32 degrees at 7am. Snow flurries at 1:55pm.
Doris Kearns Goodwin was on NBC today talking about Bush's Thanksgiving visit to the troops with the same vivacious commentary as usual. There is a memorial march in Brattleboro, Vermont today for Robert Woodward who was shot by the police, perhaps unjustly.
Shades over at Nichols are mostly down and it looks like 45 Birchland is putting on an addition. Kelly has her XMas lights up. I opened one of the dented cans of crushed, unsweetened pineapple I bought at Stop&Shop and I found a black spot of mold smack dab in the middle.
I called my dentist Peter J. Duplessis and got Naomi who gave me an appointment for December 11 at noon. Went to Cal's Variety and dropped off some Civil War books for Patrick Moore, who wasn't there so I left them with his wife. Photographer Bob Robinson called while I was out.
Mike Stanton, the author of "The Prince of Providence" about Buddy Cianci will be reading from his book this Thursday at Edwards Books. I called and spoke to Pat about receiving an autographed copy of the book. She said it cost $25.95. I told her to have Stanton inscribe it to J. Wesley Miller and then immediately place it in a bag so that the dust jacket doesn't get bent.
Eamon says Worcester has 4,900 city employees but Springfield which is smaller has 7,000. He also said our department heads are paid too much. How many paychecks does Judy Matt get between the city and Spirit of Springfield? Antonette Pepe has announced she intends to start pulling unannounced inspections at city schools and may bring Eamon along on some of them. Good for her.
The big news in the paper today is that Frankie Keough's records have been confiscated by the Feds. Rumors are that Fred Swan, brother of the state rep, is also in trouble. Art Gingras says that Principal Henry at Commerce turned off the TV monitors so that there is no way to document the chaos in the halls. Gingras is considering bringing in a video camera to record his own evidence. There are out of control special ed kids roaming the halls all day and Principal Henry "doesn't want to hear about it." Gingras said that some special ed teachers are paid full salary to teach only two or three kids, yet fail to supervise them.
The evening news said that Springfield is "one of the top 25 most dangerous cities in the USA." They should have said the top 20 because we are number twenty - Cleveland is 19 and Oakland (notorious as a tough town) is 21. Later Charlie Ryan was on the news saying he wants to make "major changes" in the Springfield Police Department and added, "I welcome ideas from the public, I really do."
Chilly but sunny. Pride in Chicopee by the bridge was $1.42.
Stopped by Eamon's and he was on his porch wearing a red sweater and putting up a snowman flag. I gave him a few books and papers and then continued on to Storrowtown. I found Belle-Rita Novak waiting for me as planned in the front lobby. I gave her some assorted postcards and she presented me with a green bag with jars of strawberry and plum jam. The place was packed with old ladies.
Our meal was nice and Belle-Rita said her scallops were properly prepared. I had wild rice pilaf with a tossed salad. The total cost of both of our meals, which I paid for, was $28.24. The waitress forgot to bring the rolls but I still gave her a $6 tip, which Belle-Rita praised me for because "they are paid so little it's important to be generous."
Novak said her rabbinical student son is now studying in California and has a cold. Belle-Rita informed me that her mother has given up driving which means she has to drive her everywhere. She is already doing all her mother's housework but Belle-Rita has high family values and has never shunned work. She told me she was offended by the way Al Bruno's funeral was covered by the local media, complaining "that mobster got better coverage than Charlie Ryan's funeral would have."
She is angry about the loss of the Mason Square Library and called it "an act of revenge by David Starr and Joe Carvalho against the people of Springfield." She also said she was among a group of people meeting recently at Charlie Ryan's house and he told them that Springfield "is a lot worse off then he had imagined." She has told Charlie that she would like to serve on the Police Commission and that she is friends with Paula Meara. Ryan asked her what she thinks of Brian Santaniello and she told him he is "a pompous ass." Novak has a lot of friends in high places, which is how she gets things done.
We parted at 2:08 and I took I-91 from West Springfield up to Whately and around to Sunderland. It started flurrying when I was by Mt. Sugarloaf and continued all the way to Pioneer Auction. I left bids on some postcards and a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence that's over a hundred years old. It was still snowing when I left and the cars on the road had their lights on. Snow was down to light flakes as I came through Amherst center and had stopped by the time I reached Mass Mutual in Springfield.
When I got home Janet Edwards from the bookstore downtown called and said they were not able to get author Mike Stanton to sign a book to me personally because they were mobbed with 150 people and there was no time for personal requests. So all I got was an autographed copy with no inscription to me by name, thereby lowering its value. I informed her that her failure to carry out my request represents a breach of contract and so she apologized and said I could have the book for free. We chatted a bit and she said she is helping her daughter who is single parenting and struggling financially. I told her I have over 15,000 books and she said that as a book collector she is not even in my league. Our conversation ended on a pleasant note but I'm still frustrated that she couldn't get my book signed properly.
Gas is $1.47 at Mobil.
Have been reading Karl Barth on ethics. Hegel, Kant, Barth - A great scholar is somebody who devises an intricate system of bullshit which students must then decode. But it is still bullshit, and all the elaborate superstructures of learning are a mountain of nonsense.
WFCR said that 57% of their operating budget comes from listener donations. Added William Manchester to my list of Springfield authors. Hess as well. Eamon told me that Wayne Phaneuf's brother Clifford died but I missed it in the paper. I did see that Joseph Lucia of Poplar Street in Agawam died at age 83.
Mother knew a Mildred Goodyear who had a farm right on the Connecticut River in Agawam. We visited there a couple of times. Going through some papers I came upon Father's very first check on his account with Springfield Safe Deposit and Trust Company (the wonderful art deco bank which is now the Community School of Music on State Street) dated December 17, 1938. It became First Bank under Herbie Almgren, then Shawmut under Wilson.
Waiting for my Social Security check to arrive, I called Gary Plant and told him to try Pioneer Auction in Sunderland to sell Mary Alice's sheet music. Pioneer called and said I got the 1885 copy of the Declaration of Independence I bid on for $275. I estimate its resale value at $500. I also got the postcards I wanted for $70. Robillard told me they were worth $75 so it's a small bargain.
The addition at 45 Birchland has gone up like an August mushroom. 55 Birchland is still for sale. Dropped off some magazines to a smiling Irving Cohn, who can't seem to walk on his own without leaning on the furniture. I haven't seen Mrs. Cohn for a while, I should have asked about her. Also dropped off some stuff for Mrs. Staniski who wasn't home, no doubt out on her morning walk. A new place called Acres Dental Care has moved in where United Bank used to be by Friendly's.
Stop&Shop and Big Y are having a price war over canned goods so I piled up on Progresso soups at 99 cents per can. On my way into Stop&Shop I saw a white woman dumping her car ashtray in the parking lot. I yelled at her but she ignored me.
Rare Finds is an antique/collectables place at 680 Sumner Avenue, owned by a black woman who is very artistic in displaying her merchandise. She had some postcards I wanted but they were too expensive. In the window of Rapid Locksmith on White Street I saw the cutest little antique safe in the window. I stopped to inquire and it turned out the safe belongs to Mike Curran who owns the tiny A-1 Antique Shop next door. I bought it for $395. It is black with gold lines and on the bottom says Gifford Safes Springfield, Massachusetts.
Bob Robinson the photographer who does work for the Valley Advocate and has his own studio on Webber Street in Springfield came by today at 4:30 on the button. I showed him around a bit and then he photographed me in my orange jumpsuit in the parlor. He charged me $150 dollars and as a tip I gave him two bottles of sherry and an autographed copy of my book Legal Laughs. I don't really know Robinson but I feel I've worked with him enough to warrant giving him an autographed book.
30 degrees at 7am. A foot of snow last night.
The Valley Advocate has an advertisement in it for the Hartford Boar's Head and Yule Festival. Shoveled for an hour before noon.
I briefly studied clarinet with Al Strohman. We sat in a very little room in his downtown music shop. First I had a silver clarinet and then my parents paid $135 for a really good black clarinet. I played clarinet at Homer Street and some at Buckingham. Then I switched to violin and poor Mr. Strohman lost a student.
Last night the doorbell rang once. I ignored it. Brian Lapis was on TV tonight collecting for Toys for Tots. He has too much poise, too much self-confidence, although I must give him credit; when I criticized him some months back for standing in front of the five day forecast he started standing to one side instead of in front of it.
Eamon called and said his ancestors tended sheep on Blaskett Island where his family comes from in Ireland. Patrick Moore came by today and plowed his driveway. He said Pat Moore is a Mason and a Shriner. He and Landers are concerned that Ryan's Chief of Staff R. Bruce Fitzgerald has no college degree and is not very friendly. Deezer Sullivan is a friend of Fitzgerald.
Eamon got the name of the kid that was choked at Commerce - Carlos Escarlao. Ann Henry didn't call 911, his parents came and got him. Will Rice says that Duggan Middle School is also "a mess."
Antonette Pepe had a victory party at the Cottage Hill Restaurant to thank everyone who worked on her campaign. About 75 people attended including Eamon. Angelo Puppolo said they have been going over resumes in Ryan's dining room with everyone discussing the job application letters together. Eamon doesn't like the idea of people sitting around rummaging through the resumes. Timothy Ryan told Eamon he is worried that his father may be too old to be mayor. I called Timothy and told him to tell his father I am not interested in a job. Tim was very friendly and called me Wes.
Eamon says Brian Ahearn is the former director of the Teacher's Credit Union and his wife is Congressman Neal's secretary. Rumors are that Ahearn was dumped by the credit union for making loans without proper documentation. Eamon said that Mike Albano got a loan from Bank of Boston listing himself as the owner of the Franconia golf concessions, but publicly they are under his mother and sister. Eamon claims someone offered $100,000 for the Franconia concessions but it was given to Albano for $60,000.
Also Eamon said that last Friday at the Tavern Inn R. Bruce Fitzgerald and William Hurley, cousin of the former mayor, were talking loudly at a table. Also at the table was funeral director John Sampson, whose dad Tommy Sampson was on the Police Commission, and Bill Novak. Hurley is a regular at The Tavern and was overheard telling Fitzgerald he wants to be on the Police Commission. The Tavern is owned by John Bonavita whom Eamon sees on his caller ID listens to his messages from both The Tavern and home. After Eamon hung up I called Bruce Fitzgerald's house and got his wife Judy. I told her what Eamon told me and said I felt that such matters should not be discussed openly in a public place. She agreed and said, "I'm sorry that occurred, he'll call you back." But I never heard from him.
24 degrees, overcast.
WFCR says they got over six hundred calls on their December fund drive. Arthur Willard was the scribe of the Springfield Chapter Order of DeMolay in 1958. Melconian's office is for sale. Directions to Wollaston Woods development from Boston Road: Turn on to Slater (at the light across from Five Mile Pond). Turn left onto Grayson Drive and take your next left onto Wollaston Street.
Warren Ammerman was the music director at Classical High in the 1950's and of course Ann Staniski was his darling. Rose A. Lynch was one of my favorite Buckingham teachers and she wrote a funny little book called "Lo the Poor Teacher or Welcome to the Profession."
Called Councilor Angelo Puppolo and told him he is the only one on Ryan's transition team I trust. Angelo was very cordial and complained that some good people Ryan wants are not willing to serve because they are afraid that they would be climbing aboard a sinking ship. He said he thinks all the slots on the Police Commission are full, but didn't know whether Belle-Rita Novak made it or not. I told him to let me know if he thinks I can provide any helpful information.
In Wilbraham today an immense Mayflower moving van was backing into the ranch house opposite 416 Springfield Street causing a traffic delay of several minutes. At the Wilbraham Post Office a Hurley and David truck was parked outside. Then I went to the dentist who filled three cavities after young Maureen Scully, a graduate of STCC, cleaned my teeth and gave me a new toothbrush. Cost me $305 which seemed fair enough. Then I went over to the Staniski's where Ann was cooking pork chops and we chatted about the Stusick's. Ann said she was "very jealous" of the Stusick girls because their Mother brought them to school in a big Cadillac. She also showed me her contribution to The Greenwood Dictionary of Education.
Out of Staniski's at 2:23 and then over to Leone's Restaurant over in the Five Town Mall on Cooley Street for a late lunch. I had a slice of pizza and a little salad to go with it. An adult hockey team was there with pitchers of beer and making a lot of noise. The pizza was blah and the salad had no onions or olives in it. When I got home Colleen was walking with a little kid and we waved.
Eamon called and said he had lunch at Russell's Restaurant in Pine Point today with Tom Devine, who came down from Amherst. An article in the paper by Alicia Guide tells about the resolution of Eamon's case:
The Fire Commission suspended Firefighter Stephen F. Burke for five days without pay Wednesday night for conduct unbecoming a firefighter based on a complaint that he threatened to burn down a resident's house while he was on duty in December 2002.... Eamon T. O'Sullivan, a resident of Springfield, filed a complaint with Chief Gary G. Cassanelli's office last winter accusing Burke of calling his home when he was on duty and threatening to burn down his house.
Eileen Sears is the attorney in the D.A.'s office who handled his case. Eamon said he didn't attend the Fire Commission meeting because Cassanelli called and told him it wasn't imperative for him to attend.
31 degrees at 7am. Gas in the Point is $1.49.
Christopher Buendo of The Reminder has announced that the trade show this year will be in April. Quad person Sheila McElwaine of Meredith Street was featured in the People Profile section of the paper. She has lived in Springfield since 1961 and is 63 years old. She was a docent at the Springfield Museums for nine years but is now one at Mount Holyoke College. Her husband is Jeremy D. Cole. She said her pet peeve is, "The refusal of non-profit organizations to account to the public for their use of public funds." She said the person she most admires is former Springfield City Councilor Barbara J. Garvey.
Mike Curran of A-1 Antiques came by to deliver the safe I bought the other day. He said his age is 48 and he lives in the same neighborhood as his store. His truck looks nice but he said it is twelve years old and somebody slashed his tires recently. I gave him three postcards and a bottle of Bristol Creme as a tip. Here is a picture I came upon recently from my University of Wisconsin days, posing with selections from the poster collection I donated to them.
Eamon called and said Jennifer Ryan was paid to be the Public Relations person for the 1995 Ryan for Mayor campaign and as far as he could tell she didn't do any work. Now Eamon is looking over the campaign reports for 2003 and says her husband Martin Nystrom of New York was paid for "production costs" in the making of Ryan's TV ads. Eamon also said there needs to be a full investigation into cheating on the MCAS tests in Springfield like was done in Worcester.
Next to Thirtysomething where a restaurant was torn down yet another bank is going up, First Pioneer Credit Union. Drove down to Jeff's Framing and found it closed with a charming sign on the door reading, "Closed Saturday for Uncle Al's 80th birthday bash - See you Monday!" Used a dollar off coupon at Manhattan Bagel where I had a hot pastrami sandwich. It is run by Indians and is Eamon's favorite bagel shop.
I went to the Eastfield Mall today to take advantage of a coupon I had for a free ice cream cone. With all the cars on the road on the way there and all the kids hanging out at the mall I couldn't help but think that we are teetering on the edge of overpopulation. I went into the fine china department of Filene's and saw Peter Picknelly walk by in a suit. I talked to the clerk Mrs. Snow and complained that they always have the same things on sale. Got my free cone at Friendly's and back to the car at 8:08pm.
A cape cod is for sale at 111 Elijah Street. Lady in Red Antiques is gone, replaced by Santaniello Opticians. Osgood Textile Company, which has been on Magaziner Street in Springfield for 55 years is moving to Park Street in West Springfield. I was there with Mother a few times and they had a wonderful selection but not cheap. The Newman Sewing Machine Center on south Main is also moving. There is really nothing left downtown.
Sunny and 29 degrees at 8:15am.
Colin Powell has had his cancerous prostrate removed at Walter Reed Hospital. I'm reading a book about Egyptian mythology. For them everything was related to procreation. For us everything is related to wealth. Also finally got around to reading Stupid White Men by Michael Moore.
Stephen Clay is the President/CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, the second oldest YMCA in the United States. Janet Edwards was on TV today telling of all the income her bookstore lost because of a power outage in downtown Springfield on Monday.
Called Mrs. Staniski and she told me her new physician Dr. Gladding is at 3550 Main Street. I told her in the winter it is best to stay home and I told her I still regret taking Father to see Dr. Mullan in bad weather in the middle of winter. He had not been so bad but after that appointment he quickly declined and died. Chrissie Farquahar was Father's faithful helper at Monarch as was Bruce Yarber.
Hess called and asked if I was interested in baseball cards. I said I'm a nerd who has no interest in sports memorabilia. Eamon is waiting for his new refrigerator from Bernie's to be delivered. Jim Landers drove him out there and as they passed by my house Eamon said Landers remarked that my hedges need thinning out. Landers also said he was surprised that Saddam Hussein didn't have a poison pill to take in case capture was imminent.
As I was clearing some snow off my entrance way this morning Mrs. Allard drove by and rolled down her window and said, "Merry Christmas!" to which I replied, "And a pleasant New Year to you, madam." Later I headed out to Fleet Bank and each teller's station had a jar of small candy canes to take. The UPS store at Five Town Mall now has an electric sign in place of the banner they had up over the Mailboxes sign.
I stopped at the Big Y to get a plum pie on sale for $7.29. I went to the men's room and saw there was an old man who watered his horse and didn't wash his hands. I said wash your hands twice and he ignored me. When I got out the old man was pawing over the ice cream boxes in the freezer and I told him again he should wash his hands, but he just looked at me and said nothing. When I checked out I won a silver coin.
Eamon called and said Pat Markey has been named the top City Solicitor. Also James O'Morton the light-skinned black guy at Commerce got Phillips' position at MCDI. He is very thin and Eamon says that at Commerce O'Morton has radical black power posters hanging up with some faculty members complaining that he is an anti-white racist. He was initially for Melconian but somehow he is now in with Ryan.
Sunny and 36 degrees at 7:30am. Community Oil in East Longmeadow is charging $1.32. Punderson wants $1.44.
In 1988 Mother bought a 1985 Ford from Harold Kent Ford Inc. The new issue of Chamber Channels has a picture by Roy Scott of their Top Woman Executives winners Kathryn Selvia, Mary Ellen Scott, Diane Bassett Zable and Karen Randall. Hampden Bank has a clever motto: "Be first @ last." Glenn McCarthy is their Vice President.
Called Tassinari Brothers and asked about my books. They said, "Got a lot of Christmas stuff we're finishing up for the holidays. We'll get to you right after New Year's. I'm sorry." I didn't sputter a bit but his service has stunk. When I took my books to Tassinari to bind he said he'd get to me by September. Now I'm pushed aside until after Christmas. He will be held to account in the end but it is too bad because I like the idea of giving him work.
The house at the northeast corner of Eastern Avenue and Alden is in the process of demolition and is now just a pile of boards with wrecking vehicles around it. Drove over to East Longmeadow and bought candies at Home Goods from Stephanie to give to Maureen Vincent Beck. As I was leaving a green car with an East Longmeadow seal on it parked in a handicapped spot and an older man got out. I asked if he were working for the city and he said he was from the Park Department and was there to do business with Big Y. I asked if he was handicapped because he had just parked in a handicapped spot. He said it wasn't so I pointed to the sign. With an angry expression but without saying anything he got back into the car and drove away. Then I went to Manhattan Bagel for another pastrami sandwich and to use up another coupon.
WFCR said this morning that Springfield is number nineteenth in the country in acid rain damage. On the TV news a Robert Louder was on asking whether Springfield is the City of Homes or the City of Prostitution. Mayor Ryan was on the news complaining about cost overruns in Community Development to the tune of $2 million dollars. Director Haberlin is leaving.
Eamon called and said that Barbara Garvey phoned him and said he could stop by and pick up the political stuff he loaned to Ryan. He got mad and said he delivered all that material to Ryan and now they can deliver it back to him! He thinks Ryan is avoiding him because "he doesn't want me encountering the assholes on his transition team." He thinks Pat Markey got the top solicitor spot as payoff for all the work he did on the libraries and described Markey as "a pro-life Catholic." He also said there are rumors that the Library and Museum Association is plotting to seize the main library and turn it into a local history museum. He said Starr and D'Amour have been wanting to do it for a long time.
After Eamon hung up I called Mrs. Napolitan of the Friends of the Library. As always we were so polite to each other. I told her that the libraries need a friends organization now more than ever before, and why have they been so inactive? She said that the Friends of the Library are going to disband and that the current President Kathy Joyal is trying to resign. She said she hasn't heard anything about any plans for turning the central library into a museum.
I am unemployed but fully occupied.
China is reinstating private property! New York's Governor Pataki has posthumously pardoned Lenny Bruce to clean up the state's reputation for respecting free speech. There have been 101 bank robberies in Connecticut this year and a big pot bust recently in West Haven.
Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company merged with the Monarch Life Insurance Company on July 1, 1958. Mailed Christmas cards today to Staniski, Flentje, O'Sullivan, Rixon, Robillards, Pritchard, M.V. Beck and the Grillo family.
Peter Picknelly has a letter in the paper today complaining that "The City of Bright Lights is dangerously dark at night." He writes, "I realize that the city is in dire financial straits, however turning off a reported 1200 street lights, in my opinion, is not an acceptable solution to save money."
Called Gary Plant and negotiated a price to sell me more Stusick stuff, in particular Irene Mikus' Elms diploma and Mrs. Stusick and daughter Veleda's condolence books. Agreed the price would be $180 for all three. Plant said that when Veleda died Mary Alice inherited $247,000 from a Mass Mutual policy.
Hess the Jovial Joiner came by today to look at my postcards and begged to buy some but I told him none were for sale. Jack Hess arrived in a maroon pick-up truck and wearing shiny black penny loafers. He gave me an autographed copy of his Knox Auto book and a postcard of the tower in Wilbraham. He told me about a new flea market in West Springfield up Route Five. Sorry to hear that Robillard fell lately and broke his leg, Hess just recently sold him his duplicate postcards for $10,000. I showed Hess some of the Stusick material and he told me some Quad gossip, mainly that Joe Carvalho got mad and threw Francis Gagnon out of his office recently. Hess described Gagnon as a hard worker but difficult to get along with. We went up in the attic and I showed him my hippie collection. He had no interest in my rare law books. Hess said that Arthur Hunt of the Wesley Church used to run a bank in 16 Acres. Hess is full of such historical tidbits. He left at 2:22.
Eamon called and said he ran into the wife of Jack Fitzgerald at the courthouse and she told him that R. Bruce Fitzgerald's wife Judy is a living saint for putting up with him all these years. She too is surprised that Ryan gave him such a high position. Eamon is now openly attacking Bruce Fitzgerald on his answering machine.
I was baptized by the Rev. John Hoon and reared in Wesley Church on State Street in Springfield. I sang in the Junior Choir under a sweet, timid little lady named Doris Copley, who lived with her more assertive sister Averill. I also sang in the Chapel Choir under Madeline C. Hunt, a crack typing teacher at Commerce who lived with another Commerce typing teacher, Miss Walker, on Massachusetts Avenue.
My parents wanted me to join the junior Masonic Order of DeMolay because the kids of all the other men where Father worked at Monarch belonged. I was somewhat uncomfortable with it because they seemed to try to inoculate a hatred of Catholics. Once after noticing that all the brothers were white I asked why we couldn't initiate Paul Mason, who went on to become Springfield's first black City Councilor. "Would you want your sister dancing with one?" growled "Dad" Russ Parker, who was the role model the Masons provided us with and a roofer who lived at the cheap end of Longmeadow. The training I had received at Wesley Church was beginning to look suspiciously hypocritical.
Gaining a majority
Hates a minority
Wesley Methodist Church did not burn down. There was a fire in it. But by then the soul of the church had been destroyed by the bigotry of its congregation.
A mild 47 degrees, very misty, snow is all gone.
ABC Evening News concluded tonight with music performed on the great organ in Wannamaker's in Philadelphia. The store is now owned by Lord&Taylor. The organ is 99 years old and has six keyboards. It is the largest in the world, five times the size of the Mormon Tabernacle organ. It was built for the St. Louis World's Fair, then purchased by Wannamaker and moved to Philly. Very interesting.
D. Bruce Wheeler was the President of Bank of New England in 1991. Lu Whitmore was the Main Office manager in 1987. W.S. Moore Realty was located at 1268 Sumner Avenue. Pat Moore sent me a thank you note for the Civil War books I gave him that I got as discards from the City Library. I got Christmas greetings from Melinda McIntosh, a real cute pop-up card with a snowman and large snowflakes.
Eamon called and thanked me for my Christmas card. He said that Nader the Hatter was in an auto accident in Florida. He stopped at a light and someone hit him from behind, the car was totaled but Nader was not injured. Nader's brother Gary is visiting, and Bill Nader himself will be 58 in March.
Eamon says Charlie Ryan is appointing people who "fit in" but have "no intelligence or values." Eamon also said that Ralph Serianni told him once that Amherst College has so many people donating stuff they had a whole room packed with historic things they never cataloged. He said there is no inventory control so it was easy to steal things if you knew what you were looking for. Eamon claims that someone from Amherst College was in cahoots with that guy Bloom who stole all that stuff from Harvard a few years ago.
Eamon recalled that Jack Connolly, who retired as a supervisor in the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, owned a three family house on Greenwich Street and rented a floor to a good friend who was a disabled vet with a fascination with model boats. This guy used to come to Eamon's office and they would go drinking with Connolly. The guy was a rare book thief who formerly worked at the Registry of Deeds. He used to walk out with rare books and documents knowing he would not be caught because the registry workers used a separate door and he carried the stuff out in a briefcase. Eamon would not tell me his name, as he is still alive and living in Pittsfield. Jack Connolly is dead, but his wife is still alive. I told Eamon about how when I applied for Joe Carvalho's job I guaranteed I would never be hired by emphasizing that if hired I would insist on every museum director providing me with a complete inventory of all artifacts in their charge.
Eamon said that Bruce Fitzgerald took City Personnel Director Joseph Dougherty for a walk around City Hall and told him out in the corridor with people walking by that he would not be serving in the Ryan Administration. It was done that way because Dougherty would be less likely to make a scene if he was told in a public place that he was finished. Good for Ryan, Dougherty is in with Keough and was involved in a corruption scandal around 1990. He should have been fired many years ago.
On WFCR this morning I listened to the Messiah by Handel performed by the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston. Then I called Dick Nichols and wished him a Merry Christmas. When I went out today as I coming out the door a city truck went by and the black driver waved and said Merry Christmas.
Got the paper at Pride and two pieces of fudge for a dollar, offering one to the black lady at the cash register but she declined, probably thinking that I was attempting to corrupt her although I am a frequent customer and we have always had professional relations. One can only do so much. I offered it instead to the woman in line behind me and she took the chocolate fudge, leaving me the one I prefer, the Maple Sugar.
Spent the afternoon reading, then had a Marie Collander chicken dinner with an extra side order of veggies.
37 degrees at 8am, overcast.
They say "never forget" but it is the order of nature that forgetfulness occurs. That is so that new Life and Hope and Love may emerge for their moment where "reason rarely guides" but only the Sun.
My Father John W. Miller came to Springfield from Bethel, Vermont in the late 1920's. The New Bridge Garage was located on the corner of Columbus Avenue and Bridge Street in Springfield in 1945. Uncle George Giroux used to buy cheap 29 cent notebooks from Johnson's Bookstore and was always writing in them.
Decided to attend Filene's sale and arrived at the Eastfield Mall at 9:36. I went straight to the chinaware section but there were already long lines at the cash register. I grabbed a William & Mary platter that was on display and got in line. The cash register lady was very pleasant. I got ten dollars off with my sale coupon and another ten percent because the platter was not in a box and therefore considered shopworn.
Then I drove to Lewis&Clark to buy the Globe and the Republican and a Godiva raspberry chocolate bar. When I got home at 10:39 the phone rang and my identifier said it was a Stanley Garstak and when he heard my voice he said, "I think I have the wrong number." Said I: "Well, isn't that nice, I had to come upstairs to answer the phone!" Said he: "I'm sorry."
Fired City Personnel Director Joe Dougherty is suing the Diocese for sexual abuse. Looking for a way to cash in now that the city job from which he intended to work until he retired is gone? An article in the paper today suggests that they do want to turn the Central Library into a museum. The article said it was planned all along. So why did they raise the funds recently to rehab it as a library?
Eamon called and said he's seen some of the campaign finance reports and Peter Picknelly gave the maximum to Linda Melconian while Joe Carvalho also gave to Melconian. Eamon says there has been a power-shift within Ryan's inner circle. He said that since June or July a group has been meeting around Charlie Ryan's huge kitchen table, a group that included labor leader Antonette Pepe and former City Councilors Barbara Garvey and Mitch Ogulewicz. They would talk political strategy and future policy and personnel decisions should they win.
Then Ryan was elected and Eamon says "the curtain fell." Suddenly a whole new group appeared of political insiders and Mass Mutual executives. Eamon says the Mass Mutual people speak only to Charlie, ignoring anyone else in the room. Richard Neal's people have stressed to Charlie "the importance of a working relationship with the Congressman." They said Neal hated Ogulewicz and wanted him kept out. Neal also didn't like Pepe or Garvey, but they remained in the inner circle and only Ogulewicz was tossed overboard to please Neal.
Suddenly Charlie is surrounded by all these people nobody saw during the campaign and the rebels that were the core of energy behind Ryan's political comeback are being pushed to the margins. Karen Powell tells Eamon she has heard nothing from Ryan, although she and her husband were Charlie's earliest supporters and best campaign workers.
I tried to call the Valley Advocate to get their take on all this but a recorded message played over again and again and I don't have a touchtone phone. I was upset about the things Eamon told me and decided I should call Charlie personally and find out what was going on. It was Ryan himself who picked up the phone and after we exchanged season's greetings I told him I was disturbed by what I was hearing about the transition and that there seemed to be a conspiracy to sell-out the reformers in favor of the insiders. Ryan almost exploded and shouted, "I'm a 76 year old man and I will not be accused of being part of a conspiracy by the likes of you!" When I mentioned the library controversy he said, "I'm the only one who has ever stood up to those bastards!" And yes, he said bastards. I apologized for upsetting him and wished him a good day.
31 degrees, sunny.
Sgt. Robert Rossi was President of the Agawam Police Association in 1985. I called Jerry Lesniak the harpest who lives in Hampden and he said he has seen the Stusick harps and they are badly dried out and overall deteriorated. He said he is not interested in competing for them at the auction of the Stusick estate.
Jack Hess called with another historical tidbit - the land for Buckingham Junior High was donated by the same individual that developed Massachusetts Avenue. He thought his houses would sell better with a school nearby. Hess said he is interested in the history of Mason Square because that was Knox's neighborhood. He told me that Davidson's was a house made into a market and there was Pederzoli's and a First National. Davidson's was run by a Jewish guy. Across the street there was a cleaners next to William's Spa.
Hess said he was at the flea market on Route 5, up the hill right over the line in Holyoke from West Springfield. Someone there told him that old Roger Johnson of Johnson's Bookstore has had Alzheimer's for ten years and was in Ring Nursing Home. According to Hess the tower in Wilbraham burned down because the radio people working in there overloaded the circuit. Hess said that when he got out of the service he built a house in Wilbraham, long since sold, near the mountain.
El Pueblo Latino is a paper I found at the Eastfield Mall that had lots of McDonald's coupons in it. So I got burgers with a coupon at McDonald's and brought them home and cooked up some frozen french fries.
I saw a list of TV22 staffers and now know the correct spelling of Mark WIERNASZ. The paper today had an obnoxious "backward glance" farewell story on Mayor Albano with lots of pictures. The evening news at eleven had shots from the Albano retirement party at the Basketball Hall of Fame. They said "property values have reached historic heights under Albano."
Just finished reading the four volumes of The Library of American Poetry. No Allen Ginsberg, no Dr. Seuss, no Jack Kerouac and no Ferlinghetti. Richard Palmer Blackmur is another Springfield author I am adding to my list. According to American Poetry of the 20th Century page 902: "Expelled from Cambridge High and and Latin School in 1918 for arguing with the headmaster." I mentioned the poet Blackmur to Eamon, who said he never heard of him, but there was a Dr. Blackmur on Governor Street "who took care of all the poor people on Hungry Hill whether they could pay or not" and made house calls up to around 1970.
Eamon claims that one of R. Bruce Fitzgerald's daughters who lives in West Springfield is being considered for a position. Meanwhile School Committee person Antonette Pepe intends to take Eamon along on some surprise inspections of problem schools. Eamon wants to be appointed to the Springfield Housing Authority, as he figures he'll find lots of dirt there.
Overcast at 8am, 42 degrees. Gas is $1.45 at Cumberland Farms.
People get fat because eating is one of the few interesting things to do.
There have been a lot fewer freebies at Eastfield Mall this year. Lots of free candles but I don't like candles. The Eastfield Mall free gift for December is Jenny Craig's 201 Tips for Managing Your Weight. The electronic kiosk "Parks and Recreation Information Station" is still by the mall's restaurant court area.
Ann Rooke of 89 Jonquil Street delivers The Republican in my neighborhood. When the mailman arrived today I gave him a bottle of sherry in an orange newspaper bag for Christmas. Saw Colleen pulling a kid in a wagon down the street.
The WGBY Magazine for January has a Graffagnino photo of Susan Kaplan from the local interview show Watercooler on the cover. Is she any relation to the Kaplan who wrote The Coming Anarchy? This is the first time the magazine has been in color. Daren Winckel is listed as Director of Annual Giving with no mention of Roy Scott.
I decided I wanted to talk to whoever picks the guests for Watercooler to make some recommendations. So I called down to WGBY and got Barbara Riley and told her I'd like to talk or leave a message for Susan Kaplan. She said she'd never heard of Susan Kaplan and I explained that Kaplan was on the front cover of their magazine. She said she was sorry, that she is new on the job. Finally she said she would write down my suggestions and see that Kaplan got them.
I told her that the article on Watercooler said they wanted "opinionated guests" and I said they could find no better candidate than Eamon T. O'Sullivan and proceeded to describe his accomplishments. She then chimed in, "Oh, you mean little Eddie Sullivan!" I firmly informed her that Eamon had legally reverted to his original Irish name over ten years ago. I then suggested that they have me on as a guest to talk about the Quadrangle.
While I was making these suggestions she was apparently looking something up because when I stopped talking she informed me that the producer of Watercooler is Jim Madigan and she would send my suggestions to him. She then asked if she should ask him to call me and I told her to do whatever she wants.
Eamon told me he owns six expensive Tiffany lamps. He also said Art Gingras told him he would sell him an $1800 computer for just $600. Eamon says only about a hundred people attended Mayor Albano's farewell party. He hears that Councilor Rose Marie Mazza-Moriarty intends to run for Chris Asselin's state rep. seat, and maybe Richie Neal's son Brendan, who Eamon says is a real goof-off.
Eamon was in Music World next to Doyle's talking with the owner Jim Sampson, a very nice fellow. He told Eamon that four months ago he and his son were held up at gunpoint, robbed and beaten to the point where there was blood on the floor. No suspect has been arrested. Eamon asked about Doyle the Twig Painter and Sampson said he is "in real rough shape" and been in the vet's hospital in Leeds for several months. Doyle has a bad case of diabetes exacerbated by heavy drinking. He has had the toes on one foot removed and is also nearly blind. Sad.
Eamon said he spoke to Eileen Sears from the District Attorney's office about the fact that he wasn't notified about the hearings involving the Springfield fireman who threatened to burn Eamon's house down. He said he found her to be arrogant and dismissive of his complaint and she tried to put the blame on lawyer Thomas Rooke. Eamon is ready to give up on the whole matter asking, "What chance do I have for justice in this system?" I said now you know the rejection I feel whenever I try to interact with the government.
The news is reporting that the Gemini building, formerly Carter's Underwear, has burned to the ground. It closed in 1989. Somebody's end of the year tax planning?
Sweet Pea and Honey Pot will celebrate the New Year with me by watching the color TV in the living room and drinking a shot of Bristol Creme at midnight. Of course since Sweet Pea and Honey Pot are my beloved rabbit and bear dolls, I will have to drink their shots for them.