October 2003

October 1, 2003


Justice William Rehnquist is 79 today. Maryann Elkas completed training at UMass in Lotus 1-2-3 under Larry Smith in April, 1985. Came across an old clipping about the 1997 death of adman G. Robert Richardson whom I knew in the 80's when he used to work for the aging owner of Sir Speedy printers. He was a mild mannered gentleman.

Got a note in the mail today from the Ryan for Mayor campaign thanking me for letting them put a sign on my lawn.

I drove out to see Shelly Lucia and gave her the key to Aunt Maria's. She invited me into her tidy kitchen and I noted a beautiful watercolor of a country barn in a gold frame. There were other watercolors on the walls. Shirley Lucia is an artist who sells her art through the Granville Gallery run by her brother. It is opposite Granville Town Hall, one mile from the center of town.

On the way back I stopped at Ryan headquaters at 438 Boston Road and Barbara Garvey was just leaving. She was very friendly and told me that she had seen Eamon just two days ago. I took their latest literature which included some campaign commentary by Tom Devine supportive of Charlie.

From Ryan's I went to the Big Y for the specials, especially parsnips marked down to $1.99. They were the Sugar Mountain brand from Manheim Farm in Whately, Massachusetts. Then I headed over to Randall's where I found lots of good stuff on the bruised fruit counter. Finally I went to Burger King on one of their free coupons. When I got home a truck for Alpha Heating Equipment of Wilbraham was over Jozephyczyk's.

Today was the groundbreaking for the renovation of the Springfield Civic Center. Governor Romney came and said on TV that it was Brian Lees who convinced him to go ahead on the project. Mike Albano and Stu Hurwitz were on with Hurwitz saying that he expects 25 conventions a year "with enormous economic spin-offs for the entire region right out to the Berkshires." We shall see.

Tonight I watched the debate between Ryan and Melconian on channel 57. It looked like Linda Melconian was wearing a lot of makeup. Ryan won the debate easily. In the half hour before the debate started Rev. Talbert Swan was interviewed about his book. He seems like a fine fellow and I wish he were running for City Council. Then to my surprise they had Tom Devine in a blue sweater talking about the history of his paper/website and at one point quoting Ken Kesey.

October 3, 2003

Overcast and 53 degrees at 9:15am. Gusty winds. Gas at Breckwood Sunoco is $1.66.

My 62nd birthday. I am getting old, but mentally I am still young. I'm in pretty good health and am careful about what I eat, less red meat and lots of veggies. Got a nice birthday card from Mrs. Staniski. Also a pretty card from Ann Staniski Flentje.

With all the people killed from medical malpractice every year you might say that MD stands for murder! Rush Limbaugh had to resign from his position at ESPN because of racist remarks he made over the weekend. WFCR said today that the Diocese gives $700,000 a year to the Newman Center at UMass because fifty percent of UMass students are Catholic. Author Suzanne Strempek Shea of Palmer will read from her new book at the Heritage Academy in Longmeadow.

The wristwatch which I found in the parking lot after Mother died still runs fine. In the middle of the night at 2:30 it chimes 20 times. Ken Lamoureux and Wendy Parent were married at the Cat's Paw Antique Shop on Parker Street in Indian Orchard in 1993. Claudia and Vincent Robillard owned the place and recently told me the couple are now divorced. Nothing lasts!

Had some fish and chips leftovers for breakfast and then over for more estate work in Feeding Hills. I am really fed up with it all. Shirley Lucia was there and said the Methodist ladies would take the lawn chairs. I went over a lot of boxes and found a beautiful red Union Leader Indian tin which I brought home.

Eamon called and said fifteen people were sickened recently by bad fish sold at Schermerhorn's including Eamon's friend Sam Salvey the CPA. I told Eamon I got my flu shot yesterday at Stop&Shop for only $20 and he said he tried to get his shot at the VA but they were out of vaccine. J. Landers is selling one of his rental properties on Miller Street for $118,000. He also owns properties on Redland and Page Boulevard. Springfield teachers are doing informational picketing, it has been 23 years since the last teacher's strike in Springfield.

President Andrew Scibelli has announced his retirement from STCC, raising the possibility of some profound changes at the college. For starts it should be changed to a four year school. It will be interesting to see what Scibelli does next, he has publicly contemplated running for mayor in the past. Meanwhile outgoing Mike Albano is still pushing hard his crusade for lower prescription drug prices. Trying to leave a favorable impression with any future jury pools?

October 6, 2003

48 degrees, some sun. Both stations at the Pond down to $1.65.

First day of the Fall Term of the Supreme Court. Big election in California tomorrow. Fifteen women have claimed that Arnold Schwarzenegger groped them, but if you hang around with Arnold you can expect all kinds of groovy stuff to happen and I am not troubled by that. But rumors about his admiration for Hitler are a problem.

People say, "Dress for success." Of course you dress appropriately if you want to succeed by blending in with people by looking like them. I prefer to dress down as a litmus test of people. Will they be professional or will they reject me because of how I'm dressed?

Pratt and Whitney machinists voted against a pay cut so there will be lay-offs. WFCR says there are 208 biotech firms in Massachusetts and the issue is whether when they get past their incubation stage will they mass produce their product here or move elsewhere?

I had dropped eggs on toast this morning. It was what Mother gave me whenever she wanted to cheer me up. Last night at the corner of Catalpa a red car hit a green car. At the bend on Alden Street they have put up the frame of a house on what will be the last open lot. Some sort of roadwork underway at the intersection at the bottom of the hill of Dickinson and Orange.

Arrived at Aunt Marie's at 9:05 and started sifting through papers. I am truly fed up with screening stuff from the Giroux estate. I have thrown out about 50 boxes of stuff, but interesting, even important things surface in everything I screen. Today I found a Five College Medieval Studies brochure with the name Eugene D. Hill in it and a Greenfield Community College catalog that says Robert L. Merriam is the Assistant to the President.

Around eleven Edith Michaud and Mrs Rivers arrived in a light chocolate colored Taurus. Then in a big brown car came Mrs. Mickey. They took stuff for their tag sale. Vincent Robillard came by early so I had less time to prepare for him. Robillard said he doesn't know Povirk. He said Maria's collection of Family Circus cartoons aren't worth anything, but anything involving old machines brings good money.

I showed Robillard the Good Time Stove Company brochure and he left with a van full of things. He gave me about $450 worth of foreign postcards in return, which I can probably resell for $600. A few of the postcards were stamped "Hartford Public Library" and "Collection of N.C. Baker." At the end of the day Shirley Lucia came by to take out the trash.

Melconian has a half page ad in the paper saying that Ryan will raise taxes. Eamon says that Linda Melconian has a lousy, very vague website, while Charlie's is very informative and detailed and he says that in contrast to Melconian, Ryan has the courage to deal honestly with Springfield's financial management crisis. Eamon currently has a cute message on his answering machine:

Perhaps if the career politician Linda Melconian, who was never gainfully employed in the private sector, took a basic home economics course she could save money cooking at home instead of eating out all the time at the Tavern and Fort restaurants. Doesn't she find it time consuming to put make-up on her two faces? I'm not trying to make jokes about politicians, all I'm doing is watching Linda Melconian and reporting the facts.

October 9, 2003

Up at 7:30am, 57 degrees. A lovely day. Gas is $1.65 everywhere at Six Corners.

Life is wonderful for a few but not for the millions who suffer so much.

YoYo Ma is 48. Arnold Schwarzenegger has terminated Gray Davis as Governor of California. Attorney James F. Egan had his office in the Court Square Building in Springfield in 1966. Came across an old clipping of Craig M. Bradley accepting the Alumni Achievement Award from AIC in 1994. I knew Craig Bradley from DeMolay. He was a joyful young fellow in those days. He had a convertible car, played pool and not too serious about grades. He was close to Bob Ewell and Richard Boyden.

New commercial on TV22 this morning had Jack O'Neil saying, "People think I'm Irish but my mother is Italian!" It was a pitch for the Columbus Day Kavanaugh Furniture sale this weekend. Mrs. Staniski stopped by on her way to the Christian Bookstore to get a birthday card for her neighbor who is about to turn 100. She said Ann is taking her to Kennebunkport next Wednesday. She gave me some cookies and two Harvard Gazettes. After she left I decided to be nice and haul the Cohn's dumpster and blue recycling box up to their garage, then spoke briefly with Cressotti next door.

New roof going on the most easterly building at the Gates of Heaven Cemetery. Fred Whitney has no campaign signs on his lawn. Stopped at Fleet Bank and was waited on by Pat Beauregard. Arrived at Lincoln-Mercury at 1535 Bay Street at 11:50. The former Mutual Ford Uncle Sam statue that once stood on the site now stands by the Plantation Inn at the exit to Route Five.

My new car was waiting by the door. The car is lovely and Tanya Gebo took my picture posing by the car with my dolls Sweet Pea and Honey Pot. They said I'll get the picture on a calendar in about three weeks. An elderly lady came by walking her dog and she paused to say how beautiful my car is. She said her name was Terry O'Neal and her dog had the delightful name of Chip Finnegan.

I got a Pepe for School Committee flyer in my mailbox today. Eamon is scoffing at rumors that Dick Neal will be the new President of STCC. Eamon sent a note to Ryan promoting Jim Lander's wife Cynthia for a finance position should Ryan win. She is presently the Business Administrator for the Hampshire Regional School District and she was also the one who blew the whistle on the fraud and mismanagement at the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority under Terry Tornek.

I paid my last visit to 175 Poplar in Feeding Hills today. I had nine boxes remaining to sift through and I threw most of it out. I had my final chat with Shirley Lucia, who was sitting on the bench outside the garage cutting peppers. I took a couple of pictures of the place and departed, another chapter in my life closed.

October 11, 2003

57 degrees at 7am. Warm Indian Summer day.

My Father contributed to the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan. Father tried very hard to be good to his little boy and of course for parents part of the adventure of raising kids is doing things they are eager to try themselves and can use the kid as an excuse to do so. My whole life I have been punished for either doing the right thing or for doing nothing wrong at all.

Landmark Realtors, "Guiding Your Way to Quality Real Estate Services," has offices in Hampden, Ludlow, Monson, East Longmeadow, Feeding Hills and Springfield. Doris A. Lynch, a member of the Springfield Armory Historical Society and formerly of Longmeadow, has died at 92.

I mowed the entire lawn today, somebody had kicked my Ryan for Mayor sign so I straightened it up. Afterward I chatted with Mr. Allard who has his tag sale sign up again. He told me he has had three deaths in his family recently, and that last night he went to the Tavern and had the veal cutlet and eggplant. I told Allard I wanted to fix my chimney and he suggested Ace Chimney Sweeps. When I got back in the house I called Ace but they said they were so backed up they're not even looking for work.

Sent out the mail via Cindy at Lewis&Clark. She said she had the Saturday morning blues. A new house is going up opposite 133 Denwall, and another at the corner of Sunrise and Parker. There was a big crowd, all white, standing and waving signs for Charlie Ryan at the intersection of Boston Road and Parker. I honked enthusiastically.

Today I went to the Grand Opening I read about in The Reminder for the Wilbraham Hampden Savings Bank, located on Boston Road in front of Home Depot. Outside the new bank a large tent was set up where radio station Mix-93.1 had a wheel to spin to win prizes. Also under the tent they had free popcorn and hot dogs in buns. They also had free coffee and pumpkin pie. I ate one box of popcorn and three hot dogs. For the kids they had balloon twisting and face painting.

On the way into the bank they handed me a bag of bank propaganda that included a pen and a keychain. I saw Tom Burton standing around with a tan shirt and a tan baseball cap on. I said, "Hi there, Mr. Burton!" He responded, "Good to see you." I'll bet. I also saw Rev. Loesch, who grinned as I waved. I saw drums and other instruments from the Minnechaug High band sitting by the popcorn, but no music was played while I was there.

This really is the first Hampden Bank structure to be more than just a piddling little thing, outdoing United for once, luckily for the bank workers assigned to Wilbraham. There are spacious personal banker offices with the name plate on one reading Nicole Dionne, Operations Manager. In all, for a bank opening, it was quite grand.

I told Eamon about Terry O'Neil and Chip Finnegan and he liked the name of the dog. Ryan and Melconian had a debate at the Church in the Acres last night. There were a lot of people waving Ryan signs and only a few Melconian backers. Eamon said, "Charlie Ryan reamed her up one side and down the other." He said Linda Melconian fell apart at one point and looked like she might start crying. Melconian made most of her comments from notes. Ryan kept insisting that Melconian says she has a plan for Springfield, so show us your plan! Melconian kept trying to change the subject to getting tough on drugs.

There will be three more debates, with two of them on TV. Eamon says the newspaper is working on an article designed to remind voters of Ryan's problems with the black community when he served as mayor in the 1960's. Ryan is trying to blunt the attack in advance by going all around last Sunday visiting black churches. Eamon complained that Charlie looks like an old Irishman which hurts him with some voters, but he can still win. Eamon claims that the only businesses not moving out of Springfield are drug dealers, prostitutes and the Mob.

October 14, 2003

Service in the military is a transforming experience, but in ways we should prefer they not be transformed. Sen. Joe Biden accused the Bush Administration of "making the world substantially more dangerous." Cheney needs another heart attack!

Davidson's Market and Bakery was at 328 Wilbraham Road in 1964. Halfway between Roosevelt Avenue and Winchester Square was William's Spa, Pederzoli's Drug Store (run by our neighbors the Burkes) and Davidson's Market. Every day when I came home from school at Homer Street and later Buckingham I came by that little shopping center. Kids went into Pederzoli's with their nickles and bought Popsicles, although I was seldom allowed to indulge in such wastefulness. Davidson's I remember only dimly. It was bigger than the drug store and sold vegetables, but that's all I can recall.

On WFCR I heard James Levine directing his first concert with a Boston orchestra. I love Boston and collect images of Boston. I have a cubic foot of No Expiration Date coupons going back to the 1960's. Whatever happened to that crummy little publication The Optimist? The Reminder's front page is now in color. Dan and Chris Buendo are the second generation publishers and Mike Dobbs is the Managing Editor.

Channel 3 said that there are over 400 cooking schools in the USA, with lots of people going into cooking as a second career because it's a portable skill and restaurants are one of the fastest growing industries. The problem with all this vocational training is that it does not expand the mind and prepare people to look at the big picture. The Liberal Arts and Sciences should be the only undergraduate majors permitted with vocational training reserved for after. The love of learning is the most precious thing upon the Earth but few graduates possess it!

William C. Nader (The Hatter) who used to have a shop downtown at 340 Worthington in Springfield (founded by his father in 1918) called today to congratulate me on my new car. He said he will come up from Florida for a visit in November and we should go out to lunch with Eamon. Eamon called and said an old lady with a plate of cookies would attract more people downtown than any of the development schemes devised by Springfield's economic planners.

Paul C. MacDonald of the Western Mass Telephone Worker's Credit Union is retiring after thirty years. Lynn Wallace has been with them for 24 years. Tree pruning is going on in Hillcrest Cemetery. The former KV Homes office building is now beautifully landscaped with young birch trees and flowering bushes out front. The Napolitan's have both a Ryan and Sarno sign on their lawn. I counted 18 Melconian signs along Breckwood Boulevard and only ten for Ryan. Melconian and Ryan will be debating at Commerce on Thursday. Arrived in Ludlow at 4:20. They have a new Wendy's but I went to Burger King for a Mustard Chicken and bowl of chili with a coupon. The chili was good but not as spicy as it could be.

Things to do in the coming months:

Found the George Alfred Giroux Memorial Fund.

Give Giroux papers to Agawam High School and the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum.

Make a postcard of the John Wesley window in Trinity Church.

Write an essay on "Me and Methodism."

Oppose religion.

Get Pynchon Medals for me and my friends.

Publish my porno poems.

October 17, 2003

51 degrees. A nice sunny day, breezy. Helicopter flying overhead at 9:17am.

Dr. Thomas Andrew O'Connell had his office at 573 State Street in Springfield in 1945. Nancy Albert was the Assistant Treasurer at United Co-Operative Bank on State Street in Springfield in 1979. Attorney Fred A. McCoy has his office at 6 Burt Lane in Wilbraham. WFCR says the Red Cross is low on blood, especially Father's which was O negative. Mayor Sullivan of Holyoke talking on the news kept saying idears rather than ideas.

Council candidate Carol Lewis-Caulton called to see if she could put a sign on my lawn. I said yes and someone promptly came by and put it up. Flagg Excavation Company of Monson was over Jozephczyk's today removing an enormous oil tank from under their driveway. A black man delivered the mail at 1:45.

Springfield College's Loveland Chapel is now a daycare center and the former Marsh Memorial Library is the Administration building. I called Springfield College and got Nora who said she has only been there for three years and she hadn't a clue about Loveland as a benefactor or his chapel. She transferred me to Dari Fravoni, Vice President for Development, but his receptionist Donna said he was "in a meeting" and will get back to me. We shall see.

Mr. and Mrs. Robillard came by briefly today, saying they had just come from the White Hut in West Springfield. They asked how I was doing with organizing the Giroux stuff and I showed them around. After they left I headed downtown and had lunch at Red Rose Pizza on Main Street. A real nice restaurant divided into two sections with icicle chandeliers overhead. Kitchen is full of windows so you can see what the cooks are doing. I ordered eggplant parmigiano and a small pizza which came with Italian rolls and butter. The pizza was lovely but too much so I brought it home in a box. I was totally satisfied and left a big tip.

Jim Landers has sold most of his machinery except the Heidelberg press he bought for $3,000 years ago from a guy on St. James Avenue. He says the press is now worth $16,000. Eamon says Ryan was a big success at the Commerce debate which was held during the day in front of the students. At some points they were cheering Charlie like he was a rock star! At the end they voted for Charlie over Linda 313-79. Obviously the kids could see that Ryan is sincere and Melconian is a phony.

October 20, 2003

Overcast. Gas is $1.63 at the Pond.

The past haunts the future, always and forever.

Carrie Robertson's First Lady's Fashion Boutique will have its third annual fashion show at Monarch Place on November 30th.

There was a good crowd at the theater in the old Breckwood Big Y as I drove past. Just after ten I drove into the former Loveland Chapel parking lot. The word Loveland appears nowhere around the building. However down by the Wilbraham Road entrance there is a sign reading, "Springfield College Child Development Center."

From there I headed directly to this year's Antiquarian Book Fair at STCC. It seemed smaller this year, with Povirk and Smith having the only double booth. Murray told me he could have gotten me free admission, but of course by then it was too late. From Buy the Book I offered to purchase a framed panoramic postcard of Springfield for $125 but he wouldn't sell. Barbara C. Paulson of Huntington, Massachusetts was selling antiquarian paper. Gordon A. Cronin was there from Taurus Books in Northampton. Out at 1:10.

On the way back I stopped to visit Mrs. Staniski and put up her kitchen storm window for her. Then I drove her around a little in my new car. We drove out to Hillcrest Cemetery although the peak foliage colors have been lost in the recent rains. It was the quiet of the afternoon, no traffic on Wilbraham Road. I commented on how when I was a child we would drive around and there wouldn't be a lot of cars. Now the streets and roads of the Acres are frequently crowded. I asked Mrs. Staniski if she had received the Springfield Library and Museum Association annual report yet and she said no, but if she doesn't she will not contribute next year.

Eamon says his answering machine shows people from The Republican have been calling and listening to his messages every day recently. So has Superintendent Burke as well. There has been a whispering campaign around Mason Square that Charlie is a racist. Eamon said, "This mayoral campaign is getting dirty, dirty, dirty!" He also wondered why he hasn't seen Tony Ravosa around lately. Eamon recalled that old man Ravosa went to AIC. He used to own the Alexander House and the fancy brick house on the corner of Union and Maple, the one with the pillared porch around the front. Ravosa also once ran the Harrison House restaurant. Eamon said that Roger Slade was Ravosa's partner in owning the former A&P warehouse on Birnie Avenue that went up in flames. They collected full insurance despite rumors that they moved out everything stored there just before the fire.

October 22, 2003

Raining at 10:27am.

On October 11, 1945 my Uncle George Giroux's dog Trixie bit E.H. St.Pierre of 34 Amity Court, Springfield. The Quadrangle publishes far too much promotional literature and at great expense. Whatever happened to Attorney Arthur Serota, who once seemed to be one of Springfield's brightest and most promising?

Cooked up a Marie Collender blueberry pie and it was great. I am going through old newspaper clippings, choosing ones to save, ones to dump, ones to give to Eamon and others, ones to paste in my diary (very few, but the one's so honored are important) and ones to do otherwise with. Among the old clipping files I found several delinquent tax lists and Scibelli and Melconian's names did not appear on them. Has the newspaper been covering up for them?

I also came upon an article by Clifton J. Noble about my old friend Robert Lloyd Staffanson, who conducted the Springfield Symphony Orchestra from 1955 to 1970. I had much joy playing violin in the Young People's Symphony and serving as stage manager. When I went to college he wrote me a recommendation to the Colby Community Symphony under Dr. Eranno Comparetti. Under Stafanson we played every Friday in the Tapestry Court of the Museum of Fine Arts. I had to get there early to set up chairs (along with Jerry Clark, Linda Burnham and Michael Ouilette) and it was my responsibility to make sure all the equipment came back with us on the bus.

The postcards I had made of the grave of Josiah Holland arrived from the printers today. The final text on the back of them reads:

"Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881) Dean of Springfield Men of Letters, rests beneath this early commission of Augustus Saint-Gaudens in a shady plot at the rear of Springfield Cemetery. Partner with Samuel Bowles in The Republican, Holland rose to the editorship of Scribner's Monthly (1870-1881) and is remembered for his History of Western Massachusetts (1855) Life of Abraham Lincoln (1865) Timothy Titcombs Letters (1858) and a number of edifying sentimental poems and novels. Photo by J. Wesley Miller."

I called Jim Mooney the General Manager of Springfield Cemetery and he was friendly and upbeat. He said he would be very grateful if I gave him some Holland postcards. I also called Springfield College and this time got Bonnie. She admitted that Ken Childs had been fired and when I asked why she said, "That's too complicated to get into." She took my name and number and said she would give it to her boss but didn't promise he would get back to me.

Next I called the Marketing Department at Springfield College and got Amy. When I asked about the Loveland Chapel she said, "I've never heard of it." She did however connect me to Ron Ziemba, the Director of Marketing. I asked about the departure of Ken Childs and he replied, "It was an academic freedom matter. Childs felt he was entitled to say whatever he wanted about the course the college was taking. President Bromery didn't feel that way." I then asked about the renaming of Loveland Chapel but he expressed reluctance to go into detail "because I wasn't here then. I've only been here three years."

Got a phone call today from a pollster asking who I intended to vote for to become mayor. While I was putting the trash out Carol Lewis-Caulton pulled up and thanked me for letting her put a sign for her council candidacy on my busy street. She asked if I thought Charlie would win and I said we'll have to see.

The newspaper reports that the pedestrian walk and elevator at the Basketball Hall of Fame has been "shut down all summer." Eamon called and said he was at Ryan's today to deliver a video of the debate at Commerce. Charlie told him that he was genuinely moved by the enthusiastic response he got from the students in the audience who were wildly cheering at some points and who voted for him at the end by a margin of 3-1.

Eamon said he spent more than two hours yesterday being interviewed by a Federal agent who was looking for background information on all aspects of Springfield politics. However before he could tell me more he had to hang up because Jim Landers was banging on the door.

October 24, 2003

Half inch of sugar snow last night. 43 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.62 at Six Corners.

Education and civilization merely make for a bigger Tower of Babel.

The Green Trees Gallery in Northfield, Massachusetts is featuring the works of Laura Garrison. There was an anti-war demonstration in Westfield yesterday. Charlie Ryan supporters were doing a stand-out in Sixteen Acres center today. So was Dom Sarno.

Started using a new toothbrush. Roy Scott was helping out on the WFCR fund drive this morning. He said they were considering calling it the Shorter Fall Fund Drive but that was not alliterative enough. How about Faster Fall Fund Folly?

Scooted out briefly to Fernbank, the land I donated to Wilbraham, and they have just started building a retaining wall at the bottom of Maynard Hill. I then delivered 200 Holland postcards to Gail D. Cosby at Springfield Cemetery. She showed me a rare Chamber of Commerce postcard they have of the cemetery that I've never seen before. I offered her a good price for it but she said they would never sell it.

I went downtown to the dedication of the statue of Congressman Edward P. Boland. I parked on Salem and was a little late so when I got there the audience was already assembled. There were a lot of empty chairs. The statue was hidden by a blue covering. Judge Keyes gave a flowery speech praising Boland which would have made Eamon laugh. Keyes called Boland "a giant of conscience, character and courage." Eamon likes to call Boland "Tip O'Neil's errand boy."

Sgt. Daniel Clark the Singing State Trooper sang an Irish blessing. Charlie Ryan was standing in the back with Cheryl Rivera. Linda Melconian was a no-show. I saw Sheriff Ashe, David Bartley, balding Tom Burton, Saco Catjakis, Joe Carvalho, Frank Keough, Ben Swan, Pat Sullivan and young Picknelly. Mrs. Ryan was standing with Ray Hershel. Tommy Reilly was there as was the State Treasurer. Interestingly there was no David Starr, no Larry McDermott, no Fran Gagnon, no Mary Hurley, no Brian Lees, no Paul Caron, no Gary Cassinelli, no Paula Meara and no Mitt Romney. Former Bishop Maguire was there but not Dupre. I got some good pictures of what was a mostly dull, sparsely attended affair. And where was Richard Neal?

Eamon called and said he discovered that Mitch Ogulewicz is working for the Rockville Connecticut Savings Bank. Eamon said he was over Charlie Ryan's house today and the newspaper called while he was there to ask Ryan his impressions of Eddie Boland. Eamon said he was "too kind" in his appraisal. He also said when he got there Mrs. Ryan was in the yard raking. Eamon wondered why Charlie doesn't hire someone to do the raking rather than let his wife do it, but I said Joan Ryan is no doubt like my Mother who had hard work built into her very being.

I told Eamon about the Boland event and he said they should have passed out hoops so they could have a contest tossing them over the statue. Eamon said that whenever Boland saw him he would try to avoid him by hurrying away. Eamon says the political machine hates Charlie Ryan because "he went to Washington and fought like hell to save the Springfield Armory" in the 1960's. Boland had taken the side of Ted Kennedy in the Senate race with Eddie McCormack, who was a good friend of President Lyndon Johnson. McCormack was mad and told Johnson to let the Armory close so Boland would lose his seat.

Johnson felt threatened by the Kennedy's, and hoped to damage Ted and Boland's reputation by showing they were powerless to save the Armory. Charlie liked the Kennedy's, but had wanted to run for Congress against Boland for years and did so, not really caring that he was also serving the agenda of Kennedy's enemies. Boland held unto his seat, but the Boland and Kennedy camps never forgave Ryan for the role he played in Johnson and McCormack's attempt at revenge. So the Springfield Armory was closed because of the animosity between Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedy's, with Charlie Ryan getting caught in the middle.

October 25, 2003

37 degrees and sunny at 7am.

The Springfield City Library's central building's 75th Anniversary was held April 5, 1987 with speakers Thomas Costello, President of the Springfield Library and Museums Association, Library Director James Fish and then Mayor Richard E. Neal. The Wheeler Gallery of the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts was established by a $150,000 gift by Mass Mutual head Thomas Wheeler and his wife Robin. Susan P. Davison was appointed development head of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in 1991. She was an elitist smartie who did things wrong thinking nobody would notice. I believe she was involved in my not being invited to update my history of the Symphony.

WARE "Real Oldies" 1250AM is having a Halloween Dance Party featuring Joey Canata and the Memories plus Brian McCullough as "Roy Orbison." There is a picture by Bob Stern in the paper of Arthur F. Kinney, Director of Renaissance Studies at UMass, looking as pretentious as possible while posing with his computer. Douglas Bush would never have permitted himself to appear in such a pose. Kinney has gotten a big grant to do a computer study of the vocabulary of Shakespeare's plays, and he has a reputation as a egregious pompous ass.

I attended the Grand Opening today of the Monson Savings Bank branch in Wilbraham. I parked in the Post Office parking lot and walked up the sidewalk to the new bank. The bank itself is a very handsome structure, large and grand. Inside I was greeted by bank Vice President Lynn A. Yarmesky. The executive corner offices are unusually large, and there is no community room. The check writing counter is too small and the entire effect is elite and uninviting.

For freebies they were giving away large boxes of popcorn, better than what they gave away at the Hampden Savings Bank Grand Opening a few weeks ago. They also had coffee and fresh donuts, plus they passed out stainless steel bank logo coffee mugs that were far superior to the key chains Hampden gave out.

So we now have three beautiful new banks in the Boston Road corridor in Wilbraham, not to mention the banks close to the Eastfield Mall. Ware Savings was there first and is beautiful but not close to anything. Hampden Bank, which opened two weeks ago is the nicest Hampden branch in an otherwise tacky chain. Hampden also has the ideal location because they're close to a hardware store. Monson is awkwardly placed as the only thing nearby is the Wilbraham Post Office, which most people don't go to regularly. Therefore I pronounce the new Monson Bank a lovely white elephant.

Left at 11:56 and came home by Stony Hill Road. In the Acres center there was a paltry standout for Michael Rodgers and another four or five people with Kateri Walsh signs. On Birchland Avenue I saw Mrs. Penniman out walking with a little kid and I waved but she didn't recognize me with my new car.

Next I stopped in to see my neighbor Lieutenant Lucius to pick up the book Beach Red by Peter Bowman, a really good 1945 poetic account of war I had lent him. He told me his wife is not well. Lucius said he told a friend recently that Charlie Ryan is bound to win the mayor's race but his friend disagreed. I told him about the Boland statue unveiling and he said he was never impressed by him, saying that Boland did nothing when he was in office. However he did say that once he went to Washington D.C on a trip and Boland came out to say hello to his tour group. As for current Congressman Neal he said, "He'll be in there for life."

Lucius said he bought a new jacket but later regretted it when he found out it was made in China. He has made arrangements to be buried in the new Veteran's Cemetery in West Springfield, although he hasn't seen it yet. Lucius said he gave his purple heart away to his grandson. He went on to recall how his dad came down from Quebec and worked his whole life at Chapman Valve, describing his childhood as "nothing special but we were happy." As I left I saw Robert Jozephyczyk and waved to him, and he smiled back which is uncommon for him.

October 28, 2003

53 degrees and heavily overcast at 8am. Gas is 1.61 at the Sunoco by Gateway Village.

Two dumpsters were out in front of Nichol's today and a rose-colored sofa. I saw a red car over there so I walked over and met Janice Shaw of East Longmeadow and her son. She apologized for Dick's surliness the last time we spoke. I said I thought that Dick acquired a surly demeanor because his father pushed him into cabinetmaking when he would rather have done something else with his life.

Not a word from my dear friend Dr. John Rixon, who is enveloped in the military machine for being in the reserves I suspect. Went to the Antique Show at the Expo in West Springfield today. I left at 10:08 and going down Alden Street I was driving behind a woman with a Linda Melconian sticker on her back window. Parking was $3 and admission $7. There was no printed program for the sale, and Ralph Schmidt said they didn't arrive from the printers in time. There weren't too many people there and many booths had no activity at all.

The Robillard's were not there nor was Chimney Corner Antiques of Newburyport. I looked at some oak tool boxes like Uncle George had that were for sale for $250 at the booth for The Cat's Meow of Longmeadow. Also a sewing machine like Maria's for $195. Similar products were for sale by Larry Shapiro of Glastonbury. Heller of Granby wanted $18 for an antique can of Doan's Pills. Mrs. Penniman was there and smiled at me as she walked by. Mike Jacobs of Matrix Gallery was friendly enough but had no postcards I wanted, so I bought a thousand postcard sleeves from him for $9 that were made in China. He told me he is battling lung cancer and he looked it, and I fear I may not see him again.

After the Antiques Show I headed to the Quadrangle for the official unveiling of the Dr. Seuss Postage Stamp. I parked by the back of the Blake House and saw Sue Davison getting out of her black four-wheel drive. I was dressed in my black biker jacket and had Sweet Pea and Honey Pot with me plus my camera. The stage was set up in front of the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and I was surprised by how few people were there. On either side of the stage were elementary school kids in Cat in the Hat uniforms and I sat with my dolls in the fourth row.

I saw no sign of Fran Gagnon, Guy McClain or Tom Wheeler. David Starr arrived and looked disgusted when he saw me sitting there in my leather with my teddy and my bunny and my camera. Petluck was there as was Judy Matt dressed in black and sitting next to Sue Davison. Rep. Richard Neal and Mayor Albano arrived together and sat in the front row with Starr. Don D'Amour joined them later.

The program began with the school children singing God Bless America very sweetly and Mary Russell the Retail Manager for the Post Office was the emcee. Other Post Office officials participating were Mike Powers and John Steele. Joe Carvalho read his speech, referring to Starr as "a good friend of the community of Springfield." Then Steele and Dr. Seuss' widow Audrey Geisel removed the curtain and everyone oohed and ahhed at the giant 37 cent stamp.

Russell read a proclamation sent by Governor Romney, then Congressman Neal spoke recalling how Dr. Seuss came to Springfield when he was mayor and gave him an original drawing of the Cat in the Hat which he now has hanging in his office in Washington. He noted that both Dr. Seuss and Benjamin Franklin started out in Massachusetts and went on to do big things. The program ended with the children singing a song called "Dr Seuss We Love You."

Afterward David Starr and Richie Neal remained seated by the stage for a long time talking but I couldn't overhear what about. I briefly spoke to Carvalho and told him I would eventually bring him some historic material from the Giroux estate for the museum and he seemed pleased. On my way out I passed through the library and saw Ed Lonergan and gave him one of my new Josiah Holland postcards. Back at the car at 12:47 I then went for a salad lunch at Ruby Tuesday's.

Ryan headquarters called today asking if I can work at the polls on Election Day but I had to defer saying I am very busy right now. With all the estate work the summer escaped me in many respects. Yesterday the Springfield Republican gave Charlie Ryan a lukewarm endorsement, all the while praising Albano and bringing up yet again how when he was mayor in the 1960's Ryan brought in the National Guard against Black protesters. Eamon called the editorial "damnation by faint praise" and that the endorsement will do nothing for Ryan. He said internal polls show Blacks and Hispanics are supporting Melconian by a wide margin. But will they vote? Ryan was on TV tonight saying that he called in the National Guard in the 60's in part to protect the civil rights protesters from the police. Very clever, but I don't think it will help with the police union vote!

October 31, 2003

52 degrees at 7:25am. Many of my leaves are down. Gas $1.59 at Mobil.

My fashion role model Henry Winkler is 58 today. O.N. Christianson was at 960 St. James Avenue in 1943. Louis W. Doherty was an attorney at 31 Elm Street in Springfield in 1943. Carlisle's had twelve convenient stores in 1959. William Proakis was the Office Manager at Union Federal Savings in 1980. Eleanor Giroux was an award winning poet. Unfortunately I have found the awards but not the poetry!

Mrs. Jenks called and left a message last night saying, "William Beldon died last night. Thought you'd like to know. It's in the paper." He was our neighbor on Crest Street and was 81. I called A.G. Edwards and asked what was hot and ended up buying a hundred shares of Microsoft for $2736.80. Waited on at Fleet by Terry Haskins where I got $500 for Efrem Gordon to give to Pam Jendrysik. Also withdrew $600 for pocket money.

Food Mart plaza in Agawam is to be demolished. Sturbridge Village is cutting staff by ten percent and will close on Mondays and Tuesdays. The 16 Acres tattoo parlor is gone. There are signs in the window but I was too busy to stop and check. Had lunch at the 16 Acres Friendly's. I sat in a window booth and was waited on by Jerod. I bought some soup but the bowl was shallow, then had the steak which was superb. The salad was okay. On my way out I complained to the manager Nick about their deceptive soup bowls and he was pleasant and non-adversarial about it.

Election supplement in the paper has a flattering picture of Melconian but Charlie is shown with a five o'clock shadow. They editorialized for people to vote and not "sit on the sidelines and complain." The Mardi Gras, which Ryan told Eamon owes lots of back taxes, has strippers standing out handing out pro-Melconian leaflets downtown.

Eamon was up to Northampton to the vet's hospital and while there he stopped at Michelson's Gallery. He said his nephew Patrick Rogers the state trooper had a heart attack. Eamon disappointed his former Cathedral classmates by not showing up to sing at their recent reunion. He is still considering making a $5,000 contribution to the school. He says he was removed from the mailing list of Amherst College.

Why does the media always put Charlie Ryan on first and Linda Melconian second? That gives Linda the advantage of having the last word. Last Friday on The State We're In it was Ryan then Melconian. It was the same thing this morning on WFCR. This morning Ryan said, "If you've got a $20 bill in your pocket you've got more free cash than the City of Springfield has." He said politicians should be "honest, intelligent and dare to take risks." He described Springfield's current political culture as an "unimaginative, dull political existence that has lost the capacity for indignation." They brought up how in 1965 Ryan "called up the National Guard during a peaceful civil rights protest" but Ryan said that was thirty years ago and today he is willing to work "with and for everybody."

Linda Melconian was disgusting, defending the Urban League takeover of the Mason Square Library and denouncing Ryan for the National Guard incident saying, "He has not apologized, he has shown a lack of sensitivity and the Black community is rightfully offended." She said she would be "a cheerleader for Springfield" and that Ryan is too old to run the city. Melconian is dumber than I ever imagined and an embarrassment to Mount Holyoke. No wonder Speaker Finneran is glad to be getting rid of her. At the end Ryan mentioned that he has 11 kids and 31 grandkids.

In the mail today came a stupid letter from ex-rep Paul Caron endorsing Melconian. I called Charlie to alert him and Mrs. Ryan answered, saying she had just come back from the supermarket. Then I called Bob Powell and told him. The Caron endorsement letter began:

Two years ago I ran for mayor because I believed the City of Springfield needed change - a change in leadership, a change in direction and a change in the way things were being done. I still believe that to be the case today. And I believe that State Senator Linda Melconian is the person who can best bring about that change in Springfield.

I called the number listed on the Paul E. Caron Associates letterhead and got the answering machine. I identified myself and said I was disappointed in his letter. I said that because of all the spelling and grammar errors of his previous correspondence I know he didn't write that endorsement letter himself, but when whoever did write it put it in front of him to sign he should have made like Nancy Reagan and just said no! I also said it makes him look like he wants a job with the Melconian Administration.

Privately I have always considered Caron a lightweight. The only reason we backed Caron for mayor in 2001 is because we wanted to get rid of the Albano Gang. By backing Melconian he is now a traitor to the cause and has let down all his former supporters.

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