Halloween passed without incident around here. I put out my Lewis-Caulton sign today, did the dishes and read some of the material that has piled up on my kitchen table, a mountain of it. Then I called Tom Devine, who had asked me for copies of the pictures I took at the Simon for Mayor rally and told him I would drop them off before the end of the day and pick up the S&M books I lent him. He said he found the S&M volumes "disgusting" but agreed that Rich's book on the Marines is good. I then called Karen Powell and told her I will give them pictures of the rally.
So out to the Breckwood Shops and got the paper out of the trash, which included the four section 175th Anniversary insert. Then to Walmart at 8:45am, but was told their photo department doesn't open until 9am. I complained to Marta, a Latino at Customer Service, that I was given the wrong information as to when their photo department opened. She told me a dollar would be deducted from my photo bill for their error. I returned at nine and got my prints, which are just fine. I decided I would give the Powells 13 pictures, Robinson 5, Babacas 1, Branchini 2 and Devine 8. While at Walmart I ran into Donald C. Myers of Forest Park Antiques, who complemented me on my recent speech. I also bought a can of Spam for $1.78.
From there I went to the McDonald's on Boston Road and had a bacon and egg bagel with a coupon. Next I left a picture with Mrs. Babacas, then took the Powells their pictures, which I left with Karen, before leaving some housewares at the Goodwill. I left Devine's pictures on the back porch, where he had left my books on the table. He also left me a sample Kid's Voting ballot with pictures of the candidates on it. A black man next door was blowing leaves out of his hedge onto the Devine's driveway. Nobody appeared to be home at the Devine's at the time.
Called Peter Kessler and left a message. On his answering machine he has a sombre, snotty, businesslike recording. Hurwitz, very friendly, called from 787-6626 and said it took him a while to read my memos and thanked me for praising the downtown Visitor's Center, which will remain open even after the new one is finished. I called Devine and he said he got the pictures and will send me a print-out of how they look on his website.
The Citizen Action Network (CANE) has announced their endorsements, which include of course Simon the dog for Mayor, plus Bill Foley and Tim Ryan for City Council because "they have stood up against big money for the people of Springfield." They also endorsed non-incumbents Scott Santaniello, Carol Lewis-Caulton, Brenda Branchini and John Ryan, whom they said "will not be swayed by the powers that be." They also suggest voting for Tim Rooke and Angelo Puppolo as people "we have been able to work with in the past." They stressed that they do not support Brian Santaniello or Bud Williams because "they have shown total disregard for what the people say."
Here is Eamon's current phone tape: "Tuesday the voters of Springfield should vote to take back their city from the monopoly rag Union-Snooze, the arrogant, dishonest Albano Gang and the rubber stamp City Council and School Committee, including all the career hacks behind the baseball stadium. Don't forget to write in Simon the dog, but do not write in Albano's candidate Kateri Bennett Walsh, who is only running in an attempt to secure gainful employment."
Gas is $1.25 at Pride in the Acres. Election Day.
I'm reading George Ryley Scott's History of Corporeal Punishment. It makes it very clear that Catholics have used flagellation for sexual arousal for hundreds of years. The scheduled presentation by poet Maya Angelou at Symphony Hall has been cancelled due to the death of her brother Bailey J. Johnson. Nancy Zare of the Springfield College Holocaust Committee is seeking new members.
Up at 5:30am. I arrived at the Rebecca Johnson School at 6:25am and M. Anzalotti of Parker Street and Officer Joe Carelock (badge #85) of Surrey Road were already there. My precinct 4-A has 1,130 registered voters. Precinct 4-B also votes at Johnson. The warden in 4-B was Joseph Louis Jones of Pearl Street, the brother of Morris Jones. Joe believes the city is purposely trying to drive blacks and Latinos out of downtown, which he says is racist in nature and must be resisted. The day was eventful in many was and an unusually large number of issues came up. For instance, Kateri Walsh was running a sticker campaign and people were leaving the paper the stickers peel off of behind and I had to go around picking them up occasionally.
There were coffee and donuts when I arrived, but that is all the food we were offered all day. My aide Gloria Harris is wonderful and does most of the work, but doesn't like to be crossed in any way. Martha Edwards of Manilla Avenue is friendly, quiet and a good helper. Nan Arnold of Roosevelt Avenue was somewhat slow, but able to help. She can read, but may not know the letters in the alphabet because when someone gave her a street she had to go through all the pages to find it.
Thelma Williamson of McKnight is absolutely wonderful, the ideal worker. Thelma has a smile cemented on the smooth skin of her round face and the touch of white in her hair seems premature. Thelma is a remarkable person in addition to her nice personality. She has a degree in criminal justice from AIC and worked as a prison guard in Somers. She started her masters but never finished. Her son also has a degree in criminal justice from AIC and her husband drives an automated trash truck for the City of Springfield. He started as a lowly trash picker-upper and then graduated to truck driver. Officer Joe brought about ten magazines to read and as always he was helpful in a million ways.
There is always running around to be done for one thing or another. On my lunch break I went directly to Glickman and voted as #60. In the parking lot I saw a bumper sticker reading, "Bad Cop - No Donut!" I then went to the Five Town Mall and dined on a sub before going into Spag's, which has a warehouse type arrangement and some incredible bargains. They have a book section with tables and chairs but not many books. They did have the newspaper history book for sale, which has lots of credits in the front including Gormally, but no mention of F. Gagnon.
When I got back Deezer Sullivan came around and ordered that no signs were permitted outside the polling place unless someone was with them - no signs just stuck in the ground and abandoned. Later Anzalotti said he had never heard of such a policy and he has been working the polls for 55 years. Armando Dimauro first got him the job and he has always been grateful to him for that. Anzalotti also works part time bagging for Big Y because he needs the exercise. He informed me that Walgreens will be moving to Boston Road and the Acres Big Y will take over its space but it will still not be big enough to be called a World Class Market.
Today was also Kid's Voting Day, for which Tom Devine gave me a sample ballot, and their table was set up between the two precincts. At one point Durham Caldwell, wearing a Kid's Voting t-shirt, was supervising. A skinny, female photographer from the Union-News came along with Peter Goonan and wanted to speak to the warden. I informed him that I am a critic of his paper, but would tell him whatever he wanted to know. He asked about the turnout and I told him it was about average, although turnout in a minority neighborhood like this is often unfortunately low.
One of the special pleasures of working the polls is getting to see old friends. Darnell Williams came by and gave me an NAACP flyer. I hadn't seen him since we worked together on keeping Alden Street open to neighborhood traffic. I saw Michaelann Bewsee holding a sign for Carol Lewis-Caulton. Ed Lonergan came by to vote and said to me that Election Day is the only time all year that I do something remotely like an honest day's work. Ray Jordan came by and shook everybody's hand but paid little attention to me, so I reminded him that I am a fellow Harvard alumni. He then jovially came up and squeezed my hand. Candice Lopes also came by to vote. Victor and Fran Gagnon of Worthington Street voted in the early evening, as well as Ann Richmond of 156 Buckingham and Ted Crossett.
Tom Devine's friend Jordan Williams also voted, I told him I would be giving Tom some of my pictures from the Simon rally. The Rev. J.P. Morgan voted just after the Gagnons, followed by former 16 Acres Librarian Dorothy J. Pelte. She told me she has been retired for seven years and was recently released from the hospital. Brenda Branchini came by with her clean cut teenager. Rosilyn Hodges, a black business student at AIC, expressed opinions about downtown similar to Eamon's, so I gave her his number. She said downtown has gone "nowhere but downhill" since Forbes & Wallace left. Marjorie Hurst was around and I told her about Eamon and his research into false attendance figures. She listened, but she is a known supporter of Negroni. Her ears perked up when I told her Eamon has copies of all the articles written by the New York Times about Negroni.
Young Ben Swan Jr. voted and I told him I was glad to meet him. I also had a good chat with Frank Buntin about what happened to the Mason Square Development Corporation. He said it became too political and lost its funding. Buntin complained that Mary Hurley kept trying to tell him what to do and he wouldn't go along with her advice. Buntin claimed his own salary was paid with private funds and that David Starr used to donate $10,000 per year but stopped because he felt they weren't accomplishing anything. Fred Whitney finally appeared when it was time to empty the ballot box and when we did so we found a 1998 ballot that had stuck to the top of the ballot box so we gave it to Officer Joe to give to Deezer Sullivan. We had to ask three voters to show ID's, William J. Pitty of Florida Street, Gilberto Padillo and Mariane Baez, both of Armory Street.
It had been predicted that there would be a light turnout but in my precinct it was about normal. The results of my precinct were for Mayor, 147 votes for Albano and 19 write-in votes for Simon the Dog. For School Committee McCollum got 154, Jose Tosado 121. Tom Ashe 104. For Council, Lewis-Caulton 158, Bud Williams 152, Bill Foley got 122, Brian Santaniello 109, Dom Sarno 99, Puppolo 97, Dan Kelly, 83, B. Garde 82, Tim Ryan 82, Scott Santaniello 80, T. Rooke 78, Brenda Branchini 64 (I'm so sorry she lost), John Ryan 58. When I arrived home I found that Bob Robinson had left a packet of photos but no note.
Sunny, nice day.
The Hartford Go Local Biz Expo will be held at the Hartford Civic Center on March 16, 2000. Today's paper has a picture taken yesterday by David Molnar of Karen Powell and "Simon the canine candidate" standing outside Marcus Kiley Middle School holding a sign with the names of the candidates endorsed by CANE. Of course, talking about the Simon candidacy and CANE's activism at this late date does the Powells no good.
I have brought in the plants for the winter and placed them in locations where they can get some sun. Sent out the mail at Louis & Clark, which included pictures for Robinson and a thank you note to The Hatter. Then I drove downtown and parked on Salem. First I stuck some pictures from the Simon rally in Brenda Branchini's mail slot. Then I delivered a note to Mark Russell Smith, saying he doesn't look like a real hippie. I left a copy of my book Coke in Verse in an orange bag with Berman's secretary. I also left something for Richard Garvey with the receptionist at the Springfield Newspapers.
Pieces are falling off the cheap wooden front they put on the Fuller Block in the '80's. I complained at the time that it wouldn't last and now it is deteriorating and the Masonic cornerstone in Freedman's old block is pretty much gone. Came through City Hall and went to the Election Office to tell the girls about my Election Day experiences and my recommendations for improvement. They promised to inform Commissioner Sullivan. Finally, at the Visitor's Center I had a friendly chat with the girl about the advantages of putting up posters with a staple gun. On the way home, I stopped at Burger King on State, but the line was so long I didn't stay. On the corner by the Motocycle Building, a city truck #3791 ran a red light.
I called Fred Whitney and told him all about Election Day at Precinct 4-A. He was friendly and appreciative and said he was grateful "to be able to get someone of your caliber." Yet he still hasn't written the recommendation I asked him for. Whitney also says he is campaigning to have the pay for precinct wardens raised to $12 per hour. According to him, at one time there was an age limit of 70 for working the polls, but it was shot down as age discrimination. Whitney also said he is furious that Scott Santaniello, whom the Republicans raised over $1,000 for, has announced following his Council defeat that he is switching to become a Democrat.
45 degrees at 7am this morning.
They are putting a new sign in front of Eastfield Mall, raspberry and pink with bright blue neon. It looks nice. The Monarch Credit Union merged with the Telephone Worker's Union in May of 1987.
The South Church tag sale was largely a dud, but I had good conversations with old and new friends while in line. Melinda McIntosh was first in line and I was fifth. Melinda buys mostly clothing, she said she took a vacation day to come to this sale. Melinda told me that a group of Russian ladies are being very greedy at sales recently. They walk up to the clothing rack and put their arms around everything and say "Mine!" Sometimes at an outdoor tag sale they will arrive three or four to a car and while one distracts you with questions or haggling, the others rob you blind.
Dan Myers of Forest Park Antiques came but didn't hang around long. Jim Serrafinis is my new bookseller acquaintance. He looks Jewish or Italian and has long hair in a pigtail. He was wearing the latest style youth wear and always wears shorts with neat socks above sporty boots. I spotted him reading a modern fiction catalog so I went over and said hi. He knew all about Oak Knoll (which to my shame I didn't until recently) and he sells books over the internet. Jim lives five minutes from South Church which puts him in Precinct 4-A. I got a few books but nothing exciting. I exchanged pleasantries with the elderly lady running the book section but I failed to tell her that Mother died, I should have. She delicately made it clear to me that she knew I was gay and didn't approve. Such people only inspire me to be even more extreme.
From the tag sale I went to the Notman service at Trinity. Donald Ogilvie Notman, formerly of Skyridge Lane in Springfield, died at a local nursing home at age 91. He was an underwriter at Monarch Life Insurance for 45 years and a member of Trinity Methodist Church in Springfield. He was also a past President of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Springfield Country Club. I signed the guest book and noticed fourteen people present and not many cars in the parking lot. I saw no one I recognized from Monarch nor anything Masonic.
I was quickly in and out, then headed up to Chicopee for the Commerce 99 event. Charles River Hospital West has a big renting/leasing sign in front from McDonough Real Estate Services. This year the business fair was the best it has ever been, a good show. A couple of people there remembered me from my appearance last year in my orange suit and asked why I was conservatively attired in black leather, so I had to explain that I had been to a funeral. I noted the absence of the Westover Development people. Sally Fuller and I exchanged greetings. The Springfield Newspapers were giving away 175th Anniversary candy bars. The person at the City Stage booth told me they have sold 3,000 season tickets this year.
From there, I went to my dentist Dr. Frontera, and read magazines while I waited. The dentist checked me out and declared my teeth okay. On the way home I stopped at Food Mart for some of their grocery specials. When I got home the phone was ringing and when I picked up it was a woman who asked, "Is this Paul?" When I told her she had the wrong number she hung up in my ear! I had so many snacks at the business fair that all I had for supper was a can of soup and a sandwich. TV22 had a feature this evening about former Valley Advocate writer Kitty Axelson-Berry, who now helps people to record their personal history.
Eamon called and complained that although the paper endorsed the write in candidacy of Kateri Walsh, they never printed how many write-in votes she got. I told him I heard on TV she got around 3,000 votes. Eamon alerted me that his friend James K. Tillotson has his picture in today's paper. Tillotson's brother John was the ad manager for the Springfield Newspapers for over 20 years, but was shipped off to their Pittsfield office where he had a stroke and died.
Jim Tillotson told Eamon that when he taught in the Springfield school system he worked briefly under Dr. Negroni and considered him to be "full of shit." Negroni was only his boss for one year, but Tillotson told him point blank that he was "interested in teaching the kids something, not protecting their self-esteem." He said Dr. Negroni replied, "So you're not going to be a team player?" Tillotson was Assistant Principal at Kennedy under Willard Wright when he retired.
Today is the 20th Anniversary of The Morning Edition program on National Public Radio. I'm reading Aramco and It's World (1981). A lavish book that was discarded by the Winchester Square Library, it is the best possible general book on Arabia (lots of maps) and should not have been junked. A good starting place to get to know the Mideast.
WFCR says State Auditor Joe DeNucci is complaining that too many defendants who can afford a lawyer are passing the costs on to the taxpayers and wants to cut back by insisting on better income verification. The news on TV22 had a story about a little boy like I was, Bret Couture, with glasses and a thin frame, who is being bullied as a sissy. The parents complained and Negroni responded personally and instituted a "Gentle Warrior" program that teaches kids how to fight back.
Bob Robinson is one of the people I am having difficulty documenting. The mail brought from Household Finances a misdelivered letter for Brian R. Woodward. Tom Devine sent me a print-out of his web page coverage of the Simon for Mayor rally. He used a number of my pictures, including the one of himself with Bob Powell, and had a delightfully clever write-up:
Simon Powell, the canine companion of activists Bob and Karen Powell, agreed to work like a dog in order to defeat Springfield Mayor Michael Albano, who was otherwise running unopposed. I personally attended the Simon for Mayor rally as the informal master of ceremonies, for which I arrived elegantly attired in a suit and tie usually reserved for Halloween, as we all stood in line and proudly shook the paw of the mayoral contender.
I also spoke in Simon's behalf as he barked out his campaign promises of a return to good government, an end to corruption, the liberation of the county dog pound, repealing the leash law and imposing a tax on cats. Afterwards, we all enjoyed a dog's lunch until the rally had to disperse amidst never substantiated rumors that the candidate had run off with a bitch in heat named Monica.
Amazingly Mayor Albano did respond to our rally, declaring the next morning on Bax and O'Brien that if dogs could vote they would support him over Simon in gratitude to Albano for the planned new Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Shelter.
Despite Simon's dogged campaigning, many voters felt that a canine mayor was redundant, Springfield having already gone to the dogs years ago. Although every dog has it's day, Election Day was not to be Simon's as the dog eat dog tactics of the Albano camp successfully smeared Simon as a real son of a bitch. Yet even in defeat, Simon the Mayoral Pooch was still able to garner over 600 write-in votes.
Did a load of laundry today. Went to Burger King with a coupon, earlier I perused the Valley Advocate at Louis & Clark. There appeared to be so little of interest in it this week that I didn't even take one. The news account of the hearings on the petitions showed Russ Denver saying he is "waiting with baited breath" for the decision of the court. Eamon called and said the paper is calling the Commerce 99 trade fair a big success. He also spoke with Karen Powell who told him she's happy their petitions are being accepted.
I received a speechless Unknown call at 11:36pm.
Lovely day, 52 degrees on the breezeway at 6:50am.
Australian politicians are telling President Clinton that he should stay out of their politics. WFCR is having another fund drive and also listed their fiction contest winners, but I heard no winner mentioned in the category of fantasy.
Worked on this diary this morning, then drove out about 9:30am to the library book sale at Forest Park. They have a large basement room that was laid out for the sale. Some of the books were definitely ones they'd recycled from previous sales. I saw none of the big shots from Friends of the Library. I did see Ed Lonergan, who told me they had to have a sale because "the stacks are sagging" under the weight of all their books. He said they donated some art books to Western New England College. I told Ed that I saw that that his dad had died and expressed condolences, for which he thanked me very much. Durham Caldwell was at the sale and has been a lot more polite to me since I told him I bought his book. He now calls me Wesley.
Jon Contavitch was once again doing all the lifting, at the end he carried my books up the steps and out to the curb, where I brought the car around from Food Mart where I had parked and picked them up. When I remarked to Contavitch that it appeared he was doing all the work he replied, "That's the story of my life." I got a few nice things, including two books I will give to Nader the Hatter, two to Zachary Cohn, two to Eamon O'Sullivan and one to Ann Staniski. The best thing I got was Primary Colors, inscribed to MassMutual executive Tom Wheeler.
From there I drove to Burger King to dine again on a coupon, and then to the Cohn's, where I gave Irving two free passes to the Antiquarian Book Fair in Boston for Zachary along with the books I got for him at the library sale. Mr. Cohn told me that Mr. Penniman has been taken to a nursing home because he got so bad his wife couldn't handle him. When I got home the Union-News Extra in a blue bag was draped over the mailbox, not hung on the hook.
I needed some 3x5 cards and turned up some old change of major cards from Colby with the names of some old friends and professors on them: Robert M. Whitelaw, Joanne Randel, William W. Allen the Classics Professor, Bob Crespi, John Alden Clark and others, the whole zoo. The signature of Literature Professor Archibald William Allen is rare because of the size of the department and the fact that he didn't teach there long. For fun I dialed Nader the Hatter's old number 734-6780 and got a message saying it has been "disconnected, no further information is available." I then called the Powells to tell them to see Devine's website for coverage of the Simon rally.