10/24/12

August 2002

August 1, 2002

77 degrees at 6:30am. Another scorcher.

Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has been sold to somebody in Mississippi who is licensed to operate it until 2012. The Tavern Restaurant down the South End has a permit to serve liquor in their newly created Hearth Room, that is the little room that has been closed off since they opened. Union-News photographer Donald G. Fontaine rode a Harley-Davidson FX Dyna. Fontaine was killed in July when he was hit by a truck.

TV40 news says that second hand smoke from humans is the leading cause of cancer among cats! They also said the reconstruction of the downtown ramps starting with Exit 6 at State will continue until 2004. The $13 million ramp project is supposed to help people reach the new Hall of Fame but some are complaining that it will lessen the probability that the Hall of Fame visitors will spend any time in the rest of downtown Springfield. It seems like they were fooling with the ramps just a few years back - fix it, find out it's still wrong and then spend a fortune to fool with it again. I heard an advertisement for Tom Devine who is appearing regularly on Tuesdays on The Tony Gill Show on WAIC 91.9. They promised, "Special guest appearances by candidates and pundits from across the political spectrum."

Bought 50 shares of GE today and cooked a kettle of corn on the hotplate out back. Drove out just after nine this morning and got the Union-News and Valley Advocate at Louis & Clark. Then over to Arnold's Bread and bought a half dozen chocolate donuts. At noon stocks were down. I called Joan Narmontas in Editorial at Merriam-Webster in Springfield and asked about when to capitalize "panama" when it is used to describe a hat. Nader the Hatter needs to know as he is editing his hat making manuscript. Joan said when you are describing the form of hat in general you capitalize it, but when referring to a specific hat you do not. In other words, you capitalize the genus but not the species.

A person identified as "unknown" on my caller ID rang three times and then hung up just as I was running to the phone. Two minutes later they rang again so I picked up and before they could say anything I shouted, "Fuck you for ringing and then hanging up and then ringing again! Scram!" Then I slammed down the phone right in their ear! As you can imagine they did not dare disturb my peace by calling again.

Late this afternoon Eamon called and said he has heard rumors that people being brought before the Grand Jury investigating corruption in Springfield are refusing to testify and are being threatened with five year jail sentences for contempt of court unless they sing.

Eamon also reported that Jim Landers told him some interesting stories about his father who was a Springfield policeman in the 1940's. In 1943 Lander's father was patrolling Worthington Street when he spotted some stuff piled outside the window of a basement apartment. He investigated and found a robbery was in progress! The robber put up a fight but old man Landers was a big man and was able to get the suspect pinned and handcuffed. When he brought the suspect in they identified him as the mobster Samuel "Big Nose Sam" Cufari. They let Cufari make a phone call and soon Deputy Ray Gallagher (later Chief Gallagher) appeared and told Landers, "I'll handle the situation." Then Cufari got into the police car with Gallagher and was given a ride home! As he was getting into the police car Big Nose Sam turned to Landers and said, "You dumb Irishman!"

When Landers told his shift supervisor what had happened he was told to drop it because "it is best not to get involved with certain things." Landers said that whenever there was a housebreak or a store robbery, while everything was closed off for the crime scene investigation, it was common for cops to steal whatever they wanted, knowing that the owner and their insurance company would assume that it was the robbers who took it. Lander's dad saw cases where only a few things were actually stolen in the robbery, but by the time the cops took everything they wanted the place had been completely cleaned out!

Later Landers was promoted to the vice squad because of his reputation for diligence and bravery. However he found the vice squad officers to be even more corrupt than the people they were arresting with the cops blackmailing those committing vice offenses in order to get sex, money and liquor out of them. Finally Landers resigned from the the Police Department and transferred to the Fire Department which was not as corrupt. Eamon said old man Landers' stories show how organized crime and corruption have been deeply embedded in Springfield for many years.

August 2, 2002

Cloudy and 87 degrees at 4:45pm.

This morning I renewed my membership in the American Civil Liberties Union. Today is the second anniversary of the disappearance of Molly Bish. The Business Friends of the Arts of Springfield has added four new members, none of them from Springfield! They are banker Thomas Burton of Suffield, WMECO's Kerry Kulman also from Connecticut, Mass Mutual's Francis B. Emerson of East Longmeadow and Six Flags manager Ronald Sevart of Westfield.

Martha Stewart had a splendid program on today about how to make flowers out of paper and make your own greeting cards. She also showed how to make a lemon flower cake. I am glad to have seen it, thanks Martha! This morning I dropped off some negatives at Walmart on Boston Road and was surprised to note that the Walmart Security cars have a Texas registration. Then I drove out to the Cat's Paw antique shop and bought a 1960's Mr. Peanut fork.

Eamon called and said that the way Chief Scott is cracking down on crime in Holyoke he wouldn't be surprised if Scott gets assassinated by drug gangs. We continued our discussion from yesterday about corruption in the Springfield Police Department. Eamon said that in the past a lot of the police stealing was petty stuff, like vice cops stopping a guy leaving a queer bar and demanding he hand over all the money in his wallet or they would bring him in on morals charges that would appear in the paper. Prostitutes were told to give the cops free sex or face arrest. But when the so-called War on Drugs came along the police were able to steal and demand bribes like never before.

Eamon says his Cathedral buddy Deputy Chief Dan Spellacy once told him that drugs are routinely missing from the evidence room at police headquarters but nothing is ever done about it. Spellacy also told him once that a lot of radio equipment went missing and everybody knew which officer took it but he was politically connected so nothing was done. Once Eamon asked Spellacy when the Springfield police were going to do something about organized crime in Springfield and he replied, "Oh, we don't bother with that." To this day District Attorney Bill Bennett and Police Chief Meara ignore organized crime and it took A.G. Tommy Reilly coming in to shut down the mob gambling machines in the local bars. Bill Bennett had mobsters as clients in private practice before he became District Attorney.

Eamon recalled how he used to rent an office in the Exeter Building for four or five years before he moved into the W.F. Young Produce Building. He said his office was robbed three times, and others in the building were robbed even more. He said that artists and accountants were robbed the most often. The Exeter Building was constructed in such a way that if you successfully broke into one office you could get into others through interior connecting doors.

Eamon also discussed how Irish mobster Ox McCarthy, who owned the Keg Room bar down by the courthouse also invested in several bars with Registry of Deeds Donald Ashe. According to Eamon McCarthy was insanely violent and used to go after people with baseball bats and shake them down for cash. He once even fired shots at the police but his best friend Matty Ryan kept him out of jail. Eamon claims that Ashe and even John Pierce Lynch had criminal records from their youth but they used their political power to destroy all records of it.

Eamon recounted how in 1976 he was showing some friends some expensive rings at the 418 Club, which in those days was located in the basement of the Tarbell-Waters Building. He was supposed to meet School Committeeman Francis Coughlin, the husband of Rose Marie Coughlin, but he never showed up. Apparently someone had seen Eamon showing the rings, because when he was leaving someone kicked Eamon in the middle of the back in the parking lot, sending him sprawling on the pavement. His attacker cried out, "Hand over your wallet and the rings!" Eamon reached for the pearl handled derringer he always carried in those days and fired a single shot, wounding his attacker but not killing him. A witness called the police and four cruisers and an ambulance responded. Eamon was arrested on an array of gun and assault charges.

The guy who tried to rob him turned out to be Mario Stancatto, a small time hood but potentially dangerous because he had mob connections. He had served time in prison with Billy Cavanza from the Cattleman Restaurant on Apremont and also done time in Danbury, Concord and Walpole. Eamon got himself Sam Marsella as his attorney for $1,000. Stancatto's attorney was Edward H. Hurley. Eamon felt confident that he could win the case on the grounds of self-defense, but then one day when Eamon was in the courthouse on an unrelated matter he saw Marsella and Hurley sitting together and laughing. That was when Eamon realized that his own lawyer was in with the mob and trying to screw him.

Eamon went to Del Padre's TV and Electronics and bought a small tape recorder. He then started to record his telephone conversations with Marsella in which his lawyer claimed he could get the charges dropped if Eamon would make a $6,000 payoff to the mob. When Eamon revealed that he had recorded the conversations Marcella was furious. The existence of the tapes caused Matty Ryan to decide to drop the charges as Eamon had outfoxed them!

A couple of weeks later Eamon was in The Dory Lounge when the owner, an ex-cop named Weldon, told Eamon to take a look at what he had behind the counter. It turned out to be Eamon's pearl handled derringer, which Weldon had gotten as a gift from Deputy Chief Dan Shea. Weldon said Shea told him that he had gotten the gun from the evidence room at the Springfield Police Department! Eamon went to see Police Chief Paul Fenton to find out if there was a way he could get the gun back. Fenton told Eamon he was lucky to have escaped the charges in the shooting without having to pay off the mob and even luckier that the mob hadn't tried to retaliate. "Let it go, Sully," Chief Fenton advised him, "For your own sake, just let it go."

August 4, 2002

74 degrees at 7:30am. Gas is $1.41 at Sunoco Breckwood.

Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Dance like nobody's watching.

Commercial on TV last night - "There will always be a need for honor. There will always be a need for courage. There will always be a need for pride. The few, the proud, the Marines." Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama says it isn't a matter of whether we will invade Iraq, but when.

The Union-News has an editorial supporting Mayor Albano's effort to get the Springfield Library System designated as "a library of last recourse" which would make it eligible for more tax money. Frederick L. Berard, 87, of Springfield has died at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Berard was the fourth generation to operate Berard and Son's Home Builders of Springfield and built more than 1000 homes throughout the greater Springfield area including Brightwood, Hungry Hill, Liberty Heights, Pine Point, Forest Park and Sixteen Acres. Eamon and I visited his residence some months back when it was for sale, a real palace with a large picture window overlooking an immense rolling lawn.

My quarterly water and sewer bill came today for $15.65. I tried calling J. Carvalho at the Quadrangle today but only got his voicemail. I tried calling S. Davison at the Quad and the same thing happened. Their office hours are supposed to be from 9-5 but apparently no one is watching the store. The doorbell rang this morning at 9:20 and it was Nader the Hatter dropping off the book I wanted to borrow, Brayley's History of the Boston Fire Department. We went over Nader's hat manufacturing manuscript line by line and I think it is just about finished. When he left Nader said he is going back to Florida a week from Monday and promised me we would go out to eat before then. I gave him some blackberries.

I parked in front of Walgreens in the Acres to go into Fleet Bank and saw a school bus parked in a handicapped space with no handicapped medallion or emblem on it. What's up with that? In front of the house by the Acres Garden Center, 1359 Wilbraham Road, the largest of the two very old oak trees appears dead and has an orange X sprayed on it. Went to pick up my pictures at Walmart and as I pulled into their parking lot I saw a single engine plane flying overhead to the southwest towing a sign that said Country Bank. They have a handsome branch further down Boston Road out in Wilbraham and they also have one in Ware. I bought two Sausage McMuffins for $1.04 each and then swung by Food Mart for some butter and sugar corn even though next to Stop & Shop it was overpriced.

I went to the open house for the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Smith & Wesson, billed as "a celebration of the partnership between Horace Smith and Daniel Baird Wesson." I arrived at Smith & Wesson, 2100 Roosevelt Avenue before the official two o'clock start but they were already letting people in. When I entered they wouldn't let me bring in my camera and held it for me at the entrance after giving me a receipt. Otherwise we were allowed to wander thru the plant as we pleased.

Every so often there would be an easel with a sign on it telling us what each department does. Framed historic memorabilia was all over the walls. Ribbons prevented us from going into certain work areas. The best part was the hot drop forging department where the men brought over newly forged red hot gun bodies for us to see. I spoke with one of the workers Stan Wnuk, Cutter Cell Manager and he said that most of their workers are just high school grads who the company sends to special classes when they need extra training.

At the end they offered us cold drinks and I took a bottle of iced tea. They also gave us Smith & Wesson American flag buttons and a Smith & Wesson baseball cap, tan with blue lettering. I remember little from when my parents brought me to the 100th anniversary celebration 50 years ago, but I do recall that they served us food on the second floor of the main building.

When I got home Eamon called and asked me to help him find out more about the RICO anti-mob statutes but I told him that is not my area of expertise. He said he also asked Jim Landers and Art Gingras about it but they couldn't help him either. Eamon described the Asselins, Keough, Kingston, Catjakis, Phillips and Ardolino as "hell bent on ripping off the taxpayers." Then he started talking about Matty Ryan and the reputation he had for grabbing waitresses when he got drunk.

Eamon recalled how there was a lot of gossip about how Matthew Ryan used to treat his parents. Both his mother and father died in the Springfield Municipal Hospital even though as a millionaire Ryan doubtless could have done better by them. Before Ryan's mother went into the city hospital she lived several years in Saab Court (public housing named after Rev. Saab the pastor of St. Anthony's when it was on Liberty before it moved to Island Pond Road). Ryan would visit her once a month and people would hear him yelling at her. When Eamon's mother transferred her house on Tacoma Street to Eamon for a dollar, Matty Ryan drew the deed. Alluding to the 1976 shooting incident he asked Eamon sarcastically, "You don't have a gun to her head, do you?" Eamon didn't think that was funny.

August 5, 2002

80 degrees at 6:34 this morning. Eight days in a row of over 90 degrees.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
the unreasonable one persists in trying
to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore all progress depends
on the unreasonable man.
- George Bernard Shaw

Sanborn, Ham & Company sold dry goods and carpets in Boston in 1885. C.D. Boss and Son manufactured fine crackers and biscuits in New London, Connecticut in 1886. J. Douglas Law & Company sold Hardware, Cutlery and Manufacturer's Supplies at 203 Worthington Street in 1925. Little Bear's Family Day Care is located at 1217 Wilbraham Road in Springfield. The Baystate Gas Company is in Westborough, Massachusetts.

I watched Jay Leno last night. He noted that Bill Moyers was busted for drunk driving in Vermont and then asked, "What's next? Mr. Rogers arrested for crack?" Got up briefly at 3:55am and turned on the television and TV22 had a test pattern saying they will return at 5am. In the current issue of The Reminder there is a notice that they are looking for craft vendors for the Mattoon Street Fair. That indicates that they are having trouble getting people.

I called Peter Picknelly today and his assistant Maureen answered and I told her that the current issue of Harvard Magazine has a cover story on gambling. She replied, "I will tell him," and then there was silence. "You're supposed to thank me for calling," I suggested. She said, "Thank you for calling." Then I said, "Good afternoon." She replied, "Good afternoon to you, sir."

I went to the Quadrangle today and as I departed Mr. Allard was out. I left off letters for Joe Carvalho and Sue Davison with Paula A. Pepin who gave me a receipt. Then I drove over to The Reminder offices and left some material for the Buendo Brothers with their advertising consultant Tom Eckels. From there I went over to the East Longmeadow Stop & Shop, which was formerly a giant Edwards when it was built, and bought some pork chops.

Stopping at Burger King I got two burgers for the price of one with a coupon. I also swung by the gift shop at Smith & Wesson and bought a lovely pewter toothpick holder for $25. On my way back I drove down Breckwood Boulevard and noticed that some weeds are growing out of the eaves-troughs of Tom Devine's house.

Big article in the paper today by Jennifer Picard about the theft of historic items from the Stone House Museum of local history in Belchertown. The Stone House Museum draws its name from the native fieldstones used by Jonathan Dwight to build it in 1827. According to Terry L. Davis, "Almost all theft in museums is insider theft, and unfortunately it doesn't just happen in small museums." Of course the Springfield Museums have ripped themselves off for years.

Eamon called and I told him that Barry Kreiger on TV22 reported that their online poll showed 64% oppose invading Iraq and 36% approve. We both agreed that an invasion of Iraq would be inappropriate. I told Eamon about my ongoing trouble trying to get my pictures back from Judy Matt. Eamon said she is probably hoping that if she ignores me I will eventually go away. I also told Eamon about my trip to Smith & Wesson and he said that when he went with his nephew who is a foreman there he got a lot of nice little trinkets like a pen and a keychain bearing the Smith & Wesson logo.

Eamon said that Jerry LaRose, the brother-in-law of Nader the Hatter, wants to interview Eamon for a book he is writing about Springfield. Eamon is afraid it will be a second-rate production that is just thrown together to make a quick buck. I suggested he test LaRose by giving him copies of the Ogulewicz Chronicles to see what kind of summary he makes of that material.

Eamon's phone message was very sarcastic today: "The people of Springfield never had it so good, with a first rate school system that's last in academic performance, plus no crime other than some daily stabbings, shootings and robberies. City finances are in great shape with a 400 million dollar debt, rising taxes and a near junk bond credit rating. With no blight in the trash ridden neighborhoods it's a livable city alright if you close your eyes and are on Mayor Albano's payroll."

August 8, 2002

75 degrees at 9:30am. At 6pm it was 77 degrees. Gas is $1.43 at the Pond.

Anyone can become angry - that is easy
But to be angry with the right person
to the right degree
at the right time
for the right purpose
and in the right way
that is not easy.
- Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

Felt and Company sold plows and wheels in Greenfield in 1870. West, Stone and Company were wholesale grocers and flour dealers in Springfield at Hampden and Fort Streets in 1884. Frank Steele sold foreign and domestic fruits and nuts in Springfield in 1886.

In the paper some are objecting to using cops to deal with truancy, but I say skipping school is stealing from the taxpayers at both ends. You steal when you miss the education, and you steal again when uneducated you can't find a job and end up on welfare. So students steal from the taxpayers twice over when they are truant.

I can't rule out the possibility that the microfilm people aren't exactly thrilled with filming my diary. The only thing I have to compare to is the much friendlier relations I had with Ron Larson's Valley Microfilm back in Madison, Wisconsin filming my college correspondence with Father. There are a lot of commercials on TV about how wonderful the care is at Mercy Hospital. I thought the care Mother got at Mercy Hospital stunk! She was hurting like hell but they couldn't find the cause. Then they found out too late that it was cancer. Father also disliked the hearing aid he got from Mercy, and said the one he got from Sears worked better.

Had a bowl of blackberries and milk for breakfast. I mowed the lawn today and there was a breeze all the while. I paused to photograph a spider's web at the corner of the garage. Mother's best friend Mrs. Staniski called and said she is glad for the relief from the hot weather today and that her daughter Ann is coming this weekend. I called Jim Landers today and got Mrs. Landers. I told her I respected her husband for all the work he did on the Caron for Mayor campaign and I hoped her and Jim would stop by my house sometime and see my collections. Then I called Senator Lees' office and confirmed with Christina that the Senior Forum is still scheduled for tomorrow. She said she isn't sure if there will be a free lunch but urged me to come anyway.

I went out this morning to Fleet Bank and cashed two bonds. I was waited on by Linda Santos who used to work for the Breckwood Shawmut back in 1989. She said she remembers Mother. Then I went to Walgreens where a fat woman with almost red hair was waddling into LA Weight Loss next door. I told her I bet that when she was young she was beautiful and she said that made her day.

Then I headed downtown and parked on Salem Street at 12:25 and walked down the hill to City Hall. There was a six piece jazz band playing outside called "Inner Orchestra" with about 75 listeners. I went into the City Assessors Office and looked up the value of properties owned by William T. Russell and William Arzuaga on North Branch Parkway, Stanley Padykula who has owned his house at 93 Catalpa since at least 1998, Guidi's at 37 Crest Street, J. Getty at 43 Crest, Belden Jr. at 33 Crest, Martin S. Miller at 17 Crest and Colleen Moynihan at 15 Birchland Avenue. When I got out I counted only 44 still listening to the band and there were John F. Kerry supporters collecting signatures in front of Tilly's (I signed).

When I got back I stopped by Irving Cohn's to drop off some reading material. The lights were all off but Mr. Cohn came to the door and cheerfully invited me in. I told him about the Seuss dedication and other topics. I asked him if he knew Rabbi Alex Weinfogel of 23 Spruceland whom I had been in a minor car accident with at the circle by Friendly's in Liberty Heights several years ago. Cohn said he did know him and said he is an Orthodox Jew and a top expert on rabbinical law. Cohn said Weinfogel is very highly regarded and great at explaining things very precisely.

We talked about Mr. Cohn's hat business which was called the Ware Millinery. He said he retired in 1972 and has donated archival documents from the business to Guy McLain of the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. Cohn graduated with a master's degree from CCNY and wrote his dissertation on the history of the millinery business and its unions in America.

When I left Mr. Cohn I saw that old Mr. Penniman was in front of his garage in a wheelchair and the Mrs. was sitting in front of the breezeway. We chatted and Mrs. Penniman asked about the Nichols place and the empty houses of Elmer Roman and Mary Jennette Smith. Mrs. Penniman told me that she was having her hair done when the place next door Sophia's Sports Bar was raided for having illegal gambling machines.

Eamon called and said he visited his friend Dick Serkin and was surprised to hear him call the Union-News "a worthless rag." I told him about Irving Cohn calling David Starr "a jerk" and suggested that Starr isn't very popular even among his fellow Jews. Eamon is mad about more scandalous stuff in the paper concerning Jerry Phillips and MCDI. Eamon says that it's ridiculous how James Asselin was paid a $95,000 per year salary plus $250,000 for his consulting work, much of which was done on city time. He also charged the taxpayers $160,000 for his travel/entertainment expenses. Eamon shouted, "You've got to be kidding!"

Eamon said the FBI told him yesterday they are focusing right now on the Asselin family, which is more corrupt than anyone ever suspected. The FBI agent also said that "Soco" Catjakis is "a slippery Greek" who is good at covering up his ties to criminal activities. Eamon told the FBI to look into people like School Department Grants Manager Dr. William Thayer and Research Director John Howell and how the $8.1 million federal safe schools money was used in an illegal and improper manner outside of state and federal guidelines.

August 9, 2002

66 degrees first thing in the morning. An absolutely fabulous day!

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! Had I the ability,, and could reach the nation's ear, I would today pour out a fiery storm of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire, it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. The feelings of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused, the propriety of the nation must be startled, the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; its crimes against God and Man must be proclaimed and denounced. - Frederick Douglas

The motto of the General Nutrition Center at Eastfield Mall on Boston Road is "We Have a Healthy Attitude at GNC." I called the Masonic Temple today and left a voice message saying I saw the story in the paper about "Masonic Hall Nears Completion" and how they had trouble getting people who could fix their crumbling terra cotto tiles. I remarked that if they had trouble getting masons to do masonry work then it sounds like they have forgotten their own craft! Not nice maybe, but it had to be said.

Primus Mason Court, a 90 unit assisted living complex, was built in 1999 at 74 Walnut Street in Springfield. Someone in Amherst has contracted the West Nile virus. Reminder Publications has purchased The Journal Newspapers. Bill O'Neil started the paper as the 16 Acres News, then the Family Journal and finally the Springfield Journal. In 1997 Bill O'Neil sold the paper to his son Steve. In 2000 they purchased the Bravo Arts Newspaper. Now with the sale to The Reminder Steve O'Neil will work for the non-profit Gasoline Alley Foundation.

I went to State Senator Brian Lees 13th Annual Golden Gathering freebie fair today. I went once before a few years back on a very hot day but today the weather was ideal. I went dressed all in black - black spiked doggie collar padlocked in back, black t-shirt with a skull on it and the words "Raising Hell is My Business" on the front and "Business is Good" on the back. I wore my black biker jacket with black jeans tucked into my new black engineer boots. In other words I dressed as degenerate as it's possible to look yet also very neat and slick looking.

I left home on foot and dropped off a copy of my Civil Liberties Union archives article at the Cohn's. Then I strolled down Ballard to Ashland and took the back road into Western New England College. The gathering was held in the gym, where there was already a long line waiting outside underneath a sidewalk tent cover. Six Flags sent people dressed as Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny to give the wait a festive air. Former School Committee member Candice Lopes walked by carrying a box, and once inside I saw that she was passing out refrigerator magnets with the city seal on them. Soon someone came around passing out bottles of water, as unfortunately the tent over the sidewalk cast its shade mostly on the lawn, not on the people waiting.

I noticed some old folks leaning on canes and walkers. They should let those frail people go right in without waiting. The man in line behind me introduced himself as Paul and said he and his wife live in East Longmeadow. There were a lot of out of towners there. The former business supplies woman from Johnson's Bookstore was there. Paul gave me a free ticket which he said was distributed at the East Longmeadow Senior Center and I thanked him profusely. One woman walking by shouted, "I love your outfit!" Lisa M. Carlesco, a young woman in reverse mortgages said she recognized me as someone she sees at the Quadrangle.

At 9:30 sharp the doors opened and Senator Lees was there shaking everyone's hand as they came through the door. Brenda Garton was there representing WNEC President Dr. Anthony Caprio and as effervescent as a cheerleader. Lopes was the emissary from Mayor Michael Albano and Lillian Glickman, the surprisingly young Secretary of Elder Affairs, was there. Later when she spoke I booed her. The event was crowded with lots of literature, lots of freebies and an occasional piece of gossip, like when a woman who works in District Attorney Bennett's office told me that Victor Gagnon (hubby of Frances) works for the Committee for Public Council Services on Main near Bliss and Stockbridge. I overheard Lees say the event cost $17,000 to put on, with the expense covered by contributions. Tom Birmingham's mother was there promoting her son's campaign for governor.

One booth had candy kisses like Mrs. Staniski makes. They had an area where they were serving coffee and mini-muffins. I wandered around gathering free stuff until I had an Eastfield Mall shopping bag full of things. I decided to sit down and sort through some of the literature that was thrust at me to decide what to save. Soon an elderly but youthful man with a briefcase sat down beside me and introduced himself as retired WNEC mechanical engineering Professor Alan K. Karplus of 6 Brooklawn Road, Wilbraham.

He asked me what I intended to do with all that literature and I said I would keep some for my collections, throw some away and give others to friends. We talked about computers and I said they are useful for science but otherwise an enormous waste of time and money. I said I would rather spend money on antique books than computers since the books will increase in value while the computers will become junk. Karplus suggested that I could build a webpage to promote my books, and I said I write them and my publisher is supposed to sell them.

He then suggested that I could share my thoughts with the world and keep an archives of them. I said yes, but archives are about controlling access to information and letting it out in the format and at the rate I want to, and even to exercise my right not to let it out. Besides, I have better things to do than to reprocess information. It's like so many libraries, they endlessly play with their books but don't know how to use them. We had a good conversation.

At noon they served a boxed lunch consisting of a chicken and cheese sandwich on a burger bun, an orange, four Fig Newtons, two hard candies and a container of Hood's Iced Tea. The Pledge of Allegiance was listed in the program but not said. The door prizes were baskets of fruit, gift certificates and binoculars from Smith & Wesson. There was a Springfield Police Department booth manned by Officer 114. I introduced myself and he growled, "I know who you are." I told him they should legalize all drugs and make them boring like they did in Amsterdam. I also mentioned Eamon's name and he made another disapproving face. Otherwise he was very polite and thanked me for sharing my opinion.

When I got home Eamon called and I told him about Lees' event. He said I should ask Irving Cohn whether he knows Milton Frohmer who ran the Highland Novelty with and after his dad beginning in the 1940's. Eamon said his caller ID shows that Tom Devine has been calling to listen to his telephone editorials on a regular basis since he got back from spending the first half of the year with relatives in Texas.

August 10, 2002

It was a really nice day. 69 degrees at 8:45am. Gas $1.39 at Pride.

This morning at 11:25 Jim Landers had to be rushed to the hospital after feeling a numbness creep over his left side. His wife called an ambulance and his doctor Mullan thinks he had a mild stroke. Landers is one hundred pounds overweight and smokes more than a pack a day of cigarettes. He is also a lover of rich foods. Fortunately he still has his Pioneer Insurance from Monarch. Eamon went to see him at the hospital and said the emergency room was filthy. I hope Landers recovers fully because he is a very nice man.

Trinity Lutheran Church is at 400 Wilbraham Road and has Sunday School at 9am. Richard J. Pelletier is a Member of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors on Elm Street in West Springfield. A ride on the Peter Pan River Bus costs $9.95 for adults and $6.95 for children. At 10:45am the mailman came walking down the street, bringing me a refund of $146.77 on Mother's final income tax. The check was made out to me as the executor.

There was a program on raptors on TV40 and I called Lucius and told him. I also called Nader the Hatter and his sister Kathy answered, informing me that the Hatter was at the Quadrangle meeting with Guy McLain. She told me that Nader brought some nice historical material relating to his family business because he wants access to some of the things the Quad already has on his family's business history.

Drove out to Wilbraham today and the intersection of Springfield Street and Stony Hill Road is still a mess from repaving. Drove past Fernbank where nothing was going on except the new house nearby is framed up, a big cottage with a two car garage, a real nice house whose owner will pay a high property tax. Boston Road is now beautifully finished from Palmer under the RR crossing all the way up to the entrance to Home Depot. The antique shop still has the painting in the window. There were tag sales in Springfield on Jeffrey Road and Sunrise Terrace.

On the way back I swung by Adams Playground. There was no parking on Wilbraham Road so I parked on Norfolk. Down Norfolk there is an elbow of the Carlisle Brook Dingle exposed to the street and I saw a man going in there with a trashcan of garden waste. He then went back to the adjacent white house with a chain link fence around it. The park looked like some event had happened there recently and so I gave it the old archeological/garbological treatment.

The Adams playground is a large rectangular lot about the size of a city block running even with Wilbraham Road and in the back it opens onto the road by the old Bethlehem Baptist Church. When I was a kid there was a baseball diamond in the field and metal athletic bars and a slippery-slide. There was a generic park building with a pointed roof whose door was usually locked. Occasionally it would be open and you could get balls and badminton equipment. There was also checker tables and it was once common to see old men playing checkers there and elsewhere in the Square in the 1940's and 50's. There also used to be a basketball hoop but I never used it because my parents put up one for me on Crest Street, although the neighborhood kids used it more than I did.

This morning the Adams Playground was only slightly littered and the trash cans had little in them. However there was a Dallas Cowboys stadium blanket lying on the ground so I brought it home to be laundered. Rummaging through the trash cans I found a Bud Williams for State Representative postcard, a flyer for the law offices of Glenn & Glenn, a $10 discount coupon for Six Flags and a wooden ruler advertising the Springfield Day Nursery. There was also a copy of the Springfield Inquirer and Downbeat Magazine.

When I got home I called Nader's brother-in-law Jerry LaRose and urged him to write the book he is planning about modern Springfield politics. I mentioned that I've known Nader for 25 years and think he is a bright fellow. LaRose said he used to be an engineer at Hamilton Standard and wondered if not being a college graduate would hurt his chances of getting something published. I said getting published is more a matter of the quality of what you have and whether it will sell in the current market.

LaRose said he has written a short story but it has been rejected as too long for a short story and too short for a book. It is a work of fiction about a boy who is alienated from his father but idolizes John F. Kennedy. He is also working on a book on how to educate the whole child. Larose subscribes to The Writer magazine. I told him that I am not competent to edit fiction but he should spend time in bookstores and libraries to see what is popular and then "write to the market." I suggested that if necessary he could pay to have his books published and then sell the book by speaking at clubs and bookstores.

LaRose said he has spoken at some length with Eamon about helping him write his non-fiction book about Springfield and said he wants to "pick Eamon's brain" for all the behind the scenes dirt. He noted that President John Silber of Boston University has called Eamon "the most notorious gadfly in Springfield" and he thinks Eamon's anecdotes would "add character to the book."

August 12, 2002

73 degrees at 9am. It is getting hotter. Gas at the Pond is still $1.43.

The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention. - Richard Moss, M.D.

Pierson & Wake sold groceries on Lyman Street in Springfield in 1884. Bugbee & Brownell were wholesale grocers in Providence, Rhode Island in 1884. J.B. Alvord did horse shoeing and general jobbing in Huntington, Massachusetts in 1910. The early morning news said the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture says plans to close and demolish the 30 year old Hartford Colosseum (to close September 1st) is "architectural murder." Falls Village has the most Lyme Disease cases in Connecticut. The annual rally of vintage cars was held in Manchester, Connecticut yesterday. The Hartford YMCA is celebrating its 150th Anniversary with the motto, "Caring, Respect, Responsibility."

SPA's Kathleen B. Pellegrino is featured in a story in the paper about new sun-powered meters similar to what Northampton has. I suggested this years ago. This morning I left word for Peter Picknelly with Brenda that the stuff at the Spaghetti Warehouse sale was junk. I suggested he ought to go to Fontaine's. This time Brenda did say thanks for calling. The mail brought a thank you from Carol A. Miller of the Agawam Historical Association for my gift of two versions of my Uncle George Giroux's business cards.

I went to Springfield Cemetery and drove around but couldn't find the Long monument. I stopped at the office and the lady gave me a map there and I went and photographed it. The quotation erroneously attributed to Milton has not been corrected. There are no street signs in the cemetery although there are names for the streets on the map. Then I went up the cobblestone drive to the Methodist section and photographed the Josiah Gilbert Holland monument with a brass tablet of his likeness on it. There were occasional broken stones and beer cans and water bottles around. It's not right the way Springfield Cemetery is being allowed to become run down. I think the place in in financial difficulty though of course they don't want to talk about it.

As I left a trench was being dug on Maple Street by Shannon Construction. Circled down Maple and up State and found myself driving along beside Mrs. Staniski. I tooted and waved to her and she turned off toward Bay/St. James. At Wesley Church I counted eight cars but didn't circle out back for a full count. At Mason Square Wilbraham Road was corded off and there were people playing basketball. There were balloons saying "Re-Elect Ben Swan State Representative." I understand they will pass a ball down the street from the Square to the new Basketball Hall of Fame.

I took Eastern Avenue over to Allen and had hotcakes without sausage at McDonald's. A Chinese family was there, and they were interesting to watch because they exuded closeness. The Mom was reading the paper as the dad had the youngest in a sling around his neck. He was cuddling and talking to the baby as several other young kids were sitting at the table. All were dressed in sandals and shorts. I stopped at Food Mart to get a 24 roll purchase of Angel Soft with a coupon. I also bought two rolls of Rolaids.

When I got home I walked over to the Cohn's. The car was in the garage, but the place was dark. I lightly rapped on the door but nothing. I rang the bell and Mr. Cohn came right to the door. He invited me into his dining room where against the inside stairwell wall there is a cot with a couple of pillows, just like I have set up in the pink room. On the outside wall are the bookcases and stereo system. Against the kitchen wall is a small electric typewriter and in the middle of the room is a snazzy swivel chair. Another chair was covered in papers and a ceiling fan was slowly revolving overhead. I loaned him a copy of Nader's hat manuscript and he said he would read and evaluate it.

Back at the house I called The Fort and Rudy Scheriff answered. I said I understood that gay priests frequent his restaurant and I was wondering what the best time to meet them was. "Anytime," he replied. I said I had heard Thursday and Friday afternoon and he repeated, "Anytime." So no denial, he knows who they are, what they are and admits they come there. Young Rudy was a lawyer but he didn't like it. His sister married a chemist Paul Hurley and they live in her old man's house. The father's name was Rupert.

Eamon called and said that Jim Landers is home from the hospital and quickly recovering from a minor stroke. Eamon said he went out to eat with his sister, who is suffering from a bad knee. They went to the 99 Restaurant which Eamon described as "a high class Friendly's with a liquor license." It was packed with customers and he said they have good burgers and fries. Eamon said Nader the Hatter came over to say good-bye and gave him a bottle of wine. Eamon says he gets the impression that Nader needs money and is really hustling to raise it. Alas, poor Hatter!

Eamon said he ran into ex-rep Righty Keough who told him that Paul Caron has been trying to get in touch with him but he doesn't know what about. Keough also said that Jack Flynn from the newspaper wants to interview him about the Asselin family. Eamon's "Daylight News Service" telephone message says "it's an outrage that 70% of the city's employees live outside of Springfield."

August 13, 2002

Oppressive weather, already 79 degrees when I got up.

Those who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin

Today is Fidel Castro's 76th birthday. I love the cartoonist Oliphant and his attacks on George W. Bush. I also like Hagar the Horrible by Chris Browne. The Pentagon is the world's largest paper-shifting fuddle factory in the world. There is talk of a baseball strike which would be bad for Peter Pan buslines because they do about 100 baseball tours per season. The Delaney House in Holyoke has sold for $10 million.

Mr. H.L. Bosworth lived at 97 Florida Street in Springfield in 1923. T.L. Dumphy Company painting and decorating contractors were on State Street in Winchester Square in 1923. People have been being mugged on a bike trail in Farmington. The Rotary Club of Amherst is holding a Teddy Bear Rally on the town common featuring music by Gary Rosen and the Shea Swing Orchestra. Herve E. Hebert, a postal worker from Chicopee, has died at age 81. He was the father of Susan Levine Vadnais, who secretly lived next door while her son was illegally going to high school at Minnechaug. She was friendly and no trouble. After she moved out she rented to the Lynches and then sold it to Salvon, the present tenant. I left word of Hebert's death on Kelly's tape and I will send Susan a sympathy card.

Barry Krieger on TV22 said that the program Wheel of Fortune has given away $100 million dollars in the years it has been on. Channel 57 this evening had WFCR music host John Montanari leading their fundraising drive with Roy Scott saying, "Keep those phones ringing." WNEC has a new commercial showing Caprio walking towards the camera saying, "Hello, I'm Dr. Anthony Caprio, President of Western New England College...." Also saw a new Romney for Governor commercial where he says, "The first job of a governor should be to listen."

The cities of Europe have so much more to offer than the cities of America. New Haven just started a silly fake trolly system like ours. They are declaring that the trollies are a draw for tourists - in government economic development scams everybody sings from the same songbook. St. Catherine's in the Acres will no longer have Bingo games. They say they had the games to pay off church debts and now that they are paid the games will stop. There are plenty of other Bingo games around, plus casinos like Foxwoods have cut into attendance at church games. I hope this reflects a higher morality emerging in the Catholic Church.

I called Mrs. Staniski and she said she is getting away from the heat by going up to Maine with Ann. Went out to the Acres and was waited on by Santos at Fleet where I deposited $900. From there I went to the Storrowton auction in West Springfield. I arrived at historic Storrowton Village at 9:50 and parked behind the Blacksmith's shop. Registration was in the Carriage House with tables all around. Most of the people there were old. They had lovely candelabras and grandfather clocks. The Miller Clock in the Carriage House entry hall is worth maybe $3,000. They had captain's chairs that were bumped up and scratched.

Newsman Sy Becker was there and said hello to me, thanking me again for the postcards I gave him the last time we met. Overall there was not a single thing I wanted so I walked out. On the way back on Dwight by the corner of the Civic Center a BID worker in uniform was hosing off his street sweeper. Later on the news Drew Bailey and Sy Becker reported on the auction, saying that the liquor license was purchased by the Big E for $110,000 and Joe Stevens of the Hofbrauhaus bought everything else for $55,000. Wayne McCary of the Big E said they expect to have the place reopened for the fair with new wallpaper, paint, carpeting and some new furniture.

Eamon called at 8:08pm and said the power went off in Liberty Heights when a tree on St. James Avenue fell. As a result TV40 was off for over an hour. Nader the Hatter called Eamon and told him he is back in Florida. Eamon said he has been talking with Jerry LaRose about a book on politics for about four years. The book is supposed to be about "the machinations of Springfield politics" and he is looking for ideas from Eamon for a thinly disguised novel. Eamon says he doesn't think LaRose has actually written any of it yet.

Eamon said he knows Al Laboranti the West Springfield Health Inspector, a job which Eamon claims he was able to get through political pull despite having no training in sanitation. Eamon's latest telephone editorial says, "When Mayor Albano was on the City Council he constantly undermined Mayor Robert Markel at every turn, especially on matters involving municipal finances. Springfield now has a $400 million dollar debt, a junk bond rating and a last place ranked school system, making previous mayors look a lot better than Albano, who is nothing but an inept career politician."

August 15, 2002

Truly oppressive heat, 80 degrees at 6:30am.

You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our Founding Fathers used in the struggle for independence. - C.A. Beard

A nation can stay alive only as long as its culture and history stay alive.

Agawam found a dead crow with West Nile Virus. The average price of a home in Western Mass is $178,000. Cardinal Law has ordered a "Day of Fasting and Prayer for the Mishandling of Sexual Abuse." I joked to Eamon that the Catholic Church should have a going out of business sale. Doing business with anyone is a hassle.

Ames is in Chapter 11 and will be holding going out of business sales at 327 stores. The business grew out of the old Kings Department Store chain and is mostly located in the Northeast. There used to be a King's in Winchester Square. Closing locally will be the large distribution center in Westfield and their stores in Agawam and East Longmeadow. Mark Teed of A.I.C. was on the news talking of "the Walmart effect" where Walmart is using their powerful market share to drive other chains out of business. Teed also described Alan Greenspan as one who "looks like Harry Potter but hits like Muhammad Ali." There are 34 Ames stores in Massachusetts.

TV22 says that beer is good for you in moderation, meaning one beer per day for women and two beers per day for men. Boston is the third most expensive place to live in America, behind the San Francisco Bay area and Orange County, California. Tom Bevacqua did the weather tonight from the Six Flags Water Park wearing an orange shirt. He mentioned his youth on Jones Beach in Long Island. I have heard of Jones Beach before.

Adam by Brian Basset is a cartoon I like. I keep a file of clippings of my favorite cartoons and today I saw Non Sequitur by Wiley use an Adam and Eve cartoon that was identical to one they ran in 1998. This documents how cartoonists sometimes use the same cartoon over and over again. It's really a form of cheating. So I called the newspaper and the friendly Mariana connected me to Kathy Greany who handles the cartoons. She said Non Sequitur comes from a syndicate and the Union-News has no control over what they send. I told her that when they send an old cartoon they should charge a lower price for it. She thanked me and said, "We appreciate your call, Attorney Miller."

I picked what's left of the blackberries this morning. Unfortunately in this heat they were forced to ripen before they could fill out properly. While picking blackberries I saw a garden snake with yellow and orange stripes slither under the fence. Let him be. I went to CopyCat this morning and then sent out the mail at Louis & Clark. Then I went to Arnold's for bread and the regular lady was the cashier instead of the teen. Angelo's still has an OPEN sign on their garden section even though it is long closed. It ought to be taken down.

When I got back I called historian Donald D'Amato to ask who did the Josiah Holland plaque on the grave. No answer so I left my name and number. I could hear the telephone ringing at 3:14pm but I was down in the cellar reading my history of the Council of Trent. Eamon called and told me how Bill Hamilton, who owned a cleaners in the North End and Porter Johnson of the Howard Johnson restaurant family used to fly to Provincetown in a little plane. Eamon said he ran into Tony Ravosa who complained that the city has paved over part of his land on the Connecticut River for the new bike path without giving him any compensation. Ravosa told Eamon that he has been "getting payback" from the Albano Administration ever since he backed Caron for Mayor last year.

Eamon's latest answering machine editorial is a devastating attack on City Councilor Jose Tosado: "Mayor Albano's go along to get along gopher and lackey former School Committeeman Jose Tosado, now a member of the City Clowncil, says he couldn't vote on the order to subpoena the records from Phillips' MCDI because he was a former member of their Board of Directors. What nonsense! I wonder if Councilor Tosado received kickbacks as a consultant for MCDI, as was the case with former State Representatives Soco Catjakis and Dennis Murphy? Hopefully it will all come out in the wash."

August 17, 2002

Terribly hot. 82 degrees at 9:15am. Hess at St. James is $1.36 per gallon.

The Pope is visiting Poland. Admission to the new Basketball Hall of Fame will be $15. By comparison admission to Elvis' Graceland is $26. This is the Camp Norwich Alumni Weekend. Mother is still on the mailing list of the Community Music School of Springfield so today in the mail I got their newsletter Stay Tuned. It lists Robyn A. Newhouse as Secretary of the Board of Directors. Mary Ellen Miller is listed as Director of Faculty and Students. She and John Pearsall are down as $500 donors. I must send John some postcards.

Northeast Utilities has a free booklet Birds Common to New England but it is in black and white. It would have cost little extra to have printed it in color and that should have been the case. Southpaw Books in Conway specializes in labor, radicalism, women's studies, literature and 1st editions. Eugene Povirk is the owner.

Gordon Norman Oakes graduated from UMass in 1963. He now lives at 6 Meadowood Drive in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. Attorney Richard J. Pelletier has appeared a number of times on WHYN's "Law Talk" radio show. Pelletier is also a former member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Massachusetts and Western New England College.

The majority of the commercials on The Price is Right are for medications of some sort. Roy Scott and Jack Briggs were doing the public TV pledge drive last night. They had a segment about eBay. There are a lot of commercials on TV for Warren Tolman for Governor, but he never says anything. In the latest he smiles and runs his hand over his hairless head and says, "Some people say, "Bald is beautiful." If that's the most important thing Tolman has to say then he is a dunce.

Lynn Barry used the word "now" five times in her story about the Fire & Marine/School Department building being 98 years old in a segment featuring Terry Regina. Now that is too much, now, isn't it? The School Department building is absolutely beautiful architecturally but is too hot in the summer.

A couple of days ago when I was mowing the lawn I saw a black and yellow swallowtail butterfly in the lilies by the back door. Lately I've been having trouble at the grocery store getting the scanner to read my Waldbaum's Food Mart Valued Shoppers Card that was issued to me back at their Grand Opening in 1994. Today I replaced it and my card has a new name: A&P Super Food Mart Super Savings Card. While at Food Mart I bought four Marie Callender dinners, some orange juice and some Extra Strength Gold Bond Baby Powder.

Then I went to see Mrs. Staniski, who is looking older than ever. I loaned her my recent copies of Vermont Life Magazine. Nathaniel Street, which goes to Dorman School in Pine Point has been resurfaced, but the worn and broken intersection with Fisher Street where the school buses turn was not redone. I swung by Burger King by the old Westinghouse and read the morning paper. Going by Smith & Wesson I saw they have tents and booths set up on both sides of the front lawn for an auto show. Coming home I saw a young woman with rubber gloves picking up trash in the woods on the corner of Allen and Clearbrook opposite the school. I pulled up, rolled down the window and called out congratulations to her for what she was doing.

When I got back Eamon called and said he likes baseball. I told him I support an unending baseball strike because baseball is boring! Eamon insisted that golf is the most boring spectator sport there is. We discussed some of the rumors about Gerry Phillips and the Catholic Church. You get the impression that priestly misconduct has been known about forever but people have been too polite to talk about it. We also talked about local Republican politician Luis Garcia, who is always in trouble due mostly to drinking problems. He is currently suspended with pay from the State Lottery and his picture is on the front page. Garcia is Chairman of the License Commission and he threatened to revoke the liquor and Keno licenses at the bar Lift the Latch during an argument with the bartender over not stocking his preferred brand of expensive whiskey.

Eamon says a lot of political corruption is hard to prove because it takes the form of unreported cash "campaign contributions" in the form of influence peddling, kickbacks and bribes in return for crooked "community development" loans, liquor licenses and city contracts rigged in favor of the political insiders.

August 20, 2002

81 degrees at 7:30am. More pleasant today but still very dry.

Had strange feelings of weakness in my left leg the last couple of days. I am growing old.

I hope we stay out of Iraq. We are about where Britain was in 1900, swell headed and begging for a comedown which rest assured we shall get in time. Arabia for the Arabs! I'm donating some more pictures I took of the Seuss sculpture dedication to the Quadrangle, including one of David Starr talking to Ted Kennedy.

This is John Steinbeck's centennial year. Sunday was Harley-Davidson's 100th birthday. Today is Bill Clinton's 57th birthday. Connie Chung is 56. Frank C. Usin Jr. a Springfield Newspapers photographer and past president of The Valley Press Club has died at age 74. It was Usin who took the picture of me at my dining room table that appeared with the Tom Shea article about me.

Cathy Manning is a pretty young teller at United Cooperative Bank on Wilbraham Road. Yvon J. Letendre, a Springfield City Councilor in the 1960's and a member of the Freedman Administration, has died at age 84. In my youth he was a builder who once came to Crest Street to speak to my parents about building a house for us. Instead we decided to move here to Birchland Avenue.

Mary McCormack lives at 37 Chester Oak Drive in Feeding Hills. Seniors Benefits Advisers are located on Dumplin Road in Palmer. Another Auntie Maria item: Around 1970 Mother and Aunt Maria went in on a wedding present for one of Marcia's kids, a Mulhausen. Mother stewed for the rest of her life over the fact that Maria never paid for her half.

I water my withering plants every morning. Went out today and got the paper at Breckwood Shops where a very thin mailman in shorts was picking up the mail at Louis & Clark. Then I drove to the Westinghouse Burger King to use a 99 cent coupon on an egg and ham bagel. On the way I saw that the old Bradley House across from the former Mutual Ford is for sale by the owner. I read the paper while at Burger King - the FBI is expanding their investigation of Ray Asselin's SHA and Larry McDermott has a piece praising the current heatwave because he likes to sweat. I chatted with the tall manager on my way out and told him how I miss the old Burger King in 16 Acres. He said a couple of his current employees are people who used to work there.

I went downtown to file a joke job application with Bulkley, Richardson & Gelinas on the 27th floor of 1500 Main Street. I received a receipt from Cynthia R. Wilson. Went to Antiques on Boland Way but they were closed with a little sign on the door saying they will be in and out during the month of August. I drove past Jeff's Picture Framing and there were no cars in his lot. Maybe he's on vacation but with his relatives at the Leonard Gallery closed up I fear business is bad. Jeff the Framer is a good fellow who does excellent work and I hope he survives.

Then drove out to Wilbraham where construction on Springfield Street has created one way traffic with a cop waving you through and Faculty Street is closed to thru traffic. At town hall I left some postcards for John Pearsall with his ever friendly secretary. Then I went down to Rice Farm and bought some peaches for $2.77. I decided to stop at the Wilbraham Public Library to use their microfilm machine. The parking lot was packed. I asked the children's librarian where the microfilm viewers were and she referred me to the reference librarian standing 15 feet away. She said the microfilm machine is upstairs but when we got to the staircase her supervisor said it was broken. I looked at her and said, "Madam, your library is positively neolithic," and then turned on my heel and departed.

Yesterday I had the Marie Callender Lasagna Bake and it was inferior to the one made by Stouffer's. For supper today I went over to the Eastfield Mall and dined at Gyros for $7.88 and thanked the lady for especially good french fries. The mall was giving away free copies of the book Oprah Winfry Speaks by Janet Lowe. I also received a free little flashlight without batteries. Noonan of the Police Department was on TV saying there were fights and multiple arrests at The Fuse, a non-alcoholic club for young people that can stay open until 4am.

It was reported on the news that the Catholic Diocese is opposed to releasing Father Richard Lavigne's criminal record because they want to protect his privacy. So I called down to the Diocese at 732-3173 and got the Bishop's secretary Dolly Preston. I told her that it is my opinion that Father Lavigne should be tried for murder and that the Roman Catholic Diocese should do everything they can to cooperate with them. She hung up without thanking me for calling.

Eamon called and said his former paperboy Frank Fitzgerald, who is even shorter than he is, is a friend of former Governor Michael Dukakis and used to work for Baybank Valley. He also said a lady he knows who works for the architect who did the Cyr Arena in Forest Park said they put the wrong chemical in the ice making pipes and now they have to pay $250,000 to replace the whole system. Eamon spoke with his friend Gary Block the jeweler over in Agawam who said that business is awful. Block recently bought a two story building across from the old Food Mart in Agawam but can't rent the second floor because it doesn't have an elevator. Block also complained that between his wife and kids "it's a battle royale" over who can get access to their computer.

After Eamon hung up I called over to the Hampden County Sheriff's Office and Mary Lou answered. I asked her if there will be a charge for parking at the Sheriff's clamback. She spoke to Susan who then consulted Ruth who then told me that parking is free. Two thousand people are expected to attend the 25th Annual Clambake of Sheriff Michael J. Ashe at Six Flags tomorrow.

I will be one of them.

August 21, 2002

69 degrees at 7am. Beautiful, sunny morning.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. - Francois Voltaire

Canada says it won't support a war on Iraq until it sees evidence that Iraq is planning an attack on us. That is the proper position! Sunday is Leonard Bernstein's 84th birthday.

Early this morning I got a phone call from the Shannon O'Brien for Governor campaign. I told them that they woke me up "so as far as I'm concerned the Shannon O'Brien campaign is a nuisance" and hung up. Got a $10 gift certificate from Stop&Shop in the mail today as well as some books from Povirk. Also in the mail was a Lenscrafter postcard addressed to Melissa S. Chesbro, 1555 Wilbraham Road, Springfield. It's a misdelivery so I'll drop it off when I get a chance.

Walking out to the car today I saw a haggard looking Dickie Nichols riding his mower around the front lawn. He missed a lot of spots but it was still a heroic effort on his part to mow the lawn. Mr. Mancuso was in his front yard so I honked. My first stop was the Eastfield Mall to get my hair cut right down to the scalp. Near to Hillcrest Cemetery going towards Boston Road there used to be a farm stand but not this year. I wonder if it will ever return but I doubt it. Too bad because they used to have cheaper prices than the supermarkets. At the mall my barber Alicia remembered me as having been there before with a purple Apache haircut done by the owner Ciro. She said most of their customers are men although occasionally women do come in. She said that personally she prefers cutting women's hair. I gave Alicia a one dollar tip for a $10 haircut.

So after my haircut I headed out to Six Flags and the Sheriff's Clambake. Heading over there traffic was bumper to bumper off of the interstate and up the ramp to the Buxton Bridge. The traffic got worse as we approached Riverside/Six Flags. A white paddy wagon with a Sheriff's Clambake sign on it was directly in front of me so I figured I'd follow them. We turned off into a back lot that doubtless was once a cornfield. It was packed with cars so we continued to into yet another field. Contrary to what I was told by the Sheriff's Office yesterday there was a parking fee of $10. Of course the Sheriff's Clambake wagon ahead of me went thru without paying.

Soon a white van appeared and about ten of us got in. We went down a narrow and bumpy farm road past assorted dumpy small farm and maintenance buildings, over a brook on a one lane bridge and came up to Main Street, Agawam. A "Welcome to Suffield" sign was visible to our right as we turned onto the street. We then took another farm road beneath two billboards to the picnic area of Six Flags. The picnic grove was nicely manicured with a fountain near where there was a wide table to buy tickets for $40. I got ticket number 1588, the date of the defeat of the Catholic Spanish Armada by Queen Elizabeth's navy. I asked what to do if I lost my ticket and they said they would have no trouble remembering me, which is probably true.


I was wearing my blazing orange prison jumpsuit with "Correctional Facility" on it but without the spiked dog collar and with engineer's boots to tuck the jumpsuit legs into. With my newly shaved head I'm certain I looked quite memorable. At the same time I bought my entrance ticket I was encouraged to purchase tickets for their many raffles, but I did not. There was also a table of souvenirs including golf shirts for $28 and hats for $15. The hats were similar to the one I got for free at the Smith & Wesson anniversary and which is now sitting on the head of my beloved teddy bear Honey Pot.

As I walked around I saw that those attending were mostly elderly and virtually all white. I counted only five blacks there at the time (12:30pm) one Oriental and maybe a dozen Hispanics. There were more men than women and a lot were overweight. Lots of shorts, lots of sandals and golf shirts. Many people were playing Bingo. Jack O'Neill, the TV voice of Kavanaugh Furniture, the St. Patrick's Day Parade and STCC, was calling the numbers for the Bingo game. Nearby there was a freezer of Hood's ice cream for the taking.

I had barely been there fifteen minutes when Sheriff Michael Ashe in a rose colored golf shirt came up to me and shook my hand saying, "Glad you could come," as if he really was. He was walking around greeting everyone the same way. In the big shed they were already serving clam chowder so I got some and it was so delicious I went back for more. They were roasting the hamburgers in a long oven and I got one well-done. There was also a wide variety of soft drinks and I chose (perhaps appropriately) pink lemonade. All the food was very good.

There was a small box set up for people to deposit their business cards into and from time to time they would pull one out. The first time I saw the drawing someone named Susan Phillips won a lovely fruit basket. Other prizes won with business cards were a large white teddy bear, delicate floral arrangements, cases of soda and beer, with the beer advertised as cold and ready for consumption. The whole procedure was much more professional than the amateurish raffles at Brian Lees' Golden Gathering. I couldn't help but notice that one of the business cards deposited was for the Massachusetts Republican Party, which perhaps someone had deposited as a joke. When I pointed it out to Sheriff Ashe he laughed and said, "All cards are welcome."

Suddenly Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott appeared and so I took a picture of him posing with Ashe. However as I walked away a security man introduced himself as Officer Hawley and wanted to know if I was a commercial photographer, as photos taken at the clambake could not be sold without permission. I told him that I was a lawyer not a photographer but I would take his picture free of charge if he wanted but he shook his head and walked away.

For a time I wandered around and noticed that down by the river there were rotting picnic tables apparently left over from the Riverside Park days. The bar was asking $4.50 for a beer and $3.75 for wine. There was a Budweiser booth with a giant sign, "Budweiser Salutes the 25th Sheriff's Clambake." In the bar area was an orange sign, "Feeling Tipsy? Sheriff Ashe and the Diamond Cab Company Will Provide Free Transportation to Anywhere in Hampden County. For Authorization Contact Nick Fiorantino or Jerry Ashe."

Several people asked about my orange jumpsuit, wondering where I bought it. I told them Mason Square. At one point Senator Tom Birmingham, candidate for Governor, came along in a car and thinking that I was some sort of attendant dressed in orange he asked where he should park. I told him how about down there by that tree and he did. Along came Rep. Paul Caron with Lt. Governor candidate John P. Slattery and introduced me to him using my full name including the III. I told Caron again how sorry I was that he lost the mayor's race to Albano and said we will miss him in Boston. I said nothing to Slattery.

Out behind the beer pavilion was a pretty blue Rolls Royce convertible that was being donated by Peter Picknelly for $100 a chance with the proceeds to go to the Business Friends of the Arts. I saw a business card on the dashboard for Robert J. Schwartz, Executive Vice-president of Peter Pan Bus Lines. Caron and Dennis Murphy got into a conversation about how wonderful the car was. I interjected that there is nothing wonderful about the income tax the winner will have to pay!

At one point I saw Rep. Chris Asselin with Tom Birmingham and Warren Tolman was chatting with the Mayor of Chicopee. Bill Galvin went around to every table shaking hands. No sign of Shannon O'Brien. Russell Denver was present but we didn't speak and Bob Collamore was there and I said give my regards to your father. At one point I saw the District Attorney Bill Bennett momentarily unengaged so I approached him and asked, "Why is it that Attorney General Tommy Reilly had to come in and clean out the mob gaming machines in Springfield instead of you?" Bennett replied coldly, "I don't know, that's an interesting question." Then I took out my business card and wrote Eamon's name on the back and handed it to him saying, "He will tell you the answer." The District Attorney saw the name of Eamon T. O'Sullivan, looked very disgusted, and then silently walked away.

Overall the event appeared to be meticulously and perfectly managed and orchestrated so that every single thing was done just right. It was a very Catholic event - lots of old folks and hardly any blacks, Latinos, women, Jews or Protestants. In spite of the clambake's reputation as a political salon, I overheard no intelligent political discussions, just public employees discussing their past and planned vacations. I was also disappointed that Sheriff Ashe himself never gave a speech. Shaking hands isn't talking to the voters. No attempt was made to foster political discussion or to lift the vision of the citizenry to a higher standard of civic responsibility. Although he always runs unopposed Ashe should at least get up and tell us what he's done and what he is planning to do in his next term.

August 23, 2002

79 degrees at 3:10pm. A sprinkle at 9:30 in the evening.

A complaint is a gift and all gifts should be acknowledged.

My diary is a precious cultural and historical record of my life and times. The highest and best use of my time is being creative in my own way. I am a pettifogger extraordinaire.

The Holyoke Police Department is at 138 Appleton Street. The Hampden County House of Correction is on 627 Randall Road in Ludlow. The Black Harambee Festival will be held in Mason Square this weekend. UConn is initiating an Alcohol Awareness course that every kid must take until they pass. It is offered online, and lots of courses should be offered that way. Thanks to the computer revolution Education is poised for its first real shakeup since the Middle Ages.

A letter came today with Mother's name on it promoting the 20th season of Music at First concerts held at Old First Church on Court Square. I dropped a roll of film off at the Breckwood Shops, even though they don't do as good a job as Walmart. WNEC had the football squad practicing in their field. A big house at the head of Lemnos Lane with a two car garage is now framed. I went to Arnold's for donuts and the cashier told me that she is a student at WNEC majoring in elementary education.

Boston spent $11,000 last year for police protection for Cardinal Law. In 1965 Springfield had a population of 175,000. Today Springfield has a population of 157,000. Worcester's population is 179,000. Plans are being proposed to cap the Cottage Street Dump and turn it into a recreational area by 2005. I called Claudia at Cat's Paw and she said they will still be open for several more weeks. An aging Professor Arthur Wolfe of WNEC Law was on TV being interviewed by Lisa Daniels about the 75th Anniversary of the deaths of Saco and Vanzetti.

Eamon called and said he does not have a microwave oven but is thinking of getting one. He said he is currently on a jewelry binge and is reading books about gems. I told Eamon about my trip to the Sheriff's Clambake and he said that most of the people who go there are machine politicians and the people who are dependent on them, such as public employees who have a vested interest in keeping things just the way they are.

Eamon said one of his spies reported that he saw Russell Denver of the Chamber of Commerce at a downtown bar looking quite inebriated. Eamon recalled knowing the orthopedic surgeon Bill Kissel who was notorious for double and triple billing people. He used to eat at The Fort every day and the whole time runners and bookmakers would come in and out of the restaurant to handle his bets. Eamon also griped about how all the top management at the newspaper and TV stations live outside the city.

Eamon's latest phone editorial says, "When elected officials get involved in illegal activities, hopefully courageous whistle blowers will bring the corruption to the attention of the proper law enforcement agencies so that they can root out the cancer that undermines our city. Springfield has a long history of dishonest career politicians kept in office for too long by our daily newspaper which has failed to hold them accountable."

August 24, 2002

Overcast, 67 degrees at 6:30am.

Arthur A. Mills sold groceries, glassware and kerosene products in Pittsfield in 1884. I've been watching television in the middle of the night and there are still lots of commercials. Bob's Discount Furniture commercials appear to run around the clock. Railroad Salvage in East Windsor is closing after 38 years with the commercials declaring that "No reasonable offer will be refused." Is owner Ruby Vine still alive? Maybe.

A fellow named Beau with a heavy Texas accent called for Gallop Polling and asked me about the yellow pages in the phone directory. He asked if I knew that the yellow pages are now online and I said no and I am not getting a computer. He also asked how often I used the white pages and I said a hell of a lot more than the yellow pages.

I left a Peter Rabbit "Congratulations It's a Boy" card in a bag attached to my neighbor Kelly's doorknob. Drove to Louis & Clark and mailed Susan Levine Vadnais in Agawam a condolence card with a copy of Mother's obituary inside plus I sent out letters to the Archives Center, Middlebury College and Larry McDermott. As I was leaving I was surprised to run into a casually dressed and somewhat chubby Rev. Loesch. I told him that I am reading a book on the Council of Trent. He laughed when I described the Boston Tea Party as an act of terrorism. He is a very polite fellow. I swung by the library at American International College (AIC) to borrow a book on writer Francisco de Quevedo but it was closed. Finally I went to Price-Rite on Boston Road for some fruit and some cans of salmon.

On the way home I stopped at a tag sale where I fount a mint condition Disney "Goofy" lunch box for the absurdly low price of $5 so I bought it. When I got back I had a nice chat with Mr. Paul M. Veale of 46 Birchland. He said he used to walk down to the Breckwood Shops but he recently had a knee operation and can barely make it down Birchland Avenue. He described himself as a steamfitter by trade and said his brother died just one week ago. The day after he died his house was robbed but it was impossible to know how much was lost because his brother had no checking account and kept a lot of money hidden around the house. Veale also said a person he knows recently had a heart operation that cost $60,000 but fortunately it was covered by insurance.

The mail arrived late today and included a surprise anonymous letter from someone I encountered at Lees' Golden Gathering:

Attorney Miller,

I recently had the unwelcome mishap of making your acquaintance at the Brian Lees luncheon. I must say that I was so appalled at your behavior that it prompted me to write this letter.

I personally grew up in East Hampton Long Island where it is predominantly gay. I am proud to say that some of the most important people in my life are gay (family, friends, etc.) and in all my life I have never been so turned off this way about any of them.

Your outfit is not in any way the "gay uniform" as you put it. Your boldness was not noted as someone that is proud of what or who he is, but that of someone who likes to shock people. This is exactly the thing that gives the gay population a bad name.

Last but not least, if you want to behave in this manner, go to the YOUNG gay bars to make your statement, not senior forums. Your actions were rude and thoughtless and very inappropriate at such an event. When I introduce myself, my sexual preferences never follow my title. Did your mother not teach you anything?

Anonymous
Yes, too unsure of someone like you to leave my name.


Could this be Alan K. Karplus, the retired WNEC professor who sat next to me? Whoever it is he is a coward lacking in character for not signing his name, but just what I would expect from Western New England College, a meeting place for small minds!

August 26, 2002

Lovely morning, 64 degrees at 8am. Crickets are singing, great sleeping weather. Gas is $1.41 per gallon at Pride in the Acres.

The United Methodist Church has filed an appeal of a recent decision to drop a complaint against a lesbian pastor who lives in Massachusetts. Rev. Karen Dammann is on leave in Amherst where she now lives with her partner Meridith Savage and their four year old son Beckett. Part of the reason I decided I was gay and should start acting gay was realizing that the Methodists are against gays.

H.E. Stanton was a manufacturer and dealer of lumber, lath and shingles in Huntington, Massachusetts in 1885. The Blanchard Company sold teas, coffees, spices and tobacco in Hartford in 1887. Barbara G. Lucia is a financial consultant at Chittenden Securities at 29 State Street in Springfield. Alice M. Broska of the 16 Acres Civic Association has died at age 79. This is the 18th year of the Celebrate Holyoke Festival. Fall classes for Holyoke Catholic High will be held at Saint Hyacynth's Seminary in Granby. The Mayor of New Haven was on TV61 saying their 30 year old Colosseum is a drain on the city budget and should be demolished.

Jeanette K. Biccum is an Administrative Assistant at the Eastfield Office of The Bank of Western Massachusetts at 1630 Boston Road. There is still a narrow right of way from the McDonald's parking lot to the Bank of Western Mass parking lot. An article in the New York Times today talks about how run down Hartford has become. It also mentions Providence but not Springfield. Whatever happened to Beth Carroll of TV40? Last I heard she got married. Her position is now filled by Lisa Daniels, Esq.

I called Mrs. Staniski and she said she had a wonderful little vacation with Ann in Maine. Ann drove her up Cadillac Mountain for nostalgia's sake and the view was beautiful. Coming home the rain poured constantly all the way from Kittery to Palmer, but Ann drove masterfully. I asked Mrs. Staniski if she ever considered moving in with her daughter Ann but she said she wants to live alone as long as possible. She said she brought back a box of Goldenrod Kisses for me, the best candy kisses she knows of.

On TV18 the Muppets came on in Spanish at 9am. I love the Muppets. This morning I stopped at a tag sale at 1199 Bradley Road, the former home of my 9th grade Latin and English teacher Rose A. Lynch. It is now owned by Larry and Margarita Stevenson, a charming couple of color. I mentioned how Mrs. Lynch built the house with her sister and they said the neighbors have told them about her. I told them how Mrs. Lynch had an annual Christmas Open House and was one of the first in the neighborhood to own a color TV.

The Allen Street Hampden Bank has fancy new maroon signage. I drove to the Pine Point Library where there was a blue poster saying that the downtown Main Library will reopen next spring. I asked the circulation librarian about it, saying I thought that the library was to reopen this fall. She said they ran into unexpected construction problems involving the plumbing.

Scandal plagued Luis Garcia has resigned from his License Commission job and also from the Riverfront Commission. He is still on paid suspension from the big job (given him by Joe Malone) as Regional Manager with the Massachusetts Lottery Commission. A tragic fall due to drunken episodes.

Eamon called and complained that his newspaper wasn't delivered today. For ages Eamon has complained that Springfield has an absurd number of municipal departments (the better to provide good paying jobs to the politically connected) and today Councilor Timothy Rooke proposed combining some of them. Good idea but Eamon predicts it will go nowhere.

Eamon's latest phone editorial accuses the Albano Administration's payroll of looking like "a rogue's gallery of friends and rejected politicians, many of whom have ties to convicted felons. These friends and relatives of the Asselins, Keough, Catjakis and Phillips belong more on the post office bulletin board than in their no show job sinecures at City Hall with no accountability or supervision."

August 28, 2002

Sunny day, 70 degrees at 6:30am.

Steve Insky on WSPR said that Generals Shwartzkopf, Snowcraft and Powell agree that we should not attack Iraq. Just a few years ago Massachusetts was putting up just eight families in motels. Now there are over 450 families in over 40 motels. Friendly's stock has fallen from eight dollars a share to seven.

The Boston Globe travel section has an article by Cate McQuaid about a "walking and driving tour of Springfield" that suggests you go to First Church, the Quadrangle, the Armory/STCC to see the site of Shays Rebellion, Forest Park and the Barney Mausoleum. Accompanying the article was a picture of the Little Lorax sculpture from the Quad. They also suggested visiting Springfield College but "lamented the absence of Professor Edgar M. Robinson's house" described as "a strange architectural whimsy" in which straight lines were disregarded. I'm not sure the Robinson "architectural whimsy" is gone, isn't that the crazy house on Alden Street where the Fancy That antiques people now live? They also regretted the loss of the Colony Club/Wesson building on Maple. The article erroneously referred to Wilbraham Road as "Wilbraham Street."

Thomas H. Hopgood, with whom I shared an office in Helen White Hall at the University of Wisconsin has died. Elaine Lavoie lives at 3113 Boston Road. Sheriff Ashe's Community Restitution program was in the paper. It said 133 inmates have done work for community service organizations to show they're "givers not takers." Nobody has tried to escape. Got some books in the mail today: Kenneth Thompson's Key Quotations in Sociology, Elijah Anderson's Code of the Street and the Norton Book of Nature Writing.

Every week people come by and put trash in my receptacles. I guess that's better than them dumping it in the street. At 7:42pm a William L. Johnson mistakenly called here looking for a Gabriel Marsh. The closed Spag's Department Store still has their signs up, they should have been removed long ago. Another new Warren Tolman for Governor commercial on TV, more straightforward but he still sounds like a schoolboy. A new poll shows Mitt Romney's preferred running mate Kerry Healey running way behind Jim Rappaport for Lt. Governor. Acting Governor Jane Swift is being criticized for going on too many junkets for a lame duck, recently she attended the World Economic Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa!

I dropped some magazines off at the Cohn's, nobody home. Headed to the Orchard, and saw a street sweeper coming up by the corner of Lumae. Just after the overpass on Parker Street my odometer hit 107,777. I stopped in at the Cat's Paw and there was no sign yet of them packing up to close. Claudia said a new batch of postcards had just come in from the collection of someone named N.C. Baker of some very early Boston postcards. I estimated their value at around $700 but they accepted my offer of $220. The Robillards also gave me four lovely tomatoes from their garden.

So that's the kind of people they are, generous and not at all greedy. They told me that the week before the big antique sale in Brimfield there will be a huge postcard sale in the red barn. Claudia also showed me a Court Square Theater poster with ugly, loud colors but in mint condition. I didn't want it, but I promised to call Peter Picknelly and tell his secretary Brenda about it, as Picknelly sometimes buys such things relating to downtown history.

For lunch I went to Ruby Tuesday on Boston Road and had a beer, salad and a burger. Then I headed over to Eamon's to drop off some reading material for him and when I arrived his neighbor Pat Moore was over. Moore told me he has sold the trucking business he ran for 48 years. He said his dad was a trucker with the Teamsters and sometimes he wishes he had done the same because he would now have a pension. Instead all he'll be getting is Social Security and not at the highest level.

Eamon showed me the certificate of appreciation he received from the Red Cross, but was irked they left out the T in Eamon T. O'Sullivan. Eamon told me that Art Gingras has one of the oldest houses in Westfield and is having trouble with his sewer lines. Eamon said he would like to go to Ireland but he couldn't stand to leave his dog Fitzy behind. Eamon also complained that Springfield Police Chief Paula Meara is incompetent and should have the decency to resign.

When I left I saw two men pushing grocery carts up the street full of cute little teddy bears. On my way back going down Breckwood Boulevard I saw three girls in their early teens heading towards the side door of Tom Devine's house.

August 31, 2002

A lovely, mild day. 69 degrees at 12:30am. Gas is $1.37 at the Pond.

Unfortunately the baseball strike has not materialized. There is a beautiful tribute to David Riesman as a teacher in the Sept/Oct issue of Harvard Magazine. I'm currently reading Elijah Anderson's Code of the Street (1999). A really fine book, it's all about decency and respect....and jobs.

WGGB-TV40 mysteriously went off the air during the news at 6:05 until 6:08pm when the talking heads came back on as if nothing had happened, no apology or anything. Coverage you can count on? A letter from the Goodwill Industries for Norman Sharrow at 1535 Wilbraham Road was misdelivered to my house today. I think elderly Mr. Sharrow hasn't lived at that address for five years, in fact he may be dead.

Dick Nichols was out mowing the lawn around 2pm. Drove past Rev. Loesch's house today at 25 Sherwood near where Ann Geer lived. It's an L-shaped ranch with ivory vinyl siding, shutters and a one car garage with a red vehicle in it. The backyard has a wooden picnic table. I went to a tag sale at the former Richard and Betty Boynton house on Aldrew but everything was overpriced. Another tag sale on Jeffery Road had the same old stuff. They had no permit for the sale although a cop lives across the street!

I drove past the Basketball Hall of Fame and there were 31 cars in the lot. Is this typical attendance? I talked to the kid at the ticket window about new vendors. He said the only one he's heard about is Reebok, nothing about Spaulding or L.L. Bean. I walked around a bit. They are putting an elevator in the tower to the passageway over the railroad tracks. Haven't they learned anything from the trashing of the elevator at Pynchon Park? They have cut down the immense old tree in the corner of Braxton Commons Grove which I considered a beautiful feature of the present Hall. So sad!

I walked over by the new Hall, where there was a security woman at the door. It looked like they still have a lot of insulation and air duct work to do. A circle of recessed lights is out front but no flag pole. On the way back I went past Jeff the Framer's where there was no activity. A cop had a speed stakeout on Alden Street where the old field was to try and catch people speeding up from Norfolk Street. I stopped at Food Mart and Melha people were passing out summer editions of the Melha News. I avoided eye contact with them.

I also stopped at the Springfield Cemetery to take a picture of the tablet on Josiah Gilbert Holland's grave which reads "et vitam impendere vero" across the middle of it. I also visited the Orange Scott monument by the cemetery's mausoleum row and down along an abandoned roadway where big trees are upending monuments. There is room for more mausoleums but it is not likely more will be built. Robinson's mausoleum is in good shape, Van Allen's is pretty good but Billings, the largest and most ostentatious of the mausoleums is in bad shape and borderline falling down. Who pays to fix such things if the family will not?

Eamon called and said he is trying to find out info about the political connections of Springfield Plumbing. He went to see Dr. Cuandra today who said he is in good health. Eamon recalled how years ago he helped Dr. Cuandra contact Rep. Silvio Conte in order to help get his parents up here from Nicaragua. Eamon also helped Rudy Arnolisco from Czechoslovakia get to America, who later became a big TV man at Del Padre's. Jim Landers is disappointed that his position at STCC is only part time as he would prefer to work full time.

Eamon said he has heard nothing from the Valley Advocate since he sent those phony letters to the editor which editor Tom Vannah accused him of writing but about which Eamon lied and denied that he wrote them. Eamon says he hears that David Starr has a place down on Martha's Vineyard and it features a bust of Starr by a well-known sculptress. Eamon's latest phone message says that "due to excessive deficit spending and bonding Springfield is a financial mismanagement basketcase." Eamon blames "Mayor Albano the Pasta Sauce King."