March 2003

March 2, 2003

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.

March 4, 2003

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.

March 5, 2003

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.

Best wishes,

Charlie Ryan

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.

March 6, 2003

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.

March 8, 2003

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."

March 9, 2003

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.

March 11, 2003

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.

March 12, 2003

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!

March 14, 2003

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."

March 16, 2003

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.

March 17, 2003

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.

Letter to Retired Judge Daniel M. Keyes
from Eamon T. O'Sullivan
March 2003

Dear Dan,

Regarding your comments in the paper about Congressman Boland, the famous writer H.L. Mencken once said, "History is an agreed upon pack of lies." Quite frankly I always thought Edward P. Boland lacked the testicular fortitude to be a leader. As a matter of fact it wasn't until near the end of his time in congress that he was involved in the so-called "Boland Amendment" which was poorly written and described at the time as "a piece of Swiss Cheese."

I remember reading the Boston Globe back in 1972 when they were writing about the various congressmen from Massachusetts. When it came to Congressman Boland the Globe Spotlight column had this to say: "We don't know anything good or bad about Edward P. Boland from the Second Congressional District. After twenty years of service to date he is a cipher and a nonentity in the U.S. Congress." As a matter of fact Boland's record was rather dull with him never taking a stand for or against any significant issue of his time.

I often told my late great mother that I couldn't understand why the Irish, although trapped and scarred by the limited Hungry Hill mentality, always voted for a man like Boland with no real stature as a leader or statesman. Whenever I encountered Boland he was always too much in a rush to talk and his public statements were rare and in most cases glittering generalities.

Boland's most significant failure was causing the closing of the Springfield Armory. I have handwritten letters from the late U.S. Speaker of the House John McCormack, a good friend of then President Lyndon Baines Johnson, telling how Boland's disastrous decision to back Edward M. Kennedy for U.S. Senate over Speaker McCormack's nephew Edward McCormack killed any chance that either Speaker McCormack or President Johnson would use their power to save the Armory. It was Mass Ways and Means Chairman Tony Scibelli and Edmond P. Garvey who partially salvaged the Armory by turning it into Springfield Technical Community College for which they received little help from Boland.

Judge Keyes, I recognize your life long friendship with Boland, but he was not highly respected in the U.S. Congress as you suggest, and it was well known locally that if you wanted something done in Washington you should contact our other Congressman Silvio O. Conte. We don't need anymore streets, statues or schools built or named after Boland. I find it interesting that his parents enrolled him at the public elementary Armory Street School instead of Our Lady of Hope. He may not have been academically inclined, but I concede he was still clever enough to fool the Irish.


March 19, 2003

53 degrees at noon. Beautiful, sunny.


I was dozing in front of the TV at 9:30 this evening and when I woke up war coverage was already in progress with over 40 Tomahawk missiles fired so far against sites believed to hold the leaders of Iraq in a "decapitation strike." President Bush came on at 10:15 to officially declare the war underway. Sen. Brian Lees was on local TV tonight urging everyone to unite to support our troops now that the war has begun. Nonsense. George Bush should shoot himself in the head and so should Cheney and Rumsfeld. America should be ashamed of itself and I hope we have high casualties.

Philip A. McKeague lived in Southampton in 1973. Jane Veilleux is the Travel Coordinator for Cross Culture Travel on High Point Drive in Amherst. Southpaw Books is in Conway, Massachusetts. Hamelin Furniture in Northampton has closed forever. The smokestack at the former Northampton State Hospital was imploded yesterday and the hospital power plant is being demolished. There's a new exercise center at Five Town Mall called Workout Plus behind the old Spag's. I got a letter today from John Silber of Boston University thanking me for my suggestion that he should receive an honorary degree from Harvard. He wrote, "It is highly unlikely that they would want to pay tribute to me, but I appreciate your thought."

Nader the Hatter left today to return to Florida. By chance I tuned into Connecticut's Channel 20 at 10am and watched a few minutes of a show called Celebration of the Eucharist. The celebrant of Mass was Father Dan McElberon of St. John's in Waterbury. The Mass was dedicated to a Father Charles Hewett (1906-2003). They had a commercial for Archbishop Daniel Cronin's Annual Appeal. Was this program paid for by the Catholic Church or is it a regular show on Channel 20?

My jaw was aching today so I called the dentist for Mother and I Dr. Tony Giannnetti for an appointment. However Marilyn his receptionist said he is semi-retired and my medical file "has been purged" since I haven't been there since Mother's death four years ago. I asked who else she would recommend and she said Dr. Peter Duplessis so I called and got an appointment for Thursday at 1:30.

Working in the attic I found a cooker from the 1930's with a note by Mother in it saying it broke in December of 1978. I also found a Trinity Church plate with a chip in it. Mother had ropes tied between the rafters that she could hang things on and thereby keep more stuff in the attic. Later I drove out to Pride and photographed the Fernbank text. Then to Stop&Shop and got some dented cans of vegetables and a half-gallon of Friendly's Ice Cream with a coupon. Also drove out to Randall's in Ludlow and bought a cherry pie.

Firemen in Holyoke have inspected the old Holyoke Catholic High School and found it in good condition. In other words it didn't have to close. It is a lovely old Victorian building and Holyoke Mayor Michael Sullivan was on TV saying that the closing of the High School "took something away from the fabric of downtown. We miss them." I like Sullivan, he is a high-class Irishman even if he is a former bar owner.

Arthur Soterion of the Springfield Housing Authority has retired. Next stop the state penitentiary? Linda Melconian is married to an accountant named Scibelli. Eamon called and remembered how he had a friend named Myron Miller, whom everyone called Mike, who owned Miller's Cafe which was located at what is now O'Brien's Corner. He was a nice guy who was close to Tommy O'Connor and who did some fancy marquetry that is still on display at The Fort restaurant. Miller's Cafe had a nightclub called "The Alibi Room" in the basement that was designed by Thurston Munson. In the days before televison they used to show movies down there sometimes.

Eamon also said it took six men and four trucks all day to fix a catch basin on his street today. He said his neighbor across the street who works for the city is often home during the day. He leaves at 6:45 and some mornings he is back home with his city truck by 7:30 for at least half an hour. He also often comes back around noon for a two hour lunch break. But Eamon said that much worse than the lazy city workers are the "highly paid no-show political hack appointees like Frankie Keough, Gerry Phillips and Brian Santaniello."

March 21, 2003

35 degrees at 6:15am. Freezing rain.

Today I watched live and in color the bombardment of Baghdad. Tom Brokow is now wearing glasses. Bush on TV tonight said our forces will stay in Iraq "only as long as is needed to finish the job and not a day longer." So how many years is that?

Carol Leary and Beth Ward are promoting Leary's Eighth Annual Conference for Women, this one on "developing your creative spark." I wonder if Leary chose Ward as her partner to guarantee media coverage?

Went to Louis & Clark to send out some mail via Joanne. Drove up Byers Street and found many potholes in it. Went to the credit union and deposited $2,000. Then over to the Union-News where I dropped off a John Wesley postcard for Larry McDermott on which I wrote, "Criticizing You is Doing Good" and gave it to Sylveen the black lady behind the counter. As I left the building a big rig was arriving with a The Republican sign to be installed in the back. Nearby I was able to get a poster for the circus at the Civic Center from off a light pole. I chuckled recalling how Eamon once told me that years ago he complained to Carlo Marchetti that the Dr. Seuss signs they put up on the light poles downtown were too hard to read from the ground, to which Marchetti replied, "They looked fine when I was holding them in my hand."

I arrived for my appointment with my new dentist Peter J. Duplessis DMD at five after one. His receptionist is Melinda and she had me fill out the usual forms although I warned her that I do not authorize her to share information about me with anyone. Duplessis himself is very professional and said I will need several fillings. He charged me $85 for the visit and I paid by check. While I was out that way I stopped by the Wilbraham Public Library on Crane Park Drive and read some magazines. On the way back home I noticed that the paint is peeling on the once magnificent Stusick House.

Eamon called this morning and said the FBI has arrested Police Commissioner Gerald Phillips on an array of charges, including telling a 19 year old Puerto Rican girl with which he was having an illicit affair that "if you don't keep your fucking mouth shut you'll never be seen again." He was arraigned in Federal Court this afternoon at 1:30. The entire incident was captured on tape by a supermarket security camera at the Belmont Avenue Food Mart. Phillips is widely considered to be Mayor Albano's best friend.

Jack Nelen of Kavanaugh Furniture, whose wife Miriam used to be on the School Committee and is Joe Napolitan's sister, told Eamon that Phillips, who is married, got one of the secretaries at the Mass Career Development Institute pregnant and she had a love child whom he is supporting. Jack Nelen and Gerry Phillips used to both live on Eton Street and Jack described Phillips as "sex obsessed" and someone who "likes his sex play rough." Phillips was let out on $50,000 bail and his next court appearance is in April. David P. Hoose is his attorney. City Councilor Rosemarie Mazza-Moriarty has called on Phillips to resign immediately from both his police commission and MCDI positions.

March 23, 2002

The battle for Baghdad includes a military technique called "Shock and Awe" where you bomb them so relentlessly the population is terrorized into surrender. Is this a human rights violation? Sixteen British airman and eight British marines have been killed. That will teach Tony Blair a lesson! Ted Koppel on ABC said, "It always sounds glorious before the fighting begins, but this is the reality of war," and then showed a pile of corpses.

The latest newspaper advertisement for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra features David Starr who is described as "President, Union-News/Sunday Republican." My book Legal Laughs is now officially out of print. Puzzles were a great source of entertainment for me while Mother was alive but I have only done a couple since she died. Recently I have begun working on one from White Mountain Puzzles, a 1000 piece one called "Birds of Paradise." The illustration was painted by Jan Martin McGuire of Watertown, Massachusetts with a 1997 copyright. The St. Patrick's Day parade in Holyoke was today with Jack O'Neil, who has stopped dying his hair, and Eileen Curran serving as hosts. Brian Corridan the stockbroker and TV57 money-begger was also on doing interviews.

I went to the big tag sale today at Foster Memorial Church on Parker Street. When I got there Melinda McIntosh was the first in line with Aykanian's daughter second. I went back to the car to get a Scottish magazine I had been saving for the next time I saw Melinda and also gave her one of my 16 Acres Library postcards. She smiled sweetly and admired the purple bandanna I was wearing and we chatted a little. She told me that Arthur Kinney, Director of the Center for Renaissance Studies at the University of Massachusetts is indeed overbearing and pompous and often talks as if Harvard is superior to UMass. She also said he is always trying to get microfilm and other materials stored at the library transferred to the Renaissance Center. Unfortunately we couldn't talk much because I had to go to the end of the line.

As we waited for the sale to begin a woman came along with a clipboard and asked us how we had heard of the sale. Most said the newspaper but I said a purple poster hanging in Louis & Clark. When we finally got inside the sale itself there wasn't much I wanted. I did buy a metal Mt. Greylock souvenir ashtray for $8. When I got to the checkout an elderly woman came up to me and said the ashtray had belonged to her mother-in-law who had it for at least fifty years and she was glad that someone appreciated it. When I left there was still a line of people waiting to get in. Once I got back to Birchland Avenue I saw Mr. and Mrs. Cohn in their driveway, her in a wheelchair and Mr. Cohn using a walker.

In the afternoon I went out again to attend the organ dedication at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Longmeadow. It was a packed house with over 350 present. The organist David Briggs was superb but wore black loafers which I don't think are appropriate organ shoes. Sixteen people were standing because there were no more seats. Only two black people were present and most of the men were wearing suits. I was dressed all in black leather. The program was disappointing because except for a little Bach it was all modern compositions. I left without staying for the refreshments.

Eamon's back is better but now he has a cold. He is somewhat cheered by the fact that calls to his answering machine are at a record high with his message ridiculing Gerry Phillips. Phillips has resigned as Police Commissioner and is on unpaid leave from his job as head of the city run MCDI. According to the account in the paper, "FBI agent Susan E. Kossler testified Friday that she interviewed a mother of four who met Phillips when she was homeless and sought his help in finding housing. The woman told Kossler that she began having sex with Phillips about a month after she got a Liberty Street apartment with the help of Phillip's brother, a landlord. "The sex was brutal and savage," Kossler said the woman told her during the interview. The woman also told the FBI agent that Phillips allegedly bit and struck her during sex.... Phillips, a former school committee member and state bingo inspector, was appointed to the Police Commission in 1996 by close friend and political ally Michael J. Albano, who also hired him a year later to run MCDI." What exactly does a state bingo inspector do anyway? Eamon said it is practically a no-show job and that Phillip's father Cornelius got it for his otherwise unemployable son. Hey, I want a job as a bingo inspector too!

March 24, 2003

63 degrees at 3:35pm. Gas at the Acres Pride is $1.66.

Civilization will simply not be bored. Engage. Enjoy. Enlighten. Enhance.

Senator John Kerry said on TV tonight, "America needs to make some friends on this planet." Zipper in Doonesbury has chosen English as his major. A college degree in English is becoming increasingly useless as the field has become dominated by politically correct theories and cultural studies. Jane McCarthy is the new reporter on TV40.

The tunnel in the wall of dorms called Wigglesworth at Harvard was one of my favorite places for collecting posters. Prime Times has an article by Debbie Gardner about the "Do Not Call List" which begins on April 1st and protects you from telemarketers. According to the article, "Springfield City Council President Daniel Kelly introduced the "Do Not Call" concept in a Home Rule petition in the Springfield City Council on May 20, 2002. With unanimous consent the City Council sent the petition to Boston, where the legislature passed it and Acting Governor Jane Swift later signed it into law."

I called Charlie Ryan tonight and recalled the endorsement letter from Joe Carvalho that Albano had stuck up in the middle of the glass door of his campaign headquarters when Albano ran against Ryan in 1995. "I don't think I was ever made aware of that." said Ryan. He wondered what the exact relationship is between Carvalho and Albano. I told him I didn't know and Ryan himself refused to speculate. "Nice talking to you," he said and hung up, an example I guess of what Eamon always says - Ryan gathers information but never shares any.

I delivered some magazines to the Cohn's today. Lenore was sitting at the kitchen table with Irving who was writing checks to pay the bills. He told me he used to drive up Maynard Road on his way to work and remembered the curve well, but never realized at the time that the land belonged to my parents. Speaking of my parents reminded him of how he lost a lot of money because he had a lot of stock in Monarch when it went under. He blamed the company's legal department for lax oversight and felt Ben Jones got no respect from Gordon Oakes, with Cohn describing Oakes as "nothing but a public relations figurehead."

After I left I went over to see Mrs. Staniski but she had a cold and didn't want visitors, saying that Carol was coming over to care for her. I then parked on Salem and dropped off the depositions at Efrem Gordon's. As I walked past the Civic Center I noticed that the steps are crumbling badly. They should have used granite instead of cement. I came home by Forest Park heading to the Five Town Mall. Slate roof repairs are still underway at Trinity Church. The former Sims Drugstore where Paul Caron had his mayoral campaign headquarters is still abandoned. At Food Mart they are really clearing the place out. The bakery is scaled down and the vegetables practically sold out. I took the last six packages of Imperial Margarine priced at 89 cents each.

Eamon's cold is going away. He called and praised Mitt Romney for taking an interest in the issues of financial and personnel mismanagement in Springfield. Eamon complained that the paper is not doing enough to highlight the close relationship between Mayor Albano and Gerald Phillips saying, "That so called newspaper is a disgrace!" Eamon said that AT&T's job offer to Albano was just a bribe to get him to drop the city's lawsuit against them. FBI agent Michael O'Reilly was on TV saying that, "Where there is flourishing organized crime there is likely flourishing public corruption." City Solicitor Peter Fenton tried to make light of the burgeoning corruption probe by saying, "This is not Bridgeport or Providence." No, Attorney Fenton, it is worse!

March 25, 2003

44 degrees at 6:30am.

The Media is reality. Saddam Hussein was on TV today from his hideout calling for his people to "kill all Americans."

Janet Edwards is the owner of Edwards Books, in Tower Square in downtown Springfield. Janet's mother started the bookstore in 1974 at the Fairfield Mall in Chicopee. In 1982 after Mass Mutual revamped Baystate West, the store moved to downtown Springfield. Of the over fifty stores opening at that time Edwards Books is the sole surviving original store. Janet has been involved with the store since she moved up from Manhattan in 1991 and has been running the store since 1994.

Nancy W. Evans is the secretary for Friends of the Springfield Library. Houser Buick is running TV ads with testimonials by Kent Huelsman and Bruce Kellogg. Arthur Kinney of UMass was on the radio this morning telling us the Renaissance gave us gunpowder. What about the Chinese? The Regional Science Fair is being held at UMass, one of six regional fairs leading to the State Science Fair in Cambridge in May. Sears CEO Alan Lacy is announcing layoffs at Sears. The problem is their stores are boring and their prices are expensive. At Kiley Middle School on Cooley Street a thirteen year old was arrested for having 25 bags of marijuana for sale.

Mail from the mailman's hand at 1:55. When I left today there was a sporty red Chrysler LeBaron parked by Colleen's. There was also a big Gus & Paul's truck parked in front of Nichols. Ran into the Allard's at Louis & Clark. STCC President Andrew Scibelli has announced that he is not running for mayor as once speculated. He seemed to be positioning himself to run, but may have been discouraged by the city's fiscal condition and all the indictments coming down.

Eamon called and said that he has more information on McDermott who he claims has been "dating a lot of broads since his divorce" and has "left behind his boring, middle-class life and is partying like a college boy." Eamon also said that a female friend of his lives in Pompano Beach, Florida across the street from Donnie Mastrangelo, the owner of Donnie's Cafe on Chestnut Street. Donnie's is a mafioso hangout where Anthony Ardolino's dad used to operate his bookie business out of. Eamon says that besides Donnie Mastrangleo a couple of other "Springfield mob celebs" own big beautiful condos on Pompano Beach. His sources tell him that Brian Hourihan flies in on business for Baba Scibelli and the Fountain brothers Bert and Donnie are also down there. Eamon started talking about mob nicknames and then said that the mob has nicknames for politicians as well. Paula Meara is called "Dumpy," Dennis Murphy is called "Murph the Mope" and Val Barsom is called "Dr. Ruth" for her interest in sex.

More arrests in the corruption probe. James W. Asselin, brother of State Rep. Christopher P. Asselin and son of now suspended Springfield Housing Authority director Raymond B. Asselin, A.I.C. professor Salvatore Anzalotti and Cornell Lewis, former aide to Mayor Mary Hurley and former director of the Mason Square Development Corporation were all arrested for looting hundreds of thousands of dollars in economic development funds. Professor Anzalotti had a longstanding relationship with Francisco "Skyball" Scibelli, a leader of the local mafia. Eamon called Anzalotti "a gangster using a job as a professor as a front for his criminal activities." He said he has also done work for city agencies over the years and described Professor Anzalotti as "City Hall's favorite bookkeeper."

Eamon claims there is still more to come with a lot of people from Asselin's SHA in trouble. We both hope that former Rep. Soco Catjakis is among those going down, but Eamon says Catjakis knows so much dirt about everyone that the local machine will do everything it can to protect him. He said that if Catjakis ever turned state's evidence he would send everyone from Neal on down to prison. Eamon repeated his belief that the Asselin/Catjakis gang has been looting the city since the 1970's and that nearly all the major figures in Springfield politics either participated in the criminal activities or else knew about it and looked the other way.

March 27, 2003

44 degrees and overcast. Flickers, chickadees and peepers.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan died today. Iraq is starting to sound like Vietnam where we were always moving toward "the light at the end of the tunnel" but the tunnel kept getting longer and we never saw the light. The New York Post says Tony Blair's "popularity in Great Britain is dropping faster than Pamela Anderson's top at the sight of a camera."

Former White House intern and Clinton lover Monica Lewinsky has a job as a reality TV host. D.A. Bill Bennett is checking the surviving DNA samples from the Danny Croteau case to see if they point to Father Lavigne, who is now living with his mother in Chicopee. The Union-News is trying to get all the sealed files in the case opened. TV3 has advertisements for Once Upon a Child, a vender of used kids stuff. WNEC's Law Professor Arthur Wolfe, looking considerably aged, was on TV talking about the Geneva Convention. TV40 was doing a story on the "Do Not Call" list but had to drop it because they were having "difficulty" getting Ray Hershel at a remote location. Too often our local TV stations are amateurish, slipshod and not first rate.

The north bound Central Artery of the Big Dig is opening in Boston. Costing 15 billion, the project is five times the original estimate. The latest issue of BusinessWest is about Steve Clay and his turnaround of the local YMCA. Richard E. Hickey, a 43 year employee of Monarch Capital Corp. has died at age 83. Father occasionally mentioned Dick Hickey in conversation, whom he knew not just through work but the Methodists as well.

The mail didn't come until three. I received an invitation to attend a meeting of the Friends of the Library to be held next month at the home of Mary Napolitan on 276 Longhill Street in the Forest Park section of Springfield. I'm feeling the start of a sore throat, did I catch if from Mrs. Staniski the other day? I took some cough syrup and tried raking the treebelt today but discovered there is still ice under the leaves.

One of my ancestors is Miles Morgan, in fact I am descended from a number of the founders of Springfield. I have donated to the Pierpont Morgan Library over fifty items about Miles who was of course progenitor of J.P. Morgan, a sixth cousin of mine. Worcester is bigger than Springfield yet has a smaller fire and police department, plus a smaller number of assistant superintendents, principals, teachers and teacher's aides. Worcester has fewer drop-outs, suspensions and truants while also getting higher test scores than Springfield.

Disgraced former Police Commissioner Gerald Phillips' closest friend on the police force, Sgt. Neal J. Mahoney, is under investigation as to whether he left his job without permission to rush to Phillips' side when he was arrested. Eamon called and joked that if all the Springfield politicians cheating on their wives get indicted, will the hookers be able to collect unemployment? He said that Albano has had no one to talk to about the ladies since Ardolino left. Eamon says that you can judge a person's character by who their friends are, so if Gerry Phillips is the Mayor's best friend then what does that say about the character of Albano?

March 29, 2003

53 degrees at 6:30pm. Very gusty winds this afternoon flipped the lid of my dumpster.

Peace demonstrations in Northampton today with a march along Route Nine disrupting traffic by lying down in intersections and having a "die-in" in front of Kollmorgan. Dan Elias is reporting live from the Middle East.

Thomas J. Costello used to run Costello's Paint Shop at 141 Dwight Street in a row along with the John H. Breck headquarters where those high rises are now. In those days the neighborhood was called Victoria Square. Costello's store was pretty run-down with a potbelly stove but he had two interesting oil paintings on the wall which I purchased when he went out of business. One depicts a babbling brook and the other a cottage, both in a green setting that I suspect is meant to be Ireland. I have one hanging in my office and the other is hanging in the parlor. I also have a photograph of Costello's, of which I suspect not many exist.

It has been a year since Aunt Maria died. I was working in the attic and threw out a lot of Mother's old recipes. I saved one recipe for Old Fashion Donuts dated 1965. Mother was interested in recipes but never did much with them. She used to make maple sugar fudge and plum pudding and sometimes home made ice cream which tasted different from commercial ice cream. She even made root beer of which I have saved a few bottles for sentimental reasons. But Mother was always nervous when cooking about getting the recipe just right and so she cooked conscientiously but not joyfully.

The Stickley, Audi and Co. showroom is on Route Five in Enfield. WFCR celebrated the centennial of Rudolf Serkin's birthday today. Hampden is celebrating its centennial. Six KMarts are closing in Connecticut. The Mass state Keno game has been changed so they run every four minutes instead of five. Donald Earl Faulkner, whom everyone called "Snooks" has died at the age of 87. His obituary says "he vowed he would go to his grave having never voted for a Republican." His son is Dr. Frank Faulkner of Hungry Hill Magazine fame and his daughter in law is Atty. Melinda Phelps. I sent Rev. Matthew Burt of the Evangelical Covenant Church at 915 Plumtree some John Wesley postcards. If I get a reply I'll send him some Acres ones, but if not he gets nothing.

Kelly was out this morning walking the kid. Donna Nolan is the Personal Banking Officer at the Sixteen Acres office of United Cooperative Bank. Drove out to United Bank in the Acres and as I drove into the parking lot a woman in a maroon station wagon pulled into the space next to me about a yard over the line and forced me to squeeze in by the light pole. I said to the lady driver as I walked past, "You should go to driving school to learn how to park between the lines." She snapped back, "I don't need your driving advice!" However when I came out of the bank ten minutes later she had reparked within the lines.

From there I drove over the mountain to Amherst hoping to buy an anti-war t-shirt. I stopped on the way at Odyssey Bookstore and purchased some radical books. Coming into Amherst I saw lawn signs (white letters in a field of blue) reading War Is Not The Answer. There were also signs for and against changing Amherst's form of government from town meeting to a Council/Mayoral system. I paid 50 cents to park for an hour close to the village end of the common. I collected some posters off the telephone poles and street lights including an interesting poster from a Joseph Morrison who claims "I have been incarcerated for a crime I did not commit." He's in jail until 2019 and lists a post office box in Shirley, Massachusetts to contact. I asked the black man who runs Amherst Typewriter where I might find some radical t-shirts and he directed me to a shop in the upstairs of the Carriage Shops over by Cousins Market. However when I asked the proprietor whether they had any anti-war or anti-Bush t-shirts he told me they had all sold out in the past week. So I left Amherst empty handed.

Back in Springfield I stopped at the Price-Rite on Boston Road and noticed that the billboard near there shows a Marine in uniform and the words The Change Is Forever. Yeah, especially if you come home in a casket! Eamon called and said Jim Landers put some of Eamon's telephone messages on Masslive's Springfield Forum and they were quickly censored. Everyone in City Hall is talking about how City Solicitor Peter Fenton was summoned to the courthouse today, but no one seems to know why. Eamon and I are hoping that we will soon read of the arrest of Soco Catjakis. Eamon thinks there may be more charges coming against "Gringo Phillips" (as the Puerto Rican girls called him) with hopefully action still to come against Richie Neal, Frankie Keough, Charlie Kingston, Anthony Ardolino and Peter Fenton. Eamon says that Springfield is "the promised land for sleazy politicians."

March 31, 2003

38 degrees on the breezeway at 7am. Sleet reported in Chester.

The sun never sets on the American Empire. Daniel Schorr was covering the war on WFCR today. Sen John McCain (R-Az) was on saying he was "surprised that there are people willing to die for Saddam Hussein." He also praised the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, calling him "bipartisan by nature." Congressman Neal was on complaining that Bush "led us to believe this war would be quick and easy" but it is not.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy is 63 today. Skip Robidoux is the manager of the Price-Rite in Chicopee. Cindy Cook is a cashier there. The Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade began in 1951. This year's Grand Marshall was Attorney Peter F. Brady.

Mother was a good girl and developed beautiful handwriting and took pride in her penmanship. Aunt Maria was a naughty girl and had poor handwriting. I spent more time today throwing out most of Mother's old recipes. Among the things I saved was Olive M. Hulse on Salads (1911) and a twelve page leaflet with Mother's note that it was "Pa's recipes prior to 1935" and the undated Delicious Frozen Desserts and How to Make Them from the Peerless Freezer Company in Winchendon, Massachusetts. Looks old. Found an equally undated cookbook from the Hampden County Improvement League at 1499 Memorial Avenue in West Springfield.

Maple Fudge was Mother's prize delicacy and fortunately I found the recipe. Mrs. Nichols once made some using Mother's recipe and in return gave us her recipe for watermelon pickles dated 1969. Old cookbooks used to show up regularly at tag sales but for some reason no longer do. Alice Scott Ross was the food critic for the Springfield Newspapers for many years. She hosted an annual picnic to which people were invited to bring their best dishes. Mother went once but she was strong on honesty rather than social skills and had an argument with someone who didn't like what she brought and never went again.

Because of my cold I only ran out to the grocery store at Five Town Mall. The Food Mart continues to wind down to be taken over by Big Y. All the specialty departments are closed down but the frozen stuff is still there. I took a poster for an employee farewell party as a final souvenir. When I got back I stopped briefly at the Open House at 152 Birchland, which was built in 1953 and has become available because the old lady who lived there died. It is a well built house with tell-tale signs of the former tenant such as a cane hung by the washing machine in the basement, plus clothes in the closets and dishes in the cupboards. There was a large platter on the living room table which was a souvenir from the 1956 Republican Convention in San Francisco. It's as if the place were frozen in time since the old lady left and the house had the feel of a ghost ship.

Gerald Phillips has been hit with more charges, this time for a no-show job scheme for crooks in need of a front for their criminal activities. Rep. Chris Asselin has announced his support for casinos in Massachusetts. Governor Romney seems indifferent either way on casinos, and why has Peter Picknelly fallen silent on this issue? Eamon called and said he saw Tom Devine coming out of the library at Springfield College with a notebook in his hand. I wonder what he was doing on campus? Eamon says Tom's mother is gravely ill with a recurrence of cancer.

Eamon wonders whether the Feds have interviewed former mayors like Frank Freedman and Mary Hurley about what they know about corruption in Springfield. He claims his spies spotted Dennis Murphy with Valerie Barsom the other day. Eamon says that Springfield's corrupt politicians try to distract Springfield's "dumbed down population with feel good desperation glitz and no substance measures like Bright Lights, the Pancake Breakfast and the Balloon Parade." He says that violence has become a systemic problem in Commerce, Putnam and Sci-Tech and blamed former Superintendent Dr. Peter Negroni for creating "a permissive environment conducive to violence and not to learning."

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