May 2003

May 1, 2003

Overcast and raining at 8am. Cancelled my trip to Deerfield. Gas at Pride is $1.55.

Sara Hughes the skater is 18 today. Saw the cop who lives at 40 Ballard speeding home about 6:45am. Three kids on skateboards were rolling around the Pride gas station parking lot. Graffiti has been sprayed all over the the plywood covering the windows on the old Acres Burger King. There is a sign on the pole outside Burger King saying it is available from Colebrook.

Then I went to Stop&Shop where I was delighted to find they had canned fruit for 4 cans for $3. In the washroom a tall guy in a green Stop&Shop shirt went to the toilet while I was there and didn't wash his hands. The store manager was standing right outside the door so I told him and he said he'd speak to him.

Came home and dug dandelions for fifteen minutes and noticed that my chimney needs work with several bricks having fallen out. When I opened the garage door I saw that Eamon had been by and left a bundle of papers in a plastic bag. Among them was an article about how Navy men were experimented on by the government with chemical agents in the 1960's without their permission, and Boyd E. Graves on the "Lab Birth of AIDS." There was also a note informing me that Maureen Turner and Tom Devine would be filling in for Mitch Ogulewicz up in Palmer, but by the time I saw the note it was too late for me to tune in.

At four the sun came out and stayed out in a misty sort of way. Around six I drove to the Eastfield Mall because I read in the paper there was to be 30 United Way volunteer agencies manning displays until closing. When I got to Eastfield around 6:15 I discovered that nearly all the tables set up for the agencies had been abandoned. I turned to the security man who had been shadowing me since I entered the mall and complained that if they advertise that they are going to be there until nine then they should be there! He agreed.

Efrem Gordon called and we discussed the case. He laughed when I told him my Aunt was "looney tooney" in her old age and he said any diary entries I have related to that would be helpful. I like the way Efrem operates, a real gentleman, very professional, careful, methodical, tactful, friendly and always trudging onward.

Charlie Ryan's library study committee is recommending a new municipal department be created to take over and run the libraries. City Councilors Timothy J. Ryan, Angelo Puppolo Jr. and Rosemarie Mazza-Moriarty submitted the ordinance to do so yesterday. Tim Ryan is quoted in the paper: "Quite frankly, it's clear that the Springfield Library and Museums Association really has paid short shrift to the residents of the city." And of course the man behind most of the problems has been David Starr.

May 3, 2003

77 degrees at 12:43pm. Shower in the middle of the night about 1am. Sunoco at the turnoff to Old Deerfield asking $1.51. Most stations in Springfield at $1.59.

Muslims are patient, if they don't lick us their sons will. The rocky face of the Old Man in the Mountain in New Hampshire has collapsed and the rocks that formed it are gone.

Today is the Gay Pride March in Northampton. To raise money Massachusetts is thinking of selling naming rights to state parks. I hope this will have no effect on my naming my contribution to Wilbraham "Blanche and John's Fernbank." On Real to Reel they were promoting the 44th Catholic Appeal which has the motto this year, "Love One Another as I Have Loved You." Sharon Roulier also spoke about Holy Trinity in Greenfield becoming a diocesan school. Cadbury's candy eggs at Lewis & Clark are 75% off so I bought ten.

I went up to Old Deerfield today and gave them my 2000 Who's Who as a gift to replace their 1995 edition. I intend to make a series of half-day visits there to acquaint myself with the entire place, similar to what I did at Riverside/Six Flags. On the way I drove by 97 Ridgeway, the home of the SLMA's Joe Carvalho. It is at the very end of the street in a cul-de-sac with a clifftop view in back of Lake Massasoit. It is a long ranch house with a two car garage and a four-wheel drive parked in the driveway. A large American flag was flying outside, is Joe a vet?

Next I headed downtown and stopped briefly at the Main Street post office. On my way out I admired a jazzy little auto parked in front, white with blue flames painted on it. In the middle of the front hood was a color picture of a teenager and Old English lettering reading, "R.I.P. My son Jonathan 1984-2002." The same message was in white on the rear window. Registration 2382 NR. Suddenly a young fellow approached me and asked me to sign a petition to get on the ballot for James Ryan running for City Council. I asked where the candidate went to high school but the fellow wasn't sure, said maybe Cathedral. He did say that James Ryan is the brother of Councilor Tim Ryan and a son of Charlie. I said I like to know more about a candidate than who their relatives are but I signed it anyway.

While driving to Deerfield I listened to a discussion on WSPR about the current "jobless recovery." Once I arrived at Historic Deerfield I went to the Henry N. Flynt Memorial Library and met David C. Bosse, the head librarian. He thanked me for the Who's Who and gave me a gift deed to sign. I told him about my poster collection and said I was looking for a place to donate it and would send him information in case they might be interested in acquiring it. I explained to Bosse that I had once intended to leave my collections to the Springfield Quadrangle but I have concluded that they are too unprofessional to entrust with it and he nodded in assent.

After leaving the library I took a tour thru Memorial Hall and it was wonderful. There were charcoal oval pictures including one of Mary Waller and some ladies sunbonnets. Also beautiful marble tablets and antique glassware in earthquake proof display cases. The museum was founded by an old bearded eccentric named George Sheldon and perhaps I will make a postcard of him.

Headed back to Springfield at 11:55, stopping on the way to photograph the Methodist Church in Chicopee. It was tough to get it all in one shot. On Boston Road A.J. Wright is having a Grand Opening on May 22nd. They are fixing up the front of the store to give it their characteristic look - a box with a fancy front. There was a thunderclap at 4:52 and a torrential downpour at 5:40 that the news said caused street flooding in Holyoke.

I see in the paper that Tom Devine's mother has died on her 70th birthday. I know she had been battling cancer for some years. Her obituary gives information about what in some ways has always been a mysterious family despite their prominence in Pine Point over several generations:

Joyce B. (White) Devine, 70, passed away on Thursday May 1, 2003 at the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. Born in Springfield on May 1, 1933, she was the daughter of the late Clarence and Florence (Willis) White and was a lifelong Springfield resident where she graduated from Technical High School. Joyce was employed for the past thirty years with the Springfield School Department as a teacher's aide within the ECOS Program at Forest Park and will be especially remembered for her love and knowledge of flowers and gardening. She is survived by her children Richard F. Devine Jr. with his wife Florence of Ludlow, Thomas R. Devine, Beverly J. Devine and Debra A. Devine of Springfield and Donna B. Schneider with her husband Steven of Belchertown, a brother Richard White of Belchertown, her former husband Richard F. Devine Sr. of West Springfield, 8 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

I looked in the phone book and there is a Richard F. Devine Sr. listed at 1153 Elm Street in West Springfield.

May 4, 2003

65 degrees, beautiful spring day.

Do or do not - there is no try. - Yoda

Brian J. Zelasko is Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for United Way of Pioneer Valley. First United Methodist Church in Westfield will take over the Healey-Peace Funeral Home building for use as a parsonage. Attorney Patricia A. Bargalunga was my classmate at WNEC Law. Edward Russell the Methodist restaurant owner on Boston Road who died was honored by a biker parade of 200 bikes which raised over $20,000 to put defibrillators in all the police cars. Rover's Story by Helena Higgenbotham is a dog story set in Springfield published in 1903. The Springfield Library did have a copy but has foolishly thrown it away, undoubtedly not knowing its true worth.

When I left today I saw Salvon out personally digging out with a trowel each and every dandelion on his lawn. I admire him for that. Drove to the Eastfield Mall and used a coupon to get a piece of their free birthday cake offered to celebrate the mall's 35th anniversary. I was also given a free candle, but the piece of birthday cake only turned out to be about a quarter of an inch thick!

Tonight I dined on kielbasa, sauerkraut and boiled potatoes. Jeffrey J. Pouliot is a welder for Mobile Welding Service of Springfield. The official colors of the Springfield Newspapers are red and black. Eamon says the FBI told him that the indictments that are about to come down will make everything that has happened so far look like a Sunday school picnic.

Private donors are paying for a steel fence to be put around the Quadrangle for security reasons. The Springfield Library and Museums Association has released a statement opposing the takeover of the libraries by the city in a statement signed by Chairman Donald D'Amour, first vice chairman J. Michael Wallace, treasurer Richard Moriarty and David Starr of the Springfield Newspapers. They wrote:

The SLMA is one of the most highly respected library systems in New England. Inflammatory talk is cheap and second guessing might satisfy ancient grudges or political expediency, but these uniquely difficult economic times call for putting aside adversarial, partisan special interests.

SLMA President Joe Carvalho sent a memo to library staff last week bemoaning "the utter unfairness" of the council's efforts to take over the libraries. However City Councilor Timothy Ryan said the budget cuts were not deep enough to justify closing three branches and the sale of Mason Square. He accused the SLMA of taking the city's money to "spend it as it deems appropriate without answering to the citizens."

Today I got a poster at Lewis & Clark that was put out by the Forest Park Civic Association. It is actually quite radical sounding and has as its headline "@#$%!! SLMA JUST CLOSED ANOTHER LIBRARY!" It goes on to say:

After doing a deal on the sly with a buyer, the Springfield Library and Museums Association has just closed and sold (they think!) the Mason Square Library. That's four branches so far they've closed on us: East Springfield, Forest Park, Liberty and now Mason Square. And it won't stop there - they've already said they're planning to close even more, and they're refusing to cooperate with the City Council's Special Library Study Committee. It's as though we citizens of Springfield don't matter, our future doesn't matter and our kids don't matter. The SLMA is completely out of control. They just take our tax money and run, thumbing their noses at us! This has got to stop! Come to the City Council meeting and let the Council Members know how you feel about establishing a Department of Libraries to take over from the SLMA and to condemn the SLMA for their arrogance and failure to do the job we pay them to do.

The meeting is tomorrow at 7pm and of course I will be in attendance.

May 5, 2003

In the past I have disciplined two professors by legal actions and have disciplined others by direct complaints. I have been a teacher of teachers.

Prospective donors to libraries and museums should begin by squarely facing their motives and their merchandise. Some gifts are made for tax reasons, but the desire to see things preserved, vanity, and genuine generosity or some combination of these are more frequently the motive.

David Starr was born in New York City in 1922 and arrived in Springfield in 1977. He assumed the presidency of Springfield Central in 1978. Larry McDermott was born in Arkansas in 1948 and arrived in Springfield in 1991. There are three letters in the Valley Advocate praising their article Library Sale Shocks and Angers Springfield Residents. One was by Carmenceita Jones, another by John Bonin and a third by Fran LaFreniere which said in part:

As a frequent letter to the editor writer in my area (Chicopee) the Springfield paper refuses to run them. I must be on their "no print" list because both Chicopee publications print my letters frequently. Most of my recent letters deal with the dictatorial policies of the "Albanocracy" with its in your face attitude - which is exactly why this country is in Iraq as I type.

On my way to the City Council meeting I swung by Charlie Ryan's to drop off an envelope of papers which I slipped inside his storm door. I also saw that the east side of the Trinity Church roof is finished with scaffolding now going up on the west side. Arriving downtown I parked on Salem and walked to City Hall. I decided to stop at the White Hut in the Marketplace at 1365 Main Street and ordered a burger and fries. They were just right, really nice, but the 35 cents tacked onto the burger for lettuce, tomato and onions seemed excessive.

Behind City Hall was a vehicle for Pro-Tech Shredding of Worcester whose motto is "Secure On-site Document Destruction." I wonder what documentation the Albano Administration is getting rid of on the way out? Going inside I discovered the Council chamber was totally packed! Council President Dan Kelly announced that if you wanted to speak you should get in line in front of the microphone.

The first in line was former City Councilor Mo Jones, who said the city should support the Library and Museums Association. Then bookseller Janet Edwards spoke saying there should be more financial accountability since if she has to balance the books at her store so should the library. Next was a black lady who turned out to be the letter writer Carmenceita Jones who said pretty much what she said in the Valley Advocate. Vera O'Connor called for "creative solutions." Insultingly there were no officers from the SLMA waiting in line to speak, they merely sent a letter opposing the library takeover.

Peter Goonan was there from the paper and Belle-Rita Novak waved then came over and we chatted for a bit. She said she saw Larry McDermott lurking inside the City Council office, probably in the role of a lobbyist for David Starr. In the end the Council voted in favor of the library takeover by a vote of 8-1, the sole no vote being cast by William Foley to a chorus of boos. Although they voted yes on the final vote, Jose Tosado, Bud Williams, Bill Foley and Tim Rooke tried unsuccessfully to kill the measure by sending it back to committee.

There was such a crowd and so many people waiting in line to speak that I decided not to get in line and so said nothing. If I had spoken I would have pointed out to the Councilors that I own over 50,000 posters, street sheets and other materials documenting the culture of Western Massachusetts over the last quarter century. I have always wanted to give this priceless historical collection to the Quadrangle, having had a friendship with the Quad going back to my childhood acquaintances with Margaret Rose and Dorothy Mozley.

Unfortunately I have watched with precision, amazement and horror as the Quadrangle has undergone a relentless decline. In 1974 I was the first person to complain that the provisions of the Quadrangle's agreement with George Walter Vincent Smith were not being honored. I have published seven articles criticizing the Quadrangle in various collection journals and have called for the elimination of taxpayer funding for the Quadrangle for at least fifteen years.

The City Council must not merely address the libraries, it must demand that the SLMA transfer ALL its property to the city and dissolve itself. I would have also identified David Starr as being behind a lot of the problems, being perpetually on the SLMA board and propping up his people, many of whom have flimsy academic credentials.

I would have closed my comments to the Council with the demand that Pynchon Medals be awarded to Charles V. Ryan and the Council of Churches for blocking the casino, to Bob and Karen Powell for saving Northgate Plaza, to Eamon T. O'Sullivan for promoting honesty and integrity in government, to Peter Jurzynski and Mitch Ogulewicz our martyrs to good government, to Tom Vannah, Maureen Turner and Tom Devine for keeping the free press alive, to Michaelann Bewsee for her service to the poor and to Belle-Rita Novak for her service to the Forest Park X neighborhood. Finally I would have demanded a Pynchon Medal for myself (emboldened by the fact that Peter Picknelly once openly asked for one) to be given to me for all I have done to record and preserve the facts of our true local history amidst a sea of lies.

May 7, 2003

Overcast and 58 degrees at 6:30am. White lilacs out.

When Wesley was a little boy
John made him a bookcase.
To pretty up his bedroom
And tidy up the place.

Soon he had it cluttered
with every type of book;
Whenever he went downtown
Johnson's had to have a look.

Johnson's out of business;
At last they've closed their doors!
I couldn't be more happy
They'll be in town no more!

The above is a brief excerpt from my epic poem The Johnson Bookstore Funeral Ode Upon the Collapse of Springfield as a Polis. I wrote it the day after the 1997 municipal election and it was distributed to several friends and enemies, as I am always generous with my enemies in the hope of their redemption. It was also distributed at the November 1997 meeting of the Republican Party City Committee of Springfield and excerpts were read that same month by Tom Devine on The Dan Yorke Show Thanksgiving Day Special.

Once I turned over a copy of Memorials of John Hampden: His Party and his Times by Lord Nugent (1880) to Johnson's to make it available locally. Yet no discerning teacher or lawyer or scholar had the intellectual curiosity here in Hampden County to purchase it even though just the engraving alone was worth the price of the book.

Displayed in a locked glass case, the book was several times marked down and yet languished into the final days of Johnson's farewell sale. Johnson's had the merchandise but Springfield no longer had the customers. Is Springfield really The City That Reads? Does it read the right stuff? Turning Springfield into a Sports City is heading in precisely the wrong direction!

Robert Willig opened Troubadour Books on Route 5 in Hatfield eight years ago. Peter Morin and his wife Susan opened up Sage Books on Route 10 in Southampton seven years ago. Larry Pruner opened Valley Books in Amherst in 1978. To get a Springfield phone book if you don't live in Springfield costs $33.50. The Amherst phone book costs $12.40 to outsiders.

The East Forest Park Civic Association will have Police Officer James Gormally and Springfield Fire Chief Gary Cassanelli as guest speakers. Officer Gormally will speak about strengthening community policing and the establishment of a neighborhood watch. Chief Cassanelli will discuss the potential closing of the Sumner Avenue Fire Station. Unicare's departure from the Sovereign Bank building next to City Hall will leave 120,000 square feet of Class A office space vacant. On TV22 Sy Becker had a piece on the 35th Anniversary of the Eastfield Mall, which opened on April 1, 1968.

The tall, thin Ballard Avenue cop came rushing down Birchland Avenue this morning in a blue four-wheel drive. He must work nights as he always comes home between six and seven in the morning. Fran Gagnon was on WFCR talking about Egyptian motif architecture. She made a snide remark about all the pious people buried in Springfield Cemetery having no idea how pagan the motifs they were using were.

Mrs. Staniski is still tired from her illness. Today I drove around the new mausoleum at St. Michael's Cemetery. An electrical contractor was there and a shirtless muscular guy was putting the finishing stones on the outside. Doyle the Twig Painter has the painting in his front window turned over, perhaps in mourning for Joyce Devine. There was a lot of junk on the lawn of the Devine place on Breckwood including a medium-sized TV.

Charles P. Catjakis, a well known court guard and son of former State Rep Athan J. Soco Catjakis had his house raided as part of an investigation into sports betting, loan sharking and narcotics. In 1998 Catjakis lost his job as a court officer in Hampden District Court after trial court officials accused him of punching a shackled prisoner, leaving work without permission and flouting courthouse rules. He was reassigned to Holyoke District Court in 2001.

According to Eamon the young Catjakis has a reputation as a bad check writer, peeping tom, drug user and gambler, plus a history of violent behavior and domestic violence. Eamon says that as the son of a former Police Commissioner and State Representative another do-nothing job will always be found for Charlie Catjakis.

May 9, 2003

59 degrees at 7am. Overcast all day, sunny in the morning. Gas is down to $1.49 at the Pond.

In his Republic Plato says that democracy sinks to the lowest common denominator. After what we've seen in Springfield do we seriously believe that democracy is the best form of government?

Midwest hit by several tornadoes lately, the judgement of an angry God on the rednecks who are proud of our war in Iraq. A reporter for the New York Times Jason Blair is being fired for faking facts in six or seven stories attacking conservatives.

On TV Mrs. Fixit says add a bit of hydrogen peroxide to lengthen the life of roses in a vase. Don't put them in the sun. At 5:03 Latoya Foster misspoke and said "Six Acres" instead of Sixteen Acres. The first shopping plaza in Springfield was in Winchester Square on State Street in the 1950's with First National at the head, Western Auto with the white tower, a liquor store and a Woolworths.

Attendance at Catholic Mass in Boston is down 14%. The Friendly's at the Eastfield Mall is going out of business. Alicia Brody is the Box Office Manager for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. On WFCR they were saying there is no way to expand the stage in Symphony Hall but as a child I recall they had a sturdy extender for the stage which was in segments and kept in the basement.

Don C. Williams, associate professor at Western New England College will lecture at the Irish Cultural Center at Elms on May 21st. The City Library Periodicals room used to carry the Burlington Free Press but they have discontinued it. I called Springfield College's Babson Library and the man at the Reference desk said they do not receive it. Called A.I.C. and got very professional treatment but they don't subscribe to it either and also no longer receive the Chronicle of Higher Education.

I went to the Springfield Rescue Mission Auxiliary Tag Sale on Plumtree Road and arrived right at 8am. There was already a mob and the parking lot was full so I parked on the street. More people but less stuff and overall higher priced. I bought a chrome pitcher and a brass umbrella stand. Also bought a poetry book by Nora Tarlow (1991) and a book of blessings for Mrs. Staniski who likes that kind of drivel. The lady at the checkout admired my pitcher and said, "Oh, I didn't see this, I'd have taken it if I had." And that is what happens at these affairs, the workers take all the good stuff.

Melinda McIntosh was not there but there was no clothing for sale and clothing is Melinda's thing. Evelyn Jackson was there with a grandchild. Socrates Babacus' daughter was in attendance and we chatted. She said her mother recently had an operation but both her parents are fine.

Janet Denny is on the Library Study Committee. She said that Providence spends about $8 million for their libraries and they are open most of the time. We spend $7 million for fewer buildings and our libraries are always closed. I've always suspected that they divert some of the library funds to the museums. Eamon's message says that Springfield's "City Clowncil lacks testicular fortitude." He says they remind him of a bunch of timid field mice and he believes we "must take back our city from the newspaper's suburban scribes."

I called First United Methodist Church where a woman answered and I said, "Take everything you have and give it away to the poor," and then hung up. Then I tried to call Peter Picknelly but Brenda said he was not available. Finally I called the City Council office and got Bob Arieti who is a friendly fellow and who told me he's been there fifteen years. He gave me Councilor Bill Foley's number 783-2201 and I called. Foley wasn't in and he has a little kid talking on his answering machine. Tom Devine used to do that with his little nieces, it must be an Irish thing. I left Foley no message, although I had intended to scold him for his vote against the library takeover. Maureen Turner's article in the Valley Advocate this week has a wonderfully unflattering photo of Foley. In the article Charlie Ryan is quoted as saying that "the hidden hand that runs Springfield is still alive and well."

May 12, 2003

56 degrees, beautiful out. Gas is $1.45 at the Getty on the corner of Main and Carew.

The reputation of every saint rests upon one or more lies. John Wesley was not a saint; he was just a great man. Jesus Christ is not a saint. He was just a great prophet.

The NBA's Jam Session, McDonald's "In the Zone" Restaurant, The Hall of Fame Gift Shop and The Reebok Factory Outlet are located in the Basketball Hall of Fame complex. Today is the first day of the Brimfield Antique Fair.

TV40 poll says 95% think the Minuteman mascot should be retained for UMass. I have had no contact with Caprio of WNEC this year. Mailman went down the street at 11:30. Today was mailman pick-up food for the poor day so I put out a can of Chicken-of-the-Sea Mackerel. Dug dandelions and mowed the treebelt, good exercise for me of the sort I should get more often. Denise Martin called on a wrong number saying, "Sorry, I was trying to call my parents." Wrong number R. Ziff also called, a pugnacious and defensive woman.

Driving around Hillcrest Cemetery I saw a large car with an elderly man driving it with a license plate that read the word "BLANK". At the turnoff at the Lutheran Church (South Branch Parkway) a cop car went speeding past me. Over at St. Anthony's back door was parked two white vans with yellow lettering for Old Towne Caterers of South Hadley. Drove out to check on Aunt Maria's in Agawam. Couldn't tell if anyone had been in the driveway, but there were vehicles over to Lucius', probably a Mother's Day gathering. Then drove over to Southgate Plaza to the JRS Giant Flea Market, which one of the vendors told me has been there since 1996. Ran into the ever sweet Tonya Capparello who said she just married a WNEC Law grad. Lots of booths but nothing I wanted.

Belden place still has for sale sign up. Arriving home there was a crowd of cars over Mudry's and Irving Cohn was seated in his walker/chair combo by his garage with a tan Chrysler in the driveway. For supper I had a Smart Ones Honey Dijon Chicken with Rice dinner, which showed seven pieces of chicken on the box but there were only four inside. I also recently dined on a Smart Ones Pepper Steak Bristo selection and found an immense piece of gristle in it.

Eamon says he is hoping for indictments to come down against Albano, Kingston, Phillips, Keough, Ardolino, Catjakis, Barsom, Asselin and Fenton. He joked that Albano could make pasta sauce for spaghetti night at Allenwood. Eamon told me an FBI agent came by wanting a lot of background information on Ray Jordan, the former State Representative. Eamon said he told them that Jordan was right in there with all the other local crooks from the beginning. I mentioned the death of Mrs. Devine whom Eamon called "a classy lady." He says he rarely hears from Tom Devine but listens to him on WAIC sometimes. He said Tom is still carrying water for the local Republicans who mostly reject him as too libertarian and too queer.

Eamon's spies were at the private testimonial dinner for crooked ex-rep Saco Catjakis. They reported there were about 400 present and that ex-mayor Billy Sullivan, Congressman Neal and Sheriff Ashe were seated with Soco at the head table. Matty Ryan was also in attendance as were Councilors Tim Rooke and Bill Foley.

Senator John Kerry has asked Mayor Albano to serve on his presidential steering committee. The Reminder seems to have more advertising lately. Larry McDermott keeps changing the picture accompanying his editorial page column in The Republican. There was a terrible guest column in the paper today by Donald D'Amour, who is described as "chairman of the board of trustees of the Springfield Library and Museums Association and chairman and chief executive officer of Big Y Foods Incorporated."

D'Amour is merciless in his attacks on Charlie Ryan saying, "Some of the worst invective by Ryan and his commission has been aimed personally at David Starr, an officer of the Springfield Library and Museums Association and president of The Republican newspaper. Please, I can think of no individual who has done more for this city than Starr." He goes on to accuse Ryan of having "a history of animosity towards this organization" and that Charlie "is clearly seeking to advance his and his family's political agenda (including possibly running for paid, public office) at the expense of quality library services for the residents of Springfield."

So I decided to call Don D'Amour myself and got his secretary Denise. I told her I wanted to talk to D'Amour about his column but she told me that he was busy at meetings all morning and would call me back this afternoon. He did not. Then I called Charlie Ryan and expressed my sympathy for the attacks he received in the paper, but Ryan simply laughed and said, "Don D'Amour will have to do a lot more than that to ruin my day!"

May 15, 2003

55 degrees and overcast at 6:45 this morning. Gas is $1.43 at Cumberland Farms opposite Angelo's Fruit Mart.

9/11 was a turning point for America to a greater extent then we realize, but wars always bring changes.

Friendly's stock was $6.35 at noon. The New England Archives Center is at 624 Hampden Street in Holyoke. Myer L. Feldman and Richard T. Saltman had their law offices at 316 High Street in Holyoke in 1972. Attorney Michael J. Julian has his office at 17 Main Street in Wilbraham. When I knew him around 1980 he was a playful fellow with a bright smile. After law school he ran unsuccessfully for City Council.

David Tebaldi is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. Street racing is becoming a problem every weekend in the North End from the Arch on Main Street to Carew. Northgate Plaza needs new tenants, although Rent-a-Center, the barber shop, liquor store and Dough Show are still in business. Mark E. Salamone is now advertising that he is licensed to practice in Connecticut. UMass has rejected the proposed grey wolf mascot and will keep the Minuteman according to Ian McCaw, a young fellow who is Director of Athletics at UMass.

I opened a 4-pack of pink White Cloud toilet paper from Mother's stash in the attic which she dated 7/77. I also threw away two plastic shower curtains Mother had saved since the 1950's. Saw a cardinal on the back lawn a couple of days ago, I think we have a family of them that nests in the hedges each year. Dropped off some magazines with Irving Cohn who thanked me and said I am "a gentleman and a scholar."

Drove to the Pine Point Library and made a photocopy for ten cents and swiped a few things off their bulletin board. The painting in the window of Doyle the Twig Painter's that was turned backwards in mourning for Joyce Devine is back on display. Swung by Mrs. Staniski's and she had just got off the phone with Ann who is leaving today to visit her son the unemployed electrician in Oregon. Ann bought a Sony portable phone and she says she loves it because she can take it outdoors when gardening. Went by Bobby Brown's and left some magazines and a Colony Club brochure in the chair on his front porch. A forest green van was in the driveway.

Jim Landers' son Sean is going to Greece this summer as part of some special program. Superintendent Joseph Burke was on TV40 blathering about "Children are the future of the City of Springfield." Jonathan Flint of Amherst was on talking about the collapse of the Man in the Mountain structure in New Hampshire. He said nature is eternal and we must not expect it to imitate us. Ethel Candaras of Wilbraham, mother of State Representative Gale D. Candaras, has died at the age of 81.

There was a total eclipse of the moon tonight but I couldn't see it because of the clouds. Eamon called and I told him he needs to write a booklet about Ireland and his family and all the great stories his parents told him. Eamon says he can hardly believe Senator Kerry put Mayor Albano on his presidential campaign committee. That alone is reason to reject Kerry for President. Can you imagine what Mike Albano would be like in Washington?

Eamon says payoffs, kickbacks, rigged bids and influence peddling didn't begin with the Albano Gang. It goes back to Billy Sullivan, Ted Dimauro and Richie Neal. The Sullivan/Dimauro/Neal mayoralties were when Kingston, Catjakis, Asselin, Fenton, Keough and Phillips first emerged on the scene in a big way. He says Mike Albano, Chief Meara and Bill Bennett are people without integrity who "gave a green light to the crooks." Eamon described Springfield as "a training ground for crooked politicians."

May 17, 2003

Overcast and chilly in the morning. Gas $1.49 in the Acres.

Bush's tax cut passed. Wilbraham voted for a tax override, Hampden did not. Retired A.I.C. Professor Theodore B. Belsky has received the South Hadley Lions Club Citizen of the Year Award for his work in preserving local history through such means as the Oral History Project.

The mailman was late. Banknorth sent me a letter offering to buy back my stock but I threw it away. Marcie Williams called and thanked me for the postcards I sent her of Hillcrest Cemetery and the 16 Acres Library. Nader the Hatter called from Florida and complained that he never hears from Eamon. He said it was 90 degrees in Florida today and he just got back from swimming where all the girls all wear provocative swimsuits but because he is over 40 he can control himself. Nader said he may come up to Massachusetts in August.

Went to the Church of the Epiphany tag sale this morning. I arrived early and was the fourth car in the lot. I walked over and peeked in the window and saw a woman paying for a fancy gold clock at the checkout table. I walked around to the door which was open and a woman said, "A couple of people came early, come in if you like." I told her that since the sale was not scheduled to begin until nine that would be unethical and so I left and drove off to go to the Annual Pancake Breakfast on Main Street in downtown Springfield.

I parked on Salem Street where the BID workers were picking up litter. On Main Street the Springfield Newspapers had cardboard dispensers from which you could take a free copy of today's paper. First Church had a table with flyers as did Old South. Dunkin Donuts was giving away free scones which were absolutely delicious. The Salvation Army was giving away balloons. It looked like a smaller turnout than last year, but I'm sure Judith Matt will manage to puff it up.

Young Picknelly Jr. walked by in white tennis shoes. Linda Melconian, Jose Tosado and Bill Foley were seated at a table, but Linda got up and left as I approached. I complained to Foley and Tosado that everything the City Council does is decided in the backroom before the meeting and the public proceedings are just a farce. I also complained about the Quadrangle and when I happened to mention Fran Gagnon both Foley and Tosado made a face like they didn't like her. I told them they should always consult Charles V. Ryan and Eamon T. O'Sullivan before voting on any matter of importance and they thanked me for my opinions.

After the breakfast, where I ate nothing because the conditions under which the pancake batter was being prepared seemed unhygienic, I headed to Old Deerfield. I had lunch at the Deerfield Inn which has a wonderful view of the mountains from the dining room. There were maybe fifteen people there besides myself and the waitresses were very professional in white tops and black skirts. They used real linen napkins and the restrooms were clean. The prices were expensive but worth it.

After lunch I bought a ticket and toured the Wells-Thorn House with a family from central New York. Next I went to the Wilson Print Shop which has a Benjamin Franklin press and where Master printer Carl Darrow gave a demonstration of what it was like to work in a printer's office in Deerfield in the 1800's. University of Massachusetts Professor Norman Sims gave a brief demonstration on typesetting and Ann Kieser demonstrated techniques for marbling paper. Quite interesting.

When I got home I received a phone call from S. Cressotti telling me that Irving Cohn was rushed to the hospital today with a heart attack but is expected to recover. I then called the Church of the Epiphany on Highland Avenue in Wilbraham and left a message for Father Campbell telling him about people being let in early at their tag sale. I explained to him how unfair and unethical that was and informed Campbell that if he hasn't instilled basic ethics in his people then he has failed as a cleric. The trouble with Christianity is that it makes forgiveness too easy; you can blow off your sins and just walk away.

Mayor Albano, Joe Carvalho, Donald D'Amour, Mike Wallace and David Starr held a press conference today admitting defeat and agreeing to voluntarily hand over the libraries to the city. Eamon said Don D'Amour, Larry McDermott and David Starr were spotted having lunch last week at The Fort and Starr was in tears of rage over losing the libraries. He has indeed been humbled, which is good because in the past Starr has unjustly humbled so many others.

I called the Big Y Support Center and got Denise and politely reminded her that she told me Donald D'Amour would be calling me back Monday afternoon. I told her I waited around between one and four and he didn't call, which I felt was discourteous. She told me that D'Amour "is going to be busy all day but perhaps you can touch bases at some point" and she took my number. Then there was an awkward silence so I said, "And now you want to thank me for calling." Still silence so I repeated, "You were going to thank me for calling." Finally she said, "Thank you" to which I replied, "Okay, have a nice day." Of course D'Amour never called.

J. Wesley Miller in 1972

May 19, 2003

An absolutely beautiful day. 53 degrees first thing, sunny and clear.

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." - Francis Bacon

Going through my files I came upon Edwin Smith's suggested independent reading list from when I was in Classical. It is a prime example of the quality Classical High School offered in the 1950's when it was still superior to Longmeadow. Edwin Smith was a fine, tall Catholic gentleman with a bald head who co-wrote the textbook Enjoyment of Literature in 1934 with Ralph P. Boas. He was also Chairman of the English Department at Classical.

Kelly has five bags of lawn/garden waste at the curb. Dick Nichols' lawn full of dandelions has finally been mowed. I briefly stopped at the Open House at 60 Catalpa long enough to conclude it is outrageously overpriced.

The Library Study Committee is conducting its fourth meeting today at the Pine Point Community Center on Berkshire Avenue. Last night I spoke about the libraries at the City Council meeting during the public speak-out. I parked in front of the Walker Building as all the usually empty spaces in front of City Hall were filled. When I got inside there were a lot of firefighters and their sympathizers in red shirts and carrying signs. They completely packed the Council Chamber so I went into the old Aldermanic Chamber which was empty. I sat waiting and looking out the window where I could see the Campanile clock, but then noticed that the Aldermanic Chamber has its own clock which is seven minutes slower than the Campanile.

At 7:15 the firefighter's protest broke up and so I went inside the Council Chamber and took a seat in front. At 7:22 Council President Dan Kelly banged the gavel and then nodded to me to come up and speak. I began by outlining my longstanding complaints about the dishonest elitism, secrecy and incompetence of the Quadrangle leadership and urged the Councilors to go slow in approving a takeover agreement as they cannot be trusted.

Councilor Bill Foley then interrupted to say he wanted to be clear that I wanted them to go slow in taking over the libraries and I replied yes. Then Councilor Angelo Puppolo asked whether I thought an ultimate takeover was desirable and again I said yes. I pointed out that selling the Mason Square Library which was donated by the late Annie Curran was just one more example of the Springfield Library and Museum Association double-crossing their donors.

Then I launched into a major critique of the SLMA and was doing a pretty good hatchet job on the Quadrangle when suddenly Councilor Kelly told me that I had only twenty seconds left! You would think they would give me more time considering how articulate I was being, but no. That angered me, so I told them that since they wouldn't let me continue I was leaving City Hall this instant and with nothing but complete contempt for the City Council. Several jackasses in the audience burst out laughing.

As I went down the stairs and was marching out the door a young, pretty woman came up to me and introduced herself. She said she was Laurel Wescott Rancitelli and was running for City Council and asked if I would sign her nomination papers. She told me her campaign motto is, "A Vote for Rancitelli is a Vote for Change!" I asked her about her education and she said she has a high school diploma and an Associate's Degree from STCC. I asked her why she didn't continue her education and she replied that she got such an attractive opportunity to work at a Catholic school that she couldn't turn it down. I regret that I didn't ask her position on birth control, but I signed her paper anyway and she seemed grateful, saying that she was just beginning her campaign.

Soon after I arrived back home the telephone rang and I saw the name Z. Grant 1475 Roosevelt Avenue on my phone ID. I picked it up on the second ring and they hung up. I immediately called back and got an answering machine with a message stating that "the person you called is not available at this time." I left a message of my own: "The person whom you have just called is here on the line and it was discourteous of you to hang up without saying you are sorry you called the wrong number. Pretending that you are not there now is a form of lying. Don't call this number again or I'll sue you for harassment!"

May 21, 2003

62 degrees at 5:45am. Overcast, rained mid-day.

The motto of the Chicopee Herald in 1970 was, "For Better Business and Community Welfare." My phone ID revealed that the wrong number this morning was Daniel T. Sullivan of 12 Inwood Drive, Wilbraham. The mail today brought a flyer from the Springfield Symphony addressed to Mrs. Blanche Miller, who has been dead for four and a half years! No matter what I do they never add my name to their list.

Drove over to Copycat and went over the errors in the proofs for the Fernbank booklet with Steve and Jeff. Family Dollar is opening a new store on Parker Street. Then to Lewis & Clark where I bought a deck of Saddam Hussein playing cards for $5.95 plus the inevitable tax. Pro-war propaganda!

The Springfield municipal primary will be September 16th and the election November 4th. Mary Lou McCormick lives on Craiwell Avenue in West Springfield. Anita Wilson was interviewing Mayor Albano on TV22 tonight about the Agawam road projects and all the traffic problems they're causing.

Labor activist Robert W. Brown called to say he doesn't know when he can come over. He said he has a cold right now and his wife is in the hospital with an emphysema attack. Brown said he was made to retire from the police force in 1969 at the age of 41 by Chief Lyons due to back trouble. Brown claimed that in the Springfield Police Department in those days you were looked down on if you were not Catholic.

After leaving the force Brown ran a package store in Ludlow but barely got by because of tough competition from Kappy's, which could afford to buy liquor in large quantities and under-price him. He said the daughter of Judge Daniel Keyes runs the Kappy's on Boston Road. He called Judge Keyes "a bastard" and said he believes that Keyes was responsible for the Chicopee Savings Bank going belly-up.

Eamon called and said that super-consultant Joe Napolitan is working behind the scenes to resolve some of the tension between Donald D'Amour and Charlie Ryan so that some sort of agreement can be reached on the libraries. Eamon called Larry McDermott at the newspaper and left a message saying that the paper should print a rebuttal to D'Amour's very biased and untrue column about the library controversy.

This inspired me to call McDermott as well and I left the message that I too objected to D'Amour's effete piece of snobbery and told McDermott to call me to arrange for me to write a column in rebuttal. Of course he never returns my calls. I went on to praise the new photo accompanying McDermott's Sunday column, which looks more like the friendly image he should want to project. His prior photo looked like someone who wasn't going to put up with any nonsense, which I took as a dare because I wasn't going to put up with any nonsense from him! I closed by saying that no matter what Richard Garvey says they are not the paper of record (that would be the Valley Advocate) and their political editorials remain far out of touch with reality.

May 23, 2003

Overcast and 58 degrees. Gulf priced $1.39 in West Springfield center.

Bob Hope on the Four Stages of Senility

1. You forget names.
2. You forget faces.
3. You forget to zip up.
4. You forget to zip down.

Bush's tax cut has been passed, it will drive up the debt, benefits the rich, is unfair to normal people and won't revive the economy. Unemployment nationwide is six percent with the highest levels in Arkansas, Oregon, Washington, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Almer Huntley and Associates was located at 30 Crafts Avenue in Northampton in 1970. Kevin Sametts' L & W Appliance Sales and Service is at 879 Boston Road. Nader the Hatter of Adventura, Florida sent me a letter with a Daniel Webster stamp on it about the new edition of Our Family, Our Town: Essays on Family and Local History Sources in the National Archives.

Weatherman Tom Bevacqua was talking today about a "dust devil" that took down a building in Maine. My parents and I experienced one of those in the village of Randall in Vermont where at a barbeque our chicken got covered with dirt. This was in my late childhood.

The cop who lives on Ballard came by driving toward Wilbraham Road today and waved. Went to Pride for a Valley Advocate but they had none so I ran into Ginger Blossoms, a nice formal Oriental restaurant at 1203 Parker Street and they did have Advocates. Also popped into the Grand Opening of Family Dollar, which surprisingly had a lot of food items for sale at competitive prices. Driving past the scandal plagued Wells Credit Union I saw it appears empty and abandoned.

I got tied up on Bridge Street while a very long Pepsi truck turned onto Maple. Stopped at Burger King on State Street by STCC and had a chicken sandwich, fries and a medium drink for three dollars. The lettuce on my sandwich was wilted, and the place in general is far inferior to the Burger King in Ludlow.

Next I swung over to the tag sale at Trinity Church. Mrs. Jackson was there in a long leather coat but no sign of Melinda McIntosh. While there I met an STCC professor named Sandra Torrence. She said she was herself an STCC graduate who went on to Smith College where she specialized in Spenser. Then she got her master's degree from A.I.C. and is now an adjunct professor at STCC teaching composition and lit. She said that plagiarism is a problem, but the Dean of Students is "a marshmallow" who won't back up the faculty. Torrence said she considers herself well informed on Woman's Lit and we agreed that the novels of Toni Morrison would make a nice course. At the sale I bought a white bust of Dante from the 1930's and a 1946 American Insurance Group paperweight.

Got another wrong number and rude hang-up from a Marion J. Polito, according to my caller ID. I called back and left the message that I closed my refrigerator door and turned off the radio to answer the phone so don't call here again! I called Leonard Collamore and had a pleasant chat about Harriet Monroe and her Columbian Ode. I also told him about my Costello Paint Shop paintings and Albery Allson Whitman's "The Freedman's Triumphant Song." Then I called Judy Matt but Dominique said she was in a meeting. I left a message that I needed Judy to give me the photographs back so that I can give them to the FBI. That should get her attention!

Paul Sicilano was on TV saying that his Jimmy's Smoke Shop, a South End landmark at 1007 Main Street is closing. A narrow place that sold Italian newspapers, I sometimes got local posters there. Talbert Swan was on the evening news standing in front of the Mason Square Library demanding that it not be sold to the Urban League. He is a good man, and the black clerics in Springfield are far superior to the wimpy white ones. Then Henry M. Thomas was shown saying that the SLMA and the Urban League have "a legal, bona fide business transaction" and he intends to enforce it.

Eamon called and described Springfield's political scene as "a mutual admiration society of career politicians and thieves" adding that neither Mayor Albano nor Linda Melconian have pledged to cooperate with the FBI in the Springfield corruption probe.

May 25, 2003

Overcast first thing, 54 degrees in the breezeway. Gas at Sunoco on the edge of Chicopee is $1.41.

Hundreds of Albert Einstein's scientific papers, personal letters and humanist essays are now on the internet. Wrote two porn poems last night: "It is all that Matters" and "Queer Collar." Writing such stuff takes getting into the mood, but when the mood strikes then out it comes! On WSPR they said that Car Talk is produced by Dewey, Cheatem and Howe.

George F. Cliche was the Assistant Treasurer at Chicopee Falls Savings Bank in 1966. Marsie Williams, president of the Atheneum Society of Wilbraham sent me a nice letter thanking me for the Francis Asbury postcards I sent them. The new Family Dollar store next to the Goodwill also has a store by Subway down in the old Anderson-Little/Studebaker/ARISE brick building in Mason Square.

The newspaper had a big picture of a youthful looking Donald C. Williams of WNEC wearing a Civil War uniform for his lecture on the Irish units in the American Civil War. On TV Sue Smith, the teacher/librarian at DeBerry School was on telling how their new grant will allow them to replace some of their books dating back to the 1940's. She appeared awkward speaking on camera. Also speaking was the principal of DeBerry Kevin McCaskill. State Senator Brian Lees has been quiet and out of the news lately.

Weatherman says this could be the worst Memorial Day weekend in recent memory. In Indian Orchard the Stusick Memorial Triangle is all overgrown with weeds. It seems the name Stusick doesn't mean what it once did. The Stusick apartment block is a mess with lots of abandoned rooms upstairs and a large sign on the building PERELLA 525-9800.

Drove out to the Ludlow Burger King where I got two chicken sandwiches for the price of one with a coupon. I gave the girl who waited on me a $20 bill and she gave me back a pile of money, a ten at the bottom and some ones under the receipt and coins. Naturally I assumed the five was in there but while waiting for my order I casually checked and sure enough they shortchanged me for a five!

I spoke up nice and loud, "You didn't give me enough change!" The manager lady heard me and came over and checked what was in my hand and my receipt and then unlocked the register and gave me five dollars. That's twice that has happened to me at Burger King and makes you wonder how accidental it is. But the food I got was excellent, with fresh, clean lettuce and crisp tasty chicken fillets, much better than what I got the other day at the State Street Burger King in Springfield.

St. Joseph's Seminary in Brighton will have an entering class of ZERO this year. Real to Reel is reporting that the diocese is trying to come up with a master blueprint to address a shortage of priests and a smaller number of the Faithful. As an example they said Holy Name (Irish 1838) and Assumption (French 1880's) are looking into working together.

Left for the Chicopee Falls United Methodist Church on 55 Broadway - "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" - and noted that there was a green balloon on Kelly's mailbox, it sounded like there was some kind of party over there last night. On the way I swung by Agawam to visit Aunt Maria's grave and there were no decorations on it. I turned around on DePalma and parked beyond the bushes on Poplar so my car was barely visible from Lucia's house. Then I walked past the hedge of trees and took photos of the back of the Giroux house, shop and car to give to Attorney Gordon.

I arrived at Chicopee UM Church a little early so I sat in the car for a bit. There is a nice old decaying white Victorian house behind the church, I bet that was once the parsonage. For years this church was without a steeple but somehow they got the money to put a modern aluminum steeple up. The left pair of front doors were open so I went in where a sign said the service was in the basement. The total attendance was awful, only 37 people including the Pastor Karen E. Gutowski and the organist Charlotte Ross. The turnout was especially pathetic because most of those present were old ladies who will all be gone in ten years.

Pastor Gutowski spotted me and gave me a brief, cordial greeting. I sat in the second row from the back with my face behind a pillar so she wouldn't have to look at me. She has a fine preaching voice and I had no problem hearing her. Her sermon was about courageously facing the future. Alas Chicopee Methodist Church presents the melancholy aspect of having once been a really nice, thriving church but now it is old and run down and without a future. It is a nearly abandoned landmark over which the members of old would weep.

May 28, 2003

57 degrees this morning, a fine rain has been permanently falling.

Just because the Iraqi people hated Saddam Hussein doesn't mean they'll be pro-American. Ted Turner was the commencement speaker at Vermont Law this year. WNEC Law never gets anybody good. Every course of study in Law School should begin with the reading of the Magna Charta and the American Constitution, with a focus on the Bill of Rights. What passes for a legal education today stinks.

Lucien O. Laprade was a collector of taxes for Easthampton in 1974. Benjamin Swan Junior is the President of the Mcknight Neighborhood Council. Tom Bevaqua says the weather this week will be "dark, dreary and dismal." Trinity Church Nursery and Kindergarten is at 361 Sumner Avenue in Springfield. Yankee Candle is advertising its new Enchanted Toyworks with something called a "wish catcher."

I'm currently using an Olympia typewriter about twenty years old. I do not have a computer. My Mother, who was an executive secretary in the 1930's, taught me to type when I was in the 6th grade. Today I am an author and editor and I have a lot of really old typewriters around.

Up at 6am and started going through the living room closet. Found one of Mother's census worker badges from 1970 and an antique Walgreen's pill box from 1939. I also found the corner-penny from when Father laid the cement around the hatchway. When he finished he placed a brand new 1957 penny in the cement which eventually came loose with the passage of time. It was then retrieved by me and put in a plastic bag with the date it came loose - November 14, 1981. So that 1957 penny was stuck in the cement for 24 years.

I put Miracle Grow on my potted plants. Been eating too much prepared food so I cooked up some potatoes and peas. Headed to the Breckwood Shops where I got today's paper out of the trashcan in front of F.I.T. (Females in Training). Went to Copycat to review more of the Fernbank booklet proofs and Steve told me he started out in printing running a Linotype machine. I saw a bunny hopping along Sunrise Terrace near Denwell. 171 Aldrew had a Winchester Auto School car in the driveway and 71 Fenway is undergoing a massive remodeling and expansion.

My next stop was Arnold's Bakery where I got Thomas' English Muffins. They no longer carry the donuts I like. Next door Angelo's has a lot of flowers in stock and their prices are reasonable. Angelo's chubby son was working. On the way home a large funeral was headed into Hillcrest Cemetery. The grass triangles at Sixteen Acres Center, normally attended by the Sixteen Acres Civic Association, are covered with weeds. A cop in an unmarked blue car was sitting in the driveway of Church of the Acres waiting for speeders. Went to the liquor store across from Duggan Middle School and bought three cute little shots of Johnny Walker Blue for $15 apiece. That is the brand former Mayor Mary Hurley prefers.

Drove out to 663 Tinkham Road for a tag sale and bought a brass tray made in India. Then out to Stony Hill Road and to another tag sale at 270 Allen where I bought a silver and brass Islamic plate. Next I went to the Stanton Auction and bought a picture of the Hudson River for $75 which I know I can quickly resell for $350. I also bought a book on Alpine flowers for $40 that was bound by Burn and Company. I also bought for $100 an 1851 kettle made in Waterbury, Connecticut. There was a beautiful Persian rug worth $4,500 but no one bid on it, perhaps because it was long and narrow and useful only in a hallway. Then it started raining so badly that they closed so I had to leave. Too bad because I wanted to bid on some antique chests from a house in Monson.

Back home I had a phone conversation with Mrs. Staniski, who is going to Boston with Ann this weekend. She said her grandson in Oregon is out of work and having problems with his wife while her other grandson the financier is getting married in Boston. In June Mrs. Staniski has an appointment with Dr. Luftman to schedule a cataract operation for her. She says she has no fear of operations, relying entirely upon her faith in God.

I then called Dr. Utley the Library Director at A.I.C. and had a friendly and useful talk about Theodore Belsky's collection of tape recordings of prominent local citizens. The project was established in the 1970's and I stressed to him the importance of their preservation. Utley informed me that there are transcripts of some of the tapes that were done by students and that while Belsky is still in charge of the project the tapes themselves belong to the college. Dr. Utley told me he speaks often with Belsky and is carefully monitoring the collection, for which I praised him.

Aunt Maria Giroux used to use the promise of getting her estate to get Mother and I to do things for her but in the end she cut me out of her will. Gordon will get it back for me. The tax on cigarettes in Massachusetts has gone from 76 cents to $1.51 per pack causing people to buy out of state and online. The police say that the price of cocaine is down and heroin is up. Mayor M. J. Albano was in Boston for the steering committee meeting for U.S. Senator John F. Kerry's presidential candidacy. Job hunting?

Eamon's latest taped message ridicules the recent editorial by Larry McDermott about the paper's credibility. Credible? More like incredible! Eamon attacked the newspaper for tolerating "the most dishonest mayor in Springfield's history." I called McDermott myself and left a message saying that they should fire David Starr and hire Eamon to take his place. The tape ran for a long time without warning me or cutting me off, making me wonder whether Larry was secretly listening but refusing to come on the line.

May 31, 2003

65 degrees at 11:15, mix of clouds and sun. Breckwood Shell is $1.49.

Be bold, daring and unconventional!

The tone of a sentence can change in the middle from objective to sarcastic. Language is slippery and can mire you in confusion. Someone on WSPR said, "Television is just radio with pictures." To which I reply, "Radio is just somebody reading a book. Books are everything!"

Healey Funeral Home was at 29 Broadstreet in Westfield in 1971. The corner of Hollywood and Vine is being renamed Hope Square in honor of the 100th birthday of Bob Hope. He is the most honored entertainer in history, but was a hawk on Vietnam and less popular later in life. Personally I always liked Jack Benny better.

Henry Decker lived in South Hadley in 1966. Thomas F. Corbett had his law offices on Main Street in Great Barrington in 1970. Elaine Irving lived a 129 Dunmoreland Street in Springfield in 1976. Wesley Ennis is the Secretary of the Pilgrim Society in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The UMass Press and WFCR are in danger of being cut from the University budget. Albano's Market in the South End has a secret formula for making their Italian Ice. The Taste of Hartford will be June 11-15. The Reminder came on Thursday, late for a Tuesday paper!

Today I folded up my cot from the dining room and rolled it into the front bedroom or "pink room" which is now my summer study. At the Breckwood Shops this morning a white woman dressed like a Muslim was getting out of a car with a bumpersticker on it reading, "There's Dirt Under Every Bush!" There was a bunch of school buses parked across the street at Dunkin Donuts, they all drop off the kids and then duck in for a Dunkin.

Today I went to the celebration at the East Longmeadow branch of Westfield Savings Bank and about fifty people were there. They were serving 7UP and Hawaiian Punch with a magnificent double decker layer cake with a Happy 150th Anniversary on it. There were turquoise balloons and cobalt blue souvenir cups. They also had a game where money blows around in a booth and you have about fifteen seconds to catch what you can. The man in front of me was a postal worker who won $23. I ended up grabbing three fives and five ones. Good enough.

On my way home I saw Irving Cohn sitting by his garage. I stopped and we chatted a bit. I noticed that Mr. Cressotti was in the yard next door lying in a hammock, and Professor and the new Mrs. Bradley were out. I told Cohn that my spies had informed me that he had a heart attack and it was good to see him up and about. He was telling me all the reasons why he dislikes President Bush when a white car came and a woman in a Spectrum Home Healthcare jacket got out so I said hi to her and bye bye to Cohn and left.

The mail brought a pretty note from Mrs. Napolitan saying she has been in Europe with her husband Joe and so was delayed in thanking me for the postcards I sent her. She also wrote that the group Friends of the Library is extinct, which is a shame because I think the libraries will always need friends. Also I got a letter from Rev. Karen Gutowski, who told me they will merge the congregations of Liberty and Chicopee but hasn't decided which building they will use. The Liberty church seems in better shape.

The old Gallagher house across the street is for sale by Landmark so I called them and Ann Paquette told me it was selling for $169,000. The house has a a split rail fence that was once common in this neighborhood but are pretty much history now. Efrem Gordon called and wants me to attend the deposition of Dr. Rodney Larson by Atty. Shannon at Monarch Place. I told him that Peter Picknelly doesn't want me in his building so Gordon said he would clear that up by having the security desk alerted that I will be there on business. Finally I called Karen Powell who said that Charlie Ryan is vacationing in Canada!

Rev. Larry C. Fair from Wesleyan Church, vet F.C. Bacon and Councilor Dom Sarno were at a ceremony at the Veteran's Memorial at the corner of Allen and White streets. Eamon is reading The Positive Power of Negative Thinking by Julie K. Noren. He complained that "the local politicians would like to shut me up because I'm helping to clean up this corrupt bad city government!" He said that the electorate has been "dumbed down and brainwashed by a monopoly rag newspaper and ineffective TV weather stations who repeatedly failed to hold the politicians accountable."

Eamon said he is writing a new telephone message on character, stressing the need to speak up for what you believe, be a whistleblower and be willing to pay the price to defend your principles. Eamon says he is discouraged by the developments in his case against the Springfield firefighter who threatened to burn down his house for criticizing Albano. The hearings keep getting cancelled and the lawyer for the firefighter is Thomas Rooke, about whom Eamon said, "It is a corrupt system and Rooke knows how to work the system."

There was a hearing on the 27th in the District Courthouse. Eamon spotted Attorney Rooke in the parking lot so Eamon secretly tailed him as he went inside the courthouse. There Eamon saw him go directly inside the District Attorney's office, where he stayed for twenty minutes. Then everyone went into a tiny hearing room where the Clerk Magistrate was supposed to be Robert Marino but at the last minute was changed to Jay Stocks instead.

Stocks urged Eamon to settle the matter by accepting a simple apology but he refused so everything has been postponed. Former reporter Kevin Claffey, who is now a clerk of the Superior Court, told Eamon to write Samuel Zoll, Chief Justice of the District Court (and former Mayor of Salem) and tell him his complaints about the process. He agreed that he would contact Zoll.

Eamon is annoyed that he has sent lots of information about the situation in Springfield to Governor Romney but receives nothing but fundraising letters in response. Eamon also said that Charlie Ryan told him that he has been approached by the FBI and questioned but claimed that he told them nothing. Ryan asked Eamon how long ago he thinks the corruption probe is covering and Eamon told him probably at least ten years. Eamon said he tried to get Ryan to tell him more details about his encounter with the FBI but he said that as usual Charlie was all one way - he gathers information but doesn't dish any out.

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