September 2003

September 3, 2003

67 degrees, wet out. Gas $1.77 at Breckwood Sunoco.

A Deerfield boy, 24 but still a boy, came home dead from Iraq today. Casualties build support for wars because we want to fight on for revenge and if we quit then they died for nothing.

WFCR said 80% of voters can't name any of the Democrats running for president but 58% think a Democrat will win. Joe Lucia ran the J.L. Machine Company at 189 Poplar Street in Agawam. Ernest F. Fritz was Senior Bank President at Westbank in 1990. Jerry Nardi of Springfield won The Republican's photo contest. West Hartford is having a cow parade sponsored by Guida's Milk.

Out at 9:15am and saw a helicopter touching down at Mass Mutual. Fred Whitney has a blue and white "Jacobson for City Council" sign up. The Alexander House is waiting for its foundation to be poured. I repeat that it is too crowded on its new site and too close to the brick house next door. Not raining but slightly misty all the way over to Maria's in Agawam. White hydrangeas along the left side of the driveway. I looked up and noticed that her chimney is falling apart. Spent most of my time there looking through the books in the front of the attic. Over Uncle George's room I found his toolbox and brought it home; it has old-fashioned oaken drawers with felt on the bottom.

Later the Robillard's arrived to check out some of the stuff. Mrs. Robillard has a wonderfully co-operative personality. They said they had just come from looking at an antique medicine cabinet in Brimfield that was in such bad shape they declined to buy it. They took some items and said they would come back next Monday to see what else I've unearthed.

Then Eamon showed up to pick up some items I put aside for him. He said he used to know a meat cutter named Al Giroux who used to work for Stop&Shop. Eamon had no interest in the old vinyl records. He told me he paid Eastern Tree Service $900 to take down a Maple in his backyard.

On the way back through West Springfield I noticed that the Burger King opposite the Big E is gone. Therefore I ate at the greasy McDonald's in nearby Century Center. The hum in my ear has increased to the point so that I could barely hear the girl who waited on me. Pet Supplies Plus and Hollywood Video are in the former Sears automotive department. I went into Bob's Discount Furniture to check out their bedroom sets and took a box of popcorn from their snack station by the fountain. On the way home going past Springfield College I noticed that the name "Loveland Chapel" has been taken off the building which is now called the "Child Development Center." I must investigate.

In an article in the paper today Springfield School Superintendent Joseph P. Burke is quoted as admitting, "It's been an uphill battle in fighting an established culture of not taking attendance of kids all that seriously." The kids don't show up for class and nobody cares.

September 6, 2003

67 degrees at 8:25am. Overcast all day.

Whatever happened to Fritz the Cat? The Economist is advertising on WFCR that they cover this and that and the last thing on their list is "the arts."

The PVTA has announced it will not run a shuttle bus to the Big E this year, but Peter Pan will. Keith Sikes, director and founder of The Valley Photo Center in Tower Square had his picture in the paper recently. The Library Commission will hold a public hearing in City Hall Room 222 with Patrick Markey, Chairperson of the LIbrary Commission on September 9th. Rumors are that Andrew Scibelli intends to step down as President of Springfield Technical Community College.

Ruth Benton of Wilbraham and formerly of Monarch Life Insurance has died at age 98. She was an acquaintance of Mother but they were not close.

Down the street today by Lucius the fireman's house a tree service crew was cutting down an old Oak. I stopped by and told an older guy that I'd appreciate it if they would come by and see me later about an estimate. Around 1:30 a little red truck with one Bill Kulle came by and I showed him the Maple I wanted cut. He said he would take it down for $725 dollars but he couldn't come do it for about three days. He said he would prefer payment in cash and I accepted his offer. The name of the firm is Wallace's Tree Service, "The Urban Lumber Jacks" from Hampden. Eamon said that was a good price.

Went to Aunt Maria's and worked in the attic. On the way back home I stopped at Antonio's Grinders at the foot of the hill. The parking lot was full except for one spot. I got the five dollar special, a baloney grinder with cheese, lettuce and onion. It was better than Subway and I got my first Missouri quarter in my change.

Today is Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Day and dammit, they always do it, Ray Herschel on TV40 at 5:30 leading off with a piece on the "economic impact" of the enshrinement ceremony. This is not about honor. It is not about history. It is not about sport. It is about money.

A James Ryan for City Council brochure arrived in the mail today. Eamon called and said Nader the Hatter is busy putting new products on the internet. Eamon said of the Hall of Fame, "A building is a building, but it takes people to pump life into it." Eamon told me there was a drug raid on Tacoma Street, but the suspects escaped by running through the backyard and into the park. Here is Eamon's latest answering machine message:

Springfield's dishonest career politicians are more interested in name recognition and getting re-elected than in solving the city's problems. They can ignore reality by talking in glittering generalities about a most liveable city, but you can be sure that outsiders are well aware of this city's bad schools, rampant crime, poor quality of life environment and bad city government under investigation for political corruption.

September 8, 2003

66 degrees in the breezeway, beautiful. Gas is $1.77 all around Six Corners.

War is a luxury we can't afford anymore when we can't even afford the responsibilities of peace.

George Bush addressed the nation at 8:30 last night for maybe fifteen minutes. He boasted that "we have killed hundreds of Saddam loyalists." Is this a genocide? The Supreme Court will hear presentations on the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill today.

Congressman Neal was on TV40 saying that Iraq is going to be "a long, dangerous and costly war." Dr. Sobel the self promoter has the better part of a page in the September issue of The Valley Business Outlook. Haven't seen Sobel in The Reminder lately.

Henry L. Lenart was the President of the Polish National Credit Union in 1990. Jack A. Butterfield was the Chairman of the Springfield Unit of Shriner's Hospital on Carew Street in 1990.

Took some photos of the now doomed Maple in front of my house today. It is a beautiful tree that got too big for its space. While I was taking pictures Socrates Babacus pulled up and said he has been cleaning out his garage which is really packed with stuff. On my way to Maria's I noticed that the house on the corner of Talbot and North, formerly a pigpen, is all fixed up and has a Landmark for sale sign on it.

I arrived at Maria's today at 8:58 and worked in the back of the attic. Way down in an envelope I found an old dollar bill, a 1935 silver certificate! I've found no other cash so far. Then I felt much jubilation as I unearthed a 1937 receipt from Johnson's Bookstore! It is printed in green ink which was their usual style. My Uncle George learned about investing primarily from books he bought at Johnson's.

I also found an old ad for Genton Clothes at 1130 Riverdale Road, West Springfield. They are now called Yale-Genton and are located at 400 Riverdale Road. Aunt Maria and Uncle George and the Kochs took the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise around Manhattan Island on August 22, 1953. I came upon the substantial booklet that came with the cruise. When I finally left Maria's I stopped on the way home and bought the specials at Stop&Shop.

The other night Kenneth T. Jackson was on PBS talking about how at the time the World Trade Center was built NYC was in a "financial crisis" which the twin towers made worse because adding two new buildings that weren't needed flooded the market with extra square feet of retail space.

That is precisely what happened here in Springfield. Baystate West was the worst thing that happened to downtown Springfield because it emptied all the old surrounding office buildings as businesses abandoned them to move into Baystate West. The politicians also granted them special tax breaks to enable them to charge the lower rents to attract them. The same thing only worse happened when Monarch Place was built. The skyscrapers were supposed to revitalize the area but instead they ended up cannibalizing the rest of downtown, shrinking the central business district and thereby serving to hasten, rather than reverse Springfield's decline, to say nothing of the historic buildings that were destroyed to build them.

September 10, 2003

Sunny and cool, it felt like Fall but it's still Summer!

If you can't become a successful pig you can at least make life for the successful pig unpleasant. WFCR says Joe Lieberman of Connecticut has accused Dean of Vermont of "breaking with Israel."

The Boston Diocese has settled its sex abuse cases for $85 million to be dealt out to over 500 victims. The Catholic Church says the settlement will not be funded out of the contributions at Mass but where will the money be coming from? Do they have a goldmine somewhere or intend to start robbing banks?

John Ashcroft is in Boston defending the Patriot Act. Among those in the audience was Springfield Police Chief Paula Meara, who was a good little girl and said on TV that she hopes everyone will support the Patriot Act. Holyoke's Chief Scott was on saying that police departments in the valley are working together more now than ever before.

John Silber has been replaced at Boston University by Daniel S. Golden, formerly of NASA. Phillip Zea has returned to be head of Historic Deerfield after leaving in 1999. Lynda McCurdy Hotra is trustee. There will be a tour of the Chicopee National Bank Building (the Ravosa place) on Court Square on September 16th. It's a closed bid auction with bids due by September 26th. Emily Bader was on TV saying that the libraries Albano closed will soon reopen and they are hiring more library workers.

Departed for Agawam at 9am and I waved to the Ciantra's who were out for a morning walk. There is still a construction tie-up at the Orange Street intersection. Arrived at Maria's at 9:25. Vince Robillard soon arrived and took the 1920's writing desk from the attic and the antique egg basket. Robillard was accompanied by his wife's cousin Francis Johnson, who said he taught Claudia Robillard to drive back when they were both students at Minnechaug High School in Wilbraham.

Robillard says he prefers Pioneer Auction to Imler's. He thinks the Pioneer people are more honest. Bob Brunelle of Antique Stoves, an articulate and muscular Frenchman with tattoos stopped by. He said the antique iron stove in the basement is very rare but it's missing a piece so he won't take it, he only wants antiques stoves that can still be used and sold for rich people's cabins.

Before leaving I went to see Shirley Lucia who was raking and admiring the yellow roses by her garden. I told her that I am nearly through with the furniture and she said that the Methodist ladies might come to see if they want anything. I said she should invite the local historical society to come over but she didn't know if Agawam has one.

When I got home I noticed that Mr. Irving Cohn was out so I walked over to chat. He is always cheerful but said that old age is weighing heavily upon him. He went to his doctor yesterday who said at his age there isn't much to be done. He said he's sorry now that he neglected his health in his youth. His wife's brother died recently and Cohn said "it hit me harder than it did her." He did say that he is grateful for the good friends he has had throughout life, but now they are all dying.

I mentioned politics and Cohn said he is glad the members of Congress are all rich because that makes them less tempted by corruption. I told him about taking down my Maple and he said Cressotti is having a tree taken down by the side of his house. Mr. Cohn said he is especially proud of his daughter Rachel who is a writer of some kind. Before I left he asked me to bring his trash barrels in for him so I did.

September 13, 2003

The eleventh was the second anniversary of the attack on New York. 2792 lives were lost that day, but George Bush offers us nothing but endless war.

Joseph A. Nizmiec of 28 Parker Street was a wood dealer in 1942. G.A. Goodrow worked in the Accounts Payable Department of Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company in Hartford in 1943. Western Mass Electric Company was located at 174 Brush Hill Avenue in West Springfield in 1971. Johnny Cash "The Man in Black" has died. I never cared much for his music. Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury has a risky strip today praising the virtues of masturbation. Good to see him still pushing the limits.

I've had this car for some years, but one feature that never worked before is now working. Suddenly it has started honking at me if I start driving without my seat belt on. It has always made a dinging sound if the keys are in the ignition and the door is open. But this seat belt warning is something it just learned. Sy Becker was on TV today reporting on the Big E which he described as "a big time for big spenders." Another news story said that the five shootings in Albano's 'entertainment district" in the past few weeks has resulted in "business being down in the district" With all the violence is it any wonder that people are staying away?

Wallace's Tree Service came today to take down the Maple. They left such a nice flat cut on the stump that I put a little tablecloth on it and took a picture of Sweet Pea and Honey Pot having a picnic on it. I gave each of the tree cutters a bottle of Bristol Creme as a tip and the Black and Puerto Rican tree cutters seemed especially pleased. At one point I heard the white boss tell the Puerto Rican that it's okay if he made a mistake because Puerto Ricans are slow learners. I was amazed that the Puerto Rican said nothing in reply. When they left I saw Kelly's little boy playing in the sawdust and chips. I notice that Kelly gets the Boston Globe but not the Springfield Republican.

The station by the Lincoln-Mercury place formerly known as Mutual Ford is now a Shell where gas is $1.77 a gallon. Still going out to Feeding Hills every day to work on the estate. Maria has pipes in the attic with clothing on it, Mother must have gotten the idea from her. I came across an old white bathroom scale and weighed myself fully dressed - 195 pounds.

I still can't find Maria's fancy antique brass and wood camera or the autographed Noyes book. I was delighted to find a choice old black leather bag made with walrus skin. I also found two rolls of pennies and one of nickles. While I was there a Nelson W. St.Marie called expressing interest in buying Maria's car. I must contact The Johnson and Wales Culinary Archives and Museum to see if they want the antique stove in the cellar for their museum of cooking. Barbara Cook is the curator.

On the way back there was a traffic jam on the Buxton Bridge. I swung by Eamon's house to drop off some papers and there was a city dump truck parked across the street from his house. Eamon has a new Lincoln rocker and has an Irish leprechaun doll sitting in it. Eamon has been working on the School Committee campaign of Antonette Pepe whom he describes as "a real fighter."

Eamon said he was talking to someone who knows Tom Devine's sister, the one who works at Bonavita's Tavern. He was told that it is true about the tragic decline of Doyle the Twig Painter. They also told Eamon that Tom is happy living in Amherst and working at UMass. Eamon said that you can't get those UMass jobs unless a politician speaks up for you, and he said Devine talked like a reformer but he is "a hypocrite who sold out to cash in." I said, "But Eamon, why does this surprise you? That is the Springfield way."

September 14, 2003

Rained steadily. At the Pond (Alden) everybody is $1.75 per gallon.

It is the destiny of glass to be smashed. Gilbert and Barker Manufacturing Company was in West Springfield in 1944. Here is an incomplete list of major Springfield writers over the years:

Bibbers Dalton, Frank Faulkner, Tux Sullivan, Bill Putnam, Robert Parker, Timothy Leary, Clifton Johnson, James Gordon Gilkey, Tom Shea, Eamon T. O'Sullivan, Tom Vannah, Maureen Turner, Kris Hundley, Stephanie Kraft, Dr. Seuss, Josiah Gilbert Holland, Harry A. Wright, Mason A. Green, Henry M. Burt, Alfred M. Copeland, Horace Moses, J. Loring Brooks, Aella Greene, Lucy and Herbert Hyrick, William A.R. Chapin, Tom Devine, Wayne Phaneuf, Robert Holcomb, John R. Auchter, Howard N. Simpson, William C. Hill, John Francis Speight, Shera Cohen, Richard Muhlburger, Susan K. Downs, Paul Fein, Harold Flavin, William Orr, Rose A. Lynch, Joe Carvalho, Linda K. Fuller, Dr. John Alifano, John W. Spencer and Irving Townsend.

Up bright and early and cleaned house. Arrived at Auntie's at 11:15 to continue sifting through the estate. I was going through an old wardrobe when I came upon seven boxes of ammo for a .22 pistol. So when I left early to go to the Quail Run Estates retirement home picnic on Cardinal Drive off Cooper Street I stopped and dropped the ammo off at the Agawam Police Department. I was wearing my doggie collar with padlock and bright orange jumpsuit, which made the officer at the desk look at me askance, but he was polite and gave me a receipt.

It was still raining when I arrived at Quail Run and the parking lot was packed. The event was outdoors under large tents and a very low-key affair. Entertainment was very ably provided by a band. They even had a pony and a clown! Some people stared at me because of how I was dressed, but nobody looked disturbed.

For a picnic it was a really good feed, a scoop of potato salad, a cup of fruit, a wheat roll, sausage and pepper grinders and an ear of corn. They also had chocolate chip cookies and two kinds of brownies. There were no speeches, no sales pitches, no literature, just a picnic. Unfortunately among the guests were flies and bees trying to stay out of the rain.

When I left I noticed there is a place next door called The Atrium, which turned out to be a place for people with Alzheimer's and dementia. I don't think they'll be having a picnic! The Director of Admissions is Judy Pothul. Then I went over to the Feeding Hills Stop&Shop for the specials.

Bookseller Paul M. Murray of Wilbraham came by this afternoon. He is 58 years old and has two daughters. Murray told me he attended an experimental college in New Hampshire that no longer exists. By the time he came the rain had let up and Paul arrived on a white motorcycle wearing a black helmet. He was well-tanned and wearing a green tank top. His father was Samuel E. Murray (1906-89). He said his father used to go to Johnson's Bookstore all the time and once auctioned off five boxes of archives from the Farrar Alpaca Company of Holyoke. I told him I like Pioneer Auction best because sometimes you can get things for less then you bid but with Imler at Stantons you always pay full price. He nodded in agreement.

I showed him around and he said he liked my stuff. He admired my Indian and he said he knows Nader the Hatter. Murray said my Peter Max poster "could be worth a good deal of money." Up in the attic he said my wooden puzzles would also bring good money. He refused all refreshments, saying he had ice cream with his daughter at Randall's before he came. As he was leaving I gave him a signed copy of my brochure on the history of Blanche and John's Fernbank, the land which I am donating to Wilbraham. Murray departed at 4:55 saying he will stop by Maria's soon to see what I have. There is something a little strange about him. Then again, we are all strange.

September 15, 2003

73 degrees at 11:15am. Sunoco is $1.75.

The Big E attendance at day's end was 198,999, up from 171,069 yesterday. In the old shows George Burns and Gracie Allen's neighbor was Blanche, something Mother remarked on but which I had forgotten until WFCR mentioned it today.

Paid every one of my bills today. Little bill payments went out at Louis&Clark on my way into the city. Their entryway bulletin board has a lot of posters on it and is the most significant posting place in the Pine Point/16 Acres area. My big bills were placed in the chute of the Main Post Office downtown.

Had to sit twice through the light at Gateway Village because classes were changing at WNEC. The Springfield Newspapers digital sign is promoting buckling your seatbelts. The top floor of the Paramount building has For Rent signs in the windows, one letter in each window. The antique shop on Boland Way is gone, it was once a liquor store. Drove past the Hall of Fame and they were repaving the road in front of Pizza Uno.

It was raining when I got to Maria's and I spent a few hours sifting through the stuff. I found an empty six pack of old green Coke bottles, a definite money maker. I also came across a 1990 letter from Assistant Tax Collector Ann Marie Hartmann featuring a beautiful image of the Agawam town seal. While I was there Joe Lucia came over. He limps now and looks weak. He is not at all aggressive like his wife. I thanked him for all he did for Aunt Maria in keeping her yard up in her years of decline.

Before going home I swung out to Wilbraham Center to check out Paul Murray's place. I recognized it as the house that James Brady McGuire lived in before he moved to Faculty Street. An immense two family house. Next door at 477 Main was Murray's dad's place, which behind it has a small well maintained barn painted red with white trim. If this is the barn he told me is stuffed full of books then it is not a very big barn.

Morris Jones has a commercial for City Council that boasts, "Morris Jones fought and won to keep Alden Street open." Eamon called and said he donates regularly to the Retired State, County and Municipal Employee Association of Massachusetts, "The Voice of the Retired Public Employee" whose president is Ralph White. He also told me about 25 Roy Street where a bootlegger once lived in a brick colonial with an ornate fence on the corner of Newbury Street. It has an underground tunnel through which liquor was smuggled during prohibition.

I called the Registrar of Deeds today and got Terry who transferred me to Loretta who put me through to Registrar Donald Ashe. I told him he should put Governor Romney's toll free number on his literature. He thanked me for my suggestion and asked whether I was a Republican. I said yes, but explained that I am a very liberal Republican who is disgusted with Bush. Ashe replied that if so I should switch to become a Democrat, but I replied that the local Democrats are corrupt and I don't want to be associated with them. He laughed and said thanks again for calling, but he did not say he would add Romney's number to his handouts.

September 16, 2003

End of rain. Gas at Breckwood Shell is $1.75.

Veterans are 9% of the population but 28% of the homeless population.

On Martha Stewart's show today a guy from Sunny Border Nurseries in Kensington, Connecticut talked about ferns and other evergreen plants. On WFCR this morning Julia Rothner did a major story about buying prescription drugs in Canada and Mayor Albano was interviewed. This issue is making Albano nationally famous!

Henry A. Kelly's obituary appeared in the paper today. He was 84. When I was at Buckingham Junior High in the '50's he was a teacher there. The last time I saw him was at McCreech's funeral and before then the last time was with Tillotson during the teacher's strike around 1980. He was a buddy of Gerry Foley.

I headed out at 10:20 this morning to go to Glickman and vote in today's primary. Only a few campaign signs in out front, but later I saw a lot of them outside the Church in the Acres and outside of Duggan. I noticed the principal peering at me from her office, perhaps fearful that I would take her school hand-outs and correct them for grammar. I smiled and waved. There was no free food and one person to check you in, one to check you out and one cop. I was voter number 35 and wrote in the names of all the rebels: Eamon O'Sullivan, Bob and Karen Powell, Belle-Rita Novak, Michaelann Bewsee, Tom Devine, Talbert Swan, Mitch Ogulewicz and myself. Eamon told me that whatever I do I shouldn't vote for Jennifer Murphy since her husband Peter is a Labor lawyer for the School Department who is "tied in with the Neal-Albano Gang."

After voting I headed downtown to tour Ravosa's place on Court Square, officially known as the Chicopee National Bank Building, which is up for auction at the end of the month. Of course I have no plans to bid, but they don't know that. I was a half hour early so I headed over to J.T.'s Sports Bar in the old Johnson's Bookstore building for lunch. I sat at a table by the wall and leafed through copies of the Globe and the Republican they had. On television Gen. Wesley Clark announced that he is running for president. I asked my waitress Shannon what she recommended and she said the salads are good at $4.99, so I had that and a piece of pizza. It was great and I gave her a $2 tip.

Then I headed over to the Civic Pub where I met as planned with John S. Williamson, Vice President of CB Richard Ellis of Hartford. He is a short, very friendly and accommodating man who said he would give me a tour of the property. He said the building is steam heated but we couldn't go down in the basement. We took the elevator to the second floor where Ravosa's law office is with diplomas and certificates on the wall. On the third floor was another modern but unused law office. It had brass chandeliers which I recognized as being from Ravosa's old club The Bar Association.

I told Williamson that I'm no fan of Peter Picknelly, but I think Picknelly would be the perfect owner for this building and he agreed. Then we took the elevator up to the top floor and into Anthony Ravosa's apartment. I've never seen a private residence downtown as wonderful as Ravosa's place. You walk out of the elevator and you are in a two-story cathedral like space that is very ornately decorated. To the left is a spiral staircase leading to a loft and a stained glass window with a sunset motif. It was too superb for words.

The living room has a huge television built into the wall and there is an ultra-modern gourmet kitchen with marble counters. We did not go into the bedrooms in back nor did we go up on the rooftop to see Mrs. Ravosa's famous garden. Yet there is no question that of downtown homes Ravosa's is the star attraction.

The whole apartment is a celebration of urban life, and what a complement it would have been to the vibrant city Springfield once was. Tony Ravosa has many flaws, but he loves life and he loves Springfield, and yet he was shunned by the dull, dim-witted mediocrities who run this city and who could never even pretend to match his vision. I walked over to the window with the sunset motif and pointed out to Williamson how through that majestic window you could see all of Springfield's major towers, including the courthouse, Court Square, First Church and even the Springfield Armory off in the distance.

I heard Williamson asking me, "Attorney Miller, are you alright?" Suddenly I realized that there were tears running down my face, so I took out my black handkerchief and wiped them away. Then we took the elevator back down to Main Street where I thanked Williamson for the tour and promised to send him some postcards. After we parted I started walking up State Street towards my car. Russ Denver was walking past the Civic Center and waved cheerfully but I was in no mood to stop and just kept walking.

The Ravosa's Court Square Complex

September 18, 2003

Clear blue sky today. 62 degrees. Six Corners gas still $1.75.

163 American soldiers killed in Iraq so far.

Richard Grasso has resigned as the head of the New York Stock Exchange. Staples headquarters is in Framingham, Massachusetts and its president is Ronald L. Sargent. New Hampshire is the fastest growing state in New England. The 16 Acres Library is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, but the Pine Point Library is only open on Friday.

Kenneth Mills runs Gemini Lawn Care from Clydesdale Lane in Springfield. Donald Dunn from WNEC is now working at a law school in California. A $850,000 fund raising drive has been launched to fix up the Municipal Auditorium, now called Symphony Hall. A lot of the cushioned seats are ripped, paint is peeling everywhere, the drapes are ripped and the lavatories are, well. Give a certain amount and you get your name on a seat. Didn't they fix the place up a few years ago when they took out the organ?

Out at 7:15am. I passed by the Five Town Mall where the Balloon Platoon was decorating outside the Burlington Coat Factory which opens soon. There is a building, which I think used to be a gas station, in the little triangle of land at the intersection of Central, Pine and Florence which has been demolished, with the bricks piled up in the middle of the lot.

Arrived at Aunt Maria's at 7:45 and spent the day screening ephemera. I threw away two-thirds and brought home the rest. I found an old Spaghetti Warehouse menu and a Tapley Court brochure. Tapley School was designed by the same architect who built Wesley Methodist Church, and both were constructed with enormous roofs. I am also finding material to add to my portfolio of local banking forms from across the decades. Also came across a Carlisle's razor blades wrapper, it is the only Carlisle's in-house-brand I know of, but the fact that there is one suggests there may have been others. In any case a rare collector's item from a local business.

Paul Murray arrived at nine in a light blue wagon. He complained that his wife is saying he brings home too much junk and the barn and his cellar are packed. Paul said he is looking after his mother who is in her nineties. He told me he has two siblings, a younger sister and a 60 year old brother Peter Murray who graduated from Harvard. Murray said that Eugene Povirk is one of the few people he lets into his place to select books because he always pays top price. He looked at the antique stove in the cellar which I noticed says Home Crawford Royal on the oven door but he wasn't interested and left at ten.

On the way home I stopped at Angelo's Fruit Mart on Boston Road and Angelo's son said I could take some wooden skids for free but I insisted on giving him $5. Then I stopped next door at Arnold's and bought two loaves of raisin cinnamon bread for $1.10.

Got another mailing from Russ Whitney, CEO of Whitney Education Group inviting me to come to a real estate seminar at the Hotel Northampton. Whitney claims to have made a fortune in real estate and is now making even more of a fortune telling other people how to do it. Father Scahill of East Longmeadow claims that Bishop Dupre said at a meeting that former Bishop Christopher Weldon destroyed the personnel records of predator priest Father Lavigne, but Dupre is sputtering that he said no such thing.

A Ryan for Mayor brochure arrived in the mail today. Eamon called and said he is not going to Henry Kelly's funeral. He noted that Doris Lynch, the wife of Henry Lynch is in the obituaries. Eamon used to drink a lot with Harry, who served under Hyman Rickover, the head of the Springfield Armory. Antonette Pepe has come up with the campaign slogan, "Promoting Excellence in Public Education." The Springfield Republican has given her campaign nothing but negative coverage.

WFCR says "not a single lease" has been signed for the Adrien's Landing economic development project in Hartford, scheduled to be completed in 2005. They said, "Hartford remains a tough sell in a sluggish economy." So what about Springfield?

September 20, 2003

71 degrees at 8:45. Overcast and humid. Citgo on Parker is $1.71.

R.P. Childs Stamp Company was located at 1618 Main Street over Kresge's in downtown Springfield where the Federal Building is now. It was established in 1907 by Mr. Robert P. Childs, who operated the business until his retirement in 1948. The new owner, former employee Arthur M. Allen, ran the business until 1978, when it was taken over by Roland A. Stebbins. Joseph Carvalho was the supervisor of the Genealogy and Local History Department of the City Library in 1983.

This is National POW-MIA Recognition Day. I have found that CBS-3 plays splendid documentaries in the middle of the night. Last night they had a great one about dam building in India. Got a form letter from Kent Williamson, Executive Director of the National Council of Teachers of English that addressed me as "Dr. J. Wesley Miller."

I don't like that some people who live voluntarily on the Cape Cod seacoast demand money from the taxpayers when their houses get washed away. They knew the risks when they bought the property. Called M. Humbertson at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and left a message that I would soon donate my essay "The History of Music at Classical High School" and my rebuttals to some of the historical essays of Richard Garvey.

I started the day by sitting in my garage sifting through some of Aunt Maria's newspaper clippings. I found one article from November 1997 by Carol Malley about plans to put a mural on the wall behind where the Hotel Charles was demolished. It never materialized, instead we got a playhouse replica of the Peter Pan trolly barn. Also found a letter to the editor by Central High English teacher Carol S. Brookmeyer from 1992.

While going through the clippings suddenly Mr. Cohn walked up the driveway. He was broken up and very upset and he told me that his son Zackary is dead. I tried to console him and reminded him he still has Mrs. Cohn and his other kids and many friends. Zack is the second child he has outlived and it is too bad. Then a woman in a beautiful dress drove up and took Mr. Cohn home in her car and thanked me as she left with him.

The last weekend of summer and the treebelt tree at the corner of Plumtree and South Branch Parkway is turning color. The Napolitan's have a Dom Sarno sign stuck in their Longhill Street lawn. Went to the opening of the Burlington Coat Factory at Five Town Mall. There was a cop parked by Leone's Restaurant, watching for speeders on Cooley. It wasn't a very grand opening, nobody handing out anything at the door. It's a really nice store, better than Bradlees. Lots of clothing, more variety than Penny's. A large leather department, but no biker jackets. Enormous baby department. Some African schlock, inexpensive reproductions. Cut glasswear, cheap silverware,the presentation of merchandise is as impeccable as Filene's.

Charlie Ryan is on the cover of the Valley Advocate this week. They have a long article by Maureen Turner praising him. Eamon called and said that the best recommendation he can make about Wesley Clark for President is that "he knows nothing about politics." Eamon says that Springfield's city government, with over 7,000 employees in 37 departments, is "a personnel mismanagement disaster." He pointed out that such numbers encourage hard to trace no-show jobs for the specially connected. The fact is no one really knows the exact number of people on the city payroll, and with everything being done by old-fashioned non-computer methods, the opportunities for corruption are endless.

September 23, 2003

First day of Fall. 58 degrees at 9:08. Absolutely lovely day. Gas is $1.75 at the Pond.

The foliage peak in the Berkshires is predicted for October 8th. Vice President Cheney is in Hartford. WFCR said this morning that "jobs are continuing to flow overseas." Wasn't H. Ross Perot correct?

F. C. Milroy was the Manager of the Insurance Department at A.G. Spaulding on Meadow Street in Chicopee in 1966. Kenneth Thornton was the Pastor of the Agawam Methodist Church in 1967. The attendance at the Big E so far is 490,060. When I attended Homer Street School in the 1940's there were only two black students in my class, Charles Howard and Wendell Johnson.

The woodwork on the Indian Motocycle Apartments needs repainting. I hear that the Indian Motocycle plant in California is closing. When they repainted the Fuller Block this summer they did so in deeper colors. Had a sausage muffin at McDonald's on Allen Street. Fred Whitney no longer has a lawn sign and the dead tree on the Springfield College president's lawn has been taken down.

Drove down Morris and #34 is a real cute little older cottage with shutters. STCC's Union Street lot was full and at the intersection of Pearl and School a city vehicle turned without signaling. The YMCA has a sign out front advertising Bingo on Sundays. The Insurance Center Building in West Springfield is now empty. The house on the corner of Lakeside is completed and looks good. There was a red and white HOOD blimp drifting over towards Southwick.

Arrived at Maria's and worked in the back. Found some Bicentennial soda cans, a 1941 local telephone book and a treatise on Mortuary Jurisprudence. Also came upon an old green drafting board from Technical High School. At 1:30 Joe Lucia started mowing the lawn, using a Simplicity 3410S Rider Mower which looks like a little tractor. Shortly after he left it became overcast like it might rain so I decided to leave. When I got home as I was getting out of the car the Mudry's drove by and waved. Mr. Allard was walking past and told me he saw the obituary for Zack Cohn in the paper.

Sarno for Council signs say he is "fair and honest." Eamon called and said that you used to see cops walking the streets in pairs but now all the cops are in cars. Bruce Fitzgerald, a former phone installer, is Charlie Ryan's campaign manager, which Eamon says is odd because you usually have "a bigshot for your manager." Eamon says that Fitzgerald is "only good for installing lawn signs." Fitzgerald's brother is a school principal and his son was the one who replaced Anthony Ardolino as Albano's aide after Ardolino was forced out. Eamon doesn't like the idea of any Albano people being involved with Charlie.

Eamon joked that Springfield should be renamed "Picknellopolis." He explained how Mass Mutual used to get around the campaign finance laws by giving bonuses to key employees with the understanding that they in turn would pass part of the bonus on to their favorite candidates. Eamon recalled the time that he was running for City Council and Mass Mutual sent two men to his house who then offered him an envelope full of cash right there in his living room.

September 25, 2003

56 degrees at 9:41am on the digital sign on The Democrat, I mean The Republican building. Daily Mart gas is $1.69.

Pain is weariness leaving the body. Rep. Tom Delay has denounced "the hate speech of the American Left." UMass is cracking down on students who commit copyright infringements. In a Waterbury, Connecticut museum they have the skeleton of a slave that drowned in 1700, and some are saying it is time to give him a proper burial.

The Reminder came early. Headed to Aunt Maria's by the northern route. Drilex Environmental of West Boylston Mass is working down at 82 Birchland Avenue along with a little red truck belonging to Ducharme and Wheeler - Land Surveyors. The Mapps building where the Urban League was located before they stole the library is being gutted inside by Associated Building Wreckers.

At Maria's I found a 1971 newspaper clipping about the City Council campaign announcement of Mary K. Egan, now best known as Eddie Boland's widow. She was a Boston College Law School graduate who was 32 years old when she ran successfully for the Council. Other documents I found indicate that she worked for Egan & Flanagan in the Court Square Building, which consisted of James F. Egan, William C. Flanagan and George R. Shea. Aunt Maria always considered Mary Boland to be her lawyer, although she sometimes asked me for advice.

When I left I sneaked out a very heavy duty strong box marked March 23, 1988 - Maria's birthday! On the way home I was held up by a long freight train headed towards Westfield on the tracks behind the old Strathmore Paper Mill site. Once I got home I opened the strongbox and found it was full of historic photos, paperwork and other artifacts from the Giroux Machine Company. Some of it I will donate to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and some will be put up for auction to line my pockets.

Linda Melconian got the endorsement of the Central Labor Union which has 47,000 members in Western Mass and about 27,000 in Springfield. Eamon called and said that the newspaper was late again due to breakdowns with their new press. He said the clerk at Cal's Variety told him that most days they send back more copies of the paper than they sell. Eamon also recalled how he used to go to Ben Kalman's Music in the Round in the 1950's. He told me he was not going to Ryan's political rally tonight.

I arrived at Ryan's gathering at Saint Anthony's at 5:48. Ryan had an enormous turnout here when he ran in 1995. Back then the casino issue was hot, although many of those moralistic Catholic types who backed Ryan then have perhaps died off in the years since. Still the event was very well attended. I had no problem parking and outside the door a guy was playing Irish music on a little hand accordion. Just inside the door Mr. and Mrs. Ryan were standing and greeting everyone who entered. Ryan said to me, "I'm glad you could come." I told him he could put a sign on my lawn, which is one of the best locations in 16 Acres. Collecting the money was a very friendly Rose Marie Coughlin and Karen Powell.

All the predictable media people were there, except G.M. Dobbs of The Reminder. I noted his absence to Bob Powell, who told me that Dobbs "is on vacation this week." Bob was walking around taking pictures of everyone, perhaps an idea he got from me. The food was not as plentiful as the last time I was there for a Paul Caron event. Lots of veggies and fruit and the toothpicks had little flags on them. The ceiling was covered with red and blue Ryan for Mayor balloons.

There were a lot of young people present, but not many minorities. Mitch Ogulewicz, a big man with a big smile, was surrounded by female admirers. I overheard one of them ask Mitch why he hadn't sought the mayoralty this year as was speculated he might in the Valley Advocate. He replied, "Because a better man than me is running." Former Sealtest milkman and Museum of Fine Arts guard Jimmy Crowley was there and told me he lives on Dwight Road. Durham Caldwell and his wife were there, she in sandals and rose socks, and both were aloof as always. Leonard Collamore arrived in a light green shirt. I've known him for years yet he ignored me, but it is known he has a problem with queers.

Cheryl Rivera was there and gave me a big hug. I was wearing my orange jump suit with doggie collar and logger's boots. A short stocky man whom I recognized as a retired cop came up to me and asked, "What are you, some kind of terrorist?" I replied, "The Boston Tea Party was an act of terrorism," and he shook his head and walked away. Someone else asked if I was a Shriner.

Marshall Moriarty was there, as was Kevin Sears. Laurel Rancitelli remembered me from when I signed her campaign papers. Antonette Pepe gave me her flyer and several of the Ryan kids were there. Mo Jones was in attendance with his brother the poll worker. Carol Lewis-Caulton came dressed in purple and Angelo Puppolo asked if he could put a sign on my lawn and I said yes. My loyalty to Puppolo is based on the courage he showed in dumping Albano and supporting Caron the last time around. Bruce Fitzgerald the campaign manager arrived late.

The formal program began at 6:30 with Raymond Berry, a good-looking black man, pointing out the dignitaries in the room, although he forgot Leonard Collamore. Ryan spoke well, pointing out that he will be 76 years old in a few weeks but insisting that he is "full of the Spirit of 76!" He added that regardless of age, "one's duty as a citizen never ends" and said he was glad to have a chance to serve the city in his retirement years.

Ryan then outlined a sensible plan of recovery for Springfield that left one wondering, "Why has Albano never done any of these things?" Unfortunately Ryan has not produced a plan in booklet form such as he did in 1995, which is now a valuable collectible but which the Springfield library system does not have a single copy of.

Charlie discussed how he has been going around City Hall meeting with department heads and described the fiscal situation he discovered as "far grimmer than I expected." He promised to crack down on tax delinquents, but was too much of an gentleman to mention Linda Melconian by name. At the end he shouted, "Working together we can take back this city!" In response there was wild cheering, whistling and stamping of feet, and we all left feeling that if elected Charlie Ryan really will save our dying city.

September 27, 2003

62 degrees at noon and overcast all day. Both gas stations at the Pond down to $1.68 per gallon.

America is too far gone to ever be returned to the better, simpler life of the 1950's. Those were good years because we had just won the war and the moral ethic was still strong. With Vietnam, a war we lost, things began to fall apart. We have propped ourselves up with technological advances and rationalized putting the moms to work as Women's Lib, but the fact is there are more expenses and everyone now has to work to pay all the bills.

Holmes Texaco Service Station was at 828 Springfield Street in Feeding Hills in 1942. I turned on the furnace for the first time last night. All my projects are percolating along. Jeff my framer now has a crackled pet rock on his windowsill with two tiny plastic eyes peering out of a crack in it. My hearing is definitely deteriorating, especially when people talk without facing me.

Steve "Fitz" Fitzgerald is a salesman at Family Ford on Fuller Road in Chicopee. Larry W. Lungarini is a sales representative at Sarat Ford in Agawam. Brian Grady works at Balise Ford on Route 20 in Wilbraham. Jim Orlowski is a Sales Consultant at Springfield Lincoln-Mercury on Bay Street and he graduated from UMass in 73 in business. He said he has been selling cars for seventeen years. Linda McQuade is the Lincoln-Mercury Business Manager.

Went car shopping today. Drove out to Family Ford whose salesman came across as a real jock who wanted top dollar for everything. Went to Balise in Wilbraham but they had no blue cars. At Sarat they had a baby blue ThunderBird with an opera window for $45,000 and a blue Taurus. Their salesman gave me a cone of popcorn. I'm becoming more inclined to buy something from Lincoln-Mercury

Not a word in the paper about Ryan's rally. Someone in a silver car came by and put up my Ryan for Mayor sign today. Eamon called and said he got a Ryan sign and I noticed that Durham Caldwell got one too. Jim Landers is doing a lot of free work for the Ryan campaign. Eamon's latest message demands the firing of Ann Henry of Commerce for "poor performance."

The Allard's were having a tag sale today and I walked over. For $75 dollars I bought a Papal Blessing dated 1926 for Dr. and Mrs. Joseph S. Mitchell and family with a picture of the Pope on the bottom. Helen Caulton, the City Health Commissioner, was there telling Mrs. Allard that she should vote for Linda Melconian. Mrs. Allard replied that she hadn't decided who to vote for, and I chirped in that Melconian should release her credit card balance. Commissioner Caulton said that's private and anyway it means nothing about how Linda would handle the city's budget. She also hinted that Melconian's husband may have something to do with her financial problems.

September 29, 2003

59 degrees when I got home. Overcast then sun.

Mother always imposed on Father to make things. She always had some contraption she wanted constructed and Father always did her bidding and weathered her constant nagging that he do things her way.

Jobs get done one step at a time, whether requiring the labor of many or one. People are joining the military because there are too few other jobs, and that's just the way the government likes it. A Vermont nuke was shut down because of a steam pipe leak.

TV22 showed how there was a beautiful rainbow over the Big E grounds late this morning. This is the 40th anniversary of the Newman Center at UMass. Ralph J. Crandall is the Executive Director of the New England Genealogical Society.

Mrs. Helen Holmes was head of the Real Estate Department at Westfield Savings Bank in 1966. John J. Beltrandi ran Beltrandi Real Estate Insurance on Walnut Street in Agawam in 1967. The Gerena Elementary School in the Brightwood neighborhood opened in 1974 with Mary Dryden as the first principal. Christopher St. Clair called today on behalf of Traveler's Insurance to try to sell me something. I told him that my time is worth $100 per hour with a minimum fee of $50. He quickly hung up.

I went to visit Mrs. Staniski today and found her pulling weeds around her hatchway door. We chatted about the old days and Mrs. Staniski recalled what a snob the wife of the famous Dr. Stanley Stusick was, once breaking up a relationship between her daughter Mary Alice and a suitor because he was from Christ Church and refusing to let her daughters come over to 90 Elijah Street to play because she considered the Staniski's too low class.

From there I went to Kappy's on Boston Road over by where K-Mart and Stop&Shop used to be. In the old days you could drive from Kappy's lot over to what is now the Raymour & Flanagan lot, but now they have a gate. I also drove out to Wilbraham where I saw that Lakeside Restaurant is all closed up but not boarded up. The Town of Wilbraham is now hard at work on the Maynard Road portion of the land I donated to them, with heavy equipment grading and digging storm drains while the high knoll has been cut in half.

There is an article in this morning's paper digging up the fact that back in the 1960's Mayor Ryan called in the National Guard because of the fear of violence by civil rights protesters and pointing out that no black person has ever worked in Ryan's law offices. Charlie defended himself by saying that he has always supported civil rights for all and he was never the partner in charge of hiring at the law firm.

WFCR said that vampire author Ann Rice puts distinctive messages on her answering machine sort of like Eamon does. Eamon called this afternoon and we discussed my search for a new car. He recommended Mastriani on Liberty Street opposite the funeral home. Landers recently bought a used Subaru from them and Eamon claims Mastriani has "an excellent reputation." I hate to go to the trouble of buying a new car but my old Ford is rusting out on the back passenger side. I get my cars inspected at Lynsdale Garage on Warehouse Street in Springfield by Robert Vedovelli.

Eamon was curious about 68 Ingersoll Grove, a Tudor Revival brick house two doors down from the former Gill residence with fantastic woodwork inside. He thought Judge Eileen Griffin owned it. I didn't know but later I checked my 1936 Directory and it was once owned by Ernest Byron the funeral director. Here is Eamon's latest phone message:

One of Linda Melconian's biggest supporters, Congressman Dick Neal, likes to say that "perception is reality in politics." I wonder how bad Linda's credibility has to get before Neal has the courage to tell her that her mayoral campaign is an exercise in futility? Melconian should also resign her State Senate seat after her upcoming mayoral loss to avoid an embarrassing defeat next year if she seeks re-election to the Senate.


October 2003

October 1, 2003


Justice William Rehnquist is 79 today. Maryann Elkas completed training at UMass in Lotus 1-2-3 under Larry Smith in April, 1985. Came across an old clipping about the 1997 death of adman G. Robert Richardson whom I knew in the 80's when he used to work for the aging owner of Sir Speedy printers. He was a mild mannered gentleman.

Got a note in the mail today from the Ryan for Mayor campaign thanking me for letting them put a sign on my lawn.

I drove out to see Shelly Lucia and gave her the key to Aunt Maria's. She invited me into her tidy kitchen and I noted a beautiful watercolor of a country barn in a gold frame. There were other watercolors on the walls. Shirley Lucia is an artist who sells her art through the Granville Gallery run by her brother. It is opposite Granville Town Hall, one mile from the center of town.

On the way back I stopped at Ryan headquaters at 438 Boston Road and Barbara Garvey was just leaving. She was very friendly and told me that she had seen Eamon just two days ago. I took their latest literature which included some campaign commentary by Tom Devine supportive of Charlie.

From Ryan's I went to the Big Y for the specials, especially parsnips marked down to $1.99. They were the Sugar Mountain brand from Manheim Farm in Whately, Massachusetts. Then I headed over to Randall's where I found lots of good stuff on the bruised fruit counter. Finally I went to Burger King on one of their free coupons. When I got home a truck for Alpha Heating Equipment of Wilbraham was over Jozephyczyk's.

Today was the groundbreaking for the renovation of the Springfield Civic Center. Governor Romney came and said on TV that it was Brian Lees who convinced him to go ahead on the project. Mike Albano and Stu Hurwitz were on with Hurwitz saying that he expects 25 conventions a year "with enormous economic spin-offs for the entire region right out to the Berkshires." We shall see.

Tonight I watched the debate between Ryan and Melconian on channel 57. It looked like Linda Melconian was wearing a lot of makeup. Ryan won the debate easily. In the half hour before the debate started Rev. Talbert Swan was interviewed about his book. He seems like a fine fellow and I wish he were running for City Council. Then to my surprise they had Tom Devine in a blue sweater talking about the history of his paper/website and at one point quoting Ken Kesey.

October 3, 2003

Overcast and 53 degrees at 9:15am. Gusty winds. Gas at Breckwood Sunoco is $1.66.

My 62nd birthday. I am getting old, but mentally I am still young. I'm in pretty good health and am careful about what I eat, less red meat and lots of veggies. Got a nice birthday card from Mrs. Staniski. Also a pretty card from Ann Staniski Flentje.

With all the people killed from medical malpractice every year you might say that MD stands for murder! Rush Limbaugh had to resign from his position at ESPN because of racist remarks he made over the weekend. WFCR said today that the Diocese gives $700,000 a year to the Newman Center at UMass because fifty percent of UMass students are Catholic. Author Suzanne Strempek Shea of Palmer will read from her new book at the Heritage Academy in Longmeadow.

The wristwatch which I found in the parking lot after Mother died still runs fine. In the middle of the night at 2:30 it chimes 20 times. Ken Lamoureux and Wendy Parent were married at the Cat's Paw Antique Shop on Parker Street in Indian Orchard in 1993. Claudia and Vincent Robillard owned the place and recently told me the couple are now divorced. Nothing lasts!

Had some fish and chips leftovers for breakfast and then over for more estate work in Feeding Hills. I am really fed up with it all. Shirley Lucia was there and said the Methodist ladies would take the lawn chairs. I went over a lot of boxes and found a beautiful red Union Leader Indian tin which I brought home.

Eamon called and said fifteen people were sickened recently by bad fish sold at Schermerhorn's including Eamon's friend Sam Salvey the CPA. I told Eamon I got my flu shot yesterday at Stop&Shop for only $20 and he said he tried to get his shot at the VA but they were out of vaccine. J. Landers is selling one of his rental properties on Miller Street for $118,000. He also owns properties on Redland and Page Boulevard. Springfield teachers are doing informational picketing, it has been 23 years since the last teacher's strike in Springfield.

President Andrew Scibelli has announced his retirement from STCC, raising the possibility of some profound changes at the college. For starts it should be changed to a four year school. It will be interesting to see what Scibelli does next, he has publicly contemplated running for mayor in the past. Meanwhile outgoing Mike Albano is still pushing hard his crusade for lower prescription drug prices. Trying to leave a favorable impression with any future jury pools?

October 6, 2003

48 degrees, some sun. Both stations at the Pond down to $1.65.

First day of the Fall Term of the Supreme Court. Big election in California tomorrow. Fifteen women have claimed that Arnold Schwarzenegger groped them, but if you hang around with Arnold you can expect all kinds of groovy stuff to happen and I am not troubled by that. But rumors about his admiration for Hitler are a problem.

People say, "Dress for success." Of course you dress appropriately if you want to succeed by blending in with people by looking like them. I prefer to dress down as a litmus test of people. Will they be professional or will they reject me because of how I'm dressed?

Pratt and Whitney machinists voted against a pay cut so there will be lay-offs. WFCR says there are 208 biotech firms in Massachusetts and the issue is whether when they get past their incubation stage will they mass produce their product here or move elsewhere?

I had dropped eggs on toast this morning. It was what Mother gave me whenever she wanted to cheer me up. Last night at the corner of Catalpa a red car hit a green car. At the bend on Alden Street they have put up the frame of a house on what will be the last open lot. Some sort of roadwork underway at the intersection at the bottom of the hill of Dickinson and Orange.

Arrived at Aunt Marie's at 9:05 and started sifting through papers. I am truly fed up with screening stuff from the Giroux estate. I have thrown out about 50 boxes of stuff, but interesting, even important things surface in everything I screen. Today I found a Five College Medieval Studies brochure with the name Eugene D. Hill in it and a Greenfield Community College catalog that says Robert L. Merriam is the Assistant to the President.

Around eleven Edith Michaud and Mrs Rivers arrived in a light chocolate colored Taurus. Then in a big brown car came Mrs. Mickey. They took stuff for their tag sale. Vincent Robillard came by early so I had less time to prepare for him. Robillard said he doesn't know Povirk. He said Maria's collection of Family Circus cartoons aren't worth anything, but anything involving old machines brings good money.

I showed Robillard the Good Time Stove Company brochure and he left with a van full of things. He gave me about $450 worth of foreign postcards in return, which I can probably resell for $600. A few of the postcards were stamped "Hartford Public Library" and "Collection of N.C. Baker." At the end of the day Shirley Lucia came by to take out the trash.

Melconian has a half page ad in the paper saying that Ryan will raise taxes. Eamon says that Linda Melconian has a lousy, very vague website, while Charlie's is very informative and detailed and he says that in contrast to Melconian, Ryan has the courage to deal honestly with Springfield's financial management crisis. Eamon currently has a cute message on his answering machine:

Perhaps if the career politician Linda Melconian, who was never gainfully employed in the private sector, took a basic home economics course she could save money cooking at home instead of eating out all the time at the Tavern and Fort restaurants. Doesn't she find it time consuming to put make-up on her two faces? I'm not trying to make jokes about politicians, all I'm doing is watching Linda Melconian and reporting the facts.

October 9, 2003

Up at 7:30am, 57 degrees. A lovely day. Gas is $1.65 everywhere at Six Corners.

Life is wonderful for a few but not for the millions who suffer so much.

YoYo Ma is 48. Arnold Schwarzenegger has terminated Gray Davis as Governor of California. Attorney James F. Egan had his office in the Court Square Building in Springfield in 1966. Came across an old clipping of Craig M. Bradley accepting the Alumni Achievement Award from AIC in 1994. I knew Craig Bradley from DeMolay. He was a joyful young fellow in those days. He had a convertible car, played pool and not too serious about grades. He was close to Bob Ewell and Richard Boyden.

New commercial on TV22 this morning had Jack O'Neil saying, "People think I'm Irish but my mother is Italian!" It was a pitch for the Columbus Day Kavanaugh Furniture sale this weekend. Mrs. Staniski stopped by on her way to the Christian Bookstore to get a birthday card for her neighbor who is about to turn 100. She said Ann is taking her to Kennebunkport next Wednesday. She gave me some cookies and two Harvard Gazettes. After she left I decided to be nice and haul the Cohn's dumpster and blue recycling box up to their garage, then spoke briefly with Cressotti next door.

New roof going on the most easterly building at the Gates of Heaven Cemetery. Fred Whitney has no campaign signs on his lawn. Stopped at Fleet Bank and was waited on by Pat Beauregard. Arrived at Lincoln-Mercury at 1535 Bay Street at 11:50. The former Mutual Ford Uncle Sam statue that once stood on the site now stands by the Plantation Inn at the exit to Route Five.

My new car was waiting by the door. The car is lovely and Tanya Gebo took my picture posing by the car with my dolls Sweet Pea and Honey Pot. They said I'll get the picture on a calendar in about three weeks. An elderly lady came by walking her dog and she paused to say how beautiful my car is. She said her name was Terry O'Neal and her dog had the delightful name of Chip Finnegan.

I got a Pepe for School Committee flyer in my mailbox today. Eamon is scoffing at rumors that Dick Neal will be the new President of STCC. Eamon sent a note to Ryan promoting Jim Lander's wife Cynthia for a finance position should Ryan win. She is presently the Business Administrator for the Hampshire Regional School District and she was also the one who blew the whistle on the fraud and mismanagement at the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority under Terry Tornek.

I paid my last visit to 175 Poplar in Feeding Hills today. I had nine boxes remaining to sift through and I threw most of it out. I had my final chat with Shirley Lucia, who was sitting on the bench outside the garage cutting peppers. I took a couple of pictures of the place and departed, another chapter in my life closed.

October 11, 2003

57 degrees at 7am. Warm Indian Summer day.

My Father contributed to the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan. Father tried very hard to be good to his little boy and of course for parents part of the adventure of raising kids is doing things they are eager to try themselves and can use the kid as an excuse to do so. My whole life I have been punished for either doing the right thing or for doing nothing wrong at all.

Landmark Realtors, "Guiding Your Way to Quality Real Estate Services," has offices in Hampden, Ludlow, Monson, East Longmeadow, Feeding Hills and Springfield. Doris A. Lynch, a member of the Springfield Armory Historical Society and formerly of Longmeadow, has died at 92.

I mowed the entire lawn today, somebody had kicked my Ryan for Mayor sign so I straightened it up. Afterward I chatted with Mr. Allard who has his tag sale sign up again. He told me he has had three deaths in his family recently, and that last night he went to the Tavern and had the veal cutlet and eggplant. I told Allard I wanted to fix my chimney and he suggested Ace Chimney Sweeps. When I got back in the house I called Ace but they said they were so backed up they're not even looking for work.

Sent out the mail via Cindy at Lewis&Clark. She said she had the Saturday morning blues. A new house is going up opposite 133 Denwall, and another at the corner of Sunrise and Parker. There was a big crowd, all white, standing and waving signs for Charlie Ryan at the intersection of Boston Road and Parker. I honked enthusiastically.

Today I went to the Grand Opening I read about in The Reminder for the Wilbraham Hampden Savings Bank, located on Boston Road in front of Home Depot. Outside the new bank a large tent was set up where radio station Mix-93.1 had a wheel to spin to win prizes. Also under the tent they had free popcorn and hot dogs in buns. They also had free coffee and pumpkin pie. I ate one box of popcorn and three hot dogs. For the kids they had balloon twisting and face painting.

On the way into the bank they handed me a bag of bank propaganda that included a pen and a keychain. I saw Tom Burton standing around with a tan shirt and a tan baseball cap on. I said, "Hi there, Mr. Burton!" He responded, "Good to see you." I'll bet. I also saw Rev. Loesch, who grinned as I waved. I saw drums and other instruments from the Minnechaug High band sitting by the popcorn, but no music was played while I was there.

This really is the first Hampden Bank structure to be more than just a piddling little thing, outdoing United for once, luckily for the bank workers assigned to Wilbraham. There are spacious personal banker offices with the name plate on one reading Nicole Dionne, Operations Manager. In all, for a bank opening, it was quite grand.

I told Eamon about Terry O'Neil and Chip Finnegan and he liked the name of the dog. Ryan and Melconian had a debate at the Church in the Acres last night. There were a lot of people waving Ryan signs and only a few Melconian backers. Eamon said, "Charlie Ryan reamed her up one side and down the other." He said Linda Melconian fell apart at one point and looked like she might start crying. Melconian made most of her comments from notes. Ryan kept insisting that Melconian says she has a plan for Springfield, so show us your plan! Melconian kept trying to change the subject to getting tough on drugs.

There will be three more debates, with two of them on TV. Eamon says the newspaper is working on an article designed to remind voters of Ryan's problems with the black community when he served as mayor in the 1960's. Ryan is trying to blunt the attack in advance by going all around last Sunday visiting black churches. Eamon complained that Charlie looks like an old Irishman which hurts him with some voters, but he can still win. Eamon claims that the only businesses not moving out of Springfield are drug dealers, prostitutes and the Mob.

October 14, 2003

Service in the military is a transforming experience, but in ways we should prefer they not be transformed. Sen. Joe Biden accused the Bush Administration of "making the world substantially more dangerous." Cheney needs another heart attack!

Davidson's Market and Bakery was at 328 Wilbraham Road in 1964. Halfway between Roosevelt Avenue and Winchester Square was William's Spa, Pederzoli's Drug Store (run by our neighbors the Burkes) and Davidson's Market. Every day when I came home from school at Homer Street and later Buckingham I came by that little shopping center. Kids went into Pederzoli's with their nickles and bought Popsicles, although I was seldom allowed to indulge in such wastefulness. Davidson's I remember only dimly. It was bigger than the drug store and sold vegetables, but that's all I can recall.

On WFCR I heard James Levine directing his first concert with a Boston orchestra. I love Boston and collect images of Boston. I have a cubic foot of No Expiration Date coupons going back to the 1960's. Whatever happened to that crummy little publication The Optimist? The Reminder's front page is now in color. Dan and Chris Buendo are the second generation publishers and Mike Dobbs is the Managing Editor.

Channel 3 said that there are over 400 cooking schools in the USA, with lots of people going into cooking as a second career because it's a portable skill and restaurants are one of the fastest growing industries. The problem with all this vocational training is that it does not expand the mind and prepare people to look at the big picture. The Liberal Arts and Sciences should be the only undergraduate majors permitted with vocational training reserved for after. The love of learning is the most precious thing upon the Earth but few graduates possess it!

William C. Nader (The Hatter) who used to have a shop downtown at 340 Worthington in Springfield (founded by his father in 1918) called today to congratulate me on my new car. He said he will come up from Florida for a visit in November and we should go out to lunch with Eamon. Eamon called and said an old lady with a plate of cookies would attract more people downtown than any of the development schemes devised by Springfield's economic planners.

Paul C. MacDonald of the Western Mass Telephone Worker's Credit Union is retiring after thirty years. Lynn Wallace has been with them for 24 years. Tree pruning is going on in Hillcrest Cemetery. The former KV Homes office building is now beautifully landscaped with young birch trees and flowering bushes out front. The Napolitan's have both a Ryan and Sarno sign on their lawn. I counted 18 Melconian signs along Breckwood Boulevard and only ten for Ryan. Melconian and Ryan will be debating at Commerce on Thursday. Arrived in Ludlow at 4:20. They have a new Wendy's but I went to Burger King for a Mustard Chicken and bowl of chili with a coupon. The chili was good but not as spicy as it could be.

Things to do in the coming months:

Found the George Alfred Giroux Memorial Fund.

Give Giroux papers to Agawam High School and the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum.

Make a postcard of the John Wesley window in Trinity Church.

Write an essay on "Me and Methodism."

Oppose religion.

Get Pynchon Medals for me and my friends.

Publish my porno poems.

October 17, 2003

51 degrees. A nice sunny day, breezy. Helicopter flying overhead at 9:17am.

Dr. Thomas Andrew O'Connell had his office at 573 State Street in Springfield in 1945. Nancy Albert was the Assistant Treasurer at United Co-Operative Bank on State Street in Springfield in 1979. Attorney Fred A. McCoy has his office at 6 Burt Lane in Wilbraham. WFCR says the Red Cross is low on blood, especially Father's which was O negative. Mayor Sullivan of Holyoke talking on the news kept saying idears rather than ideas.

Council candidate Carol Lewis-Caulton called to see if she could put a sign on my lawn. I said yes and someone promptly came by and put it up. Flagg Excavation Company of Monson was over Jozephczyk's today removing an enormous oil tank from under their driveway. A black man delivered the mail at 1:45.

Springfield College's Loveland Chapel is now a daycare center and the former Marsh Memorial Library is the Administration building. I called Springfield College and got Nora who said she has only been there for three years and she hadn't a clue about Loveland as a benefactor or his chapel. She transferred me to Dari Fravoni, Vice President for Development, but his receptionist Donna said he was "in a meeting" and will get back to me. We shall see.

Mr. and Mrs. Robillard came by briefly today, saying they had just come from the White Hut in West Springfield. They asked how I was doing with organizing the Giroux stuff and I showed them around. After they left I headed downtown and had lunch at Red Rose Pizza on Main Street. A real nice restaurant divided into two sections with icicle chandeliers overhead. Kitchen is full of windows so you can see what the cooks are doing. I ordered eggplant parmigiano and a small pizza which came with Italian rolls and butter. The pizza was lovely but too much so I brought it home in a box. I was totally satisfied and left a big tip.

Jim Landers has sold most of his machinery except the Heidelberg press he bought for $3,000 years ago from a guy on St. James Avenue. He says the press is now worth $16,000. Eamon says Ryan was a big success at the Commerce debate which was held during the day in front of the students. At some points they were cheering Charlie like he was a rock star! At the end they voted for Charlie over Linda 313-79. Obviously the kids could see that Ryan is sincere and Melconian is a phony.

October 20, 2003

Overcast. Gas is $1.63 at the Pond.

The past haunts the future, always and forever.

Carrie Robertson's First Lady's Fashion Boutique will have its third annual fashion show at Monarch Place on November 30th.

There was a good crowd at the theater in the old Breckwood Big Y as I drove past. Just after ten I drove into the former Loveland Chapel parking lot. The word Loveland appears nowhere around the building. However down by the Wilbraham Road entrance there is a sign reading, "Springfield College Child Development Center."

From there I headed directly to this year's Antiquarian Book Fair at STCC. It seemed smaller this year, with Povirk and Smith having the only double booth. Murray told me he could have gotten me free admission, but of course by then it was too late. From Buy the Book I offered to purchase a framed panoramic postcard of Springfield for $125 but he wouldn't sell. Barbara C. Paulson of Huntington, Massachusetts was selling antiquarian paper. Gordon A. Cronin was there from Taurus Books in Northampton. Out at 1:10.

On the way back I stopped to visit Mrs. Staniski and put up her kitchen storm window for her. Then I drove her around a little in my new car. We drove out to Hillcrest Cemetery although the peak foliage colors have been lost in the recent rains. It was the quiet of the afternoon, no traffic on Wilbraham Road. I commented on how when I was a child we would drive around and there wouldn't be a lot of cars. Now the streets and roads of the Acres are frequently crowded. I asked Mrs. Staniski if she had received the Springfield Library and Museum Association annual report yet and she said no, but if she doesn't she will not contribute next year.

Eamon says his answering machine shows people from The Republican have been calling and listening to his messages every day recently. So has Superintendent Burke as well. There has been a whispering campaign around Mason Square that Charlie is a racist. Eamon said, "This mayoral campaign is getting dirty, dirty, dirty!" He also wondered why he hasn't seen Tony Ravosa around lately. Eamon recalled that old man Ravosa went to AIC. He used to own the Alexander House and the fancy brick house on the corner of Union and Maple, the one with the pillared porch around the front. Ravosa also once ran the Harrison House restaurant. Eamon said that Roger Slade was Ravosa's partner in owning the former A&P warehouse on Birnie Avenue that went up in flames. They collected full insurance despite rumors that they moved out everything stored there just before the fire.

October 22, 2003

Raining at 10:27am.

On October 11, 1945 my Uncle George Giroux's dog Trixie bit E.H. St.Pierre of 34 Amity Court, Springfield. The Quadrangle publishes far too much promotional literature and at great expense. Whatever happened to Attorney Arthur Serota, who once seemed to be one of Springfield's brightest and most promising?

Cooked up a Marie Collender blueberry pie and it was great. I am going through old newspaper clippings, choosing ones to save, ones to dump, ones to give to Eamon and others, ones to paste in my diary (very few, but the one's so honored are important) and ones to do otherwise with. Among the old clipping files I found several delinquent tax lists and Scibelli and Melconian's names did not appear on them. Has the newspaper been covering up for them?

I also came upon an article by Clifton J. Noble about my old friend Robert Lloyd Staffanson, who conducted the Springfield Symphony Orchestra from 1955 to 1970. I had much joy playing violin in the Young People's Symphony and serving as stage manager. When I went to college he wrote me a recommendation to the Colby Community Symphony under Dr. Eranno Comparetti. Under Stafanson we played every Friday in the Tapestry Court of the Museum of Fine Arts. I had to get there early to set up chairs (along with Jerry Clark, Linda Burnham and Michael Ouilette) and it was my responsibility to make sure all the equipment came back with us on the bus.

The postcards I had made of the grave of Josiah Holland arrived from the printers today. The final text on the back of them reads:

"Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881) Dean of Springfield Men of Letters, rests beneath this early commission of Augustus Saint-Gaudens in a shady plot at the rear of Springfield Cemetery. Partner with Samuel Bowles in The Republican, Holland rose to the editorship of Scribner's Monthly (1870-1881) and is remembered for his History of Western Massachusetts (1855) Life of Abraham Lincoln (1865) Timothy Titcombs Letters (1858) and a number of edifying sentimental poems and novels. Photo by J. Wesley Miller."

I called Jim Mooney the General Manager of Springfield Cemetery and he was friendly and upbeat. He said he would be very grateful if I gave him some Holland postcards. I also called Springfield College and this time got Bonnie. She admitted that Ken Childs had been fired and when I asked why she said, "That's too complicated to get into." She took my name and number and said she would give it to her boss but didn't promise he would get back to me.

Next I called the Marketing Department at Springfield College and got Amy. When I asked about the Loveland Chapel she said, "I've never heard of it." She did however connect me to Ron Ziemba, the Director of Marketing. I asked about the departure of Ken Childs and he replied, "It was an academic freedom matter. Childs felt he was entitled to say whatever he wanted about the course the college was taking. President Bromery didn't feel that way." I then asked about the renaming of Loveland Chapel but he expressed reluctance to go into detail "because I wasn't here then. I've only been here three years."

Got a phone call today from a pollster asking who I intended to vote for to become mayor. While I was putting the trash out Carol Lewis-Caulton pulled up and thanked me for letting her put a sign for her council candidacy on my busy street. She asked if I thought Charlie would win and I said we'll have to see.

The newspaper reports that the pedestrian walk and elevator at the Basketball Hall of Fame has been "shut down all summer." Eamon called and said he was at Ryan's today to deliver a video of the debate at Commerce. Charlie told him that he was genuinely moved by the enthusiastic response he got from the students in the audience who were wildly cheering at some points and who voted for him at the end by a margin of 3-1.

Eamon said he spent more than two hours yesterday being interviewed by a Federal agent who was looking for background information on all aspects of Springfield politics. However before he could tell me more he had to hang up because Jim Landers was banging on the door.

October 24, 2003

Half inch of sugar snow last night. 43 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.62 at Six Corners.

Education and civilization merely make for a bigger Tower of Babel.

The Green Trees Gallery in Northfield, Massachusetts is featuring the works of Laura Garrison. There was an anti-war demonstration in Westfield yesterday. Charlie Ryan supporters were doing a stand-out in Sixteen Acres center today. So was Dom Sarno.

Started using a new toothbrush. Roy Scott was helping out on the WFCR fund drive this morning. He said they were considering calling it the Shorter Fall Fund Drive but that was not alliterative enough. How about Faster Fall Fund Folly?

Scooted out briefly to Fernbank, the land I donated to Wilbraham, and they have just started building a retaining wall at the bottom of Maynard Hill. I then delivered 200 Holland postcards to Gail D. Cosby at Springfield Cemetery. She showed me a rare Chamber of Commerce postcard they have of the cemetery that I've never seen before. I offered her a good price for it but she said they would never sell it.

I went downtown to the dedication of the statue of Congressman Edward P. Boland. I parked on Salem and was a little late so when I got there the audience was already assembled. There were a lot of empty chairs. The statue was hidden by a blue covering. Judge Keyes gave a flowery speech praising Boland which would have made Eamon laugh. Keyes called Boland "a giant of conscience, character and courage." Eamon likes to call Boland "Tip O'Neil's errand boy."

Sgt. Daniel Clark the Singing State Trooper sang an Irish blessing. Charlie Ryan was standing in the back with Cheryl Rivera. Linda Melconian was a no-show. I saw Sheriff Ashe, David Bartley, balding Tom Burton, Saco Catjakis, Joe Carvalho, Frank Keough, Ben Swan, Pat Sullivan and young Picknelly. Mrs. Ryan was standing with Ray Hershel. Tommy Reilly was there as was the State Treasurer. Interestingly there was no David Starr, no Larry McDermott, no Fran Gagnon, no Mary Hurley, no Brian Lees, no Paul Caron, no Gary Cassinelli, no Paula Meara and no Mitt Romney. Former Bishop Maguire was there but not Dupre. I got some good pictures of what was a mostly dull, sparsely attended affair. And where was Richard Neal?

Eamon called and said he discovered that Mitch Ogulewicz is working for the Rockville Connecticut Savings Bank. Eamon said he was over Charlie Ryan's house today and the newspaper called while he was there to ask Ryan his impressions of Eddie Boland. Eamon said he was "too kind" in his appraisal. He also said when he got there Mrs. Ryan was in the yard raking. Eamon wondered why Charlie doesn't hire someone to do the raking rather than let his wife do it, but I said Joan Ryan is no doubt like my Mother who had hard work built into her very being.

I told Eamon about the Boland event and he said they should have passed out hoops so they could have a contest tossing them over the statue. Eamon said that whenever Boland saw him he would try to avoid him by hurrying away. Eamon says the political machine hates Charlie Ryan because "he went to Washington and fought like hell to save the Springfield Armory" in the 1960's. Boland had taken the side of Ted Kennedy in the Senate race with Eddie McCormack, who was a good friend of President Lyndon Johnson. McCormack was mad and told Johnson to let the Armory close so Boland would lose his seat.

Johnson felt threatened by the Kennedy's, and hoped to damage Ted and Boland's reputation by showing they were powerless to save the Armory. Charlie liked the Kennedy's, but had wanted to run for Congress against Boland for years and did so, not really caring that he was also serving the agenda of Kennedy's enemies. Boland held unto his seat, but the Boland and Kennedy camps never forgave Ryan for the role he played in Johnson and McCormack's attempt at revenge. So the Springfield Armory was closed because of the animosity between Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedy's, with Charlie Ryan getting caught in the middle.

October 25, 2003

37 degrees and sunny at 7am.

The Springfield City Library's central building's 75th Anniversary was held April 5, 1987 with speakers Thomas Costello, President of the Springfield Library and Museums Association, Library Director James Fish and then Mayor Richard E. Neal. The Wheeler Gallery of the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts was established by a $150,000 gift by Mass Mutual head Thomas Wheeler and his wife Robin. Susan P. Davison was appointed development head of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in 1991. She was an elitist smartie who did things wrong thinking nobody would notice. I believe she was involved in my not being invited to update my history of the Symphony.

WARE "Real Oldies" 1250AM is having a Halloween Dance Party featuring Joey Canata and the Memories plus Brian McCullough as "Roy Orbison." There is a picture by Bob Stern in the paper of Arthur F. Kinney, Director of Renaissance Studies at UMass, looking as pretentious as possible while posing with his computer. Douglas Bush would never have permitted himself to appear in such a pose. Kinney has gotten a big grant to do a computer study of the vocabulary of Shakespeare's plays, and he has a reputation as a egregious pompous ass.

I attended the Grand Opening today of the Monson Savings Bank branch in Wilbraham. I parked in the Post Office parking lot and walked up the sidewalk to the new bank. The bank itself is a very handsome structure, large and grand. Inside I was greeted by bank Vice President Lynn A. Yarmesky. The executive corner offices are unusually large, and there is no community room. The check writing counter is too small and the entire effect is elite and uninviting.

For freebies they were giving away large boxes of popcorn, better than what they gave away at the Hampden Savings Bank Grand Opening a few weeks ago. They also had coffee and fresh donuts, plus they passed out stainless steel bank logo coffee mugs that were far superior to the key chains Hampden gave out.

So we now have three beautiful new banks in the Boston Road corridor in Wilbraham, not to mention the banks close to the Eastfield Mall. Ware Savings was there first and is beautiful but not close to anything. Hampden Bank, which opened two weeks ago is the nicest Hampden branch in an otherwise tacky chain. Hampden also has the ideal location because they're close to a hardware store. Monson is awkwardly placed as the only thing nearby is the Wilbraham Post Office, which most people don't go to regularly. Therefore I pronounce the new Monson Bank a lovely white elephant.

Left at 11:56 and came home by Stony Hill Road. In the Acres center there was a paltry standout for Michael Rodgers and another four or five people with Kateri Walsh signs. On Birchland Avenue I saw Mrs. Penniman out walking with a little kid and I waved but she didn't recognize me with my new car.

Next I stopped in to see my neighbor Lieutenant Lucius to pick up the book Beach Red by Peter Bowman, a really good 1945 poetic account of war I had lent him. He told me his wife is not well. Lucius said he told a friend recently that Charlie Ryan is bound to win the mayor's race but his friend disagreed. I told him about the Boland statue unveiling and he said he was never impressed by him, saying that Boland did nothing when he was in office. However he did say that once he went to Washington D.C on a trip and Boland came out to say hello to his tour group. As for current Congressman Neal he said, "He'll be in there for life."

Lucius said he bought a new jacket but later regretted it when he found out it was made in China. He has made arrangements to be buried in the new Veteran's Cemetery in West Springfield, although he hasn't seen it yet. Lucius said he gave his purple heart away to his grandson. He went on to recall how his dad came down from Quebec and worked his whole life at Chapman Valve, describing his childhood as "nothing special but we were happy." As I left I saw Robert Jozephyczyk and waved to him, and he smiled back which is uncommon for him.

October 28, 2003

53 degrees and heavily overcast at 8am. Gas is 1.61 at the Sunoco by Gateway Village.

Two dumpsters were out in front of Nichol's today and a rose-colored sofa. I saw a red car over there so I walked over and met Janice Shaw of East Longmeadow and her son. She apologized for Dick's surliness the last time we spoke. I said I thought that Dick acquired a surly demeanor because his father pushed him into cabinetmaking when he would rather have done something else with his life.

Not a word from my dear friend Dr. John Rixon, who is enveloped in the military machine for being in the reserves I suspect. Went to the Antique Show at the Expo in West Springfield today. I left at 10:08 and going down Alden Street I was driving behind a woman with a Linda Melconian sticker on her back window. Parking was $3 and admission $7. There was no printed program for the sale, and Ralph Schmidt said they didn't arrive from the printers in time. There weren't too many people there and many booths had no activity at all.

The Robillard's were not there nor was Chimney Corner Antiques of Newburyport. I looked at some oak tool boxes like Uncle George had that were for sale for $250 at the booth for The Cat's Meow of Longmeadow. Also a sewing machine like Maria's for $195. Similar products were for sale by Larry Shapiro of Glastonbury. Heller of Granby wanted $18 for an antique can of Doan's Pills. Mrs. Penniman was there and smiled at me as she walked by. Mike Jacobs of Matrix Gallery was friendly enough but had no postcards I wanted, so I bought a thousand postcard sleeves from him for $9 that were made in China. He told me he is battling lung cancer and he looked it, and I fear I may not see him again.

After the Antiques Show I headed to the Quadrangle for the official unveiling of the Dr. Seuss Postage Stamp. I parked by the back of the Blake House and saw Sue Davison getting out of her black four-wheel drive. I was dressed in my black biker jacket and had Sweet Pea and Honey Pot with me plus my camera. The stage was set up in front of the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and I was surprised by how few people were there. On either side of the stage were elementary school kids in Cat in the Hat uniforms and I sat with my dolls in the fourth row.

I saw no sign of Fran Gagnon, Guy McClain or Tom Wheeler. David Starr arrived and looked disgusted when he saw me sitting there in my leather with my teddy and my bunny and my camera. Petluck was there as was Judy Matt dressed in black and sitting next to Sue Davison. Rep. Richard Neal and Mayor Albano arrived together and sat in the front row with Starr. Don D'Amour joined them later.

The program began with the school children singing God Bless America very sweetly and Mary Russell the Retail Manager for the Post Office was the emcee. Other Post Office officials participating were Mike Powers and John Steele. Joe Carvalho read his speech, referring to Starr as "a good friend of the community of Springfield." Then Steele and Dr. Seuss' widow Audrey Geisel removed the curtain and everyone oohed and ahhed at the giant 37 cent stamp.

Russell read a proclamation sent by Governor Romney, then Congressman Neal spoke recalling how Dr. Seuss came to Springfield when he was mayor and gave him an original drawing of the Cat in the Hat which he now has hanging in his office in Washington. He noted that both Dr. Seuss and Benjamin Franklin started out in Massachusetts and went on to do big things. The program ended with the children singing a song called "Dr Seuss We Love You."

Afterward David Starr and Richie Neal remained seated by the stage for a long time talking but I couldn't overhear what about. I briefly spoke to Carvalho and told him I would eventually bring him some historic material from the Giroux estate for the museum and he seemed pleased. On my way out I passed through the library and saw Ed Lonergan and gave him one of my new Josiah Holland postcards. Back at the car at 12:47 I then went for a salad lunch at Ruby Tuesday's.

Ryan headquarters called today asking if I can work at the polls on Election Day but I had to defer saying I am very busy right now. With all the estate work the summer escaped me in many respects. Yesterday the Springfield Republican gave Charlie Ryan a lukewarm endorsement, all the while praising Albano and bringing up yet again how when he was mayor in the 1960's Ryan brought in the National Guard against Black protesters. Eamon called the editorial "damnation by faint praise" and that the endorsement will do nothing for Ryan. He said internal polls show Blacks and Hispanics are supporting Melconian by a wide margin. But will they vote? Ryan was on TV tonight saying that he called in the National Guard in the 60's in part to protect the civil rights protesters from the police. Very clever, but I don't think it will help with the police union vote!

October 31, 2003

52 degrees at 7:25am. Many of my leaves are down. Gas $1.59 at Mobil.

My fashion role model Henry Winkler is 58 today. O.N. Christianson was at 960 St. James Avenue in 1943. Louis W. Doherty was an attorney at 31 Elm Street in Springfield in 1943. Carlisle's had twelve convenient stores in 1959. William Proakis was the Office Manager at Union Federal Savings in 1980. Eleanor Giroux was an award winning poet. Unfortunately I have found the awards but not the poetry!

Mrs. Jenks called and left a message last night saying, "William Beldon died last night. Thought you'd like to know. It's in the paper." He was our neighbor on Crest Street and was 81. I called A.G. Edwards and asked what was hot and ended up buying a hundred shares of Microsoft for $2736.80. Waited on at Fleet by Terry Haskins where I got $500 for Efrem Gordon to give to Pam Jendrysik. Also withdrew $600 for pocket money.

Food Mart plaza in Agawam is to be demolished. Sturbridge Village is cutting staff by ten percent and will close on Mondays and Tuesdays. The 16 Acres tattoo parlor is gone. There are signs in the window but I was too busy to stop and check. Had lunch at the 16 Acres Friendly's. I sat in a window booth and was waited on by Jerod. I bought some soup but the bowl was shallow, then had the steak which was superb. The salad was okay. On my way out I complained to the manager Nick about their deceptive soup bowls and he was pleasant and non-adversarial about it.

Election supplement in the paper has a flattering picture of Melconian but Charlie is shown with a five o'clock shadow. They editorialized for people to vote and not "sit on the sidelines and complain." The Mardi Gras, which Ryan told Eamon owes lots of back taxes, has strippers standing out handing out pro-Melconian leaflets downtown.

Eamon was up to Northampton to the vet's hospital and while there he stopped at Michelson's Gallery. He said his nephew Patrick Rogers the state trooper had a heart attack. Eamon disappointed his former Cathedral classmates by not showing up to sing at their recent reunion. He is still considering making a $5,000 contribution to the school. He says he was removed from the mailing list of Amherst College.

Why does the media always put Charlie Ryan on first and Linda Melconian second? That gives Linda the advantage of having the last word. Last Friday on The State We're In it was Ryan then Melconian. It was the same thing this morning on WFCR. This morning Ryan said, "If you've got a $20 bill in your pocket you've got more free cash than the City of Springfield has." He said politicians should be "honest, intelligent and dare to take risks." He described Springfield's current political culture as an "unimaginative, dull political existence that has lost the capacity for indignation." They brought up how in 1965 Ryan "called up the National Guard during a peaceful civil rights protest" but Ryan said that was thirty years ago and today he is willing to work "with and for everybody."

Linda Melconian was disgusting, defending the Urban League takeover of the Mason Square Library and denouncing Ryan for the National Guard incident saying, "He has not apologized, he has shown a lack of sensitivity and the Black community is rightfully offended." She said she would be "a cheerleader for Springfield" and that Ryan is too old to run the city. Melconian is dumber than I ever imagined and an embarrassment to Mount Holyoke. No wonder Speaker Finneran is glad to be getting rid of her. At the end Ryan mentioned that he has 11 kids and 31 grandkids.

In the mail today came a stupid letter from ex-rep Paul Caron endorsing Melconian. I called Charlie to alert him and Mrs. Ryan answered, saying she had just come back from the supermarket. Then I called Bob Powell and told him. The Caron endorsement letter began:

Two years ago I ran for mayor because I believed the City of Springfield needed change - a change in leadership, a change in direction and a change in the way things were being done. I still believe that to be the case today. And I believe that State Senator Linda Melconian is the person who can best bring about that change in Springfield.

I called the number listed on the Paul E. Caron Associates letterhead and got the answering machine. I identified myself and said I was disappointed in his letter. I said that because of all the spelling and grammar errors of his previous correspondence I know he didn't write that endorsement letter himself, but when whoever did write it put it in front of him to sign he should have made like Nancy Reagan and just said no! I also said it makes him look like he wants a job with the Melconian Administration.

Privately I have always considered Caron a lightweight. The only reason we backed Caron for mayor in 2001 is because we wanted to get rid of the Albano Gang. By backing Melconian he is now a traitor to the cause and has let down all his former supporters.