June 2004

June 2, 2004

58 degrees, some sun at dawn but became overcast. White clover in full bloom.

William Sloan Coffin, arch priest of liberal protestantism, turned 80 yesterday in Vermont. The Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop on Newbury Street in Boston is going out of business after 30 years.

Allan Taylor is presenting an organ recital in the Basilica of St. Stanislaus on Front Street in Chicopee celebrating the conclusion of their organ rebuilding project. Full time staff writers at the Valley Advocate are James Heflin, Daniel Oppenheimer and Andrew Varnon.

Cooked up a blueberry pie. Visited my neighbor Irving Cohn and his brother Stuart was there. He practiced medicine in Alpena, Michigan but is now retired to North Carolina. Pleasant gentleman.

I'd like to cut the hedge growing around Colleen's mailbox because it obstructs my view when I back out. Called Mary Lee at the Parks Department and asked for Patrick Sullivan. He told me there is no fee for the Adopt-a-Park program, you just sign an agreement to look after them. I told him it is sad that no one has adopted Stusick Square, and he agreed to send me info on the program.

Angelina Peterson called conducting a survey of customers of the 16 Acres branch of Fleet Bank. I told her that my family account goes back 80 years to the Springfield Safe Deposit Bank and Trust Company, which then became First Bank, which then became Shawmut, which then became Fleet. I told her that every time there was a merger we were told that service would improve and it was all for the benefit of the customers. I told her that no bank merger is done for the customers and that Fleet is just another big pig bank like all the others. She thanked me for my time and hung up.

Went to the Stanton Auction but bought nothing. Last month I bought an Oliver typewriter and carrying case for $30. Today I saw one sell without a case for $100. Robillard was there, we waved. I left early.

Last year Springfield had the most students suspended in the state. Lots of robberies lately in Hungry Hill, Quick Cleaners by Our Lady of Hope Church has been robbed and the flower shop next door as well. Liberty Plaza Liquors and Cal's Variety have also been robbed.

Eamon called and told me he has to take five prescription medications a day. He also said my voice is noticeably gay. Eamon said he just got off the phone with James Johnson, Director of Accounts for the Commonwealth. He said Mayor Ryan is going to Boston for a major meeting on Thursday, so Eamon is calling around alerting the media. Johnson said they are getting pressure from other cities and towns that also want a bailout. Eamon added that Antonette Pepe has told him that there are "confidential employees" sprinkled throughout city government, including several in the School Department. She said she will get more info. According to her husband Russell Pepe, Mulcahy told him a Palmer manufacturer went to Bruce Fitzgerald looking for space and Fitzgerald told him to hire a Realtor. The guy went to West Springfield and Mayor Gibson got him some nice factory space the same day.

June 4, 2004

62 degrees, overcast, later sunny and clear. Gas is $2.09 at Pride in the Acres.

Do it now because things will only get worse.

E.P. Garvey was the principal of Springfield Trade High School in 1940. John P. O'Brien was Registrar of Probate for Hampden County in 1966. The Office Manager of Sixteen Acres Garden Center is Judith A. Bardenok, the floral designer is Sally Cavanaugh. Fran Gagnon's house has been freshly painted the same old grey with white trim. The Red Sox have lost four in a row.

Bought a paper out of a newspaper box that had a "Honor Box Warning" sticker on it asking people not to steal papers by taking more than one. Had lunch today at Burger King by Westinghouse. The Texas Roadhouse has a banner up that their Grand Opening is June 7th. New roof going up on 182 Birchland. New or replacement colonial going up just before 141 Breckwood Boulevard. Someone has erected a death shrine by the side of the road on Breckwood a couple of houses down from the old Devine place in front of what is technically 42 Peach Street. The city is full of these shrines to victims of violence.

Went to visit Hess the Jovial Joiner and he told me it takes him 18 hours to make one of his cupolas. His wife was seated in an easy chair and I told her she keeps a wonderful house. She said there's a lot of sawdust. I showed them pictures of the Stusick Square obelisk dedication. Hess himself was delivered by Dr. Stusick and I gave him a picture of Dr. Stusick in a stetson hat. I also gave him a picture of the Tiffany window in the Hillcrest mausoleum.

Hess showed me an old newspaper clipping from August 31, 1938 reading, "Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Anderson of 2033 Wilbraham Road moved today from their home, long known as the bird sanctuary, to a house on Lake Wikaboak in West Brookfield." He also showed me some postcards of the Unitarian Church which stood where the Kimball Hotel is now and the Methodist Church on State Street. Left at 10:11.

Coming down Birchland Avenue on my way home I saw that Irving Cohn had fallen out of his wheelchair while trying to retrieve his mail and was lying by the road. He was unhurt and even cheerful but I was not quite able to get him up until a black lady came along in a van and together we got him back in his chair. I wheeled him back into the house and told him better not go down to the mailbox like that anymore.

Eamon says that former Mayor Mary Hurley-Marks is getting a divorce. They have no children. Father Lavigne, a priest for 38 years, has been cut off from financial support by the Catholic church for allegedly sexually abusing at least 40 minors. He was defrocked in January. Dan Rather of CBS's 60 Minutes will be in Springfield next week putting together a story on Lavigne, the Croteau murder and ex-Bishop Dupre. Among those to be interviewed are Rev. James Scahill, Sister Mary McGeer and activist Warren E. Mason.

Standard & Poor's has lowered Springfield's bond rating to BB. They reported that Springfield officials were unable to fully respond to the agency's most basic questions. Carl Jacobs said there was "a lot of difficulty getting basic financial data out of Springfield." So what about those executives on loan from Mass Mutual and six figure financial consultants, Charlie? Send the bill to the Democratic City Committee.

The Boston Globe is reporting that Springfield will be placed under a Financial Control Board, but Charlie Ryan and Dom Sarno say they have heard nothing from Governor Romney or Eric Kriss. Eamon said he couldn't find a copy of the Globe, they were sold out all over the city. On TV40 Councilor Dan Kelly said the Council should make the decisions saying, "We should be cutting the budget ourselves." Councilors like Kelly neglected their responsibilities for years and that is why the state now has to come in and do it for them. Mike Albano was quoted as saying it's all Boston's fault, but Governor Romney was on saying, "Springfield has been off the track for more than a decade."

June 5, 2004

Citgo gas on Dickinson is $2.05.

Ronald Reagan has died of complications from Alzheimer's and pneumonia. UMass has dedicated their new 42 bell carrillion in the 1884 Old Chapel with a concert by George Matthew.

Gave some photos to my neighbor Jozephezyk of his place over the years. Then walked down to Powers and invited him to come look at my Vermont stuff. Then over to Colleen's who liked the pictures I gave her of her house when the Cerrone's owned it. Colleen said she joined the orchestra in Wilbraham just for an excuse to get out. Sighed and said her life hasn't turned out the way she thought it would.

Went to the Memorial Baptist Church tag sale this morning which was a lovely event. Then over to the Big Y in Longmeadow where I got the Valley Photo Center bulletin with a message from Mayor Ryan on the front. Also got a copy of the Health Ledger with Fred Swan on the cover.

Artist Peter Barnett of Monson sold me his painting "Fog Lifting" for $500. I love it and he wrote this about it's origin: "Fog Lifting was painted in the spring of 2003 in the Fort River area of Amherst, Massachusetts. I was taken to the location by my friend and fellow artist Lynne Adams of Pelham. The view is of the north corner of the Mad Woman farm as it backs onto the Fort River end of the bike trail."

Eamon spoke to Joshua Schaff who is handling Springfield for Moody's and warned him not to believe any numbers that come out of Springfield. Eamon claims that Councilor Dan Kelly is a "person of interest" to the FBI. Kelly represents Santaniello who owns the Mardi Gras and Kelly spends a lot of time there watching the girls. They say he's the successor to Hurley for fixing parking tickets. Eamon knows a jeweler named Moynihan who got some SBA money and opened a very swanky jewelry shop at the Ingleside Mall. Same guy once owned shops in Enfield and Longmeadow.

Frank Phillips in the Boston Globe quotes Mayor Ryan saying he doesn't want to do anything that would "fracture the community." Ryan has done the right thing by doing what is best for the community as a whole. Governor Romney has also done the right thing with his bailout offer, but the legislation has been watered down to protect the unions. Ryan opposes screwing the unions, which may lead to a falling out between Ryan and Romney that might put the city into receivership. The Republican is unexpectedly covering the crisis properly and in depth, in a manner they have not done in years.

June 7, 2004

Overcast and 62 degrees. Sunset at 8:24. Shell corner of Plumtree is $2.07.

Reagan said, "The Government is not the solution, it is the problem." That's quadruple true when the president is George W. Bush! The Missouri River is called "The Big Muddy": too thick to drink, too thin to plow.

I am not a hoarder. I meticulously organize what I have and throw away a lot. TV22 is hosting the 13th Annual Children's Medical Network Telethon for Baystate Medical. Walks and telethons for goody-goody medical causes are just schemes to further fatten already fat doctors. How about a telethon for grocery baggers or trash collectors or copyright lawyers? They need the money more than doctors.

Went to State Street Burger King for breakfast at 9:04, sign on the door said the manager is Bob Cox. Had a sourdough sandwich with a coupon and read their Sunday papers. Larry McDermott had a new picture of himself with white hair accompanying his editorial. There are still homeless people camped on the lawn at St. Michael's.

Arrived at the Sullivan Visitor Information Center at 9:55. Little red car parked outside and a woman inside. No one else in sight. Beautiful puffy pink roses coming into bloom along the back fence. The minute I entered the woman stood up and greeted me as Mr. Miller and introduced herself as Sue. She said she remembered me from before and asked if I needed help. I told her I was there to look at their literature. Everything appeared to be pretty much as always, dull literature and outdated computers. Picked up a poster for the 11th Annual Scottish Festival July 17th in Look Park. I told Sue she should call all the churches and synagogues and ask them to deliver info, it would only take a few hours on a morning like today when there's nobody there. Left the riverfront at 10:09 and down by Gus and Paul's the old Jim Dandy has been reframed into a big house three times the size of the original.

For lunch I dined on a 19oz can of Big Y Homestyle Country Vegetable Soup. The can contained 43 cubed chunks of potato as filler.

Eugene Povirk the dealer called at 3:43 and said he was at Paul M. H. Murray's house and would be by in about an hour. However, he didn't arrive until 5:20. He was driving a navy blue wagon of recent date filled with boxes of books. I showed him some of my stuff about Springfield Gas & Electric Co. and Monarch Insurance. He laughed when I showed him my picture of a frowning David Starr. Afterward we went out to eat, first to Texas Roadhouse but it was packed with a line waiting, so we went to Ruby Tuesday at 1411 Boston Road instead and had cheeseburgers.

Povirk told me he and Smith have bought the old schoolhouse for $180,000 and already they've replaced the roof and septic tank. He said that Jill Johnson, author of Lesbian Nation and formerly of Cummington, is now living in New York City. Smith College wants her activist materials from the 1970's. Povirk said four dealers he knows in Connecticut have gone out of business recently. He said they do it by announcing they are going exclusively online, but naturally they would rather have a shop. He says we collectors are a dying breed because no one cares about the past anymore, and there will be no more dealers or customers after our generation is gone.

June 9, 2004

69 degrees at 8pm. Today was a scorcher. Gas in the Acres is $2.05.

Mikhail Gorbachev will come to the Reagan funeral.

TV22 Backyard Barbecue was with the Albano family of Feeding Hills. Steve Clay of the Y was on TV praising Westbank for financing the Scantic YMCA project in Wilbraham. Bishop McGuire, who retired in 1992, had left knee replacement surgery at Mercy Hospital today. Will take six weeks to recover. Eamon says Bishop McGuire spends a lot of time at the Ivanhoe on Riverdale Road in West Springfield next to Raymour and Flanagan. Rev. Andrea Avasion, Dean of Religious Life at Mt. Holyoke, made a wonderful statement accusing the Catholics of "politicizing the sacrament" and breaching the separation of church and state.

Around 8:30 this morning Police Officer 63, cruiser 21, rang my back doorbell. A large man, he asked whether I have a Ford LTD. I said I used to have an LTD, but now have a Taurus parked in the garage. I told him I traded the LTD in last year. He asked where and I told him Lincoln/Mercury.

He went over and looked through the window of his car at the computer, and then started to get in. I came up to the car and told him that I am a lawyer and entitled to an explanation of what this is all about. He said an officer downtown has a car stopped and "when he checked it out it came back registered to you." He drove away and I called Eamon, who advised me to call Lincoln/Mercury, but I suspect I will hear more about this without me calling all around.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, my postcard collection is like reading the Encyclopedia Britannica. Went out at 10:30am to Wilbraham to Paul Murray's shop and spent $400 on books of poetry, postcards and an 1856 book about Indians with hand tinted plates. The postcards I bought were from the collection of Alberta Robertson, who was a manager at Johnson's Secondhand Bookstore and lived on Worthington Street in Springfield. Among her cards was a 1938 one of the Main Branch of the City Library and a 1970 card of Johnson's Bookstore. I also got a 1961 First Baptist Church booklet, they have since become the Alden Street Baptist Church.

Big traffic pile-up on the turnpike made it impossible for Springfield officials to get to Boston for a meeting on the financial crisis. When I called Eamon he said an FBI agent had just left. He said the agent asked a lot of questions about City Councilor Dan Kelly and mortgage flipping. The agent also asked about Chris Asselin and his job as a purchasing agent for the Holyoke Soldier's Home. Apparently there's a lot of money that can't be accounted for there. The agent also told Eamon that there are betting machines appearing in local bars that were bought by going over the heads of the local mafia, which could cause trouble.

June 11, 2004

69 degrees at 8am. Cloudy, at times it was very dark out and sprinkling. Saw a lot of geese over at Breckwood Pond.

Nader the Hatter is back in town for two months, he's staying with his brother while he's here. Markus J. Johnson, a 2001 Central High graduate, was killed in Iraq. The funeral will be held at Symphony Hall.

E. Taylor Newton of Springfield has a letter in the paper saying that receivership offers the city an "opportunity for a better future." The money has come through to revitalize the State Street corridor and there was a meeting for public input tonight at the Rebecca Johnson School. Henry Thomas was on TV all dressed up saying that fixing up State Street would give Mason Square a psychological boost.

Stopped by the Motorcycle Auction this afternoon in the parking lot of the Basketball Hall of Fame. I bought a Indian Motocycle pin commemorating their 100th anniversary. I also bought a lifesize cut-out of Arnold Swarzenegger, all clad in leather, a real collectible. In all I only spent $40.

Went to the Texas Roadhouse by the mall but they don't open until 4pm. So I stopped into the Burlington Coat Factory outlet which is a lovely store with a lot of nice merchandise. They have a leather department but no motorcycle jackets. After four I went back to the Texas Roadhouse which has wood, barn-like decor throughout. My waitress Caitlin was a very friendly girl and a student at UMass. There were a lot of other customers, and I had steak, beans and mixed veggies.

Springfield has 37 municipal departments, Worcester has 20. Springfield has 5,000 employees, or 3,000 more employees than Worcester. Eric Kriss has expressed doubt about whether Mayor Ryan has the guts to fire employees and eliminate whole departments. Governor Romney and Brian Lees distrust Springfield officials to give them the accurate information they need to make decisions.

Stopped to drop off some info at Eamon's and he was watching the Reagan funeral. He told me that Rep. Peter Larkin of Pittsfield doesn't like the bailout for Springfield, he says that when Pittsfield was having a financial crisis a few years back they got nothing. The Republican has an editorial blasting Councilors Dan Kelly and Kateri Walsh for suggesting that Springfield could handle the crisis without accepting money from the state: "Where have they been? If Kelly and Walsh had any dramatic rescue plans, they should have stepped forward long ago." That inspired me to call Larry McDermott at the paper and ask on his answering machine, "Where have you been all these years, you so-called paper of record?"

June 13, 2004

73 degrees. Absolutely beautiful day, the laurels are in full bloom. Gas is $2.05 at Racing Mart across from St. Michael's Cemetery.

George Bush the father parachuted from 13,000 feet for his 80th birthday today. Typical jock. William Weld was an ambitious elitist and Paul Celucci was an ethnic hack, so all we can do is hope that Romney is a good Governor who provides checks and balances on the Democrats.

Richard W. Nichols, son of Walter and Henrietta, has died at age 74 in a nursing home. So much for Dick Nichols.

The Northampton tax override has failed by seven votes, so there will be no tax increase. Mountainview Elementary School is having a mock trial called East Longmeadow vs. The Big Bad Wolf. I called them and spoke to Melody and told her that the trial of the Big Bad Wolf was brilliant and now they should try the Knave of Hearts for Grand Theft.

Eamon called and told me about the time he visited his friend Al Hirshon the jeweler in Chestnut Towers. He said lots of elderly Jewish people from Longmeadow moved to Chestnut Towers when it first opened but became disillusioned by all the Section 8 welfare renters who ran the place down. Hirshon had a lot of problems with the people across the hall from him.

Went to a few tag sales today. The first was across the way at Colleen's where her grand nieces Daniele and Brigid were helping. Colleen insisted I take a Oliveros cigar box I admired for free, but I saw nothing I wanted to buy.

Then I went down the street to the sale by Bredine Penniman, who once told me her family used to go tenting on Boston Road in the late 1920's. Mrs. Penniman views her tag sales as if she had an antique shop. She had some black and white Springfield postcards for sale but her price was too high. There was an old fashioned copper fire extinguisher with a $15 price tag on it. I said I'll take it and handed her the money but she made a fuss and said I couldn't have it at that price because, "The copper alone is worth more than fifteen dollars!" I replied, "Well, that's what the price tag says," and showed her. She checked the tag and then looked embarrassed, "I've insulted you," she said, "and I apologize." So I walked off with the under-priced fire extinguisher, the loss of which she accepted as her punishment for her error of putting the wrong price tag on it.

Next I drove over to Foster Memorial where tables were set up in the parking lot. For $5 I bought a small orb paperweight of frosted glass issued by Big Y on the occasion of its 60th Anniversary. I also had a conversation with Judy Risoski, whose husband is a retired English teacher in the Springfield public schools. As I was leaving I saw Mrs. Allard arriving at the sale.

Headed downtown, and noticed that Tent City at St. Michael's Cathedral has grown from ten to about thirty tents. I parked in front of Symphony Hall and the grass on Court Square is beautifully groomed. The booths for the Taste of Springfield were being set up. I saw a person I recognized from Tent City and I said hello. She complemented my boots and told me she likes living in Tent City better than Keough's homeless shelter. I walked around hoping to spot something discarded from the Markus Johnson funeral at Symphony Hall yesterday but found nothing. However, some prankster has stenciled in bright red letters on City Hall, "SKATEBOARDING PERMITTED." Trashcans were all full. Downtown is a mess and the Taste of Springfield hasn't even begun.

June 14, 2004

65 degrees and overcast at 7am. Somewhat humid. Flag Day was established by Harry Truman in 1949.

Women want to be equal but still appreciate touches of the old chivalry. I don't miss not having a wife, somebody to fight with about things is somebody I can do without.

Massachusetts is being promoted as "The Gay State" where you get 'the rainbow carpet treatment." Ring Nursing Home is now called Radius Ring. They have redone the landscaping and birdfeeders, but I went in and it is the same inside. They said Mr. Ring sold it to Radius last year. Plaza Liquor Store was held up once again.

Charles J. Bettini of 88 W. Alvord St. in Springfield hit my parent's car when they were driving to Hartford in June 1962. My mother worked briefly for Forbes & Wallace at their Grand Opening at the Eastfield Mall in 1967. Andrew C. Brown, a retired vice-president at the former Monarch Life Insurance, has died at 77.

How much would Verizon's telephone rates fall if they cut out all their TV, mail and newspaper advertising? A Julie McDonald calling for Springfield Radio Research asked what radio stations I have been listening to in the last week. I asked where she was calling from and she said she was "not allowed to divulge that information." I replied, "Well then I don't care to divulge what stations, if any, I listen to." She hung up.

Nader the Hatter called from his temporary home at his brother's and said he has a cold. Says he has a 1992 Christmas card to give me of the Rev. H. Hughes Wagner of Trinity Church and his family. Nader also said he has been unable to get in touch with Eamon. Told me P. Murray was once seriously injured in a motorcycle accident.

Eamon called and said Jim Landers took him up to Chicopee where his parents are buried. Landers says he wants to be buried in the Vets cemetery, definitely not a Catholic one. Eamon sent a letter to Speaker Finneran appraising him of the situation in Springfield. Told Finneran it doesn't matter whether there is a bailout or receivership because "nobody is ever going to be held accountable." Eamon was talking to state official Jim Johnson and happened to mention that Mayor Ryan is 77 and Johnson corrected him that Ryan is 76. That shows they've made the effort to look up Ryan's age. Moynihan the jeweler at Ingleside came up. Eamon said he got a $350,000 SBA loan to open and had to "lie like hell" about having minorities involved to get the loan.

A Boston College professor has pointed out that there are 18,000 fewer students graduating from high school this year in Massachusetts than there were when those students were in the 9th grade. So although officially there is a 96% pass rate on the MCAS tests, if you figure in the drop-outs the rate is only 74%. If you figure it by race only 59% of blacks and 54% of Latinos graduate. The proper view has to be that society is cheating these young people, and they shall have their revenge as criminals and social service clients.

June 17, 2004

Sunny and 73 degrees at 8:30am. Cumberland Farms at the X has the cheapest gas in town at $2.03.

If Clinton was impeached than surely Bush. Sen. John Kerry has met his fundraising goals two months ahead of schedule.

Couple of trees behind Galaghers's garage being taken down. The LaBroad Neighborhood Council is having their annual block party. The Valley Advocate continues to have a grocery coupon stuffer in each issue. Efrem Gordon's younger brother Bernard was recently awarded a prize by the Boston Museum of Science for his computer work. He is a 1943 Tech High graduate.

Went to Fleet Bank to cash two dividend checks and spotted Karen Powell chatting with the branch manager. Karen has dyed her hair a dark brown. Then went to eat at Burger King by the old Westinghouse and had two Whoppers for the price of one with a coupon. At the corner of White and Sumner where Fancy Trash was is now something called Most Excellent Collectibles which deals mainly in sports cards. Next door where Dr. Rudzicki's wife had an antique shop it is now vacant.

Arrived at Longmeadow's First Church of Christ at 1:07 for the funeral of Andrew Craig Brown of Monarch. I signed the condolence book and figure that there were about 175 people there. Closed casket. It was a good service, not too long, with a bagpiper and organist. Ben Jones was in a deep blue suit and described Andy as mischievous in a good way.

Bagwell and his wife was there, plus Bruce Farber and many old secretaries. I did see Jean Jones, and Judy Matt was also there. However I did not see Siguler or Gordon Oakes. I saw many faces I recognized but spoke to no one. I only went because I wanted to see how much of the old Monarch culture is still around. Afterward everyone was invited to the Longmeadow Country Club but I didn't go.

On my way back to Springfield I encountered a lot of traffic. As I drove up Longmeadow Street a police cruiser with blinking lights zoomed by. Later I spotted it parked facing north on the center strip by the Picknelly Baseball Field overlooking the line of cars coming up from the Buxton Bridge. Stopped at the Price Rite on Boston Road and bought seedless green grapes for $1.50 (they are 2.99 at Big Y). Really, the prices in the mainstream grocery stores are absurd.

Jack Hess called and I asked him what Springfield should do about its fiscal crisis and he said, "Tell the unions to cut the baloney."

Then Eamon called and said that the city is thinking of imposing a trash pick-up fee, which of course many people won't pay and then the city will look worse than ever. They may also resort to 30 day budgets, something Mayor Mary Hurley did during her fiscal crisis in the 1980's. No final action on the legislation for a bail-out package until at least next week. How this has dragged on.

Eamon is working on a letter he will send to Mayor Ryan telling him about all the bigwigs in Boston he has been in contact with and promising him that as "an alleged mischief maker" he will continue to "search for the truth and spread it around."

June 18, 2004

75 degrees and overcast at 9:15am. Tiger lilies budded up.

Michael Moore's documentary on Bush Farenheit 911 will be in theaters next Friday. Janet Edwards of Tower Square was on TV22 talking about Bill Clinton's autobiography going on sale Tuesday. Costs $35, but I'm not sure I'd pay 50 cents. Edwards Bookstore always gets the publicity, never Barnes & Noble, never Walden, never Broadside, never Odyssey.

At Monarch Life they always had a Christmas bonus until they were eliminated by Gordon Oakes. Each fencepost around the Tapley Street Neal building has a little flag on it. Who paid to do that?

Tried to buy a paper at Boston Road Walmart but the newspaper box didn't work. I mentioned it to the security man and he told me to go to the customer service desk and tell them. I said, "You're the one who works here, not I."

Rep. Chris Asselin's name is on the shingle as maintainer of Bottle Park (Brunton Triangle). Stopped at Eamon's to drop off two old city directories he wanted to borrow. Jim Landers was there with four flats of soda in the back of his car. Landers doesn't touch liquor, he said two of his close relatives died because of it. Eamon told us, "In the Springfield game of politics you go along to get along and suck up to the monopoly rag newspaper for the free ink you need to get elected."

Arriving downtown I parked in front of the Bishop's residence and walked towards the library. I stopped at Tent City, which prefers to be called Sanctuary City. Nice tents with tarps on the roof. Inside are boxes used as cabinets and even a few portable battery operated televisions. ARISE activists were passing out leaflets reading:

PROTEST on City Hall steps at 10:00am
Tell Mayor Ryan NOW
is the time to do something
Words are Cheap
We Need Action!
Give an Abandoned Building
To the homeless NOW!

Walked down the hill and saw that the waterfall was off in Pynchon Park. The reflecting pool was half full of stagnant, murky, mosquito breeding water. Civic Center renovation is all beams and cement. What to call that style? The cheapest money can buy.

Arrived at the Taste of Springfield, now called The Peter Pan Slice of Summer. Beer was Budweiser and there were fewer booths than past years. Cafe Lebanon's booth seemed the most popular, but others had little business. Dunkin Donuts was giving away little plastic cups of iced coffee. I bought a Friendly swirl (vanilla and chocolate) about five inches tall. Few businessmen, in general a tacky looking assemblage of people. Not many minorities, it was basically a white trash gathering.

Headed to City Hall where in one of the widow bays a fat woman, well dressed, was sitting and smoking. She threw her cigarette onto the pavement and I shouted at her, "Don't litter with your cigarette butts!" Inside I went to the restrooms and found them locked. RYAN IS LOCKING THE RESTROOMS! Swung by the Mayor's Office where three aides were working, Ryan wasn't in. R. Bruce Fitzgerald was seated at the desk in his office. Coming along the hallway was Park Department head Patrick Sullivan, nephew of Eamon, and I gave him a Stusick Park postcard.

Leaving City Hall an old man was passing out hand-written religious literature. He asked if I were gay and I said I'm a collector of ephemera. He thanked me for taking his literature. Then I walked over to the Community School of Music and had a nice chat with JoAnn James. As I left two fire engines came screaming down State Street, someone at the Taste of Springfield must have burned the hot dogs or something.

June 20, 2004

Mild today, gas prices have dropped for two weeks in a row. Catalpas are in full bloom.

Whoever tells the stories defines the culture.

54 days to the opening of the Olympic Games. I wish I cared.

South Hadley has an Army Recruiting Station at the South Hadley Shopping Center on Newton Street. Springfield has one at 1550 Main Street. Darren Sweeney is the weekend morning weatherman on TV22. I like him a lot better than their regular clowns. Story on TV about how "low thyroid levels can lead to aggressive behavior." Well now, I remember that Mother could be rather surly and her thyroid had been removed. She was supposed to take thyroid pill but didn't always. So does this explain some of Mother's cranky behavior?

Saw Durham Caldwell and his wife walking their dog over Ballard and then up Jeffrey. I took a sprig of a rose cluster from one of Father's pet plants to Sixteen Acres Garden and asked Anthony Waters what it was and he said Spiraea and I dimly recall Father using that name.

Springfield Republican nature writer Seth Kellogg is speaking on birds at the Westfield Athenaeum. ARISE is having a potluck supper in October for Women of Domestic Violence. Free City Block Lunchtime Concerts this summer will include Tony Vacca and World Rhythm, The Lonesome Brothers and Your No Good Buddies. The Stearns Square City Block Party concerts will include NRBQ, Poco and The Pete Best Band.

Headed out to Wilbraham Town Hall and finished off the roll of film which has Hess and Cohn on it. Wanted to take a picture of the town library but couldn't get a good angle on it. Looked at the war monuments and recalled that the Civil War monument once had four granite balls around the base of the statue of the soldier. They've been gone for about a decade. The WWII monument has a granite ball with a map of the world etched on it. On the list of Korean War vets I found the name of Edward Moynihan, a salesman for Stateline Potato Chips.

Springfield Cinemas opposite Duggan, where Mother saw her last film "Babe" has closed. It wasn't there that long, and who would think that a theater next to a college would close? This is further evidence of the decline of 16 Acres as a commercial center over the past decade:

Big Y opposite Duggan is gone.
Springfield Cinemas is gone.
McDonald's in the Acres is gone.
Burger King in the Acres is gone.
Hardware store in the Acres burned down.
Bernies is relocating to Boston Road.
Fleet and Bank of Boston merged, resulting in one fewer bank in the Acres.

I was vacuuming my car when along came Irving Cohn, walking rather than in his wheelchair, unassisted and not very chipper. Said Mrs. Cohn was operated on successfully but lost a couple of toes. Talked of the burden of his ailing relatives and told me, "You are a free man."

June 22, 2004

73 degrees at 11:34am. Gas is down to $1.99 at Five Town Mall.

My karma ran over my dogma.

The New York Times gave Clinton's biography a blah review. Governor Rowland of Connecticut is quitting in the wake of an ethics scandal.

Irving Cohn's nephew is an award-winning sports writer for the Washington Times. Ann S. Flentje is back from Kennebunkport and gave me a box of souvenir chocolates. When I ate one a bit of my lower left tooth came out. I am decaying. I feel abused that the IRS keeps bothering me. Eamon said that he was audited three years in a row and finally decided it was easier just to pay them than to "get entangled with those bunch of idiots at the IRS."

Jack Y. Hess stopped by briefly today and gave me a postcard from the 1960's addressed to Charles P. Macaulay of 65 Birchland Avenue. He also gave me his new business card identifying himself as the President of the Knox Automobile Club. In return I gave him the postcard of myself in my orange jumpsuit. Hess recently acquired two postcards, one of the Boston Road Diner and another of Oakes Greenhouse.

Nader the Hatter came over and showed me on his laptop how to use e-bay. He also showed me his Alex Brahm Hat Archives as we sipped sherry. Later we went and had burgers at Ruby Tuesday.

After Nader left I walked down to Mrs. Penniman's to give her a photograph of her husband and I said I hoped she has gotten over my making off with her copper fire extinguisher at an unreasonably low price. She smiled and said her house is full of valuable antiques. I asked about the overgrown lawn at 101 Birchland and she said the house was abandoned in a divorce. On my way back home I noticed that Colleen is planting small rhododendron bushes on the Powers side of her lot.

Rep. Chris Asselin has sent out a form letter critical of auto insurance rates. Councilor Rooke was sounding like a know it all in the paper, so I left word on his answering machine that Eamon T. O'Sullivan predicted the fiscal crisis long before anyone on the City Council.

June 24, 2004

68 degrees at 5:30am.

Justice must precede peace. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.

I don't like the way John Kerry is running on his war record. He should be a peace candidate. Robert Reich the brilliant midget was on TV talking about the economy. TV also showed Governor Romney basking in the publicity of coming out against gay marriage. Meanwhile former Governor Weld was shown presiding as a homilist at the gay wedding of a friend. A photo of rocker Little Richard appeared in the paper wearing a spiked doggie collar that is fancier than mine.

USA Today is raising their price from 50 cents to 75 cents per copy. A cappuccino brown car parked at Colleen's today had a bumpersticker that read, "My child is a student at OLSH."

No thank you letter from Jack Briggs for sending him some poems. I doubtless made the desired bad impression, which in no way mitigates his obligation to thank me. I am always getting letters begging for money that end with, "I am looking forward to hearing from you." They are not sincere, they are looking forward to my money.

Headed out to check how work is proceeding on the land I have donated to Wilbraham as "Blanch and John's Fernbank." The old Lakeside Restaurant has new pavement on their parking lot and they are working on the front of it. Perhaps they will reopen soon, but as what? Work is in progress on the Fernbank, they are widening the road and replacing telephone poles. A yellow truck and grader is on site.

Eamon called and I told him I saw his nephew Patrick the other day in City Hall. He said Patrick's father is Robert Emmet Sullivan, better known as "Scrapper" Sullivan. He was the head pressman for the Springfield Newspapers. Eamon also said of my Mother, "I used to like talking to her, she was a very nice lady." That was nice to hear, I recall that Mother liked talking to him. Eamon is very skillful at talking to people.

Later I headed out again to go to the courthouse. The traffic on Pearl Street was stopped dead by a dumpster truck that had to pick up about 15 trash containers outside the big apartment house there. When the traffic got moving I parked on Eliot Street by the rectory. Walking down the hill I saw that the tents are still up in Sanctuary City, although set back more on the St. Michael's lawn. I signed the petition ARISE was passing around demanding that an abandoned building be given to the homeless and that Frank Keough of the Worthington Street shelter be forced to resign.

Then I stopped at the Community School of Music to see if JoAnn James had saved me some posters from their events. Carol Derouin said JoAnn wasn't there but I spoke with Jean Connor who said, "I think we threw all the posters away." I took out my postcards and told Connor I intended to give these to JoAnn James but because things turned out as they did I'm not going to give them to her. Jean Connor gasped as I then tore the postcards in half and left.

On my way to the courthouse I noticed that Kyser's Restaurant, the greasy but nice old fashioned cafe at the corner of State and Main is all boarded up. At the courthouse I had to take off my belt for security reasons and the place was a madhouse. The Registry of Probate was packed and when I looked at the file of the Giroux estate I saw that nothing had been added. Next I headed over to City Hall where the toilets were still locked.

I came home and read the latest Valley Advocate where Maureen Turner had this great line in her article: "Mike Albano's habit of spending money he didn't have, plus cuts in aid from the state, plus the flight of businesses and middle-class taxpayers, equals a city about to bottom out."

June 27, 2004

72 degrees at noon, lightning at 7pm. Gas at Breckwood Shell is $1.99.

Cheney used the fuckword to Sen. Leahy of Vermont and is proud of it. The Calvin Coolidge Bridge in Northampton/Hadley officially re-opened today after renovations.

Am processing the last of the Giroux Machine papers, they are incomplete with a lot missing from the 1960's. Nader the Hatter called to report that the Goodwill at the X has done away with their bookstore and coffee shop.

Eamon says the Paul Santos restaurant closed about a year ago. He is still with the Moore girl who he has not married. Says Mayor Frank Freedman got appointed a judge because he was a buddy from Boston University Law School of Ed Brooke, whom Eamon highly regards as an Attorney General and Senator.

Stopped at the Big Y and spotted an elderly worker I recognized from the former Big Y in 16 Acres. He said when the Big Y was in the Acres he was a two minute walk from work. Now he has to drive all the way to Boston Road. He told me that when the lease runs out at Walgreens next door they will be leaving. I mentioned how Bernies and Burger King have both left the Acres.

Went to the open house at Reeds Landing at 807 Wilbraham Road today. I was greeted by Marketing Director Dorothy Beliveau and in the lobby Barbara Olmstead gave me a name tag. Gideon Freudmann was playing cello and in the middle of the room three black women presided over a round table of wine, cheese and grapes. I took half a goblet of pink wine and sat on the sofa. Then I went into the dining room where I had cheese and tomato ziti and broccoli. Desert was chocolate shells covered with a custard goo.

In their new exercise room they passed out apples and half-bottles of Poland Spring water. Everywhere the serving people were black and the higher ups white. I mentioned that to Beliveau on my way out after thanking her for the food, and she said that the blacks have the chance "to work their way up." I guess you would call that the trickle up theory! Home at 3:35.

June 30, 2004

Lovely day. Monarch butterflies fluttering around the milkweed in full bloom.

Richard A. Osgood married Shirley A. Trimboli in Westfield, Dec. 19, 1964. Hung Brian Roche's wonderful little painting of a lighthouse from the Church of the Acres sale in my bedroom over the sunburst mirror. Father always wanted to paint the garage barn red. Father had a special sense of humor.

TV40 commentator Mark Hyman is a conservative jerk. This morning I saw a black and brown cat chasing a chipmunk in my backyard and heard the poor thing squeal as the cat got it. To whom does that black and brown cat belong?

Went to the Atrium Assisted Living Center's Strawberry Fest and Open House in Agawam. On my way over I saw that the tents are still camped at St. Michael's. In the parking lot of The Atrium I saw a bumpersticker, "This Car Stops for All Tag Sales." I always park on the edge of things and walk in. The spacious lawn in front of the The Atrium had a tent over part of it and The Irish Parish Band was playing. Girls with trays were serving strawberry cookies, strawberries dipped in chocolate, strawberry chiffon pie and strawberry shortcake. To wash it all down they had strawberry soda and strawberry smoothies.

It couldn't have been a more beautiful day for such an event. I found out that the typical residency there is two years at $35,000 per year. I left at 2:50 and since I was over there I went down Poplar Street but nothing has changed. I also drove over to Stop & Shop and got some veggies off their day old rack because they have nicer stuff than the Stop & Shop by Eastfield Mall does.

Hess stopped by and I gave him some duplicate ephemera I had such as letterheads for Carlisle's, the Bosh and Van Norman. He couldn't stay, he had to take his wife to visit friends in a nursing home.

Eamon called and told me how he was once cancelled from going on Dan Yorke's radio show. He said he was invited to come on one Monday and without explanation WHYN called and said "your appearance has been cancelled." Eamon was recently on the radio on The Tony Gill Show, discussing politics with Tom Devine, Atty. Marshall Moriarty and Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos. Bax and O'Brien of WAQY still play Eamon's answering machine messages once in a while.

Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos and Eamon T. O'Sullivan

Eamon said the Springfield Newspapers financed the new exercise room at Reeds Landing. Their former editor Carroll Robbins is a resident there. Eamon has been talking to Joshua Schaff and his assistant Jennifer Lewis at Moody's about Springfield's bond rating. The Springfield bailout negotiations drag on, I'm not paying attention but Eamon certainly is.

Dined this evening on a salad at McDonald's using a dollar off coupon.


July 2004

July 2, 2004

Very dark clouds and lightning in the afternoon as I reached Breckwood and Plum on the way home. Gas at Liberty Stop & Shop $1.84.

Jesus was a hippie.

Ada Darbe, mother of Police Captain Russell T. Richmond, has died at 84. Old Walter Nichols used to say the more fancy tools carpenters have the worse their work gets. College Hill Park in Indian Orchard is all grown up to hay even around the fountain.

At 116 Birchland where the new black family has moved into the old Turner place there is a lovely flower pot on the front stoop. Colleen has put bunting under the big window in front of her house. I had just finished up the Giroux case paper sifting and was listening to the news when the doorbell rang and there was Irving Cohn at the door. He was accompanied by his younger brother Dan Cohn, who is 74 and retired from the lumber field. He was visiting from Putnam, Connecticut. I asked them in and we chatted, with Irving Cohn recalling that he moved to Birchland Avenue in 1948. They invited me to go out with them to dinner but I declined.

Went over to Angelo's Fruit Mart and bought six milk crates at a dollar each from the owner William A. DeNucci who is definitely selling out for good. Franklin Hardware on Main Street in Springfield was destroyed by the North End urban redevelopment of the 1960's. It was an old-fashioned store with a creaky wooden floor, jam packed with stuff in bins and barrels, stuff hanging from the ceiling, a wonderful place where it seemed you could buy anything.

Called Plant and got his sister. She says Gary is "busy, busy, busy." Told me that Mary Alice Stusick-Plant said, "I want no memory of me preserved." But she denied destroying any letters. Sister said Gary will call me next week. Jack Hess called and said he likes Tassinari Brothers the custom bookbinders in Ludlow. He said one of the brothers is dead. I told him that when I used them the book's spine came out off center.

Linda Melconian has finally admitted that Springfield can't solve its problems without help from Boston. The homeless in Tent City have been granted a one week reprieve from having to get off the St. Michael's lawn.

Eamon recalled today how when the Atwood Civic Association used to do the Hungry Hill fireworks they would shoot them so they landed in Van Horn Pond. Eamon feels that Mayor Ryan should be in Boston lobbying for money in person. Eamon said he heard that Paul Caron had chest pains and was taken to Baystate hospital but checked out okay. He is only 48.

July 4, 2004

Up at 5:30 and 70 degrees on the breezeway. Heavily overcast, flecks of moisture in the air.

The Republican is hiring sales and service representatives at $8.85 per hour to start. The statue of my ancestor Miles Morgan appears as part of a montage of local images in a United Bank commercial I saw this evening.

Picked a quart of black raspberries off my berry patch. After planting the last of the plants I bought at Angelo's I mowed the lawn and found a remarkable item lying near the road. It is the stub of a payroll check for William J. Lovett, a Springfield police officer whom I seem to recall was in some way tied to former Mayor Albano. What an odd bit of trash to blow on my lawn!

I walked over to the Nichols place and was cordially greeted by Ruth Nichols who told me I could take anything I wanted. I said all I really wanted was a picture so she picked out a lovely family portrait and gave it to me. She also gave me Walter's High School Diploma (Trade 1912) and his 1964 membership card from the musician's union, signed by Falvey. I made her laugh by telling her Walter called the woodpile out back "the termite palace." Our discussion was very cordial.

It was quiet here on the Fourth, I didn't bother to go to any local fireworks, although I heard that Larry McDermott was the Master of Ceremonies for the Springfield fireworks. I watched the Boston festivities on TV but there was no 1812 Overture which used to be standard with Boston. The fireworks however have become more and more sophisticated with beautiful rainbow clusters.

Hill told me that business is terrible at the Odyssey Bookstore in South Hadley during the big golf tournament. He said all the regular business stays away and the golfers are not interested in books. It's a lesson for Springfield in the futility of relying on tourist spin-offs: People come for what they come for and then they go.

The Mason Square McDonald's at 782 State was robbed last night, plus there was a shooting downtown on Main Street. All the trouble in the downtown "entertainment district" makes it seem more exciting to be down there, it draws the curious. Let's face it, the violence IS the entertainment. That's what people really come for, what could be more boring than just sitting around drinking beer and watching girls dance? The entertainment district is a curse because it makes the public demand more cops.

July 5, 2004

Overcast all day, poured for a few minutes. Julie Nixon Eisenhower is 56.

A.G. Spaulding and Bros. was located on Front Street in Chicopee. In the 1950's Westinghouse Electric had the motto, "Every House Needs Westinghouse." Pine Point Welding Service at 38 Berkshire Avenue was owned by Calvin Roots. Wm Harper Home Improvement was at 616 Boston Road. Max Okun Furniture at 1095 Main Street in the South End used to advertise itself as, "The store with the big green and yellow neon sign with the crown on top."

Dave Madsen on TV40 ads brags that they "won't hesitate to bring you the hard news" because that's their job. Yet they are affiliated with the Springfield Newspapers. Dave Madsen broke into TV news as a camera operator and became an anchor in 1979. This evening Latoya Foster was on 22 in a tight shirt, braless and with her nipples showing.

Tomorrow I'll be delivering to M. Hubertson at the Connecticut Valley History Museum some material from the Giroux estate, a sampling of invoices and statements documenting 50 years of Springfield business and banking going back to the 1940's.

Eamon's father was Patrick John O'Sullivan, brother of Walter "Tux" Sullivan the baseball expert. His Uncle Daniel Sullivan was personnel manager at the Bosh, where Eamon worked in the tool crib for three summers. Eamon says that Ryan should defer to Kriss and the Control Board because they are professionals who have forgotten more about municipal finance than Ryan's people ever knew.

There are rumors that Spirit of Springfield is in financial trouble. We were all given to believe that they were making lots of money off of Forest Park's Bright Nights, etc. Now we find they owe the City $169,000 for police work. Judy Matt makes $85,000. Hard to get all the financial figures because they are a private organization. Too many private organizations are saying none of your business after accepting taxpayer funds. The Quadrangle is one of them.

July 6, 2004

A beautiful day. 70 degrees at 8am. Acres Mobil is $1.89.

Senator John Edwards of North Carolina (a Methodist) is John Kerry's running mate. Critics are saying he is all personality, no experience.

The terrible Hartford Circus Fire was 60 years ago today. I'm told that all the construction along Columbus Avenue is decimating the merchants.

No mail today but The Reminder was lying bagged in the driveway. The now defunct Springfield Shopping News was delivered to each home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My route covered the streets of Highland, Crest, Brooks, Bonnyview, Esther, Elsie and Schuyler and the adjacent portions of Wilbraham Road and Alden. Sometimes I was also assigned Roosevelt Avenue down to the Pond. I also had the caretaker's residence for the Home of the Good Shepard. Once a dog bit me. The paper was regular newspaper size and I got very few tips, seldom making more than two or three dollars at Christmas time. The Shopping News just wasn't as good as The Reminder, which eventually drove them out of business.

Lionel G. Angers was an attorney at 31 Elm Street in Springfield who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Congress in 1952. I wonder if he was related to the mentally retarded man named Angers who when I was a child used to live in a big house on Alden Street. He would dress up like a perfect gentleman, generally in a brown or grey tweed, and ride the bus into the city every day and then back home. I don't know what he did downtown, but many retarded people used to just hang around downtown in those days, sitting on benches, etc.

James W. Gillan, formerly of Wilbraham, has died at the age of 80. He has the first color obituary photo I've ever seen appear in the paper. Something new they are offering, no doubt at an extra fee. Belle Rita Novak is coming over tomorrow and we are going to the Texas Roadhouse.

Scott Copeland works at Laser Colorcopy and always has opinions on political topics. He knows Pelleran-Duck of Commerce and doesn't like her. In Copeland's opinion Mayor Ryan's financial adviser Robert A. Klupa is "a total dunce" and he can't believe that Charlie Ryan appointed him.

Went to the Big Y and bought a bottle of Rose's Lemon Juice (Mary Waller had a pitcher of same and sugar cookies for guests each Sunday) and I got a silver coin. Maybe they heard I went to the Liberty Street Stop&Shop and are trying to woo me back! Actually I have never turned in a coin.

Headed downtown and saw that Tent City is still firmly in place. The Catholic Diocese said on the news that social services have found homes for fifteen residents. Today I was given the bum's rush by the Historical Museum when I attempted to deliver the Giroux papers. Arrived at the Quadrangle at 11:27, lots of parking available and I got the end space right by the entrance. All the museum doors had 11x7 black and white posters on them announcing the day's events. The posters are dull and plain and unimaginative.

I rang the doorbell at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and the tall, thin Phyllis Jakowski promptly answered. She asked who I was and whether I had an appointment. I explained that actually I had attempted to make an appointment, but I couldn't reach anyone because I don't have a touchtone phone. I told her that expecting everybody to have a touchtone phone is elitist and discriminates against people who can't afford them. I of course can afford one, but I have had the same phone for many years, in accordance with my belief in "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

So I told Phyllis that I was just dropping off some historical material from the estate of George Giroux and asked to speak with Maggie Humbertson. Her reply was, "We don't accept gifts at the door." I informed her that Joe Carvalho himself had said that he desired to acquire this material. To which she repeated, "It is our standard policy that we cannot take gifts at the door," but added that she would tell Guy McLain that I came by when he comes in tomorrow. So I walked back to my car with the stuff still in hand and drove off at 11:48. It was only on the way home that it occurred to me that Jakowski (maiden name Plourde) hadn't taken down my name or phone number, so how was Guy McLain supposed to contact me? Besides it was Margaret Humbertson, not McLain that I had come to see.

July 7, 2004

77 degrees outside United Bank at 10;46am.

In general, the more religious people are, the worse they are.

Dr. William E. Hennessey of West Springfield (who was Maria Giroux's doctor for many years) used to recommend eating no broccoli, no tomatoes, no cauliflower and no Brussels sprouts. Also said don't eat fish. Dietary fads come in waves and the best thing is to just eat what your body tells you to in moderation.

Someone named Andy called from the Springfield Newspapers and offered to restart my subscription for only two dollars a week plus one dollar for the Sunday Republican. I told him that I had discontinued the paper because I disliked their editorial content. He replied that "a lot of people say we're too liberal" but I corrected him, "No, I feel that the paper isn't liberal enough!" That ended that conversation.

Police cars 105 and 58 plus a tan Crown Vic (#5136) parked outside the Youth Services on Tinkham Road. Stuck my head in at Bernie's and asked the girl when they're moving out and she said not until September. Up front they had a Serta mattress display with an immense promotional plastic white sheep on it. I asked her if they had any black sheep and when she said no I accused her of discrimination.

Senator Brian Lees is having his elderly freebie fair at the WNEC Healthful Living Center on August 6th. Over 2200 attended last year. Bishop Thomas Dupre has cited Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to a civil suit by two men who claim he sexually abused them in the 1970's.

Activist Belle-Rita Novak visited today. She is a very intelligent, businesslike lady and I respect her for what she gets done. We got to talk candidly about a lot of things and I showed her my place. She arrived at three on the button and parked by the phone box on which I have placed Ryan and Puppolo stickers. She gave me a jar of strawberry jam and I showed her my raspberry patch. I asked her if she knew my neighbor Colleen Moynihan but she does not, although she did know Irving Cohn.

When we went inside I startled her by making my rabbit doll Sweet Pea jump up and say, "Hi dere toots!" She giggled. I showed her around and she asked me what I intend to do with all my collections. I told her that I would like to leave the local stuff to the Quadrangle, but there are problems with them and especially David Starr. She said, "A lot of people seem to have problems with David Starr." She thought Peggy Starr's watercolor was pretty.

Belle-Rita was especially interested in the UMass Hillel posters I've collected over the years. We then sat in the breezeway and discussed many topics. She said that White Hut burgers are definitely the best, and told me that Sheila McElwaine is in Vermont. She claimed to have great respect for Timothy Ryan, but when I praised Karen Powell she responded with a disapproving silence. The Reverend Howard John Wesley she described as "one of the biggest homophobes in the city."

The Forest Park outdoor market at the X she said changes daily as they try to figure out ways to make it more successful. She would like to find a way to appeal to more Latinos. She said her mother J.M. Knox is in declining health. A friend who lives at Classical Condos expressed to her that they don't like having Tent City across the street. She said the city should turn over some of their vacant buildings to the poor.

Novak said she has stopped supporting ARISE because M. Bewsee has defended Louis Farakkan who is an anti-Semite. I defended Michaelann by saying she's the only professional troublemaker we've got! I said I don't agree with anyone about everything but Bewsee is someone I like a lot.

Around 4:15 we headed out to the Texas Roadhouse, where I had the All-American Burger and she had ribs with yams. The meat on the ribs was so tender it was falling off the bones. She offered to pay her own way but I insisted on covering the bill. We got a bag of free peanuts when we left. Before we parted I gave her some postcards including one with me in my orange jumpsuit. She joked, "No wonder people don't want to sit next to you!" I told her it was a good strategy for standing out in a crowd. Home at 6:02.

No phone call today from Guy McLain or anybody from the Quadrangle.

July 9, 2004

A beautiful, lovely day. Gas at Breckwood is $1.89.

George Bush has declined a chance to be president of all the people by refusing to address the NAACP. I recall that Bob Dole also refused to address the NAACP when he was running for president.

Rep. Cheryl Rivera says the legislature has agreed to give Springfield a $52 million dollar loan and it will now go to Governor Romney for his autograph.

Brown's Groceries at 746 Springfield Street was a great place to get berries. Stick 'Em Up! is the Pioneer Valley's only professional postering company. Gateway Village has a new iron fence to replace the old chainlink one.

S. Strempek-Shea is on the cover of Prime Time magazine. Wally Swist will be reading at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst tomorrow.

Drove over to West Springfield and onto 91 and up to Northampton, arriving at 10am sharp. Parked in the roundhouse lot by the bus station and walked over to the Forbes Library. Haven't been there in years but it is still beautiful, the old character and atmosphere of the library has been preserved. The two big safes are gone from the periodicals area. They have a nice art gallery and older books are still on the shelves to a greater extent than in Springfield. The Calvin Coolidge Museum was closed.

Then I walked across to the Nielson Library at Smith and chatted with Amy Hague. Next down the hill and along Main Street. Hampshire Gazette has new newspaper boxes, really nice. The Michaelson Gallery had Barry Moser self-portraits and a big Dr. Seuss exhibit. Another bookseller bites the dust: the Beyond Words Bookshop is closing at the end of July and The Hempest is expanding into their space.

I found three string-tied bundles of Many Hands: New England's Magazine for Holistic Health in a trash can in front of Thornes Marketplace. Went into Thornes where the public toilet has been nicely modernized. Thornes Marketplace is a wonderful institution because it makes it possible to shop for so many specialized merchants in one place. The posterboards in the stairwell were covered and I brought home a bunch of them, but very few radical stuff. On the way back to the car I stopped at Pride and Joy and bought some anti-Bush buttons. Left town at 12:54 and when I got home I found I had missed calls from Gary J. Plant and Theodore Chmura.

McLain from the Quadrangle still has not called.

Eamon gets a $600 abatement on his property tax for being a disabled vet. He said Art Gingras will be retiring at $43,000 a year and a big check for unused sick time. Eamon described Matty Ryan as "the most corrupt District Attorney in the history of Hampden County." He also said that the rumor is that Saco Catjakis "is talking." So after Eamon hung up I called Catjakis and got his answering machine. I left the message that if he expects to be indicted he should do the right thing and turn himself in and save the taxpayers a lot of money.

Multiple members of the Asselin family of the Springfield Housing Authority and assorted political posts were arrested at dawn at their house on the Cape and hit with a hundred count indictment. Patriarch "Papa Ray" Asselin collapsed while being arrested. TV40 did an online poll and 90% said that State Representative Christopher Asselin should resign. They also did street interviews and a woman named Massotti said "The Asselins always acted like they were better than us, and now we know what they're really like." I got the same impression the time I met Rep. Asselin, that he was an arrogant, pompous ass.

July 13, 2004

United Bank clock 79 degrees at 11:53. Overcast, back door lilies have greatly multiplied.

Had some of Belle-Rita Novak's strawberry jam this morning on a waffle. Very good. The Native American Intertribal Council of Western Mass will be meeting at the Mason Wright Community Center on Walnut Street. 340 Stony Hill Road in Wilbraham is selling for $269,900.

Judy at Pride gas station never batted an eyelash as she charged me $7.28 for three newspapers and five photocopies. I asked to see her supervisor Joanne, who agreed that commonsense should have made the girl realize there was a problem with the transaction. I proposed that when they charge too much they should give the customer their purchase for free. That she did not agree with.

Jack Hess called and said there are Valley Bank checks and paperwork for sale on the internet. Also said he mailed 18 books on Knox to a dealer in Hudson who sold them for $12.50 apiece. Hess got them for $4.50 each. I spoke to Gary Plant and he is going to have a big auction. He has an autographed picture of Harpo Marx (Mikus once played with him) which should bring at least $350. He also has a letter from Dwight Eisenhower whom she once played for at the Eastern States Exposition.

Peter Picknelly is in the news. His project for this year is a Hilton Garden Hotel adjacent to the Worcester Centrum. Next year his project will be the Park Plaza Hotel in the old Court Square building.

Mass Mutual has settled a lawsuit in which they were accused of encouraging their agents to use deceptive sales tactics between 1983-2003. Former Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Dupre is still refusing to speak about sexual abuse allegations on the advice of his lawyer Michael O. Jennings of Springfield. Arthur D. Wolf of WNEC Law agrees in the paper that it's a good strategy.

Eamon called and said Cheryl Rivera is saying that Police Chief Paula Meara should "take off her sandals and put on boots to walk the streets of Springfield with her officers." I agree, forget the Women's Clubs and take a lesson from Chief Scott of Holyoke. Eamon says Meara lives on Twinkies and orange soda.

Eamon also informed me that he got a call from a friend of Brian Lees who told him, "Senator Lees is very upset with you" because he objects to some of the letters Eamon sent to Governor Romney. Lees feels Eamon should correspond with him rather than the Governor, but Eamon always goes directly to the top. So Eamon called Lees' office and left word proposing that Lees have him as a guest on his radio show on WHYN. After five Lois called back from Lees' office but Eamon missed the call.

July 14, 2004

Both stations at the Acres selling gas for $1.89.

Dennis Belanger of Southampton in a blue truck is working on something over at Colleen's today.

20th Anniversary issue of BusinessWest is out with a picture of Larry Gormally with his arms crossed. Sen. Linda Melconian has called the $52 million loan to Springfield by the state a "platinum credit card."

Michaelann Bewsee was handcuffed for disorderly conduct at a vacant property sale in Springfield. She wanted the property at 25 St. James Avenue for the homeless and kept disturbing the auction by yelling. I called ARISE to congratulate Michaelann but she wasn't in so I told Marlene to pass along my good wishes. Tent City was forced to leave the St. Michael's lawn today, but they just moved across the street to a lot on School Street owned by Kevin Noonan's Open Pantry. A spokesperson for Tent City, a lanky fellow named Brendon Preston, said they like camping out better than living at Frankie Keough's Worthington Street shelter.

Eamon is mad about Brian Lees not inviting him to go on Sen. Lees' Saturday morning radio show on WHYN. He is sending Lees a letter.

A blistering editorial in the Republican today about the Asselin bust: "Allegations that nine members of the politically prominent Asselin family used the Springfield Housing Authority as a money machine to remodel their homes were staggering in their depth and breadth. Even in a state with a rich history of politically corrupt scoundrels and disreputable officials, this is corruption on a scale rarely seen."

I called Larry McDermott at the paper and got the always polite Anita. I told her that this vindicates those of us who for years have claimed that corruption was rampant while the media looked the other way. I told her that I hoped Maureen Turner of the Valley Advocate was writing a political obituary of the Asselins for their next edition. Then I wished her a good day and she replied, "And you too."

Later I drove by Rep. Asselin's office and there was a note on the door saying he was in Boston. However, Jim Polito on TV40 said that Asselin was nowhere to be found in Boston. Then Rep. Ben Swan was interviewed and politely suggested that Asselin's days as a representative are over. Later in the day Rep. Asselin released a statement through his lawyer insisting that he is innocent and will not be convicted.

July 16, 2004

Overcast at 9:30am and and 70 degrees.

CBS News reports a poll showing Ariel Sharon is the most disliked man in the Middle East and George Bush is number two. Blair Witch Project was the biggest money making film of the 1990's.

About 70 people reported living in the relocated Tent City on School Street. The Bank of Western Massachusetts is demanding the repayment of a loan they made to ex-Councilor Raipher Pelligrino that was guaranteed on behalf of the city by former Mayor Mike Albano. City Solicitor Patrick A. Markey says Albano's guarantee is worthless and the city will not pay for Pellegrino's private business deal. Markey called the Pellegrino/Albano arrangement "bizarre."

Eric A. Kriss, Governor Romney's financial adviser, named three members to the Financial Control Board for Springfield: Chairman Alan L. LeBovidge, commissioner of the state Department of Revenue since 2002, Jake Jacobson, a turnaround specialist with a masters degree from Harvard Business School and Thomas H. Trimarco, a former first deputy treasurer under former State Treasurer Joseph D. Malone. Rep. Thomas M. Petrolati and Sen. Linda Melconian said that Kriss should have named a woman, a minority or someone from Western Mass to the board.

Dale A. Frank, a financial consultant out of Sunderland, was holding a financial seminar today with a free lunch at the Wild Boar restaurant so I decided to go. The Wild Boar is at the front of the Wilbraham Shoppes and have a meeting room in their basement. I saw no wild boar's head or even a statue or print of one. I went in a black t-shirt, motorcycle jacket, boots but no leather collar. We were served pot roast with gravy and ice cream for dessert. Not bad for a free lunch.

There were about 50 people present, no blacks. The title of the talk was "The Ten Most Common Mistakes Seniors Make With Their Finances" which was delivered by Dale Frank. Attorney Walter E. Bak of Northampton also spoke briefly. At the end they passed out forms for us to write who we were, why we came and the nature of our assets. I listed 500 shares of Monarch Life Insurance stocks. Out at 7:33pm.

July 18, 2004

69 degrees at 7am. Sunny, mild, puffy clouds. Minimart/Sunoco gas $1.89.

Every day is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Did a load of wash. Did the dishes. Cooked up some butter and sugar corn. I usually go to bed around 7:30pm and wake up around eleven to watch the news. Then I work on my various projects until around 3am and then go back to sleep until 5:30am or later.

The Springfield Mt. Carmel Italian festival in the South End is being cut back to one day this year. It used to be four.

Went to see Jim Landers son Sean perform in an outdoor play of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, which I used to teach. The clever name of the acting company is "Free Will!"

I arrived at Forest Park at 3:05. The price of the play was three dollars. The park is beautifully maintained these days, Eamon's nephew Patrick is doing a great job. I parked just before the Senior Center and then walked into the upper rose garden where they were putting on the show. I leaned a pillow against a tree where there was shade. In time an audience of about 30 arrived, many carrying folding chairs. The company had eight actors, so several had to play double roles.

The lead playing the magician Prospero was Eric Love, an older bald man, but the rest of the cast was very young. Brian Sparrow is fat but he performed splendidly. Amy Menkin as Trincolo was very vivacious. Sean Landers played the boatswain of a ship and Ferdinand, Prince of Naples. They had a drum but no other music besides singing. The play was wonderful and I especially liked the youthfulness, spirit and excitement of the kids. I took a whole role of film, which I handed to Landers at the end.

Kateri Walsh was on TV last night complaining that City Councilors were elected to do things and the Control Board has taken away their power. Former State Rep. Dave Vigneault was also on talking about how Buffalo, New York has a Control Board that has made deep spending cuts.

Rep. Cheryl Rivera says that City Councilors are lobbying behind the scenes to keep the Control Board from cutting their salaries. Rivera's mother Barbara is very wealthy and has been in control of Ward One for over thirty years.

Eamon sent me a copy of the hand-written letter he received from Governor Romney thanking him for the letters Eamon sent him about Springfield which annoyed Sen. Brian Lees:

Dear Mr. O'Sullivan,

Thank you for your informative letters regarding Springfield. My finance staff has observed many of the same excesses. We're following up.

Mitt Romney.

Former Mayor Tommy O'Connor was elected in 1959 and his chief backers were Soco Catjakis and Harold Chernik the liquor commissioner. Tommy O'Connor's campaign manger was Matty Ryan. Tommy's brother Bernard M. O'Connor was Matty Ryan's campaign manager. They say Matty feared Efrem Gordon and no one else.

July 21, 2004

A cost of war is the structured mediocrity which results when vets with hiring preferences get jobs at all levels over those of higher excellence. Vets are cronies.

Hess called and said someone on the internet is selling a postcard of the inside of the old ballroom at Riverside Park for $40. He says he will pay $20 and no more. He also told me he has discovered that the last Charles C. Lewis Co. (machinery supplier) family member was a drunk and a spendthrift who committed suicide in their Hartford office.

Mayor Ryan is now raising health issues about Tent City on School Street that he did not raise when it was at St. Michael's. Eamon got a reply from the Rev. James Scahill for his very critical letter about the church sex scandal. Rev. Scahill replied, "While I cannot endorse such a wholesale condemnation of the church, I very much respect your forthrightness. The world has need of men who say what they mean."

Eamon gave examples of what he called the "cheapness" of Charlie Ryan. He said he gave Ryan an expensive fruitcake for Christmas one year and never got a thank you. He also said that during Ryan's unsuccessful 1995 mayoral campaign Ryan asked him to get some people together to talk about education, so he enlisted Art Gingras, Jim Tillotson and Tommy Devine. On the way there Eamon stopped and got a dozen danish which he gave to Mrs. Ryan when he arrived. During the two hours that they sat around Ryan's dining room table talking no danish or coffee was ever served. Eamon also worked at Ryan's campaign office from 9-2 every day but never got paid anything. Sandy Jacques of Russell's Restaurant told Eamon that during the 2003 campaign Ryan never held a single event there even though his campaign headquarters was just across the street.

Retired Police Officer and labor activist Robert Brown came to visit today. He arrived at 2:55 and I served strawberry shortcake and sherry, of which he had several refills. Brown told me that he used to go to First Church but the new minister there talks about Martin Luther King all the time instead of God so he stopped going. His father was a truck driver from Rumford, Maine. Brown is 76 years old and has six kids, three boys and three girls. He graduated from Tech High in 1945.

Brown said he hopes the Feds get something on Albano after all the trouble he caused the Patrolman's Union. Brown also told me of how "Efrem Gordon saved my ass!" It all started when Brown made an important arrest and two cops who arrived later wanted to put their names on the arrest report too. Brown refused to give them false credit and the cops got mad and said they'd get even.

One day Brown stopped to chat for a few minutes in a barbershop in Six Corners and the cops who were mad suddenly barged in and accused him of sleeping on the job and turned him in. He was hauled before the Police Commission chaired by the hard-nosed Beaumont Herman, who suspended him without pay for three days. Brown cried out, "Your Honor, I'm getting the shaft!" Herman stood up and shouted at him not to use profanity and suspended him for another three days.

Brown went to see Efrem Gordon and Effie said he'd been before the Police Commission many times and that he would help him out. At the appeal Atty. Gordon showed that there were inconsistencies in the accusations against Brown and brought dictionaries to show that the word "shaft" is not obscene. Bobby Brown was exonerated and thereby became the first guy to ever beat the Police Commission. Later Brown went to Efrem and told him that with six kids he didn't know how he could afford to pay him but Gordon said forget the bill because, "I've had so much fun beating the bastards!"

July 23, 2004

77 degrees at 6:30am. Warmest morning so far this summer, seems we haven't really had a summer and I fear a cold winter.

The big liquor store downtown is Meldrum's, the one at the back of Baystate West was called Onoranto's. Channel 22 internet poll: Do you think the Catholic Church has adequately addressed the sexual abuse problems? Yes - 20% No - 80%.

I got a letter from the IRS today saying they will let me deduct the value of the land I am donating to Wilbraham. Delivered my fruit in a silver cup to Efrem Gordon's office. He was in Chicopee so I left it behind with this note:

My Dear Efrem A. Gordon, Esq.

One year ago you and your colleague solved a problem for me so today I am presenting you this Loving Cup that I got at the Grand Opening of Home Goods in East Longmeadow. It is big and glitzy and pretty and the silverplate is 1/20th the thickness of a piece of tissue. When I went to pick it up from being engraved they had spelt your name wrong becuz noboddie kin git nothin write!

Thanks loads,
J. Wesley.

Jack Hess called and remembered how E.J. Trevallion the hardware man in Feeding Hills had a store filled with stuff to the rafters. Hess' grandfather graduated from Harvard in 1905 and taught chemistry at Classical. Hess offered me two stereoscope pictures of Springfield for $35 and I accepted. Hess said someone sold him their old Knox automobile catalogs for twenty dollars each. He says he can resell them for $100 each. Should he be ashamed of such a profit margin?

The Allen-Cooley triangles are not maintained and the grass has grown up to hay. Parked at Walgreens because of the strange traffic structure at the X (couldn't turn right onto Sumner Avenue) and stopped at the Goodwill. All around things are messy. Stuff is cockeyed, out of place, even on the floor. Out of there by 2:51pm.

Vandals ripped the door off my neighbor Colleen's mailbox. Rebecca Johnson School has been vandalized. I stopped by the headquarters of Rep. Chris Asselin (Vito's Barbershop is next door) and some of the windows were covered with plywood due to vandalism. On the wall was a color photo of the legislators in their seats. An aide gave me some of his campaign literature.

The Finance Control Board had their first meeting Saturday at City Hall and I went. I entered City Hall from the rear entrance behind a man with white hair who turned out to be Chief of Staff R. Bruce Fitzgerald. I politely introduced myself and noted that I was a good friend of Eamon O' Sullivan. Barbara Gavey came in and cheerfully greeted me. Councilor Sarno was wandering around. William J. Metzger placed a marble block and hammer on the dias. Sheila McElwaine arrived in good humor. Will LaValliere come in and chatted with Bruce Fitzgerald. Mayor Ryan and his wife shook hands with early arrivals and I wished him good luck. Helen Boyle sat next to me and Janet Edwards was there. Brian Corridan came. Councilors Bill Foley, Tim Rooke, Mazza-Moriarty and Rep. Cheryl Rivera in a purple jacket were there. No Brian Lees. I was in my purple t-shirt, biker jacket, lumberman's boots and doggie collar with locked padlock dangling in the middle.

The clock in the Aldermanic Chamber was an hour off. Carlo Marchetti's painting now hangs behind the dias. Front row seats were reserved for department heads and elected officials. Predictably it was hard to hear, the chubby black guy tinkered with the sound for an hour and never got it fixed. Eamon was watching it live on TV and said the sound was terrible. Chairman Alan Lebovidge is unskilled in public speaking or a conceited ass who feels he doesn't have to project. LeBovidge said, "We don't want to run your city on a day to day basis." I think Mayor Ryan did very well, he had all his facts and numbers memorized and there was no fumbling with papers. I did notice Ryan's hands shaking a little though, this crisis is a lot of pressure for an old man.

July 26, 2004

75 degrees at 6:30am, overcast, mild weather. 7-11 gas is $1.88. Orange trumpet lilies are out.

Belle-Rita Novak's mother Jessica Knox has died.

David Margeson was a year ahead of me in school, but we had second year Latin with Miss Dean together. We were neither enemies nor friends. He lived on Breckwood Circle and was a prominent organist. Margeson never married and died young of an unknown illness.

Bax and O'Brien of 102 spoof gay marriage in a "uncivil union" billboard near exit 7 on I91. Bought a paper at the Boston Road Big Y and got a silver coin. A silver coin gets you very little, it's actually like a coupon to get a discount on something. Saw the Caldwell's walking down Ashland with their dog. "So what are you passing out today?" Durham asked me as I handed him a copy of my Mary Waller article.

I'm looking at the list of contributors to the Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty Hampden County Chapter. Some of the more notable ones: Brian Ashe, Lisa Baskin, Jerry Belair, Michaelann Bewsee, Michael Bissonette, Paul Caron, James M. Cayon, Mary Gail Cokkineas, Ed Collins, Carol Costa, Richard T. Courtney, Jerold Duquette, Janet Edwards, John J. Fitzgerald, Burt Freedman, Etta Hill, Michael Meeropol, Kevin Noonan, Rep. Cheryl Rivera, Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, Rep. Ellen Story, Rep. Ben Swan, Rev. Jonathan Tetherly, Atty. John and Atty. Linda Thompson, Warren Tolman, E. Henry Twiggs and Dave Vigneault.

Springfield Housing Authority Assistant Director Raymond L. Berry got an unpaid suspension as investigators look into Berry's dealings with a vendor, his refusal to provide information and giving his father preferential treatment. Berry was a prominent black supporter of Charlie Ryan. Eamon said Berry "was at campaign headquarters every day, sitting there doing nothing." Eamon recalled that one time during the 2003 campaign he and Tom Devine went to Russell's Restaurant in Pine Point with Charlie Ryan and Karen Powell. When the check came Ryan had only five dollars in his pocket so Eamon paid the tab for everyone. Ryan never offered to reimburse him.

True patriots are those who speak truth to power. Michaelann Bewsee of ARISE was arrested for disorderly conduct at a property auction in Springfield where she insisted that the property be used for a homeless shelter. A great picture of Bewsee in the morning paper today talking about Tent City along with Daniel P. Davenport of ARISE.

My view of Ryan's breakup of the Historical Commission is that it destroys a nest of Starr-Albano cronies. Gone at last is Fran Gagnon, who has been on the Commission since William Sullivan appointed her in 1976. Also leaving is Carol Moylan and Ronald Carle.

Gagnon lasted through so many mayors because she had the support of David Starr. I doubt she trained anybody to take the job when she leaves the Historical Commission because she never gave others publicity or credit. Her lawyer was always her husband when she should have relied on the city law department. It was Pat Markey overriding her on the sweetheart housing deal for Anthony Ardolino that caused her to quit. She supported the political bigshots once too often. They could always count on her having a development friendly attitude, being very petty with the homeowners but ignoring historical concerns if that was convenient for the boys in charge.

July 30, 2004

Heavily overcast but no rain at all. Sunoco gas is $1.87.

"Face Time" is an idiom I picked up meaning the privilege of talking to somebody in person.

Mrs. Staniski gave flowers to South Congregational Church on Maple Street "in honor of Mary Alice Stusick-Plant who died in 2003." Linda Taylor the Parish Secretary at Holy Name on Dickinson Street sent me a letter thanking me for the postcard I sent them showing that their statue of George Washington is exactly the same as the one at North Park, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Rev. James J. Scahill sent me a thank you letter for my letter supporting his critical remarks regarding the clergy abuse sex scandal.

Went to the cinema at the Eastfield Mall to see Michael Moore's masterpiece Fahrenheit 9-11. It was ok, not super but okay. I liked it when he was hawking enlistment literature to congressmen for their kids, and the sequence towards the end with the grieving mother was very good. It's good that Moore made this movie. I couldn't believe I had to pay $4.67 for a container of popcorn!

Also went downtown to pay my taxes today. Arrived at the Telephone Worker's Credit Union at 1:30 and was waited on by Ann, a matronly older woman. I gave her my city tax bill but when I got to City Hall it turned out she had made the check out for ten cents too little! I had to go back and show her the receipt and have it redone. There have been so many personnel changes that nobody recognized me. I was in my biker jacket. I called out, "Does anybody recognize me?" and nobody did. I then announced to everyone in the room, "I am J. Wesley Miller and I have a balance of" and I read the figure from my bank statement. They won't forget that.

From the bank I went to the Post Office to mail a check to Sinai Temple in honor of Belle-Rita Novak's mother whom I met a couple of times. In front of the newspaper building I was cheerfully greeted by Terence Lee Williams, a jovial, friendly young black man whom I knew from when I used to donate things to the Salvation Army. Now he works as an advertising executive at the newspaper. Then into Peter Pan bus terminal to use the john, where there were security people around everywhere. It's TPA Security at the bus station, Allied Security at Tower Square and Arrow Security at Monarch Place. Back at City Hall I ran into George Gouzounis, who promised to return the books he borrowed, then I ran upstairs and paid my taxes. While downtown I got the new Valley Advocate even though it was only Wednesday, it usually isn't available until Thursday in the Acres.

Next I drove out to the Pioneer Auction House on Amherst Road in Sunderland. Real nice ride up there, but it was a thin sale. Only spent about $350 on postcards (including one of the Lenox Hotel in Boston where I stayed when I took the bar exam) and a 1930 scrapbook of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops. On the way back I stopped at Texas Roadhouse and ordered their All-American Burger. They gave me a tossed salad by mistake and let me have it for free. The bill came to $9 with a bag of peanuts.

Darryl Moss is putting on a discussion of youth violence at the MLK Community Center on Rutland Street. It's pathetic that our downtown can't even support a McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell or Wendy's.

Former D.A. Matty Ryan wouldn't prosecute a priest. Bill Bennett never prosecuted a white collar criminal. Both are closely associated with organized crime. Bennett made most of his living off mobsters when in private practice and he hasn't gone after them as District Attorney. Bennett is a green light to wise guys and career politicians.

Somebody stole Eamon's flagpole and flag, but the same day two Latino ladies who live at the corner of Tacoma and David Street brought them back, saying someone had thrown it in their yard. Eamon rewarded them by buying them a large box of Whitman's chocolates. Eamon is extremely generous to people. At the grocery store Eamon ran into Robert Lynch, an iron worker who told him that abuse of property by the Springfield Housing Authority goes back many years. Here is Eamon's latest telephone answering machine message:

"For nearly 50 years there's been overwhelming evidence of dishonesty, corruption and mismanagement in Springfield's debt-ridden, junk bond rated bad city government. Not a single mayor, city councilor, district attorney or financial officer has had the courage or the character to blow the whistle. This go-along, get along mutual admiration society has an arrogant, taxpayer be damned attitude that is responsible for a decaying, bankrupt city on the brink of no return."