July 2003

July 1, 2003

77 degrees. A beautiful, sunny day.

Big city car pooling attempts have failed, most people prefer to drive themselves. Sharing appears to be much more important in black culture than in European culture, which makes them less ashamed to accept government programs because they see the whole community as responsible for everybody else.

Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate goes on sale today. WSPR thanked everybody this morning for making their fund drive a success. The Westfield Athenaeum plans to inaugurate a museum pass program in conjunction with the re-opening of the Edwin Smith Historical Museum.

Coming home last night I saw a man rummaging through a blue dumpster in front of the 16 Acres Library, and I was curious about what might be in there. So this morning when I went to get the paper to read about the library takeover (only a brief article) I stopped and looked in the dumpster, but all there was inside were old magazines and newspapers. As I left the house today I saw Mr. and Mrs. Cohn sitting outside, he with his walker and she in a wheelchair. I stopped to put out their trash for them.

Governor Romney has released a list of budget cuts including a $94,531 cut from the budget of CityStage Theater in Springfield. Romney is also cutting the tourism budget and a woman on TV complained, "You can't just say if we build it they will come. You have to market it."

Eamon called and wanted to know why I didn't attend Charlie Ryan's kick-off event and I told him no one had informed me of when it was. Eamon said there were about 300 people there but the paper said only 80 in an attempt to "marginalize" Ryan. He said Ryan is thinking of renting the old dance studio next to Angelo's (Was it the Charmin Dance Studio?) on Boston Road provided there is enough parking. Among those Eamon mentioned as attending the rally held on the front steps of City Hall was Cheryl Rivera, Bob and Karen Powell, Mitch Ogulewicz, Angelo Puppolo, Donald Ryan, Mo Jones and Rosemarie Coughlin. In the TV coverage Eamon actually appeared on screen for a moment wearing an open collar shirt.

Teachers from Commerce have been discreetly contacting Eamon with stories about the "mismanagement disaster" occurring there under Principal Ann Henry. He also said that Mayor Albano should apologize to Mitt Romney for calling him crazy. Eamon pointed out to me an obituary printed in the paper for Louise E. Calnen of Springfield where the picture accompanying it was of a man! The next day the same obituary ran with the correct picture of a woman. Eamon recalled the errors the newspaper made with his mother's obituary and said the paper can't even get people's obituaries right.

Went to see Efrem Gordon today and parked on Wilcox Street and walked over. I sat in his waiting room briefly by White's desk. Along came Norma Calarese with a large old family Bible in mint condition. She asked me to appraise its value and I said it was worth about $250. Then Gordon came out with his usual big smile and we went inside his office. Gordon told me that his lawyer son is into real estate development and might be interested in the Giroux land. He then asked me why I never got a job teaching at one of the local colleges and I told him that today's professors are more interested in union organizing than they are in scholarly pursuits.

Attorney Gordon then told me about a Hispanic woman he helped who was accused of having drugs in her garage. He successfully convinced the jury that her ex-husband left them there and she got off. However when he gave her a ride home after being acquitted she made him stop at a slummy house in the South End where she kept him waiting outside for forty minutes. When she came out she apologized and admitted she had gone in to buy cocaine! She then tried to make amends by offering Gordon some narcotic pills which of course he refused, telling her he only sipped a little sherry. He laughed as he told this story.

Efrem Gordon

July 3, 2003

Another lovely day. Black-eyed Susans and Tiger Lilies coming out.

Rarely is there a legal victory that is not the byproduct of an emerging social consensus. Six terrorists are to be tried by the U.S. in secret military tribunals. I don't like that one bit! What are we, the Soviet Union or Communist China?

Dickinson Farms in Granby has a commercial on TV22 for berry-picking. TV40 has an ad for Sapowski's Farm in Granby boasting that 'strawberries are here." WSPR was talking about a new book by Kevin Phillips Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich. It sounds like a book I'd agree with.

Jean Beebe of the African Hall Steering Committee at the Quad is accepting nominations for the 2003 Ubora Award. Sue Davison sent me a letter urging me to donate to the Dr. Seuss Memorial at the Quad. Eamon told me I should not give another penny to the Quadrangle. The National Committee of the Dr. Seuss Memorial consists of Parade editor Walter Anderson, columnist Art Buchwald, Hasbro CEO Alan G. Hassenfield, Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Congressman Richard E. Neal. The Chairs are former First Lady Barbara Bush and Seuss widow Audrey Geisel.

I have been singing this morning, something I don't do often enough. Went over to the McDonald's on Allen and used a coupon to try their new cheese and egg and sausage sandwich the McGriddle. It tastes good but is fatty and full of cholesterol. A street washing truck was filling up at the fire hydrant across from Talmadge School. The Springfield Republican is delivered in orange bags and the Boston Globe is delivered in blue ones.

Because Eamon is in the Valley Advocate I grabbed some extra copies to pass out. I took some from Lewis & Clark, the Blockbuster next to Fleet, Newsstand and Eastfield Mall. Then I went to the carillon concert at Trinity Church on Sumner. Only about fifty people were there. I gave out John Wesley postcards to everyone, including an infant. They were selling strawberry shortcake but offering no free food.

The 14th Annual Family Fishing Festival at Five Mile Pond on Boston Road will be held May 10th. It is partly a memorial to Yolly Nahorniak's late husband and son. Paul Caron and Tony Cignoli are involved, as is Brian Lees and Big Y. I called Charlie's house and got Mrs. Ryan on the phone. I told her to tell her husband that I appreciate him making the sacrifice to run for mayor in order to save our city. She is a jovial woman who has a charming chuckle. Then I called Efrem Gordon and told him to be sure and pick up a Valley Advocate because it has great articles in it about Charlie Ryan and Eamon O'Sullivan. He said thank-you and wished me a happy 4th of July.

Maureen Turner's article on Ryan had this to say about Linda Melconian: "Melconian is the race's establishment candidate. Her formal campaign announcement last month was crowded with elected officials, City Hall employees and political consultants." Ryan is quoted as saying: "To the extent that I have to revamp the establishment, I will." Ryan said. "There are no sacred cows."

Eamon called and said now that Ryan is running Senator Melconian should do herself a favor and withdraw. He says all our local politicians should accept responsibility for the decline of Springfield and resign, but of course they never will. He saw the Advocate article on himself and said he liked the photo I gave them to use. Eamon said he really appreciated what Vannah wrote about him. He has long complained that he has given the Advocate inside information over the years and they have never acknowledged him. Now he is satisfied.

Article on Eamon
in the Valley Advocate
July 2003

The Freest Speech:
Mr. O'Sullivan's Phone
by Tom Vannah

Today, Eamon O'Sullivan is going after one of his favorite targets: Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Joseph Burke. Whether or not they share his revulsion for Burke, hundreds of listeners, including scores of politicos from Washington D.C. to Western Massachusetts' southernmost city, will tune in to hear O'Sullivan's rant. They don't tune their radio dial. They don't tune in to public-access TV or the Internet. They tune in by dialing their phones. They call (413) 746-6164 and listen to the updated daily messages on O'Sullivan's answering machine.

Who says you have to own a mega-corporation to get your take on the news out to the public?

"The inept, overpaid school superintendent Burke - the phony faker from Miami - is a good example of the incompetence and mismanagement that permeates Springfield's bad city government..." O'Sullivan begins a recent assault, a response to a news story about a teacher accused of stealing from the schools. "Burke has no idea how many computers, textbooks, and other school supplies are stolen from the Springfield public schools because there's no inventory control. No one's minding the store. It's only taxpayer's money, but these villains, profiteers and thieves should be fired."

No need to leave a message, but many do. Calling O'Sullivan's voice machine is a daily ritual, not only for the political insiders who'd never admit to it - beware: O'Sullivan has caller ID - but for regular folk. Some look to communicate with a kindred spirit. Some are spoiling for a fight. Some just hope for a good laugh.

O'Sullivan has been delivering his withering voice machine commentaries for about ten years. A retired education specialist with the State Department of Education, O'Sullivan - born Edward T. Sullivan in 1935 - is a lifelong resident of Springfield, a city he says he loves dearly. He started his daily communications because he was frustrated with the unattended chronic problems in city government, particularly in the public schools, and the lack of critical reporting in the local daily newspaper. When he started, in fact, he says the Springfield Union-News (now the Springfield Republican) sent a reporter over to ask 'what the hell I thought I was doing."

"I told them it was none of their business what I was doing. The reporter asked if I was worried about getting sued. I said, "No. In a libel suit, truth is the best defense. I always get my facts straight and I always tell the truth." The newspaper never said another word."

Still, O'Sullivan gets some unpleasant reactions to his messages, particularly those skewering Mayor Michael Albano, whose administration continues to unravel as federal prosecutors indict top officials in a widening public corruption probe. A while back, a local fire fighter threatened to burn his house down after hearing one of his rants on Albano. O'Sullivan says, "That's when I got caller ID and an alarm system."

O'Sullivan has been part of the New England broadcast community since he was 7 years old, when he sang on local radio with Chris Tabb and his Emerald Isle Orchestra. An Irish tenor who still sings 'at weddings and funerals," O'Sullivan was known in his pre-adolescent years as "Eddie Sullivan, the little man with the big voice."

Lately, O'Sullivan says, traffic has been brisk. Besides attracting new listeners who are just tuning in to the intrigue surrounding the federal corruption probe in Springfield - O'Sullivan has followed it every step of the way - he's getting a boost from his brethren in the media. A local classic hits radio station, WAQY 102-FM, has recently featured weekly excerpts from his voice messages, a bit called "Everybody Loves Eamon." His views are also frequently re-broadcast on American International College's radio station, WAIC.

O'Sullivan says he receives between 150 and 250 calls in a 24 hour period - sometimes many more. "They call all night. I have a 90 minute tape - I have to cram what I have to say in a 30 second outgoing message - and I wake up some mornings and it's full," he says. "All I can do is tell people what I'm seeing and hearing," he says. "I can't do any more than I'm doing."

He's doing more than most.

July 4, 2003

A beautiful sunny day.

President Bush will be 57 on Sunday.

The City Council has granted final approval to an ordinance that creates a city department and five member board to run the city's libraries. "This is a historic day in the City of Springfield," Council President Daniel D. Kelly was quoted as saying in the paper. Charlie Ryan was quoted as saying he is "very happy" and that the city should control the libraries rather than the private association at the Quadrangle because the libraries are taxpayer funded. Ryan was chairman of the Library Committee that pushed for the takeover and the vice chair was Melinda Pellerin-Duck.

I watched the Boston fireworks on CBS-3, the fanciest yet but there were too many commercials, including ones for Fairmont Copley Plaza "the official hotel of the Boston Pops." The Springfield fireworks were aired on TV40.

The Breckwood Shops were all closed up as I took a ride downtown with very light traffic on the way. I parked at Club Taboo on Dwight and got the latest copies of Bay Windows. Then I headed back up the hill and drove past the Price-Rite in Pine Point which was mobbed. Instead I went to the Big Y which was also open and bought some fish and chips and checked their bulletin board which had nothing of interest. Randall's usually has a good bulletin board. Then I went home and had the fish and chips with a dented can of beets I bought at Stop&Shop a few days ago.

Called Larry McDermott at the paper and wished him a Happy 4th of July on his answering machine. I noted that there is a Vannah article in the Valley Advocate about Eamon and a Turner article on Ryan. I ended by saying, "Read the Valley Advocate, where the news hits home!"

Then I called Eamon and wished him a Happy 4th and he told me that TV reporter Jim Polito called and thanked him for the information Eamon mailed to him about the mess at Commerce. Eamon told me he never saw the obituary for Tom Devine's mother so I told him I'd send him a copy.

Then we talked a bit about Charlie Ryan and Eamon said "it's well known that he's cheap" despite having gotten considerable money from the Ryan Drug Store chain and from his wife Joan McCarthy who had money from a trust fund somewhere despite her dad being only a caretaker at Van Horn Park. She has two brothers and three sisters. Eamon complained that Mo Turner's article on Ryan referred to him as "a former lawyer" when in fact Ryan has never formally retired and still takes small cases now and then.

Eamon recalled how when he was working as a department head (civil defense) for Mayor Tommy O'Connor, he got an invitation one day to lunch with Charlie's brother Donald and Attorney Eddie Gallagher (who used to live across the street from me). They met at one o'clock in the Gunnery Room of the Kimball Hotel and over sandwiches and beer Don Ryan told Eamon that Charlie intended to run to unseat O'Connor. Gallagher said Charlie would like to keep Eamon as part of his administration, but only if Eamon would desert O'Connor and publicly back Ryan.

Eamon said that his loyalty was to Tommy O'Connor who was the one who had hired him in the first place, and so Don Ryan replied, "Fine, if we win, you're out!" And sure enough when Charlie beat O'Connor in 1961 Eamon was fired out the door, although he quickly landed on his feet with a better paying position with the Mass State Department of Education. But Eamon never held a grudge against Charlie Ryan for firing him, saying, "That's just politics."

July 6, 2003

77 degrees at 8:55am. A warm day with a torrential shower in the afternoon. Saw two Monarch butterflies flitting about in the backyard.

Leather Today, Leather Tomorrow, Leather Forever!

Susan P. Davison's full title is Vice-President of Marketing and Development at the Springfield Library and Museums. In compensation for what they did to the memory of Annie Curran by selling the library she paid to be built in Mason Square they should rename the Starr Gallery at the Quadrangle the Curran Gallery.

I wrote a note to Tom Vannah at the Valley Advocate thanking him for doing an article on Eamon. I said that Eamon liked the photo they used that I had given them, even though he was wearing his glasses. I also sent Vannah some postcards. Eamon told me he sent Vannah a thank you letter as well.

The sun was out when I left at 3pm but dark clouds were overhead when I came out of Parker Drugs where I mailed a proposal to the members of the City Council that any politician convicted of a crime in Springfield be stripped of all honors they ever received. As I left I grabbed a bunch of Advocates for Eamon, who has passed out all the copies he had to his friends. Then I stopped at Goodies the Goodwill store but all they had were clothes and household goods, nothing special. Then I went to Eastfield Mall and walked around for a while. I peeked into Donovan's Pub where I noticed they have a 6x8 color photo of Ox McCarthy on the wall and a plaque in his honor.

Then I went down to Falcetti Music and looked around and admired a lovely old piano forte they had on display. Next I stopped at Kappy's Liquor Store and asked about the Sam Adams Commemorative Bottle. They said they had one for $120 but it was a second edition so I said I was not interested. I took a handful of their Advocates as I left and then headed up to Stop&Shop for some veggie-burgers on sale and a dented can of asparagus. Why pay more?

When I got home Eamon called and said the Advocate article has his phone ringing off the hook. I mentioned seeing the Ox McCarthy plaque and photo at Donovan's Pub and he laughed. Eamon said that Ox McCarthy was "a treacherous bastard" who was rumored to have been a hit man for the Irish mafia in his youth. Attorney General Edward Brooke (later senator) once sent an agent named Lucille Hutton to investigate Ox. When she attempted to interrogate him in his bar, he offered her a free drink with a Mickey Finn slipped in it and a half hour later she had to be carried out of the bar and dumped in the back seat of her car to sleep it off. Some alcohol was sprinkled on her clothes, so that if she woke up and tried to tell the police that something had made her unconscious, she would be stinking of whiskey. Ox declared that the next time "that nigger" Ed Brooke sent somebody around he would send them back to Boston permanently unconscious. Eamon said that eventually Matty Ryan intervened and somehow got Brooke to back off and leave Ox alone.

July 8, 2003

Cloudy and 74 degrees at 8:30am. Gas is $1.43 at Sunoco. Daisies blooming.

The picture of me that Father always had of me in his billfold, reproduced on page 9 of the Fernbank land booklet, has to the left of me a picket gate across the driveway. That was there to keep me in, but my parents preferred to tell me that it was to keep Mrs. Janes out. Therefore I thought there was nothing wrong with me slipping out of a gap in the gate one day to my parent's great alarm because the gap was too small for Mrs. Janes to slip through. Such is a child's logic!

Tosha Makia and DJ Lazy K! will be appearing July 26 at the Community Awareness Day hosted by Inda Streetz Magazine at the Cottage Hill Banquet Hall on Cottage Street in Springfield. The Curtis Fine Paper Mill in Adams has laid off all but their office staff. Wilbraham is undertaking a $600,000 major project to improve the town's roads.

Emerson Inn By the Sea is in Rockport, Massachusetts. After more than a year of renovations the Springfield Central Library is scheduled to reopen on July 29th. I came across Mother's old yardstick today. It has printed on it in red: Clark Oil Company - Kerosine and Fuel Oil - 758 Union Street - West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Governor Romney and his two sons rescued six people and a dog from a sinking boat in Lake Winnipesaukee this past weekend. A nice story, but the newspaper said that a neighbor helped yet the neighbor is not named! Mail not here at 5pm but when I checked again at 7:30 it was there. The Reminder came and had a very puny and inadequate story about Ryan's campaign kick-off at City Hall.

Mudry has a washing machine on the curb without a pick-up sticker. The site of the boarded up Burger King in the Big Y parking lot where Mother and I went occasionally is being all dug up. When walking towards the entrance to the Boston Road Big Y World Class Market today a petite woman with long brown hair, black shorts with a white top and a shoulder bag came trotting along and threw her cigarette butt on the cement right by the Big Y main door. I asked, "Don't you think you should dispose of your butt appropriately?" She politely replied, "I would if there was an ashtray."

When I got inside I told John the head of groceries that the store should have a place by the door to dispose of butts, but we agreed that the woman should have left the butt in the ashtray of her car. On the way home coming down Talbot I ran into Mr. Lucius who was wearing sunglasses and taking a morning walk. He said his wife is not doing well. We chatted a bit about politics and he said we should stop poking our noses in everywhere and get out of the Mideast.

Former Springfield Zoning Administrator Timothy P. Clemons was sentenced to six months in jail by Judge Judd J. Carhart for pressuring car shops to give him "donations" when inspecting their properties. Hired in 1997, Clemons blamed his behavior on a heroin addiction.

I called Assistant Curator Liz Sommers at the Quadrangle today but she was not in. Mayor Michael Albano has named the five people who will serve on the new Board of Library Commissioners: Patrick J. Markey, Grisel Gonzalez, Jennifer D. Murphy, Bettye Webb and Helen C. Boyle. I wouldn't want to be on that board, with Markey and Murphy and Boyle on it I'd say it was just the same old gang. Despite losing the libraries the Quadrangle insiders can still play their elitist games.

I sometimes notice that that when I visit Atty. Efrem Gordon that he has a little black box on his desk that he touches in a special way when he sits down. Is it a tape recorder?

July 10, 2003

77 degrees, lightly raining. Milkweed and Queen Anne's Lace coming into bloom. Gas at Hess at Ames Plaza is $1.36.

I love the cartoonist Oliphant. Senator John Kerry is complaining that we don't have enough troops in Iraq to get the job done. Phil Paini of Bethel, Vermont is the gentleman who completed the lettering for my parent's tombstone. He charged plenty for it, but we had hurt his father's feelings by not agreeing to the lovely deep cut design he originally proposed when Father died. Instead Mother had someone local do the stone. Sometimes Mother could be insensitive. My Mother's best friend Mrs. Staniski got a new hearing aid yesterday.

Gerry A. Sarno is the chairman of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society's 106th Annual Italian Festival. Lisa Fleury works at Chase, Clarke, Stewart and Fontana on State Street in Springfield. Warren Sumner works at Sumner and Toner Insurance Agency in Longmeadow. Lois Roufogalis works at Haberman Insurance Group in West Springfield. The Brimfield Antique Show is this week.

I'm sending one of my John Wesley postcards anonymously in a typewritten envelope to the Rev. Kenneth Campbell at Epiphany. As I was leaving for Old Deerfield today Kelly came zooming by in a blue car and called, "Hey Wesley!" but she never stops to talk. The house at the corner of Ballard has a brand new stockade fence put up by Pappelardo Fence Company. As I passed the Mass Mutual Conference Center the parking lot was packed. I passed Hampshire College at 10:00. Went through Amherst center at 10:05 where the road was dug up and ready to pave. Passed the entrance to Mount Sugarloaf at 10:20 and arrived at Old Deerfield at 10:29.

First I went to the Silver-craft Shop and saw some antique silver including one with a receipt signed by Paul Revere. There were mostly spoons because forks weren't used much in colonial times. Next I went to the largely bare Sheldon-Hawkes House where I ran into Peter S. Miller, the Greenfield historian who told me he is working on compiling a card index of cemetery records. He informed me that as a youth he attended UMass in chemistry but dropped out. Then he sold insurance for John Hancock but since retiring has devoted his life to local history. I invited him to come visit me sometime to see my historic artifacts relating to Greenfield and its banks.

Then I continued on to the Williams House where I found out that the docents are volunteers although the guides get a meager salary. There was beautiful chinaware on the shelves but they would all tumble and smash if there were an earthquake. There was a beautiful well lighted kitchen and a Franklin stove upstairs. I left for home at 1:30 and encountered a brief traffic jam going up the mountain which got worse until the Granby turnoff. Got home at 2:55 where a box of books from Timothy Hawley had arrived in the mail.

The fee for a Firearms ID Card is going up from $25 to $100. A company called RCN in Springfield Tech Park at STCC is leaving to go to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania and 350 jobs will be lost. We are also losing 435 jobs at Unicare for a total of 785 jobs lost in Springfield in the past month.

Senator Linda Melconian was on the news saying "The greatest resource we have in Springfield are the people of Springfield." The 4th Annual "Ride for Molly" will be at the North Brookfield Elementary School on June 29th. Molly A. Bish disappeared from Commins Pond in Warren on June 27, 2000. It is a terrible tragedy and I am sympathetic towards her family but the fact is they have harped in the media about her disappearance so much over the past three years that I have tuned it out.

July 11, 2003

72 degrees, overcast and raining. Gas down to $1.41 at Pride.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born July 30, 1947. This morning WFCR was honoring an anniversary of the USMC Band and they played "Courtly Dance" a chordal piece I haven't heard for years but I remember playing it with Holuvnia at Buckingham when I played clarinet. Better Business Bureau President C.J. Pederson was on TV saying that people should not disclose their Social Security numbers. I recall he did nothing when I complained about the Half Moon Bookstore.

Longmeadow Flowers is at 708 Bliss Road. Brimfield has laid off some cops and a silver merchant at the Brimfield flea market says he had $100,000 worth of silver stolen from his tent overnight. Jim Landers son Sean has got his driver's license and is happily driving around in the Oldsmobile his dad bought for him. A dumb black woman on the morning TV news said that she didn't think that Melconian's taxes were a problem, since if she were elected mayor with her higher salary she would have no problem paying them in the future.

When I left today at 10:40 there was an expensive car parked in front of Colleen's house. I went to the UPS Store which still doesn't have a sign on it. The clerk said they have 2500 stores in the chain so it takes awhile. I headed downtown and parked at the end of Willow Street and meanderingly walked over to Efrem Gordon's to drop off some papers. I told Efrem about how I contacted Peggy Starr and Judith Matt but neither responded and he commiserated with that. I told him I've had trouble with everybody in town at one time or other. Efrem likes gossip because it is useful to him to know what's going on with prominent people.

Next I paused at Tony's Famous Barber Shop on Main Street and working was Tony Isham, Ralph D'Arco, Tony Isotti and Carmino Manzi. I then proceeded to the Quadrangle and the Connecticut Valley History Museum. Upstairs the two back galleries have stuff on local industry and the front two galleries are Dr. Seuss stuff. I ran into Maggie Humbertson whom I have known since way back because I knew her mother-in-law.

Humbertson hadn't heard that Dorothy Mozley had died, and I reminded her that if it wasn't for Dorothy Mozley she wouldn't have her job. I also warned her that things may have been removed from the museum for political reasons or for profiteering and when I asked she reassured me that the museum still had the complete works of Josiah Gilbert Holland. Then I went over to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the hippie poster show, which was a disappointment. The posters were all miniatures or commercial lithographs courtesy of the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. The show was accompanied with a book I should get The Art of Rock: Posters from Presley to Punk by Paul D. Grushkin.

For years I have complained that the Agreement Tablet in the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum was covered up after his will was broken and the collection changed. Today I saw that it has been uncovered and so I congratulated the lady in attendance. However I explained to her that now the tablet lies because the stuff in the museum is no longer arranged as it was when Smith died, but has been sold off and re-arranged.

Back in the Acres I stopped at Ruby Tuesday for a salad with a coupon. Then I went over to the Eastfield Mall for the latest Valley Advocate which still had nothing in it by Tom Vannah. When I got home I called Melconian's office and spoke with Carolyn. I told her that if there are other financial embarrassments that are liable to come out then Linda should spare herself and drop out of the mayor's race now.

A teacher at Commerce contacted Eamon and said that "Teacher of the Year" Melinda Pellerin-Duck is on her second marriage. She is certified in Social Studies and the teacher told Eamon she is "a fraud and a phony." Eamon called his friends at the State Department of Education which is who gave her the Teacher of the Year Award and they said "all the information for that award is generated locally." In other words there is no objective evaluation, just the info received from the school districts themselves tooting their own horns. Eamon said that if she is really such a fantastic teacher why don't they recruit her to replace Ann Henry as principal?

Eamon complains that he is having trouble getting anyone to pay attention to the crisis at Commerce. He said that the Springfield Republican's education reporter Mary Ellen O'Shea's husband has a job in the school department so of course she is not interested in writing anything critical about the schools. Eamon's latest phone message attacks Superintendent J. Burke for his timidity in not firing Commerce principal Ann Henry because he fears a "black backlash" and his message also pointed out that Henry has a $100,000 consultant to "hold her hand" and tell her what to do. Eamon says that because of his cowardice Burke should be fired right along with Henry. I told him he should back off Commerce for a while and start helping Charlie Ryan by launching a new round of attacks against Melconian. He agreed.

Eamon said a source at the newspaper told him that there is a civil war underway at the paper between the old guard loyal to David Starr and those allied with the more reform minded people brought in by Larry McDermott. Starr and McDermott disagree whether there should be a casino in Springfied, with Starr for it and McDermott against it, and Starr doesn't like the way they are ruining Linda Melconian's mayoral candidacy by exposing her tax delinquencies.

Senator Melconian has paid off a bundle in unpaid back taxes recently and everyone knows that she is only paying because she has been exposed. Eamon wondered how it is that Melconian could have fallen so far behind on her taxes with the big salaries she and her husband make. On the TV news they showed her house, which design-wise is about like Charlie Ryan's up the street. I always read the delinquent tax list when the newspaper publishes it each year and don't ever remember seeing her name, although they have listed chronic tax dodger Rep. Benjamin Swan. Maybe Melconian's house is listed under her husband's name, but you still would have expected the paper to have pointed that out, especially since they intended to attack Swan for the same thing. Obviously the Springfield Newspapers have been covering up for Melconian for years.

July 13, 2003

72 degrees. Nearly a full moon tonight.

Antique markets are like open air museums with the vendors as curators.

The Quadrangle calls itself "The Cultural Heart of the City." Originally called "The People's College" construction of the complex began in 1857 and was completed in 1934. The Augustus Saint-Gaudens statue of The Puritan was placed there in 1899. The statue memorializes the early settler Deacon William Chapin, not William Pynchon as many assume.

Dave Hiller is the owner of Hiller Real Estate in Wilbraham. Hitchcock Press is on Hanover Street in Holyoke. While trimming the wild roses today I noticed a dead rat, a big one, in the middle of Wilbraham Road. Also found on my lawn a high quality screw driver with rust or perhaps blood on the tip. Then I went out to Arnold's for bread and got the paper. There was some sort of party with rock music underway at Colleens. The Cohn's were sitting outside their house with their nurse. There was another tag sale at 111 Jeffery Road and 55 Birchland is for sale by the owner.

I went to the wake of my neighbor Raymond J. Penniman. His widow looked good in a white outfit. I signed the guestbook, "Good neighbors are hard to find, and even harder to lose." Penniman was 73, graduated from Technical High School in 1947 and while in the service had a bit role in the John Wayne film The Sands of Iwo Jima. He worked as an electrician for the city and had a little antique business on the side called Heritage Antiques.

When I got home on the news there was a story about Apremont Triangle residents complaining about the expansion of the Club 418 strip joint into an adjoining building. The spokesperson for the concerned neighbors was Robert Louder, whom I recognized as a local antique glass dealer. I wonder if he lives in the Kimball?

Michael P. Ryan is the treasurer of Ryan for Mayor. Charlie Ryan's campaign has released the following statement:

It is possible that we are heading for a financial meltdown. Our obligations keep mounting and the resources keep dwindling. If we pass the line where our expenses exceed our revenues, we will be faced with the appointment of a state receiver who will run this city with the authority and coldness of a dictator. Our once proud Springfield could become the third city in the entire history of Massachusetts to have a receiver imposed upon it. It is imperative that this challenge be faced.

I have no ambitions beyond doing this job and doing it well. I am prepared to make the hard decisions which are needed to set this city on the right course. I promise to lead this city into a new era. That is my mission.

Charles V. Ryan

Eamon called and described how he ran into an acquaintance at Stop&Shop who lives on Connecticut Avenue who said she is moving out because of all the Puerto Ricans moving in. She bought a house on Tinkham Road in Wilbraham. He then informed me that the "V" in Charles V. Ryan actually stands for two middle names - Charles Victor Vincent Ryan. Eamon said he called TV40 and chewed them out for having not done a single story on Melconian's property taxes. They told him that Jim Polito is on vacation, but Eamon said why couldn't somebody else cover it?

An article in the paper today reveals that of all seven Springfield residents who took out nomination papers for mayor only Senator Melconian has a bad record. She recently paid $11,000 in late taxes on her 257 Fort Pleasant Avenue residence and this year is the first time in the past twelve years that she has paid on time! Obviously she feels that as a government official she doesn't have to pay and felt confident no one would force her to. The other possible mayoral contenders who had no tax issues were Charlie Ryan, Armando Feliciano, Winston Gaskins, David Wanat, Sharon C. Johnson and Claire Bertrand. Of course most of these contenders will not actually get the signatures to run. City Treasurer Matthew E. Donnellan said 98 percent of Springfield's 45,000 homeowners pay their taxes on time, including the current Mayor Michael J. Albano.

Eamon said that Ryan volunteers were gathering signatures at Liberty Plaza yesterday. Eamon is piling on Melconian with his phone message today demanding that she release her water, sewer and excise tax records as well. I've continued to harass Senator Melconian by leaving messages on her office phone. Today I asked her why she hasn't released her credit card balances and closed with, "Have a nice day Linda, and don't forget to drop out of the race!"

July 15, 2003

75 degrees on the breezeway. Overcast. Gas is $1.49 on the Pond.

Wear orange in solidarity with all the people doing time for doing drugs!

The Sunoco down to Breckwood was held up last night. My weight is now 196, which is a tad better. The mail brought an A.G. Edwards check for $892.60, right on time to pay my property taxes and make a $350 gift to the Dr. Seuss Memorial. Swung by Tassinari's book bindery yesterday with two tattered volumes from the 1700's by William Temple. He said he will re-bind them for $150 but they won't be done until September. There was a tan dog on a leash right inside the door. Tassinari said his son who drives a motorcycle is working there now.

Dropped off some magazines for the Cohn's, Mrs. Cohn was entertaining Mr. Cressotti in the kitchen and Mr. Cohn was sleeping. Stopped at the Big Y that used to be a FoodMart and asked them what became of the jovial black woman that used to work there and they said she was transferred to West Springfield. Their muffins looked really good and I inquired what they do at the end of the day with their leftovers. They told me they give them to the Open Pantry. Well now, rather than offer them at day old prices to ordinary customers they give them to the poor for an enormous tax write off! As I was leaving I ran into ex-rep Fred Whitney. He said he is definitely backing Charlie Ryan but told me that many of his fellow Republicans have told him they think Ryan is too old to be mayor. He said his sickly son will have an operation in Boston in September.

Then over to Rocky's Hardware to buy leaf bags. Later as I waited for a light I noticed that in the grass plot in the middle of the intersection of Bicentennial and Allen, a small black pickup truck with a city seal on the door was parked and a man was operating a whiplash lawn edger while a female worker walked around. I saw her bend over and pick up a piece of litter, examine it, and then throw it back on the ground. I yelled out my window at her, "Pick it up!" She just gave me a dirty look and walked away as the light changed and I drove off.

As I was driving down Walnut a white limo with the license LV 36634 turned out of Union and then onto Federal and then turned into the front gate of STCC. Who was it? President Scibelli? I arrived at Kohl's at 11:50. It is a nice store, a good replacement for Bradlees, but still more expensive than Sears. I walked around, bought nothing and departed. Next I headed down to Yale-Genton and their prices are outrageous! Their ladies department is quite swanky the way Steiger's used to be, with recessed lights, chandeliers, doors with round tops and fancy tables. However their carpets were badly faded and their parking lot is also in need of repair.

Stopped at Milano's and got a poster for the 106th Mt. Carmel Festival, where I also got a wonderful sub and some olive oil. Those festival posters are hard to get because they only post them on the inside of businesses and they disappear quickly. When I got home and was getting out of my car Mrs. Allard pulled up to say how amazed and disgusted she was by Senator Melconian's tax delinquencies. She said it goes to show how crass the local politicians are and how little respect they have for the electorate.

Eamon called and told me that his house was built in 1925 but the oldest houses on Tacoma Street are a pair built in 1914. Linda Melconian has sent out a mailing asking for ideas on how to save Springfield and Eamon said several people have told him that Melconian is often seen at Riverside/Six Flags. Eamon says he called Melconian's office and asked where the headquarters for her mayoral campaign will be and they said call back in a week. Eamon's older sister told him that she and her friends were supporting Melconian but now they won't after her tax scandal.

East Longmeadow School Superintendent Edward W. Costa has an error-laden essay in The Reminder this week. I called him directly and when I got him on the phone I started telling him about his spelling and other grammar errors. Suddenly he interrupted me and growled, "Are you trying to sell me something?" and then slammed down the phone, rudely hanging up in my ear.

July 16, 2003

73 degrees, raining.

Norma Brigham was the Assistant Treasurer at Holyoke Savings Bank in 1971. Senator Linda Melconian held a press conference today apologizing for her tax delinquencies and admitting that sometimes her water and sewer bills were late as well.

This morning I called Larry McDermott and left a message that his presses create too deep a crease in the paper, which is bad for the archival permanency of clippings. Then I called Central High and discovered that Stoddard has moved on to become principal of Chestnut Accelerated Middle School and that Patricia Keenan is the Chairperson of English.

Next I called the Superintendent office in East Longmeadow and spoke to Dottie who said that Karen Wheeler is the chairperson of the School Committee, but she is on vacation. So I left a message on her voicemail alerting her to Superintendent Ed Costa's illiterate essay in The Reminder.

Finally I called The Reminder and got Julie who told me this was "only my second day on the job." She connected me to Mike Dobb's voicemail and I told him about Costa's embarrassing essay and suggested to him that the gentlemanly thing to have done would have been to correct Costa's essay before printing it.

I rarely see the green car parked over to the Devine house on Breckwood anymore. There was a chest of drawers and an ironing board out on their treebelt today. The Ryan people have moved into their headquarters in the old dancing school next to Angelo's Fruits and Vegetables Mart. There is a huge Ryan sign in the window. I parked across the street at the end of the side street between Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Cumberland Farms.

Inside was Rosemarie Couglin in a peach suit writing at the front desk with a fancy pen. Karen Powell was there with her hair dyed a lovely deep black and we chatted about Eamon and Sue Davison. She said Ryan has turned in all the signatures he needs to make the ballot. There was a jovial black person there who introduced himself as Steve Pegram. He said he liked my orange jumpsuit. They had bumperstickers and literature for the taking, including pro-Ryan material printed off of Tom Devine's website. I took one of the Ryan stickers and when I got home I placed it over the old Caron sticker on the telephone pole outside my house.

When I went inside the phone was ringing and it was Eamon, telling me that the Melconian headquarters is located somewhere over by Gus & Paul's. I told him I would investigate so I headed out again listening to Vivaldi on the car radio. First I swung by Central High School and left off some material for Ed Smith and Patricia Keenan with Mrs. Crinella in the main office. Then I found the Melconian headquarters which is located where Eastern Advertising was, next door to Slipcover Center Inc. on Sumner Avenue. I quietly stepped inside Melconian headquarters and there was no one in sight although I could hear people talking in a back room. On a desk I spotted a notepad with the name John C. Otto on it. I just grabbed some stickers and flyers off a table and left without anyone ever knowing that I was there.

I then headed immediately back over to Ryan headquarters where Karen was still there chatting with Pegram and I gave the campaign material I had taken from Melconian headquarters to Dave Morrill who thanked me and said he hadn't seen her campaign materials before. On the way back home I mailed a postcard of Hillcrest Cemetery to my tag sale friend, the sweet little retired black nurse Evelyn Johnson.

Today Eamon has a funny message on his phone where he pretends to have found a memo by Mayor Albano listing things to do before leaving office:

Call Charlie Kingston to apply pressure on Mass Mutual for money to build the Albano Mayoral Library. Tow the cars of all city employees cooperating with the Feds. Visit Buddy Cianci in prison and bring him some of my pasta sauce. Take a farewell stroll down mob alley - I mean the entertainment district. For publicity turn down a Harvard Kennedy School appointment before they have a chance not to offer it. Go to confession out of town so I can tell the truth.

July 18, 2003

73 degrees. A lovely mild day with puffy cumulus clouds. Purple lilies in bloom along Wilbraham Road.

The old order changeth yielding way to the new and God reveals himself in many ways.

Art Linkletter is 91 today. It has been 100 days since Bagdad fell. On TV40 Mark Hyman gave an editorial denouncing poet laureate Amiri Baraka for suggesting that President Bush may have known about the 9/11 attacks in advance.

The City of Springfield's 18th Annual Charity Classic will be held at Franconia/Veterans Golf courses on September 19th. To register contact Pedge Lynch, Donna Williams or Al Chwalek. Mother loved dahlias and we grew them when we first moved here but after a couple of years they petered out. Today I paid the house taxes for the rest of the year - $866.66.

The silver car with the Connecticut plates was parked in front of Colleen's again. Birchland Avenue was street swept today. There were street sweeper marks all along Wilbraham Road to Plumtree. Drove through Hillcrest Cemetery where there was a blue truck and men mowing the floral clock so I photographed them plus the avenue down to the carillon. Went to Big Y and won a silver coin which is worth a free slice of pizza.

Then down to the Eastfield Mall where I looked at sportscoats at Penny's, Filene's and Sears. In the mall parking lot I saw a red and white bumpersticker reading, "Caron Was Right." I finally bought a sportscoat from Penny's for $64, the same thing at Sears was $69 and Filene's wanted $129. Everybody plays games with prices.

Next I went to visit my old Homer Street Elementary School teacher Flora M. Bacon for the first time at her nursing home, The St. Joseph's Residence in Enfield. It is a typical Catholic establishment with religious materials by the door. The last time I saw Miss Bacon she was still living in Longmeadow on Longview Drive.

I told the receptionist who I was there to see and then after a short time Miss Bacon appeared, quite agile with her walker but somewhat shrunken from her former self and wearing plastic eye protectors because she was recently operated on for glaucoma. She was friendly and told me my visit caused a little stir because she never receives any visitors. She thanked me for sending her a copy of my book Legal Laughs.

Miss Bacon said she likes the meals they serve at the nursing home, although the communal living took some getting used to. She said the only argument she has had there was with a retired priest who wanted to bring back the Latin Mass. We also discussed the church sex scandal and she said she couldn't understand why the people who were abused didn't come forward sooner, but I told her that the church is powerful and they feared they wouldn't be believed.

For a time she reminisced about her parents. She said that her father, Frank Barton Bacon, a relative of Red Cross founder Clara Barton, was a Mason and Congregationalist who got married in the Catholic Church only after he signed a paper agreeing to bring his kids up Catholic. She said her mother was shy and had a sense of humor. We spoke of the Homer Street days and she recalled how I once complained to her about Mother rapping my fingers with a ruler for not practicing the piano. I told her I don't remember that, but then there's so much I can't recall about Mother's punishments.

Soon she had to go for lunch and so we said our good-byes and I drove back to downtown Springfield and walked around. I peeked into a new sports bar/restaurant where Burger King used to be in the Bookstore Building. It's a really nice place with lots of TV's and they said they had just opened on Thursday. Next door in the old Third National Bank building the Bank of Western Mass occupies three floors. Holland is no longer on the register. I went to the Tourist Information Office and picked up some brochures.

Heading up the street I had lunch at a new place where Playtown used to be, Kennedy (not Kentucky) Fried Chicken. The prices are lower than elsewhere and I had chicken and coleslaw with two rolls. It was okay, and there was a good number of customers, mostly minorities. There are booths and tables to sit at but they seem orientated towards take-out. It is a no-frills place but satisfactory. Then I took a little stroll up Worthington past the Kimball Hotel, whose sidewalk is a mess and needs replacement. The vacant Technical High School looks more deserted than ever. Soon I returned to my car and came home.

My caller ID showed that an E. Griffin of 51 Kerry Drive called at 9:12. I know no such person but called back and a saucy sounding woman answered. I asked if this were E. Griffin. She said no and who is calling. I replied, "The party you called at 9:12." She exclaimed, "I don't like the way you're talking to me and don't call this house again!" Then she slammed down the phone. I called her right back and said, "Lady, you got it wrong, don't you call my house again!" Then I hung up on her. So there!

Bob's Discount Furniture advertises on all stations endlessly. What would his stuff cost if minus the cost of the ads? So I called Bob's and some girl answered and I told her that all they sell is flimsy fraternity house furniture. She pretended not to know what I was talking about and hung up.

Eamon called and said the Lazer Color Copy place he goes to is going out of business. He claims Linda Melconian is surrounded by dishonest career politicians from the Boland-Sullivan-Neal-Catjakis Gang, including Tom Ashe, which means that Frankie Keough is involved in her campaign. However not a single one of them has come forward to defend Linda in her tax scandal.

Eamon said that people have been leaving anonymous tips on his voicemail saying that Linda Melconian has a "special friend" that she goes on long trips with. Others have left messages telling about a mob bookie operating out of New Haven. Eamon is checking with all his sources to try to find out the names of both of these individuals whom Eamon suspects may be Linda's gay lover and her husband's illegal gambling contact.

July 20, 2003

70 degrees at 7:30am. Splendorous beautiful day. Big gas station opposite St. Michael's Cemetery is $1.47.

The law offices of Seymour Harris, Matthew J. Ryan, Leonard Gibbons and Douglas Winniman were at 145 State Street in 1956. Eva Gomez, Juan Gerena and Jose Claudio are all members of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. There was an armed robbery this morning of a customer leaving the Fleet ATM at Monarch Place.

A very long funeral procession turned out of Wilbraham Road onto Parker. There was a plane flying over Lowe's Hardware advertising Kelly-Fradet Lumber. Went to Stop&Shop for some dented peach cans, some orange juice and some Weightwatchers dinners. The man in line behind me was an executive type with a very sour look about him that would just not lighten up. No eye contact, no comment. After I was rung up I looked at him with a big grin and said, "Smile!" He glared angrily back at me.

Then I headed down to the Basketball Hall of Fame. However first I stopped at the Sullivan Visitor's Center where there were only two cars in the parking lot and two bored workers behind the counter. There were no actual visitors in sight at the visitor center. There was a rack of Springfield Republicans and postcards for sale for 35 cents, three for a dollar. Suspended from the rafters are a BeeGee plane, an over-sized Dr. Seuss book, two Springfield rifles, a cello and assorted basketballs. One of the two workers asked if I needed any help but I said no and departed.

At the Hall of Fame I parked by the elevator but it was out of order. Nearby there were two benches, one with a woman reading and the other with a drunken bum lying on it. Otherwise a quiet, pastoral setting. The woman reading seemed disturbed by the sight of me in my leather and headed to her white car. The parking lot looked about half full and no more.

The new Max's Tavern is on the back of the north end of the complex. They have an outdoor dining area with metal tables and an arched deep red canopy over the entire sidewalk to the door. Swanky. At the northern end on either side of the drive were black boxes with cars on them advertising New England Dodge Dealers in an offensive display of crass commercialization. On the ledge around the Hall ticket booth (which is oval) they had a pile of Dodge promo brochures.

Max's Tavern is low grade architecturally speaking. All the wood is a deep brown and the upholstery is a deep red. Lighting fixtures are black iron like in a German restaurant with oak floors and some stained glass. Totally second class next to The Fort. There are framed photos of basketball greats but not an eye-catching accessory anywhere. Their prices were not cheap, $6.95 for a salad that was inferior to what they sell at Ruby Tuesday. Service was leisurely. Maybe I'll take Mrs. Staniski there sometime but I'm in no rush to return.

On the way back going past the Pine Point Community Center I saw a sign on the tree belt promoting a "Divorce Sale - Everything Must Go" at 265 Ambrose Street. When I got home Mudry was walking his daughter's shaggy brown dog named Oscar. On TV22 at six there was a story by Brenda Maloney reporting that there is a cat overpopulation problem in Springfield. After the news I dozed off and had a strange dream that I was at Colby with Lenehan, or maybe it was Kalodner at WNEC, and I was trying to find out my grades but they refused to tell me. It seems I've had that dream before, and I wonder if the dream will go away now that I've written it down.

Two more politician tax delinquents were exposed in the paper today - Rep. Ben Swan (no surprise) and City Councilor Jose Tosado. Eamon called and said he paid $900 today to his funeral director to be cremated and buried in the vets cemetery in Agawam. Eamon says that Vincent Savage, the cop in the paper who was busted for selling drugs in the Cornerstone bar on Page Boulevard, is the brother of the Reverend Warren Savage who was a priest at Holy Name for years. Another brother of his is in the fire department.

Eamon reported that State Representative Cheryl Rivera is backing Ryan instead of Linda despite the fact that Rivera has been close to one of the female aides in Melconian's office. A nice break for Ryan, who needs Hispanic support, but what will Rivera want in return in the long run?

July 23, 2003

74 degrees, nice but getting humid.

Boredom is the number one problem on Earth. Why is it that water sometimes clings and drips off slowly but other times it does not?

Did you know that Harvard has closed only once because of snow? During the blizzard of 1978 the University was closed from February 7th to February 10th. Saddam Hussein's sons have been killed. Good, they were savages, but it will make no difference in the war.

Sunday was Indian Motocycle Day at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. Production in Springfield stopped in 1953. Wayne Scott Jones lives at 226 Breckwood Boulevard. Joyce B. Devine lived at 106 Breckwood (783-8129). Wesley D. Walsh, formerly of East Longmeadow, has died at 67. Louis R. Tatro of Agawam has died at 85. He was the brother of my beloved Buckingham Science teacher Paul A. Tatro. The BusinessWest Resource Guide for 2003 came in the mail today with a view of the Springfield skyline on it.

WFCR says more than half of Massachusetts schools are not providing their students with sufficient computer access. There was another story on TV22 about the residents opposing expansion of the strip club at Dwight and Hillman, this one featuring Mark Burton, a white resident of the Apremont District. There was also another story on the Mason Square Library featuring Pat Markey, who has a funny voice. No Reminder yet this week. Mike Dobbs is now appearing on the Tony Gill Show on WAIC, the same show that Tom Devine is involved in. I wonder if Tom got involved through Doyle the Twig Painter, who is an art instructor at AIC.

Dined on peas and potatoes in hot milk. I went to the bank and put my World's Fair spoons and Franklin fireman medal in my safety deposit box. The woman who waited on me said she's a summer worker who is attending Westfield State majoring in Sports Medicine. Then I went to the Boston Road Big Y which had seagulls in the parking lot. The former Burger King building is all gone. Near the curb a bearded man was sitting with a big sign reading HOMELESS. Because of all the rain the crops of tobacco and sweet corn are two weeks late. Big Y is asking $3.00 for five ears of corn or sixty cents per ear which has got to be an all time high. Last summer it was 99 cents a dozen!

I bought a Boar's Head brand Italian sub to eat in the supermarket cafeteria. It had lots of lettuce, some thin tomato but only a little meat and cheese. At $3.99 for a six inch sub it was no bargain. Next I went to Ryan's headquarters where Karen Powell told me that Jim Landers is doing a lot of the printing for the campaign for free. When I left I drove down Breckwood where I saw there was a Hitchcock rocker with orange cushions on the tree belt in front of Devine's. The green car was in the driveway.

Went to see Efrem Gordon wearing my new sportscoat and he liked it, noting "at least it fits." I told Gordon how my Aunt Maria Giroux suffered from delusions and paranoid thoughts, was unaware of the nature and extent of her assets and was unable to manage the details of her daily living. I suggested other problems but Gordon said that if you can win on an easy issue don't mess with more difficult ones. The difficult issues are the ones most easily appealed. Gordon also said never use more force than is needed to achieve your objective.

Eamon called and said that his answering machine may need replacement soon. I told him no wonder, he probably has the most used answering machine in the city! Eamon's latest answering machine message is calling for Melconian, Swan and Tosado to resign over their tax delinquencies. The guy who runs the snack bar in City Hall told Eamon the other day that he overheard Mayor Albano tell Brian Santaniello that before he leaves office he would love to have the chance to tell Tom Vannah and Maureen Turner of the Valley Advocate what he really thinks of them.

July 26, 2003

73 degrees, light rain. Gas is $1.49 at the Pond.

Adding a bit of cinnamon greatly improves the flavor of rhubarb sauce.

The Springfield Better Business Bureau is at 293 Bridge Street and Lydia Ortiz is the Dispute Resolution Coordinator. My neighbor Colleen stopped by around 9:30 this morning and told me she is going to have her hedges trimmed. I showed her around and she admired a Ronald Reagan tie-rack so I gave it to her. She gave me a big hug in gratitude. As she left she told me that she doesn't like the way things are being run down at the Quadrangle. I told her I regret having given them a donation recently as they have not properly thanked me.

Governor Romney said today that he has read Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly's report on the clergy sex abuse scandal and said that he is "troubled" and "these people should be going to jail." Senator Stan Rosenberg was on WFCR this morning complaining about declining voter participation. A traffic light is being installed at the entrance to Gateway Village across from the WNEC Welcome Center. It is so close to the lights at Breckwood that I predict traffic tie-ups.

The other day I saw Efrem Gordon driving by in an immense green Mercedes Benz. Went downtown to drop off some papers with Gordon's receptionist and then walked over to Milano's where I bought a whole pound of pepper for $4.86 which is about half of what Stop&Shop and Big Y are charging. I also bought one of their well-filled Italian subs for $4 and ate it in my car parked on Howard. The back section of Technical High School has been completely demolished.

The Springfield Brew Club is no more. Located at the edge of the Entertainment District, it looked like a diner but was expensive. The gay place on Worthington Auntie Em's is all boarded up and the liquor store on the corner of Worthington and Dwight is closed although it looks like some sort of deli is going in. The sidewalks are crumbling on Taylor Street. Nothing lasts.

Stopped in the Attorney General's Office in the old Post Office which is now the Western Mass State House but they told me that the A.G.'s office is now on the 4th floor of the Sovereign Bank Building by City Hall. I walked down there and asked for a copy of Tommy Reilly's report on the Catholic Church sex scandals. They printed out and handed to me the entire 72 page report.

When I left and stepped out into the Sovereign Bank Plaza at noon the Cityblock Lunch Concert was just beginning. The performer was Marsia Shuron Harris of Northampton and attendance was positively lousy with only 14 people present, one of them being City Councilor Tim Rooke. These concerts are not what they once were, it was an especially lovely day with a nice cooling breeze but hardly anyone downtown.

Charlie Ryan had a fundraising party at the John Boyle O'Reilly Club yesterday. Neither I nor Eamon went although Eamon was at Ryan's house on Mapplewood Terrace earlier in the day. Eamon said he told Ryan about how Jim Johnson at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue told him that Springfield has the worst bond rating of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Eamon's friend Scott Copeland was there and told Ryan that the economy in Western Mass is terrible.

Eamon thinks that Tommy Reilly's report on the Catholic sex scandal is "weak" and that he showed "no balls" by not going after the church more aggressively. Eamon complained that if Linda Melconian can't handle her own finances how can she handle the city's? Linda's personal and professional life is falling apart and she needs time away from the pressures of public service to pull her life together. The voters will be doing Linda no favors if they grant her the mayoralty.

July 28, 2003

77 degrees at seven. Back door orange tiger lilies ready to burst open.

My ears are humming worse than ever. Finished reading Etzioni and learned more from it than I did from Kingsley Birge. Awoke in the middle of the night with my night shirt dripping wet from sweating in my sleep, a condition Father had that made Mother reluctant to sleep with him. Then I woke up in the morning with a small crick in my back. On coffee: The finer the grind the stronger the taste.

Letterman has the Late Show on CBS these days, Leno the Tonight Show with both on at 11:30. Nightline had a special tribute to Bob Hope, who died the other day. State Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly has $851,000 in his campaign war chest and may run for Governor. A Boston poll has found Senator John Kerry beating Howard Dean in the New Hampshire primary, but both Kerry and Dean are left in the dust if Hillary Clinton enters the race.

George Nassar, Paul Hunter, Timothy Howes & Paul Kahill had their offices in the Valley Bank Tower at Baystate West in 1973. Joseph H. Benger was Vice President of Holyoke Savings Bank in 1968. Debby Rosenthal is a realtor at Carlson GMC Real Estate on Main Street in Wilbraham. Catherine J. Jones was recently returned to the faculty of Western New England College School of Law where she had previously taught from 1981 to 1997. The cost of attending UMass has doubled since 1999.

James Bagwell called and said he enjoyed the booklet I sent him on my family's former land holdings in Wilbraham. He said, "I enjoyed your booklet, it is a fitting tribute to your father." He said he didn't know Mother, and informed me that he has been retired since 1984. Efrem Gordon's receptionist called and said everything is ready to go to trial tomorrow and that I should show up by nine o'clock.

Today I went to a couple of open houses. One was at 8 Ventura, a once fine house now showing wear and with a tacky basement. Then to 89 Ashland, a routine cape but with a new kitchen and lovely cabinets. I stopped briefly at Walgreens, where I skimmed the new History of Wilbraham picture book.

This afternoon I went down to Tower Square and dined at Spaghetti Freddy's, a long, deep place with a bar tacked in the middle. I was given three long bread sticks served in an olive oil can. I got a good plate of mixed greens with bleu-cheese dressing. The plate of spaghetti was huge with sweet sausage and two meatballs. I gave the waiter a ten dollar bill and told him to keep the change. It was far superior overall to the stingy Olive Garden, whose food lacked the taste or texture of Spaghetti Freddy's. For breakfast I like Bickford's, for pizza the Uno and now Spaghetti Freddy's for pasta. On my way out I stopped at Edward's Books and bought the Michael Moore bestseller Stupid White Men.

James Joseph David Michael Landers took Eamon over to his home print shop where he is doing the free printing for the Ryan campaign. He has two presses in his shop and a couple more in the garage, including an electrified Heidelberg platen press. The shop is very messy but his work is very tidy. Landers used to have a print shop on Page Boulevard and his brother ran the Ludlow machine at the Springfield Newspapers. Landers has introduced his wife Cynthia to Charlie Ryan. She is a Certified Purchasing Agent and a Certified Business Administrator. Mrs. Landers used to work as CFO at the PVTA but lost her job after blowing the whistle on Arlene Connors and Terry Tornek.

Eamon got a call from a German writer who read about him in the New Haven Advocate and wants to do a story about him. WAQY and WAIC continue to air Eamon's tapes as has Mitch Ogulewicz on his show at WARE up in Palmer. Eamon says that someone who was injured in the Jahn Foundry explosion has bought the fancy brick house on the corner of Roy and Newbury that belonged to Pazquilini, the bootlegger and owner of Liberty Package Store. Eamon complained that someone has been smashing car windows on his street.

Eamon found out that Larry McDermott is on vacation this week and that Mo Turner of the Valley Advocate is writing an article that will slam Linda Melconian without mercy. Eamon believes that even the brightest financial experts won't be able to turn around Springfield's $350 million bonded debt and "restoring this city's financial health is next to impossible."

July 30, 2003

Beth Ward had a story on the news today about the problems caused by too many bums in Court Square. On TV40 Mark Hyman of The Point railed against "academia, a place where reality rarely treads." Linda Melconian's house at 257 Pleasant Avenue was built in 1902 and is a thirteen room Victorian with Italian columns, marble fireplaces and Tiffany windows.

Real estate agent Paul J. Sears is the brother in law of Charles V. Ryan. The Mason Square Branch Library will close August 1st to allow the Urban League of Springfield to take over the building at 765 State Street. Lord & Taylor is closing at the Holyoke Mall.

Today was our day in court. I arrived at Pro-Park Court Square Parking Lot which is $2 per hour or $6 all day. I took some pictures of the now fading murals left over from when Tony Ravosa had his nightclub The Bar Association. At nine I headed over to Gordon's office and he was already there smiling in a light suit and told me that my blue shirt and tie were "magnificent."

Attorney Norma Carr Calarese was handling the transportation and drove us over to the courthouse. On our way inside it was fascinating to see Attorney Gordon interacting with the public, with everyone so respectfully greeting him and so anxious that he acknowledge them. Seeing him in his natural element made me appreciate what was meant when people used to say that Matty Ryan feared no one in politics nor law except Efrem Gordon.

While we waited I admired two paintings on the courtroom wall, one of William S. Shurtleff and another by Irene E. Parmelee of Oliver Bliss Norris. When we were finally ready to begin Gordon arranged for me to sit at the counsel table, but alas the court had no PA system and I could not hear a thing. Still every time I watched Gordon speaking I could tell that he was making a positive impression with even the Judge looking at him with approval. He played that courtroom like a violin. Lucia was there but without Joe, Michaud was also there and Ruth with Thelma Kerr. Suddenly we were signaled to approach the bench where I could hear quite well and I realized that we had won on all counts and that they would have to pay me in full!

In the hallway Norma warmly congratulated us and we headed out the door, moving slowly as it seemed everyone wanted to shake Gordon's hand. Once back in Gordon's office Ellie Caputo brought us each a cup of hot chocolate, and Gordon raised his and declared, "It has been a pleasure winning with you, Attorney Miller!" I raised my own cup and replied, "Attorney Gordon, it is a pleasure to have won!" Before I left Gordon assured me that his take would "not be more than twenty thousand" leaving me enough to be more than comfortable for the rest of my life.

As I left I felt relieved that there was no drawn out trial. Once outside I encountered Judith Matt walking by and I told her I still wanted my pictures back. She apologized and said that she had "sent them to the Planning Department right after you gave them to me" and said she never saw them again. Crossing Court Square I came upon Attorney Eugene Berman walking along eating an ice cream cone, wearing a light blue striped searsucker suit and looking like he's put on weight. He congratulated me on my court victory and said laughingly that "you and Gordon are a perfect fit!" I offered to send him a signed copy of one of my books and asked whether he would prefer the one on Legal Poetry or Legal Laughs. He said he prefers poetry to jokes. I remarked how Gordon loves the law and works at it constantly. "Effie works hard," Berman said with a chuckle, "but he also plays hard."

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