June 2002

June 1, 2002

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who has faced accusations of plagiarism over her 1987 book The Fitzgerald's and the Kennedy's has resigned from the Pulitzer Prize Board. So the bright eyed and bushy tailed Doris Goodwin is now a dowdy has-been. That will not stop her new book on Lincoln from becoming a bestseller or her reputation gradually being resurrected after sufficient apologies and tears over past mistakes.

The two owners of Curran-Jones Funeral Parlor in Agawam are Joseph Curran and Timothy O'Brien. Cal's Deli and Variety is located at 576 Newbury Street in Springfield. Their motto is, "Where Everything is Made With Love." The motto of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Elementary School at 52 Rosewell Avenue in Springfield is "We Are Family."

The City Library has a fund for purchasing books that was donated by Thaddeus Martowksi in memory of his mother Elizabeth Martowski. Dr. Elinor Hartshorn has donated books to the John D. Churchill Library at Western New England College. Jim Landers needs to return a book I lent him and so does Mary Alice Stusick.

Some prominent figures at the Springfield School Department are retiring as of July 1st: Barbara Jefferson, principal at DeBerry, Brian J. McCook, labor attorney, Mary A. Mushak, principal at Balliet, Lorraine A. Plasse, director of English, Teresa A. Regina, assistant superintendent and William Thayer, grants manager.

Table Talk never responded to my complaints about their pumpkin pies. A couple of years ago I proposed to The Reminder that they start printing the honor rolls of local schools and now they do. Larry Gormally was never able to find a picture of the Acres Hotel for me. In the Acres the tattoo parlor is the only tenant in the back lot of the former hardware/pizza shop building. The Acres Burger King is covered in plywood and a real eyesore.

The Boston Road Walmart is all messed up by remodeling. The photo section used to be in its own little alcove to the right of the front door. Now they are over with the electronics in the middle of the store in a smaller space. I left four rolls of film for developing. Then I headed downtown and parked on Dwight and headed over to Edwards Books in Tower Square. I bought the book Holy Terror - Andy Warhol Close-up by Bob Colacello.

Then I drove back to Walmart to pick up my pictures of the Seuss statues dedication and I am simply delighted with them. For the first time I even got a card included with a miniature of each photo. I sat for a long time in the shoe department looking the pictures over. For four rolls I paid $38.66. Then I went to Eastfield Mall and had lunch at Gyros. About twenty kids were having a birthday party in the food court wearing pointed birthday hats. At one point someone dressed as Ronald McDonald came to entertain them. On my way home I stopped in front of Hillcrest Cemetery and took a picture of their front gate.

When I got home a note was in my mailbox from someone named Kym Studirant, a student at WNEC and captain of their football team who is starting a painting business and looking for work. Eamon called tonight and said that Springfield's politicians "are like a horse's neck, not a straight bone in them. They drive the nail that goes the easiest and would steal a dog's dinner while hiding behind a corkscrew."

June 3, 2002

Overcast and 69 degrees at 10am.

Patriot = a terrorist who works for us.
Terrorist = a patriot who works for them.

I went to bed early and then got up at 11:30pm and stayed up until 3:30am reading all the stuff people gave me at the Seuss statue dedication. Then back to bed and I got up at 7am. I put some old linoleum and a green rug from Crest Street out for the trash pickup. I hope they take it.

The paper says that Spagetti Warehouse is closing. Mother and I dined there once on a free coupon and I thought it was real nice with genuine antique furnishings. Driving down Boston Road yesterday afternoon I saw Doyle the Twig Painter, his hair very grey now, leaving his gallery and walking towards the liquor store wearing a paint-splattered sleeveless black t-shirt.

Dan Elias on TV22 said of the Seuss statues, "Kids are encouraged to climb all over them." Went to Louis & Clark and mailed out some of my Seuss dedication photos to Tom Vannah and Maureen Turner at the Valley Advocate. I also sent Andre Martin a copy of my library article. I stopped at Hillcrest Cemetery hoping to take pictures of the mausoleum window but I found a notice on the door saying "Due to recent occurrences in which the security of the Mausoleum was threatened, visiting hours are now restricted" and it listed the hours which showed it to be currently closed.

Therefore I went to McDonald's on Pasco Road and read the paper. I paused at Taylor Rental where they had pinatas for $10. I never saw pinatas for sale around here before. I was waited on by Dina Lord, a cute little thing in jean shorts and Georgia Boots she said she bought online. Then I stopped at the Sixteen Acres Big Y at 1941 Wilbraham Road and as I was walking in the automatic door a little black girl came out going through the door the wrong way with a basket of meat and cheese in it. I saw her meet a woman in the parking lot and they walked away. I told Paul the Assistant Manager what happened and that I thought the little girl was stealing for her mother. He checked the lot but they were gone. Paul said that's an old trick people try all the time, having their children shoplift for them.

I returned to the cemetery since it was supposed to be open according to their new hours. It was so I went to the office and chatted with L. Bergeron and his secretary. I told him I wanted to take pictures to make postcards and he liked that idea. He told me the carillon was put up by E.J. Pinney about 1931 but he didn't know the architect. There are 25 bells in it that came from John Tyler of England.

I called Friendly Ice Cream Corp. today and spoke with District Manager Donna Brunton about the importance of adding fruit to their breakfast menu. I said fruit is more nutritious then other things they have for breakfast like eggs, bacon, sausage, fries, toast drenched in butter - all are grease. She thanked me for calling and said the issue would be addressed.

Eamon called and said he got an invitation in the mail to the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of former Mayor Charles V. Ryan and his wife Joan, to be held at Elms College in Chicopee on June 23rd. It asks for "Your presence, not your presents."

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Eamon and I agreed that it is too bad that the paper no longer has its old-fashioned rotogravure section since it would have been wonderful for covering the Seuss dedication. Eamon recalled again how Brian King used to assemble the roto section each week on the first floor of an old house around the corner from the newspaper office. The photography darkrooms were on the second floor.

Eamon also recalled how his mother always gave $2 per week to the Catholic Church, and even when she was sick she would have a friend deliver it for her. Whenever a priest visited she would given him $5 or $10. "They liked that." he said. "They kept coming!"

Eamon says that Springfield has one of the largest police departments in the nation for a small city and one of the highest violent crime rates. Springfield has 650 cops for 150,000 people. Worcester has 173,000 people and 450 cops. He says Springfield shows that simply enlarging the police force does not reduce the crime rate.

June 5, 2002

Lovely sunny day. 57 degrees at 6:30am.

Why should the word "Internet" be capitalized?

I hate computers, they are junk. The Unabomber was right about modern technology. Mitt Romney is in danger of being kicked off the ballot for governor because his primary residence is in Utah. He says it is a bookkeeping mistake. Romney strikes me as an opportunist.

The Ring Nursing Home has been sold for $5.4 million dollars. The Annual Catholic Appeal has fallen $300,000 short of its fundraising goal. It's apparent that sexual misbehavior by priests in the Catholic Church goes back to the medieval monasteries and may have been one of the major reasons for the Reformation. Sexual misconduct is a tradition in the Catholic Church and claiming no one knew about it is nonsense. Protestants have made the problem worse by assisting in the cover up by remaining silent, they are silent even in the current controversy. The paper tells of a Father Scahill out in East Longmeadow who is telling his parishioners to write to Bishop Dupre and urge him to defrock Fr. R. Lavigne. Scahill was formerly at Lavigne's church, St. Mary's in East Springfield for fourteen years.

The 17th Annual Taste of Springfield is coming up, the oldest running taste festival in Massachusetts. WFCR reports that anti-Semitic graffiti was sprayed in Worcester. Congressman Richard Neal was evoking patriotism on the news on behalf of the Union Station renovation project, recalling how soldiers left via Union Station for the wars in Korea and Vietnam. He said, "This project has a grip on the hearts of the people of Western and Central Massachusetts." Nonsense, Central Mass has never heard of Union Station, an ugly building that has always been a dump. The paint was peeling even in the years when it was open.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank B. Wilson donated books to the Wilbraham Public Library in 1966. The Edward S. Fiske Fund provides books to the Agawam Center Library Association. Mrs. Staniski's favorite song is Count Your Blessings by Rev. Johnson Oatman. I lack a good picture of Mr. Staniski except for one taken at Ann's wedding. I recall that on one of my early Christmases I got an awful lot of presents because during World War II my parents could afford only a few and wanted to make up for it.

The Reminder has a feature this week on Marcie Williams and Peter Ablondi being honored for their work with the Wilbraham Atheneum Society. I will send them a congratulatory note and some postcards. I didn't attend the recent Atheneum Society meeting because of the road repairs, because I don't like to drive at night, because they didn't plant any hollyhocks and because they never listen to my advice.

The trashmen took the old rug and linoleum. Northern Tree Service called and said they will be coming tomorrow to trim the tree branches away from my electrical wires. I called Spirit of Springfield but Amy told me that Judy Matt "has gone to the golf tournament." Yesterday I saw a PVTA bus #1111 go through a red light heading westward on Wilbraham Road at the end of Plumtree. Dined this evening on Callender Roasted Chicken Breast. These Callender dinners are superb.

Eamon called and said he spoke with Nader the Hatter who told him that the selling off of items from his family business has been "very profitable" and he intends to buy a new car. Nader is working on a manuscript about how to make panama hats. Eamon was on the phone with Karen Powell who told him that Tom Devine sent her an email from Texas saying that a picture from the Seuss statue dedication appeared in the Houston Chronicle.

Eamon recalled how Carlo Marchetti retired with a full municipal pension even though Springfield Central was never an official city agency. Eamon said that the Springfield School System's administrators, principals and teachers just go through the motions and try to keep the lid on so that the public doesn't realize the real drop out, suspension and truancy rates and what an inferior educational product they are producing.

June 7, 2002

69 degrees at 10am and pouring out. Gas at Pride is $1.27 per gallon. Blackberries in full bloom.

Anxiety is unending - if you achieve one goal you quickly create another to be anxious about attaining.

Leela John is a customer service representative at the Sixteen Acres branch of United Cooperative Bank. Bob Paquette is the local newsman on WFCR. I have decided to donate the books in my personal library to Colby and Harvard.

I'm having yogurt for breakfast most days recently. I like raspberry and blueberry especially. Called Judy Matt at Spirit of Springfield and got Marge who said Matt was in a meeting. Called the PVTA and got Gary Shepard's secretary Tina and told her about the bus I saw running a red light the other day. She was very polite and thanked me. Spoke on the phone with Timothy Hawley and told him about the Seuss sculpture dedication ceremony.

Went down to the Quadrangle today to check out the plaque of Seuss donors to see if I'm on it. Parked on School Street at 12:55 and the rain was lightening up. The violin exhibit is still up and the Dr. Seuss ephemera collection is super. Some of the things on display I also own as part of my personal Seuss collection, such as the Lady Godiva book and some stuff from the 1930's.

The lady at the ticket desk didn't know anything about a Seuss donors plaque, and neither did the museum guard. I asked them to call Sue Davison, but she wasn't around. Finally Heather Haskell, who was coming down the stairs reported that the plaque is opposite the entrance to the rotating gallery. So up I went and inside the gallery was a really nice exhibit about the life of Seuss and a sixteen minute video about the sculptures.

The donor plaque had a nice Seuss design on it and I was pleased. However there was a conspicuous lack of big donors listed. In that sense their fund drive was a flop. Apparently the national feature in Parade Magazine didn't help very much. I was listed as the 75th highest donor out of 340. Now I understand why they weren't anxious to publish their list of donors. Considering how high I am on the list I wonder why they didn't invite me to the VIP donor's luncheon? Perhaps they didn't want the Seuss widow to be unnerved by someone in a black motorcycle jacket and orange jumpsuit. To think I almost donated $1,500 more to get my name on a bench, but I couldn't pin them down as to whether the bench would be made of wood or granite.

Before leaving I trotted over to the G.W.V. Smith museum where they are still painting the long 2nd floor gallery. Meantime the number of Samurai blades on display continue to shrink. Where are they going? People don't do what they're supposed to do in Springfield.

Ray Herschel on TV40 said that on any given day 700 students are truant from the Springfield public schools. Another story by Kathryn Shepardson had Holyoke's Chief Scott saying that "judges don't care about our community" because they won't lock up habitual offenders. The June issue of Chamber Channels is out with a raspberry masthead and Carol Leary named as the 2002 Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year. They make her sound like Miss Integrity.

Eamon called and said he went to see Dr. Frank who told him he is healing fine. Eamon talked a little about his girlfriends, saying that you can't be overly nice to women or they'll think you're a sucker and will see how far you'll go. He said he's nice but not too nice, and if they become too demanding after sex he bails out of the relationship. Sort of like Father's advice of "find 'em, fuck 'em and forget 'em" which I never did.

Eamon says he doesn't see how any corporate executive or relocation company consultant would choose Springfield over Boston. He complained that his career in education was held back because he's a whistleblower and "whistleblowers always get screwed. They isolate you. They don't invite you to meetings. They refuse to promote you."

Eamon spoke to Art Gingras today who told him that some new computers were stolen from Commerce recently and suspicion is focusing on the cops assigned to the school! Computers and cameras were also stolen from SciTech and one of the suspects is a police sergeant with an electronics business on the side. District Attorney Bennett has been informed but he never does anything about crime related to local government.

June 8, 2002

Beautiful at dawn, 56 degrees at 6:40am.

Everyone should take a course in drawing.

Paula M. Colby-Clemente is Director of Admissions at the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover. Fujicolor Processing is in New Britain, Connecticut and Alan McGlory is the Operations Manager. The Friendly Ice Cream Corporation is at 1855 Boston Road in Wilbraham. On the southwest corner of Frank Street, sort of opposite the Sixteen Acres library, a house is going into what was a vacant lot. The other day I counted eleven motorcycles parked in front of Thirty-Something on Boston Road.

Went to Camp Norwich today, 25 minutes from Northampton on Route 66, and it is an awful mess. Back on May 7th I received an invitation to a Camp Norwich Work Day on May 18th. There were also notices posted around Springfield College. However on the 18th the weather was ghastly with a steady rain in Springfield and snow up Huntington/Norwich way. So I was told it was rescheduled for today, which was one of those fabled perfect days of June.

Going down State Street I noticed that the Friendly's in the Square has been quickly demolished to make way for an Auto Zone. Too bad, that Friendly's was an important posting place. I saw the blind man and his little old lady mother standing at the bus stop by the Oxford/Masonic Temple on State. In West Springfield their taste festival was quite lively on the common. A sign in front of the historic Day House said they are having a Strawberry Festival and Open House on June 15th. I rode into Westfield behind a sporty little red Jaguar convertible driven by an elderly man.

In Huntington there were flags hanging from the telephone poles. Arrived at Camp Norwich about 8:15 but the place was dead and a bar gate was across the entrance. So I stood around taking photographs after parking my car opposite the entrance. Then I just stepped over the gate, which was only designed to block cars, and walked in. The road into the camp was not bad, although there were serious ruts. It could use a good grading. I could hear the babbling of the Norwich Brook. I continued down an incline until at last it opened at the side of the dining hall.

When I was there Moses Hall had been the dining hall. It had a little apartment for Norm and Mrs. Waldron. Norm Waldron was an oldtimer who did things the old fashioned way. He made a lot of enemies for bawling people out and got demoted to operations manager. Mrs. Waldron, a meek lady to go with her surly husband, made floral design draperies for each and every window. I got my job at the camp through Leslie Johnson of Wesley Church. I had no athletic ability but the camp could still benefit from an egghead so I taught handicrafts and nature lore.

We did projects like aluminum ash trays, popsicle stick baskets, woven pot holders and plaster of paris figurines. Also in the camp Olympics my kids did rather well, they said because of the way I coached them. I was only four years short at that point of starting college teaching. I remember the camp encouraged teamwork and I detest teamwork. Great things are generally the result of a single great mind that impels their vision into reality. I have no use for teamwork.

Chuck Hansen was a gentleman jock with brains who was a superb camp director. Don Kinderfater, the director of the waterfront, was finishing up his doctorate at Springfield College. His wife was up in the Quonset hut breast feeding their baby and he invited us in once to see it. He ran a safe, no monkey business waterfront but not by screaming at people. Kinderfater and I had shared responsibilities, one of which was raising and lowering the flag each day. Another was telling a story at supper. Once I took one of Chaucer's Tales and made it into a cowboy story which went over very well. Kinderfater came over later and congratulated me, remarking that he recognized my story as based on Chaucer's Tenth Tale. I was amazed because you don't expect a jock to remember much of Shakespeare, not to mention Chaucer.

I have a 1905 promotional card that shows the camp as an open field but now it is all overgrown. Branches are on the ground along with soda cans, the forest floor should have nothing on it be needles and cones. The old paths are overgrown. Horace Moses! God Bless Him! He always had money to help out good causes, an exemplary Methodist in the spirit of John Wesley, and it was right to name one of the buildings after him.

Today the Hall is quite beat up and the medic is in where the Waldron's were. All the buildings are now brown. Forest green was the color when I was there and the dining hall was natural wood finish. Who decided to paint everything brown? A funeral director? There is a little building that used to be a library and the waterfront office, brightly lit and cheerful inside, but now it is boarded up. I didn't go to the Point where the Pioneers camped. In one cabin down in the woods toward the pond a light was burning, but mostly things were boarded up and plastered with No Trespassing signs. The latrine looks the same as does the Ranger unit. The Quonset house now has plywood over the windows from the inside and the windows have all been shattered from the outside!

I finally concluded that no one besides me was going to show up and started walking back to the car. Before I left I went down to Norwich Pond and took a panorama of shots of the far shore. The water was nice and clear. On the way home I stopped and bought a danish at the General Store by the state police barracks. Passing through the center of Westfield again I noticed that the storefront of the Union-News/Sunday Republican office is all boarded up. In downtown Springfield they have colorful new banners on the light poles. Once I got home I stayed in and spent the rest of the day reading. Then I went to bed early, as it felt like a long day.

June 11, 2002

61 degrees and overcast at 6am. Red clover in full bloom.

Our foreign policy is flawed and too anti-Arab. If there is a war with the Arabs, then sorry....if it's America for the Americans than Arabia for the Arabs!

Atty. F. Lee Bailey is 69. John Gotti has died in prison. John Cobb Sphrit became a Mason in West Springfield in 1972. Our neighbor Nicole Abernathy was accepted into the Bridgewater State College Hall of Black Achievers in 1993. Howard E. Brent lived behind us at 37 Crest Street, but we had little communication with him as my parents were not the gregarious sort. Lily Ernst was a violin player in my childhood. Was she any relation to the great violinist Heinrich William Ernst?

Brattleboro, Vermont has an annual Parade of Cows with a Dairy Godmother. Fewer students than expected are enrolling in UMass this year. Toll increases have been announced on the turnpike to pay for the Big Dig, making it the most expensive road in the Northeast. William J. Metzger Jr. of Wilbraham has been appointed to the legislative staff of State Rep. Gale Candaras. Candaras is married to WNEC Professor Arthur Wolfe and there is a professor named Metzger who also teaches at WNEC. Cronyism?

Tufts Health Plan has an annoying new television ad. On the TV news they said in connection with a new Vietnam Memorial in Worcester that 1536 Massachusetts men and one woman were killed in Vietnam with 44 still listed as missing in action. Also on the news was the dedication of the new control tower at Westover. The ribbon cutting was performed by Congressman Richard Neal who said this shows how important the base is. I say it also makes us more of a target for incoming missles!

A busload of seniors from Western Mass are going to Boston to protest the price of prescription drugs. Bishop Dupre will arrive tomorrow at the 2002 Council of Trent convening in Dallas. TV40 news reports that Father Scahill told his local congregation that "church officials must get honest" about the sex scandals. Since Scahill is standing up to the Catholic Church that makes him a Protestant! After all, Martin Luther was a Roman Catholic even as John Wesley was an Anglican.

Kelly left her backyard party lights on all night. I went to a tag sale at the home of David Galanis at 1177 Bradley Road where I bought a wooden piano jewel box made in 1936 that I will give to Ann Staniski. There are now four new homes going in on Lemnos Lane in that cul de sac opposite 16 Acres Gardens. Prices start at $170,000 with construction by Campagnari and Moltenbrey Builders. Went to Food Mart but their specials were unexciting. Stopped at Mrs. Staniski's with the jewel box for Ann but she wasn't there.

Then to the Pine Point Library and got The History of the American Library Association 1876-1972. I was surprised to see that the book was checked out only once before, in September of 1979. Apparently not even the librarians cared to read it. Leaving I found two orange electric meter seals in the middle of the library parking lot. Swung by Fleet where I was waited on by Sheila. Former District Attorney Matty Ryan was coming in as I was leaving. I said hello and we shook hands although he didn't seem to recognize who I was.

Got a wrong number from someone looking for the Storrowton Tavern; I hung up in his ear. Called Nader the Hatter at his brother in law's and discussed his hat making manuscript with him. I told him to avoid passive voice constructions and a telegraphic style. I wrote Father's boss at Monarch Bruce Yarber a letter thanking him for his kindness to our family, calling him a fine gentleman and included some postcards. Someone from Harvard called asking for donations and I told him that the fruits of my labors as an independent scholar are my donations both to Harvard and to the world.

June 14, 2002

68 degrees at 8:59am. Rained briefly at 9:17am.

Given the politics of the Quadrangle I am afraid to donate this diary to them as I fear that most if not all of it would end up in their paper shredder.

TV's Martha Stewart is in some kind of mess regarding insider trading. Richard B. Collins is the President and Chief Executive Officer at United Cooperative Bank. Robert E. Gard (1910-1992) was the professor I sued and got a judgement against at the University of Wisconsin. Greenfield has voted to change from being a town into a city.

Russ Peotter and Roy Scott were on WFCR this morning begging for contributions. If you make a donation they'll give you a one year subscription to Newsweek. The Pynchon Awards were announced today and went to people I've never heard of. Meanwhile the city's true heroes continue to be ignored.

The mail brought my Bank of Boston check and a discount card from Jiffy Lube #177 at 1130 Boston Road. When I went out I noticed that my tire was almost flat so I called Welker's Sixteen Acres Mobil Service at 1830 Wilbraham Road and they said they had time to look at it. I stopped by and they fixed the leak. While I was waiting I bought a slice of Michael's Gourmet Plain Pound Cake which is baked in Chicopee. It was thick and good but overpriced.

Went downtown to drop off my Camp Norwich photos for Stephen Clay with Kim. Stopped at the Chamber of Commerce and Beralla came in, chubby as ever, and cheerfully said, "Hello, Attorney Miller." I was wearing my orange jumpsuit with logger's boots and spiked collar. Strolled over to the Taste of Springfield where I ran into Bruce Johnson on Court Square. He said he's not doing his tag sale this year as it is too much work. I also ran into Raymond Berry who gave me a big smile and said hi. Other than Berry and Johnson I didn't see anyone I knew. A silver Mercedes was parked in front of Ravosa's.

First Church was selling strawberry shortcake and I bought some although the portion size was only adequate. I also bought an apple square from Gus & Paul's which was quite large although I wished I had a glass of milk to go with it. The best deal at the whole Taste was the Philly Cheese Steak grinder with peppers and onions from Carmella's. There were no freebies or coupons being given away by anyone except Peter Pan buslines, who were giving away balloons. In all it was a routine event with no special activities.

Coming home I saw that in the old Pederzoli/Dickinson's Market row of stores there is now a hair place called Ethics. There was a little carnival set up in front of what used to be Spag's. When I got home I tightened the bolts on the kitchen table. I also found a couple of tablecloth covers in a drawer, the one on the table has been there since before Mother got ill so I dumped the old and put on the new. Punderson Oil called and they'll be coming over on Friday to deliver heating oil at $1.08 per gallon.

On TV22 news tonight Drew Bailey was shown going up to Father R. Lavigne's house in Chicopee and knocking on the door. Soon three police cars arrived and told the reporter to get away from Lavigne's house as he had called and complained that the media was trespassing on his property. Eamon called and said his back is getting better and his sister is looking after him. He said he is going out of town at the end of the month and won't be able to attend Charlie and Joan Ryan's anniversary party.

Eamon says it was widely known around Hungry Hill that Father Lavigne was abusing boys and Eamon said that he once said something about it to Matty Ryan who replied, "Well you know you can't prosecute a Catholic priest." Eamon said he called Bill Zajac at the paper and they had a good chat. Zajac told him he used to park by Lavigne's house and watch it for hours at a time but never saw any suspicious activity. Zajac said he has also interviewed Matty Ryan but he only makes ass-covering comments. Eamon and I both agreed that Bishop Marshall was a good guy but Bishops Maguire and Dupre are a different matter.

Eamon said he spoke recently with with his old friend Deputy Chief Spellacy, who told him that his brother is about to retire from the State Police. Spellacy's brother is good friends with FBI agent Cliff Hedges. Spellacy also told Eamon that "Soco Catjakis has been getting away with stuff for years" but when Eamon pressed him for specifics Spellacy grunted, "I can't comment."

June 16, 2002

59 degrees and heavily overcast at 11:15. Gas is $1.27 at Pride, which is lower than anybody else.

There's a big story in the paper today about the new Dr. Seuss statues at the Quadrangle being vandalized! Welders will have to be brought in from Pennsylvania to repair them. The flower is gone from the mouth of the moose and other critters were nicked and scratched. The paper said 10,000 people have visited the sculptures so far. A picture showed yellow Do Not Cross tape around the area of the sculptures. Joe Carvalho is quoted as saying he can't believe anyone would do such a thing, but people like Carvalho are in denial about how overrun by barbarians Springfield has become.

Mrs. Staniski's last gift to her best friend my Mother was a lovely butterfly light catcher we put in the picture window. I came across my old Longfellow Birthday Book that was originally given to Mother by Mrs. Guy Wilson. Mother then gave it to me and I had my childhood friends write in it. I should resume circulating it among my current friends.

Arthur Anderson was found guilty of Obstruction of Justice. Hooray! Katherine Fletcher of Longmeadow has graduated from Western New England College School of Law. The motto of the YMCA of Greater Springfield is "We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities." Stephen Clay responded to the material I sent him about my recent visit to Camp Norwich without saying thank you. There was perhaps much in my critique of the current degraded state of Camp Norwich he might not have liked. All I said was factual and with details, but people often don't like facts.

I frankly informed Clay that Camp Norwich is a mess, that I hate teamwork and then told him about the time we councilors revolted against Ernie Bates. I complained about their failure to keep their clean-up date appointments and how removing Lincoln Hall was a mistake. I also made fun of all their No Trespassing signs.

I went to Louis & Clark today but they had no out of town papers so I had to go to Shell to buy the New York Times. Coming out of Louis & Clark I ran into Gary Plant, the husband of my childhood friend Mary Alice Stusick. He was wearing a pull-on winter cap. Plant said Mary Alice has been sick with "a galloping tumor" in her ovaries that had to be removed and required two weeks of hospitalization. He said she nearly died but is now recovering nicely and won't need chemotherapy.

Then I drove out to Fancy That where Kevin Thomas Cochran told me that Kathryn Pohner-Cochran's mother, who is 96, had a stroke and no longer recognizes anyone. I bought a vase and told him to come by and see my collections anytime, just call in advance. I swung by Burger King and dined using a 99 cents off coupon and read the Springfield paper. When I got home I watched Antique Roadshow which was followed by a documentary about Colt. Why have I never heard these things about Hartford before?

Nader the Hatter says he won't be going back to Florida until another two weeks. Eamon called and said he received a certificate of appreciation from David Keene, National Chairman of the American Conservative Union, for his financial contributions. Eamon recalled how back when he ran for City Council a couple of men from Mass Mutual came over and offered him an envelope of cash right there in his living room, which he refused.

Eamon said Mass Mutual still has two PR people responsible for keeping politicians happy, one for local offices, one for higher up. Charlie Kingston, who is close to Albano, used to pick up envelopes of cash from Mass Mutual for political purposes that were always unmarked. Eamon said that his friend Chief Spellacy ran into Mayor Albano recently and Eamon's name came up. Of course Albano doesn't like Eamon but Spellacy defended him saying that Eamon is a good source of political information. Albano surprisingly agreed with Spellacy saying, "You can depend on him. He's reliable."

June 17, 2002

Bunker Hill Day. Sunny and 63 degrees at 11:30am.

In life you let things slide and never tidy up and then you slip on a banana peel and things never get finished and are sent away to the dump. Next customer!

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. In Boston the Cardinal's Appeal fundraising drive is lagging and there will be a 40% cut in the programs they are funding. Sunday collections are down as well. WFCR is offering a two and a half inch Josh Simpson glass planet with a gift of $360.

As a child I delivered the now defunct Springfield Shopping News. Today I came across maternal grandmother Blanche Simpson Gleason Wilson's Bible, a small Oxford leather New Testament. Inside I found a clipping of a poem "The Blue" by Floyd D. Raze. I also found some of my childhood books: A 1946 edition of Winnie the Pooh, Three Prayers for Children (1947) with pictures by Pelagie Doane and A Child's Book of Hymns (1945). The pictures are beautiful. I also found A Child's Book About Jesus in perfect condition and inscribed, "To Cappy from Grandma Southworth and Aunt Francis, Christmas 1944." That would be Mrs. Frank B. Southworth.

Eamon called and complained that Orr Cadillac charges awful prices to fix things. He said the mechanics alone charge $45 per hour. I called Spirit of Springfield at 10:14am and got Sarah who told me Judy Matt is in the middle of a meeting. I continue to make good faith calls to Matt as a reminder to return my photos but so far they have yielded nothing. I found out that Judy Matt is in room 220 at 1200 Main Street.

I went downtown and parked on Eliot Street by the Bishop's house under a shade tree. I walked over to the Quadrangle and talked with the security guard. I asked him what had been broken on the statues and he said the flower on the moose, the antlers off the critter by Seuss' chair and minor damage to the Cat in the Hat. From there I walked down to the courthouse and filed some papers with Beth. I told her that I am a lawyer specializing in antiquarian legal research and I do not normally practice law. Outside on Main Street the Christian Science Reading Room had a closed sign on the door. Overall downtown is dead.

Then I walked back to the car and drove over to Agawam. Gardeners were doing the lawn at the Hall of Fame and it looks like the new Pizzeria Uno is open. At Aunt Maria's the light is still on with a red van parked next door. Then I went down to the cemetery to get the exact dates of Uncle George: George A. Giroux December 13, 1905 - August 23, 1966. Next I went down to Atty. Ray Gendron's office which is in a nice brick ranch house with the breezeway as the waiting room and left some papers with his secretary.

On the way home I ran into a mess of traffic on State and Wilbraham Road. The Dunbar Community Center is all finished. Then over to Stop & Shop where their avocados were really rotten, they should be ashamed to put out such garbage. I bought some sardines, lemon drops (Mother loved lemon drops), Viva towels, sour cream and frozen veggies.

Clyde W. Young was the President of Monarch Life Insurance Company in 1948. Father got a certificate of Fellowship in Home Office Life Management in 1948. I wonder if Monarch dished out payments to politicians like Mass Mutual? Wouldn't it be interesting if they didn't?

June 18, 2002

I don't make mistakes intentionally in this diary, but I don't mind when I do make them because they will provide work for this diary's future editors.

Disgraced Mount Holyoke College Professor Joseph Ellis is still appearing in a History Channel documentary despite the scandal over his phony Vietnam War record. My parents first purchased land in Wilbraham in 1935. A picture in the paper shows Fran Gagnon with her father (who died in 1988) in 1945 when she was just two years old.

Today my neighbor Jozephczyk returned my book on how to outsmart squirrels. Nader the Hatter came by to go to lunch around one o'clock. He showed me his hat making manuscript and it is much improved. Nader said that his relative LaRose, who wants to be a writer, laughed at Nader for spending an hour editing a single paragraph. We discussed hats and I told Nader that in the end it's not what's on the head that matters but what's in the head. Then we left to have lunch at the new Pizzeria Uno by the Basketball Hall of Fame.

There were a lot of cars in the parking lot and we got a booth with a window facing Columbus Avenue. Our waiter's name was Pete and I asked for some of their complementary peanuts. Pete told me that they now want a dollar donation for peanuts with the profits going to charity. I asked to see the manager, a chubby man who was not Hurwitz, and told him about how the peanuts are always free at the Uno by Eastfield Mall and that I have always considered free peanuts to be a regular part of my Uno experience. I also said that free munchies go with expensive drinks and always have. He gave me some for free.

Nader and I both had personal pizza specials. The salad that came with it had plenty of lettuce but just a tiny wedge of tomato, a single slice of cucumber and four toast croissants. The pizza seemed skimpy. We also ordered two pina coladas, one non-alcoholic for me and one with vodka for the Hatter. It was simply delicious! I walked around the restaurant a little and saw that out back there is a lovely patio with a music shell of brick and metal. I bet on certain nights this place swings!

Peter the waiter told us that this is the largest Pizzeria Uno in the chain, to which I said, " This Pizzeria Uno is numbero uno!" He laughed. There is historical memorabilia on the walls, but it is disappointing and boring. Ruby Tueday's did an absolutely superb job of assembling the memorabilia and Spaghetti Warehouse also had a suberb assortment of memorabilia. In all I would describe the new Uno as lackluster and second rate. When we left I paid with a $100 bill, giving Pete a five dollar tip on a $19.91 bill. He wrote on our receipt, "Thanks guys!"

Before we left I went to the restroom which is new and state of the art. No doubt this new Uno will be a money machine but it is not really a quality dining place for those who are into ambiance, though the multitudes are coarse and won't sense these things. I will continue to prefer the Uno on Boston Road, unless they too start charging for peanuts, in which case I will quit them forever in favor of Ruby Tuesday's, which has a better salad bar anyway.

From the Uno we drove over to the Quad so the Hatter could see the Seuss sculptures. As we arrived Guy McLain happened to come walking by and paused to talk with Nader about obtaining some memorabilia from Nader's family hat business for their upcoming exhibit about Springfield in the 1920's to be called Factories and Flappers. I asked McLain whether David Starr or his flunky Fran Gagnon would be involved with the exhibit and he said no.

After McLain left we chatted with Security Guard #4. He told us that the hands for the statue of Dr. Seuss had been cast while he was still alive so the veins and everything is just like in real life. He said they just installed security cameras with infrared capability and they already apprehended some kids from the towers across the street trying to sneak in with spray cans of paint. The guard said that because the Seuss Memorial is a National/Federal park vandalism is a federal offense.

We discussed the cost of the statues and the guard said the Quad is trying to get Peter Picknelly as one of their sponsors and while he hasn't yet given anything they expect he will "come onboard" eventually. Nader wondered whether Dr. Seuss had any cats and I said that it is obvious from his work that Dr. Seuss loved cats. The guard then showed us how a puddle has formed on the ground beneath the elephant and said they have had to drill holes in the ground in several places to drain water away. While the Hatter and I were coming home through Mason Square we saw A.I.C. President Harry J. Courniotes pulling out of his private parking spot onto Wilbraham Road in his big red Cadillac.

There is a little article in the Union-News today saying that former local talk show host Dan Yorke won't have to pay damages to 15 Springfield school teachers who sued him for slander over his attacks on their union. Superior Court Judge Peter A. Velis said that Yorke's comments, made in 1996 on WHYN radio and TV40 in which he referred to the teachers as "neo-Nazis" and "blockheads" were merely "expressions of opinion and not actionable as slander."

It is outrageous how that case lingered since 1996 since it is obvious that the sole intent of the lawsuit was to intimidate Yorke and discourage him from criticizing the public schools. The Springfield Newspapers should have been all over that lawsuit on 1st Amendment grounds but did nothing to crusade on Yorke's behalf. Yorke now works at WPRO-AM in Providence, Rhode Island. Is it any wonder that all the best media talent leaves Springfield?

June 19, 2002

Today is Juneteenth. 84 degrees at 2:48pm according to the digital sign on Peter Picknelly's Sheraton Hotel.

There is a chipmunk living in the stump out front. There is a Cal Thomas column in the paper called "Sexual Sins More Cultural Than Personal." Thomas said that there is a lurking sexual scandal in the Protestant Churches and cites a 1993 book Moral Formation for Church Leaders by Joseph E. Trull.

Herbert P. Almgren was Chairman of the Board of Baystate Medical Center on Chestnut Street in 1979. There used to be a wonderful photo shop called Valley Cinema opposite A.I.C. at 958 State Street back when I was young. We used to do all our photo stuff there and our barber Mr. VanValkenberg was not far up the street. Paul Picknelly runs Monarch Enterprises for his dad, which includes Monarch Place, Harrison Place and property on Taylor Street. The Pioneer Valley Optimist no longer exists, V-Mag has also disappeared. These wonderful periodicals spring up, bloom and then die.

It was such a beautiful day I decided to call and invite Mrs. Staniski and see if she wanted to go to the new Pizzeria Uno and then see the Seuss statues, just like I did with Nader the Hatter yesterday. She said her daughter Carol said she would take her sometime but they hadn't set a date so she would be glad to come. She said when she spoke with Carol her 19 year old grandson was still in bed although it was 10am. When I left to get her I dropped off a large bag of magazines at the Cohn's with their housekeeper who was cleaning the kitchen. Leaving I saw that the Penniman's, he in his wheelchair, were sitting in their garage and I chatted with them a bit. I picked Mrs. Staniski up at 1:30, and when we got there she was impressed to see how the new Hall of Fame is coming along. She said it reminded her of something from the 1939 World's Fair.

The Uno's parking lot was almost full and there were five people in line ahead of us waiting to be seated. The hostess said there would be a ten minute wait but it was less than that. By luck I got exactly the same booth as yesterday. I hoped to get the same waiter Peter but no such luck. Mrs. Staniski said she didn't want to eat much and ended up ordering the American Apple Crisp with ice cream. I ordered the same plus my customary personal pizza. Our waitress said the place was so crowded because a group of 25 teachers had unexpectedly come in after work.

Alas our silverware was badly spotted from the dishwasher so I told the waitress when she came back with our water and she promised to replace them. I told her I don't have this problem when I go to Burger King! The manager Jeannette came over and apologized profusely. After she left Mrs. Staniski praised me for telling it like it is but doing so politely. Mrs. Staniski ate nearly all of her apple crisp and loved it and she also tried one slice of my pizza and said it was very good. We walked around and she especially liked the Chicago mural in the other wing.

Then we left and I drove her up to the Quadrangle to see the Seuss sculptures. On the way she told me about how after graduating from business school in Boston her first job in Springfield was for a fine black gentleman Mr. Scott who ran a laundry on State Street called Scott's Parisian Laundry. She was hired as the bookkeeper. Moreover her mother Anne Richter worked as a seamstress for Mr. Scott. She also said her daughter Ann will be taking her up to Maine this weekend. At the Quad Mrs. Staniski had her camera and took some pictures including one of me. She thinks the statues are really nice. We left at 3:25 and I'm sure she'll be sending me one of her thank you notes in the mail in a couple of days.

When I got back I called Judy Matt at 733-3800 to once again request the return of the negatives I generously loaned her. Amy answered the phone again and said she'd give Judy my message. But Matt did not call back. Eamon called and described the Springfield Police Department as "a personnel mismanagement basketcase." He also recalled how for a brief time he was a health inspector under Mayor Thomas O'Connor before he got transferred to Civil Defense. He said there was a bakery that left the dough out overnight and a mouse sunk in it and suffocated so that a lady found the mouse in her brownie. Another time they caught a fish market staining their stale fish with dye to make it look fresh.

June 20, 2002

Last day of Spring. Sunny, 71 degrees at 10:13am. Gas is $1.32 at the Pond.

This has been the fifth straight week of losses on Wall Street. WFCR says it takes $1,000 a day to bring All Things Considered and Morning Edition to listeners. C.J. Peterson is the new Director of the local Better Business Bureau. Perhaps I'll bring to him my longstanding complaint against the Half Moon Bookshop in Northampton which sold me a book the Boston Athenaeum says they never discarded.

The mail brought a note from John Rixon postmarked May 29th! The Campus Legal Monthly for June came with the lead story "Consequences of Faculty Plagiarism." Mrs. Staniski sent me a thank you note that said, "You have done more for me than all of my grandsons combined. If only there was a way to adequately express my gratitude." I'm glad to be able to provide her with some bright moments in her final days. The other day I spoke to Ginger Grey the Customer Service Manager at Stop & Shop and suggested they upgrade the toilets in their new superstore and cited Food Mart. Food Mart at Five Town Mall takes the grand prize for best Men's Room. Sensor toilet, sensor latrine, sensor faucet, paper towels, hand blower and a push out door. A+!

Boston Road is being prepared for repavement in the Parkway/Home Depot/dry bridge area out beyond the post office. Went to breakfast at Wendy's on Boston Road which doesn't open until 10:30 and didn't open on time. Finally a handicapped van arrived and dropped off the retarded lady who wipes off the tables too conscientiously. Then they opened the door to let me plus three other waiting customers inside.

After leaving Wendy's I decided to pop in at the Pizzeria Uno by Eastfield Mall. At the Parker Street intersection a sexy red Grand AM with two white woman inside threw a cigarette out the window. I honked my horn and one of the women looked back at me and frowned. At the Uno I asked the fellow at the bar whether they are charging for peanuts now and he said they do not. I saw the manager and told him they were charging for peanuts at the Uno by the Hall of Fame and he said his restaurant "will never charge for peanuts." I know Ruby Tuesday does not provide munchies at the bar or elsewhere but they give away so much at their salad bar that I forgive them.

I went across to the Eastfield Mall where they are tiling over the wishing well outside Filene's (formerly Steiger's) where they had the poinsettia tree for years and collected money for the Shriner's. The Ninety-Nine restaurant at Eastfield gives away popcorn while Donovan's Irish Pub on the Food Court provides an assortment of munchies. Smokey Bones on Boston Road does not serve anything with drinks but they have great cable TV. Country Inn Tavern and Grill in Pine Point is newly renovated with mixed munchies at the bar, flickering candles on the tables and supper specials starting at only thirteen dollars.

I wanted to buy a rug to fit my bedroom and knew what I wanted. Unfortunately all I could find were dark, dismal and ugly mock oriental styles in Penney's and Filene's. Fortunately I found what I was looking for in Sears (whose carpeting section has been downgraded to a small slot next to the mattresses just inside the back door by the hardware stuff) for only $54. I especially liked one that was of a lovely ivory with pretty flowers on it, but it would get dirty easily and I hope to expire without ever getting into professional carpet cleaning.

Next I headed downtown to the Quadrangle and parked in the back lot. At the Museum of Fine Art I was surprised to learn that they allow picture taking there, as most museums do not. I took a picture of the Seuss donor list and noted that Hurwitz was not on it but the Ruggles girls were. Major donors included Mrs. Audrey Geisel, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Springfield. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Carvalho are there, and the Hasbro Charitable Trust. And of course Floppy, Ambrose and Dumbo Miller.

When I got home I called Tom Scott the manager at the Feeding Hills Stop & Shop and told him about the rotten pears and avocados they had for sale the other day. He apologized and said he would send me a $5 gift card. Chatted only briefly with Eamon today. Eamon said he loves Maureen Turner's latest article in the Valley Advocate about how the Civic Center in Boston is having a hard time getting customers. So what chance does the expanded Springfield Civic Center have to succeed? Eamon also recalled that Francis Keough's cousin Attorney Roy Anderson was acquitted of tax evasion at the same time Charlie Kingston was convicted.

Eamon's latest message says. "With an absentee ladies auxiliary public relations Chief of Police and a District Attorney drug czar giving the green light to organized crime and political corruption, it's too bad there are not more local whistleblowers to co-operate with state and federal investigators."

June 22, 2002

A gentle rain. 83 degrees at 3:55pm.

Linda Yarber is a paraprofessional at Putnam High. The Wilbraham Atheneum Society will have an Open House on July 7th. I called Judith Matt today about my pictures and got Amy who said, "I gave her the message." I said that Judy should contact me soon or I will have to deem her discourteous. "I will put your message on her desk," Amy said and I thanked her and told her to have a good day.

Eamon called and said he had some repairs made at Orr Cadillac but fortunately they were all covered by his warranty. Eamon said he spoke with an FBI agent who wanted to know everything Eamon could tell him about the Asselins. The agent told Eamon that the Asselins own a house on Cape Cod worth several million dollars which was completely renovated by contractors who work for the Springfield Housing Authority. There is an inner circle of contractors who pay a 10% kickback to the Asselins to insure they get the work and no one who is not part of this inner circle has any chance to get the contracts.

In addition SHA taxpayer money is known to have been illegally spent on Chris Asselin's political campaigns. The FBI agent also told Eamon that the corruption investigation "is going very well" and described the Asselin family as "scam artists" and said that Papa Ray Asselin is "a no good bastard." The FBI agent also listened with interest to Eamon's stories about Charles Kingston and his role in the Mass Mutual payoffs to local politicians, but said that regrettably the statute of limitations has long since expired on those incidents.

Today I went to the Spaghetti Warehouse going out of business auction at 60 Congress Street, downtown off 91 and Liberty Street. I wonder if the whole chain is in trouble or is this failure unique to Springfield? To the auction I wore my orange jumpsuit, logger boots and my spiked collar. Driving into the city there was a dead raccoon in the middle of Wilbraham Road opposite Reed's Landing. A crew of men were raking and picking up around the long abandoned so-called professional building across from Duggan.

When I arrived Springfield police cruiser #28 was parked out front and the cop inside greeted me as "Mr. Miller" and said he liked my costume. Inside I was assigned the bidding number 132. There was a good crowd that was mostly male and white. Examining the merchandise up close I could see that much of it were not originals but reproductions made in the 1960's and '70's. Of the real antiques some of it was junky and damaged by use, with very little offered that would be taken seriously by a professional antique dealer. For a restaurant they made a good attempt at acquiring memorabilia but seldom got museum quality stuff.

They had some really nice postcards of the event which instantly became worth two dollars apiece when the the auction ended so I picked up several. The kitchen is big with stainless steel furnishings and a pool of grease on the floor. The dining room still had the trolley car in the middle (which Mother and I once sat in) and with the old fashioned furniture and antique signs it was once really special. I considered buying the "Dewey, Cheatam and Howe, Attorneys at Law" sign but ultimately declined. It was educational to see what some of the things sold for.

They had a Singer sewing machine for sale which reminded me of the year I was a truck driver's helper with Roger Lewis for Forbes & Wallace and the time we dumped about twenty used Singer machines at the Expo grounds that couldn't be resold. Now they would be quite valuable. They had an old press for sale, a piece of junk that someone bought for $50. They also had an old bubblegum machine that was only worth about $200 but that some fool bought for $800. An old ironside stove sold for $500 which was a fair price. A genuine 7UP sign from the '60's went for $200.

Food was being sold at the event by Poppies's Concessions "Since 1968." French Fries were $3 which is too much and too fattening. I looked around and didn't see much I wanted. In the end I bought a tin Ambrosia Chocolate and Cocoa sign for $10 and a genuine local history item consisting of a Fisk sign featuring their icon of the tire pajamaboy and candles. Eamon's father was a foreman at Fisk for 37 years. I saw a round Miller High Life sign and I loved it. A fat woman in a white top was also interested in the Miller sign and I told her that I wanted it because my name is Miller. She very pleasantly withdrew her intention to bid on it and asked me if I thought it was a reproduction. I said probably so but even a copy has value and besides it is always wise to buy what you want if you really like it. She agreed.

I'm surprised I didn't see Hurwitz there, he should have bought some things for his places. At one point I spotted standing back by the trolley none other than Peter Picknelly chatting with Vincent Robillard of Cat's Paw. Picknelly appeared to be interested in a gothic chandelier. When Picknelly walked away I approached Robillard and asked him what the Miller High Life sign was worth. He said it was a reproduction and wasn't worth more than $2 although bidding started at $25. I thanked him and then asked what he had been talking to Picknelly about. He said Picknelly was asking him the value of things and showed eccentric taste in what he was interested in. I said I thought Picknelly has always shown good taste, although I agreed that sometimes money without taste can produce disappointing results. Vince also said Picknelly told him he intends to put a casino referendum on the ballot again in 2004.

Overall the auction was well organized. I wonder if one of the reasons Spaghetti Warehouse failed is because they had no room for entertainment. A night club needs to have entertainment to liven things up. Robillard told me he thought the place was badly managed. In any case Spaghetti Warehouse had the best memorabilia collection of any restaurant in the city. They talk about Springfield coming back, but this is an example of another fine building becoming empty. Springfield has lost something major once again.

June 24, 2002

71 degrees at 9:30am. Tiger Lilies coming out.

Advice columnist Ann Landers has died at 83. Barbara M. Adams is Governor of The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Maine. Doris Mittasch is Assistant to the President of Old Sturbridge Village. The Richard Salter Storrs Library is located in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

The Cat's Paw Antiques Shop run by my friends the Robillards was robbed yesterday just hours after I saw Vince Robillard talking with Peter Picknelly at the the Spaghetti Warehouse auction! According to the paper: "Two men robbed Cat's Paw's Antiques at 45 Parker Street in the Indian Orchard section yesterday afternoon, police said. Police received a call at 2:05pm that the clerk had been held up by two men who handcuffed but did not injure him. One of the robbers brandished a silver pistol, police said." They stole a lot of coins (probably out of the safe) worth about $5,000. I phoned Cat's Paw and left a message saying what fine people I think they are and urged them to keep their chins up.

Walter Andrews appears to have closed up his Clock Mill next to the Forest Park Post Office at 389 Belmont Avenue. A piece of mail from BJ's Wholesale Club for Carol A. Dana of 22 Jeffrey Road was misdelivered to me today. I will take it over there. Tucker Carlson has an outrageous column in the June Reader's Digest on academic dishonesty entitled, Reading, Cheating and 'Rithmatic. I never cheated and my academic record shows it!

As I went to the car this morning there was a grey helicopter overhead going towards Westover. Drove out at 10:15 to the McDonald's on Allen Street. First I left off a plumbing magazine with a very gracious Mrs. Cressotti who invited me in but I declined. McDonald's no longer has bargain Egg McMuffins so I had hotcakes without sausage and read the morning paper. There was a picture in it of the Spaghetti Warehouse auction. Next I headed to United Cooperative Bank to put some bonds in my safety deposit box and was waited on by Leila John the Indian woman.

Then I drove out to Stop & Shop where there was a yellow Volkswagen Beetle parked in front with signs promoting the state Lotto game. Inside they had free samples of Swiss cheese and crackers. The manager Mr. Grogan was there in a suit so I suggested to him that they have push out doors on the toilets in their new store. He said if they push out they might hit somebody, so I replied that if they push in they might hit somebody! I informed him about the excellent restrooms at Food Mart but he said unfortunately the plans for the new store have already been finalized. We parted on amiable terms.

Eamon called and said Mayor Albano's pal Buddy Cianci has been convicted of corruption charges and the Governor of Rhode Island has called on him to resign. We discussed the Cat's Paw robbery and Eamon said the guy who robbed Quick Cleaners three times was caught Friday breaking into ABC Glass on Liberty. He appears to be a heroin addict.

Eamon told me he is getting almost 200 calls a day now for his telephone answering machine editorials. Eamon says his caller ID shows that a Wilfred Roy of 1015 Liberty Street called his editorial four times today, but he doesn't know who that is. He said he gets regular calls from patrons of John Bonavita's Tavern Restaurant, especially on Friday and Saturdays. Eamon said it was wrong for Albano to push the Tavern out of its riverfront location, and I agreed that it was.

Art Gingras of Commerce called Eamon today and said the public needs to be made aware of what's happening in the public schools but he is afraid to go to the media. He fears they will not report what he tells them, but word of anything he says will get back to Superintendent Burke who will then retaliate. Eamon promised Gingras that he will do whatever he can behind the scenes to "bring the incompetent educationists to justice!"

June 25, 2002

79 degrees at 2:40pm.

Homer J. Hagedom is Chairman of the Graduate School Fund at Harvard. The YMCA of Greater Springfield and Springfield College have been working on an agreement that will enable the Y to repurchase Camp Norwich.

Drove to Lewis & Clark to get the papers. The Boston Globe says the Hines Convention Center is struggling, so what chance has the Springfield Civic Center? Another Globe article by Shawn Pogatchnik titled "Bias Begins Young in N. Ireland" talks about religious bias being taught in the schools. That is why I oppose all religious schools, Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, whatever. All young people should share a common educational program for their role in the common destiny of the nation. Religious schools brainwash and bigotize.

When I got home I called Mrs. Staniski. I brought up her longtime next door neighbors the Morgans and she said there were three girls. I knew the middle one Martha. The oldest girl once told Ann Staniski that she was no good because she is a Protestant, although Ann is a sweet and wonderful person and always was.

Dr. John Rixon, my classmate from the Classical Class of 1959 arrived today in a forest green Chrysler Voyager van. I had him sign my recently revived Longfellow Birthday Book and showed him my Diamond Match collection. He said his father collected matchbooks. Then we left and I took him of a little tour of the city. John has occasionally returned to Springfield from Connecticut to visit his parent's grave but never really just looked around the city.

When we got to the Acres in the left turn lane was a bunch of trash someone dumped in the middle of the intersection. I parked the car by the curb and walked out an picked up the mess. Two ladies drove by smiling and waving in appreciation but some guy honked and yelled at me to get out of the road. Opinions vary, but somebody had to pick it up. We looked at the stores on Boston Road and John said he used to like Bradlees for clothes and Caldors for durables.

We headed down Sumner Avenue and John said he used to deliver mail in that area while attending American International College (his dad was a mailman and helped him get the job). He was surprised to learn of the closing of Lederer's Bakery. He also recalled that he once studied piano briefly at the Springfield Conservatory of Music. He had never seen the present Holy Name Church. The old one he said was a Tudor stucco with brown beams and designed like "the early churches" namely a building with peak in the middle and that's it. He said a priest at the old Holy Name amassed the money for a new church and when the district was split up into seven parishes Holy name got half the money for their new church and the Bishop took the rest. Holy name was one of the first of the new churches after the breakup, St. Patrick's is another.

The we drove by Watershops and I told him about the 80's chlorine fire and I pointed out the Waterfront Club. We drove through Springfield College and I pointed out the Social Science Building, the new dorms, the president's house, the athletic complex, the Linkletter Nanatorium, the original Basketball Hall of Fame and the football field. Then I drove down King to Massachusetts Avenue where we parked and walked across to the A.I.C. campus. President Courniotes' red Cadillac was in its spot. John said that what is now the Administration Building was Admissions when he was there. We went into the library and he liked the periodical reading room which is the nicest such room of the local colleges. We went into the Student Union where the snackbar is being completely remodeled. The Arts Center was locked up so we went back to the car.

Next we drove up Roosevelt by the A.I.C. gym and down the little street between Putnam and Sci-Tech (John didn't know Trade High had been renamed Putnam) and then behind Springfield Hospital and past Central High. Then went down Bay over to show him the former site of Buckingham Junior High and then over to STCC which he didn't know much about. We drove past the empty Technical High School with the broken windows in back and I showed him the site of the new courthouse.

I parked at the Quadrangle and joked I hope they are ready for a visit from the Great Wesley Miller and his distinguished guest! John says he likes the Seuss sculptures overall but is not that impressed. I took several pictures of John posing by the statue of Dr. Seuss. We then left the Quad and walked down the hill. John asked about the old Y building and and I said it is condos now. We visited the former site of Johnson's Bookstore, now a clothing store, and looked at the vacant Steiger's site. We walked across to Baystate West/Tower Square and took the elevator to the top where John admired the view. We also looked in at the Colony Club which seemed rather lifeless. John recalled how there used to be airwalks connecting Baystate West to Steiger's and Forbes.

We went over to Monarch Place and went down the stairs to see the tablet for the worker who was killed putting in the elevators. Then we stopped at Fleet Bank and admired the tapestry and then cut through the atrium in the Sovereign Building. We walked across Court Square and John said that during World War II they set up a Quonset hut on the Square but someone pointed out a clause in the deed of gift that said no permanent structure was ever to placed there so they took it down. John was therefore surprised they permitted the music shell and the shelter because they are permanent structures.

We walked up State to Classical and peeked in the doors. Across the street on Elliot we found the door to the Marshall Center open but John wouldn't enter the chapel because he was wearing shorts. We got back in the car and headed to the new Pizzeria Uno. The parking lot was full. Inside we sat in the last booth on the Columbus Avenue side and I ordered the chicken and John got the sirloin. This time the silverware was clean.

As we ate John said he has no cable TV, he prefers reading and gardening. His son is studying optometry in Philadelphia. We discussed foreign policy and John said the situation in the Mideast is hopeless because the Palestinians are unreliable and the Jews are expansionist. John said he never goes to downtown Hartford because there's nothing there. He said he thinks the Adrien Landing development is overblown and that "they wasted a lot of money on it." I paid our bill of $26.21. On the way out I showed John the Chicago mural and the bandstand. Then we left and drove back to my house. As he got into his van John shook my hand twice and promised to treat me to lunch next time.

When I got home Eamon called and we discussed the importance of a good diet. Eamon recalled how his friend Joe Calibrese, who loved French Fries and ate them all the time, ended up dying at age 50.

June 27, 2002

Black-eyed Susans are budding by the back door. Heavy overcast, 87 degrees at 4:30pm.

Monarch went out of business in part because of the crooked practices of other insurance companies they were dealing with. Gordon N. Oakes was President of the Chamber of Commerce the very year that Monarch collapsed. Now Tom Burton is the Chamber head, so what does that mean for Hampden Savings? WFCR said writing about stress is medically beneficial, which is part of why I keep a diary.

An awful lot of important American law books were written in the 1830's, such as Elliot's Corn Law Rhymes. Latinos are ten percent of Connecticut's population. Keith R. Schiff is the General Manager of the Holyoke Mall. In a record high turnout Longmeadow voters approved a tax increase. Tom Bevaqua the top weatherman on TV40 is 57 today. He is a good guy. Called Judy Matt but was told she is in a meeting. Is she avoiding me?

Mrs. Staniski sent me a pretty postcard of the Bush compound in Kennebunkport. She said while in Maine it was so cold at night she had to sleep under two blankets. Some salesman called and asked "Is this Wesley Miller?" I told her that she called in the middle of the news and said, "Madam, go find your favorite priest and give him a blow job," and hung up as she sputtered in protest. Maybe she'll not call again.

The pothole over by Mudry's has been filled but these patches are seldom first rate and don't last. Went to Louis & Clark where I put out the mail via Cindy and bought the Wall Street Journal. Drove to Price-Rite on Boston Road for lettuce, tomatoes, berries, bananas and onions. There weren't many customers, just two registers open and three young Latino women talking to each other in Spanish. Then over to Arnold's Discount Bakery for two loaves of Seven Grain Bread. After I left I saw the young cashier come out and sit on the store's front steps, her legs stretched out in the sun and her sandals kicked off, lonesome and bored on the job.

From Arnold's I peeked into Angelo's and the supply of merchandise is pretty well down. Young Angelo was there and sold me some milk crates for $5 each. I asked how business was and he shrugged and said, "Not bad considering." I asked him if he thought the place would still be open a year from now and he shrugged again.

Next I went to Rocky's and bought an astroturf doormat with a sunflower on it. It was $10 but with a senior citizen discount I got it for $8.49 tax included. Mother's doormats are old and not as good at catching dirt as astroturf mats. Finally to Walmart to pick up some film for my camera. As I was coming home I saw the Cohn's struggling to get into their car, with Mrs. Cohn using a walker. I noticed their dumpster was still in the street so I stopped and brought it in for them. It's sad to see them struggling to keep going but when I mentioned the hardships of getting older Mr. Cohn replied, "There isn't much to do about it but keep smiling."

Eamon called and said his car battery was nearly dead, so he drove to Orr Cadillac and they gave him another one free covered by the seven year guarantee. Eamon gave his mailman a bottle of soda when he came by because it is so hot, a perfect example of Eamon's kindness and hospitality.

Eamon said that Charlie Kingston's mother is a Tranghese and Felix Tranghese was in charge of prostitution under mob boss Scibelli. Eamon said he is still trying to get information on the misuse of the $8 million Safe Schools grant by Grant Manager Dr. William Thayer, Director of Research Dr. John Howell and Carey Sheehan. Eamon speculated on the relationship between Ricard Neal and Soco Catjakis. They served together as members of Billy Sullivan's Administration. He said Soco lives on Melha and to him "everything is for sale." Eamon said Sullivan went into the insurance business with Ed Keating after he left office. Eamon remembered one time during the Sullivan years he was complaining about the undeserved status of Neal and Catjakis and Al Christofori told him, "Sully, why don't you lighten up?"

Eamon says he was chatting with Deputy Chief Spellacy who told him that Mayor Albano is "very nervous" about the conviction of his friend Mayor Cianci. He said Albano may not run for re-election in 2003 in hopes the Feds might have less interest in him if he voluntarily leaves office. Eamon disagreed with Spellacy, saying that Albano is "so bold and arrogant" that he will seek re-election despite having the Feds on his tail.

June 28, 2002

75 degrees at 6am. Cloudy, less humid.

The Archdiocese of Boston has cut its budget by one third. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is opening an outreach office in Springfield. There are currently 70,000 Puerto Ricans living in the Springfield area. Trinity United Methodist Church on Sumner Avenue will have its Carillon Pops Festival on June 26th. The Massachusetts Banker's Association wants sunglasses, hats and hoods banned in all banks.

Mail came today 2:30pm as I was emptying the vacuum cleaner bag. The mailman tooted and I waved, but no substantial mail. It is lots harder getting letters out of people than it once was because of the shifts in modern communication.

The first annual meeting of Westfield Financial, the Westfield Savings Bank, was today at 10am at the Tekoa Country Club in Westfield, on the right hand side of Route 20 going up to Huntington. I left at 8:44 and arrived there at 9:32 wearing logger's boots, orange jumpsuit, doggie collar and because of the contemplated prohibition on headgear at banks I decided not to wear my full leather bondage helmet.

The entrance to the Country Club is almost hidden among urban sprawl and business buildings. Went into the clubhouse at 9:40 where the front lobby has an office on the left, a stone floor and a planter in the middle with white mini-lights on it. I joked that they are all ready for Christmas in July! There was a bar and fireplace. The meeting was in a large space called The Putter Room. Lots of big windows and mirrors around, nice but not Longmeadow.

There was a miniature putting green outside with about ten men playing, several of them extremely fat. There was no check-in table but two tables with a minimum of food - coffee, orange juice, donuts and muffins. I took a half a glass of orange juice and three donuts. I counted 51 people there with the bank's executives all dressed for success. The other people were largely seedy and elderly aristocratic types, some dressed very casual, women in sandals, that sort of crowd.

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Donald Williams and the sound system worked fine. I've been living with this hearing problem for over a decade but it's only a problem when there is an inadequate sound system. The bank officials were introduced including Phillip R. Smith as Clerk. And then a surprise - $1.8 million shares held by brokers were not represented so the meeting was adjourned until July 26th! There was applause and I gathered my stuff. Another free breakfast! Williams came around thanking everyone for coming.

When I drove off I decided to check out the new Stop & Shop. It's the same as the one by Eastfield Mall but with more space. I bought some bananas, tomatoes and radishes. I noticed that the Westfield Dairy Queen in now a Cingular Wireless shop. The Roy Rogers burger place by the river is closed. Are there any Roy Rogers left around here? I liked them.

On the way back I stopped at the Quadrangle and went to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. I looked through their scrapbook on local cemeteries for info on Hillcrest. When the carillon tower was built at Hillcrest Park Cemetery in 1936 it was the hightest point in Springfield. The mausoleum was built in 1928. Bergeron at Hillcrest told me that Pinney was the carillon architect but actually it was George R. Barrow. I also looked at some stuff about St. Michael's Cemetery. I checked and saw that they have a file on Dorothy Mozley but nothing on Eamon. On the way out I spoke to M. Humbertson who told me her mother-in-law died in 1999 at age 90.

In a banner headline story James Asselin has resigned as head of the Hampden County Employment and Training unit. James Krzystofik of 235 State Street, the Compliance Officer, has also resigned. Asselin's deputy Patrick Keough, little brother to convicted felon and homeless shelter head Frank Keough, has replaced Asselin as director. How is that an improvement?

June 30, 2002

Sunny, beautiful, unhumid. 72 degrees at 6:15am. Gas at Mutual Ford now Express Mart Texaco on the corner of Berkshire and Bay is $1.32 per gallon.

In the year 2000 Matthew L. Burt was the Pastor of the Evangelical Covenant Church at 915 Plumtree Road. Sherry Petrucci, the longtime Agawam Town Nurse, has retired. The fall of Monarch was especially hard on retirees. A school voucher program may be tried in Massachusetts but I am opposed to vouchers. All kids should go to public schools and private schools should be abolished. There is an article in the Boston Globe today titled, "Urban Renaissance Eludes State's Mid-sized Cities." Of course it mentions Springfield.

No doubt that sexual activity and urinary flow go together. I jerked off around 4am and two hours later had the best urine flow in days. Father didn't do that sort of thing, he thought it was unclean. Before putting out the mail today at Louis & Clark I called Holy Cross and left the question on their answering machine, "Are the kids safe from the priests?" That wasn't nice but they have to get the message.

Whatever happened to Stacia Filipiak? I dropped off some literature about Portugal with Mudry. Then to the Easfield Mall where I parked in back and saw several women with shopping carriages cutting through a walkway thru the fence towards the apartment development. Inside I bought some pens with a coupon then went to Food Mart for chicken, potatoes and roast beef.

Joe Roy at Byron's Funeral Home told me after Mother's death in 1999 that it would not be possible to for me to be present at Mother's cremation. Today I called Byron's at 684 State Street and spoke to Bernie Morin who said Joe Roy left a couple years ago for someplace up in the Berkshires and their new director is Duane Goddard. I told Morin that I've since heard that Orientals attend cremations all the time and that I want a letter of apology or I'll complain around. He was very polite and promised to look into it. I also told him how Byron's failed to get the date right on Mother's urn.

I've been reading page for page this diary from Christmas 1998 to July 1999 which is painful because I have to relive the death of Mother as well as the daily irritations of Aunt Maria.

There is an article in the paper about the rising incidents of theft by teachers and staff in the Springfield public schools, a topic Eamon has been begging them to write about for years. Eamon called this morning and told me about a fruit stand at the intersection of Carew and St. James that is loaded with nice fruit that is cheaper than elsewhere. I told him that Angelo's and Price-Rite on Boston Road also have low fruit prices. I told him how I bought a box of strawberries at Angelo's for only $1.50.

Eamon said his back has improved and also informed me that he heard the post office will not increase their prices until 2004. We agreed that their goal is to increase the cost of a stamp to 50 cents. Eamon said his SAT score was 1450. Mine was 1293. We also discussed how it is interesting how rumors line up with reality. Everyone said that Mayor Albano would be driven from office by the corruption probe by July. Cianci is gone, the Asselins are falling but Albano has remarkable staying power due to the loyalty of underlings who are willing to lie or go to prison if necessary to protect him.

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