Eamon recalled how Charlie Ryan once told him that Raipher's lack of of legal expertise was "embarrassing." Raipher is especially disliked by the Powell's.

March 12, 2000

40 degrees and overcast at 7am.

I always water my houseplants on Saturday or Sunday. Drove out for another Egg McMuffin and then cashed a check for $112 at Albank. Then I paid nearly $20 for gas at $1.49 per gallon at the corner of Alden. From there, I went to the St. Mary's flea market and got a few small things. The Census 2000 folks were at the Eastfield Mall from noon to 5pm, so I went and they two tables set up in the main court with two guys in red outfits and a very cultivated black woman. They were passing out business cards, buttons and red and white balloons. The black woman wrote my name and number on a card after I said I was interested in employment. When I left at 11:45am it was pouring out.

When I got back, I called Edith Michaud and she told me herself and husband Joe were doing fine. She said Aunt Maria has been moved from Riverdale to Heritage and is recovering nicely from her fall. She said the minister went to see her and found her "happy in spirit." She doesn't think Ruth has visited. Aunt Maria still wants to come home and Edith promised me she will be in touch if there are new developments.

Next I called Ruth Johnson, who complained that she has a cold, her first in ten years. I suggested it might be the flu but she insisted it is just a bad cold. Ruth said Shirley goes to visit Aunt Maria every day and she always asks to go home. I told Ruth about how I had to care for Mother her last couple years and could only leave the house for a few hours at a time. Ruth told me that Shirley is doing a good job and gets Aunt Maria anything she wants. She also speculated that Aunt Maria will leave little inheritance as all her money will probably go to her care.

Dined this evening on baked potato and hamburg. DiGrigoli Salon had an ad on TV22 with a woman in a biker jacket. No doubt about it, for a really trashy look get a biker jacket. I called Tom Devine but his mother said he was not home. Tom was raised Catholic despite the fact that his mother is a Protestant. I also left a message on the answering machine of Marshall Moriarty.

Eamon called and said he doesn't like donuts, but the best donuts he ever ate were at Johnson's Bakery across from St. Michael's Cemetery at the intersection of Berkshire Avenue and Boston Road. The owner was in the midst of expanding the place to add a coffee shop when he suddenly had a massive heart attack and died. Eamon then complained that ten years ago when Albano and the superintendent search committee went to New York they had a good time but didn't do the necessary background research on Dr. Negroni.

Eamon recalled how it was Raipher Pellegrino who defended the crooked travel agent that was in the news several years ago. He has been brought before the Bar Overseers once or twice. Eamon called Raipher's mother Kathleen as "a nitwit who was such a headache on the Police Commission they got rid of her by giving the Parking Authority job for which she is getting $77,000." Eamon called Mo Turner at the Valley Advocate and she assured him she is doing a story on Kathy Pellegrino's new job. He also spoke with TV40 to make sure they will do a story on it.

Eamon also said it is disgraceful the way the Union-News is trying to distance itself from Mayor Albano after having been a big supporter of the stadium project. We also discussed the old Kris Hundley article in the Advocate about the New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger calling the results of downtown revitalization "dull in the extreme." He said Goldberger was invited to speak at First Church by David Starr. Eamon saw David Starr on the local cable channel recently addressing Henry Thomas' group saying, "I feel very fortunate to be working with an organization that allows me to devote so much time to community affairs." Eamon suggested that Starr should have described himself as "meddling in community affairs."

March 13, 2000

36 degrees at 6:30am.

Timothy McVeigh was quoted on the news as saying, "I was brought up in an environment where men don't cry. I came to terms with my mortality in the Gulf War, so I am prepared for death." A good statement of the warrior mentality. WFCR says Spring will arrive a week from today. The Hampden Savings Bank drive-thru on Allen Street opens at 8am, the lobby opens later. John J. Peterson is the Senior Vice President of the Monarch Place branch of Paine-Webber. Grace Justice works in Consumer Relations for Stop&Shop.

There are birds nesting in my hedge. I went out at 9:12am and got the paper out of the Louis & Clark trashcan. Then I went to Pride in the Acres and made photocopies. Next, I went to Circuit City and looked at their phone identifiers. I also played a little on their Nintendo game, the first time I've played Nintendo. It's better than a comic book, although the experience is military rather than literary, the cute little cartoon figure had to jump around to protect itself, not talk. This is an important shift in how young people experience cartoons, from thought to action.

From there I went to Radio Shack at Eastfield and bought a new call identifier for $12 and some batteries. The cashier told me that Radio Shack batteries outlast all the others. A socialite-like lady was going through the mall doing surveys on tissue paper brands, but I didn't participate. Then into the mall offices where I told the Assistant Manager that I have always loved Eastfield Mall for its warmth, history, plantings and lighting. She clasped my hand with both of hers and said, "We don't get many comments like that!" I got a fish sandwich at their McDonald's and then came home and read the paper.

The census form came in the mail, and being a simple form I quickly completed it. I installed my new phone identifier, then called the Springfield Newspapers and told them that I don't often praise the paper, but I wanted to tell them that I admire the work of photographer Michael S. Gordon. She said they would pass the complement along to him. I didn't give my name.

Ann called and said she doesn't want me to send her anything more like the porn magazine I sent of a lady sitting in front of an organ of British production. She said she was hurt by it and has thrown it out. I reminded her that I sent it in a brown wrapper and said I picked it up as a a bibliographical entity consistent with my policy of sending her anything I see on organs. I also noted that the subject matter is excessively unique. She then thanked me for all I do for her mother and asked what I've been doing. I told her all about the new book I'm working on. I then thanked her for calling and urged her to stay in touch. Ann is a sweet, good and talented woman, but also a prissy, Methodist miss. I suspect that contributed to the breakup of her marriage to Flentje, who was clearly a regular guy who saw in Ann a cute dish. He probably wanted more sexual action than she did and sexual compatibility is more important than a lot of people like to admit. Enough said.

Eamon called and said his sister's son Thomas Joseph Haggarty, age 37, wants to become a Notary Public. He is a Cathedral graduate. Eamon spoke to James Johnson of the State Department of Revenue, who informed him that Springfield's bond obligations are $260 million. He also said Springfield receives $160 million in aid from the Commonwealth. Johnson described Springfield as "not having a good bond rating." Eamon told me he passed this information on to Charlie Ryan. Good for Eamon.

I called the Hampden Bank and spoke to Alexa, telling her I wanted to speak to someone in the main office. She told me that Heidi Young "just stepped out" but would call me back. Ms. Young soon did so, and informed me that my account had been closed for "harassing bank employees." I said I want that in writing and denied harassing anyone who worked at the bank. She claimed that bank President Thomas Burton "has the right to close accounts whenever he chooses and for whatever reason." I then called Burton and left a message on his answering machine saying that his bank is "so unsatisfactory in so many ways" and ended by shouting, "Your service stinks!"

March 14, 2000

Tuesday morning, 33 degrees, sun glowing thru.

WFCR says it costs $200 per hour to operate the station, and at one point in their fundraising pitch the woman said, "It all comes down to the details." Richard J. McCarthy, Public Information Officer at the Hampden County jail has a letter in the paper today entitled Prison Garb as Fashion Fad Not Cool With Jail Officials. I can't believe that some prison jumpsuits are green, the proper color is obviously orange. TV22 made a mistake using "I will" when "I shall" is correct because it best denotes determination. Hamilton from the Quad was on TV commenting on the Dr. Seuss WWII exhibit and mentioned that the Quad Cafe has been given a liquor license. He looks to me like a flunky and a follower of instructions.

My appointment with my dentist Anthony P. Giannetti was at 11:30am. I always admire what a wonderful spread of magazines he has in his waiting room. I assume he gets all those subscriptions thru some kind of package deal. He took an x-ray of the tooth that hurt and said there was no problem with it, but recommended that I clean it was a mouthwash and gave me a coupon for Perozyl Oral Rinse. His young black female assistant told me she was trained at STCC. It all came to $117 and I was out by 12:23pm.

From there I went to Food Mart and bought some cabbage and corned beef. I notice that the Grote & Wiegal Liverwurst packages all cost $2.69, but some were conspicuously bigger than others. I'll write to the company. I drove into the city and had a chat with Laurie St. Cyr, the manager of Westfield Bank. Then I trotted over to see Atty. Berman but he was not in. From Berman's I went to the City Treasurer's Office and asked for a bond prospectus. The woman hesitated until I told her that James Johnson from the State Department of Revenue said they always have a pile to hand out. She asked me which one I wanted and I replied, "How about all of them?" She walked into a backroom and then Chief Financial Officer Donna Williams came out and gave me the prospectus for the bond sale this fall. She said the last time they had a sale was in December. I thanked her and left. Before heading home I bought the Tuesday Special at Subway.

Unknown called while I was at the dentist. Someone on the news said we should try to attract a resident opera company. Groups get suckered into coming to Springfield and then die, the greener pasture is not in Springfield. I called the Valley Opportunity Council but no one was in. Next I called Karen Powell and told her I would drop off the prospectus for her to copy and then promptly return. Next I called Tom Devine and after chatting with his mother, Tom came on and told me that Mo Turner told him in an email that she had finished her Pellegrino article. Later I called Eamon and he said he was making a kielbasa sandwich. Eamon said his spoke with a friend who works in the Valley Advocate print shop who told him Turner's Pellegrino article has been submitted for publication. Eamon warned that maybe Burton will tell all the other bankers about me and cause me trouble at other banks.

March 15, 2000

46 degrees at 6:30am.

The Springfield Newspapers has scooped the Valley Advocate by breaking the Pellegrino story this morning. I called Tom Vannah and warned him that he might have a press room security problem as someone tipped off Eamon that their Pellegrino story was going to press. I told him I don't think Eamon had anything to do with the Union-News beating the Advocate in releasing the story. I also told him I'm disgusted with all the delays in the Cecil economic development report.

Linda P. Swartz works at Westfield Bank. I called Hampden Bank and left a message on Tom Burton's voicemail urging him to call me because I felt it would be fruitful for us to talk for ten or fifteen minutes. I left my number and then prepared a script for what I'd say to him. Then Amy Koehn called from Restaurant Business Magazine offering David McGurin a free subscription. I said this is Miller's Law Office and she asked, "Not Storrowtown?" I gave her the correct number and said I hoped she would send me a free subscription as well. She declined. Eamon discusses the Advocate story on his telephone editorial, referring to Raipher Pellegrino as "the failed baseball barrister." Later he called and told me he got over 70 calls today, three from the Union-News.

At 10:37am bank president Burton called as requested. We had a mostly pleasant, soft spoken conversation. I thanked him for calling and then read all my complaints off of my script. My voice shook a bit as I couldn't quite maintain the tone of poised confidence I had on my voicemail messages. At one point I warned him that I'm the worst possible person to have problems with. I suggested at the end that he take time to consider my complaints but Burton insisted, "I want to settle this now!" I informed him that I have detailed diaries and explained how I dealt with Caprio at WNEC. Since his claims that I caused trouble at his banks is simply not so, I told him I want a thousand dollars to drop my complaints.

Burton then accused me of extortion, telling me that he was willing to send me a letter of apology but no more than $50. I said $50 seems a little low for all the time and trouble he's caused me, but he insisted and furthermore told me I would not be allowed to bank at Hampden any longer. So we eventually reached an understanding where Burton got what he wanted, to get me off his back with only a token payment. I did not say thank you when we hung up.

Later I left to go to the Teaching Excellence Awards. Leaving the house, I saw Mr. Jozephczyk and he complained that he got a green door knob tag warning him not to put garden waste in his dumpster. I told him I'd like to have it for my files. Next I went to the Powells and gave Karen a box of stuff. She told me she had just gotten off the phone with Mo Turner but told me no details of their conversation despite my direct questioning. From there I headed to the awards ceremony at the Basketball Hall of Fame, wearing clean jeans, a t-shirt, my blue sports jacket and a belled fool's hat.

It started at 4pm and there were a lot of people there from the start. It was mostly all whites, very few blacks or Latinos. There was an open bar with a choice of white or red wine. They had kiwi and cucumber slices and broccoli bites, oranges, cut up peppers, carrots and celery. The event was catered by Elegant Affair. The food was mostly gone by 4:15. At 4:30 we were all seated and Sally Fuller, who with Briggs is now in PR with United Cooperative Bank, did nicely as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Mayor Albano spoke, saying that when he started on the School Committee in 1986 the city "did not have the commitment to education we now have, spending only $2,800 per year per student, now it's $7,000." He also made the incredible statement that "we now have the most aggressive school building program in the nation." He criticized the local press coverage of educational issues because "they don't write about good news."

Mr. Denver spoke about the role of the business community in promoting excellence. Well, they may be promoting it but they aren't achieving it. Sally Fuller then explained the teacher evaluation process and at the end asked all the teachers in the room to stand up. I remained seated although I have worked as a teacher in the past. Marjorie Hurst and Kenneth Shea were there, but Dr. Negroni didn't make it. Several people commented favorably on my fool's cap. One teacher told me she uses funny hats to teach all the time. I told them all that no one is qualified to teach but a fool. As I left I got a poster for the event off a bulletin board.

March 16, 2000

Record gain in the Dow today. TV22 says over 800 students are out of school everyday and they are thinking of using the police to enforce attendance. A display of the aurora borealis was visible Oct. 22 in the Pioneer Valley. The New England Historic Genealogy Society is having a dinner in honor of Ralph J. Crandall on the occasion of his 25th year with the Society on April 24th in Boston.

I have figured out what Over the Hill means to me. It means you know who your friends and enemies are, and if the enemies want anything they'll have to pay. Every generation comes instinctively to know what it wants to do. The good old people are the ones who help the kids do it, the bad old people are the ones who get in the way.

My right ear is somewhat clogged. Today I used up the rest of the hamburg and spaghetti. Put out the mail to Carol, Betty in Exeter and others at Louis & Clark around 11:30am. After making copies at CopyCat, I drove downtown and parked at Eliot and Salem. I left a copy of the Chamber of Commerce 1923 by-laws with Denver's plump receptionist. She told me that Sally Fuller no longer works there and is now at United Cooperative Bank. I asked her where the nearest branch is and she didn't know. I responded with, "Well, you should know!" She looked shocked so I told her that I am noted for my impertinence and while I am usually polite, people who cannot produce what I need to know will have a problem with me. I found United Cooperative on my own and left a letter for Fuller with Kimberly R. Marion, who said that Fuller has been with them for over a year.

There is a wonderful put down of Larry McDermott by Tom Vannah in this week's Valley Advocate. "You, Larry McDermott, are a horse's ass," were the opening words of his editorial. Turner's article on Pelligrino was also printed, as expected. Eamon called and said he had a headache all morning. Eamon thinks Sally Fuller is divorced with two young children, aged 8 and 10. He hears she's involved with Billy Baker, a book collector in Northampton. He also told me he has made copies of Vannah's McDermott editorial and is sending it to key people. Eamon says he can't confirm that Police Chief Meara is a lesbian, but everyone agrees she likes chocolate cake.

The mail came on time. Nader the Hatter sent me a pretty postcard of Miami. Nader seems like he's becoming a permanent Floridian. Eamon also got a card from the Hatter, one of pretty scenery with a nearly nude girl. The Colony Club called and General Manager Roseann Taylor said they already have people working on their club history. I asked their luncheon hours and she said noon to 2pm. She recommended making reservations first because because they are usually full.

The check from Hampden came today with a brief statement signed by President Burton:

This letter will serve as an apology for the inconvenience you were caused at the Hampden Savings Bank. As stated in my earlier letter, the reason I closed your account was due to the abusive, loud, rude and and offensive behavior you had shown while in our offices. Over the years that you have been a customer at Hampden Savings Bank all of our people, myself included, have treated you with courtesy and respect. Obviously, we are not perfect and any mistakes that are made rest with me. Therefore, if you need to vent any frustration, it should be towards me, not the staff. At this point it appears that we would both be better off parting ways. There are many other fine banks in Springfield that you can choose from. Enclosed is a check for $50 to cover any trouble we may have caused.

I called Burton and left a voicemail thanking him for his apology and check. I said I expect that he will make no negative remarks about me to other bankers. I stated that I hope his bank will not be a continuing source of irritation to me, and mentioned how all the other banks I deal with sent me condolences when Mother died but his bank did not. I called this omission tasteless, especially since I have done more than any other person in the city to point out how to improve the service of their bank and yet end up having my account closed. I told him he should try to make amends by nominating me for a Pynchon Award.

March 19, 2000

44 degrees at 7:30am, about an inch of snow.

Golf prevented the broadcasting of the St. Patrick's Day mass on TV22. It was aired in its entirety at 6pm. Bishop Dupre said that "cheap labor enriches the already rich" and urged his listeners to "preserve your faith in the face of tyranny, discrimination and tragedy." Jack O'Neil and Brenda Garton presided over the 49th Annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Richie Neal was the honoree this year. There are two branches of Hampden Savings Bank in Springfield, 19 Harrison Avenue and 1363 Allen Street. There are also branches in West Springfield and Longmeadow. Robert A. Massey is the bank's Senior Vice President. The office of Attorney William C. Flanagan is at 67 Market Street in Springfield.

Today I read Lovejoy's essay on blacks in Vermont and sent him a letter as well as a copy of Aunt Jennie's Poems. This is the Golden Age of Tag Sales because the richest generation of Americans that ever lived is dying off and a lot of their nice stuff is going for a song. Yesterday at 1740 Wilbraham Road there was a great tag sale of good stuff. The sale was badly attended because everyone was at Foster Memorial. It was put on by a retired 6th grade teacher who had taught at Bowles, Carew and New North who is moving in with his daughter.

I bought only one book, an autographed autobiography by Jesse Ventura. Mrs. Gray greeted me cordially and thanked me for the pictures I sent but never sent me a thank you note. Mrs. Aykanian from Monarch told me Ben Jones has moved out of Suffield and she wonders if he moved back to his place in Long Island. She doesn't go to the Goodwill anymore because the prices have gone up too high. A little boy was admiring a jigsaw puzzle of the Empire State Building. His dad didn't want to buy him the puzzle so I forked over the money to buy it for the kid.

Cooked up corned beef and cabbage with carrots. I called Heritage Hall and Laura said that Aunt Maria refused all her meds and was a little cranky today. She told me that Aunt Maria was aware that it was St. Patrick's Day. Eamon called and agrees that Nader the Hatter is becoming a Floridian. He spoke to Nader's brother-in-law who said the Hatter will be back in the area next week. We also chatted about bonds. I told Eamon I was bringing stuff over and he said he is going over his sister's today, but said he would leave a bag of stuff for me and to leave mine on the chair.

First I got veggies and fruit at Angelo's, then swung by the Powells and Bob gave me some reading material at the door. I arrived at the Goodwill in the Acres just as Patty was arriving. She exclaimed that the True Value Hardware Store had burned out and sure enough the rafters were charred and the roof all gone. I wonder if the fire had anything to do with the opening of Lowe's? There were people gathered around, some taking photos. One man said he heard a terrific explosion around 10pm. People were clearing equipment and potted plants out of the adjacent restaurant.

My next stop was hot cakes without sausage at the Boston Road McDonald's where I read the paper. There was an immense shamrock painted in the intersection of Liberty and Newbury. I rang the bell at Eamon's and no one answered, so I took his bag and left mine. Then I drove around the block and checked back and saw that my bag was gone, meaning Eamon had been only pretending not to be home. No problem.

March 21, 2000

The Fed has raised interest rates. TV57 said that one out of every 150 Americans are in jail. The Reminder is already here. Called the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce again to try to get one of their posters. They told me to call back tomorrow to speak with Daniel Torres. This is why I grab posters rather than asking for them.

Spent much of the day on correspondence and this diary. There were no newspapers in the Louis & Clark trash can today. I made a deposit at Ludlow/Albank which is being completely remodeled. A teller at Woronoco has long false fingernails and has to hit the computer keyboard with the balls of her fingers. The teller at Albank didn't have the silly false fingernails and had much better flexibility. I also dropped off the photos of Belle-Rita Novak at Walmart.

The mail did not get here until 1:40am. Tammy from Georgia called asking if I wanted to renew my subscription to Newsweek. I replied, "If I want to subscribe to your mag I'll let you know." Got Rev. Loesch at his number and he said he was on a conference call and offered to call back. I thanked him without identifying myself and hung up. An hour later Loesch called back saying he recognized my voice (there we go again). I told him about my experience working for the Census and told him I would send him a Bethel Church postcard.

Called Heritage South Wing A and spoke to Laura who said they have been testing Aunt Maria's memory by asking her questions about her past. Laura said Aunt Maria is doing okay, sometimes gets out of her chair and walks around, also talks about wanting to go home. I called Hungry Hill publisher Frank Faulkner and his wife picked up and said, "Let me have you talk to my husband." Frank was friendly enough and we related well over the phone. He said he works at Holyoke Community College and just got back from Ireland last night. I said I was sorry for calling so often or if I came across as a pompous ass. He said he doesn't remember seeing what I sent him but would look and get back to me.

Eamon has had the same phone editorial for the past several days: "Someone called wondering why I don't have anything nice to say about Springfield. I'm not the most perceptive guy on the block, but outsiders, Pulitzer Prize winning architects and Harvard Business School professors have said that Springfield has been decimated by arrogant developers, planners and politicians. That which appears superficially correct in the glossy marketing brochures and videos is all glitz and no substance. Just below the high fog index is a dishonest, bad city government mismanaged by career politicians, creating a last place ranked, near junk bond rated city."

Finished the corned beef and cabbage, cooked up some beats. Eamon called and read the statistics that Yankee Candle drew 4 million visitors last year and the Ingleside Mall drew 17 million. Eamon's cop friend Spellacy was in Ireland last week and said he couldn't stand all the smoke in the pubs. At one point in our talk it came up that Eamon wouldn't mind performing in a porn flick. I said nothing. According to Eamon, Mayor Albano is talking about a skating rink downtown. We both agreed that the old Steiger's site would be a good place. Eamon also said he has heard rumors that the Feds are looking into the Asselins' housing empire.

Eamon then recalled how when he ran for State Representative a couple of times, Mass Mutual offered him $500 both races but he declined, fearing they would own him if he took the cash. Eamon went on to say that Charlie Kingston was "a bag man" for Mayor Dimauro. "Dimauro was crooked," Eamon claimed, "but he was smart, never got caught." He also recalled that Frank Freedman got into politics because he had a law practice with no business. Freedman's mother worked as his secretary.

Eamon then went on to talk about his aunt, Bridget Fitzgerald Johnson. His Aunt Bridget was one of the biggest socialites in the city's Irish Catholic politics. Having no children, she threw parties at her Governor Street home for Brunton, Furcolo, Boland and many others. She would crochet fancy handbags and sell tickets to a raffle of them and gave the money to the Our Lady of Hope priests. "I was the entertainment at those events," Eamon said, sometimes accompanied by an Irish violinist or accordion player.

He described his aunt as "a very organized woman" despite having only an 8th grade education in Ireland but "knew geometry and everything today's high school graduates don't know." Her husband Patrick, a timid little man, was a "car-knocker" on the railroad, which meant he had something to do with making sure the cars were hitched together. Eamon described most of the Irish women he knew growing up as tough while their husbands were timid. He described his own father as "a mild mannered man." Woman ran the show and did the disciplining of the children. Eamon's father was born in the Blasket Islands off the coast of Ireland. His father never went back to Ireland, but his mother went back three times. A wonderful conversation filled with valuable local Irish and political history.

March 23, 2000

42 degrees at 7:30am.

I eat to live, not live to eat. Dined this evening on Stouffer's Spaghetti and Meatballs. The Paramount is being renamed the Hippodrome. What happened to the Julia Sanderson Theater?

The Reminder came. I drove to Angelo's and got salad, then dropped off some reading material at Mrs. Staniski's, whose gate was open but was not at home. Good. With Eamon's sister's coupon I got a ham, egg and cheese sesame bagel at the Boston Road Subway. It is a spacious place and has a new wallpaper up of skyscrapers and other buildings. The old wallpaper was white with black print.

I went to Lowe's for the Grand Opening at 9am but the manager, Rex Hayes, told me the actual ribbon-cutting would be at 10am. Therefore I killed time by going through Ocean State Job Lot and Stop&Shop. I bought Rice Krispies and used triple coupons on six items. Well worth it. Outside, I ran into Mayor Albano and Russ Denver walking by. Denver greeted me with a big smile but Albano barely said hello. Denver quipped, "I can't go anywhere without seeing you!" Then I went to the Wilbraham Post Office and mailed many things, including a letter to J. Lovejoy. The regular smiling postal clerk said he'd put it right away in Lovejoy's box and that Mrs. Lovejoy always comes down to get the mail.

When I got back to Lowe's Sen. Brian Lees was chatting with reporters from TV stations 22 and 40. Ellen Chang says "guys" too often. They had antique autos on display and there were flags and red and blue balloons everywhere. There was a drawing for a Grand Opening prize of a free $1,000 shopping spree. I entered under the name Ambrose Miller and lost. By 10:35am the crowd was gone at Lowe's, and on the way home I picked up the Belle Rita Novak prints at Walmart.

When I got back I saw that Mr. Cohn had left in my box his mint copy of the Millennium Economist. I penned him a pretty thank you note. Today is Aunt Maria's 97th birthday. I called Heritage Hall and got Mary Ellen who said Aunt Maria's health "is very well this morning" but described my aunt as being "in a very nasty mood." I told her that's the way Aunt Maria treats a lot of people. She said Aunt Maria will get something special on her supper tray and Shirley will be there.

School Superintendent Dr. Peter Negroni resigned today at a press conference just after noon. The Mayor was there and Teresa Regina appeared to be crying. Albano announced that he is naming Regina interim superintendent. Negroni's new job on the College Board will be "working with schools for better performance." Eamon called at 12:12pm and said that's crazy because improving performance is the very thing he failed to do around here. Eamon scoffed that Negroni "worked with schools to design new buildings, maybe, but not to inspire performance." Eamon claimed that Negroni "has failed to achieve his goals, the kids are stupid, and his priorities have been lopsided at best." He also recalled how Art Gingras once described Negroni as having "dismantled the entire school system."

Unknown called, but when I picked up remained voiceless for a good while before hanging up.

March 24, 2000

Sunny, 44 degrees at 6:30am. Gas down to $1.49 at Watershops.

Had croissants for breakfast, for lunch I had two cheese sandwiches and a can of Progresso Split Pea Soup. Nader called and he will arrive in Springfield tomorrow afternoon for a three week stay, primarily to tend to his ailing father's affairs. I invited him to come over whenever he cares to. Sovereign will open in the former Bank of Boston location by City Hall on Monday. Paula Rickson has left Mass Mutual with an early retirement package.

Thundering down the home stretch of re-reading my diary for the last year. I sent Tom Vannah's article on McDermott to McDermott himself with a note attached saying that Vannah speaks for me, telling Larry that respect has to be earned. I also sent a transcript of Eamon's latest phone editorial on Dr. Negroni to Letters to the Editor with my signature on it:

In spite of all the glowing remarks in the local news media regarding Mr. Peter Negroni, the social promoting, rudderless charlatan Superintendent, outside of building some new schools, there's overwhelming evidence he has failed to educate the children of Springfield. The accumulation of facts which demonstrate this failure is staggering. I say good riddance to an overrated, slick conman change agent, who never should have been hired in the first place by Mayor Albano and his dumbed down, rubber stamp school board.

Drove downtown and parked on Eliot. Lots of cars ticketed all over the place, nobody in their right mind would go downtown. Some posters around, but none I wanted. I got a copy of the paper out of one of the trash cans on Main. I left some stuff at Marshall Moriarty's office on the fifth floor, room 510, just down the hall from the Hendel bankruptcy people. There were 7 customers, mostly young men, in the Central Barber Shop on State. Passed by my broker G. on the way back from Atty. Moriarty's and he gave me a friendly hello.

I stopped at the Peter Pan bust terminal's McDonald's and noted that someone has ripped one of the framed memorabilia photos off the wall. They had no breakfast or fish sandwich specials. I inquired about the price of bus rides: Amherst $10, Hartford $18, Boston $34 or ten Boston tickets in a book for $144. Stopped at the Springfield Newspapers to drop stuff off and noticed that the receptionist was reading an in-house paper I never knew of before entitled 1860 Main Street Memo. Home at 10:25am.

Eamon called and said he has talked to a reporter at the NY Post about Dr. Negroni. The Post reporter was shocked by what Eamon told him, remarking that, "If true, this puts Negroni in a different light." Eamon also sent a 25 page report on Negroni to former Governor of Virginia Gaston Caperton, now President of the College Board. Karen Powell called Eamon today and said that the newspaper is trying to get rid of Kevin Claffey and wouldn't let him report on the Northgate stadium story. Eamon speculated that Claffey will probably end up working in his brother's law office.

Eamon also told me that Marshall Moriarty called him and asked what Eamon thought about Marshall running against Edward O'Brien for Governor's Council. Eamon told him that he heard directly from O'Brien's assistant in Westfield that O'Brien will definitely be running again. He told Marshall that O'Brien is a long time friend of his so Eamon declined to offer Marshall any support. Eamon then recalled how Tony Ravosa once came to him thinking of running against O'Brien and Eamon advised him not to waste his money.

March 26, 2000

Sun glowing through, 44 degres at 6am. Gas is $1.51 at Breckwood Sunoco.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade will honor Marshall Patrick Sullivan, who will receive the traditional Irish walking stick named in honor of Thomas W.P. Sampson, a former Marshall. They will also honor the John J. Burke Award winner Bruce Fitzgerald and the Paul G. Caron Award winner Patti McDowell. Also included will be Appreciation Award winners Jim and Peggy Sullivan.

Today I finished my review of the diary, then did the last of the backyard clean up with mower and blower. Daffodils and crocuses up all around. Next I went to the Church in the Acres tag sale. There was a very long line that curled all around the front of the church, but there was nothing special inside. Balch was not there, but the black lady was there with her feeble minded son. She told me they won't be going to the Foster tag sale anymore. From there I went to Subway with another coupon, where I ran into Anderson from the Valley Advocate. He was friendly and had just come from having some photos developed at the Breckwood Shops. He has a handicapped medallion on his car.

On my way back I left a computer magazine with Mrs. Devine, who now has a cute white cat to replace the dark colored one that died last summer. She was turning over the earth where she plants her Dalilas. T. Regina was interviewed tonight by TV22. She was seated in an office, Negroni's I think, but it may have been another fancy office someplace on the first floor of the old Fire & Marine. She said she'd like to be chosen for Superintendent because she is familiar with the system and "would like to see it going in a positive direction."

Eamon has a great phone editorial today: Once again, Peter Negroni is leaving his position one step ahead of the sheriff, just as he did when he resigned from the most corrupt, mismanaged, last place ranked School District 12 in the Bronx. After ten years, his abysmal record has caught up with him. The State Department of Education, U.S. Office of Education and Inspector General's Office are raising questions about the chronic absenteeism, low test scores and fraudulent use of student enrollment numbers to obtain state and federal funds. Mr. Negroni wants out before the waste hits the fan.

Eamon called and said his phone editorial got two calls from the offices of the Valley Advocate. We talked about the story in the paper about the gala for big donors to the library and the dedication of the obelisk with their names on it. We also discussed the ugly new Visitor's Center they are erecting. The paper says they expect 500,000 visitors per year, but Eamon would like to know how many visitors they get at centers elsewhere in the state. Eamon also recalled how Nader the Hatter's nickname used to be The Bushman. I talked about some of my ancestors and Eamon said they sounded like "Yankee Protestant shit-kickers from Vermont."

March 27, 2000

Sunny, 42 degrees at 6am.

Friendly's announced it is closing their shop on Liberty Street. On TV I saw that Six Flags is advertising a four pack Season Pass at $49.99 per pass, available at Big Y. In other words, if you care to spend $200, you can have four season passes. They also said 95,000 people attended the Home Show this year. Gary L. Fialky is the President of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Mother lived at 99 High Street in Springfield in 1930. Aunt Maria traced titles in the courthouse for Ellis Title and Conveyance Company at 500 Main Street in 1924.

I drove out about quarter to nine and found no free papers in the Louis & Clark trashcan. Then into the city, where I parked right in front of the Hispanic Catholic Church. I walked down to the opening of Sovereign Bank, but the ribbon cutting was over and the Mayor and other officials had already left. There remained bouquets of flowers, orange and yellow balloons and a table with a scanty spread of muffins, danish and orange juice. I soon left there and got a black raspberry donut at Dunkin Donuts in Tower Square. I ran into Mr. Hurwitz and explained why the Visitor Center stinks. He listened politely.

I stopped at the City Library and read the names on the obelisks of the donors. Fran Gagnon is not listed, but David Starr is down for $100,000 as was the Union-News. Other names I recognized were Ruth and Homer Chapin, the estate of Mildred Clark, Merrie and Lynn Wood, the stuffy Thomas Wheeler and three Putnams - Michael, Roger and William. Those who gave $5,000 included Henry and Emily Bader, Joseph and Gayle Carvalho, Randolph Bromery, Michael Marks and the Hon. Mary Hurley-Marks plus the Napolitans.

When I got back I called down to the Springfield School Department and Judy told me that Dr. Negroni starts his new job at the College Board in New York on July 1st. I told her that Negroni has always been polite to me and I wish him well. I also left a message for Rosemary Shea and the School Board that I'm nominating Eamon T. O'Sullivan for Superintendent because he has done more to improve the schools than anyone else in the city. I then called Nick in the Mayor's office and also told him that I am supporting Eamon for superintendent.

Eamon called tonight and said the College Board told him they are "flabbergasted" by the material he sent them on Negroni. They said, "You know more about Dr. Negroni than we do!" Eamon has also spoken to Campanini at the New York Post about Negroni. Eamon admitted to me that he spends around a hundred bucks a month on long distance telephone calls. Eamon is still wondering what became of the book Negroni was writing back in 1992 called Transforming the Nation's Public Schools: America's Last Hope. Eamon says Bill Putnam just married Kitty Broman. He thinks Kitty's kids look like Bill, and nobody seems to know anything about who her first husband Broman was.

March 29, 2000

Heavily overcast, 53 degrees at 6:15am.

Goldman-Sachs is recommending liquidating some of your assets into cash. Amherst has voted to discourage enforcement of the marijuana laws, but the Chief of Police said they will continue to enforce the law. Russell Denver of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield sent me a letter thanking me for sending them a copy of the 1923 by-laws of the Springfield Chamber. The Chamber is currently moving from the BankBoston Building to the SIS Center. On TV40 Ms. Wilson used "was" instead of "were." E.V. Johnson was a Bethesda Lutheran and one of my favorite teachers. David Starr is 78.

Today I put out four bags of garden waste, including two bundles of branches. The Reminder was delivered this morning, it was supposed to come on Monday. Cries and Whispers had a tid-bit critical of Dr. Negroni Sunday entitled Dr. Negroni and Mr. Hyde:

The normally press hungry Springfield School Superintendent, Peter Negroni, did the unexpected last week, tossing a reporter out of a school and leaving some to wonder whether he's lost his renowned media savvy. The reporter visited John F. Kennedy Middle School on assignment to report on a 12 member team touring classrooms and meeting with staff in the wake of a state announcement naming the school as one of eight to be reviewed for poor MCAS scores. Negroni's team apparently plans to soften the blow of the state inquiry.

The reporter followed standard routine, signing the visitor list and checking in at the office. She was told where to find Negroni and the team. Her arrival in a classroom was met with an atypical response from the usually responsive Chief: "Who invited you here?" he asked. "You're welcome to tour the school on your own, but you are not welcome to join us. We are evaluating a school." Of course, Cries and Whispers is sure the good doctor has nothing to hide.

Finished reading Dyer on war today. Cooked up some corned beef and cabbage for supper. Belle-Rita Novak called, she's back from babysitting and told me she got the pictures I sent her. She said she will be glad to attend the Tuesday Morning Music Club concert and luncheon next month, she'll drive her own car and meet me there. Nader the Hatter called and said his sister and brother in law are in NYC and he is alone with the old man and has his hands full. He found nothing about Wilson on the internet, but found the Valley Advocate article about me complete with picture. Nardi is having terrible legal problems with his ex-wife. Nardi has Peter Bellotti for an attorney and he said he has never seen such an "egregious case of malicious prosecution." Nardi has already run up $50,000 in legal bills and has had "a tough last few years."

I called Rosemary Shea about Negroni's alleged book and she said, "I don't think he ever finished it. Maybe a chapter or two, but that's all." Eamon called and said he bought something from Ross-Simon Jewelers but when it arrived the item in the box was wrong. "Nobody can get anything right." I asked him what he thinks of Friendly's. He described it as too expensive, the service is lousy and the waitress always messes up his order. He said they used to have big cheeseburgers with a nice slice of onion on top, but now they are dinky little burgers with chopped up onions and not much of it. Their fries are also soggy.

Eamon complained that $50 million was spent on remodeling the High School of Commerce, but a new gym, pool and a paint job would have been fine. Now Commerce has a fancy building but the same old academic problems. Eamon told me he has been talking to Robert Johnson, the District Attorney for the Bronx. He sent Johnson material on Negroni, and also to the New York Times, New York Daily News and the New York Post. He also wrote to the New York Commissioner of Education, who told Eamon his mailings are "definitely" in the hands of the Inspector General's Office. Eamon asked if I have seen the latest Valley Advocate on Negroni, which mentions Eamon at one point. I said no, I stayed in today, with gas prices up I am sitting still. He said he has already received a congratulatory call from Stacia.

March 31, 2000

George W. Bush resembles the mascot for MAD Magazine. A big tornado hit Fort Worth, Texas, the skyscrapers had their windows blown out. The East Forest Park Library opens the 18th in the row of stores where Norman Halperin had his pharmacy (Brooks is in there now) on Island Pond Road. Trinity College is located on Summit Street in Hartford. Fancy That Antiques was located at 752 Sumner Avenue in 1999. Matties on Boston Road have been hosting Sunday Poetry Slams with cash prizes.

I have started my April Fool's memo and wrote checks. Had a Swanson Meatloaf Dinner yesterday. Boston Magazine came today with a notice that it's time to renew for $9.95. I have had my free year and am not renewing. I drove out this morning to Pride in the Acres and got copies of the Valley Advocate with a splendid story about Dr. Negroni, which begins by quoting one of Eamon's answering machine editorials. It also mentions a couple of negative impressions Eamon sometimes makes, including a quote by Tom Devine in which he says that Eamon sometimes comes across as "bigoted." Other negative terms about Eamon were also included.

I went over Mrs. Staniski's and gave her some magazines and some some Macadamia nuts from Wisconsin. When I got there we split the nuts (over her protests) and then she told me a sad little story about how on February 13th she was backing out of a parking spot at South Church after service when a car suddenly appeared out of no where and "tapped" her car. The driver, who was wearing a cross around his neck, got out and started screaming and swearing at her (on Sunday). That attracted a friend from the church, Dell Lehman, who got the information from the other driver.

The car is registered under Lucille B. Fish of High Street, Apt. 104. The guy shouted, "Didn't you hear me honk?" She said she had her foot on the break when the collision occurred. Mrs. Staniski has until April 8 to decide whether she wants to appeal a surcharge on her insurance. So Mrs. S. is set up for a pain in the ass all the way around. I think Mrs. Staniski is starting to slip. When I got back to Birchland I left some material with Mrs. Cohn. White-haired Mrs. Cresotti was out and we exchanged pleasantries.

I called and left word with Tom Vannah that I liked the Negroni article and that I hope the investigation into Dr. Negroni goes someplace. The Advocate receptionist said she didn't know when they'll be moving to their new location, perhaps in June. I then called my broker Guizonis and he said they have FDIC insured CD's that pay more than banks. He also said pharmaceuticals are now depressed so this isn't a good time to sell. Spoke with Cassandra at Banner Life and the value of my policy is $8,512.93, She said she will send the forms for closing it out.

Someone called looking for Fred Withee at Storrowtown Tavern. I told them, "This is not the number for Storrowtown Tavern." The person said okay and hung up. Eamon called and said he was upset that Devine had used the term "bigoted" to describe him. Eamon has apparently forgotten that is similar to what I said of him in the Advocate in the article about me: "Eamon O'Sullivan, even though he comes across as being tactless and perhaps a racist, is an impeccably fine Irish gentleman." Eamon told me he called the Advocate today and spoke with Maureen Turner for half an hour and told her all about contacting the Inspector General. He suspects that Negroni smells something's going on. Turner has not seen Negroni's resume, which Eamon got in 1986 from Broward County, Florida. Eamon has been getting a lot of calls today, even though his number was not in the article.