Feels like December. The leaves are still hanging on.
President Bush was on TV saying he needs more Republicans in Congress if the economy is to improve. If what we've seen so far is an example of what the Republicans can do then no more!
Larry Flynt is 56. Friendly's lost $18 million in their defined pension plan. Manny's is having his anniversary sale. There was an insert in today's paper announcing the upcoming re-opening of Stop&Shop on Boston Road. 70% of the students in Holyoke are Hispanic. MassMutual has bought the naming rights for the Springfield Civic Center for $5 million. The Pioneer Valley Brew Pub on Taylor Street has gone out of business, the building is owned by Peter Picknelly.
Halloween the other night was uneventful. Rev. Robert Loesch of Foster Memorial Church called and thanked me for the postcards. I mentioned how the leaves are slow coming down this year and Loesch said maybe it's because it's been so dry. Mary Kay Gamel was in the paper shown participating in a panel discussion with Glenn Most, David Ferry and Peter Burian. I went to Buckingham and Classical with Mary Kay. She went to Smith but we crossed paths again at Harvard. Also in the paper was a picture of Stacia Filipiack-Falkowski of Indian Orchard playing her violin at the Palmer Senior Center.
I called Masse's in Chicopee and asked for the chef. A woman answered and I told her my dinner there recently was okay but expensive. I informed her the lobster bisque was bland and my salad wilted. She asked if I wanted to speak with the owner and I said no "I am an anonymous critic just passing this information along for your benefit." She hung up on me at once, without thanking me for calling or even saying good-bye.
I sent several letters of complaint out today to various manufacturers. To Dannon I complained that I bought 18 containers of their yogurt which they advertised that "one in five would be a winner" in their "Winning Moments" promotion. That means at least three of mine should have been winners, but not a single one was. To Nonpariel Real Chocolate I reported that Mother was fond of their product, but when I bought some recently I found that the chocolate had turned white on the bottom indicating it was stale. To Rasoff White Horseradish I complained that "it contained far too much grit, little pieces of dirt that your teeth can feel as you bite into it."
A new poll by the Boston Globe on the governor's race has 41% for Shannon O'Brien, 40% for Mitt Romney, 5% for Jill Stein and 7% undecided. I received a call today that was a tape recording of Sen. John McCain telling me "how important it is they you vote for Mitt Romney" who he said is the best candidate to deal with the fiscal crisis in Massachusetts. Later an unidentified male called to "remind you we need your support electing the Democratic team. Do you know where your polling place is?" I pleasantly told him yes and thanked him before hanging up. Finally another anonymous caller urged "all us seniors to go out and vote for Mitt Romney."
Eamon has been looking at catalogs of Tiffany lamps, but he already has some in his attic he never uses. He gave his sister one and she loves it. Eamon said he ran into Bobby Hoffman who used to work for WMEC and he is training to become a mailman. Eamon says that Springfield is a great place to work if you're a city employee because they have great health, vacation and retirement benefits from a job with little accountability or supervision. He said they take "half hour breaks, two hour lunches and nobody cares if nothing is accomplished during the so-called work day."
36 degrees at 8am.
Ideally clothing should be tight fitting like science fiction characters wear.
Walter Cronkite is 86 today. Tomorrow is Election Day and Fox News is saying that a low turnout favors Republicans. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Shannon P. O'Brien is criticizing Mitt Romney's venture capitalist firm saying it cost over 200 paper plant workers their jobs. Reverend Monsignor Roger J. Viau, a longtime teacher at Our Lady of the Elms, has died at age 86. Kathleen G. Fales, whom Mother knew from Monarch Insurance, has died at age 92. Mother always referred to her by her maiden name Katie Stimson.
The new Journal/Bravo is out and it now has a Yesterday and Today column that shows a picture of something as it was years ago and what it looks like today. Got a Friends of Camp Norwich letter in the mail from Steve Clay announcing that as of October 1st ownership of Camp Norwich was transferred from Springfield College to the YMCA. The sale price was $700,000 and David Marks has been appointed the new Director. Kelly and her little son were out walking today, she is so tall and he is so short that they make a cute sight.
Drove out to Food Mart first thing this morning and they were giving away free ham and cheese snacks so that was breakfast. Then on the way home I saw a row of Romney signs someone had stuck in front of Wachogue Cemetery so I stopped and swiped one of them. When I got by my house I stopped and said hello to Anthony C. Mancuso who was raking his lawn with a tall, thin relative "my sister's daughter's boy" Mark Davis helping him. I used to pause to talk with Mancuso when walking to and from WNEC in my law school days. He has a wonderful Italian garden located in his backyard. Back home I then put my stolen Romney sign on my lawn. It is basically a plastic bag with printing on it over a wire frame, a new inexpensive form of campaign sign.
Later I went out again to visit some Open Houses. The first was at 50 Jeffrey Road where Christine and Gary Younger have been living for three years. He is a manager at Creative Walls, wherever that is, and she just got a job at Rutland Regional Hospital which is paying for them to relocate. They want $145,000 for their place which has a nice jacuzzi in the basement.
From there I swung out to Maynard Road to check on the work Wilbraham is doing on the land I gave them and saw there is a barrier up on Three Rivers saying Maynard is closed. Therefore I parked on Deer Run and walked to take pictures of the new Maynard Road ramp already under construction. On the way back I stopped at a big tag sale at Thirty Something on Boston Road just before Stony Hill being held for the benefit of Dave Mosellen, a 24 year old just diagnosed with leukemia. I bought a fund raising bracelet for one dollar.
Then I continued on to an Open House at 84 Maebeth, a tiny house ruined by a badly remodeled kitchen and an ugly basement. A small and uncomfortable house. Finally I went to the Open House at the old Belden house at 33 Crest Street, which was built in 1924. Mrs. Pearl Belden died in 1965 and her husband William remarried in 1966 but then died of a heart attack on his wedding night! They had a son William Jr. who remained in the house until recently. The original period light fixtures in the dining room and living room are gone. There is a brick fireplace in the backyard. The realtor was Glen Gauthier from Century 21. The brass William Belden nameplate was still on the front porch. Thus ends the Belden legacy on Crest Street.
The rumor is that the Asselin's multi-million dollar estate on the Cape is filled with appliances stolen from the Springfield Housing Authority. Eamon called and said he was talking to Jack Keough who said his key assistant Nancy quit because her husband bought two Subway franchises up Montague way. Eamon said he is formally endorsing Mitt Romney on his latest answering machine editorial because the local Democrats are so crooked that only a Republican can clean things up. He also said an anonymous caller tipped him off that Shannon O'Brien's Chief of Staff is the brother of the new Senate President, another corrupt, incestuous arrangement that shows that real reform would be impossible with O'Brien as governor.
Election Day. Sunny and clear, 37 degrees at 8am. It has been an odd Fall.
I am reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's Absolution (1926) and it's the perfect pedophile priest story. It is about how a little boy named Rudolph Miller goes to confession to a "desperately lonely priest" who can't control his desire for the boy and goes insane and "collapses with a scream." The tiny sins of the boy are thus juxtaposed with the sinful state of the priest. An absolutely wonderful story.
Karen Brown on WSPR did a piece on the Basketball Hall of Fame this morning. Like all their stuff it was comprehensive and well done. Brown went into real detail as to what you can see there and told of a family that drove seven hours from Pennsylvania to see it. They said after they saw the Hall they were going to visit the Dr. Seuss Memorial and the Forest Park Zoo. I caught one error in her report: She spoke of a "full size center court" at the Hall but it is actually several feet short. Brown described attendance as "low this day" but officials told her it was "typical for this time of year."
Better Bedding is running an ad saying they have "the lowest prices ever." That sounds like an exaggeration - what were the prices in 1960? 1932? Boston based publisher Houghton-Mifflin has been sold to a group of financiers including the Blackstone Group. This week The Reminder is celebrating its 40 year anniversary. I called anonymously and said to the receptionist, "Happy Birthday Reminder, you really aren't all you've cracked yourself up to be!" and hung up.
Went out and dropped off the Boston Herald for Mrs. Penniman, she was chatting with a woman but paused to wave. Socrates Babacus pulled up to say hi and said he was pleased to see the Romney sign on my lawn. Then I headed to the polls where I found Karen Powell leaning on a Romney sign. Fat Chris Asselin was just arriving in a white van and began passing out snacks to all the sign holders, regardless of who they were supporting. I voted for myself for District Attorney and voted for Eamon for Congress. I also voted for Paul Caron for State Rep although of course he isn't running. Later I called his office anonymously and said, "We all voted for you, call Santaniello tomorrow and find out how many votes you got!" and hung up.
On the way home I swung by the liquor store and redeemed $1.85 in bottles and bought a shot with the proceeds. The Acres H.O.T. (House of Television) has cleaned up their front and added bushes. It looks much nicer. When It was Carlisle's there was a chain link fence around the front of the store and that's where they displayed their lawnmowers.
When I got home I opened a bag of Birdseye's Premium Cuts Broccoli and a number of the larger pieces had brown spots on them, what Mother as a farm girl would have called "rust". Does this belong in a bag of premium cuts? Someone named Marty called urging me to vote for Shannon O'Brien. Also received a recorded message from O'Brien herself.
Eamon called and told me he voted today at Van Sickle. I mentioned to Eamon the death of Monsignor Viau and Eamon said he might have been the person his neighbor Charles Lupien went to see to get an annulment. Eamon's spies reported to him that Billy Sullivan and Soco Catjakis were seen downtown waving signs today for O'Brien. Eamon complained that Sen. Brian Lees hasn't done as much campaigning for Romney as he did for Paul Cellucci. He called Lees "a high class bullshit artist." We talked about how Mayor Albano has totally remodeled his house on Florentine Gardens and wondered whether it has been paid for with campaign funds. Eamon recalled how former Boston Mayor Kevin White once located his headquarters in his home and spent a ton of campaign cash remodeling his house while claiming he was merely fixing up his campaign headquarters!
The news reported on a dirty trick by Republicans who put up posters in Democrat leaning minority neighborhoods urging everyone to vote on November 6th - a day too late. As I sat sipping my snifter through the regular TV shows at 9pm it came drifting across the bottom of the screen that Mitt Romney had won although fewer than half the precincts had been counted. Holyoke voted in favor of a casino 51% to 49%. Mayor Sullivan is opposed to a casino saying "it hurts the poor." So Romney wins, and I must say I was impressed by the professionalism of his campaign. He wasn't afraid to spend for top shelf talent that totally outclassed the local yokels who were backing O'Brien. That is good, because every crook in the valley was supporting Shannon O'Brien.
Snow in the northern and western counties. Three inches in Chester.
In 1652 farmer Rowland Thomas was granted "acres of meadow lying remote from the town, upon the Mill River, in a parcel of meadow judged to be sixteen acres." Sixteen acres represented a unit of land measurement in common use in the 1600's and was just as familiar a land measurement term in those times as the now also obsolete "rood" or "pole" or "perch." Sixteen acres equaled one-tenth of a quarter section or one fortieth of a square mile. In 1680 a permit was granted for a grist mill to be located "at the sixteen acres" and by 1700 the mill was attracting settlers who called their new neighborhood "Sixteen Acres" just as we do to this day.
Sally Field is 56. David W. Scudder is Vice President of Trusts for Harvard Management Company in Cambridge. I dined on Uncle Ben's Four Cheese Lasagna today. It was okay but not as good as Stouffer's lasagna. Uncle Ben cuts corners to save pennies and I seldom prefer their products.
Mother's friend Mrs. Staniski called and said she had a disappointing day. She said Ann is in Wisconsin so she took her car into Hampden Dodge herself to have it winterized. They ended up replacing her radiator and changing her oil, for which they charged her $421 which she thought was too much. I mentioned how Hampden Dodge sold Aunt Maria a clunker years ago. Mrs. S. also complained that "there are always new people working there" whenever she goes to Hampden Dodge. Mrs. Staniski thanked me for letting her vent and said she wishes she had brought Carol along so she wouldn't have gotten ripped-off.
Drove out to Pride in the Acres and they have a sign by the road reading, "Become a Pride Partner - 737-6992." Went to cash some dividend checks at Fleet Bank and spotted A.I.C. Professor Salvatore Anzalotti in line. Eamon's caller ID shows that Paul Caron has been listening to his phone editorials lately.
Weatherman Tom Bevacqua said tonight will be "a Triple C Night - Cold, Clear, Canadian." TV22 screwed up reading the school delays this morning. I don't see these problems on the Hartford stations. Reporter Patti Smith said there are air quality issues at Homer Street School. Governor-elect Mitt Romney was on the news saying that "patronage and mismanagement are unacceptable" and that "every taxpayer dollar must be well-spent." There was a great picture in the paper yesterday of Karen Powell and the crowd at Romney headquarters cheering as the election results came in.
I called Trinity Church and asked about John Foster. They said his son is very ill in the hospital so I said I would call back another time. Next I called Guy McLain down at the Quad and got his assistant Phyllis. She connected me to Guy and I told him about my Calvin Coolidge material and he replied that "Coolidge isn't Springfield" and they only want things relating to Springfield. I said, "Coolidge was Governor of Massachusetts and doesn't that include Springfield?" He agreed. I invited him to come over and examine my Coolidge collection but he said he has jury duty in Northampton tomorrow and is going to a conference next week. He said he will come by when he can but said "my schedule is not very flexible."
37 degrees at 6:30am.
Bonnie Raitt is 53. The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution condemning Iraq. WSPR says that dogs are quieter and better behaved when listening to Classical music than to either Pop or Heavy Metal. The dogs liked Bach best and seemed to dislike Metallica the most.
Susan Wright is the Town Manager of Longmeadow. Hispanics make up more than half the AIDS cases in Springfield. A circular in the paper says the Boston Road Stop&Shop is reopening Thursday. I called Better Bedding about their ad claiming "the lowest prices ever" and asked the man who answered, "So what was the price in 1968?" The man chuckled and said, "Probably about the same as now." I hung up.
Drove to Wilbraham to attend the St. Cecilia's Tag Sale today. Springfield Street was closed off at the junction with Faculty. Wilbraham-Monson Academy is putting in spiffy new brick sidewalks. The tag sale was nothing special, all I bought was a copy of Cassell's Italian Dictionary. Melinda McIntosh was there and bought a big bag of clothes but she agreed with me that the sale wasn't as good as usual. I asked her to lunch but she said she was going to Connecticut with her girlfriend Linda.
I also ran into Eamon's sister Marion B. Rogers of St. James Avenue. I asked if she's been listening to Eamon's latest answering machine editorials and she said she doesn't like them because they are too negative. I said, "On the contrary madam, they are his finest achievement!" She was buying a book on the history of Ireland. Eamon knows what his sister thinks of his editorials but he still considers her a fine lady and is grateful for the way she helped care for their mother in her final decline. John Koziol was there looking very thin, I wonder if he is ill.
On the way home waiting for the light at the Acres I was behind a red Toyota with the Missouri license plate 322 JWM. Yes, JWM. Then I stopped off at the Cohn's to drop off some magazines. Mr. Cohn was very grateful saying that his wife "is doing terrible" but can still look through magazines. Kelly was out raking in her yard, so I decided to do the same, raking my entire backyard before quitting at 3:56pm.
Eamon called and said that Nader the Hatter is coming up from Florida next month. He also said that Commerce teacher Will Rice showed up at the School Board meeting and said straight out that he had written letters to Superintendent Burke, Mayor Albano and Marjorie Hurst describing the situation at Commerce, yet never received even the courtesy of a reply. Rice said that Albano and Burke sat there squirming in their seats and looking sheepish and embarrassed as he spoke. Finally Hurst said that they would "look into" the issues raised in his letter and then the subject was dropped.
The next day the Principal of Commerce Ann Henry called Rice into her office and berated him for over two hours for being "the ringleader" behind the faculty members causing trouble for her. She was furious and made it clear that there would be a price to pay if he complained in public again.
53 degrees at 8am. Lots of clouds.
This is National Literacy Month. A tape recording has been released by Osama Bin Ladin warning America that "As you kill so shall you be killed."
Former Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin is 87. There's a funny cartoon in the paper today showing Ted Kennedy as a hippie holding a daisy representing flower power. Kennedy is shouting, "Hell no....I won't go!" while an aide says, "Teddy, you didn't have to burn your Senate cafeteria card." Cartoonists have always loved to draw hippies.
Rep. Ben Swan was the Grand Marshall of this year's Veteran's Day celebration (he is a Korean vet) and he said "we should be asking questions now before the war in Iraq gets started." Good for him. The Harvard University Gazette is reporting that classics scholar Mason Hammond has died at age 99. I took a course with him and I recall that he always carried a cane. He had a large office on the top floor of Widener on the east side, not just a little carrel like Douglas Bush had.
Steve Auerswald works at Ultram/Punderson on Hannon Street in Springfield. Big ecumenical gathering in Hartford to mark the 64th Anniversary of Krystalnauht, the beginning of the Nazi Holocaust. The news had a piece on the anniversary of the deaths of Springfield Police Officers Beauregard and Scavina. Haven't heard much about Hampden Bank lately. United has opened a new branch in Ludlow.
As I was driving the other day I passed the former Johnson's Bookstore business supplies lady going by in a brightly colored blue car with a flag on it. She spotted me and waved. Kelly still has piles of leaves on her lawn. I was out raking the treebelt today and Mudry was out using a leaf vacuum and smiled at me. Tony Mancuso was also out raking and I chatted with him about politics. He asked, "Do you think our new Governor Mitt Romney will get after all the crooks in Springfield?" I replied, "I certainly hope so."
I called St. Michael's Cemetery and the receptionist said the cemetery director is Joseph Kostek and the cemetery address is 1601 State Street. I will send postcards. Next I called Paul Caron's office and asked Paula where Caron went to school. She said Springfield College. The mail brought a thank you postcard from Paul Murray for the stuff on Fernbank I sent him. Activist Belle-Rita Novak called and thanked me for the birthday card I sent her. She told me she will be going to Israel to see her son in December. She said she is opposed to going to war in Iraq and that she hates Bush. Belle-Rita said she is not impressed by Mitt Romney either and that she herself voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. I told her I had a bunch of French books I wanted to get rid of and she suggested I contact Sheila McElwaine who has an interest in French.
Eamon called and said he went to have his hair cut by Jack Santos, whose son is a Chicago lawyer with a degree from Boston University. Eamon then recalled that when he was head of Civil Defense under T. O'Connor he tried to get Monsanto in Indian Orchard to give him a list of the chemicals they were using but they refused. He says there is a heightened rate of cancer around Monsanto plants elsewhere in the country and a study should be done to discover if that's the case around here.
Eamon waxed nostalgic about Hungry Hill, recalling a Miss Crowley who lived in an apartment in the North End. She was a little lady who dressed in black and sold sewing supplies like pins, needles and spools of thread. She was a regular visitor to Eamon's mother who always invited her in for some coffee. Eamon said his mother used to talk to 20 people a day on the telephone, which explains Eamon in part.
Mrs. Sullivan got her groceries from Lonnie Zion who ran Fulton's Market on Carew and another Jew named Maxie had a market on Liberty and lived upstairs from the store. Magni's Market was on Armory but later moved to Carew. Magni's disappeared in the construction of the interstate. Ma Bouchard ran a donut shop in the cluster of stores on the corner of Carew and Armory. Dave Keough was a tailor in the same cluster of shops and had three sons, each of whom played the accordion.
Hockney Gray was another Hungry Hill peddler who was kind of strange looking and the neighborhood kids were afraid of him for his strange looks. He used to sell fruit and lived with the George Pease family on Ontario Street. George Pease owned a costume company down on Worthington Street. The "gold dust twins" Dave and Jack Goldberg were nice guys who owned the Carew Pharmacy on the corner of Carew and Newbury.
Finally Eamon told me that he called School Committee member Bob McCollum and urged him to speak out about all the problems in the Springfield schools. McCollum told Eamon that the new computers they bought for Van Sickle don't work!
Raining off and on. Gas at Pride is $1.43.
A poll showed that only 15% of Americans can name the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Between 20,000 and 40,000 court files from from Hampden Superior Court will be shredded to create more room in the Springfield Hall of Justice, according to Clerk Magistrate Marie G. Mazza. Why don't they microfilm them? UMass is closing their community music school at the Fine Arts Center. It once enrolled 600 but had just 16 students last semester.
I called Northeast Utilities agent D.F. King and he told me $18.50 is the "deposit price" for their stock so I ordered 37 shares. Then I called A.I.C. and left a message for Craig Greenberg, the faculty adviser to The Yellow Jacket. I said their school paper has always been very inferior and they should lift their vision of the possibilities of student journalism. I said even Springfield College has a better paper than they do. Finally I called and left an anonymous message for Tom Burton saying, "Would you rather be in the First National Bank or the Last National Bank? First at First or First at Last?"
Turner had a yard man cleaning up today and the Black man at 100 Birchland has his yard raked up really nice. Lots of leaves on Cressotti's roof. There is often a cop car parked at 403 Sunrise Terrace. At the intersection of Wilbraham Road and Roosevelt Avenue there are a lot of blazing yellow unfallen leaves, especially around the Gun Club.
I went to the Grand Re-opening of the Boston Road Stop&Shop today wearing my orange jumpsuit, biker boots, spiked collar, my poetry medal around my neck and a leather cap. When I arrived an extremely fat man was hanging a happy face in the window and two security people were in front. I found out from them that the official ribbon cutting had happened last night with Mayor Albano and Senator Lees in attendance. As I entered the front door I was offered lots of freebies in the form of yo-yo's, soft drinks, twisted pencils but no free food except people carrying trays of cheap snacks. The druggist was giving away 7-day pill holders and I asked whether they had consulted him in designing the pharmacy section and he replied, "Unfortunately, no." When I left the parking lot was packed. The store is immense and no doubt meant to be an excuse for future price increases.
After I left Stop&Shop I went to the McDonalds's on Allen Street for a burger and fries for lunch but the container of fries was not well filled. I picked up a copy of the WMass Web Guide to look up the address of Devine's website and found it hard to use. I then headed to the Commerce 2002 Fair on the Expo grounds and there was heavy traffic by the Civic Center. When I arrived I just walked around. Taylor Rental was offering pink cotton candy and Van Cort Instruments of Easthampton had a booth. Lisa Daniels and her husband were at the TV40 booth and I asked about the difference in quality between the Springfield and Hartford stations. She replied that Hartford has a much bigger budget because they are the 28th largest media market in the country while Springfield is only 104.
The Reminder was there and I talked with the Buendo brothers pleasantly about nothing substantive. One Buendo did note that Eamon was being nominated for a Local Hero Award. At the Springfield Newspapers booth I chatted with their Advertising Director Joel Morse and ate some of their free tarts and cookies. We talked about their new press and Morse said a lot of new printing business they hope will come from out of town customers. I interpreted that as meaning they hope they can drive Turley Publications out of business. Chateau Provost was serving fish chowder that was as bland as the so-called lobster bisque I got from Masse's recently. Atkin's Farm was giving away macaroons and pieces of chocolate while The Yankee Peddler had trays of small snacks. Elderly WMAS radio talk personality Dick McDonough spoke with me briefly and perhaps because of my attire asked me what I thought of San Francisco. In all the Fair was nothing to write home about.
Rep. Mary Rogeness is in a Boston hospital having a tumor removed from her liver. Demolition of a significant section of the former Technical High School is underway according to the evening news. A former teacher Rita McGinnis was shown lamenting that part of the structure will be lost. The old 1905 main section of the building will be saved for rehab. Rep. Neal and Judge Posner were shown praising the architectural beauty of the courthouse being constructed next door. Also on the news retired Westfield State Professor Brown was shown talking against war in Iraq. Dave Madsen reported that the Catholic Church pedophile scandal is making it hard for the church to recruit priests, resulting in shortages that may cause some churches to close. Oh, boo hoo! The Springfield Diocese has 120 priests, only three of whom are Hispanic.
49 degrees at 7am.
On the news today Donald Rumsfeld predicted that a war with Iraq would only last four or five months. The movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets opens in 3,700 theaters today.
My parent's cottage at Fernbank in Wilbraham had to be destroyed due to damage caused as a result of the flood of 1955. The cottage was originally located on North Main Street in Wilbraham but was bought by my parents in 1936 and moved to Fernbank.
I went downtown today to meet with Atty. Efrem Gordon. Down on Sumner Avenue the roof on the front part of Trinity Church is pretty much done. I parked on Salem and paid $4 for a sweet Italian sausage grinder from the stand on the corner where Stillman's used to be. It was good. I picked up for Gordon the Journal/Bravo with the Student Prince on the cover and the Valley Advocate with the article about Holyoke's Police Chief Scott.
When I got to Gordon's I had to wait as Efrem was with a client. Soon a Black fellow came out and Efrem called me directly in. He was extremely friendly as usual and when I handed him the papers he said he likes the Valley Advocate because it often has articles of interest in it. He told me we will do depositions of Edith, Ruth, etc. on November 25th at Monarch Place. I told him that Peter Picknelly has put out a trespass notice against me and when Efrem asked why I told him because I supported Charlie Ryan over Mike Albano in 1995 and opposed Picknelly's casino plans.
Efrem said that he too backed Ryan and opposed the casino, and then assured me that we could get around the trespass order. I told him I would write down some of the possible questions he might want to ask and he hinted that my handwriting was difficult to read. I offered to type the questions and that cheered him. As I left I noticed that by the door he had some fancy brick architectural elements and I asked where they came from. He said from the Universalist Church they ripped down next to Classical which he described as "a tragic loss to the city." I told him I rescued from the wreckage of that church a Bible that had been given to the Universalist Society of Springfield by the Cabots of Boston.
Time sure does fly. Eamon telephoned and recalled the timeline of his early life. In the 11th grade he enrolled in the Naval Reserves where Edmond Garvey, future president of STCC, was in charge and treated him well. In 1952 Eamon graduated from Cathedral and then spent two years in the Navy. From 1956 to 1959 he attended Amherst College, graduating in three years by going to school during the summer. From 1959 to 1962 he worked as a department head for Mayor Tommy O'Connor and after leaving City Hall he got his master's degree in education from Columbia University which he attended from 1962-1964.
Eamon has called Mitt Romney to complain about him putting Chief Meara on his transition team instead of Chief Scott. Eamon did praise Romney for appointing Michael Porter of Harvard to the transition team. Romney told Eamon that Meara had been recommended to him by State Senator Brian Lees. Eamon recalled that it was Lees who used his influence to get a judgeship for former Mayor Mary Hurley. Eamon said he knew Hurley's father whom he described as "a boozer who was as crooked as a ram's horn." He said old man Hurley used to like Johnny Walker Red, while his daughter prefers the more expensive Johnny Walker Blue.
Eamon said Art Gingras called him today to report that Wednesday afternoon there was a major brawl after school at Commerce with the Blacks lined up on one side of the front lawn and the Puerto Ricans lined up on the other. The cops that are assigned full-time to the school couldn't handle it so they called for reinforcements until eight police cruisers were there before it was over. The rumble was over a fight that had broken out between some Blacks and Puerto Ricans on a bus the day before. Gingras described the school as "ready to explode" thanks to the incompetence of the school principal Ann Henry who refuses to impose discipline. Teacher William Rice, whom Henry considers "the ringleader of the faculty complainers" got a call yesterday from Superintendent Burke who wants him to come down and talk things over.
Overcast and 37 degree at 8am, light flurries last night. Bevacqua says there's been a record 7 days of measurable snow on the ground this Fall.
My parents had a 1935 Ford they called "Lizzie." Faith United Church at 52 Sumner Avenue had an organ dedication concert yesterday featuring Grant Moss from Smith. Real to Reel had a wonderful segment this week on the Thomas Cole The Ox Bow exhibit at Mount Holyoke. Got a wrong number today from someone looking for Storrowtown Tavern. Nader the Hatter is coming up from Florida on December 4th.
I stopped briefly at the Pine Point Library but their free book rack was empty. There were two kids on the computers, maybe nine or ten years old, playing a computerized pool game. When I got back I dined at noon on Uncle Ben's Homestyle Chili and it was surprisingly good. There was a generous amount of good sized pieces of meat. I also cooked up a Marie Callender Apple Pie I bought at Food Mart for $4.99. It was wonderful, a truly luxurious pie experience; theirs are by far the best frozen pies. For supper I had Uncle Ben's Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo which was okay but heavy on the noodles with only a few pieces of chicken and definitely overpriced.
After supper I called the Powell's and spoke for about five minutes with Bob. He said Karen has not received a job offer from Romney but doesn't much care either way. He said they have seen Tom Devine "quite often" since he came back from Texas and said he and Karen were guests of Devine and Tony Gill on WAIC the week before the election.
Eamon's dad was named Patrick Sullivan. Eamon called tonight and I told him about my visit to Atty. Gordon. Eamon recalled how Efrem once owned a fancy restaurant in Hampden called The Pequot. It was open for about ten years and one of the chefs was later a cook at the White House. Eamon said Efrem gave it up because it never made much money, some years barely breaking even. He then went on to complain that Springfield's cops have never been adequately supervised. He said in the old days he knew a cop that used to pull his cruiser into his garage, close the door and play poker with his buddies. He also said that cops used to drive down to Bradley Airport and watch the planes take off. They were still just ten minutes away if a call came in and they had to beat it back to the city.
I mentioned to Eamon the article in the Sunday Boston Herald in which Bishop Dupre was criticized by Canon Lawyer Thomas P. Doyle for his mishandling of the church sex scandals. Eamon said blame must also be placed on former District Attorney Matty Ryan, who he said covered up the whole Lavigne/Croteau mess. Eamon said he recently called Bill Zajac at the paper and complained about how in their coverage they never criticize Ryan for his failure to prosecute Lavigne. Eamon said he used to send letters to Ryan demanding that he take action against Lavigne but never received a reply. Then one day he ran into Matty downtown and asked him if he received any of his letters. Ryan laughed and said, "I have a whole drawer of your letters." That made Eamon angry and he demanded that Ryan arrest Lavigne immediately but Matty replied, "Oh Sully, I could never get a jury to convict a priest." To which Eamon replied, "Then go fuck yourself!" and walked away.
39 degrees and overcast at 7am.
Only 60% of Americans have access to the internet. Puerto Ricans make up 36% of the population of Holyoke, 23% of Springfield. News says there's a push to make Dr. Seuss the official Massachusetts Children's Author. Who are the other candidates?
I am going to give one of the bricks I got from the Indian Motocycle Building when they tore it down in the 1980's to Efrem Gordon. Eunice called from Gordon's office today and said they are ready to depose Gendron, Costello, Wiermasz, Johnson and Michaud. How our little witness list has grown! I called Norma at the 16 Acres Library and found out that the original building was completed on June 22, 1965. The renovated building and addition were dedicated on June 27, 2000.
The mail brought a letter from Kathy Joyal, President of Friends of the Library announcing a fundraiser featuring "readings from the popular literature of each decade, music and cultural history provided by Springfield's own historian, Francis Gagnon." Needless to say I will not be attending. Joyal never answered the letters I sent her and to which Mrs. Napolitan said I'd have a reply.
Went to Copycat to make copies and got some Waterfront Club color posters out of their recycling bin. While driving down Wilbraham Road I experienced a first - going past Western New England College I stopped for a young woman to cross the street and she waved thanks. Never had a student thank me for stopping before. Angelo's Fruits and Vegetables is putting out their pointsettas and Xmas greenery. There's a new roof going on G. Owen Flynt's place in Wilbraham. I stopped by the Stanton Auction house in Hampden and the place was packed with merchandise. I left a bid on some postcards and a painting of Indian teepees at sunset. It is a lovely piece. Vince Robillard was there but he didn't see me because he was talking with someone.
The City Retirement Board has ruled that Springfield Parking Authority Executive Director Kathleen B. Pellegrino violated state law when she retired as a city employee under Springfield's early retirement program but never left the job, continuing to collect full pay while also collecting retirement checks. She was getting $145,000 to oversee three employees while the actual work of running the parking garages was contracted out to a private company. Councilors Tim Rooke, Angelo Puppolo and Timothy Ryan have called on Pellegrino to resign and have criticized Mayor Albano for not firing her. The Retirement Board members are Donna M. Williams, Anthony J. Basile, James F. Harrington and Jeffrey E. Poindexter.
Cardinal Bernard Law appears to be adopting a more apologetic manner, perhaps he is being prepped by public relations people. Law started out as a civil rights activist, not at all pompous like he became as a Cardinal. He is moving beyond the bunker mentality towards a new openness and outreach. However he was so arrogant in the past it is hard to see how the church can recover with Cardinal Law in charge. Eamon's cousin Father Callahan told him that the Cardinal was known as "Lightfoot Law" back in the seminary. What could that mean?
Eamon called and discussed Professor Bagston who taught Economics 101 at Amherst College. Bagston used to say that imagination is more important than knowledge and creativity is the most important dimension of the intellect. Eamon said Bagston always walked with a cane. Eamon has a cute new tape on his answering machine. It starts by pointing out that it's illegal to use campaign funds for personal use and that it would be interesting to know how the renovations to the homes of the Asselins, Gerry Phillips and Mayor Albano were paid for. He specifically refers to Albano's pasta sause money as "a shell game and slush fund." Eamon suggests they should all be featured on the Bob Vila home renovation show on TV.
At 7am 39 degrees, cloudy, misty, dark.
The news showed students at the University of Wisconsin at Madison protesting and chanting, "One-two-three-four, we won't support your racist war!"
A fuel oil spill in the Holyoke canal is now under control. Chris and Dan Buendo are the co-publishers of Reminder Publications on North Main Street in East Longmeadow. Yvette M. Guyette is the manager at Springfield Newsroom and Tobacconist at 366 Cooley Street in Springfield. The Park and Recreation Commission has approved a new two year contract for the Bright Nights holiday lighting display at Forest Park.
The cost of membership in the Society of William Rice at the Quadrangle is $2,500. Stanton Auctions called and said I lost my bid on the postcards. I bid $100 but someone who must have been drunk paid $250. I also lost on the Indian teepee painting, for which I bid $500 but someone else got it for $650. I called William Zajac at the paper and left him a message telling him to be sure to see the attack on Bishop Dupre in the Boston Herald. I also told him to read F. Scott Fitzgerald's Absolution for insight into the psychology of a pedophile priest.
Drove out at 10:45 and dropped off a Herald for Penniman and some magazines for Mr. and Mrs. Cohn. Then out to United Bank where I was waited on by Sheila Nadolski, who said she grew up in the Maynard Road neighborhood of Wilbraham. We chatted about the book business. Then I swung over to Food Mart which was quiet and empty, the re-opening of Stop&Shop has killed their business.
Then I went over to Eamon's house to give him a copy of the Herald with Father Doyle's attack on Dupre. Eamon had just gotten home with his latest diamond ring. Eamon has lots of money and often invests it in high class luxury items. Eamon said he spent the morning up in Chicopee with Chef Paul Santo. Eamon said he had a grilled cheese sandwich and a coffee that tasted two days old. Santo said the neighborhood has changed, there are no longer people going to work in the factories to stop in for breakfast. He said he has cut his hours down to 7 to 2 daily but fears any further decline. Santo's wife is working there too. Jim Landers arrived as I was leaving and we wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving.
When I got back Mrs. Staniski called and said she is getting a new hearing aide next week. For Thanksgiving she is going with Ann to the Reeds for a change, she used to go to The Tavern. She said Ann intends to keep working although she is now 64 years old. I watched the Ben Franklin special on WGBY tonight, which was followed by a show featuring Bill Flynt, Deerfield Architectural Historian, and Kurt Hahn, former owner of radio station WNNZ, talking about three ancient houses in Deerfield.
Holyoke Mayor Michael Sullivan and Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce President Doris Ransford are praising Police Chief Scott in BusinessWest for creating a better business environment in the city through his war on crime. The Valley Advocate has an article on the Eric Carle Museum this week. I think Eric Carle is inferior to both Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss. Carle's art is okay to good but his work for The Magic Flute was done in a bang, bang, paint roller style.
43 degrees in the breezeway at 7:30am. This is the 39th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas.
People don't realize how much I appreciate nice letterheads.
Rodney Dangerfield is 81. Systemics Inc. is located in Northborough, Massachusetts and Beth Patterson is their Business Development Representative. I wonder what will become of the Big Y in the Acres? I hope it lasts, but I imagine there will be pressure to close it down now that the Boston Road Stop&Shop has reopened. How many Grand Openings have I been to over the years? I used to take Father to such events to amuse him and of course Mother also.
Tonight is the kick-off for the 8th season of Bright Nights, which TV22 described as "one of the top 100 events in North America." Springfield native Jim Trelease, the author of books on the importance of reading aloud to children, will give a speech at STCC on the 24th in Scibelli Hall. Local unions are protesting at the dedication of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art because of the use of non-union contractors in its construction.
TV40 has ads on for their show Beyond with James VanPraagh where he supposedly communes with the dead. It is amazing how much hucksterism there is on TV. There was a commercial on TV by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development urging us to donate in order to help "break the cycle of poverty." I called them up and left a message saying that the Pope isn't infallible in morals or anything else and they should promote birth control if they want to break the cycle of poverty because there are too many mouths to feed.
Drove downtown today and parked by Saint Michael's rectory, where there was a light on in a rear window. I walked down to Attorney Gordon's and left some papers and a brick from the Indian Motocycle Building with Ms. White. Then I walked back up State Street to the Quadrangle where I saw a new floor has been installed on the Blake House front porch. There were about fifty kids and their teachers lined up in front of the Science Museum waiting to get in. I went over to the snack bar where there were four customers and two workers. The Starr Gallery had the lights down low and there is no longer a plaque outside the Wheeler Gallery listing the donors to the Seuss exhibit.
I saw the exhibit Out of Time: Designs for the 20th Century Future described as "Fantastical visions of the future as seen through the eyes of the past." It is mostly blah black and white sketches, although one of the items became the model for the Hallmark puzzle "Verticalville" of which I am so fond, a truly high hip puzzle. I then went over to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum where I noticed a very mediocre Tiffany Lamp made of yellow and green rectangles of glass with a sign saying it was donated by The Fullers. I went back to the Springfield in the 1920's exhibit and found that Guy McLain was there with a bunch of ladies including Francis Gagnon. I waved to Guy but he did not acknowledge me.
Nearby on a pedestal was a comment book with a sign over it, "We Welcome Your Comments." I wrote, "Where is the Seuss donors plaque? What happened to the DAR tree that was where the Quad is now tiled over with granite? It is not really proper for McLain to be monopolizing an exhibit with a private group and preventing the public from seeing the exhibit during the hours advertised. - J.W. Miller." It was raining when I left so I told the two officers guarding the Seuss Memorial that they should be holding an umbrella over Dr. Seuss. They laughed. My favorite sculpture is of Dr. Seuss at his drawing board with the Cat in the Hat by his side.
On my way home I had a fish sandwich with a generous helping of fries at the McDonald's on Boston Road. When I got home Efrem Gordon called and thanked me for the Indian Motocycle brick but said he didn't know what to do with it. I told him to throw it at Gary Shannon and he laughed. Former zoning administrator Timothy P. Clemons has been indicted for conflict of interest for soliciting funds from businesses subject to zoning regulations. City Councilor Daniel D. Kelly called Clemon's indictment, "A shame." Eliezer Cortex, a Liberty Heights activist said, "It's terrible, it takes the trust away from city government."
On his answering machine editorial today Eamon was critical of City Councilor Timothy Rooke for his blind loyalty to the Neal camp. Left on Eamon's machine was the message, "This is Timothy Rooke. Thank you for your comments," stated in a curt, sarcastic tone of voice. Eamon said he called back and left the message, "If you've got a beef with me then we can meet in Van Horn Park any time you want and settle it like men." Councilor Rooke did not return the call.
39 degrees and overcast at 8am, a windy, raw day.
The Bush twins are about to turn 21. There was a picture in the paper yesterday of the ceremony held at the eternal flame in honor of President John F. Kennedy in Forest Park. It showed Rev. George Farland of Sacred Heart Church, Mayor M.J. Albano, Kennedy friend Donald J. Dowd of West Springfield and congressional aide Kevin Kennedy placing a wreath for the anniversary of JFK's death.
On Saturday Night Live they had a skit where a newswoman, with a shot of Holy Cross Cathedral to her left, reported that the Boston Archdiocese is going to start selling property to pay their settlements in the pedophile priest scandals. She said they will "start with altar boy robes which are already half off."
In Torrington, Connecticut the Warner Theater had a gala reopening after a $7 million dollar renovation. The Castle of Knights Meeting and Banquet House is on Memorial Drive in Chicopee and Layosh Toth is the General Manager. Debra Pellissier is the Banquet Manager and Sandi LaFleche is Function Coordinator. There was a hold-up at the Daily Mart on the corner of Alden and Wilbraham Road at 2am by two Blacks. That's getting close to home.
The light bulb burned out in my refrigerator. Eamon called and told me about a nun at Cathedral they used to call Crazy Mary. She used to cover Detention and was royally made fun of by those in her charge. They'd throw pennies at her and she'd run around the room picking them up. The football jocks would harass her with catcalls and funny noises. Sometimes things would get so bad that she'd let Detention out early rather than put up with any more from the kids. Eamon said that Art Gingras told him that in Westfield they make the kids go to Detention on Saturday so they can still go to after school activities during the week.
I went to the Westinghouse Burger King for sausage, egg and cheese croissants with a two for one coupon. On the way over there I saw a lot of geese on the Smith & Wesson lawn. I asked my server Robbie about the 16 Acres Burger King and she said that it will never reopen, nor will the one on Boston Road. She informed me that Sandy who worked at the Acres Burger King is now home raising her grandchild fulltime and I said I was glad to hear that.
From Burger King I circled around to check Roy A. Wright's place at 16 Carnavon Circle. The lawn has grown up to tall weeds and Oak leaves are all over the place. There's a big tree in front with a Halloween style owl perch. A woman with a heavy accent was raking leaves across the street and she told me she has known Roy since he was fourteen. She said his parents are still alive and living in Florida and that Roy uses the house primarily to store books. I gave her my card and told her to remember me to Roy the next time she sees him.
From there I drove past the Wesley Church on State and counted 42 cars in the parking lot. I noticed that they are putting a new roof on Eastern Avenue School. I went to take pictures of the work at Fernbank where there is a sign saying "King Drive/Private Way." A little red Volkswagen (8697 HX) came out while I was taking pictures. The paving of Springfield Street in Wilbraham is finished up to the intersection with Stony Hill Road.
I didn't go to the YMCA Norwich reception at WNEC today. I'd have gone if it didn't cost $15. However I did drive by and saw that in the front circle driveway in front of the Herman, Administration and Emerson buildings there were only nine cars. Down behind Herman Hall there were only three cars. No cars were by the Healthful Living Center or Law School. The only reason to pay $15 would be to meet old friends and former campers, and there couldn't have been many. Conclusion: The Camp Norwich event was an enormous flop.
38 degrees at 7:30am. Gas is overpriced at $1.45 per gallon at Pride.
Sex is to be celebrated and enjoyed, not shunned.
Whenever I see a chicken I think of Gordon N. Oakes. Guy R. Saucier is Director of Annual Giving at the YMCA. My Mother Blanche Ethel Wilson Miller died on January 23, 1999. Her sister, my aunt Eleanor Maria Wilson Giroux died on March 28, 2002. I was not invited to her bedside.
The news says that 22% of the UMass employees who took advantage of the early retirement program last year are back at the University part time collecting two checks. Early retirement has become a racket that doesn't save the taxpayers much if any money. I called down to the Spirit of Springfield but was told by Meagan that Judy Matt was in a meeting. I told Meagan to tell Matt to send me a letter regarding the return of some photographs I gave her and she said, "Ok, I'll give her the message."
Next I called the Quad and spoke with Arlene who connected me with Phyllis. I informed her that a ticket is a form of contract and it is not right for Guy McLain and a bunch of old ladies to take over the gallery and prevent the public from viewing the 20's exhibit. I also told her that I recognized Fran Gagnon as one of the ladies even though she had her back to me because of her Betty Rubble hairdo, which made Phyllis laugh. She assured me that she would pass my message on to McLain and then wished me a Happy Thanksgiving before hanging up.
This morning there was a truck for White Mountain Fiber Optic Cable Company of Epsom, New Hampshire working on the wires on my street with a man in a cherry picker. I went to Mailboxes at 10:15 to make some copies and ran into Caryl MacLeod, who was carrying a painting of Vermont to be mailed and I admired it. She told me she would send me a color copy and informed me she studies watercoloring with Susan Tilton Pecora in the same class as Peggy Starr, wife of David. Caryl MacLeod lives on Ridge Road in Wilbraham and her husband's name is Harry.
Next I headed over to Oak Grove Cemetery to get historical information from Joan Welch. The urn has been re-installed in the Pine and Maple triangle. Welch said the cemetery was founded in 1881 and the fancy front gate was erected in 1884. She felt there is still enough land left in the cemetery for another 80 or 90 years. Welch said their cute little office building was built in the 1960's.
On my way home coming down Jeffrey and circling around Ballard I ran into Jimmy Sullivan walking a large brown dog named Samantha. He was our milkman on Crest Street and worked for Sealtest for forty years. In the 1980's he worked as a guard at the Quadrangle in the Museum of Fine Arts. He lives on Dwight Road over by Franconia Golf Course. Before I drove off I gave him the number to Eamon's telephone editorials.
Eamon is railing in his latest editorial about "the monopoly fishwrap rag Union-Snooze." Today Eamon called and said a guy who works for the School Department who has access to Peter Negroni's former home at 471 Trafton Road (he still owns it) told him that there is a baby grand piano in the house that has the property mark of District 12 in the Bronx stamped on the bottom. The friend who told Eamon this had no idea that Negroni served as a superintendent of District 12 before he came to Springfield. Eamon informed his friend that there were scandals when Negroni was there involving patronage, fraud and theft, and that one of the items mentioned in the press was stolen pianos! Eamon said he called the District Attorney in NYC about it and was told the matter would be referred to Jose Martinez, Defective Inspector. However the D.A. said that there probably wasn't much that could be done because the statute of limitations had run out on matters involving the District 12 scandal.
After Eamon hung up I recalled that Francis Gagnon had once complained about art that was loaned to the School Department that went missing under Negroni, so I decided to give her a call. I reached Ms. Gagnon at 3:46pm and she was very professional and I got a lot of interesting information from her. She said that her first encounter with Negroni was when he first arrived as superintendent and was going to throw out a lot of school records dating back to the 1880's in order to make more space in the School Department basement. Gagnon said she successfully managed to transfer the records to the safety of the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. When Negroni left there were supposed to be 15 valuable Lumis paintings returned from the School Department but one was never recovered. I asked about two other paintings but she reassured me that The Light of Education by Reid is still at Forest Park and that Beside the Still Waters is still at Commerce. In all it was a professional and useful conversation.
39 degrees at 7:30am. Sunny, clear sky.
Leftist philosopher John Rawls had died. Eamon said he he heard Rawls once at Amherst College and praised him as a liberal theoretician. Mark E. Salamone is the biggest legal advertiser in town. Reminder Publications is sponsoring a talk by Dr. Steve Sobel "world Class motivator, humanist, success coach and team builder" at the Best Western in West Springfield.
Ralph J. Crandall is Executive director of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The Connecticut Valley Historical Museum first opened its doors on Dec 1st, 1927. During the 1920's Springfield was an industrial hub with an active cultural, social and civil life. Three now defunct department stores - Forbes & Wallace, Steigers and Packard & Wheat - operated downtown, along with a variety of specialty shops like the family owned Johnson's Bookstore.
Got a farewell circular in the mail from Rep. Paul Caron. The news said the downtown holiday lights will be turned on tonight. Dorothy McNamara, parking supervisor for the Springfield Police Department is complaining about federal workers downtown who ignore parking signs and "park on the sidewalk, they park in handicapped spots, we write them up and nothing happens." Tonight on TV22 Rick Tettemer the sports guy came on but the sound wasn't on during his entire presentation. Just as well since Tettemer is pompous though his pronunciation is excellent and his English pretty good. But he puts on airs.
There was an ad in this Sunday's paper by the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts (EDC). It featured a large photo of Peter Pan's Peter Picknelly, who is also on the EDC's Board of Directors and a quote from Picknelly saying the EDC "enhances the region's quality of life, adds excitement and vitality, helps attract and retain businesses, employers, innovative entrepreneurs and the best students." The advertisement then said, "To learn how the EDC can help your business expand in the Pioneer Valley call us...."
So this afternoon I called and got a professional, friendly, upbeat Marion who said I should speak with their Director of Sales Robert Pyers. She asked, "What is the name of your company?" I replied, "Who said anything about a company? Your ad says business and my business is writing scholarly introductions to antique lawbooks." She said that sounded interesting. I said what people like Peter Picknelly and David Starr should be doing is bringing in more bookstores and libraries and added, "If you want to change Springfield you need to change the culture of what we respect in Springfield." She thanked me for calling and said Pyers will write to me about what they can do to help my business. We shall see.
16 Springfield public schools have been declared under performing. Donna Stewart of Springfield Academy has a courageous letter in the paper today saying she is "tired of getting the run around from Superintendent Burke" and added that their school "serves the most violent students suspended from the other schools." Burke claims he simply doesn't have the money to do any more to protect the teachers. Eamon recalled how he told John Silber all about Peter Negroni and Silber advised him to contact the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Education. So he gathered up all the attendance and violence records leaked to him by his spies in the Springfield schools and shortly thereafter Negroni resigned. Eamon's latest phone message calls Springfield "a dirty little city" filled with corruption and asks, "How many city officials, city councilors, school board members and department heads have come forward to help in cleaning up this mess? The answer - none."
Went to Louis&Clark where I ran into Mr. McDonald from the credit union wearing a herringbone suit and I wished him a Happy Thanksgiving. Then I went to Fleet Bank and cashed a Schering-Plough and Citibank check. Then I went to Springfield Cemetery and walking around the Methodist section I found close to the fence a tall brownstone obelisk erected by the Ferre family and falling into ruin. As a public service I am recording what it says before it becomes illegible: "Horace Ferre died November 26, 1864, aged 75 years." By chance I discovered his grave on November 26, 2002, 138 years to the day after his passing! Also mentioned is his wife and a son who died at age 13.
The ornate picket fence in front of the Alexander House is mostly gone, fallen over and collapsing. I headed over to Springfield Central High School for the meeting of the Massachusetts Statewide Anti-Terrorism Unified Response Network. They had a table of food set up with cheese, strawberries and grapes. I took some cheese and a can of Coke. Inside the auditorium I noticed that the clock doesn't work and is stuck at 8 0'clock. The event looked like a jamboree with all the military jocks in their uniforms, some paramedics and some hazardous waste workers from Westfield. Cops everywhere. Petluck was there in the second row.
The welcoming speaker was Sheriff Michael Ashe, who according to the program was supposed to be followed by Senator Brian Lees, who didn't show up. Although nearly all the local politicians were shown in the ad as sponsors of this event no one but Ashe was actually there. Eamon said he wasn't going, and recalled how his brother Fire Chief Ray Sullivan had contempt for such safety gatherings, always calling Civil Defense "Silly Defense." Peter Judge was the best speaker and Deputy Chief Elmer McMahon was the worst, droning on and on. Nancy Ridley of the Mass Department of Public Health hardly looked the picture of health at over 200 pounds.
After James Jajuga spoke he took questions from the floor. I stood up and said,"I'm Attorney J. Wesley Miller and I say there will be no end to terrorism until there is a change in our immoral foreign policy." The room was totally silent for several long moments and then Jajuga said, "Next question."
Started snowing in the middle of the night, six inches on the ground by 10am.
This is Thanksgiving Day. Arabs have replaced hippies as the favorite caricature stereotype for editorial cartoonists.
A lobster roll costs $8.99 at Bickford's. Artist Eric Carle lives in Northampton. There was an article in yesterday's paper about the anti-terrorism meeting at Central High School which made no mention of my comments, naturally. Former Westfield politician Steve Pierce has been given a Boston Housing Court judgeship. What is Joe Sibilia doing? Is he still writing poetry?
I went out around eleven to shovel the driveway and then went to Hillcrest Cemetery to take photographs of it with all the snow still in the trees. I took two rolls worth of pictures. When I got back I saw that the plow had been by and left a pile of snow at the end of my driveway. I took pictures of that too to make a formal complaint to the city. I started shoveling but then Mr. Mudry came over and did it for me with his snow blower. He is an extremely decent gentleman and works as a truck driver for Sweeney Transport in Chicopee. He said last night the holiday traffic was terrible on the turnpike.
When I got back inside the telephone rang and it was someone named Tricia trying to sell me a subscription to Customer Interactions Solutions Magazine. I declined. Joanne Miller called and said she got a postcard yesterday from the Eastfield Mall offering special deals, and I told her I received no such thing. Eamon called and said that Jim Landers drove on the turnpike yesterday to pick up his son who is back for Thanksgiving and the traffic was so bad they got off the pike and took Route 20. Eamon says he has a copy of Tommy Devine's Journal about the election results and will pass it on to me. Eamon recalled how years ago he always saw Devine with his dark haired boyfriend Jay saying, "Tom was always with that guy."
Eamon is going to his sister's for Thanksgiving dinner. He complained that today's Union-News consists of nothing but advertising inserts. Eamon noted that the cost of remodeling the Springfield Civic Center started at $45 million, rose to $58 million and is now at $66 million!
Last night Sweet Pea and Honey Pot slept on the dining room table. My beloved dolls have been neglected of late. I cooked up a Thanksgiving dinner for the three of us consisting of acorn squash, turnip, pumpkin pie and a Marie Callender Turkey Dinner. A nice meal and then afterwards I dozed in my chair. After a while I called Belle Rita Novak and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving and told her I hope she enjoys her trip to Israel. I also called the Bookstore Building and was told that Peter Johnson is away until December 2nd.
The rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning in the attic where I came across old bags and boxes from Brigham's, Haynes, Yale-Genton, Forbes & Wallace, Steiger's, Bell Shops, Penny's, G. Fox and Company, S. Altman and Company, Lerner Shops, Youth Centre, Burger King, McDonald's, Putnam Hallmark, Louis & Clark, Stop&Shop, A&P Super Food Mart, and The Woman's Shop. One Steiger's box top from the Hall Galleries shows the Steiger's building from the side with its art deco face with the Steiger's family coat of arms in the tower. And I made a real prize find in the form of a Johnson's Bookstore green paper bag from 1950 complete with the logo "The largest store of its kind in New England."
29 degrees at 7:30am. Snow flurries.
There are about 20 citations for me on Google. A google is 1 plus 100 zeroes in math.
The latest edition of Who's Who is out and I am in there in the middle of page 3628. I am pleased to see that my cousin David Emmanuel Miller is back on page 3622, first column. Beverly Miller is still in there but not Colleen Moynihan. Walter Rideout is still there. Doris Helen Kearns Goodwin, Richard Knowles, Howard Weinbrot, Jeffery Steele, Richard Muhlberger, Ken Davison and Pat Hillmer are included along with many Springfield lawyers. The listing for Sandra Slone Susse of WMass Legal Services says she is interested in German Lit so I'll notify her about the A.I.C. German collection.
60 Minutes had a segment on Boston's Big Dig, which has risen in costs from under $3 billion dollars to over $15 billion and counting. Sy Becker gave the education film The Emperor's Club four stars. The Hampshire Mall in Hadley has the best atmosphere of the area malls yet is struggling to make it even with all the college students in that area. Ellen L. Balch, former Secretary to the Dean at the Law School at Western New England College has died at the age of 80. WNEC is closed for the Thanksgiving weekend.
TV22 has a program called Showcase which features local businesses. Today's show was about Rachel's Table and some dentist. Peter Picknelly, writing as "Chairman, Monarch Place Complex" has a letter in the paper complaining about the parking situation downtown. Jim Joyce of Monson also wrote in saying there is no excuse for all the illegal parking by government employees. Yesterday was the biggest day of the year for Tower Square (Baystate West) with the annual Balloon Parade drawing about 50,000 people. However Eamon said that Jim Landers and his wife went and said there was nowhere near that number. Inflated numbers are standard operating procedure around here, especially at places like the Quadrangle and the Basketball Hall of Fame.
I called Fred Whitney this evening and Mrs. Whitney answered. She sounded chipper and then Fred came on the line, a perfect gentleman as always. He said his wife is not in good health but her mind is still sharp. He complained that his son has left the Presbyterian Church because of their anti-gay positions and said that he still wishes John McCain had won the GOP presidential nomination over George W. Bush.
Whitney stated that he was glad that Romney was elected over "the obviously unqualified" Shannon O'Brien, even though he said that he is not that impressed with Romney overall. Whitney said it was wrong how Romney forced Gov. Jane Swift out of the race, saying he didn't like "the cheezy way they went about getting rid of her" so that Romney could get the nomination. He said Romney's running mate Kerry Healey was originally from Belmont and her husband is very wealthy. She gave over a million dollars of her own money to the campaign while Romney chipped in four million from his fortune.
Eamon called and said he had Thanksgiving at his sister's as usual. Eamon said he was chatting with the manager of the Stop&Shop in Liberty Heights and she said people come in and order shrimp and other expensive meats from the deli department and then walk around the store eating it. When finished they ditch the bag and depart.
Eamon said Gingras of Commerce told him that the other day he saw Principal Henry sitting in the cafeteria so Gingras asked if he could have a few minutes to talk with her about the things going on in the school. Henry was non-committal and then later sent a cafeteria worker over to tell him, "She doesn't want to talk with you."
Eamon said teacher W. Rice from Commerce met with Superintendent Burke for two hours recently. Rice said that the whole time Burke leaned back in his chair looking down on him with a dignified, pompous air. Rice informed Burke that Principal Ann Henry is an incompetent affirmative action hire who was only given her job by Negroni out of political correctness. Burke admitted he has received many complaints about Henry and that he was aware of some of the problems.
However he said Henry has "a lawyer on speed dial" in case she gets fired and that the Black activists would all rally around her and make it a civil rights issue. Burke asked Rice if he could suggest another minority who might replace Henry, and Rice suggested a Latino vice-principal at the school, although admitted that firing a black and replacing her with a Hispanic might heighten already existing racial tensions at Commerce between Blacks and Puerto Ricans. Rice told Burke that there is Black vs. Puerto Rican violence in the school on a daily basis, although nothing about it ever appears in the media.