December 2002

December 2, 2002

36 degrees in the morning, puffy clouds. Gas is $1.41 at Breckwood.

The kid next door has a Christmas tree with blinking white lights on the glassed in back porch. Miles Jefferson Simpson was born May 25, 2001. A child is the ultimate adult plaything.

The Boston Archdiocese may file for bankruptcy. Why shouldn't financial bankruptcy follow moral bankruptcy? I've always believed that Father Lavigne had something on the church, some knowledge of illegal activity sexual or otherwise, because how else to explain the way the church has protected him over the years? The Catholic Church scandals have been a drain on the psychic energy of the nation and done irreparable harm to the cause of Christianity.

Whatever happened to to the replica of the Liberty Bell that sat on a pedestal in the lobby of the Sixteen Acres Library? Franklin Hardware is the last old fashioned hardware store in the city. Mother used to go up to Haberman's in Holyoke occasionally. Springfield has 827 AIDS cases, Holyoke has 295, Chicopee 96, a total of 1,352 in Hampden County.

Eugene Pianovich retired today after 45 years as pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church. The Rev. Dr. James D Riddle, formerly of First Church on Court Square has died at the age of 69. That's younger than I thought he was. Riddle had a fancy house on Longhill Street when he lived in Springfield. President Caprio of WNEC used to have only a short bio in Who's Who but he has now fluffed it out with all sorts of community service appointments.

Sears wants $37.99 for their 505 style. As usual Sears is asking way too much and is uncompetitive. My atlas of first resort has always been the 1931 Literary Digest Atlas of the World and Gazetteer! The latest issue of The Journal/Bravo has an article on Smith's Billiards by Flavin and no articles by Gagnon.

I heard sprinkles on the air conditioner for maybe a minute about 3am last night. Stephen R. O'Neil was recently named executive director of the Gasoline Alley Foundation in Springfield. He is the son of Bill O'Neil, founder of the Springfield Journal. Channel 57 is having their fund drive. Donate $40 and you get an Old Deerfield membership. Donate $50 and you get a Susan Tilton Pecora print of Old Deerfield. I donated $100.

Went to the Wilbraham Post Office where I ran into Murray who was wearing a bright purple t-shirt. Then to Price-Rite on Boston Road where I bought some onions, oranges and two enormous avocados. Angelo's is selling Xmas trees for $20 each. Sy Becker was interviewing an elderly person on the news who recalled how he used to shop downtown at night in his youth and it was so crowded you couldn't find a place to park.

Senator J.F. Kerry was on TV saying, "We will not be secure until we have a foreign policy that reaches out." Good, I hope he runs for president. A Jack Flynn article in the paper titled "Silence Called Golden in Mob Probe" says, "While serving as Mayor Michael J. Albano's chief of staff, Anthony M. Ardolino told a jailed former city worker he was a "hero" for refusing to testify before a grand jury probing organized crime in Greater Springfield, federal prosecutors claim. "You're a hero back here." Ardolino told Mark A. Pandolfe in a taped phone call from Fort Devens prison, where Pandolfe was locked up for contempt of court....Ardolino is now working as a political consultant."

Eamon sometimes uses the proverbial expression "the best friend of the dandelion next to the rain drop." Mike Albano always held fundraisers even when he had no opponent. No one gives a politician money without knowing where it's going or wanting something in return. Eamon says even Mayor Mike can't keep track of what the likes of Catjakis, Keough, Kingston and Armitage are doing.

It's the bread and circus theory, according to Eamon. "You know your city is in trouble" says Eamon's phone message, "when the dumbed down population is content with bright nights, fireworks, a pancake breakfast and balloon parades while their children attend a last place ranked school system in crime ridden neighborhoods. Yet they don't have a clue about holding corrupt career politicians accountable and voting them out of office."

December 4, 2002

27 degrees in the breezeway, half an inch of snow fell last night.

David Starr has always denied me the publicity I deserve. David Starr is a jerk who has helped make Springfield what it is.

The Hancock Building in Boston is to be sold and the observatory on top closed to the public. Mohegan Sun in Connecticut reports a 50% drop in their gambling profits. The O'Donnell Development Group Inc. is on Hampden Street in Holyoke. Jane A. Wyld is Vice President of Academic Affairs at Springfield College.

The sun through the windows this afternoon was good for my potted plants. On WSPR the publisher of the Concord Review suggested that students should do a book report and term paper on history before graduating from high school. Goodness, we had to do regular book reports starting in junior high school when I was in school. I recall that we also spent an hour on art once a week, where they'd give us a piece of ivory colored paper to draw on. In first grade there was finger painting but we didn't do it very often, probably because the paint, which had a sweet smell, was expensive. The colors were bright and the resulting paintings could be interesting. In 6th grade we did a bit of work in clay. We also sang from a song book once a week or so. Art and music were part of the curriculum and taught by the regular teacher, although sometimes Miss Evans would come and we'd do our marching music with her.

Ex-banker Roy Scott was on 57 tonight presiding with Walter Carroll of WSPR over a show about Irish music. Scott said that WGBY will cover the St. Patrick's Day parade in Holyoke this year, which in the past has been covered by TV22. Later Roy Scott was joined by Erica Broman hosting a Josh Groban concert. Erica speaks fairly well but is a little too bubbly at times.

I called Rep. Paul Caron's office and got Mike who said he didn't know the address of the Massachusetts Insurance Commission but said he would call back with it. He never did. Then I called Rep. Chris Asselin's office and got Matt who also didn't know but called back and gave me the address of Insurance Commissioner Julianne M. Bowler. Then I went down to the Breckwood Shops and there was a G.O.D. overnight delivery truck pulled up. I said to the driver, "There is no God!" and he laughed. At Louis & Clark I ran into Jean Masse of the Acres Civic Association and I asked her about the newsletter. She said her husband's bad health has forced her to curtail her activities. Therefore she hasn't been able to get out a new issue of the Acres Association Newsletter, but she hopes to find time soon.

Then I drove by Eamon's to drop off some reading material and noted a yellow dump truck parked across the street #37261-DPW. Eamon says he sees that truck parked there all the time during working hours. Before Eamon's family bought his house on Tacoma Street they lived on the 2nd floor of a 2-family house across from where Casey the Barber and Tougas Bakery are now on Liberty Street. Eamon was up in Northampton today for a dental exam. He said he had no trouble driving up although there was heavy traffic in downtown Hamp. In the mail today Eamon got an invitation to become a Quadrangle member. He said, "Why the hell did they send it to me? I don't have any relationship with those people."

Eamon said his mother never believed that Fr. Lavigne was guilty. She said, "Don't believe that stuff, they're just trying to bring down the church. " Eamon says his cousin Father Callahan is in the infirmary at Providence in Holyoke on the third floor. He said Fr. Callahan is a friend of Bishop Dupre and Fr. Koonz and they used to dine and vacation together. Eamon said the FBI asked him about Fr. Koonz and Fr. Duquette in regards to Gerald Phillips, which surprised him. The FBI agent did not explain why he was inquiring about Phillip's relationship with local priests.

December 6, 2002

Overcast and 27 degrees at 8:40am. On the news it showed Brian Lapis sticking a ruler into the snow in the parking lot revealing that we got three inches of snow. But wouldn't he have gotten a deeper reading if he did it on the lawn? Snow melts faster on pavement than it does on grass.

Senator Strom Thurmund is 100 years old. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has an enormous head. Former State Treasurer Joe Malone has been on TV a lot lately, Eamon thinks he may be looking for a role in the Romney Administration. Billy Bulger took the fifth today, which looks bad of course and Howie Carr is having a field day!

Peter Pan has bought out the Bonanza Bus Line. A year has passed since the murder of The Rev. Theodore Brown at Van Sickle. Dana Goodfield is a Northampton car dealer who boasts on TV about having the lowest prices for residents of Northampton. He openly mocks Springfield customers for being unable to find similar prices in their city. Saw a cardinal perched on the branch of one of Colleen's trees.

I went to the Pride in the Acres to get some Carnation Instant Breakfast with a coupon but the girl said, "The sale is over." That can hardly be true because the expiration date on the coupon is June 30, 2003. Then I drove to the Eastfield Mall and parked by the Sears entrance. I walked around the Mall noting that Zales has an immense jewelry store and GNC is now in smaller quarters closer to the center court. There is a Santa in the court to have your picture taken with. At Old Navy I bought a nice black belt for $19.50. The Mall itself was passing out promotional items so I got a pair of salt and pepper shakers and a folding umbrella. Someone said Peter Picknelly had been there earlier passing out bus discount coupons but he had left by the time I got there. I also got a free ice cream cone with a coupon at the Orange Julius booth. On the way out I ran into activist Brenda Branchini who was with a kid. She gave me a big grin but we did no more than say hi.

I called Karen Powell and she said she hasn't heard anything from Mitt Romney since the election. Poor Karen is always the hardest campaign worker but is always the first to be forgotten after the victory party. She told me she is quitting the 16 Acres Civic Association because they're not doing anything. She called them "a useless organization." I told her about my plans to be entombed in Hillcrest Cemetery and she told me that she and Bob will probably be buried in Beth-El Cemetery on Wilbraham Road. I told her that a significant number of Jews are buried at Hillcrest.

Eamon called and recounted how he used to visit Bill Putnam at the old Channel 22 station. He said the way to Bill and Kitty's office was up a maze of stairways to a sort of crow's nest with polar bear rugs on the floor. Eamon told me he's sent a report on Ann Henry of Commerce and Lydia Blazquez of Sci-Tech to Don Carbone at the Mass Department of Education, urging him to take action to fire both principals. However Carbone says it is hard to do that without the co-operation of the school superintendent.

Eamon and I talked about the letters in the paper. One was critical of the library at Washington School. There was also a letter from Joseph Napolitan praising Matty Ryan as the best District Attorney ever. Of course Napolitan was paid by Ryan over the years as a political consultant, so Napolitan was simply praising one of his customers. Eamon is tempted to write a rebuttal but doesn't think the paper would print it. If he did write a letter Eamon said he would point out Ryan's failure to prosecute Father Lavigne in the Danny Croteau murder, plus his relationship with the Irish outlaw Ox McCarthy and the Italian mafioso Al Bruno. Eamon said, "Show me a man's friends and I'll tell you a man's character."

December 9, 2002

Weatherman Brian Lapis on the Five O'Clock News said, "18 degrees in 16 Acres." Gas is $1.41 at the gas stations by the St. Michael's Cemetery pond.

Grandmother Miller threw Grandfather Miller's papers in the river after he died. I hope no one does that to this diary!

Anti-war priest The Rev. Philip Berrigan has died at 79. Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut has denounced Saddam Hussein's report on his weapons program as "100% lies." Sixty Minutes last night had a segment on corrupt Albano pal Buddy Cianci of Rhode Island. I bought 16 shares of Comcast stock today at $24.50 a share. Two water main breaks in West Springfield, and new advertising slogan on the radio: "Bright Nights at Forest Park - It's Worth a Drive From Anywhere!"

Jeffrey P. Hayden is the director of the Holyoke Office of Economic and Industrial Development. Doug McVey is the brownsfields specialist for Western Mass. People who donate to WFCR today win a chance to have radio personality Priscilla Drucker do the voice on their answering machine. Karen Brown on WFCR mispronounced "Carew" Street. There's been a lot of advertising on for Lisa Daniels: "Experience News40's Lisa Daniels - Coverage from every angle - She's a journalist - She's a lawyer - She's an investigator - She's a member of our community and she's a part of the most dynamic news team in Western Mass."

Went to the memorial service today for The Reverend Doctor James Douglass Riddle (1933-2002) at First Church downtown. I was lucky to find a parking spot in front of the Municipal Auditorium (Symphony Hall if you're David Starr). Around a hundred people attended the memorial service, all white. Rep. Richard Neal was there with a woman I didn't recognize, and I didn't see Huber or Loesch. Johnson was in the choir. Riddle's son Douglass and daughter Mary spoke and words of remembrance were given by Rev. Ruth Brandon of Westfield with the commendation by Rev. Patrick McMahon. There was a vase of yellow flowers on the altar with a color portrait of Riddle and a reception was held later in the Latimer Room but I left.

Driving from Court Square over to State I saw that the lights were on in Efrem Gordon's 4th floor office, he works all the time. Efrem always has me sign documents using an old fashioned fountain pen rather than a ballpoint. I stopped by the Sullivan Visitor's Center and one woman was working there with no customers. I used their men's room, which was nice and clean, and I bought a postcard of the Connecticut River before leaving. I noticed that the parking lot at the Hall of Fame was half-filled and there were also a few cars in the lot of Jeff the framer.

I went over to Food Mart to buy some corned beef on sale and ran into my neighbor Mr. Lucius. He said his wife has Hodgkinson's disease and he has to take her for radiation treatments for the next six weeks. He said he'll return the book I lent him by dropping it off in my newspaper box remarking, "Ramsey Clark isn't exactly my favorite author." There was an item in the paper that Mr. and Mrs. Edmond R. Allard recently celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary at the Sheraton Hotel downtown. They were married in 1952 at St. Michael's Cathedral and have two children, Deborah and Donna. Mr. Allard worked for U.S. Envelope for 48 years. I called to congratulate them and Frances Allard answered and said that not many couples last for 50 years these days.

Eamon called and said Nader the Hatter can't wait to get back to Florida telling Eamon, "Nobody should have to live in this kind of weather." Eamon told me he has several stuffed dolls, including a leprechaun named Sean and and a frog named Mortimer. John Sheehan of Southampton heads a group entitled Association for the Rights of Catholics. He says the members want to "keep our faith and change our church." Police Chief Scott of Holyoke has started a petition campaign to have judges be re-appointed by the voters every six years to stay in office.

December 11, 2002

25 degrees at 7:30am. From my back window I saw a large flock of birds flying Northwest.

Some of the best books don't sell.

Jimmy Carter has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Carter released a statement criticizing war as a tool of foreign policy and said Bush's concept of preventive war will have disastrous consequences. According to the news there were anti-war rallies yesterday in Springfield, Great Barrington, Greenfield and Boston.

This city has a half dozen sixth rate colleges and their sixth rate libraries, but no fine library facility such as a city of this size ought to have. They couldn't even keep Johnson's Bookstore propped up. The Quadrangle has been dumbed down for the delight of the snobby, unlearned wine and cheese party types from the suburbs.

Northampton is considering an ordinance against picking through trash cans. Peter Picknelly was speaking in Holyoke last night in favor of a casino. Samuel's Lounge in Holyoke has the motto, "Food Service at its Best." The Masonic Temple in Springfield is presenting "December Rose" with Taylor Cook Director of Cast.

Edmond R. Hamilton is a bookseller in Falls Village, Connecticut. Artist Carol L. MacLeod lives at 511 Ridge Road in Wilbraham. I collect Victorian landscapes and high hippie fine art. As an artistic property lawyer I especially fancy the business cards of local artists I meet. To the extent that these people are often struggling young artists I provide them with free legal advice about placing a notice of copyright claim on their productions. Donald S. Holland is the finest local copyright lawyer that I know of.

A $2 million project to improve the intersection of Springfield Street and Stony Hill Road and repave Springfield and Faculty Streets has been halted for the winter according to Wilbraham Public Works Superintendent Edmond W. Miga. A WGGB-TV40 poll asks if Cardinal Bernard Law should resign and 100% said yes! WSPR's yearly budget is about two and a half million. I am an enormous collector of cheap ephermera. WGBY acknowledged my on the air my gift of $100 by calling me "one of the great ephermerists of this generation."

I love acorn squash. When we first moved here in the 1950's we had colored lights across the front of the house and a star in the breezeway door plus candles in all the windows. This year my neighbor Kelly has colored lights to create the right environment for their little tyke. I called Mrs. Staniski and wished her Happy Birthday. Ann is taking her to the movies this afternoon and Arthur is up from New York. Later Ann came over with a lovely piece of her mother's white birthday cake with pink frosting. Andrew was tall and businesslike in the back seat, probably bored by it all. The cake was delicious, just the sort of thing you would expect Ann to make.

Eamon called and said that Jim Landers is installing a TV in Eamon's basement. Eamon recalled the late Jack O'Shea, a stonemason trained in Ireland who while he lived was the best stonemason in Springfield. He lived in a two family house on Ledyard and had a daughter who was a nurse and died young. His son Michael owns three dental clinics in Hawaii and is a millionaire. Jack died at the age of 90 a few years ago but at the age of 80 told Eamon, "I'll build you the best looking chimney on Tacoma Street" and he did. He also installed glass bricks in Eamon's basement windows that fit perfectly. Jack O'Shea told Eamon that a lot of the buildings in Ireland were built of stones using no mortar at all but have lasted for hundreds of years.

Reminder Publications, publishers of The Reminder, The Chicopee Herald, Prime Times and The Journal/Bravo have announced the nominees for their first Hometown Hero Award. Among those nominated were Joanne Bagge of East Longmeadow, Maggie Smith of Longmeadow, Theresa Dubois of Hampden, Teresa Sherman of Wilbraham, Jessica Smart of West Springfield, Robert Gentry of Southwick and Eamon T. O'Sullivan of Springfield. Of course Eamon will not win, but it's nice to see him nominated.

December 12, 2002

33 degrees at 7:30. Bright sunshine.

Isn't the world a zoo?

Harvard Law School Dean Robert C. Clark will resign in June after 14 years at the helm. Mayor Albano has called for uniforms in the public schools believing "a strict dress code would be an antidote to discipline problems."

In G. Michael Dobbs column in this week's Reminder he writes in opposition to a casino in Springfield but then admits, "My wife and I are planning a trip to Las Vegas next year for our 25th wedding anniversary." Dobbs then goes on to say, "In Springfield there have been reports that Mayor Michael Albano is looking for an opportunity to promote his city as a casino site....I hope that Mayor Albano and the members of the City Council will think long and hard about the effects of a casino before any of them begins beating the drum for one."

Went downtown to see Efrem Gordon today and parked on Salem. A priest walking by gave me a cheerful hello. When I got to Gordon's he poured me some tea and was very friendly. We discussed Shannon and Gendron and went over the Mercy Hospital records but when I went to make copies Efrem's new copying machine was broken. Therefore I left and as I headed to my car I saw one of those silly fake trolly cars PVTA373 go by with no one on it.

When I got back Eamon called and said Jim Landers has lent him the book Blinded by the Right by David Brock. Eamon was waxing nostalgic about the old days of Hungry Hill and recalled Edward Zades, also known as Zip Zades. He worked for the paper and his brother Nick Zades was composing room foreman. He said Nick was a real SOB who treated people "terribly" and had a nice home on Front Street in Chicopee. Nick didn't mess with Eamon when he worked at the paper because Eamon was close to Mary Gallagher, Sherman Bowles assistant. In addition Eamon's first cousin was Eileen O'Connor, who was a friend of Gallagher. It was through his cousin Eileen that Eamon got his job with the Springfield Newspapers. Once Eamon lost his job because he left to take a summer job cutting brush at the Ludlow Reservoir. When Eamon tried to reclaim his job in the Fall Nick Zades said no, but Eamon spoke to Mary Gallagher who spoke to newspaper president Chuck Myrick and Eamon got his job back.

During this same period Abie Hachadorian was working selling advertisements in Ad Alley. Later he worked in the editorial department and stayed with the paper until retirement. Eamon also mentioned Michael J. Cavanaugh who just died December 7th and whom Eamon says was a significant Irish political figure. He started out in "The Ward" meaning Ward One and was born on Cass Street in 1925. Cavanaugh was an early supporter of John Pierce Lynch when he first ran for the Legislature and was his right hand man ever since. He was also close to ex-mayor Billy Sullivan. Eventually Lynch gave Cavanaugh a job at the Registry of Deeds.

Eamon described John Pierce Lynch as "an old-fashioned politician" with beautiful handwriting he learned from the nuns. In his first campaign Lynch rode around Hungry Hill on horseback with a trail of kids following him. Pierce lived in a residence on Maple Street he purchased for back taxes, a brick building that had been originally built for the president of Third National Bank. He had a brother Jimmy Lynch who was an iron worker. John Pierce married his administrative assistant late in life but they never had any children.

Another Hungry Hill figure Eamon recalled was Arnold Cooley, the brother of Judge Sidney Cooley. In the old Registry Building there was a secret stairway that allowed you to enter John Pierce Lynch's office without having to go past the secretary. Lynch had on his office wall a painting of a little boy speaking on a soapbox and Eamon wonders what became of it. Many times when Eamon entered Lynch's office he found Lynch chatting with Arnold Cooley, who had a sickly wife and nice kids. Cooley's son Michael worked at the Springfield Newspapers for a time. John Pierce Lynch was always pursuing romantic liaisons and when Pierce saw a girl he was interested in Cooley would "follow the girl home to see where she lived" so that Pierce could contact her later. Eamon said "Cooley and Lynch were the best of friends."

December 14, 2002

31 degrees, glowing cloudiness.

Cardinal Bernard Law has resigned, now Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi should resign as well. There is a new coalition of anti-war groups uniting to protest against the possibility of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, representing Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties. Its members are: 5 College Anti-war Coalition, American Friends Service Committee, Arise for Social Justice, Community Conservations, GIRO of Berkshire Community College, Granby and South Hadley Peace Committee, Northampton Committee to Lift the Sanctions and Stop the Bombing of Iraq, Peace and Social Concerns Committee, South Berkshire Friends Meeting, Social Workers for Peace and Justice, Students for a Peaceful Response, The Catholic Worker of Berkshire County, Traprock Peace Center, Tom Mooney Western Mass Local of the Socialist Party, Western Mass IAC and the Western Mass Interfaith Coalition for Peace and Justice.

Lavene's "Serving Greater Springfield for Over a Century" is at 1163 Main Street in downtown Springfield. Got my first Mississippi quarter today in my change. Activist Karen Powell called and thanked me for the postcards I sent her and said she thinks they're pretty.

When I was going out to my car this morning I noticed that Bradley was walking by on his way to WNEC and we chatted. He told me that the vice-president actually runs the college and President Caprio is just a high-powered public relations man. He said former President Beverly Miller has never been back to visit the campus and he doubts they would ever name a building after her "but maybe a broom closet."

Then I headed downtown to Efrem Gordon's and parked on Salem. When I arrived at Efrem's office he was in a conference so I made copies on the Minolta copier which was fixed. Efrem finally came in and we exchanged pleasantries but there really wasn't much for me to do so I left. I headed over to the Quadrangle to drop off postcards for Ms. Laura Grosman. Then I went into the Museum of Fine Arts where they have a display of photos of women athletes.

Next I walked over to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum where they were selling Josh Simpson paperweights for $100. They are bluish but have no bubbles or added features so I can't see who would want them. The lady who runs the gift shop told me they are still fighting with the Seuss Estate for the right to sell postcards of the Dr. Seuss memorial.

Finally I went upstairs to see the Springfield 1920's display Factories and Flappers: Springfield in the Roaring Twenties. It wasn't bad, they had pictures of Trinity Church, Fire and Marine, Monarch and even a picture of Nader the Hatter's grandfather Charles making hats. They also had several Nader hats in a glass case. The display was put together by Guy McLain who did a good job.

Went to the Eastfield Mall to get my hair cut by Ciro. The mall was full of shoppers of all sorts. Ciro told me he was at Pearl Harbor aboard the 3,500 man Cleveland Cruiser. He said everybody on board got one haircut per week. Then I went to Filene's and Penny's and on the way out I picked up the current Journal/Bravo which had a rainbow peace symbol on the front and no article by Fran Gagnon.

Eamon says he goes to bed around nine each night and gets up at six. This habit goes back to when he worked in Boston for the Department of Education and had to get up early to commute. Eamon's sister Marion Rogers' husband Charles had a stroke but is doing okay. He lives on Page Boulevard and was a foreman for the gas company. Eamon also has a sister Elinor Haggerty whose husband worked at Monsanto and died about seven years ago. One of their sons runs maintenance at Westfield State and the other just passed the bar exams to become a lawyer.

On TV22 at 5:35 they announced that Tom Devine (they mispronounced his name as "Deveen") had won their photo contest with a picture of an avenue in St. Michael's Cemetery. His prize was free photo supplies from Russell's Photo. Eamon saw it too and called Devine to offer congratulations and Tom told him, "Now I can say I'm an award winning photographer!"

Autumn in St. Michael's by Tom Devine

Tonight I called The Hatter and told him about the display of his grandfather's work at the Quadrangle. He said he hadn't seen it or even heard about it. I said it was impolite of McLain not to inform him. Nader also said he has a cold and he hates New England weather.

December 16, 2002

Overcast at 7:30am. 40 degrees with the snow cover mostly gone.

Jesse Jackson has called on Senator Trent Lott to step down for praising Sen. Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist run for president. Good for him.

The Lawyer's Service Center Inc. is in Norwood, Massachusetts. The Holyoke Inn on Whiting Farms Road has brunch every Sunday from 11-3. The Westover Job Corps graduation is this weekend and a Nativity scene was unveiled at the Forest Park Zoo. Bach's Christmas Oratorio was played on WSPR this morning. Rev. George V. Joyce of Our Lady of Hope Rectory has a letter in the paper titled, "Mary the Mother of Jesus a True Daughter of Israel."

Susan Levine never thanked me for sending a condolence when her father died. Drove out this afternoon at 12:43 and headed downtown to the Bookends porn shop. I parked just above Apremont Triangle and across the street at 34 Pearl the former gas station is now a thriving laundromat filled with minorities. I asked the Oriental proprietor when they opened and she said Labor Day. At Bookends they had a priest themed gay porn magazine with the title Our Trespasses.

After I left there I headed over to Efrem Gordon's office to finish my reading and photocopying of Aunt Maria's medical file. I was shocked to see that on Dec. 7, 1999 Aunt Maria accused me of killing Mother stating, "I'm scared to death of that lawyer, he killed my sister! You've seen him, you've seen Wesley. For God sakes don't leave me alone with him!"

Efrem's receptionist offered me some danish and a bottle of Poland Springs water. She said she lives in Longmeadow and the traffic coming into the city this morning was terrible. There were Christmas cards sent to the firm displayed by Ms. White's desk. Efrem came out of his office and asked me to join him in his law library. He told me that the documents accusing me of murdering Mother both help and hurt the case since it makes Aunt Maria look crazy but also casts me in a bad light as someone who would frighten a woman in her 90's. Still he believes we will walk away with all the money if we just drag the case out until they give up and settle. Gordon is a friendly gentleman who is willing to discuss any legal matter but who has no time for chit-chat. He always cuts through the fat and gets to the essence of things.

When I left Efrem's I stopped at Kyser's Restaurant at the corner of State and Main and paid $3.75 for homefries, sausages and scrambled eggs with buttered white toast. I left a 75 cent tip. I asked if I could use the toilet and they guided me through the back of the kitchen and down the stairs to the basement. There was a 1920's era toilet with old fashioned wooden partitioning and a window that looked out on a courtyard in the middle of the building you would never know was there from the street. Only the 1950's style paper towel dispenser appeared to not be from the original antique furnishings. The basement, the restaurant and the building itself is clean but rundown. Perhaps Peter Picknelly will remodel it all if he ends up buying the building from Ravosa.

When I got home my old high school friend John Rixon called and apologized for not keeping in touch. I told him we must get together this spring and he agreed. I told him about the rising tide of scandal in Springfield and Rixon said he wasn't surprised because "Springfield has always been in the hands of the mafia."

Eamon called and mocked editor McDermott's column in the paper about how wonderful their new press will be. He said the press represents the elevation of form over substance and predicts the paper will be as bad as ever only it will look nicer. Eamon said the Sunday Republican this week was "nothing but a couple pounds of circulars and flyers." He also predicts the unveiling of the press will soon be followed by a price increase.

Eamon said his cousin Father Callahan is well enough to leave the infirmary for lunch sometimes with his priest friends. Eamon told me his sister Marion once told him that Father Richard Lavigne used to come visit her and sit in the kitchen talking and drinking coffee. She said he always wanted to take her three sons out for a ride in his red Ford convertible, but she never allowed it. Now of course her sons are grateful she did not.

December 19, 2002

33 degrees on the breezeway at 7:30, clear blue sky.

David Letterman had a joke about the President tonight: "Bush just had a check-up and is in excellent health and is young for his age. The doctor said he has the body of a 30 year old and the mind of a 10 year old." Yesterday I called the Sisters of Providence and got the voicemail of Alice Lynch. I left a message asking, "If a nun has a baby do they give it to the Brightside orphanage or does the nun leave the religious life and raise it herself?" I never heard back.

W.F. Stigler was a cashier for the Equitable Life Assurance Society at 95 State Street in Springfield in 1967. Attorney Paul Hunter had his offices at 1500 Main Street in Springfield in 1974. Attorney Charles R. Dougherty has his office at One International Plaza in Boston. Jim Doolittle and Sons Landscaping is in South Hadley. Michael Abbate is the membership coordinator for Historic Deerfield. Eagle Leasing Company is on Route Nine in Southboro, Massachusetts. Darren E. Winckel is Director of Annual Giving at WGBY. Marjorie Newmark, formerly of Longmeadow and the widow of my childhood doctor Nelson Newmark, has died at age 92.

I just remembered that Belle-Rita Novak never returned the copy of Alice in Wonderland I lent her. On Channel 24 tonight they had a documentary about J.K. Rowling the author of the Harry Potter books. It reminded me of an editorial in the Union-News recently which began, "Quick! Name the most famous children's author!" Of course they said the answer was Dr. Seuss for the sake of their brainwashed local readership. But what about Mark Twain or Aesop or Eric Carle or Uncle Remus or Hans Christian Anderson? Channel 24 has better shows lately than WGBY-57 although I give 57 credit for their programs about local affairs.

Irving Cohn's granddaughter Rachel the authoress was visiting when I dropped off some magazines today. She has a sweet, jovial personality. Then I swung by Louis & Clark for the Valley Advocate which has a good article on Saviano by Mo Turner. The former Breckwood Professional Building across from Duggan, abandoned for years and with weeds growing all around it, is being demolished. It was a cheap brick Georgian with the city credit union on one side and the telephone company building on the other. Its destruction is no loss, I only regret that I never took a picture of it.

There was a Gateway Hardware commercial on TV40 featuring hockey and skating equipment. Professor Ira Smolowitz of A.I.C. was on TV speaking against casinos. Mayor Albano held a press conference announcing his opposition to an invasion of Iraq saying that a war would consume funds that might otherwise be used for aid to cities. Years ago Springfield would have welcomed war because of all the work it would have brought to the Armory. Assistant to the President James Dowd has retired from STCC after 29 years. Dowd was also a six term Westfield City Councilor. Some say Dowd was the one who actually ran STCC while Andy Scibelli took the credit.

December 21, 2002

45 degrees and raining. Winter arrives at 8:14pm.

Overeating is not the solution.

Lott has resigned as Senate Republican leader and good riddance. In the mail today I got Christmas cards from the President of Elms plus cards from Beck, Myrtle and Anzel Hall.

Attorney Gordon called and we talked about Pam Jendrysik. I asked him about the statue he keeps on his desk and he said it is the original model for the statue by John Quincy Adams Ward, The Hunter, that was erected in 1876 in Central Park, which his father got from a client.

I was surprised to get a call today from my old childhood friend Mary Alice Stusick-Plant. She told me she was operated on for ovarian cancer May 14 and was in the hospital for 18 days. Around Thanksgiving her beloved terrier Penelope died at age eleven. Her husband Gary has not been well either with an polyp on his larynx. Mary Alice has been trying to sell the Stusick Building in Indian Orchard for $410,000 but can't find a buyer. The building is a terrible financial drain and she's had to take out a mortgage on the Stusick estate to cover the costs. She's also been forced to sell some of her musical instruments and historic artifacts. I suggested that she save some of the memorabilia from her musical career and her father's medical practice to donate to the Quadrangle, but she said she doesn't know if she can afford to. I felt bad for her and offered to buy her picture of Jansen's orchestra for $200 and she said she'd get back to me on it.

The other day when I was downtown I stopped at Frigo's for a sesame bagel with cream cheese on it. I noticed the time on the big blue clock they have semi-hidden behind the deli counter, and when I left I wondered if the other clocks around had the time right. The City Hall clock was way off. First Church was just right. Worcester Federal building also way off. The clock in the tower at State and Main was wrong and the former Five Cent Savings clock was long gone.

So when I got home I called the Springfield Business Development Corporation and spoke to Marianne and told her about the problem, asking that she pass the word to Mr. Turin. "You have to call City Hall about that!" she snapped. "We don't take care of the clocks and never have!" Then she hung up the phone in my ear. However about an hour later Lynn Johnson called and apologized for Marianne. She said that Turin was not in but she would refer my information about the clocks to him. She then wished me Happy Holidays.

Eamon called and said Nader the Hatter called him and said he wants get all his stuff out of the Indian Orchard Mill as quickly as possible so he can get back to Florida. Eamon said the FBI was over asking him if knows anything about George R. Shea of Mildred Avenue. They said Shea is close to Soco Catjakis and was formerly with the Springfield Office of the State Department of Revenue. They also asked about William Christofori as well, wondering about liquor license dealings.

Eamon said he told the FBI agent all about Harold Chernock who ran the liquor commission in Springfield for thirty years. He was also tight with Catjakis, who Eamon said may have been Chernock's bagman for delivering bribe money. Eamon said they used to meet in public places to avoid wiretaps. Chernock was first appointed to the Liquor Commission by Mayor Tommy O'Connor who told Eamon he wanted to take advantage of the "suction" meaning political influence of Chernock and Catjakis. It soon became widely known that if you wanted to get anything done in the local liquor and bar industry you had to see Chernock or Catjakis.

Salvatore Cufari, one of the leaders of the local mafia, lived on the corner of Chapin Terrace and Armory in a white house with a two car garage. In 1976 when Eamon shot Mario Stencatto in self defense he went to Cufari for help but he refused, simply advising Eamon, "Watch your back." Eamon said that Cufari used to dine a lot at Grace Nardi's Happyland Restaurant and that Eamon was sometimes hired to sing Italian songs there. He said Mrs. Nardi's brother used to wink and tell him, "Sully, make sure you take care of your hide." Nick Camerota who ran the junkyard on Albany Street also ate at Nardi's a lot and was big in the mob behind the scenes. I told Eamon I went to Buckingham with a bright kid named Ciro Camerota who lived on Wilbraham Road by Pellegrini but Eamon didn't know if he was a relative.

December 23, 2002

35 degrees at 7:30am. Looked out the window at dawn and the sky in the east was cherry red. Gas at Pride in the Acres is $1.45 per gallon.

Time Magazine has named "The Whistleblower" as Man of the Year. It is a generic choice covering all those who take risks to unveil the truth, meaning that Eamon and I are among those included in the honor in spirit. But the local Pynchon Award we shall never receive.

The first game of basketball was played in Springfield in 1891. Boston University has had to forfeit a $3 million dollar gift from philanthropist David G. Mugar for not using the money as he intended. Experts are saying that a casino in Holyoke will flop unless it is built bigger and fancier than Foxwoods. On the way home yesterday there was a speed trap set up on Sunrise Terrace.

Thomas R. Bevivino, Classical class of 1949 and a good bass player, has died in California at age 71. Janlynn is moving to Chicopee from Charles Brush's Indian Orchard Mills. Founded in 1979 they make hobby, craft and needlework kits. The paper described the Indian Orchard Mills as a 12 building complex. TV22 had a sound blackout during the five o'clock news. The frequency of technical failures shows the low level of professionalism of our local TV stations.

A tan sports car was parked on Colleen's lawn today. Went out to Feeding Hills to check on Aunt Maria's place. The front lawn has been raked and a white van was parked over to Joe Lucia's. Then over to the Riverdale Shops where it looks like someone intends to move into the old Bradlees. I stopped to eat at Hometown Buffet where I ran into Mr. Webb. I told him how much I miss the Hometown Buffet at the Springdale Mall but he smiled and said Lowe's "paid us big bucks to get out of there." I had scrambled eggs, sausages and a cup of fruit salad.

Passing through downtown on the way back I saw the BID people picking up litter. On State Street at the site of the former Friendly's Ice Cream shop opposite the Christian Science Church is a brand new AutoZone. There were workmen outside the boarded up Burger King on Boston Road. A fabulous bargain at Big Y - donuts are now only 50 cents! I also bought some cough syrup at CVS. There are two new colonials going up on Arnold Avenue facing the school bus complex. Who would want a new house in such a location? The big plastic Santa is up in the front window of the Devine house on Breckwood.

When I got home Eamon called and said he spoke with his jewelry friend Gerry Block from Agawam on the phone today and then went to the pawn shop in the X to visit his friend Joe Greenberg. He said Greenberg originally worked for Al Hirschorn. Eamon recalled how Tommy O'Connor used to have "a Harvard jackass lawyer" named Arthur Frankel working for him who was so bad that Eamon said that even he could have done a better job representing the city without a law degree. Eamon said his caller ID showed that calls kept coming in today from people at the Union-News to listen to his latest message ridiculing McDermott and Starr.

When Eamon hung up I called the Wilbraham Town Collector and they got me Dianne in Assessors and I explained that I should not have received a tax bill for the land I have donated to the town. She apologized and told me to ignore the bill. I said put the apology in writing and mail it to me and she said she would tell Tom Sullivan the Town Collector. Next I called Larry McDermott at the paper and left a message expressing seasons felicitations from myself, Ambrose, Sweet Pea and Honey Pot. I told him that substance is more important than form and that I hope their new press will not result in a price hike.

December 25, 2002

38 degrees, snow started falling at 1:05pm. It is Christmas Day.

In the middle of the night I heard a noise like an animal screeching and again a couple minutes later, then nothing.

I fear I am coming down with a cold. I'm into a lot of things and want to get on with them. To help the economy they should drop money from helicopters to get it into circulation immediately.

Lillian J. Clad was Assistant Vice-President at Community Savings Bank in 1973. Kozacki Construction and Realty Company was on Brooks Street in Holyoke in 1973. TV22 had a story on saying that mail carriers are not allowed to take Christmas tips of more than $20. Kelly had her Christmas lights on all day.

Efrem Gordon called yesterday to wish me a Merry Christmas and said he got good information from Pam Jendrisik. Efrem mentioned needing plastic wallet sized 2003 calendars. I told him that Hampden Savings usually has them and he said he'd have one of the girls get one when they're out to lunch. Yesterday's mail brought a nicely decorated card from Melissa McIntosh and a card from Minahan. I got a nice letter from Bruce Yarber. Nothing this year from Huang, my twice divorced cousin Dianne Miller or David and Helen Miller of Bethel. Nothing from Mrs. Penniman so I will stop leaving the Herald for her. Nothing from Betty Burnett. No card from Eamon this year!

Eamon called and I told him I have a cold so he told me the cold cure once advised to him by Mrs. Nardi of the Happyland Restaurant in the South End:

Mama Nardi's Cure for the Common Cold

Take a glass of hot water, add three shots of whiskey, add orange peel, apple, lemon and honey. Cool it slightly, drink it slowly, get in bed under the covers. Repeat the treatment as needed for the next 24 hours or until cold is gone.

Eamon said he was told that East Longmeadow played basketball against Commerce in the new Commerce gym recently and when the game was over the East Longmeadow players found their wallets and items of clothing had been stolen from their lockers. Nothing about it has appeared in the media.

I told Eamon that I went to Food Mart yesterday afternoon and the parking lot was filled with Christmas Eve shoppers. Eamon said that he was at the Stop & Shop on Liberty yesterday and the store was packed. "The parking lot was filled," he said. "I couldn't believe it!" Eamon said he has sent a long letter to Mitt Romney telling him about the corruption and waste in the Massachusetts Department of Education. He told Romney that many of the managers are political hires who don't have the degrees they are supposed to and who rarely show up for work. Eamon hopes that Romney will take action and fire people based on the information he sent him.

Was tidying up the dining room and the kitchen today. On the evening news it said travel was treacherous and not to go out. There is a power outage in Forest Park including Bright Nights. For Christmas Dinner I dined on corned beef and cabbage, it was very good. My dollies Sweet Pea and Honey Pot joined me at the dining room table with their legs under a blanket and seated on a pillow, of course.

December 28, 2002

33 degrees on the breezeway at 8am. Sunny, six inches of snow last night, ice on the clothesline and the bushes are bent down with snow.

The old Victoria Square held you in the city, Dwight Street hurries you out. It is absurd to drive five miles to a grocery store, then ten miles to their competitor, buying the bargains at both and thinking you are spending less money when the gas prices wipe out the savings. You leave Big Y on Boston Road, then go two or three miles up the road to Stop & Shop, then maybe five miles down Parker to the 16 Acres Big Y and more miles down Parker and Cooley to Foot Mart. They are all so spread out. The grocer should be right down the street like in the old days. Housing should be built in clusters with essential services within walking distance of home.

Monkeys who eat less live 30% longer. When I was at Colby a photographer once posed me pompously holding my glasses. The Agawam Town Health nurse is Marialyse Rivers of Middlebrook Drive in Springfield. Notary Public Sharon E. Chevannes lives on Sunset Drive in Springfield. Nader the Hatter called and said he is having success selling off the things left from his family's business. He said today that he sold three hat blocks to Canada, Arizona and Paris, France. The sooner he sells off everything the sooner he can head South.

Mother would eat only red salmon, she disliked even pink. There were six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Lynn Barry on TV22 said in a story about Christmas shopping that there were "a lot less people." She should have said "fewer people." Karen Rucks from the Council of Churches was on TV speaking against casinos. Real to Reel had Mike Graziano at World Youth Day in Toronto. Bishop Dupre and Monsignor Sniezyk were on with Director of Vocations Fr. Pacholes and Don Boucher, Director of Youth Ministry. They also showed the Cathedral High Youth Day Assembly held in their auditorium. The show was laced with Catholic School commercials.

I had a can of chicken noodle soup at 2am. Later I cooked up a Mrs. Smith's Apple Pie. Got a late card today from R. Mark Benbow and a postcard of Jerusalem from Belle-Rita Novak. I shoveled out my driveway and while doing so a guy in a green pick-up truck (2098 NP) pulled up looking for the Family Care Medical Center on Allen Street and I directed him. Then I drove down to Louis & Clark to mail court papers to Efrem Gordon and some Waller postcards with a letter to the Bethel Historical Society. There was a WNEC cop car parked in the driveway of Gateway Village. Copycat is now selling color copies for only 69 cents each.

Eamon called and said his next door neighbor shoveled him out. He said the gay couple down the end of his street, one a plumber and the other a steamfitter, came by to admire his Tiffany lamps. Eamon tried to call Larry McDermott at the paper to complain about his recent column but McDermott's answering machine was turned off, so instead he called Marie Grady at the paper and left a critical message with her. McDermott's column gave an email address to respond to but no phone number. Apparently he wants written communication rather than lectures phoned in by Eamon and me.

Mitt Romney is making former Director of Consumer Affairs Jennifer Davis Carey Director of Elder Affairs, replacing Lillian Glickman. Carey has a reputation for being people orientated and favors policies allowing elders to stay at home rather than institutionalizing them. Romney also has a new public safety guy Edward A. Flynn from Arlington, Virginia. Good, heads are starting to roll.

December 30, 2002

29 degrees first thing. Very misty. Gas $1.49 at Mobil.

All scholarship is based upon comparison.

The Attorney General of Massachusetts is Springfield native Thomas F. Reilly. Kelli E. Lawrence is the Assistant Attorney General. There was an article on the business page about the Indian Orchard Mills which was bought by Charles Brush in 1999. David Bowerman is quoted as saying there were eight artists working there when he arrived ten years ago, now there are 41. Also an article by Dianne Liederman on Grace House in Amherst. We have a new TV weatherman named Rick Sluben. Lynn Barry appears to be the regular news anchor on weekends. The new Journal/Bravo is out with a nice article by Flavin about the Bridge Club moving to the mission revival mansion on Sumner Avenue. Josh Shear is the paper's editor.

I dropped off a toy piano/xylophone for Kelly's kid in a bag I placed against the inside chimney wall of their breezeway. I included some Hillcrest postcards. I set out for Old Historic Deerfield today at 10:10. I remembered going out that way with Mother several years ago to see Yankee Candle. When I drove past today the Yankee Candle parking lot was packed. Yankee Candle has built an immense factory on a former cornfield with a drab modern office building to one side. I arrived at Old Deerfield at 11:04 and parked behind the information center. A bumpersticker in the Old Deerfield parking lot: "Just Say No to the New World Order."

A very professional woman gave me my admittance ticked and showed me on a map what was open. I told her it was my first time visiting so I said I'd just look around. I went into the Hall Tavern and at the gift shop I bought a book by Julie Mars on Benjamin Franklin and a postcard of the Flynt Center. The man behind the counter told me he is a retired accounting teacher from Northampton High. Everything I saw at Old Deerfield was done right and displayed professionally, reminding me of what a dumbed down environment the Springfield Quadrangle has become.

On the way back I decided to stop at the Eric Carle Museum of Children's Art by Hampshire College. However the Carle Museum parking lot was full, with parents with little kids walking everywhere, so I decided not to go in. When I got back to Springfield I stopped at the Burger King by Westinghouse for a chicken sandwich. The lettuce was wilted. I also stopped at Red Wing and a chubby fellow with gold rings in both ears cheerfully gave me some boot laces for free.

Peter Nissen is Governor-elect Romney's education advisor and rumors are that he was strongly recommended by David Starr. Romney is facing a serious financial situation with Governor Swift leaving him a six million dollar deficit and a much worse deficit projected for the following year. City Councilor Angleo Puppolo has passed the bar exams to practice in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. He still owns Puppolo Plumbing and Heating. He is often mentioned as a future a possible future candidate for Mayor, but the Springfield Newspapers would not be supportive. He's too honest for them.

There has been a startling threat made against Eamon! At 7:20 someone called his editorial and left a message threatening, "I'll burn your house down you little prick!" Eamon's latest phone editorial is a sharp condemnation of Albano's downtown entertainment district. It was in part a rebuttal to a letter in the paper praising Mayor Albano and the district written by a local fireman named Stephen F. Burke. Eamon's caller ID revealed that the threatening phone call was made from the Forest Park fire station on Sumner Avenue.

Eamon called his old cop friend Dan Spellacy and played the tape of the threat to him. Spellacy immediately identified the voice as belonging to Burke. Spellacy then told Eamon all about Burke, who lives in the same neighborhood as Spellacy on Glenhan Street in East Springfield. Burke's father Sylvester was a well known local real estate appraiser. Young Burke was in the Marines and Eamon says a lot of Springfield firefighters are ex-Marines. Spellacy said at one point Burke had an internship with Judge Mary Hurley in the Chicopee Court but he messed up and was let go after only three weeks. Spellacy advised Eamon to call Fire Chief Gary Cassinelli and Eamon did so immediately.

Cassinelli told Eamon he dislikes Burke because he once put political pressure on him. Burke wanted a plum assignment at the Forest Park Station but Cassinelli refused, which caused Burke to complain to Soco Catjakis who then called Mayor Albano. Cassinelli was told by the Mayor to give Burke the assignment he wanted, which Cassinelli did resentfully. Eamon told Cassinelli how his brother the late Fire Chief Ray Sullivan used to complain of having to "babysit" certain firemen who got their jobs through politics and affirmative action rather than their qualifications. "You're right," said Cassinelli, "There are some real beauties in this department!"

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