January 2004

January 1, 2004

37 degrees, a bit of sun out. New Year's Day.

Today I changed my calenders. For New Year's dinner I had a Marie Callender turkey dinner and it was great, better than Banquet turkey TV dinners which taste gamey.

From 11-1 I watched the 115th Rose Parade. Hosts on ABC were Terry Gannon and Lisa Guerrero. John Williams (with wife Samantha) was Grand Marshall, a mainstream figure about whom it is hard to have strong feelings of any kind. The City of St. Louis entered the float "Meet Me in St. Louis" in anticipation of the centenary of the World's Fair, which was decorated big and formal to go with the architecture of the fair but it was not exciting to me.

I called down to the paper and left a message for Larry McDermott wishing him a Happy New Year and told him if he's a good boy then maybe this year I won't call so often. I can see why McDermott quit being one of the library trustees, integrity and credibility are hard to maintain with that bunch.

Hess called and said he was up bright and early and went over to the Antique-A-Rama at the Expo grounds and said it was packed with shoppers and dealers. He said he got about 30 Springfield postcards so he's happy. Hess told me there is a lot of historic stuff stored in the attic of the School Department building on State Street. I told Hess I would give him a copy of my picture of the old 16 Acres rooming house.

Went out to get the paper and noted that a cellar hole has been dug next to 1582 Wilbraham Road and a house has sprung up on Alden by Shuyler. Lewis & Clark was closed.

Broke open the first of two containers of Hood spumoni ice cream tonight and watched Channel 57 with the Christ Church organist doing a Bach Tacotta and Fugue. They had skits like Kevin Rhodes peeking out from behind a shower curtain and discussing acoustics and in the Linkletter Nautatorium at Springfield College with his cello.

A bombshell was announced on TV40 news by Latoya Foster tonight - David Starr and his club are adamant about turning the Central Library into a museum! The agreement was signed by Mayor Albano but the new mayor says he will not honor it. They showed first a surly looking Starr, then Sheila McElwaine was shown complaining of "selfish-suburbanites" trying to steal the library. Mayor-elect Charles V. Ryan also expressed opposition, with trustee Lyman Wood shown accusing Ryan of playing politics. Also shown were Joe Carvalho and library lawyer David A. Shrair. This shall not stand!

Eamon received a strange message on his answering machine this morning. An anonymous person talking in an Irish brogue said, "Eddie, there will be nothing for you if you keep going after the chief of staff Bruce Fitzgerald."

January 3, 2004

Temperature at 9am around 35 degrees. About an inch of snow on the ground.

Mill Street Auto Body was located at 289 Mill Street in 1953. In January of 1977 Aunt Maria Giroux sold the last of Uncle George's machinery to Joe Lucia of Lucia Machinery for $5,000. On October 11, 1959 I had an article published in the Springfield Republican about the history of the Springfield Symphony. The editor's introduction to the article read: "The following article was written by J. Wesley Miller III of 5 Birchland Avenue in this city. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Miller and a 1959 Classical High School graduate who is now attending Colby College."

$7.10 is the new minimum wage in Connecticut. Colleen's Xmas tree is lying out on the tree belt. Church in the Acres on Wilbraham Road had an advertizing insert in the paper today. It describes itself as "a church that takes seriously its call to be a vital witness to our community and world in the new millennium." Watched Martha Stewart make marshmallow snowmen on TV and noted that she did not wear gloves! That's Martha, one fifteen minute project after another.

Eamon called and told me that years ago he was in the Gemini building that burned the other night and described it as a beautiful, solid old structure with wooden floors made of maple. Eamon's new tax bill is $1646.43 for the year. I told him I hadn't gotten mine yet. He told me that the Tapley Street office for paying your bills is now closed! Eamon said paintings from the Quadrangle are on loan to Linda Melconian's office in Boston, Negroni also had them plus others. The Mayor's office has the Sixteen Acres painting and at least one other.

The newspaper listed the top ten stories of 2003 and the election of Charlie Ryan was listed as number ten. A picture accompanying it showed Ryan with Tom Devine, with Tom's expression sincerely looking very happy for Ryan. Eamon is complaining that the latest round of Ryan appointees are "unknowns" and not Ryan campaign workers. Why aren't supporters being rewarded? He said one appointee is actually a holdover from Albano. I told Eamon to let Ryan do what he thinks is best; he's a smart man. Ryan will need more than one term to straighten things out and some of those questionable appointments are no doubt being made looking forward to support he will need in the next election.

A major attack on Sheila McElwaine in the paper today for saying, after she and others were banned from attending the press conference announcing turning the library into a museum, that "We're just another bunch of niggers." When confronted she said she meant that critics of the Libraries and Museums Association were being treated as "people who don't count, whose opinions don't matter." Frank Buntin of the NAACP was quoted as accusing McElwaine of doing "mental and emotional harm" to the black community. City Councilor Bud Williams called her comment "very harmful to race relations" and Councilor Jose Tosado denounced her remark as "offensive and appalling" while School Committee member Robert E. McCollum described it as "hateful." Eamon called her and offered his support, saying she seems like a nice lady. Is this the fall of Sheila McElwaine? A good example of how the paper can ruin people who cause trouble for Starr.

Alas, poor Sheila!

January 5, 2004

Half an inch of ice, just what we don't need! Gas at Mobil $1.49. Sunday liquor sales are now legal.

Paganini violin concerto on WFCR this morning. Tschaikowski was gay; creative people often are. There is a picture in the paper of the Calvin Coolidge statue in Northampton wearing a New Year's garland. Called editor McDermott and left a message informing him of an array of grammar errors in today's edition.

George Farina Landscape, Gardener and Snow Removers was on Silver Street in Agawam in 1986. John Hoon was the minister who baptized me at the Wesley Methodist Church in Springfield. Judith Santana is a probation officer in Hampden County. I heard that Angelo's on Boston Road isn't doing well.

The Pioneer Valley Flea Market is at 2200 Northampton Street in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Open every Sunday 7am to 5pm. Set out for Holyoke at 7:59. Fancy That has put poles across their driveway and have a chain they can extend across it. The Alexander House has brownstone blocks in place as a foundation. Supports are still in place for the porches. The Visitor Center downtown kiosk opposite Tower Square has no posters in it. A new ornamental iron fence was put up along the front of the Springfield Newspapers building. Looks as if the Quad fencing might have been done by the same people. The Peter Pan bus terminal was the first to get a fence down there.

The flea market is on the right hand side just up the hill from Providence Hospital. Across the street is a Stop & Shop. The flea market is in a one time Mars Discount Store, which is hard to find and not a good location. I asked one of the vendors what their booth cost them and they said $35 for a 10x10. I saw Donald Schimke in the back corner and Melinda M. was looking over some books he had. A jovial, large man he said he's leaving soon to spend ten weeks in Florida. Robillard was there in the back also. I bought an antique postcard from him of the state capitol building in Albany, New York for $10 and then left. The parking lot was really jammed when I departed at 12:08.

Went to the Telephone Worker's Credit Union on Main Street in Springfield to deposit a check and was waited on by Edward Nunez, a very articulate young Hispanic now attending STCC. Then I headed over to the Community Foundation and gave them $12,000. I chatted with the boss Faerber, a tall, thin, diplomatic fellow who studied philosophy and religion at Amherst College. He said he has met Michaelann Bewsee. I also popped in at A.G. Edwards to see Guizonis but he wasn't in so I told John A. McDonough to tell him I was by.

Continued to City Hall where I told city solicitor Harry Carroll how fresh the air in City Hall seems to be now that the Albano gang has left. There were lots of trashcans at the foot of the staircase with Albano stuff in them and I got a wonderful poster advertising Albano's pasta sauce. I stuck my head into the Mayor's office and chatted with Michelle Webber about the library. I told her I've had it up to here hearing about how wonderful the Dr. Seuss sculptures are. She laughed. Councilors Puppolo and Sarno were walking down the hall together and nodded to me. Finally I left City Hall and went over to JT's Sports Bar in the Bookstore Building and had a salad and a piece of pizza.

Eamon called and said that when Charlie Ryan sees the real financial condition of this city "he's going to have a heart attack." Eamon asked Jim Polito of TV40 whether he's ever heard of me and he said yes. Polito gave Eamon some documents relating to the library to see what Eamon thinks.

The newspaper asked Peter Picknelly if he made any New Year's resolutions. He replied, "I'm such a good boy I can't imagine having any New Year's resolutions that would make me a better boy." Oh really? How about mending your fences with J. Wesley Miller?

January 7, 2004

23 degrees. America is slipping into Third World status but the very rich will do fine.

The house at 101 Birchland Avenue is selling for $134,000. Woronoco Bank is mysteriously up to $39.50 per share. A poll says 79% of people in Connecticut think Governor Rowland is dishonest.

Frank Duford on WFCR talked this morning about the good and bad of Pete Rose. I think Rose ia a bum and should not be put in the Hall of Fame. On Channel 40 Chris Westerkarp, a resident of downtown, delivered a feel good editorial praising the work of the firemen in putting out the Gemini fire last week and saving the house next door. Watercooler was on tonight at 7:30 and no director or producer was named. Susan Kaplan's dull topics were liquor sales on Sunday and New Year's Resolutions. The guests were a black businesswoman Linda Silva Thompson, fat morning radio host Chris Collins and political consultant Paul Robbins.

Belle-Rita Novak is on the Board of Directors of The "X" Main Street Corporation in Forest Park. Other notables on the board include Allen Agnitti and Brian Hale. Liberty Methodist now has a banner that says "New Hope United Methodist Church." Has Talbert Swan's congregation become Methodist?

Left some reading material for my neighbor Irving Cohn, he wanted me to stay and talk and looked disappointed when I said I had to go. Went over to the Pine Point Library and got "The Great Madness" translated by Springfield author and Rabbi Jacob Freedman. Came through Hillcrest hoping to photograph the ice on the trees but couldn't get a good picture. Finally I swung by Eamon's and picked up the papers Jim Polito had loaned him on the library. I've looked at them and am surprised to see how much the Library & Museums lawyer David Shrair has made off of fees charged for temporarily transferring the library to the city so that restoration costs could be bonded at taxpayer expense, and then transferring the building back to the Association once they cashed-in. Polito is unsure whether to do a story on this - public interest or inside baseball?

When I got home I saw that men were digging up the street in front of Nichols. The cop told me there was a break in the main and water would be turned off on the whole street for a few hours. They offered me a jug of water from off a truck but I declined. Now I wish I had taken it for the bottle. As I walked back to my house a powerful snow squall came up and left about an inch on the ground.

Jack Y. Hess came over. He told me he was born in 1934 and will be 70 in July. He served in Korea in 1953. His grandfather Frank Yeager lived at 55 Dresden Street and taught chemistry at Classical High. Hess's father was Frank Wesley Hess who had a degree from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass. His father was the first president of the Pioneer Valley Mineral Club. He said his father would be "spinning in his grave" if he knew what has become of the Wesley Church in Springfield. Hess said an Uncle Charles Mitchell worked in the Fire and Marine mailroom. When I was a kid the building next to Wesley Church was a First National Store but Hess said that before that it was a Packard-Dodge showroom. Hess said that his wife helped him in editing his brochure about Knox cars.

According to Hess the library takeover plot is simply because the Quad doesn't have the money to build a historical museum from scratch. Hess added that they usually skim money from one project to do others. I took a picture of Hess as he was leaving.

People were encouraged to buy Classical condos because they were close to the library. Now if the library closes and turns into a museum.... I wonder if they are making the threat to take the library simply to provoke an outcry and get the city to fund a brand new museum building elsewhere.

Spoke to Landers on the phone and he read from Ryan's inaugural address to me. He said Mitch Ogulewicz and Tom Devine were seated directly behind the Ryan family at the inauguration. How did that happen?

January 8, 2004

27 degrees at 8am.

The Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestra is celebrating its 60th anniversary during the 2003-2004 season, according to manager Louise Backer. I fixed the latch on the attic door at the top of the stairs. For nearly fifty years that latch problem went unaddressed, my parents were like that.

Mrs. Staniski and Ann are taking Carol out for dinner at Schermerhorn's in Holyoke for her 60th birthday. Mrs. Staniski said Steve Hastings has Lyme disease. Don Schimke called and said some stuff from the Stusick estate will be sold at Pioneer Auction in February.

Eamon spoke to Karen Powell and asked if she's got a job with the Ryan Administration and she said, "I haven't heard a word." He said "people can't figure out how Bruce Fitzgerald got such a powerful position." Antonette Pepe has been given a bad seat on the School Committee, she will be the first to say how she is voting each time. Those later in the roll call can switch their votes to be with the winners once the result becomes obvious. Quite cowardly actually. Charlie Ryan donated $100 to Pepe's campaign.

Eamon said he spoke to Al Casella about the closing of Classical and Tech who said, "I could have remodeled both those high schools for what it cost to build Central High." Eamon reminded me of how Mayor Neal once told Mitch Ogulewicz that "no one cares about fixing roofs" and that was the beginning of the practice of deferring maintenance so that eventually whole new buildings had to be built and politically connected people could cash in on the construction. He recalled that Ryan, David Starr and Carlo Marchetti were all for Baystate West, the courthouse and Civic Center.

The Valley Advocate attacked the Springfield Library and Museums Association - "Davey Starr and Donny D'Amour and the rest of their snooty little club" - for attempting to steal libraries. The Library Commission voted unanimously last night to oppose converting the Central Library into a history museum. I was surprised to read that the group Friends of the Library is also involved. The last time I spoke to Mrs. Joe Napolitan she indicated the group was doing nothing.

So today I called the group president Kathleen Joyal and identified myself as a lifelong member of the organization and demanded to know why I wasn't contacted. "I don't know," she replied. "Well you should know," I said. "You're the president!" She said nothing, and after several seconds of silence I asked, "Are you still there?" Yes, she said, and then slammed down the phone. Next I tried to call Emily Bader but was unsuccessful so I left a message on her answering machine - "Why wasn't I invited to the Friends of the Library Meeting described in this morning's paper? I am a Life Member and you people have been discourteous to me too often." She did not call back.

January 11, 2004

Sunny and a cold 15 degrees on the breezeway at 8:30am. The Farmer's Almanac predicted a rough winter and they are right again. Gas is $1.57 in the Acres.

"When you make love to a gorilla you don't quit when you get tired, you quit when the gorilla gets tired." - E. T. O'Sullivan

George L. Reynolds was a Selectman in Agawam in 1969. Real to Reel had a segment on about newsman Bob Chadbourne who suffered a stroke in January 2001 and how he's recovering. In his column Larry McDermott admits that sometimes they refuse to print letters from certain people, like writers obsessed with a single topic and nothing new to say on the subject, or writers who attack ethnic or racial groups.

David and Helen Miller haven't sent me a Christmas card for years. Cousin Dianne Miller did send one but Shirley Whittier Huang and Winnie Lowell sent nothing, nor did Dupras nor Mulhausen.

Arrived at the Quadrangle at 1:40. The security supervisor there is Roger Bunce who has been there five or six years. The receptionist is Lydia Lockwood, a chunky thirty-something woman who is the daughter-in-law of Jeri Lockwood, who worked at the Museum of Fine Arts. Jeri died many years ago but the security desk lamp with a brass plaque honoring her is still in the MFA lobby.

Got into the Connecticut Valley History Museum for free with my library card. They had the same old Dr. Seuss postcards for sale. Hess was there and we exchanged greetings. I was looking up Eugene and George Giroux in the old city directories and serendipitously found an entry for the old St. Luke's Methodist Church on Bay Street. St. Luke's was one of the two churches that merged to form the Wesley Church in the Square. Milton Bradley was a trustee and I bet there was a lot of Milton Bradley money in that beautiful old Wesley Church they tore down. Home at 4:09.

Mrs. Staniski and Ann came over. They gave me a Vermont calendar and a homemade mince pie. Mrs. Staniski admitted she sprinkles a bit of sugar over the top of her pies. She keeps telling me to invite myself over her house for lunch sometime but I'll never do that. Carol's birthday dinner ended up being at Storrowtown in West Springfield instead of Schermerhorn's in Holyoke and they said they had a great time.

I showed them some of what I've acquired of the Stusick estate. Mrs. Staniski seemed to recall something about Carl Mikus being involved with some criminal issue. I showed her the Arthur Johnson portrait and she said that she had been over Johnson's once and Mrs. Stusick was there in her mink coat. We agreed that Dr. Stusick must be admired as a very fine surgeon and despite their money and snobbery Mary Alice mellowed and became friendly in her later years. I also showed them wedding photos of the Stusick daughter Veleda Altman and Ann told me she was glad to see Veleda so happy and unstuffy compared to how she became. Ann once again recalled Irene Mikus playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" with the fiddle behind her back at Buckingham Jr. High. I asked her what you call that kind of performing and she said "vaudeville."

Saw a black squirrel on the way to Eamon's the other day. Eamon reported that there have been four fires at Commerce this school year. Only one, in the girl's room on the third floor, got in the paper. He says Mayor Ryan now has an answering machine. Eamon told me that Pepe complained to him that "Ryan plays games and you don't do that with your friends."

January 13, 2004

32 degrees with an inch of light, fluffy snow. Gas has gone up to $1.59 everywhere.

The Bank of Western Mass is closing its Conway branch on Route 160. Ray Herschel on TV40 had a piece about the Rev. Howard John Wesley. He spoke at Ryan's inauguration and did splendidly. The Reverend is originally from Chicago and studied medicine at Duke. He took over St. John's several years ago.

Cooked up a Mrs. Smith's pumpkin pie. Twenty thousand dollars in I-bonds arrived in the mail today, along with a Gold Master Card offer mistakenly delivered here for someone named Barry T. Simpson. Bought a bunch of pieces of Rosa's Maple Fudge at Lewis & Clarke. It is a Springfield made product. I gave a couple of pieces to some kids hanging around outside the store.

Eamon is reading the book "My Brother's Keeper." He liked the movie version with Tony Curtis. Eamon told me today that James Landers middle name is "Montrose." He said that lawyers like Charlie Ryan don't always make the best administrators. Eamon blames Ryan when he was mayor from 1962-68 for the ugly buildings downtown like the Civic Center and County Courthouse. He also recalled that there used to be a cat lady at the end of Taylor Street in Springfield. When she died they found her house was full of cats and money.

Went to the Pioneer Valley Flea Market in Holyoke where I bought eight Springfield postcards for sixteen dollars. Robillard complained to me about how long you have to wait for Imler at Stanton Auctions to pay for something you give them to sell. I told him about the antique safe I got from Mr. Curran and he looked puzzled. Then I described his shop and he went, "Oh Mike! I know him as just Mike."

There was a nice 1930's electric stove for sale, in perfect condition, unscratched with a heavy duty cord. Sold for $600. Also a Heineken wooden shoe just like mine sold for ten dollars. Today I wore my collar with two padlocks hanging in front. Someone said to me, "You sure are securely locked in!" I said it couldn't come off until I got home.

When I got home I saw on my answering machine that Mrs. Napolitan had called, no doubt to apologize for not informing me about the Friends of the Library meeting. I've seen her in operation before and I want their apology in writing.

January 14, 2004

14 degrees in the breezeway at 7am. My thermostat is set at 70.

Joan Baez is 64. Governor Dean of Vermont is campaigning for president; I hate election years for all the garbage media coverage. WFCR said the Amish eat large meals but are so active they don't get fat. If you want to eat like the Amish, work like the Amish!

Judith Matt was on the noontime news saying that Spirit of Springfield will pay $5,000 per month on their debt to the city. Meanwhile three meter maids have been laid off for lack of funds, but meter maids produce income! Western Mass Electric Company spokesperson Nancy Creedman was on TV telling homeowners to save on electricity. It is always the homeowners who are accused of wasting electricity, never businesses. The main Chinese television station is called CCTV. See! See! TV!

Called Leonard Collamore and a woman with a gruff voice said "he's away until Monday." I called Rev. Father Leo J. Hoar to ask about the Loveland Chapel at Springfield College but was told he is in Mexico. The last time I called him he was in New York City.

I called Louise Backer, manager of the Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestra and she said she's "new at this job" and never heard of Ben Snyder although she had heard of Bob Staffanson. I told her about myself and the Symphony in the old days and about the musical Stusicks. Backer said she will send me some of their promotional material. Susan Bennett is the Public Relations Director. Any relation to the District Attorney?

Eamon called and told me that he ran into old man Ravosa downtown, who complained to him that Peter Picknelly screwed him out of a half million dollars in the sale of his property. Eamon also recalled that Mayor Ryan said he would do the library takeover advocacy work for free, but then privately asked Bob and Karen Powell to have fundraisers at their house to raise money to pay for Ryan's legal work. Eamon claims that Tony Gill, the black guy from AIC who used to work for Boston's Ray Flynn, asked if Eamon could help him get a job with the Ryan Administration. Gill has Tom Devine on his radio show a lot.

According to Eamon the wife of Ryan's top aide R. Bruce Fitzgerald is Judy Mastroianni of the Mastroianni auto sales and repair people. The Mastroianni's are highly respected and have a car place on Liberty Street and the brother has an autobody shop on Taylor. Bruce's brother Jack Fitzgerald is principal at Talmadge and a close friend of Mike Albano. His son was the aide to Albano after Tony Ardolino had to leave!

School Committee member Antonette Pepe's husband Russell is big in the sheet metal union and his buddy Kevin Mulcahy, President of the Union, has a friend who deals with metal fabrication in Palmer. Most of his business is in Springfield, so the guy in Palmer, whose lease is about to expire, wanted to get a place in Springfield.

On January 13th Mulcahy was in City Hall and saw Bruce Fitzgerald and told him about his friend in Palmer. Fitz replied, "I think he should see a realtor." He offered no help from the Mayor's office although it would have been a feather in their cap to get a new business to move into Springfield their first week in office. Mulcahy said he was "shocked" by Fitzgerald's indifference. Antonette called the Mayor's Office about it but Charlie never returned her phone call. Finally she called Ryan's wife Joan at home and told her about it and Joan said Charlie would get back to her, but he never did.

Chester Ardolino, Albano's favorite cop and owner of the Pour House, has been arrested for fraud, money laundering and land flipping. Ardolino was also involved with ownership of the Civic Pub on the first floor of Ravosa's building. Indictments were handed down March 27, 2003 but not acted on until today. Also arrested was Michael Hutchinson of the Hampden County Training and Employment Consortium. His attorney is City Councilor Dan Kelly.

January 16, 2004

20 degrees at 2:30pm. Last night matched the record low of -9 degrees below set at Westover.

Thomas Holley Chivers' second wife was 18 year old Harriette Hunt of Springfield, 1837. Paul J. Longo of Magnolia, Massachusetts deals in sports memorabilia. Pioneer Valley Casket is at 100 State Road in Whately about two miles north of the Antiquarian Book Center. Phillip Warkel is the manager. You can buy full page reprints of pages from the Springfield Republican suitable for framing for $25 per page, $10 for a single article.

Ann S. Flentje lives on Mystic Street in Arlington, Massachusetts. She sent me a letter thanking me for entertaining her and her mother recently. She wrote, "The Stusick memorabilia is remarkable for the personal content, a reminder for me to shred items that I'd be embarrassed to have end up in a connoisseur's collection." There are maybe 100 books of S&H Green Stamps in a box in the attic. My parents saved them, but never got around to using all of them. Once we got a Paul Revere bowl but had to drive out to Pittsfield because the local catalog store had closed. Another time we got a portable TV.

Father and Mother were the kind that if Father showed some initiative and did something Mother would complain. If he didn't do anything she would also complain, and if they sat down together and thought about it they would get all mucked up. Bottom Line - Mother knew the best way to do everything and don't you forget it; therefore it often was too complicated to argue with her considering the marginal benefit.

Governor Romney has proposed giving free tuition to state schools to the top quarter of MCAS testers. I think that is a splendid idea no matter how you look at it. Romney also declared, "If we eliminate waste in government we can do more for the people." Of course those who are the beneficiaries of the waste won't like that!

A.G. Edwards check for $907.40 came today. Eastfield Mall had a collectables fair by the cinemas. The parking lot was packed and I bought several political buttons: A Ross Perot convention button for $8 and for five dollars each I got a Hillary Clinton "Bad As She Wants To Be" button, a large John McCain button, a medium-sized Jesse Ventura button and a small red Harvard button from the 1930's.

My photo of David Starr is on the cover of the Advocate! The Valley Advocate for 15-21 January 2004 features (now promoted to Associate Editor) Stephanie Kraft on "The Great Library Heist" with the photo I gave them of David Starr from the Seuss dedication mocked up with a mask. I scooted around to round up copies of this historic issue of the Advocate to distribute to friends and enemies alike.

Pope John Paul II has given permission to defrock Rev. Richard R. Lavigne. He was removed from active ministry in 1991 and is 62 years old. There are 263,000 Catholics in Western Massachusetts. An excerpt from a Boston Globe article by Kevin Cullen:

Reaction among Lavigne's victims was mixed. Peter Bessone, a 40 year old Springfield man who said Lavigne began abusing him at age 8, wept when he heard the news. Bessone, who says he has cancer, said he has "prayed to God, every day, 'Don't take me until I see this man defrocked.'

Bessone's cousin, David Bessone, committed suicide in 1985 at age 23, haunted by memories of abuse at Lavigne's hands. Yesterday, Peter Bessone walked to St. Michael's Cemetery "to tell David the news."

"I'm finally going to be able to die in peace, and David can rest in peace," said Bessone.

January 19, 2004

24 degrees at 11:04am. Connecticut River frozen over for the fist time since 1979. The water pipe in the back (kitchen) area of the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum broke due to the cold yesterday, will reopen today.

The campaign workers for Howard Dean wear orange! I'd rather have Dean than the good looking Massachusetts machine candidate John Kerry. Mark Hyman on TV40 had an editorial critical of Wesley Clark. I usually vote Democrat even though I consider myself an extremely liberal Republican.

Martin Luther King Day. Mike Pardo of Progressive Business Publications called wanting to know if I'd like to subscribe to Selling Advantage. I scolded him for bothering people on a holiday.

Larry Humphreys who worked for Gordon in The Little Gallery was into singing and ballet dancing in the Berkshires. Danny Eaton is directing the Theater Project production of "Hamlet" in West Springfield. Phillip Dromey is the Senior Planner in Springfield.

Called the Reverend Karen Gutowski about the New Hope United Methodist Church and she said it has been sold to the black Baptists. So the Methodists will move up to Chicopee. Spoke to Gary Plant on the phone, who said that Mary Alice inherited about $450,000. He said her trust adviser was Richard Driscoll whom he described as "an alcoholic" who was untrustworthy. Jack Hess called and remarked that the Hampden Grinding Wheel building has been demolished. We discussed the latest issue of The Reminder and Hess said he doesn't like that paper saying, "It stinks!"

Eamon's tailor has closed up his shop in Tower Square and retired to Pennsylvania. Eamon was lately into Miller Picture Framing and they are seriously considering relocating to Northampton. Eamon bought two little TV's, one for the basement and one for his bedroom. He also bought a new stainless steel refrigerator and stove. Eamon said that he knew a Joe Garvey and Robert McNulty whose government job consisted of making sure there was enough water in the jail boiler - that was all they did for their paycheck!

Eamon says Charlie Ryan and Bruce Fitzgerald are retired on pensions and should both serve for free. He describes Ryan as "a penny-pincher." Commerce has had six fires in three weeks, ten major fights and four teachers have been assaulted. Vice principals are never seen. Yet Eamon says Ann Henry, Pellerin-Duck and O'Morton are trying to convince Mayor Ryan that things are not really that bad at Commerce.

Eamon wants to hold Veteran's Affairs head Daniel Walsh accountable for a homeless vet freezing to death on the front steps of City Hall. Why don't they open up the abandoned York Street jail for the homeless? The deceased vet, Larry M. Dunham, didn't want to go to Keough's homeless shelter because he had previously been robbed there.

January 21, 2004

20 degrees at 7:15am. Gas at Breckwood Sunoco is $1.61.

President Bush was on TV taking about community colleges to "train people for the jobs that exist." That is all wrong. We should train people for lifelong learning because the jobs that exist now may not exist for long.

The house at 123 River Rock Road in Wilbraham is selling for $300,000. A subscription of 14 weeks to The Republican costs $42.00. The $39 million Baystate Cancer Center opens next Monday and Mercy Hospital has a new cancer unit opening in June.

I sent the following letter today to Teddie Old Fashioned Smooth Peanut Butter which is made by the Leavitt Corporation in Everett, Massachusetts:

Gentlemen - I love your natural saltless peanut butter with the oil to stir in. I always buy the smooth variety. Lately I had a jar with a whole mess of peanut chunks at the top, and I enclose a sample. I suppose that you use the same machinery for smooth and chunky. However, finding chunks in the smooth creates the impression that your machinery is not as clean as it should be. And that is an impression you do not want to make. - Sincerely yours, Jack Miller.

Eamon called and was excited because he was on WAQY this morning for about twenty minutes being interviewed by Bax & O'Brien. He talked about the disgrace of the vet dying on the steps of City Hall and said the only job he'd accept in the Ryan Administration would be Chairman of the Whistleblower's Commission.

Plumber William Hurley, cousin of Mary, was appointed to the Police Commission. I phoned my consolations to Belle-Rita Novak, who hoped to be appointed to that commission.

Went downtown today and spoke to Guizonis at A.G. Edwards about my investments. He told me he went to Westfield State and was a music teacher for the public schools for a time. His wife plays harp and teaches first grade at Kensington School. Invited him to come over sometime in the spring with his wife to see the Stusick memorabilia. Then walking down Main Street I ran into Eamon's Uncle Tux Sullivan and we exchanged greetings. His pull on winter hat had TUX knitted onto it.

Then I stopped at the newspaper and transcribed the sign on their antique press in the entryway:

This is the actual hand-lever press on which the first edition of the Springfield Republican was printed on September 8, 1824. Samuel Bowles floated this press up the Connecticut River on a flat-bottomed barge from Hartford to Springfield. It was given to the Springfield Library and Museum Association in 1964 for safe keeping and loaned back to the Springfield Newspapers to mark our 175th anniversary.

Before leaving I left a note for Larry McDermott offering him an autographed copy of the Valley Advocate with my picture of David Starr on the front for $25.

January 23, 2004

22 degrees in the morning. Flurries started at 3:50pm. Gas at the Acres $1.59.

The paper published a weather summary of 2003 based on readings taken at The Republican weather station in downtown Springfield: Hottest day - 101 degrees on June 26th, Coldest day - Zero degrees on January 28th, Yearly snowfall - 85 inches, Normal snowfall - 49 inches.

Maureen Mack Nair was Senior Vice President of Northeast Savings in 1989. John Mailhot is Vice President of Administration and Finance at Springfield College. The Tuesday Morning Music Club will present Soprano Anita Cooper, cellist Mark Fraser and Lily Lawrence, violinist, in a program of music by Bach, Handel and Haydyn. Michael Jonnes is the Executive Director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. The latest ad for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra features Roy A. Scott of WGBY-TV and Mary Ellen Scott of United Personnel Services.

Went over to the Five Town Mall and saw that the Newsstand there is closed and empty inside. Had a nice lunch at noon at the Big Y; chicken wings and a slice of pizza. Home at 1:04pm.

Mayor Ryan is arranging for executives from Mass Mutual to advise him on the management of the city. But will there be conflicts of interest?

Eamon accompanied School Committee member Antonette Pepe today on a surprise inspection of The High School of Commerce. He said he saw math classes with kids wearing baseball caps sitting on desks watching TV while their teachers sat writing at their desks. The kids had food in the classroom although they're not supposed to. The Principal Ann Henry was cordial to them and showed them around. He said Henry has pictures of her two daughters in her office, one is attending Cathedral and another is a physician. Eamon mentioned Commerce critic Dr. Tsai and Principal Henry said the stories about Commerce are blown out of proportion by four teachers who are out to get her.

Henry said the absenteeism of teachers is 30% per day and that most students are performing three or four years below their grade level. Eamon suggested that teachers need to be held more accountable and asked her how many teachers she has written up. She said just one because of the lengthy time it takes to handle these matters and the probable fights with the teacher's union.

The library in the basement is a joke with nobody in there. The cafeteria had litter everywhere with bottles and bags thrown around. Nearly all the students were in the "snack line" rather than the nutritious food line, but nobody says anything because the school keeps part of the profits from the snacks. The money goes into a principal's discretionary budget which Henry says comes to about $25,000. She admitted to Eamon that no one audits the money.

At one point they were introduced to Mitzi Beach, a psychologist and counselor who was dressed so that Eamon said if he saw her on the street he would've thought she was a bag lady. Afterwards they found out that after meeting them Beach ran to her office and called Superintendent Burke and told him that School Committee member Antonette Pepe and retired Commissioner Eamon T. O'Sullivan were in the building. Then Tim O'Brien, an assistant principal joined them and Eamon asked how often they see Superintendent Burke. Both Henry and O'Brien burst out laughing simultaneously and replied, "We never see him."

January 26, 2004

15 degrees at 7:30am and overcast. Angela Davis is 60 today.

I see that Gertrude A. Goyette has died at age 81. She was the mother of Arthur Goyette who was a good fellow in the Buckingham Audio Visual Aids Club with Tatro and he was also in some of my classes. Nader the Hatter called and said his spinal cord has slipped a disc so he can't drive and has to take a bus everywhere which he says is a real hassle. He told me his condo payments in Florida are $1200 per month. I chatted with Melinda McIntosh today for about half an hour. She said she got a letter from Ingleside saying that they are not liable for the area where she slipped and fell. Melinda said she is in Reference now and doesn't want the periodicals/microfilm job because the area is a mess and there is a problem employee there she doesn't want to deal with.

Visited my neighbor Irving Cohn this afternoon and showed him some of the Stusick memorabilia. He said that David Merrill, now retired to Connecticut, knew the Stusick kids. I also lent him a book on the history of Poland. I counted a dozen bottles of pills on his kitchen counter. His homemaker arrived at 3:30pm so I left.

Went to the Holyoke flea market, probably my last visit in a while. Saw Larry Fishbein the Holyoke antique dealer and David Camp from West Springfield. Spoke to Robillard who said he has no postcards of courthouses. I bought a pair of Eastlake chairs for $200 and a large brass Chinese ashtray for three bucks. Then swung by the Stanton Auction and left bids for a couple of things. On the way back to Springfield the road was closed around Kenneth Lunden Drive so I drove down and around the block and back toward the Five Town Mall. In front of the former House of Good Shepard Tinkham Road is dug up and muddy from a good sized water main break.

I drove by the Pride station for a newspaper and a stretch limo with Mass registration Bus O pulled up to the pump. Out stepped a tall negro in black leather shoes and a green Peter Pan blazer on and went inside to buy a grinder. I asked him if Peter Picknelly was in the limo and he replied, "No, I just dropped him off."

Eamon called and said he ran into his friend Fred Crowles at Stop & Shop, who told him that Mr. and Mrs. Ryan were once sent to Ireland on business by Mass Mutual. Charlie Ryan was a lawyer for Mass Mutual as well as the Milton Bradley game company. Mass Mutual was a big backer of Springfield Central where Ryan, David Starr and Carlo Marchetti were key players. He says if Ryan has Mass Mutual executives helping him at City Hall, "They don't do things for nothing."

Eamon claims that Mass Mutual tells trusted employees to give favored political candidates campaign contributions and then Mass Mutual reimburses them. When Eamon ran for City Council in 1959 two Mass Mutual men came to his house and offered him $500 cash, which he declined. One of them was Barry Gotterer, who has gone on to become a bigshot lobbyist in Washington D.C. and may still represent Mass Mutual. He said Mass Mutual's practice of giving illegal campaign contributions goes back many years and that Charlie Kingston was a part of it too.

January 28, 2004

20 degrees at 7:45am. Three inches of light snow in the driveway. Gas is $1.65 at both Pond stations.

John Kerry beat Howard Dean in the New Hampshire primary, 39% to 26%. Sen. John McCain was on TV saying there is "no doubt the world is a better place now that Saddam Hussein is out." It would be an even better place if George Bush were out! Stupid Superbowl 38 is this Sunday. Berkshire/Franklin Medical sees nothing but red ink in the future so they are cancelling their Hospice/VNA services in April. Baystate Medical says they'll fill the gap. Ron Midgett of Easthampton is a violin dealer. WFCR played Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" this morning, my favorite. They also played Schubert whom I'm not particularly fond of.

Richard A. Petzold was Assistant Treasurer at the Monarch Life Insurance Company in 1967. Geraldine from Lincoln-Mercury called asking me to bring my car in for a check-up in February. I said I like my car and I'll bring it in sometime but the weather has been too bad. Hess called and offered to sell me a bound volume of the Springfield Republican from 1932. I said no thanks and told him about the upcoming sale in Whately. He said he and his wife always go out to eat on Fridays.

At Stop&Shop I ran into Elaine Lavois who wants to come to the dedication of the land I'm donating to Wilbraham. I told her I would send her an invitation as soon as a date is set. I had a coupon for a dollar off a Camel pack of cigarettes but I wanted one of their exotic blends in those little square tins. I heard the place next to Dunkin Donuts carries them so after I left Stop&Shop I went to Smoker's Deal at 1295 Boston Road and they had what I wanted. They also sell cigar boxes for three bucks so maybe I'll get one sometime.

Thence to the Pine Point Library where I copied the Americana bio of Hannah Arendt. Then down to St. Michael's Cemetery and checked out the Giroux tombstones. Continuing out towards Forest Park I saw that there is a sign on Fancy That on Sumner which says they will be relocating soon. Nothing new at Bookends. The For Sale sign is gone from Linda Melconian's office. Eamon says that his caller ID shows that Peter Picknelly has been calling his phone message regularly. Of course Eamon has been critical of the Mayor and Picknelly probably hates Ryan.

The Channel 57 Auction kicked off at 6pm with Gloria Russell, followed at 8 by Jack Briggs. Also appearing was art consultant Carla Santini and Chris Daley of WFCR. They said a lot of the framing had been donated by J.H. Miller "celebrating 114 years of service" which means J.H. Miller was founded in 1890. Item 7871 was a covered bridge painting by Doyle the Twig Painter which sold for $275. That's all I have on the auction this year because I fell asleep and when I woke up it was over.

January 30, 2004

The second rover rolled off the lander on Mars. Cooked up a cherry pie and made a meal of hamburger and spaghetti.

The newspaper is advertising for someone to deliver the morning and Sunday paper in the Boston Road and Berkshire Avenue neighborhoods (01109 and 01151). Smith College is having money problems because of shrinkage of their endowment; a lot of jobs including professors may be cut.

Received a thank you note in the mail signed by Christine Oaklander PhD from the Allentown Art Museum for the postcards I sent them of the Josiah Gilbert Holland monument by Saint-Gaudens. She said she was unaware of the Holland relief monument. Called Gary Plant and his sister said he was in bed because they were out late last night. But the minute I mentioned money she got him up. He told me that the Stusick grand piano sold for $13,000 and the two Mikus harps brought $5,000 each. The other harps will be sold by Pioneer at a later auction. I offered him $150 for the Stusick letters but no final deal yet. Also called Tassinari Brothers and told Brian off about the long delay in binding my books. He offered a forlorn, "I'm sorry" but doesn't know when my stuff will be done.

Drove out to the sale in Whately today. On the way through downtown Springfield I saw a Braman Chemical truck pulling out from in front of JT's Sports Bar, located where the old Burger King was next to Johnson's Bookstore. Got on I-91 just above the Riverdale Shops and stopped in Hadley at Troubadour Books where I bought Heywood's "The Captives" with a smudgy black stamp inside reading "Withdrawn from the Renaissance Center Library."

Then I continued up the road to the Whately Antiquarian Book Center and Povirk was in, looking tired but says he's okay. Povirk said he hardly ever gets any customers under the age of 40. Peter Luke his antiquarian scout was there. Unfortunately most of the books he had, although choice titles, had poor binders and were falling apart. I bought a 32 page catalog of appliances from Robert W. Kellogg Incorporated. Not a sign of a date anywhere and no address other than Springfield, Massachusetts but still a remarkable piece of ephemera. On my way back the clock on the corner of the old Masonic Temple (not corrected for Daylight Savings) said 5:50.

When I got home Nader the Hatter called and said he got a new Florida condo for $1800 a month right on the ocean and will sell his old condo for a profit. Nader recalled all the valuable books he saw years ago stored at the Quadrangle. He said the Indian books alone were worth half a million. They also had all of Duryea the car inventor's papers and records. We wondered what became of the historic stuff stored on the second floor of the Tapley Street building.

Eamon says that Karen Powell told him that she hasn't heard a word from Ryan about employment. Eamon heard that Mike Albano may run for Governor's Councilor. He also said that the Ryan people are discovering that a lot of parking tickets were fixed for friends of Daniel Kelly and Charlie Kingston. Eamon says Ryan is appointing people from the North and South End in order to strengthen his position for re-election. Barbara Garvey called Eamon and said she will stop by and return the research material Eamon loaned to Mayor Ryan. She said Ryan told her that "there's no one who could have provided me with this kind of political research material except Eddie." Eamon promised Garvey that when she came with the stuff he would serve her tea with Irish whiskey.

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