38 degrees at 7:30am. Rain all day.
No act of kindness is ever wasted.
If we have spring flooding the basketball atop the Hall of Fame may float down the Connecticut River like a beach ball! The elites who claim to know what we "should" do are subverting true democracy on every front. Dr. Lee Holt at American International College used to ask, "How free are we?"
Tom Wolfe is 72. Catherine Chute is the publisher of Harvard Magazine. I once sent $50 to Ramsey Clark to help him with his anti-war efforts. "Nigger" is politically incorrect but "niggah" is a term of exaltation in hip-hop. Professor Kinney of UMass was on WFCR saying that the equation of darkness with evil in Shakespeare's Othello is racist. The Boston Herald has a story today about the outrageous salaries being paid the top honchos at UMass. Today would have been the 99th birthday of Dr. Seuss and they are having a day long celebration at the Quadrangle. There is a picture in the paper of the latest York Street Jail renovation plan. Those economic development people always come up with such pretty pictures.
Stopped briefly today at the 16 Acres Library. There were a lot of cars in the lot but some were no doubt visiting the community center. Inside the library I saw that the postcards I gave them were being offered by the glass case but not many had been taken. I was there maybe a minute and a half at best. Then I went to Walgreens and bought a Snoopy St. Patrick's Day card for Thomas E. Mudry and put $25 in it for him.
Next I drove downtown to the porn shop and driving past Trinity Church I noticed that while working on the roof they still have boards over the John Wesley window I want to photograph. At Bookends I bought a copy of XY Magazine which had two boys kissing on the cover, extremely glitzy and professional, designed to imitate a Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. At the cash register they had lime green Mardi Gras I and II (335 Worthington and East Windsor) Free Admission tickets. On my way back I stopped at the Food Mart where in the check-out line a woman told me she doesn't like that the store will soon become a Big Y. "You have to have competition," she said, "or else Big Y will charge whatever they want!"
When I got home I called Larry McDermott and left him a lecture on his answering machine. I was polite but I told him his paper is acting two-faced by asking readers for suggestions but then being anything but gracious when criticized. I accused he and Starr of ignoring what the public says. I closed by saying that The Republican has a long, storied and proud tradition which he and Starr have repeatedly dishonored. Eamon told me yesterday that he heard that Larry McDermott has split up with his wife, but hasn't been able to confirm it.
Eamon called and said word is that Albano intends to sell his home on Florentine Gardens and buy a place in Longmeadow. That's if he doesn't get indicted! If he goes to prison will he continue to receive a free paper from Starr & Company? Eamon feels that the renaming of the Union-News to The Republican is foolish because it has never supported the Republican Party in modern times. He suggested calling it "The Tin Trumpet" instead or "The Autocrat." I told him about the lecture I left for Larry today and he said, "Good, we need to keep rattling McDermott's cage."
Eamon said he got a visit yesterday from a former co-worker who still works at the Massachusetts Department of Education in Boston. His friend always listens to Dan Yorke out of Providence and told Eamon that Yorke "has mellowed" since he left Springfield. The reason his friend was in town was for some educational conference where Mayor Michael J. Albano appeared. His friend reported that Albano "looked terrible" and has "aged dramatically" in the past year.
A sunny but chilly day. 26 degrees at noon, 4 degrees in the middle of the night.
Education is power.
Mechanics Savings Bank was at 200 Main Street in Holyoke in 1969. Dr. Robert M. Berger worked at Baystate Eye Care in Springfield in 1995. WGBY is running its special on Celebrating Historic Deerfield again tomorrow. Governor Romney is considering creating a national forest in the Berkshires that would include Mt. Greylock. LEGO in Enfield is laying off 57 workers.
There is a Sacred Harp convention in Northampton this weekend. MCAST education scores were released today and Springfield has a pass rate of 69%, Holyoke 76% and Longmeadow 99%. The guy who robbed the Blockbuster Video in Longmeadow a couple of weeks ago was arrested in Holyoke and Police Chief Scott was on TV holding up his long criminal record and calling the guy "a one man crime wave." Gerry Phillips' house is for sale and he's selling it himself.
Pietro Belluschi and Eduardo Catalano designed Baystate West, the Civic Center and the Courthouse. In 1976 Time magazine called them among the top 14 most influential architects. Their approach is described in O'Connell's book as "a systems approach to architecture, technologically efficient with all systems integrated." Sound like a lot of blather.
Bax and O'Brien on WAQY played Eamon's answering machine message yesterday. They even sang a little song "Everybody Loves Eamon." Eamon called and told me how Keith Silberman once told him he should start a radio career in New York City. Then Eamon talked about the former Hampden County Register of Deeds John Pierce Lynch who grew up in the "brickyard" section of the Hill. He said he was so tight-fisted he used to boast that he still had the five dollars he got for his first communion. When people came to his house he would serve them popcorn. Eamon said Lynch was always running for some office or other and in 1976 actually tried to get on the ballot of the New Hampshire presidential primary. Eamon said Lynch "had one of the best political minds in Springfield" and "always made money off of his campaigns."
Eamon told me he had an interesting conversation the other day with his friend Judy at United Cooperative Bank in East Springfield where she is the manager. She told him a business person told her that AT&T offered Mayor Albano a job after he leaves office but he turned it down. She also said that she is amazed by all the Puerto Ricans who come up here and get on SSI (Supplemental Security Income) for some claimed disability and whose checks are direct deposited in her bank. She told of one case where someone got $69,000 in back payments and bought a house and a car, but then lost both within two years. Eamon said his parents always told him that "welfare is shameful."
Eamon's caller ID showed a William J. Ahern of 263 Poplar Avenue in West Springfield called and unwittingly kept talking after the voicemail came on saying to someone in the room, "Oh my God, you gotta hear what this guy is saying today!" Eamon is continuing his investigation into the break-up of Larry McDermott's marriage. A mole at the paper gave Eamon the basics from McDermott's employee file: Married to Linda Luis Lancaster in 1969. Graduated from Arkansas State University in 1970. Served in the Army from 1970-72. He has three kids - Marshall, Kelly and Amanda.
Other sources told him that McDermott has moved into Stockbridge Court downtown and that his wife Linda, who teaches in Agawam, reportedly called Larry "a no-good bastard" to one of her friends at work. Their house on Chilson Road is being sold. Eamon got final confirmation from Charlie Ryan, who he said "told me that they had split." Eamon was surprised that Ryan also knew that McDermott was from Arkansas, which he said was a perfect example of how Ryan always knows more about everything than anyone realizes. The hard part is getting him to share what he knows.
Ash Wednesday. 33 degrees at 8am. Freezing rain.
People don't much care for your opinion unless you agree with them.
Today is the fiftieth anniversary of Stalin's death. There are student protests all over the world against the impending war in Iraq. Books Not Bombs!
This morning as I was lying in bed half awake a flood of memories came to me. I remembered how around 1953 my parents took me to the Wiggins Tavern in the Hotel Northampton. The walls were covered with framed Currier and Ives prints. I recall we had open-faced turkey sandwiches which consisted of slices of turkey on bread swimming in gravy. The Hotel had souvenirs and I got a plaque with words of wisdom by Benjamin Franklin which I still have to this day. I also recalled how several years later we drove the Ford down to Hartford to see Constitution Plaza. In those days Birchland Avenue was not paved and I remember how when we got back from Hartford we got stuck in the mud by our driveway and Mr. and Mrs. Beatty drove past us without even stopping to help. I also recalled how in 1955 tropical storm Dianne damaged my family's land in Wilbraham when sand washed down from the turnpike bridge construction onto Maynard Road.
Frank B. Dobek was the Collector of Taxes for Wilbraham in 1939. Western Massachusetts Hospital was at 91 East Mountain Road in 1997. There are 65 million Catholics in America. Yale employees are on strike. The Springfield Pothole Hotline number is 787-6278. On WFCR someone from a government arts organization was boasting that "no art or cultural organization has ever left the state." No foolin'? Is Historic Plymouth going to move to Arizona? Is the Boston Museum of Fine Arts going to move to Florida? United Cooperative Bank is running TV commercials with customer testimonials in them: Richard Southworth, a rotund older man, Frank Thomas, Joan Fuller, a middle aged black woman, Paul Lessard the real estate guy and Lynn Anderson who was saying it is "the best bank for business." The Springfield Republican has shrunk in size. It used to be 13.5 inches by 22.75 inches and now it is 12.5 inches by 21 inches. Of course the price keeps going up as the size shrinks.
Spent half an hour reading Stanley's History of Philosophy this morning. I called Senator John F. Kerry's office and left a message that I hope he is doing well after his prostate operation. Went down to Louis & Clark to get the paper and found a copy of an email in the trashcan outside the fitness place. It is from Maww4@aol.com to Joanne Sowa of 60 Weston Street, Wilbraham. It reads, "My brother is just a little different since he married Anne, she wants everyone to think they are better than most but that is a bunch of bull, you know that and I know that, sister." A thank you letter came in the mail today from C. V. Ryan:
Dear J. Wesley,
Many thanks for your recent letter and enclosures. I especially enjoyed your Quadrangle article and your ode to Johnson's Bookstore with Strophe II listing all the downtown businesses of your youth being a special highlight. I remember each and every building or location you mentioned and can still see them vividly in my mind's eye. I also appreciate the encouragement you offered on the current library battle.
Because of all the students that failed to pass the MCAST tests in Springfield, Mayor Albano, teacher's union president Timothy Collins and some local black ministers held a press conference declaring that Springfield's students work hard and should be allowed to graduate whether they pass the MCAST test or not. In other words, if our students can't meet the standards, then ignore the standards! The spirit of Peter Negroni lives on! Peter Miller, the Director of Admissions at A.I.C. was on TV saying they will accept students even if they only have their General Equivalency Diploma.
Rumors are rampant that Senator Linda Melconian will run for mayor as Albano's chosen heir. Eamon called and said he wonders how many home renovation projects have been done at Mayor Albano's house and the homes of the Asselin's, Phillips and others with taxpayer funds and materials from the Housing Authority, MCDI and other municipal agencies? Eamon said that thousands of dollars in rakes, shovels, grass seed, brooms and even street signs are in the homes of city employees. Also routinely stolen are concrete blocks, fertilizer and loam.
Eamon said that the 418 Club is a strip joint on the corner of Hillman and Dwight "with the ugliest girls in town." He said the prettiest girls are at the Mardi Gras. He said he once responded to a personals ad in the back of the Valley Advocate from a 53 year old petite woman who had her graduate degree in English from Berkeley. But when he met her all she wanted to do was get laid and told him that after working her entire life all she wanted was a man to support her in style so she could retire young. Eamon said that he soon broke off the relationship.
Snow coming down full tilt.
Lots of people don't know about the medieval crusades and that a lot of Arab blood was spilled resulting in resentment that lives on to this day. When I was a child the youth group at Wesley Methodist Church was tactlessly named The Crusaders. I was their treasurer at one point.
M.C. Smith was the Collector of Taxes in Wilbraham in 1947. This is the final week of the Hamelin Furniture going out of business sale in Northampton. TV40 has a new person on named Liz Cho. WFCR is having their Spring Fund Drive and this morning a woman from South Hadley gave $365 dollars. They said only 8% of their listeners contribute. I called McDermott at the paper and the always polite and professional Anita answered and said that Larry was unavailable. She said she would tell him I called, and she no doubt will, but of course I don't expect McDermott to call me back.
In Forest Park Camp SECO has been closed. One third of this year's graduating classes in Springfield failed the MCAS test. There are three women in Greenfield who have come forward to claim they were sexually abused by Father R. Lavigne. Also saying they were preyed upon by Lavigne is Susan Morris of East Longmeadow and another woman from Guilford, Connecticut. No child was safe when the Reverend Lavigne was around, but his main preference was for boys.
Went to Stop&Shop and bought cans of pineapples, peaches, stewed tomatoes and a rotisserie chicken. Efrem Gordon called and said he has been trapped at home for five days by a bad knee. He said it's the first time in his adult life he's stayed home for five days! Age is catching up with Efrem. Anyway he said I can come in and copy the depositions whenever it's convenient.
Ray Asselin has been placed on unpaid leave from the Housing Authority. Eamon called and said he went to Stop&Shop today where he ran into Timothy Foley, a retired court officer Eamon knows through Edward Weldon, the owner of The Dory Lounge on Saint James Avenue. Eamon and Foley discussed the Asselins and Foley recalled how Joe Berte, the head of maintenance for the SHA asked him in 1976 at Lake Paradise in Monson, "Could you use a stove and refrigerator? How about a washer and dryer?" Foley said he angrily declined, saying "Don't you ever ask me anything like that again, I don't want your hot merchandise even for free!" Eamon himself recalled Joe Berte pulling up at the Dory and seeing him selling brand new lawn chairs and metal trash cans out of the back of his truck. Joe Berte is dead now but Eamon said that Foley's story shows how the Asselin Gang have been looting the Housing Authority since at least the mid 1970's. Eamon said he would love to see what Asselin and Saco Catjakis have in their house and where it came from.
Eamon said that Newhouse papers like the Springfield Republican never win any Pulitzer Prizes because they're run from the business office rather than the editorial office. He also said there needs to be "a top to bottom audit and inventory of the Department of Public Works and the School Department." He says that millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on fancy new school buildings but the children still can't read or write up to grade level.
The Valley Advocate had a blurb in it this week that Mitch Ogulewicz has a new radio show Thursdays on 1250 WARE, broadcasting out of the old schoolhouse up in Palmer. I tuned in and although the signal was faint I could still hear it with the volume turned way up. Mitch started off by editorializing against Albano's cuts to the fire department. He said people don't realize as they drive past their local fire station that there is often no one inside. He then introduced his guest, the labor leader Antonette Pepe, who complained that the school department wants paraprofessionals who work as teacher's aides to have Associates Degrees. Pepe said the aides only make around $14,000 a year and if they want them to have a degree they should raise the pay. She said they could find the money for pay raises if they fired some of the administrators and their assistants in the main office downtown, who get big salaries but never step foot in a classroom.
18 degrees at 6:56am. Four inches of fluffy snow on the ground. 84 inches of snowfall so far this winter.
Lillian E. Thompson was the Collector of Taxes in Wilbraham in 1953. William F. Carlin of Springfield, a retired Post Office employee, died last month at age 94. Fire deaths in West Warwick are up to 99. Saw chubby white man Kent Pecoy on a United Cooperative Bank commercial. TV22 had Kelly Turney, associate pastor at Trinity talking about their Lenten Luncheon with a view shown of Asbury Hall and about 25 old ladies present. Governor Mitt Romney is calling the waste and fraud in the state's school construction program "the second Big Dig." TV40 showed Governor Romney at Welker's Tire and Alignment talking about the concerns of small businesses.
Springfield has a Blanche Street from Ravenwood to Patricia Circle. Mistakenly got a letter today meant for my neighbor Stanley Cressotti. It was from Dr. James M. Freedman on Dwight Road in Longmeadow. In bringing Cressotti his letter I ran into Lt. Lucius who said his wife who is in a nursing home with Alzheimer's had a gall bladder operation. His three daughters are demanding that he leave her in the nursing home permanently as he couldn't give her proper care any longer. They told him enough is enough. Then I went to Louis & Clark to send out the mail via Cindy but they had no Valley Advocates. There were none at Shell and none at the Acres Pride. When you're out of Advocates you're out of news! I finally got one at the liquor store where I noticed a dumpster was pulled up at the boarded up Burger King.
Went to Summer Camp Day at Western New England College in the Rivers Memorial Building. I parked at WNEC right in front of the Administration building in a Visitor spot. The fair consisted of 25 tables representing such youth orientated activities as Camp Atwater, Camp Massasoit, Laughing Brook, RadKids and Tim Daggett's Gold Medal Gymnastics. Sharon Mangieri and Cindy Duda of WNEC's Human Resources were at the welcoming table and were sweetly pleasant. Jeanne Fontaine of the Quadrangle had a table promoting their youth activities. WNEC is partnered with the Springfield Day Nursery and Kimberly Lee is their Vice-President. She used to be big in the United Way. Paul Moriarty was there representing the Pioneer Valley Boy Scouts of America.
On the way home I picked up a copy of the new Journal/Bravo. As I predicted there is nothing in it by Tom Devine. The question is did he quit or did the Buendo brothers cave in to political pressure? There is a curious reprint in this issue of a Shera Cohen article on Springfield's automotive history that was originally published in the Springfield Journal in March 1979. Cannibalizing their archives already?
For International Women's Day Mayor Albano was on TV with Candice Lopes and Kateri Walsh with Lopes reading the Mayor's Proclamation. Albano was also shown at Lowe's Home Improvement proclaiming this to be Red Cross Month. Eamon called and said he had been down to Orr Cadillac early this morning for his six month oil change. He said Orr parks all their cars inside overnight to prevent theft and vandalism. He also bought some reading glasses at Ocean State Job Lot on Liberty Street for $2.95. Eamon claims to be able to type 150wpm on an electric typewriter and can take down 250wpm shorthand, a skill he learned at Cathedral.
According to Eamon Jim Landers had a brother named Eddie who had a serious drinking problem but was a good soul. He worked in ad alley at the Springfield Newspapers in the composing room on the Ludlow machine. Another brother Tom Landers is retired from teaching high school in Chicopee. Landers told Eamon he went to the Basketball Hall of Fame and was not impressed, saying there was too much empty space and the restaurant is too expensive. Eamon told me he likes Maureen Turner's latest article in the Valley Advocate and I told him I regret that she and I no longer have any contact. Eamon said Turner "never appreciated you" and it is her loss. He then reflected a little on Matty Ryan and the scandals he concealed saying, "Matty covered up so much it wasn't funny."
Cloudy with a peachy-looking sun.
The co-directors of the Western Mass Writing Project are Bruce Penniman, Diana Callahan, Charles Moran and Mary Ann Devita-Palmieri. Allen Agnitti is the President and Scott R. Hanson the Executive Director of The "X" Main Street Corporation. On Religion and Ethics Newsweekly host Bob Abernathy said that Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt gives to Jewish causes even though he doesn't believe in God because he still wants to preserve Jewish culture, values and history. Sounds a lot like my relation to Methodism. Also on TV tonight was Suze Orman talking about the Five Laws of Money:
Law One: Truth creates money; lies destroy it.
Law Two: Look at what you have, not what you had.
Law Three: Do what is right for you based on how you feel.
Law Four: Invest in the known before the unknown.
Law Five: Money doesn't define you; you define your money.
Reference librarian Mary Holmes of the Greenfield Public Library sent me a letter rejecting my offer to give a lecture on white granite "because of recent budget cuts and restraints." The Springfield Library and Museums Association last night unveiled plans for a $636,000 addition to the Springfield Science Museum. The article in the paper showed Fran Gagnon and Joe Carvalho looking at the architectural drawing.
Drove up to Amherst this morning. It is 23 miles to Amherst thru South Hadley. The streets of downtown Amherst were dirty and it was hard to gather posters and flyers off the poles due to the high snowbanks. I also stopped at Hampshire College where they no longer have the checkpoint booth so I drove right up to the enclosed bus stop and grabbed some posters from inside. After Hampshire and downtown Amherst I continued on to UMass, where they have facing the pond behind the Fine Arts Center a statue of The Minuteman, with weapon, on a granite stand. It was dedicated in 2002 and is a gift of the Class of 1950.
I went through several of the buildings gathering posters from Herter, Bartlett and the Student Union. I did well on anti-war posters including one for the March 5th Books Not Bombs demonstration. I also got posters for the 3rd Anarchist Book Fair, The Black Educators of Tomorrow Dinner at Smith and I even got a poster from the inauguration of John Lombardi as chancellor from a trash can by the English Department in Bartlett. I took no music posters except one for Wesley Willis (because his name is Wesley) who is appearing in Northampton on the 24th with Angry Atom and Kahoots.
I snagged a poster for Freedom for the University Community (FUC) from the Student Union alleyway which is always a sea of posters. The Student Union is a modern building but it is starting to look old from neglect, with tiles missing on the floor of the corridor leading to the co-op grocery store. The green stairs leading down to the Campus Center are also worn through to the cement in spots. On my way back to my car I got a poster for Stick Em Up Posting and Promotion Services which is run by Jaime Morton in Shutesbury. They also do postering in Hartford and Brattleboro but not in Springfield, a major insult implying that Springfield doesn't matter.
Jimmy Carter has announced that he is against invading Iraq. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday the five year old housing boom is likely to slow in 2003. Governor Rowland of Connecticut was on TV30 saying that "the Connecticut real estate market is robust." Also on TV30 was shown a Dr. Robert Henry, Hartford Superintendent of Schools. Is he related to Ann Henry of Commerce? I called Eamon to ask and he said he didn't know but probably not as there are a lot of Henry's in the phone book. Eamon went on to ask if Dr. Seuss thought so highly of Springfield why did he leave all his original drawings, artwork and writings to the University of California in San Diego? He also noted that the local media and political establishment paid very little attention to the career of Dr. Seuss until he was elderly and then the Quadrangle started looking for angles to cash in on his impending death - but in his final will and testament Seuss left the city nothing.
23 degrees on the breezeway at 6:30am. Sunny, cold and windy. Gas $1.59 at the Cumberland Farms across from Angelo's.
With tinnitus you always have a tune in your head.
Charlie Ryan's family's chain of drug stores started in 1895. Acre Drug was at 1203 Parker Street in 1963. In 1971 Louis & Clark had three locations: Breckwood Boulevard in Springfield, Memorial Drive in Chicopee and Main Street in Wilbraham. City Opticians was at 1624 Main Street in 1972. Whatever happened to the portrait of Anna S. Danforth that used to hang in the basement dining hall of Wesley Methodist Church? The Lawyer's Service Center is in Norwood, Massachusetts. Ruth Ann Lobo and Bruce Kellogg are doing TV testimonials for Houser Buick. Gov. Romney was on WAQY this morning.
Mother had a racist term for purple cowhorn potatoes - niggerdinks. Jovial red-haired Stu from Punderson Oil came and delivered 201.9 gallons of home heating oil. Dick Nichols doesn't take in his morning paper until late in the day. I have included Dick in the essay I wrote for my Fernbank booklet. Drove out to Feeding Hills to spy on Aunt Maria's place. Snow on the steps but the driveway is plowed out and next door at the Lucia's the garage door was open. Then over to the Agawam Library which is all finished now with renovations. Right inside the door is a portrait of Minerva Porter Davis (1861-1956) who founded the Agawam Public Library in 1924. Two excellent murals were painted in the Children's Room by Ted Essleton from Connecticut.
In his writing Eamon writes School Board as "School Bored." He called today and said he threw his back out for the first time since April 2000. He spent hours soaking in his bath tub. Eamon suspects that despite Ray Asselin's troubles the stealing, kickbacks pay-offs and corruption at the Springfield Housing Authority continues. In the mail today came a pretty note from Norma Couture thanking me for the postcards. Jean Masse called thanking me for the postcards I sent her. She said her husband is not well. The Sixteen Acres Civic Association has a new President Clodo Concepcion of Mallowhill Road. She said he is retired and has an accent that is hard to understand. His wife is named Teresa. She said Larry Gormally came and did a slide show for the Association on the history of 16 Acres and he had pictures of everything including the old post office. We talked about the libraries and she said of David Starr, "If you're on his list look out!"
Today was the day the library controversy was discussed at the City Council. Earlier in the day I tried to call Councilor Angelo Puppolo to discuss the issue with him but no one was there and his answering machine was off. The meeting was announced in church bulletins and drew a crowd of over 100 from all over the city. I didn't go but the television coverage was extensive. It was reported that they have stopped removing books from the libraries they intend to close, but does that mean they have they removed the good books and left the trash? Drew Bailey and Sheila McElwaine of the Forest Park Civic Association were on saying they "don't trust the Library and Museums anymore." Antonette Pepe was shown speaking. Ken Pooler of the DPW said his department would be glad to volunteer to put up the wheelchair ramps at the libraries that don't have them if that will keep them open.
By a unanimous 9-0 vote the City Council voted to establish a citizen committee to be headed by Attorney Charles V. Ryan to consider the possibility of a city takeover of the library system. The SLMA has run the libraries since 1857. Ryan was on camera briefly saying that the current arrangement was unacceptable. Pupplo was on and agreed with Ryan. In the old days the libraries were tops and the museums were second fiddle but that began to change when Starr came along. Maureen Ponser said she feels "the city would be more accountable than a non-profit group."
J. Carvalho was shown saying the Springfield Library and Museums Association "will work with the city on the future of the libraries." His cooperative attitude makes me suspicious. While it is known that Starr wants to hold on to the libraries as part of his empire that may not be the view of the majority of the SLMA. I suspect there are many in the SLMA who would just as soon dump the library part of their operation and hang on to the sexier museums racket. The SLMA has made a mess of the libraries and some would just as soon dump them on the taxpayers so they can party at the museums and continue to live the Longmeadow lifestyle.
32 degrees at 8am.
President Bush's Iraq policies have dismayed and estranged our friends. It has enraged and multiplied our enemies. It has not made America safe.
Mayor Giordano of Bridgeport, Connecticut goes on trial today on 18 Federal child sex charges. Expect the prosecution to try to present their case fast so as to shock the jury with the sheer outrageousness of his behavior while the defense will try to drag the trial out to "inoculate the jury" and give them time to get over their initial outrage. Ron Severt, a big shot at Six Flags was on TV saying they are going to double the size of their waterpark. It was in the sit down area by the waterpark that I was first harassed by their security.
The newsletter from United Cooperative Bank shows a picture of Governor Romney visiting one of their banks. WFCR says to avoid colorectal cancer eat vegetables and little or no fatty meats. Their fundraising drive continues and this morning a big contribution came from "Peter Straley of Health New England and David Ross, both of Amherst." Gay lovers? The Superior Court has ruled that the Catholic Diocese and the Springfield Library and Museums Association are subject to the rules, regulations and restrictions of the Historic District. Sarah Murry of the Preservation Trust brought the action. TV22 showed a victory rally being held in front of the old Donahue House with Susan Goodman interviewing Jim Boone, a tall man with white hair and beard as he and about eight other demonstrators celebrated the Preservation Trust victory.
The debate about the SLMA running the Springfield libraries made me curious about who runs the libraries elsewhere in the valley, so I made some phone calls. I called the Wilbraham Library and got Joe on the Reference Desk and he said the library is run by a board of trustees elected by the townspeople for three year terms. Then I called the East Longmeadow Public Library and got Sue the assistant librarian who said the library is "totally publicly owned" and run by trustees selected at the town meeting. Next I called Storrs Library in Longmeadow and got a very pleasant Carl Sturgis who said they are run by trustees chosen from a group of corporators who are "residents of Longmeadow who are active in the town," and when pressed admitted they are also usually donors to the library. When I suggested that the positions were bought and paid for, Sturgis replied that the donation did not have to be money but could be "raking the lawn, shelving books, there is no end to what it could be." I wonder how many lawn rakers are on their board of trustees? Finally I called the Quadrangle for clarification about their board and was referred to Sue Davison who was not available but I left a message for her to call me.
Nader the Hatter is back in town and came in his blue Honda this morning around ten, wearing one of his typical broad rimmed hats. Alas he is growing thinner and looks older with his hair cut short but is otherwise the same old Nader. He said his brother Gary is recovering well from the death of his wife Phyllis. Then suddenly the telephone rang and I excused myself to answer. It was Sue Davison from the Quadrangle returning my call and I asked her how I could become a corporator for the Quad. She said they had already been elected for this year but if I wanted to be considered for next year I must first pay a $1,000 fee to become a member of the Society of William Rice. You are also required to give at least a thousand a year for each year you belong. I told her I will not be doing that. However I did suggest that the Quad should print postcards of the Seuss statues and sell them for extra money, provided the greedy Seuss heirs can be prevented from grabbing all the profits with their copyright fees. She thanked me for my suggestion and hung up.
I apologized to The Hatter for the interruption and he showed me that he had brought his Toshiba computer which he said he had bought less than two years ago for $950 and complained is now selling for only $750. Anyway he says it still works perfectly and he showed me his website and all the hand-made hats he sells. The photos he has taken of his hats are superb. He said business is good but his place in Florida costs $1200 per month so he has to sell a lot of hats! At noon we decided to go to lunch and I suggested we go to the Basketball Hall of Fame so he could tell his friends in Florida he went, but he said basketball bores him. So we went to Ruby Tuesday on Boston Road instead where our server was Lennie who said he has worked there for three years. He brought me some french fries he said were right out of the cooker and Nader had a salad. When we got back I found The Reminder thrown in my driveway. We went inside briefly and I showed him my collection of matchbooks from Diamond Match and then as he left I gave him a bottle of Bristol Creme to take with him, which seemed to please the Hatter immensely.
I then called Linda Melconian's office and got a male aide named Carmine who said Linda was unavailable. I told him I called because I had heard that Linda may run for mayor and that before she did anything she should call and consult with Eamon T. O'Sullivan, whose cousin was Mayor Billy Sullivan, late brother was the Fire Chief and whose nephew is the Park Commissioner. He thanked me and promised to inform the Senator. Eamon's latest answering machine message blasts "the social promotion failures and self-serving profiteers former School Superintendent Peter Negroni and current Superintendent Joe Burke and their hand-picked politically correct but inept principals Anne Henry of Commerce and Lydia Blazquez of Sci-Tech." Eamon has been to see his chiropractor O'Connor in East Springfield and his back is gradually improving. Eamon said that Jim Landers told him that he was downtown and saw a paper shredder truck taking barrels of paper out of City Hall for shredding - probably before the Grand Jury has a chance to get to it!
37 degrees at 6:30. Snowing on and off all day.
George Bush is an international terrorist! I wish I had that on a t-shirt.
87 inches of snow this year, the third snowiest winter on record. The cold is affecting the maple syrup crop which is three weeks late because it needs warm days and cold nights for the sap to run. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. 5.3% was the average unemployment rate in Massachusetts in 2002. Smith College has announced that their endowment has taken a $200 million dollar loss so they are cutting staff and raising tuition. Weatherman Brian Lapis' wife had twin girls, I'm sure we'll never hear the end of that.
Mary Lu Irvine is a customer service representative for the Pioneer Valley Automobile Club Insurance Agency in West Springfield. Loris White (like Doris with an L) is Efrem Gordon's secretary. Went out to CopyCat to make photocopies and then over to Louis & Clark to mail a letter to Clodo Concepcion the new president of the 16 Acres Civic Association. Then I headed to the Eastfield Mall for a skinhead haircut and told the barber to "cut it down to just before the blood spurts out." On my way out I noticed there were only a few people in line at the automobile registry office. Then to Stop&Shop where I got some bargains, but the Stop&Shop brand margarine has a lot of fat in it.
When I got back I stopped to see my neighbor Irving Cohn and my car skidded a little in his driveway. Cohn was cheerful as always and he told me his wife Lenore had gone for her treatments so he was home alone. I told him how I finished the final draft last night on the booklet I'm creating about the history of the land my family donated to Wilbraham which will be made into a recreation area named Blanch and John's Fernbank after my parents. Cohn said he thinks Bush will take us to war and I agreed. We discussed the public schools and Cohn said that Peter Negroni was "brilliant but didn't make many friends while he was here" and he thinks his successor Burke "is worse than Negroni and dumber." I promised him I would let him borrow Bob Steel's book on Hartford as soon as Mother's girlfriend Mrs. Staniski returns it. When I left Mr. Cohn said it was nice of me to come by as he doesn't get many visitors anymore. I waved at the van returning with Mrs. Cohn as I drove back to my house.
I've been wondering about the corporate structure of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra so I called them and got Susan who was most helpful. She said they have a board of 40 members who are required to be donors although of no specific amount. David Starr is an Emeritus of the Board. She told me if I had further questions I should contact their Executive Director Michael Jonnes. Next I called Sarah A. Murray of the Springfield Historic Preservation Trust to praise her on their victory over the Catholic Church and the Quadrangle. No one answered so I shouted on the voicemail, "Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations!" I did not leave my name.
Eamon's latest answering machine message blasts the "outlaws, gangsters and thieves" running City Hall and claims the focus of the FBI probe is on "Albano, Ardolino, Asselin, Catjakis, Kingston, Keough and Phillips." I have to give Eamon credit, he is not afraid to name names publicly! Eamon called tonight and said his back is still hurting him. Jim Landers went to Pizza Uno for the first time and didn't like it. We discussed mob activity in the valley and Eamon said Felix Tranghesi "is the biggest fucking gangster in Springfield."
32 degrees on the breezeway at 6:30am. Gas $1.67 throughout the Acres. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is 76 today.
Frank and Cora Lusnia lived at 31 Loveland Terrace in Chicopee in 1966. Atty. Alphonse C. Turcotte had his office at Three Hundred High Street in Holyoke in 1968. Robert L. Mullaly was Treasurer of Easthampton Savings Bank in 1973. In Connecticut they're having a United Technologies Regional Robotics Competition. Too bad they had nothing like that when I was a kid, I would have loved to be in something like that. The Springfield School System gave out 471 suspensions last year, compared to 87 in Holyoke and 9 in Greenfield. Today is the kickoff of Northampton's 350th Anniversary. A tall James M. Parsons was on TV identified as an expert on local history (not Richard Garvey).
Cooked up a hamburg and spaghetti casserole today. Did some cleaning in the attic this morning where I came upon one of Mother's never worn coats all wrapped up with a tag on it from Two Guys saying she bought it on January 15, 1974. In all I found 14 never worn coats of Mother's and three old suits of Father's. Mother was lonesome and had little to do so she'd go shopping at Two Guys, a department store at 1101 Boston Road where Walmart is now, and buy nice stuff but since she never went anywhere she just packed it away and it never got used.
For many years the store next to City Hall on Main Street was Stillman's. Then J.C. Penny moved in and at their Grand Opening Father won a grey suit. It was one of the suits I gave to Salvation Army today and it was in perfect condition. The only substantial thing Father ever won but at least he won something! Light grey was not Father's color because grey gets dirty easily. Father preferred textured dark colors and I donated two of those as well, one blue, one black.
Today I went to a free concert of classical music at First Church on Court Square. There were cars parked everywhere because there was a circus at the Civic Center but I still found a spot by City Hall where some kids were skateboarding on the plaza in front of the steps. When I entered First Church I was greeted by Mr. Beebe as Lathrop and a couple of ladies were setting up refreshments. They were also having a daffodil sale. John Turner was there and eyed me without speaking. I was wearing boots, blue jeans, hip pocket black and blue hankies, black t-shirt, biker jacket, pad-locked doggie collar and my new skinhead haircut. The place was only 2/3rds full and the balcony was empty. It was a good concert although I don't like Bartok so I left at intermission. On my way out I drifted through their watercolor gallery but saw only mediocre stuff, nothing as good as my watercolor by Peggy Starr.
After the concert I brought the coats over to the Salvation Army where the guy gave me a receipt to fill out myself. Then I scooted over to Agawam to spy on Aunt Maria's but nothing is changed except the front porch looks empty and there was a red van over at Lucias. As I headed back to the Acres I noted that there was a Reverend John Wesley Howard full color poster on a light pole by Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church. There's somebody who knows how to evangelize! I also noted there was some activity by the boarded up Burger King by Big Y on Boston Road. I went to an Open House at 115 Granger Street. They said the old lady who lived there went blind and has gone to live with family. The house is in good shape.
Eamon called and said his back no longer bothers him as long as he's sitting down but still hurts when he walks around. I'm sorry I didn't listen to The Ogulewicz Show this week as Eamon said Mitch's guest was Karen Powell. Mayor Albano spoke against going to war in Iraq at a peace rally in front of City Hall today which Eamon dismissed as grandstanding.
43 degrees at 6:30.
The news said some Americans are boycotting all things French because of their refusal to help if we go to war against Iraq. French wines are being boycotted and some restaurants are changing their menus to read "Freedom Fries" instead of French Fries. Loren Gary is the editor of Harvard Business School Publishing. Hampshire Mall on Route Nine in Hadley has student discounts on Tuesday.
Called the Wilbraham Town Office this morning and got Pamela E. Beall who told me Pearsall's secretary is Fran Popovich and that the Town Attorney is Michael P. Hassett. Then I went out for the morning paper and dropped off some postcards for Jeff at CopyCat. Next I drove downtown to see Efrem Gordon who is feeling better. He said he read Aunt Maria's diary, particularly those entries from 1995 when she had her license to drive taken away. He is concerned about the entry from May 2, 1995 when she wrote, "Wesley swore at me." He said we must do nothing that would draw attention to that. As I left the office Efrem's son was just arriving, and as I drove back I noticed that all the windows are out in the back portion of Technical High School now being demolished. I also stopped at Food Mart where they are already removing food from the shelves in anticipation of being turned into a Big Y. Lots of their displays are gone and the deli counter is closed. Their last day as Food Mart is April 7th.
Today is Saint Patrick's Day. The St. Patrick's Mass was not on TV22 this year but was on TV57 which is also doing the parade this weekend. I don't like PBS televising a Mass. Eamon called today and to add to his bad back he now has a sore throat. He said he woke up at 2am this morning and "could hardly breathe." Eamon has gathered more dirt on McDermott's divorce. His home at 135 Chilson now belongs to Wayne Thresher and it was sold to him by Linda L. McDermott. It was deeded to Linda in 2002 for zero dollars which suggests she got it as part of the property settlement in the divorce. Eamon says the house was built in 1988, has eleven rooms and is "very luxurious." The McDermott's bought it in November of 1996 for $410,000 and his wife has sold it for $565,000. When Eamon launches an investigation he does not stop until he has uncovered every detail.
The other day Eamon told me he was angry over the letter in the paper from Judge Keyes praising Congressman Boland and supporting efforts to have a statue erected to him downtown. Eamon said he considered sending a rebuttal letter to the paper, but then decided they would never print it so he sent a letter directly to Keyes himself. He promised he would send me a copy and it arrived today.
from Eamon T. O'Sullivan