March 2004

March 1, 2004

Mild. 60 degrees in the breezeway at 1:49pm.

From time to time I see that the picture frames on my wall are crooked. I straighten them, and then after awhile I see that they are crooked again. So there must be tremors, probably caused by the traffic on Wilbraham Road.

Uncle George Giroux used to do work for Crompton & Knowles in Agawam. Prudential insurance agent Kenneth E. Spaulding of West Springfield died in September 1959. Pearl-Anne Margalit is Associate Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Springfield. Dominic Demarinis owns World Pawn and Loan on Sumner Avenue. He is a friend of Eamon's.

The Catholic Church now has a new excuse, claiming that their pedophile problem is part of "the larger children's abuse problem in society." They just won't admit that it has always been a problem with them. Today I called Richard Garvey at Allison Lockwood's Northampton number (19 Washington Avenue) and started leaving my message saying that Garvey has written about the Catholic Church in the paper in past years and I'd like to see him write about the current mess.

Suddenly Allison picked up and we had a friendly chat. She said she no longer goes to Rotary Club meetings in Springfield and her son has his degree from Princeton. I was told that she and Garvey are both trustees at the Forbes Library. She said Bisallion has left after 26 years, and I got the impression that she didn't think much of him. She informed me that she found some Sidney Bridgman travel books from the Forbes for sale in NYC for $200 apiece. I told her I hadn't been to the Forbes in ages and must go. She said she would tell Garvey to call me back but he did not.

Parked in the upper Police Department lot and went in and got my report. No hassle but a lot of waiting around. It reads:

Victim states sometime between 4pm on 2/27/04 and 9am an unknown subject shot his garage door with a blue paint ball. Very minor damage. Victim feels this was the sign of a hate crime. The Detective Bureau was notified. Reporting Officer Andrew McQuade.

While downtown I left things with Mary Moynihan for the Bishop and then left stuff with Sylvia for reporter Bill Zajac at the paper. Went out to Stanton's Auction but I made no bids and didn't stay long. Swung by Eamon's on the way back and his leprechaun flag was hanging out front. He told me Barbara Garvey's husband Jim had stopped by and returned some material Eamon had been asking for. When I got to Birchland Avenue I saw the Ciantra's out walking. Home at 4:32.

March 3, 2004

63 degrees at 3:46pm. Some cumulus clouds.

I am still in winter mode. Cooked up a Marie Callender blueberry pie. Came out nice, stuffed with berries.

In 1973 Governor Michael S. Dukakis signed a proclamation for Junior Grange Day as State Representative Edward W. Connelly of Agawam and Florence Bish of Feeding Hills looked on. Wilbraham cardiologist Dr. Hugo Cuadra was in his native Nicaragua recently for the elections there. He is Eamon's non VA physician and served Father until he died. Mother didn't like him.

Yesterday I was number 30 to vote at Alfred M. Glickman Elementary School in the Massachusetts Presidential Primary. A cop stood in the back of the polling place and the poll workers were complete strangers to me. There was no food offered. I voted on the Democratic ballot for our Senator John F. Kerry. As I left the lobby I noticed that the school Principal Kathleen G. Sullivan was in her office with a woman with a butch haircut who introduced herself as Nancy Laino. Sullivan greeted me cheerfully and I told her I liked the picture on her office wall. She asked how I liked her Tiffany lamp and I said I liked everything about her office. I asked about being a school volunteer and she suggested I contact Mrs. Purchase at the Guerena School. When I left from voting at 11:15 the mailman was parked on North Road.

I have finally finished the last of the maple syrup that was on hand when Mother died. A couple of bottles I gave to Mrs. Staniski. I have sent a blistering letter to Father Scahill telling off the Catholic Church. Told Hess about it and he said Scahill is a nice guy and I might get a reply.

Called Stanton Auction this morning and they said my foot locker of sheet music with art deco designs did not sell. Will try again in April. A woman called from Human Capital wanting to know if I wanted to subscribe. I thanked her for the free copies they sent and said I'm an editor who tries to read widely. But I told her that now that I know what their publication is like I don't need to see anymore. Then I called Storrowtown and asked if you can bring your own bottle of wine and they said no.

Arrived at the Jewish Federation of Greater Springfield on Dickinson Street and met Pearl-Anne Margalit, who has some sort of foreign accent. I said I would send her a letter about the paintball attack on my garage, as they are interested in documenting hate crimes whether Jewish or not. I visited their Holocaust Museum, which consists primarily of photo displays. Their resource library is full of books. Rabbi Sternberg was there looking very businesslike.

Eamon still gets up very early and called me at 7:37am. He has to go to a funeral service for a friend at Blessed Sacrament but doesn't know where it is. He complained that Catholic Church addresses are not in the phonebook. Eamon also complained that Mayor Ryan hasn't followed much of the advice he has given him since 1995, which is doubtless true, but Eamon doesn't realize that Charlie is afraid of him.

Then Eamon discussed his relationship with Amherst College. He said he donated letters to their archives and was going to leave them a lot of money. Then he looked at his transcripts one day and saw there were two errors. In an economics course they said he got a C when it should have been an B. He saw a similar error was made in a World History course. Amherst denied it until the dispute turned into a big fight that Eamon lost and resulted in Amherst College removing him from their mailing list. A sad story.

March 5, 2004

43 degrees at 6:45am. Overcast, snow is all gone.

Music washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.

John Edwards is out of the presidential race. Dean took the Vermont primary and Kerry won everywhere else. Martha Stewart and her broker were convicted on all counts. Dr. Seuss was installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today. The Quadrangle is having a day of festivities tomorrow for the 100th birthday of Dr. Seuss but I can't go. WFCR said today they have 147,000 listeners but only 14,000 contributors.

Marilyn A. Hannah of East Longmeadow graduated from STCC in 1987. In 1997 Patty Keiser was the friendly manager at the Goodwill store at 455 Breckwood Boulevard.

Spoke on the phone with Jan at Punderson Oil who told me that heating oil prices have come down to $1.49. She said she can remember when the price was 14 cents! Laser Colorcopy in the basement of the Tarbell-Waters building since the mid-1980's is closing.

The mail brought the proofs from Modern Postcard with extra charges for my Orange jumpsuit postcard. I called to complain and spoke to Sarah who hung up saying I was rude. I called back and got Norma Booth who cancelled the extra charge of three dollars.

Drove out to Pride and got the Valley Advocate and Springfield Republican. For the second week in a row the Valley Advocate had coupon inserts including one for Natural American Spirit tobacco and a rainbow swirly AOL 9.0 disk. Some weeks ago they had a pretty green disc. The Advocate seems to be going for coupon stuffing in a big way. There was nothing in the Advocate about the clergy scandal. Maureen Turner wrote a piece once but they seem more focused on the gay marriage issue.

Stopped at the Boston Road Big Y and bought Tapioca pudding and a couple of frozen dinners. There were two free sampling stations - broccoli soup in deli and apple pie in bakery. Got a gold coin at the checkout!

Went to see Irving Cohn to go over his archival material from the Massachusetts Millinery Manufacturers Association. I interviewed Mr. Cohn about his memories of his business, originally the Ware Millinery Company which eventually merged with the Lawrence Hat Factory in Chicopee. Cohn said he had no design department, he just saw what hats were hot sellers and copied them. He said he used to pay Kitty Broman to do endorsements.

At one point Mrs. Cohn came downstairs and we insisted she join us. Lenore may be a pretty sick lady but her mind is still sharp. She said she couldn't understand why I was interested in her husband's hat factory because the firm had failed. She said only things that succeed should be remembered. I asked Irving Cohn his reasons for why the hat industry declined. He blamed the church for saying that women didn't have to wear hats to church anymore and that the old style hats posed a problem getting in and out of cars. Then their housekeeper arrived and I had to go. When heading back home I encountered the widow Vickers leaning on an aluminum cane going to her mailbox. She said she has not felt well since Gilbert died. A very sweet woman.

District Attorney Bennett intends to turn Bishop Dupre's sex case over to a grand jury and William Welch from the Feds is going to help on the matter. Eamon called and said Antonette Pepe and her husband are taking him out to dinner. He complained that Ryan is appointing too many of the same old people and fears that Ryan may turn out to be a weak mayor.

March 7, 2004

47 degrees at 7am. Sunny, some clouds. Gas at Minimart/Sunoco at Breckwood is $1.71.

Charles and Princess Di was a fairy tale that turned out not to be true.

Grainfield's Whole Grain Raisin Bran does not have many raisins in it. Busted one of my eyeglasses today. I never liked those glasses anyway because the lenses were made of glass, not plastic and very heavy so they were always sliding down my nose. Paintball splotch on the garage door is fading.

Real to Reel had reporter Terry Hegarty doing a story on the Holy Name Society honorees Carmen Massmamet, Carl Croteau, Keith Arsenault and Paula Brunault for being such good Catholics. There was also a story about the 75th anniversary breakfast for Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church on Boston Road. They said 400 attended, which was more than expected. Steve Kiltonic did a story on the District Attorney and former Bishop Dupre.

Heading out today there was an anti-gay marriage demonstration in Mason Square. All the protestors were white. I stopped and checked out 1640 Wilbraham Road which is for sale. The paved driveway was badly cracked up. Selling for $80,000 it reminded me of Tom Devine's old house except Tom's didn't have a garage or a paved driveway like this house.

Arrived at the Storrowtown Tavern on the Big E grounds at 11:10. In the far end a wedding party was in progress. While waiting for Melinda I met Donald Calvanese, who works there and has just completed a novel which he showed me. I immediately spotted some typos but said nothing. I told him how to make a copyright notice and he seemed grateful.

Then Melinda McIntosh arrived and we were seated. She told me she had never been to the Storrowtown Tavern before. I told her that I was surprised that a prime piece of livestock like herself was still single and she replied, "I like living alone." She says she works in the library's archive department and can't wait to retire so she can start enjoying life. She hates to think of her girlfriend who died before she had a chance to retire and have some fun. Ms. McIntosh informed me she is originally from Rutland, which I told her is the drug capitol of Vermont. Her father was a retail worker and she majored in French in college. Melinda also plays bagpipes in the Holyoke Caledonian Band. She said Bishop Dupre blessed the band a few years back at the parade. She knows dealer Donald Schimke because she collects postcards.

I ordered some Harvey's Bristol Creme for myself but Melinda said she doesn't even drink coffee. We both ordered chicken pot pies which had large chunks of chicken, whole baby carrots, peas, celery and mushrooms. For dessert we had the fudge nut ball. Melinda says she thinks Senator Kerry is "not a good person" to be president because he was too friendly with Springfield Mayor Mike Albano. I told her I thought President Bush is stupid and she told me that she has Eisenhower earrings from the 1950's. A Republican? We left and I paid the bill, which came to $34.02.

March 9, 2004

Overcast and frost on the ground at 6:30am. Mickey Spillaine is 86.

Secretary Tommy Thompson says there's an obesity epidemic. How about a stupidity epidemic? Maybe the stupidity epidemic caused the obesity epidemic!

O'Donnell's Package Store was at 417 Main Street in Holyoke in 1964. In 1964 Feinstein Leather, owned by Samuel B. Cotzen, was at 193 High Street in Holyoke. In 1964 A. Steiger and Company had a store at 259 High Street in Holyoke. In 1964 William Dwight was the President and Treasurer of Holyoke Transcript-Telegram Publishing Company. In 1969 Morris Dane was a certified public accountant working out of 175 State Street in Springfield. In 1969 the lawyers Edward B. Cooley, Sidney M. Cooley, Max C. Abrams, David A. Shrair and Maurice Belsky practiced at 95 State Street. Henderson Funeral Home is one of only two primarily black funeral homes in the area.

Called Mrs. Staniski who said Ann is going to Argentina and I mentioned I'd like it if she got me some postcards. She said Carol's youngest son is at UMass majoring in engineering but he doesn't like all the math. Jack Hess called and thanked me for my photos. He said he once had lots of copies of Springfield: Present and Prospective which he sold for $10 apiece. Now he sees them selling online for $75 each.

I see in the paper that the Rev. Dr. Melvin G. Williams of Wilbraham, Chairman of the English Department at A.I.C. has died at age 66. I am sending a condolence card even though I didn't know him because I admired his multifaceted work and did know his wife Marcie a little. A letter in the morning paper complains that the unveiling of the Dr. Seuss stamp should have been held in both Springfield and California instead of just in California.

Drove down to the Quadrangle today. The museums were closed but the gift shop was open. Very fancy copperwork and eaves but not much merchandise for sale, just some science crafts and the same old Dr. Seuss postcards and no others. I asked the woman behind the counter whether they ever intend to sell local postcards. She replied that people from all over ask for Dr. Seuss postcards but no one ever asks for Springfield ones so she doubts they'll get any.

Then I walked over to the library and saw that the light fixture over the circulation desk is still broken. The obelisks on either side of the Rice Hall door are back. Most of the computers in Wellman had somebody working on them. A black security man was sitting around talking on his cell phone. In where the tables and maps used to be in Rice are a couple of ugly easy chairs and two tables with chess games on them. There was a Pakistani woman of about 18 playing chess with a muscular steelworker type in his thirties. It was nice to see someone appreciating the chess games.

Hershel on TV40 tonight announced that the new Bishop is a 60 year old generic Irishman from New York, Timothy A. McDonnell. May be a good soul but not a Scahill by any means. Father Scahill was on saying he hopes the new Bishop has "the heart of Christ and the spirit of inclusion of the Vatican reforms." Good for him. The Catholic spokesperson Mark E. Dupont was also on. The new Bishop seems to me like a weak episcopal candidate but likely to be popular with the Irish population.

Eamon's telephone messages have been critical of Charlie Ryan for weeks now. He says Ryan is hiring the same old people for his financial team and appointing people from the minority wards 1,3,4 and 5 with low qualifications so he can get re-elected in 2005. He also said that at Commerce nobody does any teaching, the kids just watch television and play computer games all day. Eamon says Trade/Putnam is a dump because the city has not made repairs and just let it go. The roof is bad but instead of fixing it they are using it as an excuse to build a whole new school.

Tonight Billy Graham was giving a sermon on TV and told a story about a son who wanted a car for his graduation. Instead his father gave him a Bible, causing the son to angrily throw the book on the floor and storm out of the house, never to return. When his father died many years later the son went to the funeral and afterward saw the Bible sitting on a shelf in his parent's house. Taking it down he opened it, only to discover there was a check inside for the car he had wanted. A real tearjerker. I decided for fun to call downtown to the gay bar called The Pub and when a gruff voice answered I said, "Billy Graham is on Channel 40. Tune in so maybe some of the priests down there will get some religion!" They hung up.

Letter to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum

My Dear Ms. Maggie Humbertson,

When is the last time you wore a hat? Our mutual friend Bill Nader "The Hatter" tells me that there aren't many millinery archival collections. So I am pleased to present you with the enclosed material. While none of the establishments involved were ever located in Springfield, the owner of one of the manufacturers (Lawrence-Ware Company) was Irving P. Cohn, my neighbor down the street at 75 Birchland Avenue.

Mr. Cohn and his wife Lenore have several children, one of whom (Myra) was in the same class as me at Buckingham. For many years he served as the librarian of the principal Jewish library in town and his wife served as the Director of the Mayflower Senior Center at the Wachogue Community Church. He says when he started in the hat business there were about 25 hat manufacturers in Massachusetts. Now there are none. Cohn's business migrated from Ware to Three Rivers to Chicopee. Enclosed you will find a medley of documents. Of special interest are two checks signed by Kitty Broman, a Phil Shepardson letter and a thank you note from Erica Broman. Have fun and send me a thank you note which I'll copy and give to Mr. Cohn.

J. Wesley Miller

March 10, 2004

35 degrees at 6:15. Sunny and mild.

Capitalism is very imperfect. For those who succeed there are great rewards, but for the little people nothing. This is something that even National Public Radio doesn't get because NPR itself is a capitalist tool.

Bay State Hats was located in Holyoke, Massachusetts. MBC was a modeling agency on Scarsdale Road in Springfield in the 1960's. I have so many wonderful books that I have not read that I am pretty much going to stop buying books.

On the Catholic Church program Real to Reel they had a segment about how Charlie Ryan was given an award by Holy Name School, which he once attended. They said he has thirty-four grandchildren! They also had a segment on the new Bishop. A memorial notice in the paper today for Eamon's brother Patrick M. Sullivan, the fire chief who died in 1995: "Sadly missed by Mary, children and grandchildren."

Nine Mile and Spec Pond still have some ice on them. Stopped at St. Catherine's to pick up their current literature. Then stopped at the Eastfield Mall and bought a new atlas of Western Mass because my 1974 one has become too outdated.

Registrar of Deeds Donald Ashe had his annual St. Patrick's Party today at the John Boyle O'Reilly Club in Springfield. It costs twenty bucks a ticket. I arrived at 4:46 and saw Don Ashe himself going in the door as I drove down Progress Street looking for a parking place as the parking lot itself was already full. Ashe is the quintessentially superb Irish politician and this particular event has been going on for 22 years. Surely no one thinks Ashe will have any trouble being re-elected.

I saw Azell Murphy Cavaan from the newspaper taking notes. Right inside the door was a long table with a flat cake with a leprechaun, a rainbow and the smiling face of the new Bishop - no, just kidding - the usual pot of gold. I had some absolutely delicious Irish bread with raisins served by an old woman in a green coat. Corned beef sandwiches were served on rye and I saw one man help himself to three of them! I had to wait at the bar while the bartender went into the back room and came out with a bottle of vodka.

I sat alone at the most remote table and listened to the band "The Bards" which consisted of two guitar players and an old man in a wheelchair sawing away at a violin. One of the lyrics were "When New York was Irish, we controlled City Hall." I clapped at the end of their song but nobody else did which struck me as rudely unappreciative. However one of the guitarists turned to me and smiled. In front of the stage there was a lectern fronted by a Celtic cross and a plaque in memory of Christopher M. Sears.

Two Colleen girls were there with ribbons and lots of green, white and orange balloons were bobbing on the ceiling. I dressed completely in black and had my Hillary Clinton "As Bad as She Wants to Be" button on. I saw no other political buttons or literature, which surprised me. I thought there would at least be stuff from the Kerry for President campaign, but nothing.

Attorney Marshall Moriarty arrived in a brown suit and I told him I had been by his building recently to see Efrem Gordon. I also saw my old Sealtest milkman. City Councilor Dominic Sarno always says hello. Councilor Bill Foley came up and shook my hand, then told me he is behind Mayor Ryan 100%. Councilor Timothy Rooke I can't stand, although he has improved since the days when he worked for Richie Neal and was so surly and arrogant. Councilor Jose Tosado was there as well as District Attorney Bennett who talked at some length with Moriarty. Sheriff Michael Ashe laughed at my Hillary button but didn't invite me to his clambake. He has never thanked me for the picture I took of him. On the way out I told Donald Ashe that it was a superb event and that he gives fair value for the $20 you have to plunk down to attend.

March 13, 2004

40 degrees on the breezeway at 2:50pm. Raw and overcast, somewhat depressing.

Caring is essential to a healthy community.

Xerox, a great name in trash. Had some of Belle-Rita Novak's plum and strawberry preserves this morning and they are absolutely delicious. As I recall Phil Shepardson was a local TV personality who was sometimes the weekend weatherman. He always struck me as condescending. A story on TV40 today described Sci-Tech High as "housed in an old office building." So that's what they call what is left of the legacy of Monarch Life: "an old office building."

Albert S. Circosta of East Longmeadow has a great letter in the paper today praising Father Scahill. Turns out that The Rev. Dr. Melvin Williams died of unexpected complications from surgery. He had no intention of retiring from AIC, where he taught English for 43 years. Death sometimes catches us by surprise.

Had the man from A.B.E. Chimney of East Longmeadow over this morning. My chimney is leaning slightly and he will rebuild it and clean the flu. Named Mike Andrukonis, he said he is Lithuanian by birth and lived in Poland until he was twelve. He said he will complete the job in one day. The company motto is "We go to Great Heights to Serve You." Founded in 1981. They did the Whalen House at Amherst College and did work for Bay Path.

Bought some green grapes at the Big Y where a salesman for the Republican was offering a coupon booklet if you bought a subscription. Went to an appointment with my dentist Peter J. Duplessis. He has a lovely fish tank in his waiting room with little yellow fish and something purple that hides in a coral castle and peeks out occasionally. The dentist said my teeth are fine, which cost $66.

Arrived at the Expo Gun Show in West Springfield at 10:52 and there was an enormous crowd there. Parking was $3 and admission to the gun show was $8. It was mobbed. Hoped to see some anti-Bush literature like the anti-Clinton material they had when I went several years ago, but there was nothing. The gun show itself was a zoo. No blacks. Some Latinos. Cops, of course. Skinheads. Old men in uniforms with walrus mustaches and sleazy hoodlum types. A real zoo. I saw Gene Kearns from Sandisfield up by Otis and he sold me a steel engraving by Whistler. Peter Hammond was selling World War II postcards. Didn't stay very long. When I came home, two little dogs of different breeds were running along the side of Wilbraham Road, no sign of anyone supervising them. Loose? Lost?

Eamon called and said that when he makes his telephone recordings his biggest challenge is to make his message fit into the time allowed by the answering machine. He has written a letter to Ryan criticizing his lack of modern fashion. I told Eamon to lay off Mayor Ryan and let him do his own thing. Eamon mentioned the photo of Barbara Garvey in this week's Valley Advocate. Eamon said Garvey's maiden name is Italian and she is friendly with Antonette Pepe. Garvey's husband was a lineman for Western Mass Electric.

Jim Landers has been on the Atkins diet for several weeks and has lost 40 pounds. He eats no potatoes, no cake, no bread, no pasta and lots of fruits and vegetables. Eamon said that he and Landers took a ride through Atwater Park, where he said the Pellegrino family has three houses all close to each other. Atty. Raipher Pellegrino has a new TV commercial, very glitzy. Eamon complained that Karen Powell used to call him every week but she hasn't called in a long time. He said Tom Devine was on the Ogulewicz radio program recently and he still appears regularly on The Tony Gill Show.

March 15, 2004

46 degrees at 9:44am. Cloudy, a dusting of snow last night. Gas $1.69 at Island Pond Road.

The world is overpopulated. Life is too cheap.

There is a new girl at Fleet Bank named Karen McCormack. The quality of coverage in the Springfield Republican has improved considerably in recent weeks.

Eamon is critical of Mayor Ryan for not going without a salary. He claims that Governor Romney is an owner of Staples and the state is getting all their paper supplies from them.

In the Valley Advocate this week Group Publisher Janet Reynolds announced some lay-out changes, including adding "more white space." Does that mean fewer articles? Also Maureen Turner is now listed as "Senior Writer." What does that mean?

I called Karen Powell to see what she knew and we had a good chat. Karen said that the new title for Turner is because she has cut back to spend more time with her kid. We also discussed the decline of Doyle the Twig Painter. She said Ryan spoke to her about a job that may materialize for Karen in July. I said her husband Bob deserved a high paying position for going all out for Ryan during the election, but she said he's happy doing what he is now. She doesn't know whether Eamon was ever considered for a job, she hasn't networked with anyone lately. She did say that Tom Devine is still living in Amherst and working at UMass. She said he doesn't drive because prior drunk driving issues would make his car insurance prohibitively expensive.

Next Jack Briggs called and was very diplomatic and friendly. He said all checks will be "digitized" from now on so they won't be returning my used checks. I told him to keep my checks, as they will become collectors items later if not sooner. We chatted and he told me he is 61 years old, grew up in Attleboro and attended Bryant College. He also lived in Providence for a while.

Then I called ex-rep Fred Whitney, who said he is always glad to hear from me. He said his wife "has seen better days." He also said his son has had two operations but still gets around some. Whitney said he listens to Eamon's answering machine messages every so often. He told me he is "disappointed" in Bush and is afraid that the U.S. Constitution will not last another thirty years.

I went over to Eastfield Mall where I bought a Beefeater Cow figurine for Melinda McIntosh and then to the Big Y for hash and grapes. What used to be Williams Spa is now called Stop & Buy. The house on the corner of Wilbraham and Rochelle is being fixed up. There is scaffolding all over the front of the very old building on State Street across from STCC with the awards company in it.

Stopped at the Freedom Credit Union on Main Street where the Senior Service Representative is Margaret Scagliorini. Stopped at A.G. Edwards and was waited on by John J. Sullivan, a large aloof man who seated me at the director's table. I asked about Smith & Wesson and he said he doesn't know anything about the company and doesn't own any of it himself. I said I would buy 25 shares, just enough to get me into their stockholders meeting. Mr. Sullivan predicted, "That'll get you in." I wrote a check and departed. Drove past Handy Self Storage on Congress Street. They are where Malox was before it was scared away by the threat of a baseball stadium being built there.

Headed up to Eamon's house but he wasn't home. I left one of my Pynchon Medals I picked up at auction in a bag wrapped around his back doorknob. Then over to Ruby Tuesday for the salad bar. When I got home Eamon called and thanked me for the medal. I told him to make a necklace out of it and wear it around his neck.

March 18, 2004

Temperature first thing was 35 degrees. A couple of crocuses are coming up close to the house.

This week is the one year anniversary of the war in Iraq. John Kerry says we are "bogged down in Iraq with no end in sight."

The law offices of Roden & Casavant are at 115 State Street in Springfield and at 330 High Street in Holyoke. Linnia Anna Phillips, widow of Scott Phillips, has died at age 90. Scotty Phillips, who died in 1995, was the supply department guy at Monarch, but the obituary makes no mention of it. The ranks of the old Monarch Life Insurance people are thinning.

Eileen Curran and Jack O'Neil are promoting this Sunday's St. Patrick's Day parade coverage on Channel 57. Last night Mike Dobbs of The Reminder was on Watercooler with John O'Brien of Rock 102.

The Reminder this week has another tacky essay by East Longmeadow Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edward W. Costa which has his usual spelling, grammar and logic errors. I left a scathing message with Costa's secretary Beverly and one with Buendo and Dobbs at The Reminder. One of the Buendo brothers quickly called me back and said he got my message. He spoke of Costa with some contempt and thanked me for my input. Then he asked about the land I am donating to Wilbraham and said to send him a press release when it is being dedicated.

I went over to the Cooley Big Y and bought a corned beef sandwich for $3.99. It had two slices of Swiss cheese on it and was okay. I ate it in their dining area and seated to my left was a black Big Y employee eating a veggie pizza. When he left I looked over and he had left his plate and a pop bottle in the middle of the table instead of disposing of it in one of the litter recepticals. So I went to the manager, a good looking guy named Mike in a tan suit who reminds me of Peter Johnson, and told him about it. He instantly knew who I was talking about and said they have some "special needs" employees from the School Department and Victor is one of them. He said he will speak to him. A very pleasant and professional exchange.

This afternoon I got on I-91 and then up to the Coolidge Bridge, which is still under reconstruction. Soon I arrived in Hadley at Melinda McIntosh's Morningstar Drive home, a pale grey Cape Cod with white trim and a two car garage in an upper-middle class subdivision of newer custom built houses. Conveniently located near where she works. A cute house for a cute lady who is not hard up (librarians make respectable money). I left the Beefeater Cow to the left of the garage door in a green box I chose for St. Patrick's Day.

Then I headed out to Sunderland to the Pioneer Auction. On the way the sun breaking through the clouds bathed UMass in sunlight. At Pioneer I dropped off some postcards with Joe and Pete to give to Bruce Smebakken. While there I bought some modern local postcards of Old Deerfield from a collection by John Comins. I also bought some old matchbooks of Ware Savings Bank, Ware Co-Operative Bank and one from the Southwick Shopping Center Cantell's Supermarket, a raspberry matchbook with a plaid Top Value Stamp elephant on it. Back when I was at Colby I used the Top Value elephant, drawn in pink magic marker, for my pink elephant liberal Republican campaign. I asked and found out my album of old Mikus bellringer pictures brought only sixty dollars. I was hoping for a hundred. The Stanley Stusick condolence book brought only $25.

Eamon said that Karen Powell called him. He also spoke with Jay Sullivan down at the Department of Education in Boston about school construction costs in Springfield. Eamon told me Dr. Tsai of Commerce lives in Sunderland. She dropped off a letter about the dismal conditions at Commerce with the Springfield Republican but then took it back when they said they wouldn't print it. They said they'd like to quote her in a possible article about Commerce but she refused, saying she was afraid they'd misquote her. She told Eamon that when she first came to America from China she dreamed of all the freedom she would have here but is surprised by how timid Americans are about exercising their rights. She cried, "Why don't people speak up?"

March 21, 2004

Spring arrived at 1:49am EST. 37 degrees and overcast at 10am, small snow flurry at 1:44pm. Gas at Cumberland Farms opposite Liberty Methodist Church in Liberty Heights only $1.64.

Beauty is truth, and truth is beauty.

I believe that someday the world will wake up and all the banks will be empty because of some genius computer hacker. Cokie Roberts on NPR: "This is going to be a long and nasty presidential campaign." My friend Elaine Wajda Lavoie was on the news last night.

There is a Blanche Street in Aldenville. The Sunday Republican isn't worth a buck-fifty. In 1955 I bought Guy McCoy's "Portraits of the World's Best Musicians" (Presser 1946) from Popular Science for 99 cents. I looked at every picture and that is how I learned about Emil Karl Janser. A book that is perpetually useful and I treasure it. Bill Draper of Gill, Mass called offering to sell me some historic local photos for $400. I said I'd think about it and contact him in a few days.

Starting in earnest on spring cleaning and hope to do some raking this week sometime. Watched the St. Patrick's Mass at St. Jerome's on TV. Former Bishop McGuire performed excellently. The homily appeared to borrow some lines from the Billy Graham TV show that was on the other night. Rev. Thomas Callahan and Rev. Daniel Foley assisted McGuire. Jack O'Neil narrated for TV viewers. Then at noon they began broadcasting the St. Patrick's Parade, again with O'Neil. Didn't spot Melinda among the Caledonian marchers.

Eamon called and said that Sen. Linda Melconian and Rep. Cheryl Rivera had been feuding over Rivera's support of Ryan but have now made up. He said Dr. Shai of Commerce has her PHD in languages from Columbia University. Her husband is an engineering consultant. He spoke to Kathryn Wright of the McKnight Neighborhood Council on Catherine Street. She believes the city should force the Urban League to give the Mason Square Library building back.

March 23, 2004

29 degrees, windy and raw, sun in and out.

Pick up pennies.

This year's Pynchon Awards winners - the Pioneer Valley's highest honor - have been announced. They are cancer survivor Lucia M. Guiggio, community activist Carl G. Erickson and Rabbi Jerome S. Gurland. I deserve a Pynchon Medal for "Conspicuous Service in Exposing What is Going on Around Here."

I called Donald Lynch at United Bank and told him about the grammar error (omission of a verb) in their recent mailing. I said they should hire me as their grammarian for $50 per hour. He declined but thanked me for my feedback. The mail brought a note from John Rixon. I must write him. When I went to UPS to make copies William Metzger was there, his mannerisms still youthful. We said nothing to each other.

Picked up Mrs. Staniski at eleven on the button to go out to lunch. She gave me a bag of cookies she had just made and several Harvard publications from Ann. She is in Buenos Aires until next Sunday when she comes home. Ann calls her mother every night and Carol calls every morning. She told me that when Ann was a girl and didn't want to practice her music lesson she'd tell her she could either practice or clean the bathroom. I mentioned that on the news on the way over they said that Israel had killed the founder of Hamas. Mrs. Staniski said that years ago she heard a professor at AIC say there will never be peace in Israel.

On our way to eat I saw a bumpersticker on a Connecticut car in front of us that said, "So Glad to Have Voted for Bush." Several big oaks cut down at 58 Sherwood. Old Urban League building has a Dollar Dreams sign on the front and the old Mason Square Library has a sign reading "Urban League of Springfield Inc." I drove through downtown so that she could see the Boland statue and the renovation work underway at the Civic Center. Jefferson Market at the corner of Jefferson and Chestnut is all boarded up.

We went to Home Town Buffet in West Springfield. On the door there were white letters saying "Jason Reed/General Manager and Proprietor." That is Carol's son who married an older black woman. I thought Jason might come out and treat us to a free meal, but no sign of him. I asked and they said Jason wouldn't be coming in until 3:30. I got chicken and broccoli and Mrs. Staniski got chicken and mashed potatoes. For dessert we had ice cream and after we ate I drove her straight home.

James W. Asselin and James F. Krzystofik pleading guilty is the banner headline in the morning paper. They ran a racket called "The Jimmy Fund" that stole $600,000 from the Hampden County Employment and Training Consortium for lavish vacations, real estate investments and their own "consulting" firm. They both previously worked at City Hall in the Community Development Office.

On the evening news Mayor Ryan called for ward representation. Good for him. Eamon's latest tape says ward representation is a good idea but that Ryan used to oppose it and is only supporting it now to butter up the minority wards. Eamon called and said he has been posting on Masslive.com's "Springfield Forum" under the name "Firinne" which is Irish for "Truth." He said he posted excerpts from his recent telephone messages and got positive responses from readers. In the past he has tried to post his messages under his own name and they have censored him immediately. He read me what he posted and I could tell by the use of Eamon's favorite phrases that he wrote it, but the Masslive editors don't know him as well as I do.

March 24, 2004

40 degrees at 9:30am. Sunny, mild, tulips starting.

Elegant Affair of Springfield is the exclusive caterer for the Springfield Jewish Community Center. Bookseller Janet Edwards was on WFCR and in the paper as being opposed to porn filters on computers because she says they restrict free speech.

Elite Paintball on Route 20 in Westfield had a commercial on TV this evening. A couple of Saturdays ago I found a blue paintball blotch on my garage door. I called the cops and notified the Anti-Defamation League and I'm not going to let it restrain me from speaking out on any matter I feel an obligation to speak out on.

I cleaned the pink room (parent's bedroom) and brought the Eastlake chairs onto the breezeway. There was a white panel truck for C.J. Carpentry and Construction over at Colleen's today. She is getting a new garage door. 151 Birchland Avenue is getting new siding.

Went to the Big Y for some Ocean Spray Raspberry-Cranberry Juice and also bought some coldcuts for $2.49 a pound which is one third off. I bought an olive loaf and baloney, but both were extremely salty.

Eamon's latest phone message praises Ryan as an old dog able to learn new tricks for switching to support ward representation, but he still claims it has to do with improving Ryan's standing in the minority wards in the next election. Eamon also called for term limits. According to Eamon the most dangerous schools in Springfield are Chestnut Alternative, Bridge Street Academy, Springfield Academy, Commerce, Sci-Tech and Putnam.

Bishop Dupre is now before a grand jury for molestation charges brought by two parties who have also filed civil suits, while Father Lavigne is being investigated for murdering Danny Croteau, who probably threatened to rat on him. I am a Protestant and on Saint David's Day I delivered to the Catholic Diocesan office photocopies of all the juiciest anti-Catholic passages I could dredge out of my library. They haven't responded yet telling me to get lost but when they do, I'll frame it.

At Harvard I lived on 90 cents a day in order to spend my money on books. At the University of Wisconsin I collected 50,000 pieces of street literature. Today I have a 15,000 book library in my house. I'm listed in two international directories of book collectors. When I buy a book I stamp my name several places in and on the book, especially pages with 69 in their number. This increases the value of the books because they become associated with items that once belonged to the eccentric bibliophile J. Wesley Miller.

Some are saying that Donald Trump has made such a mess of his casino and hotel businesses that he ought to fire himself! They say in real life Trump frequently goes ballistic, and that his merely confident firings on TV are unreal because too moderate. I put out a placid, teddybearish front but when I get mad I get furious. A tantrum is sometimes necessary to make the communication noticeable, memorable and most of all, marketable. I've been banned from Western New England College, a bank closed my account on me and the local paper won't print my name. There are people who don't like me and I like that just fine.

March 25, 2004

47 degrees at 11:45am. Raw, overcast.

I gave $500 to the Seuss Sculpture project, although we should honor other Springfield creative artists, not just Seuss. There is an obituary in the paper today for a John Wesley Herring (1955-2004). He was a machinist who belonged to the Church of Overflowing Love. Also there was an obit for Dr. Alan S. Peck, a portly gentleman with whom I once sat at a Caron breakfast. He was born in Montpelier and was a graduate of Harvard and McGill.

Mike Andrukonis and an assistant named Damian in a Seattle Seahawks sweatshirt came over with a crew to replace my leaning chimney. Mike told me he graduated from Westfield State in 1976. They did a good job and left only a small amount of litter behind. While they were here Mrs. Penniman came by and asked Mike if he would give her an estimate on what it would cost to fix some damage to her house caused by raccoons. Total cost of my chimney repairs was $2795. When they left I gave them each an orange and a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Creme.

When the show Watercooler first came on someone named Jim Lash came on saying he was the producer and asking us to send in suggestions for future guests. I've been meaning to call and suggest they have Eamon and myself on, so I called today but the receptionist said, "Mr. Lash no longer works here." So I asked who is the producer of Watercooler?" She replied Jim Madigan and Keith Clark. Madigan I recall appearing as part of the coverage of the St. Patrick's Parade in Holyoke last Sunday. I will contact him. Last night the guests on Watercooler were GOP activist Mary J. Caplin, Chris Collins of WHMP and media consultant Paul Robbins. They talked about terrorism, with Collins predicting that there will be a terrorist attack by Election Day. Host Susan Kaplan disagreed. They also talked about charter schools, which bored me.

A big story in the paper about six workers at a government child care center being fired in the North End for incompetence and corruption. Eamon says he knew about it three days before the paper printed anything about it. The CEO is Michael Denny and he is the brother-in-law of Rep. Cheryl Rivera. All kinds of money is going into the North End thanks to Cheryl so what does she know about this scandal? Eamon told me that Mayor Ryan left a good natured response on his answering machine to his message about Ryan flipping on ward representation. "I know," Ryan said laughing about his past opposition, "I remember!"

Meanwhile Eamon has been very active all week on the Masslive Springfield Forum under his new pseudonym "Firinne." He says posting on Masslive helps him "cut the high fog index" around local issues. Jim Landers is also on using the name "Jake". Eamon is flattered by all the praise his comments are getting, some people are even urging him to run for mayor! So far no one has guessed his true identity.

March 27, 2004

54 degrees at 11:30. Sunny most of the morning, gas $1.69 at Mobil.

General William Westmoreland is 90 today but not the more than 50,000 boys he sent to their graves.

My Smith & Wesson stock went up $1.70 yesterday! The Calvin Coolidge Bridge in Northampton is almost done but the restoration cost twice as much as planned because of more extensive deterioration than expected. Original estimate was 15 million but it will be 30 million in the end.

Eamon is calling around Boston to see what he can find out about the city's finances. Eamon says Billy Shwartz who died recently gave a lot of money to American International College and was a perpetual student there. He also told me that he has never received a reply to anything he has ever sent to District Attorney W. Bennett.

Started the day by going to a tag sale at the Church of the Acres. Melinda McIntosh was there and thanked me for the Beefeater Cow I left at her house. I asked her to lunch but she said she couldn't today as she had to play bagpipes later, she said they do about ten concerts a year. I bought a nicely framed little lighthouse painting by Brian Roche.

Continued to Walmart to have some film developed and spotted a mail truck parked on the shore of Five Mile Pond. Next I drove down to the AIC Shea Library for the free handouts. Then I stopped in the Square to check out the old Mason Square Library now owned by the Urban League. The blue scroll on the front saying the building is a gift from Anne Curran is still there. The main library area is now completely taken over by the Urban League, although the public computers are still in front. Not really open yet but a woman said they will be having an Open House soon.

I then walked across the street to Dollar Dreams in the building the Urban League was in before they stole the library and which I recall was a Stop & Shop in my childhood. It has an L-shaped parking lot and is loaded with stuff all for a dollar - hardware, flowers, grocery items, everything. It is a fabulous new asset for Mason Square.

Arrived at the Quadrangle at 1:21 and parked in the lot next to a truck for Dave Rose Wood Floor Specialist of Monson. Friday is free admission day for library card holders at the Quad museums. There were plenty of security guards around, talking and joking with each other. The Natural History museum looks good. Gone are the stuffed birds but the dioramas in the front hallway remain. The pendulum at the top of the front stairway is gone, but the marble is discolored by its long presence there.

Next I went to the local history museum to learn whether Margaret Humbertson got my material from Mr. Cohn's hat factory. I poked my head into the genealogy room to see if Humbertson was in there but the Irish genealogist was sitting at her desk wearing brown leather slippers. A large burly security guard shouted at me, "Sign in over there!" It was an order. I responded, "Why don't you say, "Would you be so good as to sign in over there?" The security guard grumbled something and retreated. Only one other patron besides me was in the genealogy room. The Irishman in slippers recognized me and quipped, "Attorney Miller! If my trumpet were here I'd sound it!" He told me that Humbertson had the day off but I could leave a note and he would deliver it to her.

Finally I went to the Museum of Fine Arts. The Wheeler Gallery was closed and they were replacing the flooring. The snack bar was also closed. The contemporary gallery had a group of Winslow Homer prints. The art museum should play classical music softly in the background. They also have a new exhibit of classical antiques. There is a lot of small to medium-sized marble sculptures of nudes, many of them with no heads. I wrote in their comments book, "On with their heads!"

I decided to walk through the library where the clock in the rotunda is still wrong by four minutes. Along came the tall fellow who used to work at the Forest Park library and deposited some music books on the free book shelf, mostly crummy paperbacks but I took a few. Then I rode the elevator down to the Children's Room and spoke to the attendant about my memories of the room from when I was a child. She offered me a plastic bag for my music books, which was thoughtful of her. Home at 3:02.

March 30, 2004

39 degrees at 6:50am, cloudy and cooler. Gas is $1.69 at Sunoco on Breckwood. Tom Devine's house at 106 Breckwood Boulevard was built in 1943.

Sen. Eugene McCarthy is 88. Alistair Cook has died at 95. Alice R. Ruddock of Feeding Hills has died at age 85. I knew her daughter Judith from Wesley Church. Judy sometimes got teased because she had buck teeth but I heard life turned out well for her. Harold J. Flavin has died at 82. He worked at the reference desk at the City Library downtown until 1985 and I remember him as the loner type. I never suspected he was a published poet. His obituary is impressive and he belongs on any list of important Springfield writers. I notice that he asked that memorial contributions be given to the Litchfield Library in Connecticut and not the Springfield Library.

In 1965 Eleanor L. Shea was the Society Editor for the Holyoke Daily Transcript/Telegram. WFCR this morning told about the Dawson land gift in Hadley, where a three acre strip on the Connecticut River was given as an environmental preserve. Dan Elias on TV22 today goofed when he told us about a bomb squad sent to "the Hampden County Courthouse in Northampton." Northampton is in Hampshire County. TV22 had a story about a meeting at DeBerry School about the stealing of the Mason Square Library. I spotted Frank Buntin, Reggie Wilson and Elizabeth Stevens. No mention of Kathryn Wright. They declared that they would bring back the library to Mason Square. Amherst passed a $2 million tax override. Atty. Saperstein on TV40 talked about employment discrimination where they don't fire you; they do things to make you feel so bad that you have to quit to escape unbearable conditions.

Mother insisted on keeping half a dozen fence posts on the garage floor and they collected dirt and leaves and chipmunks brought in nuts, etc. I finally threw them out today, completing a task I've intended to do since Mother died. One time Mother was driving through downtown with Aunt Maria Giroux who sputtered and complained so much that Mother asked her if she'd like to get out of the car. Aunt Maria screamed that yes she wanted to get out so Mother let her out and drove away. About ten minutes later Mother came back to pick her up and Aunt Maria was still standing on the corner where Mother left her. Aunt Maria was prone to tantrums and was frequently irritable when we took her for rides to Vermont.

Stopped in at the Municipal Employee Credit Union and got one of their current posters from a portly older man named Gary which I wanted because it has a sketch of their building on it. They are located opposite Duggan Middle School near the telephone building and in front of the liquor store and cinema which was formerly Big Y.

Went downtown and saw they are putting new gutters on the building on the corner of State and Walnut. The former Jim Dandy on the corner of Allen and Abbott is undergoing major renovation. I parked on Eliot beside the rectory and walked down to the courthouse. I checked the Giroux Estate file and got the docket for it off of the newly installed computers. Efrem Gordon's female colleague Carrie was there and cheerfully greeted me. Then over to the Mayor's Office but saw there was already three people waiting to see him so I just waved to Michelle Webber and went to the Election Office to fill out the form to switch from Republican to Independent (or unenrolled as they call it now). When I left I noticed two stickers pasted on City Hall: "Support Your Local Skateshop" and "George, Tony - Where Are Iraq's WMD's?"

When I got home Mrs. Allard and her daughter were out and we chatted briefly. I told her I think that the Catholic Church has known what was going on with their predator priests for years and Mrs. Allard exclaimed, "Absolutely!" She said the Catholic Church says one thing but does another. Powers is putting new shingles on his house. All the old brown shingles have been scraped off and a truck in front of his house reads Leslie Nadeau Home Improvement.

Got a nice letter today from Maggie Humbertson thanking me for donating Mr. Cohn's hat factory archives to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. Bill Nader called and I told him about interviewing Irving Cohn about his hat business. Nader said he is coming up from Florida in July and that Dorothy didn't go to Cannes because she was sick. Then Eamon called and said he rode out to Sunderland Saturday and had lunch at Amherst Chinese. He said he got stuck in an awful traffic jam on the way home, it took him an hour to go a mile through Chicopee. I told him Nader called and he said he has heard nothing from him. Eamon is singing a song on his latest phone message about "The old grey Mayor ain't what he used to be...."

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