8/20/12

October 2002


October 1, 2002

Gas at the pond is $1.38.

Publisher, philanthropist, and diplomat Walter Anneberg died today. Edward Stevenson is the Wilbraham Planning Board Chairman and Gordon R. Long is the Wilbraham tree warden.

Drove out to inspect the land I donated to Wilbraham. The intersection of Stony Hill and Wilbraham Road is a mess, barriers all around. There were trees marked for cutting all up Maynard Road at the intersection at King and up the hill to Deer Run. I stopped at the Wilbraham Post Office and took a few pictures and sent out some mail. Then I headed downtown and driving past the Dunkin Donuts on Breckwood I saw three mail trucks and a cop car (#35) parked side by side. John Salema of Agawam owns a lot of the local Dunkin Donut shops through various legal arrangements. Listening to the car radio Green Party candidate Jill Stein was on. She teaches at Harvard Medical School and I liked her views on everything.

Downtown I parked on Eliot, cutting through the Quadrangle where I saw all the damage to the sculptures has been repaired, even the little flower pot on the back of Geisel's chair. I arrived at the office of Efrem Gordon at 101 State Street, Suite 410 and on the door was a large brass tablet, browned by age, reading "Efrem A. Gordon, Lawyer." Beside the door is a list of his current associates - Norma Carr Calarese, Arvett Moses Branford, Robert Aronson, Lewis H. Gordon and Mary A. Samberg. On his reception desk is a group of publications including the Harvard Law Magazine. Attorney Gordon is a 1951 graduate of Harvard Law School.

I dropped off some papers with the receptionist and then drove home by way of Crest Street and noted that the Belden House at 33 Crest is for sale. So when I got home I called Glen Gauthier at Century and he said they are asking $79,000 for the Belden House, which is considered in Pine Point. Next I called Melinda McIntosh and told her of the South Church Sale on the 3rd. She was friendly and grateful to be informed. Melinda said she hasn't been to Stanton's Auctions in Hampden for a long time.

Eamon has a great telephone answering machine editorial today: "Springfield's Police Department is the classic textbook case example proving that simply enlarging a police department does not reduce crime. Springfield's police department is the largest in the nation for small cities with over 600 personnel. Holyoke has a much smaller police department but it has a no-nonsense chief of police providing real direction and leadership, whereas Springfield has a figurehead chief of police out of her depth, going through the motions and mismanaging a department that lacks accountability and supervision. The Holyoke Police Department is organized for results and Springfield's for futility."

October 2, 2002

It used to be that the stations by Watershops Pond near Mass Mutual had the cheapest gas but no more. It is now cheaper at the Acres and Allen and Cooley. Gas at Mobil is $1.34 per gallon.

Dick Nichols was out today cutting his hedges and when I went out to get the mail Kelly called hi. Got a Dr. Seuss birthday card in the mail today from Mrs. Staniski and Ann.

Today I drove out to Bethlehem Baptist Church in Hampden. Some of the leaves in Hampden are turning color. The front of the property is a large parking lot with the church set way back. I went to the office on the right side where a woman introduced me to Tom Brennan, who said he knows the area because his parents live out here. I asked him if he has ever read Pilgrim's Progress and he said he'd never heard of it. Brennan told me his job is primarily running the youth programs and claimed they have about 450 people show up for church on Sunday. Over the door to the Sanctuary is a stained glass window of Christ in the Garden. It was formerly in the front peak of the church they sold near Berlin Street behind Adams Playground in Springfield. The old Foster Memorial Church also had a picture of Jesus in the Garden in the window of their tower, which is now inside a frame in their church lobby.

From there I went downtown to see Efrem Gordon and parked by St. Michael's Cathedral. Efrem informed me that he read the introduction to my book on legal poetry and found it "absolutely intense." He said he had run into Gary Shannon downtown who told Efrem he had read my entire affidavit and it "made him sick." We went over my affidavit and Efrem told me I "suffer from the blessing of being an academic" and so can be lengthy. He said judges and juries like things short and concise. He mentioned studying under the wordy Professor Talcott Parsons at Harvard and I told him at least my sentences are perfectly constructed unlike Parsons. Later on the way home as I approached the Church of the Acres two old men cut me off.

Nightline last night was about "The Spoils of War: To the Victor Goes the Oil." Mayor Michael J. Albano has formally endorsed Shannon O'Brien for Governor, praising her as "a lifelong Democrat." Is that all he can say on her behalf?

Eamon sang the other day at the funeral of his cousin Eileen M. O'Connor who died at age 87. She worked for 57 years for the Springfield Newspapers and lived upstairs in the home of Audrey C. Magna on Ledyard Street. He said at the funeral Mike Rancitelli accompanied him by playing organ and guitar. Eamon also sang Eileen O'Connor's favorite song Danny Boy. Afterwards everyone was raving and Rancitelli told him "you've got an amazing voice." Father David Joyce of Our Lady of Hope Church said he loved Eamon's singing and said, "I'd love to get you back in the church, you've got a wonderful voice and it's going to waste." I told Eamon he should make a record and he replied that he did release a record when he was a child singing star but he doesn't think he still has a copy.

Eamon said of the recent article in the paper critical of Hartford that the newspaper should "stick to their knitting" and write about "the decay and decline of Springfield." Eamon said he first met Efrem Gordon in 1968 and considers him to be a superlative person and lawyer. He said Efrem was "the only lawyer in town who could scare Matty Ryan shitless." He also called Gordon "a genius."

October 3, 2002

Gas is $1.37 per gallon.

Today is my 61st birthday. I got a birthday card from Barbara Lucia of Chittendon, so I called and thanked her personally. Got a strange phone call from someone who said, "Good Morning, Jack." and then silence.

There have been 2,500 cases of West Nile Virus in the USA this year and 125 have died. Attorney Irving Labovitz had his office at 95 State Street in 1973. Attorneys Henry Scharoff and Phillip C. Smith had their law offices in Westfield in 1973.

Went to see Attorney Gordon today and parked by the St. Michael's rectory and walked down the hill. They were digging on State and I asked the policeman why and he said they are installing digital cable. Lots of the original State Street cobblestones were being unearthed and being carefully stacked in a pile. Arriving at Gordon's he let me in to see him promptly. Efrem has a big double desk with a plate glass top, the glass must have been difficult to cut because the desk is curved at both ends. Efrem asked what took me so long to revise my affidavit and I told him I'm a lazy bum who sits around reading and writing, just a Mikey Mouse lawyer and a high class hippie.

What Efrem did to my manuscript was a wonderful study of a genius lawyer at work, weighing each fact and phrase to determine whether it helped or hindered our case. He wants to keep my sentences short and advised "we must stay focused on the facts." At one point I mentioned Eugene Berman and Efrem described him as "a fine lawyer." Efrem said that his father never had any business cards out of fear that the information on them might fall into the hands of a con-man. His father's office was once in the Masonic Building at State and Main. The old Masonic Building's four sided clock is visible like a giant pocket watch out of Efrem's window, he says it generally keeps good time, at least on the face he sees from his window. When I left he asked where I was parked and when I told him up by St. Michael's he offered to drive me up there but I said I needed the exercise.

From Attorney Gordon's I went to the rummage sale at Trinity Lutheran Church on Wilbraham Road. I parked on Carlisle Street facing the church and soon saw that Evelyn Jackson of Sherman Street was there. She is a little old black lady who was once a bank teller for BayBank while her husband used to work for Robbins Beauty Supply but now works for U-Save. She said her father was James Sutton who once played in the Negro Baseball League. Later he worked for Smith & Wesson. Her birthday is July 11, 1931 so she is 71. Evelyn belongs to the Solid Rock Baptist Church and she believes strongly in Bible Study which is why she's a Baptist. She has no brothers but three sisters, one dead. She told me the shirt she was wearing was from Paris. I'm so glad I ran into her today, increasingly relations with fellow tag sale friends are a big part of what the sales are about.

Melinda McIntosh wasn't there but her fat girlfriend came up and asked if I were going to the symphony concert tonight, but I said no, it is too expensive. I got a tin five piece dish set with ornamental handles with patent marks indicating they were made in 1898. I was told by the woman who sold them to me that Ginger Coburn is in some facility in Connecticut.

The real treasure I acquired however was a letter from Thomas J. O'Connor dated September 12, 1968. By then O'Connor had returned to his law practice after being kicked out of the mayor's office by Charlie Ryan in 1961. Listed on the letterhead are O'Connor's law firm partners at 1200 Main Street Suite 202-203, Bernard T. O'Connor, Thomas Martinelli and Kent B. Smith. The letter is about a Decree of Divorce in which a Mr. Rosati is told to "pay the sum of Twenty Dollars each and every week for the support of the child while his wife is to turn over to him a 1967 Rambler automobile."

It was an interesting tag sale, although I didn't really look at the books. As I was leaving I saw a boy of about ten dressed up in combat boots and army fatigues. I asked, "Do you know what war is all about?" He said no so I said, "It's about killing." He quickly and defensively responded, "Yes, but it's for a good cause." I was tempted to cite the Ten Commandments but then figured why bother?

October 4, 2002

Light rain through the afternoon.

The Springfield Armory, established in 1794 as the first federal armory, is the only site in Western Mass designated as a national historic landmark. This day in 1957 the Soviets launched Sputnik. Charles F. McCarthy, Mildred T. Manning, Elva J. Moore and John J. Roache worked for the law firm of Laming, Smith and Aucher in 1970.

Got a letter in the mail today from Len Bergeron thanking me for "the beautiful postcards" I sent him. He wrote, "It is very gratifying for us at the cemetery to see someone such as yourself take such an interest in the beauty of our setting, instead of the usual view of what our mission is." Also got a polite rejection from Tom Slayton, editor of Vermont Life, "I'm returning your postcards as we have no present use for them. But I thank you for running them by me." I wrote a letter to Freihoffer's and taped to the letter the hair I found in their cinnamon swirl buns. Whatever happened to the Lobster Newburgh Stouffer's used to make?

This morning I went to see Atty. Gordon. While downtown I pulled a poster off the Hippodrome and found a White Street School lunch policy statement that had perfect English. Gordon told me he read the article I gave him about me in the Valley Advocate and he praised my individuality. However he urged me to always wear a suit and tie when we appear in court because "Law is theater." We went over my affidavit together with me reading aloud, observing that by doing so you can hear the goofs and bad English. Efrem said that every document must be perfect, even if it has to go through seventeen drafts.

Unfortunately Efrem's handwriting is so bad it is sometimes impossible to read his corrections. He said that an injury when he was in the Navy is the cause of his bad handwriting. Finally it was perfect and I signed it with Efrem's old fashioned fountain pen. I told him that even at his hourly rate of $225 per hour I guess I got my money's worth as the affidavit came out very well written. It is no wonder that even at those prices he has people banging on his door and receives about 40 phone calls per day.

Efrem keeps his desktop very tidy and when I mentioned Blackstone's poems he gestured to his bookcase indicating that he has my legal poetry book in his library. He said he sold his house in Hampden because his daughter wanted to go to Longmeadow High. Efrem also mentioned that Donald Dunn's wife used to work for him and then he asked what I thought of Don Dunn. I said he is one of the finest humans it has ever been my privilege to know, but because of my estrangement from WNEC I never see him. John Auchter came up and he praised his sense of humor and was pleased to learn he was my 12th grade Social Studies teacher.

After leaving Gordon's I drove out to the Eastfield Mall and got my hair cut by Ciro, the owner and head barber. He is an elderly man who says he only works three days a week. He said he learned barbering in the U.S. Navy and at Mansfield Barbering School. I mentioned Frank VanValkenberg and he remembered him. I told Ciro that you don't see many Dutchmen like himself in Springfield and he laughed and said no you don't, Springfield is all Frenchmen and Italians. Oddly he said nothing of the Irish. The haircut was ten dollars and I gave him eleven.

On my way out of the mall by Customer Services there was a friendly lady named Kim interviewing customers. She gave me four Morningstar Veggie Burgers worth $3.99 and said someone will call me in about a week to find out what I think. From Eastfield I went to the McDonald's opposite the Big Y on Boston Road and had two fishwiches with an order of fries. On the way home I left some magazines on the Cohn's doorknob and the Boston Herald at Penniman's.

President G.W. Bush was in Massachusetts yesterday campaigning for Mitt Romney for Governor. TV40 had a lead story about the harassment of Vietnamese students by Black and Hispanic students in Springfield. It mentioned an incident involving SciTech students where a Vietnamese kid got beat up on the bus. The story didn't say this but I'll bet part of the reason for the harassment is that they don't like the way the Vietnamese excel in school while the other minority groups do not.

October 6, 2002

Sunny, 75 degrees at 1:20pm. Gas is $1.37 at the Pond.

There have been seven unsolved sniper shootings in Maryland. There have been lots of local shootings in Springfield's North End and all over Hartford. University of Massachusetts Chancellor John V. Lombardi has agreed to transfer $3 million dollars from within the campus to the W.E.B. Dubois Library. Former Superintendent Peter J. Negroni showed up at Teresa E. Regina's retirement party last night at the Log Cabin.

Thomas McElhone was Director of Public Assistance on Worthington Street in Springfield in 1965. Virginia Roy lived at 42 Hall Street in Springfield in 1965. My parents always bought fertilizer from the Eastern States Farmer's Co-op, founded in 1918, until the business was sold to Punderson. Nader the Hatter called and said he will be in Springfield at the end of November to sell off more of the remnants of his family business. Dan Brown is the new weatherman on News 40. He talks too fast. I finished reading Ganzfried's Code of Jewish Law which I shall now loan to Mrs. Staniski.

When I was leaving today the Allards waved as they drove past with their grandchildren in the backseat. Mudry and Powers were out. I had breakfast at the International House of Pancakes on Boston Road and had hotcakes and sausage. There were no newspapers lying around so I told the manager that the Allen Street IHOP always has two papers available. He replied that they have a box outside the restaurant from which papers can be purchased. I said that is quite besides the point because it is a lousy paper and I prefer to read it without buying it. He said he would pass my suggestion on to his boss.

On Lemnos Lane the two big houses at the head of the street with the two-car garages have the roofing and siding and shutters all on now. Lakeside is a beautiful tree arched street. When I was small Crest Street had a lot of Maples but they are all gone, the street is virtually treeless. There are trees on Fenwick, but not as nice as Lakeside. Then I drove out to Wilbraham and took some photographs of the really fancy house going up on King Drive. I came back through the center of Wilbraham and saw that new sidewalks are being put in all around Wilbraham-Monson Academy on the odd side of Springfield Street and the even side of Faculty.

They had a sale on Campbell's Chunky Soup at Food Mart so I bought 16 cans at $1.25 per can. I remember when they were fifty cents a can. I also bought a bag of potatoes and picked up a copy of the September Make Way for Ducklings Nursery newsletter. They are in the phone book at 761 Sumner in Springfield and 20 Lathrop in West Springfield. When I got home I tried the first of the free veggie burgers I got at the mall. It was very good. I still take a vitamin pill each day and am trying to cut down on fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt. I have a swelling in my left ankle.

Eamon called and wished me a belated Happy Birthday. He said that Rocky's Hardware sent him a coupon for a free trash can while supplies last. He recalled how Charles Lupien, who used to live across the street from him in the 1960's, is now vice-president for computers for Agway. He lives in Ohio and hasn't been back to Springfield for 30 years. Eamon went to visit his cousin Father Callahan who is 70 but looks 90. He is no longer helping out with Mass anywhere. Eamon said that Judge Joseph Pellegrino got his judgeship with the help of Judge Landers and Eileen Griffin. The Asselins have hired the mob lawyer Vincent Bongiorni to defend them.

October 8, 2002

A picture perfect day, 58 degrees at 7:10am. Frost predicted for Hampshire and Franklin counties tonight.

About 5 o'clock this morning a double ding awoke me. Was it the doorbell, the phone or my imagination? Heard such things before.

The A.V. Rivest Service Corporation was on Robbins Road in Springfield in 1968. Mr. John P. Shea lived at 143 Skeele Street in Willimansett in 1968. Attorney A. Abraham Benton had his office on Main Street in Springfield in 1972. Local baseball star Raymond J. Giroux (no relation) has died in West Springfield at age 71.

Read an article about the decline of Main Music with a picture of Fred F. Borrelli. Caught the Frank Lloyd Wright special on 57. Paul Goldberger was one of the experts shown talking about Wright. It was the same Paul Goldberger who famously called Springfield's post-revitalization downtown "banal in the extreme." It was followed by a re-run of the documentary on artist Josh Simpson.

WFCR reports that a Connecticut study shows that minorities and people living in poor neighborhoods are more likely to play the lottery. UMass football lost over $2 million last year so to increase attendance they are thinking of reinstating allowing liquor and tailgate parties. I have a better idea - eliminate football altogether. Claudia and Vince Robillard are vacationing in Texas.

Efrem Gordon called and reminded me to dress nicely for the hearing today. I said I'd wear my blue suit with a blue tie and he said that would be just right. I said I'm a WASP and blue is my color, I even have a blue car. I told him I have good news - I got a haircut! Efrem asked whether I got a shave too but I said no, I didn't go that far.

Eamon called and confessed he bought a pair of Tiffany Lamps for the end tables in his living room. Chris the broker came and assessed his house as worth $105,000. Eamon is reading Ramsey Clarke's The Fire This Time the third printing which has all the dirt on U.S. policy in Iraq.

On my way downtown I stopped at Arnold's for bread and saw that Angelo's is having a sale on Mums. There was a traffic tie-up by Roosevelt and Wilbraham but thereafter the trip was okay. I parked on Salem and walking down the hill I found lots of school children and their parents waiting for buses in front of Chestnut Towers. I feel sorry for little children reared in apartments without grass or trees to play among.

Attorney Mary Samberg cheerfully let me in and soon Efrem arrived in a grey pinstripe suit and vest. We left immediately and Efrem held me by the arm as we crossed State Street to the courthouse. It was hard for us to talk because everyone we met knew Gordon and wanted to say hello. Gordon did say that he knows Gary Shannon and has "a good relationship" with him so he feels confident that we can reach a settlement "although not today."

Efrem had no watch, keys or anything else to delay him at the courthouse security checkpoint but I did so Efrem chatted with an insurance man named Monteiro while he waited for me to be let through. We went to the fourth floor and sat on a bench outside the courtroom. Soon the Lucias arrived with a grinning Gendron. Mrs. Lucius greeted me (she called me Wesley) and Gendron and I shook hands. Soon Gary Shannon, the archetype of a sort I dislike, arrived in a herringbone brown suit and mahogany oxfords. He gave me a very stern face as he shook my hand.

Gordon said the judge had to come from Greenfield so we had to wait. We were admitted to the courtroom at 9:30 on the button. The judge's bench has a computer terminal with "Massachusetts Trial Court" in red floating across it endlessly. There are paintings at the front of the room of the legendary Abraham Smith and John Wells. The Lucias and Gendron sat in the very last row. No Ruth or Thelma.

As the proceedings got underway hearing was impossible, there was no amplification or speakers. I did catch that Gordon used the word "scholar" to describe me. Then Shannon spoke and at one point referred to me and used the word "doublecross." Then it ended and Gordon said it "went well" but we will have to wait for the judge to decide if there are grounds for a lawsuit. Gordon said he feels comfortable he will.

We took the elevator down to the main floor, but only after the Lucias' left so we wouldn't have to ride in the elevator with them. While waiting for the elevator I had a most pleasant chat with a young woman who looked and dressed just like Atty. Linda Thompson. It turned out she was her daughter, a paralegal. Later as Efrem and I walked down State Street Efrem noticed my footwear and asked, "Army boots?" I said I have weak ankles and wear boots all the time to avoid pain. Efrem said he has leg pains that he can't do anything about and said that the best way to deal with pain is to "ignore it and just keep going." I asked him how old he is and he replied that he was born in 1925. That makes him 77. We parted outside his building and he promised to inform me as soon as there was any news.

October 10, 2002

59 degrees at 3:45pm. Brought the plants in last night.

Congress has voted 401-5 to keep "In God We Trust" as our national motto. The House of Representatives voted for war with Iraq today with most Democrats saying no. Ted Kennedy is leading the opposition in the Senate.

Allen C. Riffenburg was married to Mary Ann Pisty in 1962 at St. Jermone's in Holyoke by Rev. Daniel L. Gill. Elona M. Griffin was the Chairman of the Holyoke Board of Appeals in 1967. Rene A. Barsalou was vice-chairman. Notice how their official titles implied that both positions should be held by a man. Almer Huntley and Associates, Registered Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers were on Bridge Street in Northampton and West Street in Ware in 1969. Rick Sampson was baptized in 1992 at the First United Pentecostal Church of Westfield by Rev. Michael Fernandes. On TV40 Beth Ward said, "One in five Americans suffer from a disability." Should be "suffers." Mayor Cianci of Rhode Island will be sent to a Federal Correction Facility in Ohio. The evening news showed the opening of the Romney for Governor Headquarters in Springfield. There appeared to be only a small crowd of the same old faces. Local Republican gatherings have been sparsely attended in recent years.

Joe and Pete from Pioneer Auctions delivered my wooden Indian today. I gave them both a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Creme. When they stood it up in the corner of the front bedroom surrounded by the paintings and my map of Guatemala Joe exclaimed, "It looks smashing, simply smashing!" And it does. I told them I would write a thank you note to Bruce Smebakken the auctioneer. Eamon has suggested I name the Indian Commanche or Mugwump. I said for $5,000 he can have the naming rights and call it whatever he wants.

Weatherman Tom Bevacqua says there is no appreciable color in the leaves up where he lives in Greenfield. The mail brought a nice card from Joe Carvalho of the Quad showing the Dr. Seuss sculptures. It read, "I thought you might like this for your collection." The Quadrangle has been skimpy in thanking Seuss Memorial donors such as myself so I was glad to get it.

A guy in a big white car delivered The Reminder at 12:35pm. It has yet another plug in it for the seminars of Steve Sobel plus they have extended the deadline for nominations for their Local Hero Award. So I called and told Phyllis Menard that it was not fair to arbitrarily extend the nomination process and that they promote Sobel too often. She connected me with Kim Barba who said that Melissa Morin is in charge of the Hero Awards. Finally co-owner Chris Buendo came on and said to "call anytime, I like feedback." I voiced my complaints and he said that "Dr. Sobel and I do enjoy an arrangement where he pays for promotion." He said the Awards nominations had to be extended because they received too few nominations, receiving none from Agawam, Westfield, South Hadley or Holyoke. I was very conciliatory and told Buendo he would hear no more from me on it and he once again encouraged me to call any time. That is the correct kind of attitude.

Robert W. Brown called and asked if he could borrow the books I lent him a little longer and I said yes. He told me he has been out of town helping his brother in Bridgeton, Maine. Then I called Mrs. Staniski and she has a dentist appointment this afternoon with Dr. Rich Youmell in West Springfield and tomorrow she's having her hair done. Ann is taking her to Kennebunkport this weekend. I called the Quadrangle and got Joanne in the President's Office and asked her for their Annual Report. She said, "Yes, I'll send you one right away." Someone from the Boston Globe called and offered 12 weeks including Sunday for $1.25 per week. I said it's a fabulous bargain but I'm not interested. Eamon says I was foolish not to take it.

Eamon called and I told him about the court hearing and what a pleasure it was to see a legal legend like Efrem Gordon at work. This morning Eamon took his sister to the doctor. Eamon said there are five people in the School Department who took early retirement but are back at work in their old jobs as "consultants." Lorraine A. Plasse is one of them, with her consultancy paying $90,000. Eamon said that when he retired from the State Department of Education he was told, "Make sure you want to retire because you can't retire twice." Early retirement has become just another scam for public employees to rip-off the taxpayers.

October 11, 2002

Heavily overcast this morning. 57 degrees at 7:30am.

Jimmy Carter has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I highly approve, Carter is a model of WASP Protestant manhood, unlike the Bush's. The Senate has voted to support war in Iraq. Nuts! Senator R. Byrd said the Senate "lacked the backbone" and made "one horrible mistake." The Boston Globe is reporting that Mitt Romney made $400,000 on the sale of the Damon Corporation to Corning.

Wrong number asked for the woman of the house, I replied sorry but I live all alone except for a rabbit and teddy bear. Sweet Pea and Honey Pot have named my wooden Indian "Tonto" by acclamation! Father would have approved, but Mother would have been indifferent. Neither would have approved of buying it in the first place.

Leonard M. Baldwin was Vice-President of Holyoke Savings Bank in 1967. President Caprio of WNEC is a signatory to an ad in Monday's New York Times opposing racism against Jews. Ames is advertising that it is closing in ten days so everything is 50% off. Lots of inserts in the paper these days. It used to be just inserts on Sunday but now even The Reminder has inserts.

I went down to Louis&Clark and mailed a letter of complaint to Compass Foods in Montvale, New Jersey:

Recently I purchased two bags of A&P/Food Mart America's Choice Quick Frozen Grade A Fancy Peas and Carrots. The picture on the front of the bag shows a plate with 28 carrot cubes and many, many more peas, over a hundred. In fact I couldn't count them all. Inside the bag I found mostly carrots and when I opened the second bag I found the same situation - lots of carrots, not so many peas. I do feel that there has been a misrepresentation, and I suspect that carrots are cheaper than peas. I suggest you mend your ways and thank me for writing. - Jack Miller

Saw gang stickers on Hillman Street on all the poles alongside Hampden Bank and beyond. Westfield Bank's interest rates are higher than at the Telephone Worker's Credit Union. I wonder what Hampden is paying? Hampden Bank is planning to open a new branch in front of Lowe's in Wilbraham. Lemnos Lane has SOLD signs in front of all the original houses. Church in the Acres has over their front door a wide banner reading "Celebrating 45 Years of Ministry - Come Grow With Us!" Welken at 16 Acres Mobil said he thought he saw my name in the latest Sixteen Acres Civic Association Newsletter. I told him I hadn't seen a copy in a while.

I drove over to the new Romney headquarters in the little shopping center at the corner of Allen and Bicentennial - 1506 Allen Street in the old carpet place. Karen Powell was working there and she introduced me to her co-workers Chris and Tammy. Karen was very cheerful as always and she will be a big help to them. She hadn't seen the new Valley Advocate yet so I gave her my copy. They gave me some Romney for Governor literature and I told them that although I am a very liberal Republican who opposes war in Iraq and dislikes Bush I will probably vote for Romney because of the bad people surrounding Shannon O'Brien.

When I got home Eamon called and said he's surprised to hear that Rose Marie Coughlin is supporting Mitt Romney. He said Coughlin grew up in Ward One and was always a loyal Democrat. Eamon said he wants nothing to do with the Romney campaign but will probably vote for him anyway because of the crooks supporting O'Brien.

A good line from Eamon's telephone editorial today: "Mayor Albano and the Union-Snooze which keeps him in office call Springfield a most livable go to destination city but that's only true if you're wearing rose colored glasses and are unable to see through the high fog index." Eamon said he called City Hall today and asked the Personnel Department how many municipal departments there are and the lady said 29. He then called and asked the same question of the City Clerk's office and was told there were 40 departments. The correct number is 37, but as Eamon says any way you look at it "that's a lot of bureaucracy for the taxpayers to support."

Lisa Daniels reported on the news tonight that City Council President Bud Williams owns a duplex at 31 James Street where there was a bust that took out 30 grams of cocaine. Capt. William Cochrane of the PD said that "landlords should know what's going on, ignorance is not an excuse."

October 13, 2002

58 degrees at 10am. Raining all afternoon.

Michael Moore of Flint, Michigan has done a film "Bowling for Columbine" about the easy availability of guns at places like K-Mart. Mitt Romney and his running mate Kerry Healey are holding "an old time political rally" Oct. 23 at the Elks Lodge in Holyoke. The YWCA of Greater Springfield has signed the purchase agreement with Springfield College for Camp Norwich. There is a good letter in the paper by Angelo Puppolo attacking Kathy Pelligrino for her double-dipping.

Horace N. Fuller was of counsel to Scharoff and Smith in 1975. Cardinal Law has decided about Voice of the Faithful using Parish Halls. Existing chapters can use the halls but new ones will not until he learns more about the organization. A Grand Opening and dedication of the newly renovated and expanded Agawam Public Library will take place on October 17th.

Weatherman Nick Morganelli is now on TV30. The Catholic news program Real to Reel has been relocated to a new time slot just after the news on Saturday evening. They had a long segment on Rachel's Table and West Springfield's Parish Cupboard, but nothing about the Open Pantry in First Church in Springfield. They had a segment on the shortage of burial places and said that St. Michael's only has plots enough to last for a few more years. They showed the groundbreaking for the new mausoleum in St. Michael's, half of which is already sold. They plan to build mausoleums in Pittsfield and at the Gates of Heaven in Wilbraham. Host Mike Graziano is showing his age.

A man outside the Breckwood Shops this morning was scrounging through the trash receptacles looking for cans and bottles. I had lunch at the Boston Road McDonald's across from Big Y and had fishwiches. Then I drove over to Walmart to have pictures developed and saw that the building that was an auto repair place when it was Two Guys but in recent years has been PSP - Pet Supplies Plus has a big "Lost Our Lease" sign in the window along with a large map showing how to get to their new location next to Bob's in West Springfield. So bye-bye to another Springfield business.

Received a Fall mailing from Elms consisting of three sheets and a cover letter signed by Tim Allen. The mail also brought coupons from Freihofer's and a free ticket to State Rep. Chris Asselin's Pancake Breakfast to be held Oct. 19 at East Congregational Hall in Springfield. Eamon called and said he didn't receive one, he figures he must have been crossed off their list due to his phone editorials mocking the Asselins. He said they hold it at East Congregational because Our Lady of Hope has no grill.

On his phone message today Eamon is paraphrasing John Lennon and singing, "All we are saying....is give war a chance!" We discussed Councilor Bud Williams and the drug raid against the tenants of his rental property. Eamon says Bud Williams has "a criminal record going way back" but used his political connections to get a job in the probation department of the District Attorney's office. His wife Gloria Williams is the co-owner of the rental property and is the principal at Freedman Elementary School. Eamon guesses that combined they must make at least $150,000 a year without even counting what they make off their real estate investments.

October 16, 2002

53 degrees at 9:30am. A sunny, pleasant day.

Hypocrite Charles Colson is 71 today. The older Einstein got the more important solitude was to him.

UMass Athletic Director Ian J. McCaw said on TV22 they need to upgrade their exercise facilities so that UMass can attract the "brightest and best" athletes. Doesn't he really want the strongest and toughest? Wrong cliche, Ian.

James W. Carroll worked at the Springfield Advertising Company on Broad Street in 1964. Their motto was "Persistent as Time." Lorenzo J. Pasquinucci lived on Canal Street in South Hadley Falls in 1964. Sun Oil Company was on Locust Street in Northampton in 1966. Richard T. Saltman was an attorney on High Street in Holyoke in 1972. Evening Appliance is on McKinley Street in Feeding Hills, Agawam. Western Mass Precision Institute in West Springfield is shutting down after 30 years because of a 25% cut in their state funding. Cornelius K. Hannigan, the former Community Relations Officer for the Public Schools and a teacher at WNEC and Elms has died at age 81. His best friend was former Superintendent Thomas Donahue. I remember contacting Hannigan once long ago for historical information about the former Buckingham Junior High School.

I called Guy McLain at the Quad and left word with his polite secretary Phyllis that Catherine M. Sedgewick's book Hope Leslie (1827) is a novel mentioning Springfield. Morningstar called about the free veggie burgers they gave me at the Eastfield Mall last week. A squeaky voiced but friendly Phyllis from Cincinatti asked me what I liked or disliked about the flavor, texture, taste, aroma and crispiness of the burgers. I said everything was excellent but when she asked whether I would buy them I said $3.99 is a bit steep considering you can buy a whole frozen dinner for $2.50.

The trash was picked up early today and my dumpster was left lying in the street on its side with the lid open. Went to the Boston Road Big Y where I saw in the parking lot a bumpersticker reading, "Rugby - Elegant Violence." The Registry of Motor Vehicles is closing their Northampton and Eastfield Mall offices, saying people can register online. But how do you take an eye test online?

Eamon says he always called Efrem Gordon "Effie." I do not. Efrem called today with good news - the motion to strike down the case was denied and we have 60 days to do depositions. We will have to appear at a pre-trial conference on December 12th. He says he has a case in Albany this week and has to attend a conference at WNEC on Saturday but would like to sit down and discuss things with me on Tuesday. I asked if I should bring anything and he replied, "Just bring your wonderful cerebral process." I also asked how he was doing and Efrem said he recently got a flu shot from his doctor. I told him I am waiting for the free clinic.

Eamon called and I told him I think I'm getting a sore throat. He recommended I eat some chicken soup which he calls "Jewish penicillin." Eamon went up to the vets hospital in Northampton for a check-up and flu shot. He says Tapley Street has had lines of people showing up complaining about mistakes in their water bills. He said Jim Landers had to cancel his tag sale because of rain. Art Gingras has kept us informed about violence in the public schools, which is good because the media never covers it. However today on TV there was a story on an incident involving a knife at SciTech. They also said a student was hit with a baseball bat at Commerce.

TV40 hasn't run the "Harvard trained" Lisa Daniels commercial since I sent them my criticism. The Boston Globe is now carrying commitment notices from gay couples. The Springfield Newspapers should start reporting on gay unions both as a way for the paper to make money and because they call themselves "the paper of record in the Pioneer Valley." But without reporting on the gay community they are offering an incomplete record, just as they offer a biased and inaccurate record of political events.

October 18, 2002

An absolutely beautiful day. 51 degrees at 8am.

Reagan was dumb but had commonsense. Bush is dumb but has no sense. Harry Belefonte was on The Donahue Show saying that it's a shame that Blacks in power such as C. Powell and C. Rice don't use their positions to help Black people. Louis Farrakhan was in Springfield yesterday. He said people should always be peacemakers except in cases of self-defense. On TV he appeared intelligent and impeccably well-dressed.

WFCR played Louis Spohr's Concerto No. 8 in A today. On TV Nancy Dell says the seven best foods to eat are tomatoes, fish, green tea, citrus fruit, dark berries, broccoli and peppers. Better Living Patio Rooms has commercials running on television for a glassed in addition that they say "adds resale value to your home." They don't mention that it also adds heating expenses and higher real estate taxes.

Evening Appliance arrived today in a blue van with a yellow moon on the side and delivered my new stove. They installed the stove and when they left I gave the workers a bottle of Harvey Bristol Creme each. I call it Waspitality. My stove was $510.50 with tax and installation. I'm glad it doesn't have a lot of buttons, bells and whistles because all I wanted was a stove.

I called Mrs. Staniski and found her in a chipper mood. I said maybe I'll take her for a ride on Monday. Drove out today and had a scrambled eggs and sausage breakfast at Bickford's (the old Abdow's Big Boy) on Boston Road. At $2.99 it was a better breakfast than McDonald's.

Eamon called and remembered how he used to work for local tobacco farms in his youth, Hathaway and Steen Tobacco Co. one year and Consolidated Cigar another. A bus came by to pick up him and about a dozen other kids each morning at Bottle Park (now Brunton Triangle) and brought them home at 5pm. One of his jobs was pulling weeds and the other was picking tobacco leaves.

Eamon says his caller ID shows he got six calls to his telephone editorial yesterday from workers at the Springfield Newspapers. He said that A. Gingras called him and said there was another melee at Commerce during 2nd lunch period. There were 60-70 kids rioting and the police had to be called in. At the time Principal Ann Henry was away at a meeting at the School Department. Gingras says that Henry barricades herself in her office and never helps when there's trouble.

Some kids have complained to their parents about what is going on at school but Henry punishes the kids for ratting her out. Instead the students should be praised for having the character to stand up and speak out about the poor education they are receiving, but the adults don't want to hear it. Gingras says there are incidents of violence in Commerce on a daily basis. Eamon called the night editor at the paper Lu R. Feorino about the problems at Commerce and she said to contact their education reporter Mary Ellen O'Shea but Eamon told her O'Shea is a phony who is in the pocket of the teacher's union. He also called TV40 and spoke for ten minutes with Dave Madsen who said he didn't realize the situation in the public schools was so bad.

Commonwealth Magazine says Massachusetts has the second least competitive legislative races in the nation because so many seats are uncontested. That is bad for democracy. The Union-News has a Bob Rich cartoon today ridiculing Kathy Pellegrino. The newspaper also has an editorial today calling for something to be done about the discipline problems in our schools. Even Eamon approves, saying the Rich drawing may be the best political cartoon to appear in the Springfield Newspapers in modern times:

click to enlarge

I left a message for Larry McDermott congratulating the paper on the cartoon and editorial and said I hope this shows that they are finally realizing how correct critics like Eamon, myself and others have been all along.

October 19, 2002

48 degrees at 8am. Overcast all day.

If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?

Dick Costello is the Territory Representative for McNair Business of Springfield. 1460 Wilbraham Road is a neat ranch house impeccably kept up by a tall, thin, athletic guy whom I sometimes see using the fire hydrant on the side street to do leg exercises. Dick Nichols has installed a new glass front door. Mrs. Cohn also got one, everybody is, even Dickie. The junky green house next to the Devine's on Breckwood Boulevard is for sale again.

I drove past the East Congregationalist Church this morning where Rep. Asselin was having his pancake breakfast. They had red, white and blue balloons outside the Parish Hall and I counted 55 cars in the parking lot. There was an ASSELIN sign at the end of Bowles Park pointing people to the church.

Then driving past St. Mary's I noticed that they were having their Fall Tag Sale. It was nowhere near as big as it was the last time I was there. I saw an Indian goblet I wanted so I asked the lady the price. She said $6 so I offered $5 and she said okay and seemed happy to be selling it. There were not a lot people there. I also saw too late a book called History of the Diocese by Father Parmeleau that had a picture of William Pynchon in it and a chapter on Puritan intolerance. Alas someone else had already claimed it.

Going past the Zion Community Baptist Church on Roosevelt where Bethlehem Baptist once was I noticed that they were making improvements to their entrance. Finally I arrived at the big antique sale at Springfield Technical Community College, where the campus was crowded because there was also a job fair going on. I was wearing my spiked doggie collar, my orange "Correctional Facility" shirt, my biker jacket with my pants tucked into logger boots. In other words, fully uniformed.

At the door a man noticed my "Correctional Facility" shirt and inquired about what I correct. I told him that I'm an editor and I correct everything! He laughed. Someone was selling an extensive collection of postcards of lighthouses for a whopping $1000. I bought several books from E. Povirk, including The Unjust Judge (1854) with C. H. Lyman stamped on the title page. It is an extremely rare legal item I have never seen advertised anywhere and I know the field. It was a steal at $95. For fun I also bought William A. Anthony on The Art of Napping (1997). Page 18 has a picture of fabled napper Sir Winston Churchill. It is a lovely little book and I will loan it to Mrs. Staniski.

Povirk said the used book business has been slow lately. I also spoke with Wickham the bookseller who told me he's from Ohio. He didn't know there was a Wickham who was President of Heidelberg. On the way home I swung by the Church of the Acres which was also having a sale. They had nice dishes and some old maps but I didn't buy anything.

October 21, 2002

49 degrees at 7:30 and chilly.

All the Birchland Avenue trees are at full color. I started letting my fingernails grow in the middle of September and now they are longer than they ever have been.

WFCR is having a fund drive. They say they are "frugal" and their facilities at UMass do not have "fancy chairs or artwork." At one point WFCR said we should give generously to them "considering what you pay for newspapers and magazines, the internet and cable TV." Actually I pay nothing for those things. Roy Scott, described as "a baseball aficionado" was the one doing the begging. He sometimes stumbles over his words but as the Valley Advocate once said "he's a good egg."

The Paper City Brewery's Cabot Street Wheat Beer is brewed at 108 Cabot Street in Holyoke. President Carol T. Christ of Smith College in Northampton was inaugurated last weekend. She was formerly a Victorian Literature professor at Berkley. She describes herself as "committed to academic excellence, fluency and interdisciplinary work."

I got a letter from Nestle today explaining that "We no longer manufacture Stouffer's Lobster Newburg because the sale volume was not great enough to justify space on the retailer's shelves." They sent me a dollar off coupon and urged me to "try another product from our family of fine foods." Efrem Gordon called and asked me how I was coming on the affidavit. He advised me, "Don't put anything in it that they can use, just put in stuff that you can use."

All my neighbors were out today. I saw that Mudry was mowing his lawn so I brought him some books on Portugal and Russia. I asked him if he wanted to see my wooden Indian so he came over and said he liked it. I asked him about his health and he told me he is 59 and feeling good. We discussed national politics and he said he thought Donald Rumsfeld is "slick" and thinks Bush wants to go to war in Iraq in order to "finish what his Dad started." Then I went to the Penniman's to drop off the Boston Herald and also left a bag of magazines on the Cohn's back doorknob. There were three cars in the Cohn's driveway. I also waved at Taylor and chatted with Cressotti.

Then I drove over to the McDonald's on Allen and had a sausage biscuit which was good but there were no free newspapers lying around. Next I went to Louis & Clark and bought a birthday card for Belle-Rita Novak. I have been using Mother's collection of reserves instead of buying cards but I wanted to get something special for Belle-Rita. Someday I would like to make a postcard of her. I also mailed some postcards to Murray in Wilbraham. The Louis & Clark copier was not working. When I was leaving I ran into Rev. Loesch and we exchanged cheerful greetings.

I took Mother's best friend Mrs. Staniski to the Basketball Hall of Fame today. She was wearing a black top, black slacks, a gold necklace and using her Alpine walking stick. First we drove through St. Michael's Cemetery to see the work progressing on the new mausoleum. Mrs. S. said she went to see her doctor Anthony Lovell the other day, a nice man with whom she became acquainted at the time of her husband John's heart difficulties. She said Carol is now hurting for money and that Ann has taken up bicycling around Arlington.

When we entered the Hall of Fame the greeter asked Mrs. Staniski her age and she replied, "92 going on 93 this December." I asked the greeter how many visitors they had today and he unconvincingly said he had no idea. We got two dollars off our tickets with my AAA card. I bought nine postcards of the Hall for a dollar apiece and gave three to Mrs. Staniski.

We admired the walkway over the railroad tracks and I photographed Mrs. Staniski against the Springfield skyline. We walked through several galleries of stuff and saw a very tacky replica of the original gym where the first basketball game was played. At the end Mrs. Staniski said she was glad to have seen it all but was mostly unimpressed and felt that "all that money" could have been better spent on something else. Afterwards we went to the Friendly's on lower Sumner Avenue and got two sundaes with a coupon. Mrs. Staniski said the last time she was there was with Mrs. Wilcox.

Linda Melconian has been defeated in her quest for the Senate Presidency. She will remain as the Democratic Senate Majority Leader for the time being. A major career blow for Linda. What will she do next? Howie Carr is cheering Linda's loss, describing her as "Senate Majority Leader Linda Melconian, who was put in her job by Senate President Tom Birmingham, who was selected to run the Senate by the Bulgers."

When I got back Eamon called and said he took out his air conditioner today and took down the awnings in front. Eamon says he can foresee the day when he won't be able to lift the air conditioner by himself. I said don't ever do it alone again! Eamon complained about how Councilor Tim Rooke has been unable to obtain public records from the taxpayer funded MCDI because of the resistance of Mayor Albano's hack appointee and best friend Gerald Phillips.

Eamon doesn't think the paper or TV stations would have done their stories about violence in the schools without him pestering them and I agreed. He said that besides Henry at Commerce former Superintendent Negroni appointed "several totally unqualified and inept principals" throughout the Springfield School System. Before hanging up Eamon told me that Springfield cops are only concerned with three things:

1. Don't get caught.
2. Don't say anything to embarrass the department.
3. Get as much free coffee and donuts as you can.

October 22, 2002

Sunny, 44 degrees at 11:35am.

Mrs. Joseph Kozacki lived on Old Country Road in Westfield in 1972. William E. Begley and Maurice J. Ferriter had their law offices on Suffolk Street in Holyoke in 1972. Henry N. Giroux, a retired electrical engineer for the former F.W. Sickles Company in Chicopee died in 1987 at age 77. Michaelann C. Bewsee is quoted in the paper saying, "The amount of money spent on war is inextricably linked to what's available for other human needs." A picture accompanying the article shows that she is showing her age but her commitment and spirit burn brightly. Michaelann is the finest truthseeker in the city.

Activist Brenda Branchini called from her friend Patrick Manley's house in East Longmeadow and said she is doing substitute teaching now in grades 1-5. She said she has lost contact with most of her old political friends but would consider making another run for Springfield City Council if the circumstances were right. She sometimes sends letters to the Springfield Newspapers but they are never printed. She said the only Union-News reporter who ever treated her with sympathy and respect was Chris Hamel. She noted that I was wearing leather when she saw me at the Antiquarian Book Fair and recalled how she used to sell leather to S&M enthusiasts at her shop. She didn't know who Eamon was so I will send her his phone number along with some postcards.

Then I spoke on the phone with Nader the Hatter who says he is making a killing selling old hat blocks from the family business on eBay. He recalled that his grandfather used them for his woodstove but "now they're gold" and go for $200 apiece. He has about 3,000 of them so he expects to make a pretty profit. Later a pollster for the Republican Party called and asked who I was supporting for Governor. I said I was a liberal Republican who would probably vote for Romney although I actually prefer Jill Stein. I told them I would support Republican Bob Collamore over Gail Candaras because I know Collamore's father Leonard. I said I would write in the name of Paul Caron rather than vote for the crook Chris Asselin. I also explained that I would probably not vote for the Republican running for State Treasurer because of the corruption under Joe Malone.

I drove out to the Springdale Mall where the new Stop&Shop is coming along nicely. I went into Staples and used the ten dollar gift card I found in the Wilbraham trash can to buy two boxes of envelopes. Then to Food Mart for peanut butter and pudding cups and afterwards I headed downtown to see Attorney Gordon. I parked on Salem and stopped at Westfield Bank to re-invest some bonds. Then over to see Efrem who was most friendly and we talked about all aspects of the case. I told him I would come by in a few days with a check for $10,000 and he said he was comfortable with that as a start. We were interrupted by a phone call from someone named Fuller, so Efrem said I may as well go and he will call me if there are any new developments.

I left and went over to Gus & Paul's at Baystate West for some pastries to take to Eamon along with a Basketball Hall of Fame postcard. He was in his yard and we sat in the sun by his garage chatting. He very kindly gave me his copy of Ramsey Clark's The Fire This Time. I told him about my conversation with Brenda Branchini and he showed me the latest copy of The Journal. Fran Gagnon is gone from the masthead as well as Gormally but Harold Flavin is still there. The poetry of Gasoline Alley guy J. Sibilia is also gone. They have an All Rights Reserved copyright notice, which they never had before and also list their address as 32 Center Street in Chicopee.

Eamon said a student by the name of Mitchell got kicked in the mouth last week at Putnam High. Eamon showed me his latest Tiffany Lamp with a peacock feather design and I questioned whether something so expensive should be in the porch window where anyone can see and perhaps break the glass to steal it. Eamon said he welcomes someone trying to do that, as it would give him a chance to practice his target shooting.

October 24, 2002

39 degrees on the breezeway at 8:08am. Frost on the picnic table.

Cardinal just don't get it
He's feeling infallible
Fondled more than rosaries
You can all kiss my ring
Because I am the Law

Michael R. Matty is the Chief Investment Officer for D.J. St. Germaine and Company - "Investment Management Since 1924." WFCR scolded us this morning saying, "Hope you're not a deadbeat listener." So that is what I am, a deadbeat listener. TV22 News came back from commercials today but the sound was turned off, a typical example of their amateurism.

Saturday Oct. 26 there will be a National March on Washington D.C. to Stop the War in Iraq Before it Starts. Movie posters are the new hot collectibles. An original poster for The Mummy starring Boris Karloff (1932) sold recently for $453,000. A nurse at Mercy Hospital lives at 1536 Wilbraham Road. Campbell's Vegetable Soup smells like piss.

Nader the Hatter called at 12:59pm and said he'd be over in about ten minutes to go to lunch. He got here shortly thereafter and I showed him my wooden Indian which he liked. I gave Nader a small bag of things which included a Smith & Wesson 150th Anniversary hat. I suggested going to the Basketball Hall of Fame but he had no time to go that far because he still had to pack up the stuff he sold leftover from the business and mail it out before he returns to Florida. He said let's go to the Pizza Uno on Boston Road instead and we can go to the Hall of Fame when he returns to the valley in November. Nader said he likes the Boston Road Uno better than the one downtown because it seems friendlier and more comfortable, as indeed it does.

We both had salads and split a large pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and broccoli. I had a mug of beer and Nader had coffee. Nader looks good and seems upbeat, things seem to be going well for him. Nader said his relative was at the Cancer Walk ceremony and told him that Mayor Albano arrived in a stretch limo and after he spoke hardly anyone clapped or cheered. He thinks the public has grown tired of Albano. When we left there were men stringing up lights for the Eastfield Mall holiday decorations.

Nader went home to wrap up and mail his sales while I headed to the discount flu clinic at the Longmeadow Big Y. They had a sign-up sheet and I was number nineteen. The fee was only $20. There was virtually no wait and the nurse that waited on me was Ms. Talbot. The store manager was there and I told him how I appreciated the service. Afterwards I bought two acorn squash and at the checkout counter they had a little machine where you push a button and images spin. I came up with three lemons so I got a silver coin that's worth a discount the next time I come in. That's the first time I've seen that. As I left two women were cleaning the entrance way by the bulletin board. I tried to take a poster from the board but one of the cleaning ladies told me that was not permitted.

Next I headed to downtown Springfield to give Efrem Gordon his money. First I stopped at the Telephone Worker's Credit Union to take out a check for ten grand and then I walked down Main Street to Efrem's. I noticed the former Newsstand/Tobacco Shop is now painted a deep purple in front, it appears to be some sort of restaurant. The Forbes Fountain by Monarch Place was turned off. At Atty. Gordon's the aged secretary Ms. White took my money with a beaming smile and was very sweet. She said Efrem is in Northampton today.

On my way back to the car I saw there was a fire truck and police cruiser on Worthington. I noticed for the first time that The Fifth Alarm strip club is right by Keough's homeless shelter. I had heard of The Fifth Alarm before but didn't know where it was located. On the drive back I stopped at the Boston Road McDonald's for a "Big and Tasty" and fries.

When I got back home Eamon called and said that both his sisters visited today. They said he should take his Tiffany Lamp out of the window before it invites a burglary. He refused however because he says "it looks beautiful at night." Eamon also said that Negroni appointed Ann Henry and Lydia Blazquez as high school principals "to pander to minorities" but said there is no excuse for current Superintendent Burke's refusal to fire them.

Eamon said this morning he went to visit his friend Chef Paul at Bernardino's Bakery in Chicopee. Eamon says the business must be in serious trouble, as he was there for over an hour and not a single customer came in while he was there. Chef Paul said that they took out a $400 ad in the Union-News and from what they could tell it didn't bring in a single customer. Their rent is $800 a month. Chef Paul said he went to see the Basketball Hall of Fame recently and he was practically the only one there. He told Eamon, "At least we're not the only ones who have no customers."

October 26, 2002

A lovely day, color is now at its peak.

Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, a maverick who opposed letting Bush go to war in Iraq, has died in a plane crash.

Leonard E. Gibbons and Ann M. Gibbons had their law offices at 415 Suffolk Street in Holyoke in 1974. Today is opening day for skiing in Killington, Vermont. There are 979 mothers of twins in Massachusetts and 13 mothers of triplets. Art Gingras' wife went to the Vatican and was disturbed by all the gold, jewels and other opulence when there are starving people all over the world. Her employer is Ben Shenkelberg the architect who has offices someplace on Eliot.

This morning I went up to Amherst to do some research at the UMass Library where Melinda McIntosh works. There was a lot of traffic going down Sumner Avenue, and at the light by Fancy That a white male driving a tan Altima (371GKY) tossed a cigarette into the street. I honked three times and the guy gave me the finger as he drove off. In Amherst the leaves along Commonwealth Avenue have pretty much fallen.

I arrived at the UMass campus center garage at 10:36 and parked in spot 336A right inside the entrance. The parking fee was a whopping six dollars but what can you do? "No War On Iraq!" was scrawled in chalk on the Student Union walkway. So I went inside the library and walked downstairs to the mezzanine or basement or whatever they call it and there was Melinda sitting at the reference desk along with two others. She very cheerfully greeted me and I told her I wanted to spend the day checking recent acquisitions in Mansell. She also helped me find Richard Griffin's Bug House Poetry (1917) and The Dead Rabbit Riot (1915).

Melinda and I took the elevator up to the 25th floor and she introduced me to the workers - William R. Thompson the Head of Government Documents and Maps, Archives Assistant Stephen T. Robinson and Michael F. Milewski the Senior Archives Assistant. Later Thompson made some copies for me at ten cents each and when I asked him what he was working on he said he is writing articles about the stuff in their collection. I was delighted to stumble upon some pre-1956 imprints of Plomer. My research cleared up some important issues but I didn't find anything special.

There is a nice clean men's room right outside the manuscript room. When I left the library I stopped to say goodby to Melinda and she said she would walk me over to the Student Union. I told her about Cecilia's sale and the South Church chafing dish. We parted at the entrance to the Student Union promising to see each other at some indefinite date in the near future. Then she went back to the library and I went inside to gather posters for my collection.

I gathered six anti-war posters, twelve campus unionism sheets and one charming poster prohibiting skateboards and roller blades - but no mention of roller skates or unicycles! On the way back I went through South Hadley instead of going down the interstate. Stopped at the Big Y on Willimansett Street in South Hadley and bought a tasty but expensive grinder with pastrami, cheese and spicy fillings on large bread. I ate half there and brought the rest home for supper.

WFCR was complaining this morning that only one out of every ten listeners donates money. That curious egg James Tourtelotte was on Real to Reel this week in a segment on the St. Thomas More Society. Katherine Kirby the former TV personality is now a weekend news anchor on TV30 in Hartford. Funny how they all exit Springfield as fast as they can. This morning on the Today Show they said on Thursday they'll be talking about the Father Lavigne/Danny Croteau case. So Springfield is about to go big time as a center for pedophile priests.

October 27, 2002

47 degrees this morning and raining. I set the clocks back last night.

Is the World Series fixed so that the games will go on longer and make more money?

My parents called taking a shit "doing a bum-bum." Edith Kerrigan of Longmeadow, Executive Director of the Springfield Public Forums, is retiring to Florida after 27 years. Among those who spoke during her tenure was journalist Edwin Newman on language, actress Liv Ulmann on children and Richard Nixon on national issues.

Today I went to the Investment Education Forum at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame put on by UBS PaineWebber. I left at 8:15 and drove down Union by way of Alden and Walnut, arriving at the Hall of Fame at 8:35. My reason for going to this thing was not the forum but simply to see how the Hall of Fame handled such events.

When I pulled into the parking lot it was pouring out but a black guy was still going around in a golf cart picking up litter. I was dressed in full uniform: Orange Correction Facility shirt under my black leather jacket, spiked collar with padlock, a bright purple kerchief tied over my head and my new black jeans tucked into my carefully laced logger boots. As I went in someone was unlocking the museum store while saying to someone inside that she was cold. There are a lot of large, open spaces in the Hall and it must be hard to heat.

The sneaker shop was still closed but McDonald's was open for business. Their McDonald's has three birthday party rooms between the general food area and the auditorium. It is more private than the party rooms at the Eastfield Mall. There is also a room for parties at the Allen Street McDonald's. The forum was held in the Mass Mutual Suite which is a large reception area behind the Henry Lee and Julius Appleton display, which is a 10x10 wall tribute to both Springfield College benefactors with pictures. PaineWebber had a two table sign up area and a modest refreshment stand of free coffee and soft drinks, bottled water but no orange juice. They had bagels and Dunkin Donuts to eat. I had two onion bagels.

GE was offering free pens and Fidelity had balls that flash lights when you bounce them. I got one for Eamon. There were about 25 people in attendance, which makes me suspect that financially the forum was probably a flop. But the speakers were splendid, especially James Morelli of GE who said, "People don't plan to fail; they fail to plan." I asked PaineWebber Senior Vice President Michael H. Jonah what will happen to the stock market the day after we invade Iraq. He said that was a good question but impossible to predict. It was a nice event and I'll send them a thank you note. On the way back I stopped at Food Mart for a razzleberry pie, Stouffer's Creamed Chipped Beef and some Marie Callender products. I cooked the razzleberry pie when I got home and it is delicious.

A letter came from State Senator Brian P. Lees today replying to my comments about the election by thanking me for contacting him "to express your concerns about Republicans in the current election cycle." He expressed disappointment "to learn that you may not be supporting the GOP candidates this year." He urged me to "consider supporting Dan Grabauskas for State Treasurer and Mitt Romney for Governor," adding, "Dan was able to clean up the Registry of Motor Vehicles through user-friendly reforms, while Mitt's excellent managerial skills and business experience enabled him to save a scandal-ridden Olympics and make the United States proud."

Eamon called and said his lawn man is coming to rake the leaves tomorrow. There is a big article in the paper today by Mary Ellen O'Shea on violence in the schools. It is incomplete and doesn't really make it clear to the public the extent of the problem, but it is still better than nothing. Does Mary Ellen O'Shea have any background in education such as a master's degree? The article said the paper tried to interview Ann Henry of Commerce and Lydia Blazquez of SciTech but neither would return repeated phone calls. If these incompetents are ever fired the credit should go to Eamon T. O'Sullivan, Arthur Gingras and William L. Rice, but they will probably never receive any recognition for their brave fight on behalf of our children.

October 30, 2002

48 degrees and sunny at 9:33am.

My health isn't getting any better but I have to keep moving. Someday I shall die, I'm just trying to do worthwhile things until it happens.

Many businesses run on fear:

Lottery: Fear your number will come up when you didn't bet.
Religion: Fear you'll go to hell.
Law: "Scare them into settling." - Efrem Gordon
Medicine: Scare them into all kinds of tests and treatments.
Photography: Fear that precious moments will be lost.
High Tech: Fear the other guy will have an edge.

Henry Winkler is 57. Bush plans to call up 265,000 reserves if we go to war with Iraq. You lucky weekend warriors! The Anaheim Angels won the World Series, as if I care. Robert Mapplethorpe took pictures of people who were proud to be gay and there is nothing wrong with his art. Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees has his district office at 5 Millbrook Circle in East Longmeadow. The number of hunters in Massachusetts is about half what it was twenty years ago.

The Traprock Peace Center is bringing Iraq weapons inspector Scott Ritter to Deerfield Academy on October 15th. A request by Attorney John Stobierski in Greenfield Superior Court has resulted in the release of documents exposing diocesan negligence in the matter of Father Lavigne. Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury and Murphy are advertising on TV57.

The bands The Good North and The Figgs will be appearing at Pearl Street in Northampton. A new arts building is opening in the Florence section of Northampton. The First Church of Christ in Longmeadow is having their Christmas Fair November 9th. West Springfield is thinking of giving their senior citizens a $500 voucher towards their taxes for 100 hours of community service. Sounds like slave labor to me.

Trinity United Methodist Church is having their annual pledge campaign and John Foster is the chairman. East Longmeadow United Methodist Church is preparing for their 150th Anniversary in 2003. The church was organized in the kitchen of the Page family at 79 Prospect Street on March 14, 1853. No missed telephone calls today on my caller ID. That is good. I am sending Marion Whitcomb some postcards. Saw a truck for Hydro Pro Irrigation of Chicopee parked on Wilbraham Road in front of Mancuso's.

Stopped by the Cohn's and discovered from Irving that his wife Lenore is at Sunbridge nursing home in East Longmeadow after suffering a shock. If she recovers well enough she may be able to return home. Mr. Cohn was sitting at the kitchen table with some bread and cheese. Mrs. Cohn used to do all the cooking for him so it will be quite an adjustment, although a housekeeper comes to help. I said I would bring him some reading material and he told me he reads two or three books a week. When I left I waved at Mr. Cressotti and as I drove around Ballard into Ashland I saw retired journalist Durham Caldwell and his wife out walking, with Mrs. Caldwell using a walking stick. I paused and rolled down the window and we chatted about the election. Durham said they are supporting Shannon O'Brien because after three GOP governors the state is a mess! I told them I voted for Robert Reich in the primary and he said Reich is urging his supporters to back O'Brien.

The Holyoke Victory Theater drive has raised $367,000 but needs $10 million. Marie Callender has quality products. Drove out to Masse's Seafood on Memorial Drive in Chicopee. They go to Boston for fresh fish everyday and truly do have the best seafood around. I bought some lobster bisque and fried scallops for $17.79.

The Governor's race has become a blizzard of mudslinging ads between Romney and O'Brien, with only Jill Stein maintaining her dignity. Congressman John Olver is running his same old commercial with the song about "having been everywhere" but of course he doesn't mention Springfield because it isn't in his district. It is an ad totally devoid of issues. The sole issue ad he has is one about "setting up intermodal transportation centers in Pittsfield, Westfield and Holyoke." Sounds like Olver has fallen under the influence of Peter Picknelly.

Eamon called and said his collection of Tiffany Lamps is worth at least $50,000. He said the article on school violence in the Union-News the other day was okay, "an improvement over their past policy of censoring any negative stories about the Springfield schools." He said the refusal of Principals Henry and Blazquez to speak to the paper is "a shocking example of the arrogance of our so-called educators."

Eamon recalled how in 1986 the architect Al Casella told him, "You can't do business in Springfield, the politicians all have their hands out." Casella left the city to reside in Connecticut. Eamon said he heard a rumor that the contract for painting at the Parking Authority went to the same firm that painted Kathleen Pelligrino's home here and on the Cape. Furthermore he heard that one of the wives of Ray Asselin's sons has been testifying against the family in front of the Grand Jury. The Asselins also have a place on Cape Cod estimated to be worth $4 million.

Eamon said Jack Nelen's sister told him that Gerald Phillips showed signs of sexual deviancy from a young age and used to show pornography to the other kids in the neighborhood. He may also have had a long term homosexual relationship with Father John Koonz who served at Our Lady of Hope and then at St. Agnes in Dalton. Koonz is now retired and in poor health, living at his sister's in West Springfield. Gerald Phillips two best friends are Mayor Albano and Frank Keough, while Phillip's dad Cornelius is accused by some of driving the Chicopee Savings Bank into backruptcy with the help of Judge Landers. They got away with it because Judge Tauro was a law school buddy of Landers. So a lot of rumors are afoot but they ring true.