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.

No comments:

Post a Comment