July 2001

July 1, 2001

Misty, 76 degrees at 6:58am. Gas is $1.72 at the Pride by the Wilbraham Civil War monument.

Steve Cirillo read the weather today on WFCR. It is very sticky and I'm sitting here stark naked except for my sandals. Today is the 80th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party. David Trimble has resigned in Ireland, but says he may take the job back later. One attitude is you resigned, so we don't want you back! Chestnut Knoll at Glenmeadow is located on Tabor Crossing in Longmeadow. Lyn Doran works for Van Cort Instruments in South Deerfield. Attorney Frank Saia has a new commercial listing legal problems and after each one asks, "Who ya gonna call?"

The fact that it is taking Hein so long to decide what my royalties are on Coke in Verse means something fishy is going on. Wrote letters to Elizabeth Dow, the Public Archives of Canada, the Methodist Archives and the Pulitzer people about Doris Kearns Goodwin. Listened to the 1639th consecutive broadcast of The Hour of Power by Crystal Cathedral Ministries. They are asking people to send $150 to cover their summer broadcasting costs. Had toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch and for supper had a Healthy Choice Grilled Chicken Dinner which was okay. Eamon O'Sullivan is out of town, but he left a phone editorial about "rats in broad daylight" all over downtown.

The news showed Pioneer Valley Project people gathering signatures for the referendum to increase library hours. I'd like to help them out. Sheila McElwaine lives at 59 Meridith Street and is listed in the 1986 City Directory as a social worker. I called her today at 4:45pm and she was friendly enough. I told her she should have sent a response to all the material I sent her, to which she replied that she was "so busy with all my struggles" that she never found time to read any of it. So much for sending her anything again! She also said she has been spending a lot of time up in Stratton, Vermont where her husband grew up. Suddenly there was a clap of thunder and it started pouring out at 4:53pm so I wished her good luck and hung up.

This morning I gathered my postcards together and headed out to the Wilbraham Atheneum Society, but they were closed and there was no sign saying when they would be open. I walked around their nicely kept grounds and copied down the Preservation Grant sign out front. In all I wasted two hours of my day gathering the postcards and driving out there for nothing, spending at least a dollar on gas. On the way there I noticed there were five kids on skateboards playing in the curved driveway around the Fleet Bank in the Acres. A man on crutches was weeding his flower bed at the brown house at the southeast corner of Springfield Street and Stony Hill Road. In Wilbraham I saw posted that the next meeting of Toastmasters is at the 16 Acres Library. Frequently groups that meet in Springfield advertise only out of town because they don't want people from Springfield to attend.

There has been some tension in the Picknelly family over the years between the business side of their empire and the real estate side. Why doesn't Picknelly let people go up to the top of Monarch Place and admire the view? In the 1980's when they renovated the Fuller Block, they discovered that the ornamental iron work was removed in the 1950's so they made replacements out of wood. Now the woodwork is falling off. In the 1960's, we had so-called urban renewal that wiped out the North End and many nice, old buildings. Boston, New York and even Albany and Hartford are destination go-to cities, but Springfield is all torn down and worn out. The closest we have to a destination city in the valley is Northampton. The focus should be on the neighborhoods, not downtown. But the only thing they care about is Picknelly's neighborhood around Monarch Place. I've seen them try to revitalize Springfield four or five times in my lifetime, but no matter what they are not going to bring the city back.

July 2, 2001

Wonderfully cooler air, 67 degrees at 8am.

Ames department stores, the successor to Kings, is experiencing financial difficulties. The CEO of Bloomfield, Connecticut has been indicted for embezzling from the Bloomfield Housing Authority. Barbara M. Adams is Governor of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Maine. Langdell Library at Harvard Law has acquired about a thousand early law texts worth several million dollars. Agnes Bundy Scanlon is the Chief Privacy Officer for FleetBoston Financial. Carol M. Albano is Chairperson of the Wilbraham Historical Commission. A Wilbraham Atheneum Society Open House will be held July 8th at the Old Meeting House. Available for purchase will be reprints of the Peck, Stebbins and Merrick town histories and the Knox Trail plates. There will also be a display of items depicting life in Wilbraham in the 1890's.

Ellen Chang used bad grammar on the TV22 news last night. The July/August edition of the AAA Times has a picture of the Samuel Chapin statue on the front and on page 3 under "Club Notes" it says, "Please accept our apologies for inadvertently omitting the following valued member, J. Wesley Miller III, who joined AAA in 1946, from our listing." The mail brought checks from Edwards and Hein but no Litton payment yet. People are complaining that Phantom Fireworks of Hinsdale, New Hampshire has been sending advertisements urging you to mail order fireworks, even though fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts. I didn't get one. Today I went out to pick up a paper cup off the lawn and saw a silver grey Mitsubishi parked by our bridal wreath. There was a green workman's truck over to Mudry's. A van pulled up with a fat man delivering The Reminder with a little boy helping him. They smiled and said hi.

Today I went to the unveiling of the new master plan for Springfield. I parked on Eliot Street, where I saw a mailman trample on a person's lawn. I called out to him but he ignored me, so I took down the number of his truck. On my way downtown I noticed that the large ornamental brickwork planter that curls out in front of the Federal Building is cracking. I peeked into Antiques on Boland Way and then went over to the event at Tower Square Park where Steiger's used to be. I was in my orange jump suit and biker jacket. Mary Lynn asked why I was there and I showed her my invitation so she reluctantly let me enter. There was a large tent set up with a podium in front and about 80 or 90 people there.

I was surprised that there were so few dignitaries present, no Neal, none of the Picknelly's, no Starr, no Carvalho, no Gagnon, no Hurwitz, no Denver, no Gary Shepard, no one from the Renaissance Group, but of course they all know these events are a waste of time. Superintendent Burke said I "look as sharp as ever" in my impeccably executed ridiculous costume. Then they started with Steven D. Cecil of Boston's Cecil Group introducing the white haired Tom Haberlin of Community Development. Next Mayor Albano spoke, saying that unlike past master plans this one "will not sit on the shelf gathering dust" and that "the next five years will be an exciting time for our city." He spoke about Springfield being "the crossroads of New England" and similar blather about being "the hub of the region." He said Springfield needs to think of itself as "a winner city!"

Finally Linda Petrella, a nice woman who is Director of Planning, thanked us all for coming and invited us to stay for lunch. It was very good and put on by Elegant Affair, the catering arm of Tilly's whom Karen Powell once told me caters all of Albano's events. They had a large bowl of macaroni salad with a nice spicy flavor, potato chips, cookies, brownies, diet coke and bottled water. I saw Judy Matt chatting with Brenda Garton and Allan Blair. I told them business is fine throughout the valley, it is only lousy in Springfield. The crowd dissipated rather quickly, with Mayor Albano among the first to leave. As I was departing I saw one of those fake trolleys go by completely empty.

On my way home I swung by the Powell's to leave off some publications. Once I got back I watched the news on TV40 and they had a story on "the new master plan for the downtown area." I recall that originally they were going to have the new master plan include the neighborhoods as well as downtown, but apparently the neighborhoods fell through the cracks. I appeared in the TV coverage twice, once in a shot of the audience and again when R. Hershel was interviewing Albano I was seen in the background taking a picture of them. Albano was telling Herschel that the new plan "is vital for the economic development of the entire region." I wonder how prominently the new master plan will figure in Albano's re-election campaign?

After the news, I saw on my phone ID the number 478-0484 so I called and got a recording of Bill Kelly saying, "If you are calling about one of our dinner seminars at the Storrowtown Tavern please leave your name, phone and the number of people in your party." I left a message saying never to call me again. Joseph Accardi also called but when I called back the line was busy. Lowes Home Improvement was listed on my caller ID as having called so I called back and told the manager Wayne to stop bothering me. He replied, "I'm sorry about that." Next I called down to Rice Hall at the Quad, which was a lot easier to reach than it used to be, and the girl looked up for me how to contact Doris Kearns Goodwin. She gave me the address of her agent in Wyoming.

I then called Kathy in Consumer Affairs at the U.S. Postal Service and she connected me with Mike Giza, Station Manager for Springfield. I told him that when I was leaving a mayoral event today I got back to my car at 90 Eliot Street and saw a uniformed mailman walk straight across the nice but tender lawn at 88 Eliot. I explained how I shouted, "Should you be walking across that grass?" but he ignored me. I gave Giza the number of the mail truck as 1256149. Furthermore, I said that mailmen are role models who should not be walking on resident's lawns, especially in a borderline neighborhood already in decline. Giza responded, "I appreciate your input and respect for the neighborhoods is one of our top priorities." I wished him a Happy 4th and he thanked me again for calling and that was that.

July 4, 2001

Beautiful day, 73 degrees at 4:30pm. A quiet holiday.

There is no such thing as a generalization that applies universally. Modern American literature is a bunch of shit.

Slobodan Milosovic of Yugoslavia was arraigned this morning for crimes against humanity. Sandra Day O'Connor delivered a speech celebrating her 20 years with the Supreme Court. She said she finds "serious questions of whether capital punishment is fairly administered." Good for her. Peter Jennings on ABC News said that skateboarding is now more popular than baseball with kids under 18. The Lehrer Report was about the popular dance group Circue du Soleil. I doubt Springfield has a facility that could handle them or an audience willing to pay $100 a ticket.

T.D.S. Bassett is the author of Outsiders Inside Vermont. Rhona Swartz was the secretary to Dr. Howard B. Gotlieb of Boston University in 1982. New London, Connecticut has rejected a casino proposal. Dean of Faculty Donal B. O'Shea has been tapped to lead the inquiry into allegations that Mt. Holyoke College history professor Joseph J. Ellis fabricated his military service in Vietnam. There will be a Jerry Garcia Art Show in Springfield at the Sheraton July 7 and 8th. I found a good sample of Father's signature in my files today.

Last night after Antique Road Show they had a program entitled Bargain Hunt where they give two teams $1200 to spend at a flea market, then they auction the stuff off and see who makes the most money. I called Edwards Books downtown and Patricia told me that they only do internet book searches if you pay a premium. I then called Aunt Maria and Bonnie answered. She said Shirley Huang went to Vermont for her class reunion. I wished her and Maria a Happy 4th. George Gouzounis called at 12:32 about my A.G. Edwards moneymarket account. He lives at 1942 Parker Street on the other side of the road from Hastings and Santaniello, in a ranch house over the bank from the road. The William S. Hein Company yesterday sent me a check for $116.58 in royalties for the sale of 22 copies of my book Reports of Sir Edward Coke in Verse.

Had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese today and it didn't taste right. Picked a large strainer of black raspberries this morning and put them in the refrigerator. Went to Louis & Clark for the paper and then over to CopyCat, where I wished them a Merry Fourth. Then I went to Angelo's on Boston Road where the Cumberland Farms across the street is selling gas for $1.63 per gallon. Bought corn, potatoes and kiwi fruit at Angelo's and listened to a Tchaikovsky violin concert on the way to Food Mart. It was packed with holiday shoppers. I bought some cheese at the deli and two bags of frozen peas. While pulling some street literature off the bulletin board, I heard somebody say hi and it was my neighbor Kelly with her new baby. I remarked to the tiny tot in the carriage, "A Happy 4th of July to you, sir!" She said he does a lot of sleeping. A baby, no home is complete without one.

I may not live long enough to do this, but someone should check the bankruptcy of Monarch Capital records with the bankruptcy court archives and look at the proof of claims forms to see how much stock the Picknelly family owned. I have the feeling that Peter Picknelly may have egged on Gordon Oakes to make the irresponsible decisions that let to Monarch's collapse and the loss of my family fortune. It is interesting that later Gordon Oakes was hired to run Picknelly's insurance company. The Fall of Monarch was instrumental to the Fall of Springfield and I have always suspected that Peter Picknelly was partly behind it all. I got a surprise phone call tonight from Eamon, who is still staying with his friend in East Otis. He said he had to tell me what one of his spies told him about Ann Henry of Commerce. She apparently has sent Superintendent Burke a list of people she is accusing of conspiring to undermine her, and included on that list were the names Eamon T. O'Sullivan and J. Wesley Miller. Eamon laughed and laughed, very much delighted to be on her enemies list.

July 5, 2001

Lovely day. Gas is $1.58 at Carew/Liberty Cumberland Farms.

You can identify plainclothes cops because they are usually middle-aged people who sit in one place and don't move, look too hip and follow you with their eyes.

Pynchon Street Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1844. Rosemary Shea is the Executive Secretary to the School Committee. Ring Nursing Home founder Morrill Stone Ring and his wife Lauren have been in business for 49 years. George Matthew of Vermont will be performing at the Carillon Pops performance of July 19th. TV40 had the Springfield fireworks on with Beth Carroll. A ride on the Peter Pan Riverbus costs $9.95 for adults. Hartford is starting its Adriaen's Landing project on the Connecticut River. That means that after Springfield upgrades its dinky Civic Center, Hartford will quickly surpass us once again with a far bigger and better project.

On TV57 a roundtable discussion of TV anchors had Dan Rather, now 69 and wearing fat suspenders, complaining about the decline of the suppertime news shows and the loss of audience to the internet. There is a letter in the Valley Advocate from Ron Haislip blasting Albano and the Liquor Commission for lifting restrictions on the X Pub Bar and Grill. He writes that it is obvious that Mayor Albano "and his appointees must have hidden agendas that don't include improving the quality of our lives." I called the Advocate without giving my name and was told that Mo Turner and her spouse are on vacation.

On December 21, 1988 the Springfield Planning Board unanimously approved a development plan for the old Broska Farm. Jane Frates was a leader of the fight to save the farm for a park. Matthew E. Donellan was Chairman of the Planning Board and Walter F. Malcolm was a member. Bob Straw was vice-president of the 16 Acres Civic Association in 1988. Sheila McElwaine has not sent me any copies of the library hours referendum petition so I could help gather signatures. I will have to ask Cindy Sommer.

It was pretty quiet last night around Birchland Avenue, although I heard some fireworks go off near the area of Ballard and Jeffrey. Out at 9am and bought four donuts at Arnold's and salad and tomatoes at Angelo's. I saw a street sweeper on Silas Street when I dropped off some things at Mrs. Staniski's. I also saw a van with Tru-Green and Chem-Lawn painted on it, have they merged? Next I drove over to drop off reading material for Eamon, who is back in town. Eamon now has sod all over, the old plantings are gone and the new ones are nice. The lovely hedge he had in the back is gone, but now he can reach the grapes over the fence.

Eamon says Superintendent Burke's doctorate in education is from the glorified online correspondence school Nova University, where he says "the only admission requirement is a checkbook." He said he is frustrated by the way he hasn't been able to get the news media "to smoke this faker out." According to Eamon the School Committee members most involved in choosing Burke were Kenneth Shea, Nick Fyntrilakis and Jose Tosado. Eamon said educator Arthur Gingras told him that tardiness and absenteeism are major problems at Commerce. He said the way the students misbehave in the halls and cafeteria is unbelievable. Gingras admits that some of his fellow teachers are badly incompetent but removing them is impossible.

Eamon says he can't believe the city wasted $250,000 on a new masterplan, when most of the ideas in it date back to the Anderson, Notter & Finegold master plan of 1978. He called the new Cecil Group plan "just old wine in new bottles." When I left Eamon lent me some material about Burke, Commerce and a report on the State Department of Education's over reliance on politically connected consultants.

From Eamon's I dropped off some things for Serantidis by Shriner's Hospital, the other name on the door is K. Bluestein. From there I headed over to the Carillon Pop 2001 Concert at Trinity Methodist Church featuring guest carilloneur Daniel K. Kehoe from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. There were about 40 people there for a really fine concert that included a very complex and snazzy Battle Hymn of the Republic. On the way back I got two posters around the Alden Street Baptist Church. When I got home I had a Mystic House Special Pizza and it's the best grocery pizza I've had.

July 8, 2001

A wonderful, mild day. 74 degrees at 3pm.

You have to collect information before you can decide what to do with it.

President Bush is celebrating his 55th birthday in Kennebunkport, Maine. Steve Crillo said Nancy Reagan is 80. TV22 says Nancy is 78, so she is 78 on TV22 and 80 on NPR! TV40 offers coverage you can count on in comparison to TV22 that cancelled their news to continue covering tennis matches. There is a great article in the current Atlantic by Brian R. Meyers entitled The Reader's Manifesto. Henry Lennert is retiring from the Polish National Credit Union. Looks like the Westfield Bank will be selling stock, so when will Hampden follow suit?

My correspondence is all caught up and I am forging ahead with my reading. My crop of black raspberries this year is wonderful. The mail brought me my Litton stock check for $1920. Jennifer Murphy was on the news serving as a spokesperson for the Mayor's Office, announcing the hiring of eight firefighters who had been fired from Pittsfield because of their budget crisis. It is depressing, really, that we have no Burger King now, either in the Acres or Boston Road. Not a word from Nader the Hatter in some time.

The shank of my right leg is often itchy. I saw Kelly out mowing the lawn this morning. Kelly is subscribed to American Baby under the name Kelly Simpson. Drove out this morning and went to the Big Y for a two hams for the price of one sale. Toilet paper has gone up from 50 cents a roll to 65 cents! Then I drove downtown and parked on Dwight to attend the Jerry Garcia: A Visual Journey show on the 2nd floor of the Sheraton. It was presented by Image Makers Art and Rock 102. There was a motorcycle on display on the first floor. The show had Grateful Dead music playing in the background and the pictures themselves were sort of crazy with nice colors and an embossed seal of authenticity. It included watercolors, lithographs, etchings and silkscreens created by Jerry Garcia from 1985 to 1995. There were maybe a dozen people there including Tom Devine, who was taking pictures accompanied by his sister and a friend. We did not speak. It was a unique event, but the prices were high.

I called Trinity Church today and expressed to Lorie my appreciation of the carillon concert. I asked about Margaret Goad and was told she is now a pastor in Westfield replacing Skip Danforth. A loss for Trinity, a good deal for Westfield. Then I called Hillcrest and spoke to Lenny Bergeron about making postcards. He doesn't think there has ever been a postcard made of the mausoleum. I told him of my plans to make a card of the tower and another of the stained glass window in the mausoleum. Next I called Mrs. Joyal who said she hasn't spoken with Mrs. Napolitan about having me give my High Hippie presentation to their group. I told her that if they'll provide the food, I'll supply the books and prints for them to look at. Mrs. Joyal said she'll bring up my offer at their board meeting this fall, which is just a stalling tactic I'm sure. Finally, my caller ID showed that a Eric Stroshine was calling and asked, "How late are you open on Saturdays?" I replied, "We are not open on Saturdays," and hung up.

Later I called Don Skelton, who was friendly enough and told me that he and Bill Giles served on the Baybank Valley board and that's how he came to know Gordon Oakes. He said G. Oakes got to be friends with Peter Picknelly when Oakes was the President of Baybank. Skelton doesn't think that Picknelly was a mentor to Oakes and doesn't know how much stock Picknelly had in Monarch, if any. He recalled my being hired by Jones to inventory the company's archives, and told me to call him if I have anymore questions about Monarch history. Eamon called and said he is reading Losing Our Language: How Multicultural Classroom Instruction is Undermining Our Children's Ability to Read, Write and Reason. Eamon wonders what is wrong with Springfield's "so-called health department" that they have let the rat infestation problem downtown get so far out of hand.

July 10, 2001

Overcast and 70 degrees at 6:47am.

Sensuality is reality.

Sitting here naked and writing. The Chicopee River is 17 miles long. Dr. Carl E. Reiner is an ear, nose and throat specialist at Baystate Medical Center. The New England Medical Journal is in Waltham, Massachusetts. Hampden Savings Bank was founded in 1852 and Robert A. Massey is their current vice-president. Thomas V. Foley of West Springfield and Stuart F. Young of Longmeadow are trustees. Today I found a cockroach in the kitchen sink so I put Draino down all the drains.

The Pioneer Valley Project has their office at 235 Eastern Avenue. Atty. Cheryl Dunn, Donald Dunn's wife, and Hyman G. Darling both work for Bacon & Wilson, a downtown Springfield law firm. Cynthia MacGregor has written a book Mommy, I'm Bored: 127 Fun Filled and Educational Games for Your Child. Chelsea Sobel on TV22 displayed fine grammar on the news last night, she has excellent television English. Boxing matches at the Hippodrome tonight, $20 for general admission, $75 for a ringside seat. The 1910 Spaulding Chapel in Chicopee's Fairview Cemetery has 16 Tiffany windows which will be replaced at $1200 a piece.

Today I put on my "thinking cap" in the form of my bondage hood and head harness. I find it greatly increases my ability to come up with material. Went out at 10am and got my Fleet check from the Acre's Manager Nadolski. Then swung by an Open House at 69 Penacook by Van Horn Park, a large two family and slightly tacky. Then to Elms where I dropped off some stuff for Moriarty by sliding it under his door. Next I went over to the West Springfield Hampden Savings Bank on Westfield Street where Manager Sarah Mancinelli gave me their new Statement of Conditions. There is a lot bullshit by CEO Tom Burton about their commitment to customer service, blah, blah, blah. Then to the Hometown Buffet on Riverdale for liver and onions. Their salad bar is diminishing, they no longer have cottage cheese or olives. It was still a good deal for $6.81 total. On my way home I stopped at the 16 Acres Garden Center to ask questions about lilacs, but they didn't seem to know much about them.

Antique Roadshow last night had a guy on who collected music posters from the 1960's. The appraiser was Gary Sohmers of Wex Rex Collectibles in Framingham. He told the guy his Rolling Stones poster was worth $4,000, a Grateful Dead poster was worth $300 and a psychedelic poster was worth $400. They also had postcards of rock stars that were worth $15 each. He appraised the entire collection at $15,000. I'd like to catch a rerun of that show. The mail didn't come until late in the afternoon. Cynthia Sommer sent me a petition to circulate for more library hours saying, "Thank you for helping the citizens of Springfield, especially the children, obtain the level of service they need." I wonder why the Powells didn't send me petitions to circulate, knowing my interest in the libraries? Once again Sheila McElwaine never got back to me.

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Albano's fundraiser circular shows a picture of him being sworn into his first term by Judge Cooley, with his hand on a thin horizontal book which couldn't possibly have been a Bible. The Albano Committee is currently headquartered at 95 State Street, Suite 1028. Eamon called but there was a lot of static on my line. He said Nader the Hatter is expected back in town on the 24th. John Y. Hess, Chairman of the East Longmeadow Historical Commission, has an angry letter in The Reminder denouncing plans for the Springfield Day Nursery to demolish the Norcross House, the summer home of J. Franklin Norcross, who established several quarries of East Longmeadow's famous brownstone.

July 11, 2001

Overcast, mild, 70 degrees at 6:45am.

Gardner J. LePoer is the Executive Director of The Printing Museum in North Andover. Attempts are being made to remove water chestnuts that are clogging the Oxbow in Northampton. Winnebago motor homes may be purchased at the Diamond RV Center in Hatfield. In 1986 Springfield Community Development Commissioner James O'Connell published The Inside Guide to Springfield and the Pioneer Valley as part of the 350th birthday celebration of Springfield. The cover was designed by Larry Slezak, art professor at Springfield Technical Community College. Carlo Marchetti was Executive Director of Springfield Central in 1986 and Richard E. Neal was Mayor.

Today I left at 11:20 and drove all the way to Mason Square without hitting a single red light, something that doesn't happen very often. Someone was trimming Billy Beldon's hedge. I parked on Salem and walked down to the free City Block concert held in the area between Sovereign Bank and Tilly's. There were City Block concert posters sticking out of the flower planters and pretty flowers in front of Monarch Palace. I noticed that the windows of the old Johnson's Bookstore are papered over, but you can still see "Johnson's Since 1893" written in gold at the bottom of the right window. The band was The Fiddlesticks, consisting of Zoe Darrow, a young woman who plays country fiddle very well, and two young fellows, one on keyboards and the other on an assortment of guitars. Irish and Scottish music is their specialty and they started fifteen minutes early at 11:45. There was no singing, the entire concert was instrumental.

There were lots of white and green patio chairs set up and a nice breeze. TV40 was there as well as Chelsea Sobel from TV22. Union-News critic Clifton Noble was there with his ponytail and shorts, but no Albano, no Matt, no Burke. City Councilor Dominic Sarno was present and said hello to me. I saw no vendor carts other than the hot dog stand on the corner of Main by the Bank of Boston building, which still charges a dollar for a hot dog. Tilly's still had signs up from their June 29th Grand Re-opening, so I went inside and saw that they have new paneling and a collection of old beer cans behind plexiglass. There are a few framed photos of downtown. They have a central bar, KENO games and free lightly buttered popcorn. Outside they had three umbrellas with Coors and Bud Lite logos on them and about twelve tables set up. Their special of the day was a cheeseburger and soda for five bucks. I took a new Valley Advocate from a pile just inside the door.

It remained beautiful, cool and shady until around 12:45 when the sun began to creep around the building and I found myself sitting in the hot sun. At one point chubby Mr. Turin spoke wearing a peacock feathered tie and yellow shirt, thanking us for coming and describing the concert series as offering "top flight entertainment with Parisian seating." In all I would say about 120 people were in attendance and the whole event was entirely satisfactory. As the crowd departed I saw Turin heading toward Tilly's so I told him I thought the event was splendid and he looked pleased.

Outside Tilly's I saw two guys sitting under the umbrellas eating beautiful looking grinders. I asked them where they got them and they said at Milano's on Main Street on the right hand side about a block beyond the Red Rose. As I was walking down Main Street, I passed Carlo Marchetti, who once hissed at me in my biker jacket years ago when he saw me by Johnson's Bookstore. He was wearing a white shirt as always and simply stared at me so I stared right back. He hasn't been heard of much during the Albano years, but in his Springfield Central days he was very prominent. I heard that he was a backroom participant in putting together the new master plan.

When I got to Milano's I bought a sub, then returned to the scene of the concert where they were dismantling the equipment. I sat down, opened my grinder and wow, it was stuffed with ham and cheese, lettuce and tomato. It had enough stuffing to fill three Subway grinders. I am glad to discover this new place, a perfect example of the hard working little shop giving better value than the national chain. When I got back to Salem I saw that a silver Toyota had pulled right up to my rear bumper, license plate 3952KH. I saw one of those fake antique trolly buses go by. It was completely empty.

Mail came on time, included a box from Hein with a copy of their reprint of my copy of The Trial of Queen Caroline. Eamon called but we couldn't talk long because there was so much static on the line. Eamon said he drove past the Hippodrome/Paramount last night and there was a long line standing on the sidewalk waiting to get in to see boxing. After he hung up I called Verizon and they said they would send someone to see what is wrong with my phone. A half hour later, Jim Stoddard the telephone man came. He said he is originally from Sturbridge and used to be a history teacher. He claimed that working for the phone company pays more and is less stressful. Jim diagnosed the problem as branches leaning against the wire, so he trimmed them and took the branches away in his truck. Now my phone works fine.

The Valley Advocate has a short piece piece by Maureen Turner about fears in some quarters that Mayor Albano will be indicted before the election, possibly resulting in someone not loyal to the local political machine being elected. To avoid that, some are speculating that a candidate will enter the race that can be trusted in case Albano goes down, perhaps someone from the Neal camp like Tim Rooke or even Melinda Phelps. We shall see.

July 13, 2001

Lovely day, sunny and 67 degrees at 6:45am.

Milton Berle is 93 today. Bill Cosby is 64. China will host the 2008 Summer Olympics. Meagan O'Malley is the assistant to Barbara Lucia at the Bank of Western Mass. The grad students at UMass are trying to organize a union. Trinity Lutheran Church is being spruced up with work on the doors and the cement in front. The 104th Italian festival starts in the South End tonight. Mother took Synthroid for years, and the news said it's the third most prescribed drug in America. Now it is being phased out over concerns it is not safe.

I called and spoke with Rosanna at the Hampden District Medical Society and she said Dr. William Byrnes has retired and she can't divulge his address. Called the lady artist D.P. Larson, who lives at 212 Birchland, and she said she goes to Foster Memorial and would like to come visit on July 20th. She said she used to go horseback riding in the Acres by where United Bank is now. She said the 16 Acres Inn was closed at the time she remembers it, but she heard that it had a reputation for being "a red light district" and "very disreputable." That's more than what others have told me, so I'm slowly acquiring some information and will ask her for more when she comes.

30,000 Indian Motocycles were shipped to England and Australia during World War II. Indian is a racist name for a motorcycle. Shouldn't it be Native American Motorcycle? In 1983 Stage West's resident artist Jeff Struckman drew art on the hallway walls of 43 Chestnut Street. Mr. J.W. Simpkin was the Director of Personnel at Smith College in Northampton in 1983. I renewed my real estate license for the last time in 1985. TV22 calls itself the "only station that gives you breaking news first" but they rarely have live coverage.

For supper tonight I had a Swanson Boneless White Meat Chicken Dinner. For lunch I had Campbell's Mushroom Soup and two grilled cheese sandwiches. Eamon called and said his neighbor Moore is having a tag sale Saturday. Moore and some friends got together Friday and played musical instruments while Eamon sang. Moore also collect Civil War antiques and recently went down to Gettysburg. At one point in our conversation, Eamon recalled how he went on a field trip to Barney's Mansion in Forest Park when he was a student at Glenwood Elementary. Eamon said that his friend Charlie Triber, injured in a car crash, is now well enough to put vinyl siding on his house, but joked that he is afraid Francis Gagnon will come by and make trouble for him. He told Eamon he hates her and considers her a fraud. Eamon has a new phone editorial attacking teacher's unions for standing in the way of educational reform. He said he received 45 calls in the first two hours after he put it up.

The State Senate has overridden Governor Swift's veto of the money for remodeling the Civic Center, prompting Hurwitz to tell the media he's holding a party. Remodeling won't change the fact that Boston's Civic Center is number one, Hartford's is number two, the Mullens Center is number three and Springfield is number four. Drew Bailey on TV22 said the newly refurbished Civic Center would "steal business away from other northeastern Civic Centers" and allow the Springfield Civic Center "to recapture its old glory." Ms. Bailey is too young to realize that the Civic Center was, to quote Eamon, "a deficit-ridden white elephant from the day it was built." It never had any glory days to recapture, and with Adrien's Landing in Hartford and Civic Centers in Amherst, Boston, Providence and Albany, there will be too much competition for the Springfield Civic Center to have any hope of succeeding.

July 15, 2001

Beautiful morning, 65 degrees at 7am. Pink and red gerania in bloom. I saw a Monarch butterfly fluttering around the backyard.

Colby College is in Waterville, Maine. Donna M. McCabe is President of the Worcester County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Orchard Children's Corner is located in the Orchard Center Plaza and the Montessori Children's Corner is on Rte. 83 in East Longmeadow. The Caribbean American African Athletic Social Club will hold their annual carnival at Blunt Park in August. John L. Noonan lives at 192 Birchland. Mayor Albano is quoted in the Union-News as saying, "I'm a liberal, I believe in government."

A police cruiser is often parked in the driveway of 403 Sunrise Terrace. Sundays are a good day to shop at Angelo's because they always put out a good spread of produce to sell to those getting out of Mass at Our Lady of Sacred Heart across the street. Dined on Healthy Choice Mandarin Chicken Medley tonight. I called Eugene Povirk at Southpaw and he said he has some books to recommend for my radical poetry collection. Fran Gagnon has an article in the Springfield Journal on James August Rumrill, who endowed the musical collection at the Quad and whose picture hangs in Wellman Hall. The Springfield Journal has changed its motto from "That Nice Little Paper" to "Preserving Culture, Building Our Future."

Last evening there was a commercial where a woman says, "My mother was injured in a nursing home accident," followed by a voice asking, "Who ya gonna call?" The answer: "Call Frank Saia." The Starr Gallery of Watercolors in the Museum of Fine Arts at the Quadrangle was dedicated in 1999. David Starr has been on the Quad board of trustees for decades and his wife Peggy is a longtime watercolorist who has been chairwoman of the Arts Collection Committee since 1996. David Starr began his newspaper career in 1939 as a copy boy at the Long Island Press. He arrived in Springfield in 1977 and became active in economic revitalization and cultural efforts in the city. Among those attending the dedication was Dr. Paul Friedmann of Longmeadow, Helen Fuller of Wilbraham, Judge Eileen Griffin and Francis and Victor Gagnon of Springfield.

This morning a little girl called from the residence of Angela L. Sowa asking, "Is Anthony there?" Joe Iozzo of the phone company came by to check if my phone is still okay. He said he went to school for economics but couldn't find work in the field so he went with the phone company. I made it clear that Jim Stoddard had given me excellent service, but there was still a little static on the line. Iozzo went outside and climbed the pole and the problem was with a wire in the box. While he was working the Ciantras came by on their morning walk. Before he left Iozzo had me try the phone and it was crystal clear.

Once he left I tried to go out myself, but the electric door on the garage wouldn't work because the battery was dead. I opened it by hand and then drove out to Walgreens to buy batteries. From there I headed over to the tag sale next to Cal's Variety behind Eamon's. Verdi's Falstaff was on the radio on the drive over. Moore's large garage is impeccably tidy with every tool in its place and not a speck of dirt, sort of like Uncle Manuel's machine shop. The tag sale was somewhat remarkable, no junk, all stuff you could see someone might want to buy. I bought several counterculture items, then I went over to Eamon's to drop off some documents.

Eamon recalled how he used to go to boxing matches at the Valley Arena years ago. He said there was lots of smoking and drinking going on in "a very unwholesome environment." Eamon also recalled how Eddie Boland used to live at the Stonehaven before he got married. They had a nice swimming pool. He remembered how Albert Steiger used to go to the YMCA nearby. Steiger once told Eamon that when they were struggling financially the city never offered them any assistance, while money was handed out to the politically connected. Eamon always praises James Grimaldi for having been the only public official to correctly predict that the Springfield Civic Center would be a failure. Eamon then recalled that Matty Ryan won his first D.A. race against six contenders with the help of Joe Napolitan and with Tommy O'Connor's brother as his campaign manager.

After Eamon's, I stopped at the Liberty Street Burger King for croissants, then stopped by Stop&Shop for the specials. Some things were cheaper than at the Boston Road Stop&Shop. I got a dozen jelly donuts for 99 cents and a container of bing cherries for 59 cents. Milk has jumped another dime to $1.79. On the way back I stopped at Mrs. Staniski's, who was just sitting down to eat a pork chop. I left her some reading material and left promptly, saying I didn't want her lunch to get cold. Back on Boston Road I saw Tom Devine sitting and talking with Doyle the Twig Painter. As always, Doyle was sitting with his back to the street, umbrella overhead, his paints to his right.

July 16, 2001

Sunny, clear, lovely. 71 degrees at 1:55pm. Gas is $1.51 at Breckwood.

Your Home is Your Castle.

Hope Alswang is President of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Atty. Charlie A. Maglieri is in the Enfield/Windsor directory. The Leavitt Corporation in Everett, Massachusetts makes River Queen brand peanuts. The Indian Motocycle Museum is at 33 Hendee Street in Springfield. Jimmy Gibson, a work friend of Father's, has died at age 78. He was vice-president for premiums and commissions at Monarch Insurance and was a member of the first graduating class of Western New England College in 1952.

I called Hurwitz at the Civic Center today and congratulated him on getting money for the renovations. I told him I was disappointed that it wouldn't have a larger seating capacity and predicted it will still be hard to compete with the Mullins Center in Amherst. Hurwitz politely said he doesn't always agree with me and then very articulately set forth his views. He said that the only way to get more seats would be to build it higher which would be too expensive. He claimed that adding two or three thousand more seats wouldn't make that much of a difference competitively. He said that the Meadows has over 25,000 seats and there is no way they can compete with that for the biggest acts. He said, "Springfield is not top tier, we're second tier," but things are better than in the past when "Springfield and Holyoke were not talking to each other and Northampton wasn't talking to anybody." Now they are working more regionally.

Hurwitz insisted that while "we'll never be a top convention city like Boston or Chicago" the Civic Center still helps the city with the spin-off from events like the Falcons hockey games. I mentioned how some critics have suggested that it is a conflict of interest for Peter Picknelly of Peter Pan buses to be on the convention board, but Hurwitz said "Peter Picknelly has a lot less influence in Boston than he does around here" and described Picknelly as "just one member on a pretty large board." That ended our conversation and we wished each other a good day. I then called Rev. M. Goad and congratulated her on her new pastorate and said she did a wonderful job at Trinity. She hung up in my ear.

Headed downtown today and parked on Eliot in front of number 96, one of those houses with a tall system of ornamental wooden and iron porches, ivory with green trim, where a distinguished looking man with a moustache was watering with an avocado colored watering can the short hedge that runs along the sidewalk. An oval plaque says the house was built in 1870. A sign on the long Victorian structure across the street says it was erected in 1887. That means that for 17 years the people in the 1870 structure could sit on their ornate porch and have a view of the front lawn of the Springfield Armory. At 44 Mattoon they are now restoring the cement foundation of the steps and bannisters. They have finished the stone work on numbers 27 and 29.

The Johnson's Bookstore building has a sign in the window saying that it is FOR SALE by CB Richard Ellis. It also lists the names John Williamson and John Reed. The entryway tile still says Johnson's Bookstore. The entranceway to the Westfield Savings building is a mess, it looks awful for a Main Street building. A white Indian Motocycle van from Riverside, California was parked in front of Sovereign Bank with the years 1901-1953 painted on it. There was a woman on Court Square tossing bread to the pigeons. I found some legal papers dumped in a Court Square trash can, there was a lot of litter around and the trash can was overflowing.

The Carmela Flower Shop at 770 had a sign in the window listing their hours. I was surprised to find a nice, navy blue milk crate sitting on Main Street and I took it. It was from the Marcus Dairy in Danbury. A Chinese operated clothing store next to Tony's Barber Shop had a Black Family Day poster in the window and they graciously gave it to me. The Scibelli statue area was a mess after the Italian festival and a city crew was busy cleaning it up. There was a bocce poster in the window of Danielle's Mom & Rico's at 899 Main. At La Fiorintino I bought two fancy pastries for $1.25 each and I ate them in the coffee shop. There were men standing around talking about golf. The restrooms were immaculate, equal to Mother's standards, but that's the way their establishment is. On my way out I told the guy at the counter, "You've got a clean place here."

On my way back a fake trolly went by Dwight and State with no riders on it. I stopped and got two posters by the old Friendly's on State Street. After parking on Mass Avenue I walked to the AIC Shea Library to look at their Cambridge Bibliography. I wanted to see what it said about my new rare book, J.A. Purves The Law and Lawyers Laid Open (1737). I found half the shelves bare so I asked Young the new reference librarian with a degree from Rhode Island to help me. She pecked around on the computer, but just couldn't find the volumes anywhere. We went to the office of the head librarian and she went in and closed the door.

After about ten minutes the head librarian came out and said he doesn't know where the books are or what their status is. He explained they have a "space problem" and that even their own English Department members don't use them. He said they have to be "pragmatic and change with the times" and claimed that the kinds of assignments students do these days don't require them. He flattered me by calling me "scholarly" but said I am the only one who ever uses those books. I told him that I have regarded A.I.C. to have the best core collection in the humanities in town and that with the removal of these volumes I consider it the end of the Shea Library as a major scholarly resource. He suggested I see if I can find the volumes thru the interlibrary loan system. As I left I told them to tell Henry Barton that their school library now looks silly without those books.

July 17, 2001

Heavily overcast, 72 degrees at 6:30am.

The Catholics have a plan for surpassing Protestantism - Outfuckus!

The cornerstone of American Democracy has been and always will be an educated electorate. In the morning news Bush wants to overhaul the immigration system and give amnesty to three million Mexicans living here illegally. This I oppose because it rewards dishonesty and punishes the people who were too good to sneak in. Timothy McVeigh is laughing in Hell because ABC News this evening began with Peter Jennings announcing that the FBI has lost dozens of computers with classified information on them. Timothy was a great warrior and patriot who gave his life to expose the FBI as a shabbily run organization and this is simply more evidence that he was right. Katherine Graham has died in Utah. She once said, "The best service a newspaper can do a president is to be his adversary."

WFCR is playing Handel violin sonatas these days. They also had the Iceland Symphony playing the 2nd Suite of The Tempest by Sibelius, there's something you don't always hear. The Pequot Indians have withdrawn their proposal for a $500 million oceanside casino in New London because the Town Council voted against it. Diane M. Way is Director of Sales and Marketing for Shelburne Bay Senior Living Community in Vermont. Adriano Teves is incarcerated at the Bristol County Jail and House of Correction in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Watt & Sylvia have their law offices in New Bedford. Tommie P. Taylor is Elder and Chaplain at Grace Gospel Church in Swansea, Massachusetts. Gerard Martel is the Senior Pastor. Friendly's stock fell to 2.37.

Had raspberries for breakfast. Passing through the Quadrangle on my way back to the car the other day, I saw that they have finished the narrow stone walk from the Quad to the back of the Episcopal parking lot. In the library I took a Summer 1957 edition of Public Opinion Quarterly that they were discarding. I'm currently reading Jim Goad's The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats (1997). It is a remarkable book, well written and correct in many of its cynical observations. United Parcel packages are almost always in a plastic bag, even when sunny. Federal Express packages are never in a plastic bag, even when raining.

I called Eamon and he said he had just spoken with Nader the Hatter who said he is selling one of the condos he owns for $30,000. He told Eamon that three major collectors dominate the antique hat field. Eamon said that Hurwitz from the Civic Center once complemented Eamon's nephew the Springfield Park Commissioner by calling him "a really nice guy." Eamon feels that Hurwitz makes too many decisions based upon the dubious findings of politically connected consultants. Eamon's latest phone editorial congratulates the new Chief of Police in Holyoke for his "outstanding leadership" in cleaning up the streets. He contrasts Chief Scott with "Mayor Albano's figurehead ladies auxiliary Police Chief Paula Meara, who has lacked the courage and leadership to take back Springfield's streets." By praising Scott, a black, Eamon proves that he is not always negative and not a racist.

July 19, 2001

Overcast, 68 degrees at 7am. Raspberries take longer to ripen than blackberries.

Nelson Mandela is 83 today. Former State Rep. Iris Holland has died, she was the Massachusetts State Representative of the 2nd Hampden District for 19 years from 1972-1991. Services are at Ascher Chapel on Sunday. Mr. Richard Kilpatrick, owner of Killas African Latino Barber on Main Street in Springfield, subscribes to Flying Magazine. TV22's Backyard Barbeque tonight was at the home of someone named Denis and City Councilor Dominic Sarno was there as a guest. The had a fish pond, smaller than Kelly's, from which they said a crane ate ten goldfish last year. TV22 had a notice about the free movies at Nathan Bill Park, but nothing about the music at Trinity. The morning TV news often just repeats what we heard the night before. Mother was fond of the old puppet show Kukla, Fran and Ollie.

The less I go out, the less I spend. The more I stay home the more I save. Mowed the lawn except for the side. Nothing beats exercise, sitting down causes problems. Unknown called at 8:50 am. Who are these early morning unknown calls with no voice? Nader the Hatter called and said he will be back in town next week and thinks he will be staying with his brother whose wife died recently. He says he likes living in Florida where today it was 90 degrees. When I told him I had a TV dinner for supper he said he dislikes frozen foods. I called D.P. Larson to see if she wanted to stop by but she said her lawn mowing person is coming. She said she used to mow her own lawn but steel joints implanted in her hips and knees now prevent it. Finally, I called Esther Godek of 16 Greenleaf in Chicopee and she said, "I'm sorry, I don't want to talk to you." So I assume that cancels any obligation I have to follow up with her!

There was a yellow kayak on the old blue car down to the Bradley's. Is the son or former wife visiting? I noticed a DeWolfe for sale sign in front of Camp Wilder in the Acres so I called and got Cynthia Lyons who said they are asking $1.2 million and are "looking for developers." I wonder what the status is of plans by the city to buy it that were in the paper recently? I went downtown to the Bank of Western Mass to meet with Barbara G. Lucia about opening a new CD. Eamon told me once that he lost $4,000 with Lucia after she talked him into buying some hi-tech stocks that later crashed. Then I parked in front of the old Kane's Furniture, where there is an island of free two hour parking. I went to Milano's and got a slice of sausage and pepperoni pizza. I then walked over to the back of Sovereign Bank, where two white guitarists and a black drummer where playing loud rock music. Mr. Turin was talking with a woman in a white blouse most of the time I was there. There were about a hundred people present and both the music and the pizza was good.

Somebody was feeding bread to the pigeons, which also no doubt serves as food for rats. As I left I found a copy of today's Union-News in a trash can at the corner of Main and State. I also got the new Valley Advocate. From there I went to the wake of Monarch executive James S. Gibson. I wore my hood and black jeans. Bruce Brown and Bagwell were there and we chatted. I asked if there were any Fire and Marine people there and they pointed to four old ladies in the second row. I signed the book on behalf of Father and beat it. When I got home I saw that the mail today brought me some info on my approaching eligibility for Social Security.

The Police Union in Holyoke is mad because they were not consulted as required by contract on the hiring of the new Police Chief. Chief Scott said, "As long as I am here there is going to be a lot of pressure on the criminal element and the judges." There is a letter in the paper today by a "Steve Lindsey" that attacks downtown in a way that makes me suspect it was sent by Eamon using a fake name. There was a boxing match downtown recently. Picknelly is encouraging anything people can make bets on and that is perhaps the bottom line problem with Picknelly. Albano's Chief of Staff Anthony M. Ardolino of 253 State Street is pleading innocent to operating under the influence. He drives a 1992 black Pontiac Bonneville. Mayor Albano released a statement calling the incident "unfortunate" and making no further comment. Ardolino's lawyer Peter M. Murphy said he is confident the facts will show that Ardolino was not intoxicated.

July 21, 2001

Lovely day, 68 degrees at 9:30am.

The Leaflet is the journal of The New England Association of Teachers of English. Uncle Ralph Porter was a teacher in some youth correctional facility down in Middletown. Jamie Byng is the aristocratic young publisher of Canongate books. Ambrose Burnside was the most inept general in U.S. history. Did a load of wash and dishes, cleaned house, dined on tossed salad and hotdogs at lunch, a can of ravioli for supper. Kelly has put out a sofa and some cat toys free for the taking. Mrs. Bradley was out mowing the lawn (the old Mrs. Bradley used to mow the lawn too).

The mail was unexciting today, with an appeal from WGBY-TV saying they need about $400,000 by August 31st. Sounds like they're in trouble! I also received the BusinessWest Business Guide. A fire maxim on TV40 - Big fires start small! Chelsea Sobel on TV22 was telling about a ban on smoking outdoors in Braintree. They showed interviews with the locals, most of whom don't think outdoor smoking should be regulated. TV40 was broadcasting from Long Hollow Bison Farm on Route 9 in Hadley, which is having a musical festival featuring the band NRBQ. Which local TV station has the news? Which station is working for me? Which station has breaking news first?

School Superintendent Joe Burke was interviewed by Karen Brown this morning on WFCR. Burke said that 40% of the students in Springfield are Hispanic and they have the lowest test scores and the highest drop-out rates. Teachers need retraining and he said about a third of all students drop-out before graduation. Burke admitted that the first four principals he's hired are all white, but said "the workforce available is primarily white-anglo." Half the high school students failed the MCAS tests but Burke does not want to exempt anyone from the requirement. He said taxpayers have a right to be assured that graduates have met certain standards.

My neighbor Dorothy Parker Larson came over today. She told me she grew up in St. James Methodist Church, which she recalled "had a beautiful stained glass window of Jesus as Shepard. Rev. Leach was the minister. Just before moving to Birchland Avenue she lived at 11 Ashbrook. She also lived on Silver Street near Atwater Park and attended Buckingham. Her late husband, with whom she had a daughter who died, worked as an assistant to the General Manager at Springfield Gas Light. She told me she has no living relatives or heirs. Her father was a plumber. When she went to the High School of Commerce she lived right across the street from the Swedish Methodist Church on Bay Street. Her house at 212 Birchland was built in 1955 by Joe Prugh. Before she bought it the house belonged to William Asp, a plant supervisor at Savage Arms in Westfield. She thinks he is still alive but in a nursing home. She repeated that the 16 Acres Inn "did not have a good reputation" and was considered "a red light district where you could go and sow a few wild oats."

Her passion is for painting, but I have seen her work and it is amateurish. Larson told me that she had a minor incident of vandalism recently, where someone stole some tomatoes from a garden down the street and threw them at her house. She said she thinks the 16 Acres community police officers are wonderful. At one point we looked through the 1920 City Directory. She said that lawyer Jim Buckley was a Faith Church Sunday School teacher who was so popular that the kids never missed his classes. She hadn't heard of John R. Auchter. She used to work for J. Resler Schultz, the Development Director at WNEC who lived in Longmeadow. He helped to raise the money for the first six buildings on campus. I told her I'd never heard that name before. She said she can't believe that WNEC kept Beverly Miller as president as long as they did and said she "heard a lot of funny stories about her." She thinks President Caprio is a fine man.

July 22, 2001

Lovely, 73 degrees at 8am. Today I saw a black swallowtail (yellow rather than orange) flitting across the street.

The Committee for a New England Bibliography was in Burlington, Vermont in 1980. Chester H. Liebs was the Director of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Vermont in 1980. Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter has pulled out of discussions with the government of Thailand on conducting a survey on the country's competitiveness following press reports that his fee would be $1 million. NBC News says that blacks are 60% more likely than whites to get prostate cancer. Patrick J. Sullivan, nephew of Eamon, is Superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Department. The Vinick Locker Room at the Basketball Hall of Fame is named after the deceased son of James Vinick of WGGB-TV-ABC television.

After the news I watched Fear Factor, the first time I've seen it. Just the thing to relieve the boredom of everyday life. A nice young woman dropped out because she wouldn't eat a worm. Bob of Bob's Discount Furniture is often telling us in TV commercials what bargains he has and claiming the moral and economic high ground. Yet, he offers "the cushy finance rate of 9.99%" while others offer no interest at all for the first year. Omiskanoagwiak is the name of the Indian monument in Forest Park.

Today I dined on a double cheeseburger and fries at the Burger King by Westinghouse. Then I went to ex-rep Iris Holland's funeral. I wasn't sure where the Ascher Memorial Chapel was so I pulled over on Ft. Pleasant to ask a woman sweeping up trimmings from edging her lawn. I was surprised to realize it was Senator Linda Melconian! She smiled and said it's the building on the other side of the church. The funeral parlor is in a former house with a swishy eternity mural lighted to look like stained glass. Holland was in an unopened coffin of wood, probably mahogany. Three banks of folding chairs with Hampden printed on the back were set up in a room that could hold over 200. I counted 150 people present, with Holland's family occupying the first three rows. Everyone in attendance was white except for one black woman.

I signed my full name in the guest book including the III. Bob Magovern, the respectable Republican and perennial candidate for Agawam offices was there and said hello to me. Arthur Zalkan was also there and greeted me as I was leaving. I was in partial uniform, collar, shaved head, biker jacket and dog collar with padlock. Durham Caldwell and his wife were there, but pretended not to notice me so I boldly walked up to them and said, "I suppose we ought to say hi," and he smiled and said hello. Linda Melconian arrived just a minute before it started and sat up front. Congressman Neal was also present but did not speak. I recognized no other politicians, no Albano nor any of the City Councilors.

The ceremony began with the Rabbi reading the 21st Psalm and then he spoke. He said that Holland "lived by her word and truly cared for her family of constituents." He described her as coming from "a family of givers" despite the fact that her father old man Kaufman arrived in America with only $7.50 in his pocket. Once when she was encouraged to accept a higher position in government Iris Holland replied, "I came here to do a job, not get a job." He added that she ran her real estate business with "optimism, industry and love." She had been an invalid for the last years of her life and the Rabbi said "she retained her dignity in the face of indignity" and always greeted visitors with a smile. Rep. Mary Rogeness also spoke and wasn't as long-winded as the Rabbi. Rogeness said that Holland "always responded to every call and letter." At the end her son Donald said he would be entertaining anyone who wanted to come to his home in Longmeadow. When we left there were people talking on the lawn outside, including Richie Neal. There were police cars leading the funeral entourage. On my way home I stopped at an Open House at 101 Regal off Plumtree. It has a steep yard and the house itself shows signs of hard use with some cosmetic restoration.

Eamon called and for some reason seems extremely pleased with the book on poison I lent him. He said he has sent a congratulatory letter to Chief Anthony Scott for the job he is doing in Holyoke. Eamon is also disgusted with the need for roof repairs on Sci-Tech High in the old Monarch building at 1250 State Street because the roof was not inspected when the building was bought. Eamon says his spy Audrey, a school volunteer, told him about a problem with the widespread loss of textbooks in the Springfield schools. The students don't respect the textbooks and they are often damaged or simply lost. But how can you ask a kid whose parents are on welfare to pay for a $60 biology book?

July 24, 2001

87 degrees at 2pm. Gas is $1.48 at Pride. Today was 95 degrees but the hottest on record is 97 in 1987.

The last time I was downtown someone mistook me for a homeless person.

President Bush visited the Pope, who told him he doesn't want embryos used for scientific research. The use of children as soldiers is a worldwide problem. No kid brought up as a soldier is going to want to forsake fighting for booklearning. The YMCA of Greater Springfield is on Chestnut Street and Kathleen Treglia is Executive Director. TV22 really messed up the stock market numbers tonight, as they often do.

Blackberries are really coming in now. Crickets were singing sweetly this evening. Dined light today on a Green Giant Green Bean Casserole, which I don't particularly like but I got it on sale. WFCR today played Mozart's violin Concerto No. 5, the "Judicial." Someone took the cat toys Kelly put out on the curb but not the maroon sofa. I hope that having a kid doesn't cause Kelly to move. Bringing out the dumpster I encountered Brian Simpson getting out of his car. I asked if we are going to see Colleen this year and he said yes. He introduced me to his two little daughters and I said, "How do you do ladies? Glad to meet you." Went to the Acres Big Y for milk and some canned hams on special. I got a really nice Greek Cultural Center Cat Show poster that was hanging by the store's office.

The Armory Street and East Springfield fire stations have been decommissioned and will be replaced by the Raymond M. Sullivan Public Safety building named after Eamon's late brother. Located next to Van Sickle School, it is a lovely building with a lantern on it. The Armory Street building is to be demolished with the tower saved as a memorial. However, the Albano Administration has itchy development fingers and I bet they eventually tear it all down. Jeff Keck, Operations Manager of the Springfield Business Improvement District, was on TV tonight blabbing about downtown. Eamon gave me a copy of the Cecil Group Master Plan for Springfield which at 127 pages comes out to $1,968.50 per page. Unfortunately, it contains no new proposals, although it does have pretty pictures and a good summary of the way things are today.

This morning Unknown called and it rang ten times. Eamon called and said Springfield will be selling $60 million worth of bonds rated Baa3. He is still working on a reply to the insulting letter he received last month from Larry McDermott in which McDermott said, "I'm not sure you would be satisfied with anyone other than yourself in the superintendent's job." We talked about the death of Iris Holland and Eamon recalled how he helped Holland with her first campaign and was once a guest in her living room. He said he went door to door with her in the South End and introduced her to all the Italian voters he knew through singing with the Ravosa Band and others over the years. He told her, "You will never win unless you go door to door." Eamon said the official dedication of the Sullivan Public Safety building will be on the 31st, although it is already in use. He was offered a personal tour but declined. Eamon said that the best fire chief Springfield ever had was someone named Edward Boyle, "a real man's man" but he never got his name on anything.

My caller ID showed that Irene Pelland called and asked, "Is this Storrowtown?" She apologized when I told her she had the wrong number. I called former State Representative Frederick Whitney and he somewhat gruffly told me he was feeding his invalid wife and would call me back later. When he called back an hour later he was much friendlier and said his whole day was mixed up with caring for his wife and running errands. He said his wife is not doing well but her condition is not life threatening. When he mentioned that he still sees Tom Devine from time to time, I told him how Devine told me not to call him anymore, which is fine with me because he was always pestering me for historical and political information. Whitney said he still calls Eamon's phone editorials regularly. He also said the Valley Advocate is doing a wonderful job attacking the Albano Administration. He said he used to go to the old ARISE office sometimes, but has never been to the new one.

I told Whitney about the funeral of Iris K. Holland, and when I said that "Iris was a lady, but her husband Gilbert was no gentleman," he replied, "I can agree with that." Whitney described Iris as "competent and respectable" but not an original thinker. He said that news accounts describing her as as the first woman elected to the legislature from Western Mass are wrong, that a woman from Ward 4 was elected in the 1930's to one term. Whitney claimed that he could take some of the credit for first getting Holland elected in 1972. She was registered as a Democrat at the time because she had crossed over the year before to vote for a friend in the Democratic primary and forgot to switch back. When she turned in her nomination papers filled with all Republican signatures Clerk Metzger told her she couldn't be placed on the ballot because technically she wasn't a Republican. Whitney said that he and Kay Benson of Mountain View Street devised a successful sticker campaign where they focused on woman voters in Longmeadow and urged them to bring along their husbands. Holland lost in the Springfield precincts but carried Longmeadow by a large enough margin to win. Benson was described by Whitney as "a most honorable and decent woman" and claimed they were both equally responsible for Holland's winning campaign.

July 26, 2001

62 degrees and high mist at 7am. Rained most of the morning.

The U.S. has now turned down five international agreements that everyone else has signed. Amnesty International has criticized the U.S.A. for the high proportion of minorities incarcerated by the War on Drugs. Someday we'll get smacked and it will be because we deserve it. The Big Dig expenses are up to $14 billion. The media is calling today's kids Generation D, the digital generation. Vitamin E users are less likely to have prostate trouble. 550 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer everyday and 86 die. My great-grandfather George Manuel Miller (1843-1917) died just four days short of his 74th birthday. Of what?

Only 1,500 of the 3,000 Cat in the Hat license plates have been sold at $70 apiece. Had another Mystic Pizza, they have lots of toppings and a nice crust. The mail brought parcels from Eugene Povirk and from Hamilton. The University of Vermont also sent me a picture of Thomas Day Seymour Bassett (1913-2001). On the TV22 news it was reported that Friendly's second quarter earnings showed improvement. Mayor Albano was on and said his "main priority is public safety because it promotes economic development." He said he's hired 150 cops, but there are still 29,000 warrants outstanding in the city. Public safety might be better served by an aggressive Police Chief like in Holyoke instead of a do-nothing Chief like Paula Meara. The Democrats always want to hire more people and spend more money, but they never address the underlying problem.

The bulk trash pick up carried away Kelly's maroon sofa. I went to Louis&Clark to make some copies and ran into Mrs. Penniman. She cheerfully thanked me for the postcards and Boston Heralds I dropped off. Then I drove over to the Burger King by the old Westinghouse and dined using free coupons. On Page Boulevard I was passed by a grey stretch limo with license plate Bus 90. Who might that be? A Picknelly? Next I swung by Mrs. Staniski's and gave her a postcard of the Rev. J. Wesley Miller (1869-1934) who was a Democrat in the Vermont legislature. She offered me cookies from her freezer but I declined. I went to buy bananas from Angelo's and nothing else. Gas was $1.46 per gallon across the street.

From there I drove to United Cooperative Bank in the Acres, whose sign said 67 degrees at 2:15pm. Then to Mailboxes to make copies, color ones for 79 cents and black and white for 20 cents each, which is fair enough. Then I came through Food Mart where milk is $1.69 and bought some macaroni salad and a ham grinder. The sub was very good, stuffed with ham and cheese. Certainly a better deal than Subway, which put as little in their grinders as possible, yet not as tasty as Milano's, which adds special seasonings. Ate it for supper and was reminded why people eat their big meal at noon so they don't have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Author Benson Bobrick was on the Lehrer Report talking about his book Wide as the Waters: The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired. Puffed up as some sort of new translation of the Bible, it was actually the same old stuff about the church having "interposed itself between the Bible and the reader."

When I got back I called Jan Davis in staffing at East Longmeadow High, who said she will send me an informational packet on substitute teaching. The ad said you didn't have to have a college degree. Why don't they try to get qualified people? Eamon called at 3:47 and we talked until 4:12. He recalled how former Congressman Boland resisted efforts to name the Federal Building on Main Street after him. Eamon feels Armory Street School shouldn't have been named after Boland either. Eamon said he called the newspaper the other day to tell them about the city's low rating on the latest bond sale, but the person he talked to didn't seem to understand what a bond rating means. Today there's a small article in the paper about East Longmeadow having an AAA rating, but nothing about Springfield having a Baa3 near junk bond rating.

July 27, 2001

Beautiful day, 66 degrees at 8:30am. Gas is $1.45 per gallon at Pride.

God is absurd, as well as boring.

WFCR said today that 79% of the Egyptian people consider the Israeli-Palestinian issue to be their number one concern. This is the 40th anniversary of the founding of WFCR by Gilbert Mottla and Horace Hewlett. Steven H. Miller is the Executive Director of the Bennington Museum in Vermont. Gainor B. Davis is Director and CEO of the Vermont Historical Society Museum. Lympus is the teensie village Mother came from within Bethel, Vermont. It is projects like the Big Dig and Springfield Civic Center that makes the Massachusetts economy worse than it has to be.

Cooking a ham over the weekend. Unknown rang 15 times. Nader the Hatter is in town and is selling off the remnants of his family's hat business that he has stored in Indian Orchard. I have been passing out my new postcards of Grandfather Miller. Somebody should made a postcard of John Boyle O'Reilly. I have 1,500 Springfield postcards, the 2nd best collection in existence. In the Valley Advocate this week is Summerfest Northampton with the Advocate 2001 Yearbook inside, a glitzy tabloid of valley restaurants. Newsman Sy Becker was on TV running a list of the worst movies of all time. My personal choice came in #2 with The Blair Witch Project, but Sy gave #1 to a film I've never seen or ever thought of going to - Battlefield Earth. When I left today somebody was driving down the street chucking Republican Extras in lilac bags out the window to fall where they may, not hanging them on mailbox hooks or even landing on the lawns.

Went to the Goodwill the other day, they have made more space for housewares but their book department is down to nothing. Today I decided to go downtown to the Puerto Rican Festival because it was so mild out. On the way there I stopped by the new Tourist Information Center but it was closed. Architecturally it reminds me of a White Hut burger joint. The Festival was held at Court Square, and I would say it was better organized with more booths than the events put on by Judy Matt. Certainly it was better attended than the Taste of Springfield or the Italian Festival. I picked up a lot of street literature, you can tell an event is well managed if it attracts a lot of different information dispensers. The Pioneer Valley Project was there campaigning for a more library hours referendum. I saw Bob Powell so I asked about the t-shirts they were selling and he said they were $15. I gave him a twenty and said keep the change. I got a nice raspberry colored shirt that says MORE LIBRARY HOURS.

There was a Budweiser booth and lots of food booths and souvenir vendors. I watched three little boys playing with balloons, another kid had a red airplane on a stick. One child had a blue fish and one had a clear plastic butterfly with a paisley design. A kid had a ball made of multicolored segments which collapsed into a star when it hit the ground, but turned back into a ball when you tossed it in the air. It was far superior to the red airplane or the blue fish. There were people carrying Puerto Rican flags and lots of cars had Puerto Rican stickers on them. One booth was selling Pina Coladas sold in real hollowed out pineapples with a cherry on top.

In front of City Hall was a small carnival of rides and games. Baystate Medical had a booth, as did the law firm of Roden & Casavant, which has offices at 115 State Street. The Farm Worker's Council had a table, and people were dancing to music in front of the Civic Center. There was a good crowd of about 800 people while I was there. It was mostly Hispanic, but with some blacks and very few whites. One jet black man was wearing a t-shirt that said "100% Puerto Rican." The event appeared to be a great success.

I started walking down Main towards the Arch and counted only 11 people at the tables outside Gus & Paul's. Over by the former Pizzario Uno a band was playing and there were about 75 people sitting outside. I looked into the gay bar Friends, but there were only a dozen customers, two women kissing at a table and the rest were men. The outside of The Pub has been completely jazzed up with a decorative wood facade. Around back the old Pub electric sign was unlighted. Inside it remains unchanged, the mine shaft was closed. David's has been renamed Club Taboo, but was closed when I went by at 8:40pm. Looking through the door window I could see that it is still the most modern and sophisticated of Springfield's gay bars.

Along Worthington Arte Pasta seems to be doing well, the Pour House was only half full. Auntie Em's had a band setting up but only ten customers. I went to the Judge's Chambers, but there was only one customer at the bar and the bartender. I commented on the lack of customers and the bartender said, "Later the place will be packed, you'll see." The television had a bust of Michelangelo's David sitting on top of it. I left and went home, having seen no one all evening whom I knew or wanted to know.

July 28, 2001

Beautiful, mild day. 63 degrees at 7:30am.

Law school maxim: Don't just sit there, do something!

Boredom often motivates people to act. Teaching is babysitting. Babysitting is entertainment, so teachers are entertainers. The reason most teachers fail is because they fail to entertain. When books were all there was, teachers could be stuffy. No more. First came the radio and movies, which exposed students to wider speakers and personalities to challenge academic orthodoxy. Then came television and the lid was off and entertainment was it. Public television has maintained a level of professionalism in their shows, but even they have a sentimental construction not fully objective in tone and import. With the internet, indeed all coherence is gone and teachers will soon be obsolete as they shrink into the role of a narrative overvoice.

I went to Northampton today and I am glad I did because it brought me back to life after Friday night in downtown Springfield, which was depressing in a variety of ways. I decided to drive up in part because I was enticed by this week's Valley Advocate to check out their Summerfest, which is an event I have never attended before. It was a wonderful morning and event in every way. The parking is cheaper in Northampton than in Springfield, which has nothing, whereas Northampton has everything and the parking is very convenient. Arriving at 9:30am I fed six quarters into the machine and got a ticket good for ten hours of parking.

I was in the most remote lot, the one by the railroad station, so I walked around the station which is fully restored and has a Spaghetti Freddy franchise. I went over to the little Chamber of Commerce building, a cute structure and somewhat crowded inside. A young woman offered to assist me, but I thanked her saying I'd help myself to the brochures. I did ask her for directions to the shop Primitive Leather and she pointed the way. On my way there, I discovered a wonderful bookstore, Half Moon Books, so I poked around in there. I bought Jameson's Legends of the Madonna (1890) for $30 and I noticed when I got home it had an oval Boston Atheneum stamp on the title page. Is it a stolen book? Next I headed to the leather shop where the proprietor H. Smith greeted me jovially. It is a small shop with a rack of Leatherman Magazines. They had leather jock straps, which I've never seen before, as well as hoods, harnesses, whips and gags such as they sell down in Enfield.

Then I went through the town, swiping posters all the way. A few weeks ago I found event posters taped on the metal ends of bookshelves at the A.I.C. Shea Library. Never before had I seen posters posted on library bookcases, but they are as good a "pole" as any. Today I discovered another emerging postering place. There are now a number of free periodicals which are distributed through metal or plastic newspaper boxes, with a copy of the latest issue displayed through a windowed door on the front. If you want a copy, you open the door and there is a pile of the publication inside. The copy displayed in the window is held firmly in place by a lateral support at its back. Posterers are now taking their poster or handbill and displaying it in the window instead of the publication! I found this in several places with different posters and publications in Northampton today.

What a beautiful event Summerfest is! There were lots of nice merchandise laid out on the sidewalk with lots of people eating outside. In front of Smith Charities there was a very good spread of ephemera and antiques. Then I went into Silverscape jewelry, where a memorial picture of the founder was hanging in the entryway. It is a magnificent former art deco bank with a steel vault. Then I walked across the street to the Hotel Northampton where there was some kind of convention underway and people drinking cocktails. There was a couple kissing on the front porch. Up by the old courthouse the Valley Advocate had a booth set up, manned by two kids I didn't know named Tom and Dan. I thanked them for all their new coverage of the problems in Springfield and they replied that they would write more about Springfield, but they have to cover other towns as well. I asked how they like their new owners and they said they don't hear much from them. I asked about Maureen Turner and they said she got married last month, but when I pressed them for more info they changed the subject.

Next door in the ally beside the courthouse was a wonderful Farmer's Market that I recall Belle-Rita Novack once told me about. When I got to Thornes Market there were so many people inside you had to walk sideways to let people get by. A pub on Pleasant Street is called Ye Ol Watering Hole and it advertises a beer can museum. Is that where Tilly's got the idea? Also on Pleasant Street is the Western Mass Legal Services. In front of the courthouse Frances Crowe was leading a group of protestors against the economic sanctions on Iraq. There were a few political tables, including a population control group from Maple Street in Springfield. How come they weren't at the Puerto Rican festival? There was also a table of petitions to save Old Main at Northampton State Hospital. Both Grandfather and Grandmother Miller were once attendants there. In those days it was thought that beautiful scenery could cure insanity and the area surrounding the hospital is indeed beautiful.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is running a development office out of a storefront along Main Street. I went in and spoke with Nick Clark, an alumnus of Harvard and Delaware, and we had a nice conversation. I don't know Eric Carle's work very well, but he is the clown who did the drawings for the The Magic Flute that I thought were a mess. I heard David Starr had something to do with him getting the commission for that. I went to the Raven Bookstore where the lady at the counter told me she did the design for the store's bookmarks and also for the Book Mill in Montague. I asked her if I could have the Book Mill poster sort of falling down in their window but she said no. There were children's games underway next to the Academy of Music and a sign pointed to a booksale in the basement of the Unitarian Church. I didn't go inside although I've been there before. I saw a Kiwanis meeting bell I would have bought but the guy running the booth was nowhere to be found. If you have a booth you should be tending it.

The cost of printing my new Grandfather Miller postcard was $77. Hungry Hill Magazine Editor Frank Faulkner is teaching a course on the Irish Diaspora at American International College. Al Smith called today for TV57 begging for money but I told him I have already given $250 this year. Eamon called and I told him of my Northampton adventure and he recalled how he and John Connolly used to drink a lot at Fitzwilly's years ago. Eamon also complained that Stuart J. Hurwitz is a public employee managing the Civic Center, yet also has business interests downtown, which raises issues of conflict of interest.

July 31, 2001

Beautiful out, sunny and 73 degrees at 11am.

I got the idea of keeping this diary from the example of my Grandfather Miller. Holyoke carpenter Gerald E. Gula has died at age 96. There are 68,000 Americans over 100 years old, in 1990 there were only 43,000. Canada has approved marijuana for medical use. Waterbury Mayor Giordano is in a lot of trouble for having sex with a minor. TV40 anchor Beth Carroll is back from a two week honeymoon with her husband Chuck. The news had a commercial for the Barney Carriage House but the background music was too loud. They also showed the skateboard park opening at Greenleaf in the Acres and it looks good. The street opposite the 16 Acres Garden Center has been cleared of all the oak trees, clearing the land for building lots.

Went to bed around 3:30am. The lights were on late over at Kelly's. I picked a quart of blackberries this morning. WFCR played Bach's Wedding Cantata which they described as "the coming of spring upon winter." I laundered the bedspread covering the piano, which has been gathering dust for years. It is raspberry and used to be on my parent's bed, it cleaned up decently. Went to Angelo's Fruit Mart where I bought two large melons and then next door to Arnold's where I bought three lovely donuts. At Angelo's a young woman admired my doggie collar saying, "I love it, it's way cool!" There were a lot of city cars parked by Our Lady of Sacred Heart for a funeral. I found out later the funeral was for Daniel P. O'Sullivan, no relative of Eamon's.

Then I drove to Food Mart where the car in front of me had a "What Would Jesus Do?" and a Bangor Seminary sticker. I bought some blueberries at Food Mart, they are on special this week. Yesterday I tried to call the City Collector's Office at the number on my tax bill but no one answered. so I drove downtown today and parked on Eliot. I walked down to City Hall and paid my taxes for the first and second quarter. Then I left off some material for Mayor Albano with his aide Candice Lopes. I also stopped by the City Treasurer's Office for a prospectus on the latest bond offering. As I was leaving William Foley passed me in the hall and said hello. Outside, I looked behind the Sovereign Bank but there was no concert, just eight people sitting on the benches eating or reading and about a half dozen people walking by. So this then is the population of the area when no music is playing. On my way home, I swung over to the X Farmer's Market and gave Belle-Rita Novak some reading material. Roy Scott was there and greeted me, he always has such a bright smile.

Nader the Hatter came over today and I gave him some blackberries. Nader looks good, and said he had to leave his car in Florida because flying was a lot faster and cheaper than driving. He intends to stay in the area until the beginning of September. Nader wants to sell the memorabilia from his family's historic hat business so that he can close down the space in Indian Orchard that costs him $300 per month. He vowed he will never return to the hatting business. He asked if I knew any good dealers so I gave him info on Povirk, Whatley/Smith and Oinonen Book Auctions in Sunderland. Nader told me that it seems like "everybody in Florida is Jewish." I asked him if he'd seen the article in the paper about Israel today but he said his sister doesn't get the Union-News. Nader said that the return of Sharon in Israel guarantees that there will be no peace with the Palestinians.

I was surprised to see in the paper that a riot occurred at the Puerto Rican Festival after I left. Officer William Noonan was on TV complaining that they had to devote so much manpower to the festival that coverage was spread too thin over the rest of the city. Apparently there was a lot of drinking and drug taking and there were disturbances around the trolly barn replica across from the bus station. The drunk driving trial of Mayor Albano's Chief of Staff Anthony Ardolino was today. He was acquitted of the drunken driving charge, his lawyer convinced the court that there was no evidence of him actually being intoxicated.

Eamon called and said he went to Stop&Shop today for some hot Italian sausages which he had with a can of Budweiser. He said while in the supermarket he ran into Michael Carney, who he hasn't seen for years. Born in the Blaskett Islands, he taught courses in Gaelic and helped Irish immigrants get their citizenship. Carney said he was downtown during the Puerto Rican Festival and "the rioting was a lot worse than what's being reported in the Union-News." He said fights were breaking out all over the place. I told him I left around 9pm so I missed all the excitement. Eamon said there are rumors circulating that Chief Paula Meara is a lesbian. He also accused city Health Commissioner Helen R. Caulton of being a token affirmative action hire.

There was a letter in the paper yesterday that was critical of the Springfield School System and Eamon said he's "amazed it got printed." Art Gingras is on vacation in Maine. Eamon says he knows one of the people Joe Burke is appointing to his top staff, she is the daughter of Dr. Charles Gadaire, a science professor at AIC whom Eamon said was humorous and entertaining. He said every time someone tries to implement higher standards for the teachers and students the teacher's union are adamantly opposed because they do not want to be held accountable for their inferior educational product. In his latest phone editorial, Eamon claims that Springfield's underlying problem is that it is "a welfare subsidized city wallowing in government funny money with profiting mediocrities in overpriced jobs" with no supervision or accountability. He said the Title One, bilingual education and special education programs in our schools are not cost effective, "spending a fortune with only minimal results." He claims the taxpayers are being "short changed and ripped off."


August 2001

August 1, 2001

This year is the 20th anniversary of MTV. State Senator Birmingham is suggesting that a large chunk of money be devoted to buy open space. Why not give payments to people like myself who have already donated land? Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty has both a Hampden and Hampshire chapter. Encyclopedia Britannica has put its Merriam-Webster Dictionary unit on the block after stumbling in online efforts. The Chaos ride crashed at a Michigan amusement park so Six Flags New England has closed theirs down temporarily.

My trash pick-up time has changed. They used to go down the street around 7am, but lately they don't come until 10:15. Today I ordered my copy of The Visions of Dom Francisco de Quevado Bellegras, Knight of the Order of St. James that I purchased for $375.00. Then I went to Pride in the Acres to make some copies, and when I paid for them the girl behind the counter asked, "What is that collar for?" I replied, "To make people like you ask questions."

State Representative Paul Caron, who represents the 16 Acres/Indian Orchard sections of Springfield, has formally announced that he is running for mayor against three term incumbent Michael J. Albano. I tried calling Belle-Rita Novak and the Powell's to see what they thought about it but neither was home. I drove out to Caron's district office in the Orchard dressed in full leather and put my signature on a nomination paper to get him on the ballot. Then I walked to Peter Nowak's store across the street. His prices are sky high - he wanted $50 for a Diamond Match sample book! He said he has some other Diamond Match memorabilia for sale but I didn't want to buy it. Nowak told me his shop has over a million dollars worth of merchandise in it. As I left I saw a car with the bumpersticker "Save Old Main on Hospital Hill," obviously someone from Northampton.

Next I stopped at the Cat's Paw, owned by my friends the Robillards. Vince and Claudia were there with some relatives from England that she was taking blueberry picking. She introduced me to them, a mother with two kids. Claudia was wearing a nice broad-rimmed berry picking hat. Vince showed me some Catholic books from the 1920's that came in from the estate of a dentist on South Branch Parkway. One of them was signed by the Rev. John R. Rooney in 1911. Another book had the signature of a William J. Dale or Dole from the Cathedral Class of 1968. I bought both books for $10.

Eamon called and I suggested to him that he make postcards of his parents, but he said he has already given his relatives copies of the best photos he has. Eamon today admitted that the computer system he bought for $1750 is hardly ever used. I told him about how Nader the Hatter regrets buying his overpriced laptop. Eamon has a new business card that describes him as a "Plenipotentiary Polymathic Multidisciplinary Generalist and Pertinacious Gadfly." Eamon says the way Mayor Albano talks about Springfield, you would think it was Boston or New York, not a last place, junk bond rated, corrupt little city.

August 3, 2001

Sunny, hot and humid. 79 degrees at noon.

The Maine Lobster Festival is being held in Rockland this weekend. Fiber Art of Brattleboro, Vermont is closing, resulting in the loss of 100 jobs. Some plant closing in Palmer will cost another 100 jobs. Half Moon Books is at 7 Pearl Street in Northampton. Primitive Leather in Northampton won the Valley Advocate's Best Fetish Clothing Store - "Private Leather is not just a business, but a landmark on the road to freeing up one's sexuality."

WHYN's Dan Williams is in trouble for inferring that Puerto Ricans are "dirty people." He denies that was what he intended. The news said the skate park in 16 Acres is open, but a kid pulled a knife the first day and the police had to be summoned. The Holyoke Police Union has announced its support for Chief Scott in his campaign against weak judges that set low bails. A story by Jerry Gretzinger on TV40 says "there are fewer people in theater seats, more people at home in front of their computers."

Sen. B. Lees is holding his Senior Gathering at WNEC today. Raingutter Specialists were over Colleen's today working on the gutters on the garage and entryway. I walked over and asked the guy how much they charge and he replied, "As much as we can get!" I took his business card to add to my collection. In the mail today I received an unsealed envelope from Baystate Medical Center that had nothing in it! Apparently someone removed what was inside. Their carelessness has resulted in an invasion of my privacy and I will send them a complaint.

The Springfield Fire Department said today that the leading cause of fires in Springfield are unattended cooking, space heaters and candles. This morning I found today's copy of the Union-News in the trashcan in front of Louis & Clark. Next I went to the Bank of Western Mass and there was a long line. I went over to check out the new skate park and there were about 20-25 kids there. I asked a group of six boys hanging around outside whether the park was any good and they said yes.

Then I visited Mother's best friend Mrs. Staniski and she's fine. First however, I stopped at Arnold's day old bakery and bought some of their much advertised, fresh, unfrozen waffles, two boxes for $1.19. When I arrived at Mrs. Staniski's, I gave her some nice blackberries from my bushes and one of my boxes of waffles. She told me she has to go to a hearing on the 28th to show that she wasn't over 50% responsible for the South Church parking lot collision. She said she now follows my advice of always parking in places she can drive out of by going forward. She said Ann will take her to the hearing and I said she should study the legal notes I gave her. Mrs. Staniski also showed me a letter she got from Noonan Oil offering her contracts of $1.12 a gallon for a whole year or $1.18 for six months. When I left she said, "Thanks Wesley, it's nice to have someone to talk to." It was raining hard when I got home.

Dined this evening on Rice-a-Roni and two hotdogs. Last night I had a Swanson Yankee Pot Roast Dinner. Eamon called and said he was out on a walk last night and when he was up towards Moore's heard a loud crash and just ten feet away a giant branch fell to the ground. Eamon reported it to the city and he noticed this afternoon they had removed it. I told Eamon about the Catholic books I bought at Cat's Paw, and he told me how the Chancery used to have a big library, but Bishop Maguire cleaned most of it out. Some of the books showed up later at Johnson's Bookstore. Bishops Thomas Beaven and Thomas M. O'Leary collected oil paintings for the diocese that have since "disappeared." Eamon says the Bishops have enormous discretionary power without being questioned. Nader the Hatter once told Eamon that Bishop Maguire used to come in to customize his religious hats.

Eamon complained that in 1989 the School Committee foolishly hired Peter Negroni from the poorest performing school district in the Bronx. Eleven years later they made the same mistake by hiring Joe Burke from the last ranked district in Miami. Eamon says that charlatans have flourished in the Springfield School System for decades. Peter Picknelly was asked on the news who he supports in the mayor's race and he said, "I have no comment to make on the mayoral race yet."

Eamon said he called Paul Caron to congratulate him for running for mayor and to wish him luck. He gave Caron the number of Jim Johnson at the Mass. Dept. of Revenue to get the latest dirt on Springfield's finances. Eamon says he's delighted that Albano is going to have serious opposition, but he questioned Caron's motives. According to Eamon, Caron has had a falling out with House Speaker Tommy Finneran, who then stripped him of his committee chairmanship. As a result, Caron has become ineffectual and can no longer bring home the bacon for his district. Eamon wonders whether the real reason Caron decided to run is because his career as a legislator has reached a dead end. Still, Eamon says that if Caron can raise at least $150,000, he should be able to wage a winning campaign provided he plays his cards right.

August 4, 2001

Thunder and lightning at sunrise. 76 degrees at 9am.

An article has appeared in the Wall Street Journal about the possible sale of Merriam-Webster by Encyclopedia Britannica. Merriam-Webster President John M. Morse and Editor Frederick Mish have refused to comment. I sent my letter of protest to Marie A. Sadak of the Department of Outreach Services at Baystate Medical for mailing me an empty envelope. I wrote, "Please resubmit what you were trying to send me with a cover letter explaining what went wrong. I know the mailman reads mail during his lunch break and I have complained about it. I've been told that I shouldn't begrudge the poor mailman for reading the magazines, but the issue is what else does he see?"

Drove out to Indian Orchard, parked on Main Street and walked up to the point. The Stusick Building has green asbestos shingles on the outside and a couple of For Sale signs up. Where there used to be a motorcycle shop there is now a sign reading, "Affordable Attorney Faith P. Thompson 543-0215." However, when I looked in the window the furniture was all piled on top of a plush white sofa. It looks like there are no tenants living in the apartments and a few of the windows are boarded up. The property numbers are 513, 515 and 517. The little Town Pizza Shop is still open, but at 4 Parker the barber shop is closed.

I stopped in a nearby antique shop run by two ladies, but their merchandise wasn't even very antique. I did find an 1880 brown book Townsend on Civil Government that had been discarded by the Chicopee Public Schools. I asked one of the ladies what it cost and she shocked me by saying $20. I told her I once saw a similar book for sale up the street at Cat's Paw for only $6. She sputtered, "But he doesn't pay much for things, he cleans out basements and garages and gets things cheap." I was tempted to say, "Madam, from the looks of your merchandise, you pay even less," but I didn't and just put the book down, turned on my heel and left. Of course I had to go straight to Cat's Paw and tell them what I was told. Claudia laughed and said, "It's nice to know what people say about you." She admitted it was mostly true, but insisted that she still sells quality stuff. She said that just today an Edison cylinder console from the 1920's came in, vintage and complete with cabinet. I exclaimed, "Now that's merchandise!"

From there I went to see Peter P. Nowak at Tri-Towne Collectibles. I decided to buy the Diamond Match sampler book I saw there the other day despite the high price. It is from 1957 and is in mint condition. I told Nowak that I thought the price was high, to which he replied that he purposely charged high in order to ensure it would go to someone who appreciated it. I asked how he acquired all his Diamond Match memorabilia and he said he used to be head of Graphic Arts at Diamond Match and did all their photography. He said he had a staff of 30 and two foreman working under him. At its peak Diamond Match had 600 employees working three shifts. They had only 275 employees when they closed. At one time they had a huge office building in NYC on Third Avenue and owned the Eddy Match Company in Canada, which was part of Diamond International. They even had corporate airplanes. I asked him what killed the company and he said the first disposable lighter called the "Cricket" which was soon followed by the "Flic Your Bic" campaign. It soon became obvious that people preferred disposable lighters to matches. He said his secretary Lorraine Dumais retired to Florida twenty years ago. Leon Brown was a real gentleman, and corporate vice-president Byron Johnson now lives in Maine. When I left I told him I would be interested in looking at more of his Diamond Match pieces in the future.

I was reading in the basement where it was cool and the power went off briefly at 9:31. Eamon called and said he went to a wedding today with his brother-in-law. When he got back he was dismayed to find that he had left his garage door wide open, but nothing was stolen. Eamon told me that Casey the Barber told him a customer of his said he was cleaning out an attic in Mason Square when he came across two old oil paintings. He took them over to Doyle the Twig Painter at A.I.C. who called in an expert who told them the painting had little value. He said he left the paintings with Doyle and doesn't know what eventually became of them.

Eamon recalled how Brian King, the editor of the old Rotogravure Section of the Sunday paper, worked out of an office in a rickety old house next to the newspaper plant on Cyprus Street. He had once been Administrative Assistant to Mayor Roger Putnam. King did a big story on Eamon when he was in charge of the city's Civil Defense operation during the O'Connor Administration. Eamon described King as "a real nice guy" who got married late in life to Carol Russell, a woman who ran a finishing school. After King died Jerry Sarno got involved with Russell. Sarno worked for the Alcoholic Beverage Commission and owned the Hob Nob on Chestnut Street by the Quad. He also owned another bar on Columbus Avenue. Sarno was a good friend of Jack Connolly, the investigator for the State Tax Office. Eamon noted that Ed Garvey, the former principal of Trade and then first President of STCC, was also married to a lady that ran a finishing school and who had been raised on Nottingham Street.

Eamon says he heard that Governor Jane Swift is pregnant again. Eamon then recalled how up the street from Nader the Hatter, in a building since torn down, an old man Renee Simpson had a junk shop. He had a hidden safe with mostly junk jewelry in it, but there were several pieces worth over $15,000. Sometimes Simpson liked to go look at the girls at the Mardi Gras. He was also a friend of Fanning the Engraver and used to visit him everyday in the Stearns Building. When he died Simpson had no relatives other than a sister in a nursing home, so his mob connected landlord broke in and stole the safe with the jewelry. "The goddam mob got it all," Eamon said.

August 6, 2001

Sunny and 75 degrees at 11am.

Merriam-Webster was founded in 1831 when brothers George and Charles Merriam opened a printing and bookselling operation in Springfield. They published their first dictionary in 1847. The Reminder was in a bag by the mailbox when I got home yesterday. They have an article in it about the new roof on Trinity Lutheran. I now watch TV24 more than TV57 because the reception is better on the dining room television. Mother was fond of the comic The Family Circus.

A man from D.J. Auto Sales called looking for "Chris in the bakeshop" and I told him they had the wrong number. Two minutes later they called again so I said, "You have reached a legal office and we charge $200 for an hour of our time or any fraction thereof. Call here again and you will receive an invoice, got that D.J. Auto Sales?" They slammed the phone down and didn't call again.

Picked a full quart of blackberries from my bushes this morning. Dined today on ham, cheese and potato salad. Around 2pm today I went to the Wilbraham Atheneum Society, fully suited as leatherman and with my hair freshly scalped off. I brought them a Milton Bradley lithograph entitled "Wesleyan Academy, Wilbraham, Massachusetts" and some postcards of the Wilbraham Motel, the Lakeside and scenes of Wilbraham Academy. I met with Nancy K. Nieske, whom I once dined with a Reeds Landing, and Town Archivist Coralee M. Gray. They gave me a copy of their quarterly newsletter The Peppercorn. The meeting was a bit awkward at first, with Gray saying she didn't like my "know it all attitude" but she came around when she realized I had rare postcards she wanted to use in her new picture book about the history of Wilbraham, although she said it was too late to include me in the credits section of her book. At the end Gray and Nieske thanked me for delivering the items and letting them borrow them to put on display for two years.

From there I headed downtown and walked down Main Street to Monarch Place, gathering street posters off the telephone poles and bus shelters on the way. One said "Free Money! Contact Box 3482 Springfield 01101." At Monarch Place, Officer Reyes was polite and made no mention of the trespass notice Picknelly has against me. Went into Fleet where a very comely black woman sat at a big desk, Gwen Godbolt, who smiled and told me she didn't know anything about I-bonds. Assistant Branch Manager Carol E. Quinlivan came up and said she doesn't know much either but gave me a brochure. She said her own area of expertise is in annuities. I dropped off some stuff with the secretaries for Hurwitz and Berman, then left something for Judith Matt in the City Hall mailroom.

From there I headed down to the Sullivan Visitor Information Center on the riverfront. Originally they were going to renovate an old electric power facility that had become a steam treatment plant or whatever, and I liked that idea. Instead they have put something up that resembles a White Castle burger place. It is really isolated from downtown, you look out the entranceway and you see the stone wall of the expressway and lots of pretty plantings, but you are still looking at a wall and there is no direct walkway to the city. Inside there are two new Indian Motocycles with a metal railing around them. They look nice, but Indians are no longer a Springfield product. Above a replica of the Beegee plane is hanging.

They have fewer brochures offered than the Chamber of Commerce does. There is a snack bar hidden in an alcove behind the south wall. Soon a very personable, trim looking 30ish man named Steve Larivee came up and asked if he could assist me. I said yes, I'd heard there was a major carillon here in Springfield. Could he direct me to it? His friendly enough reply was, "What's a carillon?" I should have walked out right then, but I explained what a carillon is and then suggested that there should be a glass case with classic Springfield things in it such as an empty half-gallon of Friendly's Ice Cream, a cardboard Peter Pan bus or a Spaulding ball. Then I asked which church has the best Tiffany windows? Steve replied that few people are interested in Tiffany windows, to which I replied that an information bureau's interests should be as wide as life itself.

I then introduced myself and noted that the Valley Advocate once did a story on me. He said that he had heard that many people who are interviewed by the Advocate later complain that they are disappointed in how the story came out. I told him how I admire the Advocate and that Tom Vannah and Maureen Turner are friends of mine. Larivee left me alone and so I watched a video they had playing which had a lot of nice views of Springfield and beyond. They showed the Big E and a row of motorcycles parked on the street in Northampton across from Pulaski Park. But there was no mention of Springfield College, STCC or WNEC. Overall the Sullivan Info Center is a no substance piece of architecture that is less about providing information than creating political patronage jobs and contracts. It is an information building lacking in information.

Former Mayor Robert T. Markel has a new job working as a town administrator in Norfolk, Massachusetts in the eastern part of the state. His wife Mary A. Markel is still a chemistry teacher at Central High School in Springfield. Markel was Mayor from 1992-1996 and served 14 years on the City Council before that. He is also a former professor at American International College. Despite being a college professor, I don't think he was very scholarly. I once asked him what he had published and it was basically nothing. Yet "decent" and "professional" are terms you could attach to him. Markel was a nice guy who tried hard. He did the right thing at the end by attacking David Starr and endorsing Charlie Ryan over Mike Albano, but by then it was too late to make a difference.

August 8, 2001

A very hot, humid and sticky day. 79 degrees at 6:45am.

President Reagan's daughter Maureen has died of cancer. President Clinton's book agent Robert Barnett was on the Lehrer Report and said Clinton's new book about his White House years will be "a comprehensive and candid book with wonderful stories." Presidential memoirs always end up a few years later selling at tag sales for a quarter. ABC News had a story about a Baptist fund in Arizona that hoodwinked thousands of investors. A woman said, "I'm a state investigator, and I've seen more money stolen in the name of God than any other way."

The Massachusetts Business Confidence Index is at 46.7, down about twenty points from this time last year. Anything below 50 is considered a gloomy forecast. I have a chipmunk living under the pile of pipes in the northeast corner of the garage right inside the door. When the door goes up, chippie scampers outside, no doubt returning once I leave.

WFCR proposed today that people send them their tax refund money. Channel 57 is starting their August fund drive. They are offering a three inch paperweight by Josh Simpson for $250. Darryn Winkel and Julia F. were doing the begging. Today the deadline for filing nomination papers for municipal offices passed at 5pm. There are three candidates for mayor: Mike Albano, Paul Caron and Nicole Jones. Albano is running commercials on both TV40 and TV22 showing him being endorsed by Richie Neal, Eddie Boland, Michael Ashe and Cheryl Rivera. The Fireman's Union endorsed Albano the other day at a press conference in front of the Sullivan Public Safety Building.

The trash got picked up this morning at 8:15am. I finished reading Forrest E. Morgan's Living the Martial Way (1992) and it was a fine book that all kids should read in the 10th grade. Only two pieces of mail arrived today at 1:55pm, one of which was a note from Mrs. Staniski thanking me for the blackberries I gave her. She said she made them into a pie which Ann took back with her to Boston. Mary Alice Stusick Plant called and said she and her husband Gary will come by Sunday at 2:30. I mailed some pictures today of my beloved dolls Sweet Pea and Honey Pot to Albano, Hurwitz, Picknelly, Berman, Starr, McDermott, Matt, Haberman, Petrella and Burke.

Because of the heat, I decided not to go hear the Symphony percussion ensemble downtown. Instead I drove to the Fleet Bank at Eastfield Mall and got branch manager Michael D. Mayes to empty my safety deposit box, the contents of which I am transferring to my box at United Co-operative Bank, which is twice the size of my box at Fleet. Then I stopped at Spag's and Food Mart before coming home. In this heat my ferns are turning brown and the black-eyed susans are dying. Watering them doesn't seem to help much.

TV22 showed images of rats running around Court Square in broad daylight. Eamon called and said that the recurring problem of rat infestation threatens the survival of the remaining downtown restaurants. Eamon complained that ex-rep Ray Jordan is now making $150,000 per year as a HUD administrator in Hartford, which Eamon says is practically a no-show job. Eamon was told that the FBI is pressuring Gerald Phillips to talk but he's stubbornly refusing to co-operate with their investigation. Eamon's spies also tell him that Albano, Phillips and Frank Keough have been seen around town together quite a bit lately. Eamon told me that some people tell him that it is actually Keough who is running the city, with frequent sightings of Keough entering City Hall in the morning and heading straight to the mayor's office. Eamon described Keough's homeless shelter job as "a lifetime sinecure."

According to Eamon, Paul Caron and Tony Cignoli used to be good friends with Albano, but now Caron is running against Albano and Cignoli is running Caron's campaign. Eamon says that if Albano wants to survive, he's got to do more than just show up for ribbon cuttings and photo-ops. Eamon described Caron and Cignoli as "former Albano Administration insiders who are now trying to take Albano down."

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August 10, 2001

81 degrees at 6am. Gas is $1.39 at Shell.

For a lonely person a diary is like a continuing conversation with oneself.

President Bush has approved limited stem cell research. Shering-Plough is in trouble for pharmaceutical malpractice. Last year 150 cops in the U.S. were killed in the line of duty, but 418 cops committed suicide. Barbara Nadeau is the Director of Human Resources at Harvard University in Cambridge. WFCR had a story this morning about the seizure of the records of the Old Hill Neighborhood Council. Something is being built by the western parking lot at WNEC on Wilbraham Road. The Supercoaster Ride at Six Flags is closed for safety concerns, according to Six Flags spokesperson Mary Ann Stebbens. Admission to Six Flags is still $40.

On the news Brian Lapis kept calling the Northampton Food Festival the "Taste of Northampton." Kathy Shepardson made the same mistake on TV40. MassMutual will move 350 workers from their State Street headquarters to offices in Tower Square. MassMutual employs 4,500 in Springfield and 1,500 in Hartford. Shannon O'Brien is concerned that proposals for a casino in New Bedford or Fall River might hurt lottery sales. Mass Turnpike tolls are going up. The turnpike itself was supposed to be paid off years ago, but now thanks to the Big Dig it will never be.

I see that the dictator running North Korea is named Kim. My first roommate at Madison was named Sangbae Kim. He stayed only one semester and then went back to Korea. We've had 15 over 90 degree days this summer, but there were 24 in 1994. Last year there were only four. The Smith College Library closed today because of lack of air conditioning. Roy Scott was on TV57 peddling J. Simpson's $250 paperweights. The latest Springfield Journal has a lead story by Harold Flavin about author William Manchester, who was born in Attleboro and whose family moved to Springfield when he was eight. I will add him to the list I am making of Springfield authors. There are so many writers from Springfield, it is unfair for Dr. Seuss to get the whole Quadrangle in his honor when so many other local writers cry out for recognition.

I had a cup of raspberry yogurt for breakfast and a Swanson Beef Pot Roast Dinner at night. Drank lots of water. Kelly left her umbrella up all night, unprecedented! I got a nasty letter today from the Mass Tax Office saying that I owe $66.73 tax from Mother's estate. I'll sit on it for a bit. I also got an invitation from Michael and Melissa Armitage to attend a fundraiser for Mayor Albano at their home at 44 Longhill Drive in Somers, Connecticut on August 24th. Called Mrs. Staniski to check in on her. She said she has been staying in the basement where it's cooler. She has a tall, dry basement that is better than mine and which doubles the size of her little house.

I went downtown today and noticed on the way a construction crew working at the Mason Square Library. I arrived at Jeff the Framer's on East Columbus Avenue at 7:30am and bought an apple turnover at the place next door. The Leonard Gallery is not quite empty, a sign says fixtures are for sale and a small amount of merchandise is left. Jeff Cohen showed me my map of Guatemala, mounted, varnished and framed. Jeff has an assistant, a tall fellow named Lennie Haflich, who did the work on my Schmelzer's Self Portrait (459th out of 500) as well as And Then Play On a bright, high hippie piece painted in 1973.

After I left Jeff's I drove over to the Sullivan Info Center but it wasn't 8:00 yet so no one was there. Newspapers were waiting outside the door by the curb. I decided to walk over to the new Hall of Fame, where the giant basketball is about done and the walkway over the railroad tracks is well underway. It looks like it will be an absurdly long walk up and down steps. When I walked back to the Info Center the employees were arriving at 8 on the button. I noticed for the first time that there is an ATM in a front alcove off the entryway. Steve Larivee greeted me graciously.

I tried using their computers but there seemed to be no useful information on them. They list specialty places like Atkins Farm out in Amherst, but not the more local Randall's, Food Mart or even Big Y. Under Antiques I found nothing listed. They didn't even have a category for bookstores. I asked Steve about it and he said all their listings came from the Chamber of Commerce, but they intend to add others from the phone book. I suggested they hire an expert on local history such as myself to advise them, but he said they couldn't afford anymore staff. The whole place is a sham, they only pass out information supplied to them by the Chamber of Commerce, not the real indepth info that tourists might want.

The Republican Extra with grocery coupons was sitting by the mailbox in a lilac bag when I got back. The next time I go to Eamon's I'll give him this old fashioned ornamental tablespoon I found in my cutlery collection that has an anchor on the front and USN on the back. Eamon called today and said that he has 22 nieces and nephews and he has to go to the First Communion of one of them on Saturday. Eamon told me that he heard on his scanner last night that there was trouble at 11:27pm at 448 Wilbraham Road. He also said that Art Gingras has some relatives in town and Gingras intends to take them sailing up in Lubeck, Maine.

Eamon says that Springfield's entertainment district offers little entertainment beyond some tacky strip bars and mediocre restaurants. Anthony Ardolino is stepping down today as Mayor Albano's Chief of Staff. He will be replaced by 26 year old John M. Fitzgerald from the Springfield District Court. He is the son of the principal of Talmadge School. Eamon and I talked about some of Ardolino's past escapades, such as his conflicts with Angelo Puppolo and the two incidents involving cops who accused him of threatening them.

August 11, 2001

Overcast, 75 degrees at 6:30am.

Daniel P. Driscoll was the Mass. Commissioner of Education in 1999. They are having a tax-free week in Connecticut for back to school shopping. There will be a 7.5% increase in the cost of auto insurance this year. Massachusetts is the only state that has a commission determining the rates. The mail brought a wonderful postcard of the Aurora Borealis in Iceland from Leonard Eskowitz. It is a beautiful card, really two images in one, a curtain of light hanging down and then a big rainbow colored blob behind it.

A wrong number called at 1:48pm from an elderly lady named E.L. Green from 783-6572. She told me she was trying to call Paul Caron, whose number is only different from mine by one number. Somehow we got into a conversation. Green told me that she lives in Pine Point at 19 Brandon Avenue in a house that she has lived in for 77 years. She said she used to work at the old Zayre's on Boston Road, and told me that at their peak Zayre's had 252 stores nationwide. According to her, when the old man died the kids didn't want to keep the business so they sold it to Ames. She says she now works only at the Our Lady of Sacred Heart bingo games from 5 to 7 and then she sits down and plays herself.

This week there were nearly 600 people attending bingo, and for the first time ever Mayor Albano came and campaigned. Green said she is voting for Caron, but doesn't think he will win. Once she had a problem with kids on dirt bikes riding around her house and Caron helped her out. She said she intends to attend the rally Caron is putting on Tuesday at Saint Anthony's on Island Pond Road. She said that Caron has been campaigning at all the Golden Age Clubs. Green doesn't care for Mayor Albano based on what she's read about him in the Valley Advocate. In 1995 she supported Charlie Ryan and was sad when he lost. We parted amicably and considering it was a conversation with a complete stranger, it was quite interesting!

There was a big party over to Jozephczyk's starting at one this afternoon with balloons and yellow and white streamers. There were thirteen cars parked in the area around their house. There was a clap of thunder and lightning at 8:55pm. Did the dishes, a load of wash, pushed around the vacuum and had the fan on. The garage door is open all the way. Some of my poor plants have died in the heat, humidity and sun of the past days. Today is not so bad, somewhat refreshing. I drove out to Food Mart today and bought a barbecued chicken.

As I left carrying my groceries, I was delighted to see the Powells in hats and raspberry t-shirts sitting at a table promoting their referendum for more library hours. Sheila McElwaine was there wearing a raspberry t-shirt as well. I pointed to my bag and said, "You don't think I got this fat by not eating, do you?" and they all laughed. The Powell's said they were having fun campaigning for their favorite cause. I went to the car to get my camera and took pictures. They had some new buttons so I asked if I could have one for free because I'd already forked over $20 for one of their t-shirts. Bob Powell handed me one saying, "You can bet Mrs. Joyal isn't wearing one of these."

Eamon's new phone message calls Albano "a glitz and no-substance mayor" who stole the ideas for the baseball stadium, pedestrian mall, skating rink and pasta sauce fund from Mayor Buddy Cianci of Providence. Eamon called today and I told him I've been tired lately. Eamon wondered how I can get tired when I don't work, so I told him that pushing wheelbarrows of pennies to the bank to buy bonds is hard work. Eamon says he isn't thrilled by how the mayoral race is shaping up, but he said that it is better to elect a nebbish like Caron than a crook like Albano. He also recalled how Tom Devine has always been critical of Caron, and wondered whether Tommy will support him now since he is running to unseat Albano.

August 12, 2001

Overcast and 79 degrees at 6:30am. Pouring at 7:45am.

The Atheneum Society of Wilbraham was incorporated in 1963. I am a lifetime member. I am also a voracious collector of ephemera of many sorts, as well as a published scholar of legal antiquarianism. WFCR had a new commercial this morning with Ruth Kelly, Corporate Marketing Director of WFCR, talking with a guy who runs a curtain shop in Hadley who was saying that public radio "entertains and educates" and that their listeners are the kind of customer he wants. I'll bet they told him what words to say. I've received no reply so far to my complaint about the cheap promotional pens I got from the Simmons College Graduate School of Management. Even when I send someone a crank letter, I expect them to thank me for taking the time to write.

There are morning glories on the trellis-gate over to Kelly's. At 1:45pm I got a call from Mary Alice Stusick-Plant, my old Buckingham classmate and former musical prodigy now fallen on hard times. Her father was the beloved Dr. Stanley Stevens Stusick. She asked me for directions to my house and then asked me to repeat them. She and her husband Gary Plant finally arrived at 3:15pm in an oldish blue station wagon sort of car. Mary Alice was dressed like a gypsy in a long dress and a gold necklace with the image of a harp. Gary told me that he was in the Army for eight years and spent time in Korea. He also has a degree from WNEC.

I was surprised when Gary began talking about how sexually innocent Mary Alice was when they first met and how they have made love every night since 1993. I changed the subject by asking Mary Alice about some of the historic artifacts she inherited from her parents, but she said her house is disorganized and she isn't sure where everything is. She said she inherited a trust fund from her parents that is administered by Fleet Bank. She said some people have criticized her for squandering the family fortune, but she said it is her money and she can spend it however she wants. She admitted that the trust fund reserves are now pretty low and that the city made her close down the apartments in the Stusick Building for code violations. She said the neighbors are complaining that the place is rundown but there is nothing she can afford to do about it.

Gary declined anything to drink but Mary Alice had a glass of orange juice. I offered Gary some sherry but he said he doesn't drink except for an occasional bottle of wine. He is jovial and friendly, but he also comes across as dumb, crude and unpolished. He had a lot of keys attached to his belt. When I showed them around my place, Gary seemed to look at everything with an eye towards the financial rather than the historical value. I hope Mary Alice's family treasures are safe with him around. He believes in reincarnation and insisted on blessing the pastries I served. Is he real or a phony? At one point he excused himself to go use my bathroom, and while he was gone I looked my old friend Mary Alice in the eye and asked, "Are you happy?" She smiled and said, "Don't worry about me," and said she can handle Gary alright. Soon he was back and so I showed Mary Alice the old bill her father had sent for Mother's hysterectomy and we marveled that the operation only cost $100.

I showed them a picture of Ann Staniski and her boys. Mary Alice even played the introduction to one of her concert pieces on my organ. They liked my waterfall painting but claimed never to have heard of Peter Max. I showed them a book on Hans Letz Music for the Violin and Viola and she told me that her mother had studied under Hans Letz. Her mother was Alice Minkus who at 14 studied harp with Emil Karl Janser. I showed her the portrait of Janser in McCoy's Portraits of the World's Best Known Musicians, a book I bought for 99 cents in 1955 from the Popular Science book series. She said Janser had wanted Alice Minkus to come study with him in NYC but her family wouldn't permit it. Her mother also played with Arthur Henry Turner.

Mary Alice said that in her opinion the best organ in Springfield is in Grace Baptist Church, adding that she hopes that the Blacks and Puerto Ricans who now run the church are properly maintaining it. When they left I let Mary Alice borrow a copy of Coleman's The Circle, as Mary Alice said she knew nothing about the youth culture of Sixteen Acres. She said her father once considered buying land in Sixteen Acres near the Gulf station but decided against it. She said that was a shame because the family would have made a fortune reselling it. Mary Alice told me it was she who had paid for the monument to her father at Stusick Triangle in the Orchard. They thanked me as they departed and said they had a good time.

Eamon called and said he was in Northampton yesterday and repeated his opinion that Northampton's downtown is superior to Springfield's in every way. Eamon said he talked to Jim Landers the printer this morning. Landers' son Sean is a third year drama student at Emerson and is working at the Hippodrome. Eamon says he thinks Caron is off to a good start but recalled how Charlie Ryan had a huge kick-off rally in 1995 at St. Anthony's but went on to lose to Albano. Eamon suspects that some former Ryan people will have a hard time supporting Caron with enthusiasm because they recall how strongly Caron backed Albano against Ryan in '95. Eamon heard that Anthony Ardolino has landed a position teaching political science at Holyoke Community College this fall. Again the community college system is being used as a job program for hacks looking for an easy paycheck as a "college professor."

August 13, 2001

80 degrees at 11:40am. Gas at the pond is $1.39.

This morning I briefly listened to WJMJ "your beautiful music station, a service of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford." I've discovered that Lynn Nolan no longer works at the Goodwill. Several women have left Goodwill in the past several months. Why? I called E.G. Edwards and they told me George Gouzanis is on vacation so John McDonough helped me with my questions about CD rates. I tried to call Rep. Paul Caron today but a very friendly Leon Gaumond said he was not in. Wrong number today from someone looking for "Lou at Storrowtown." I said Lou is not here today.

I left at 11:05am and dropped off three rolls of film at Walmart on Boston Road. On my way out a black man in a shirt and tie came up and said, "Let me show you some stuff. Walmart can't beat my prices!" I declined because I thought he must be selling stolen merchandise, and from my car I could see he was showing a woman some merchandise he had in his trunk. Then I drove to the Fleet Bank in the Acres and on the way there I saw two cop cars parked side by side on North Branch. As I walked into the bank Karen Powell was just coming out and we exchanged pleasantries. I chatted with the branch manager and she mentioned annuities. Fleet managers always mention annuities, which must mean they make a lot of money on them. Then down to Louis & Clark where I sent some postcards to Bethel and some archival material to C. Gray on Stony Hill Road.

Next I went to see Mrs. Staniski in Pine Point and told her about my visit from Mary Alice Stusick-Plant and her husband Gary. She was interested to hear that Mary Alice considered Grace Baptist Church to have the best organ in the city. She remembered that her best friend when she worked at MassMutual was a Mary Phillips who went to First Baptist Church, but then they started having dances at Fellowship Hall so she transferred to Grace Baptist Church because it was more conservative. I told her that my high school friend Michael Spencer once described Grace Church to me as very conservative, but I didn't really comprehend what that meant. No dancing? Mrs. Staniski recalled how Mary Alice's mother was overly protective of her girls, and when Ann Staniski tried to get friendly with Veleda Stusick she was rebuffed. Mrs. Staniski said she thinks the Stusicks were jealous of Ann's musical ability. She also recalled that a young cleric at Christ Church Cathedral dated Mary Alice a couple of times, but her mother put a stop to it. She said that was too bad, because he would have been a much better match than Gary Plant.

Eamon called today and laughed at Superintendent Burke's ridiculous new plan in the paper to upgrade the city's schools in just one year. Eamon said he was talking to Jim Landers, who told him about a meeting he was at with Caron and City Councilor A. Puppolo. At the meeting Angelo disclosed to them a lot of dirt about the Albano Administration, some of which Landers had never heard before. The meeting lasted two hours and Caron had taken eight pages of notes by the time Puppolo was through. Landers said Puppolo thinks there is something fishy about the latest bond issue and there was talk of suitcases of money that exchanged hands in Boston to cover up evidence and prevent an investigation into substandard work by politically connected contractors on the Bondi's Island waste treatment plant. Landers claimed that Puppolo also spilled a lot of dirt about Tony Ardolino, with whom Puppolo has had a long running feud dating back to when they almost got into a fist fight behind City Hall.

Kenneth Shea and Angelo Puppolo held a press conference today endorsing Caron for Mayor. Shea was on TV saying he would share his "decades of experience" in education with Caron, which made Eamon laugh. Eamon then said that he was talking with the former president of the Ironworker's Union, who speculated about the recent vandalism at the construction site of the new Basketball Hall of Fame. He told Eamon that an old scam is for a politically connected bidder to arrange for vandalism to occur so that a "cost adjustment" can be made that enormously increases the profit margin. Underbid for the job, pay some thugs to vandalize it, then add thousands of dollars more than it costs to fix the mess and thereby raise the job's profitability. Meanwhile, the politicians look the other way and as usual the taxpayer's never catch on.

August 14, 2001

73 degrees at 7:30am.

Good Time Video Productions is located on East Street in South Hadley. On average, women will be responsible for their finances for one third of their lives.

This morning I wrote checks and fiddled with my finances. Today I drove out to the Powell's house and left a bag of stuff at their back door. Then I went to the 16 Acres Big Y where the parking lot was jammed. From there I went into Fleet where Mrs. C. Guyer told me she used to work for Bank of Boston. Then I headed down to Jeff the Framer and left off some stuff with Lonnie. As I was leaving Mr. Paul McDonald and a lovely woman who may have been his secretary were walking along, and he made a point of greeting me. I wouldn't have recognized him if he hadn't.

I tried to stop at Tilly's but it was locked up tight, as was Elegant Affairs out back. Next I went into City Hall and left stuff for Burke and Regina in the School Department slot in the City Hall mailroom. Then I headed up to the Mayor's Office where I said hello to Candice Lopes and gave aide Nick Breault some material to give to Mayor Albano. Among the stuff I gave the Mayor was a very formal note saying that I am supporting Caron this time for reasons he can well understand, I'm sure. I told him it has nothing to do with the fact that he never gave me a job, but instead was based entirely upon my politics and sense of professionalism. I explained that my pursuit of excellence overrides any loyalty I may have to him for appointing me to the Renaissance Group. I was very civil and explicit and I am sure Mayor Albano will understand.

From City Hall I headed to the Farmer's Market at the X where there was lots of activity on a beautiful day. The parking lot across the street was mostly filled. Shiela McElwaine and Lynn Nolan were there but I didn't have a chance to talk to them. Corn was $3 per dozen. Belle Rita Novak came by wearing a Caron button. In fact, there were several Caron signs around. The City Library had a table set up to sell Dr. Seuss license plates. I left the Farmer's Market at 2:40 and was home at 2:55.

Had a Slim Ones Honey Dijon Chicken Dinner tonight that I bought on special. It was very good. Eamon called and said that Nader the Hatter invited him to a picnic at the LaRose's but he doesn't want to have his brain picked for a local politics book. Eamon said that Alderman J. Tillotson keeps him informed on what's happening behind the scenes in Chicopee. Gingras and others keep him informed about the inept principal of the High School of Commerce Ann Henry. Eamon claims that the school is "a mismanagement basketcase" under Henry and blames Peter Negroni for appointing her for affirmative action reasons shortly before he quit as superintendent to "move on to greener pastures in the private sector."

August 15, 2001

Misty, damp, 71 degrees at 6:15am.

Elvis died 24 years ago this weekend. Gunmen trying to stir up hatred with Northern Ireland's Catholic Community killed a Protestant teenager standing with his Catholic friends. Prudential Insurance Company of America policy holders overwhelmingly approved becoming a publicly traded company. Nick Nikolaidis has been elected a trustee of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation. Chittenden Securities is at 29 State Street in Springfield. My current literary project is to publish an out of print 1737 book on legal ethics. I do not consider drug possession or use to be a crime, and I oppose capital punishment because life in prison is more cruel. Socially offered athletic activities are militaristic rather than intellectual and peace promoting. This is a depressing but real fact.

Boredom is the enemy. Boredom is the cause of social problems. In the Union-News in the youth section Unlisted there is an article entitled "Too Cool to be Bored" which lists 100 things to do not to get bored. One of the activities suggested is to read the Union-News. WFCR had a story this morning about the large influx of blacks into Massachusetts in the past decade. They said a third of the Massachusetts black population wasn't born in the United States. Native born blacks are complaining that the immigrants have a negative effect on their job opportunities. Perhaps what they really mean is that foreign born blacks are more ambitious and have a better attitude.

The trash wasn't picked up today until 8:15am. Looking through Who's Who I discovered Ken Davison, Frank Kramer and Patricia Hillmer. Went out to Angelo's and bought bananas, but got nothing at Arnold's, which always seems to have slim pickings on Tuesdays. Then drove up the street to Stop&Shop where I bought toilet paper and a ham and cheese grinder. The grinder was not as good as the ones at Food Mart, which have a lot of meat, lettuce and cheese. Stop&Shop shreds everything and there isn't as much of it. Next I went across to Eastfield Mall for their free back to school kit, which turned out to be a crummy plastic ruler, pencil sharpener and three pencils. It was advertized as a $9.95 value, but I say 99 cents.

Eamon called and said he got an invitation to Caron's event at St. Anthony's tonight, but I did not. Eamon decided not to go, but I did. I got to St. Anthony's around 7pm and the parking lot was nearly full. I'd say there were about 500 people there and the audience was mostly white. Among those present were Barbara Garvey and Helen Boyle. Bob and Karen Powell were talking with Sheila McElwaine. Belle Rita Novak was there in a California t-shirt and was very friendly and polite. Drew Bailey of TV22 was there.

I chatted with ex-rep Frederick Whitney, who told me he is glad Caron is running and predicted that most Republicans will support him. He also said that he spoke to Tom Devine at a luncheon of GOP leaders at MassMutual and Tom told him that he would reluctantly support Caron. I asked Whitney whether Larry McDermott ever comes to his Presbyterian Church, but Whitney said McDermott goes to the one on Concord Terrace. I also saw City Councilor Carol Lewis-Caulton, who invited me to attend a coffee hour at 65 Barber Street on August 17th that she said Paul Caron might attend. Carol said some of the people who are appearing in Albano's commercials are not happy about it because the clips are taken from events that happened long ago or from Albano's prior campaigns. Some wanted to remain neutral in the race this year, and were dismayed to see themselves on TV.

I was wearing my dog collar, leather jacket, boots and my black leather cap with my more library hours button on it. My t-shirt read, "Nixon Had Watergate/Clinton Had Monicagate/Albano Has Northgate." I was surprised to see another person there with the same t-shirt talking to Reminder reporter G. Michael Dobbs. Photographer Keith Sikes came up to me and took three photos of my t-shirt. Robert McKenzie was videotaping the event and filmed me as I posed giving my Huey Newton black power salute. There was a bar and a nice smorgasbord of mixed nuts, assorted cheeses, grapes, veggies and crackers.

Young Sean Landers, the drama student at Emerson, is a sensitive, very conscientious youth who told me that he will be helping at the Caron campaign headquarters which will be located in the old Sims Drug Store on Allen Street. He gave me two copies of Caron's speech, one for myself and one for Eamon. Sean said the speech included ideas suggested by Sean's father Jim, Eamon and also Belle-Rita. Sean told me that Caron is doing everything he can to please Peter Picknelly, from whom they hope to get a formal endorsement and some money. Picknelly personally prefers Caron over Albano, but doesn't want to totally alienate Albano in case Caron loses.

The program began around 7:20pm with Leon Gaumond reading some prepared remarks. Then Carol Lewis-Caulton spoke very briefly. She was followed by School Committee member Kenneth Shea, who seems like a weak candidate trying to run for re-election on Caron's coattails. Shea said his campaign is about restoring honesty and integrity to government. Then City Councilor Puppolo introduced Caron, calling him "a proven leader." Caron gave an excellent speech, with several lines I recognized as obvious input from Eamon. At the end of Caron's speech the crowd cheered wildly as Caron stood grinning and waving from the podium with his wife and two kids by his side. I whispered to Whitney, "Don't they look like the holy family of Springfield?" He laughed.

August 16, 2001

Misty, 71 degrees at 6am.

That today is Bennington Battle Day was noted on WFCR at 6:39am. There is a debate underway in Boston over whether the word "minority" is politically correct because it gives people an inferiority complex. A lost painting by Norman Rockwell called "The Barefoot Boy" has been discovered, it shows a boy fishing and drinking a Coke.

Today I had jury duty. I left at 6:50am and parked on Eliot in the first parking place around the corner from Grace Baptist at 7:10. I saw a woman in a tan suit out walking her dog and a young man across the street wearing only shorts, sandals and a baseball cap who got into a black pick-up truck and drove away. Real people. I walked down Mattoon where I saw that some of the stone steps have been fixed on some of the high Victorian homes. Walking down Dwight I spotted one of those fake trollies parked by the road with no one on it. I went up to the trolly door and got no attention from the extremely fat driver sitting and reading the morning paper. Finally I knocked on the door and when it opened I asked, "How much business do you get on these things?" He admitted, "Not that much." I said I was surprised to see the trollies operating so early and he grunted, "People gotta go to work." I thanked him and departed.

When I got to the courthouse they ran my entire biker jacket through the conveyer scanner and made me take off my chain belt. I was also wearing my boots, black jeans and black t-shirt. There were 31 prospective jurors waiting when I arrived, and not a single man wore a suit and tie. One guy was wearing only a white t-shirt and another was wearing shorts. With my all black uniform, I was the most formally dressed person there! There were six blacks and two Puerto Ricans.

The Jury Service poem I'd seen hanging on the wall the last time was gone, so I asked Officer Mike Curley what happened to it. He said the guy who wrote it died and it is now in the office of Clerk of Courts Marie Mazza. By the time 8am arrived the jury room had 63 people in it. There was a large screen TV with a sign indicating that it was donated by Mannys and we all sat around six long tables. Beneath the television was a rack with current magazines. I read a story about legal scholar Stanley Fish in the New Yorker. There were three snack machines, soda was 75 cents, candybars were 65 cents and a bag of chips was 50 cents. There was a big fan blowing out in the corridor. As we were watching the Regis and Kathy program, a woman made a good legal joke saying, "I'm an excellent housekeeper, every time I get divorced I keep the house!"

Soon Officer Curley turned on a video showing State Supreme Court Justice Margaret H. Marshall praising us for performing jury duty. As she spoke, at one point they showed a picture of a jury and every male was wearing a suit and tie. Then Atty. Barbara Anderson and a pompous guy named Mark Hoover spoke, with Hoover actually talking while holding his lapels like a living cartoon of someone talking to a jury. They talked about the difference between civil and criminal trials and the concept of reasonable doubt. They told us that when deliberating we should not take a straw vote at the start, to instead go step by step through the evidence, define the facts and let everyone participate. "Apply the law and deliver the verdict." After the video, we all got our parking tickets validated so that parking was only three dollars. Shouldn't it be free if you are being forced to perform jury duty?

Finally, Associate Justice Mary-Lou Rup appeared, a petite woman in a black robe and what looked like ballet shoes. She thanked us profusely, saying without us jurors they wouldn't be able to get cases tried. Then the Dating Game came on, after which we were sent to lunch. Outside a four piece band with a female vocalist was playing behind Sovereign Bank. I counted 85 people in the audience, then went into Tilly's and bought a hamburger with peppers on it and potato salad, which came to $5. I sat at one of the outdoor tables and ate my lunch, the potato salad was unexciting. Atty. Berman went by in a blue suit but didn't notice me.

On my way back, I suddenly noticed Mayor Albano by the City Hall parking lot approaching me from the opposite direction. The moment he spotted me he stopped dead in his tracks, turned around and then walked toward Symphony Hall. I stood and stared at him walking away for several seconds, then headed back to the courthouse. Passing First Church I saw workmen up on the roof. How many times can they patch that old church up? As soon as we all gathered back at the jury room, Officer Curley came out and said that the last case was settled so we could all go home.

My phone ID showed that David Varela of Dean Witter called while I was napping this afternoon. Tonight I had a bowl of Hormel Chili and Beans. Eamon called and said he bought a couple of small guns the other day at Triple-A Guns in West Springfield. Then he drove up to the Manhattan place to buy bagels and then went to the liquor place next door to see Nader the Hatter's niece Meagan. It turned out she wasn't there because she was in "a terrible accident" moving a refrigerator and will be in a cast for at least three weeks. Eamon says he won't get a tax refund this year because he will make more than $50,000. He told me he made only $24,000 last year.

I told Eamon about my day and he said the entire court system is corrupt and mismanaged, particularly the District Attorney's Office. Eamon praised the Valley Advocate for pointing out Mayor Albano's relationship with Mike Armitage, which he says the rest of the media should investigate as well. Eamon's latest message goes in part, "For years Springfield's planners and politicians got carried away with the brick and mortar doctrine, ending up with badly designed, misplaced, white elephant buildings, by-pass roadways and a dull in the extreme downtown." Caron's event last night got good media coverage except from the Union-News, with Eamon saying "the bias of the paper for Albano is already at work." Eamon predicts that the mayoral race will eventually become "a bitter, hard fought brawl."

August 17, 2001

73 degrees and overcast at 7am.

Governor Jane Swift has been embarrassed by the revelation that her husband was married twice before he met her, not once. Her husband said he lied in order to protect his privacy and forget the past. Jane Swift always has a bright smile, but I wouldn't vote to re-elect her. Joe Malone's buddy Richard C. Arrighi is going to plead guilty to theft from the Massachusetts Treasury, but Phillip Giordano, the Mayor of Waterbury has not yet resigned.

Mother rented a safety deposit box from Ludlow Savings Bank in 1981. Mother also had one at Community Savings Bank in Holyoke in 1990. The Judge's Chamber is holding a VIP party on September 9th. Mt. Holyoke College has decided to punish Professor Joseph Ellis, a professor of history at Mount Holyoke since 1972, in a manner "consistent with the school's honor code" for his fabrication of a Vietnam War record. When I suggested years ago that WNEC Law's faculty be held to the honor code it was frowned upon as an infringement on the faculty's academic freedom.

The sound on the TV40 News at Six was all muddy. So was the weather, with sheets of rain pouring down at 6:44pm. Glen Fydenkedvez called soliciting for Morgan Stanley and I told him to put me on their Do Not Call list. Coralee Gray sent me a pretty little thank you note today saying that my postcards arrived too late to be included in her book on Wilbraham. Ms. Grey suggested that I use my postcard collection to create a book of my own. She said she regrets that she didn't use more postcards in her book, but she only recently came to appreciate the importance of postcards in historical research.

Drove out to the Fleet 16 Acres branch and was waited on by Paul A. Pitts. Then I went to Eastfield Mall where the customer service booth was giving away free decks of cards. In the parking lot I saw a New York license plate reading WES-BENZ. From there I headed to Pine Point to stop briefly at Carol Lewis Caulton's campaign event today at 65 Barber Street. It is a nice little bungalow on a landscaped postage stamp sized lot, with the interior featuring a white shag rug, plush upholstery, mirrors and goblets. Basically, a bunch of black yuppies putting on a lawn party. There were a handful of white people present, but most of the attendees were black. They were all very friendly, and when Carol greeted me I gave her a check for $20 saying, "You are the only City Councilor I fully trust." She introduced me to her brother Cornell Lewis, a short man who told me, "I'm the prettier one." He offered me a Coke but I declined, saying I couldn't stay. I did eat a couple handfuls of potato chips so they can't complain that I ate nothing. I left with a button, a brochure and a lawn sign.

Eamon called and said he has earned enough travel points to get a free round trip ticket to Ireland. He told me the old Sims Drugs is undergoing painting and cleaning in preparation for becoming Caron's mayoral campaign headquarters. Eamon says Caron's ultimate dream is that Albano gets indicted before the election. Eamon heard that School Committeeman Kenneth Shea has openly admitted in private conversations that he has long term mayoral ambitions. Eamon also claims that new school Superintendent J. Burke is making the same management mistake Negroni did in choosing personnel based on ethnic background and skin color instead of qualifications, which when practiced by Negroni resulted in very weak administrators such as Ann Henry at the High School of Commerce. Burke also refuses to acknowledge that bilingual education has been a failure.

Eamon said he has been feeding the Valley Advocate a lot of inside info lately and expressed disappointment that Vannah and Turner never do anything for him in return. Eamon says he's sick of the Albano commercial currently saturating the airwaves. It shows Cheryl Rivera calling Albano "one of the greatest mayors," followed by Sheriff M. Ashe saying that Albano "has earned re-election." A very elderly looking Eddie Boland is shown urging voters to "look at the parks, look at the riverfront, look at the new schools, including the one named after me!" Boland's successor Congressman Neal is shown urging people to "vote for my friend Mike Albano!"

August 19, 2001

Lovely day, 73 degrees at 8:30am.

They played Hadyn's 104th on WFCR this morning. That was the first piece I played as a youth with the Young People's Symphony. I saw a brown rabbit nibbling in the middle of the lawn this morning. It was around this date in 1955 that tropical storm Diane caused flooding across the valley and made a mess of my family's property in Wilbraham. TV40 made a note of the anniversary and showed old footage of the damage it did in Westfield.

When I left this morning, over at Kelly's she was cleaning out her silver grey Mitsubishi. I dropped off a bag of magazines at the Cohn's. Mudry was out mowing his lawn so I asked if I could take his picture. He paused in his work and I took his picture posing by the new hammock he said his kids gave him for Father's Day. Mudry is a very ordinary looking guy but very friendly.

First I went to McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin for $1.04 with a coupon. Then I drove over to the former Sim's Drugs to check out the Caron for Mayor headquarters. There was a Caron sign in the window but the door was locked. In the parking lot was a 4-wheel drive with Caron and Puppolo bumperstickers on the back but no one in sight. I decided to come back later and went down to the Antique District on Sumner Avenue. There were kids hanging around on the corner and I bought today's paper out of a box. There was nothing noteworthy in this morning's Sunday No-news. Lady in Red was open and they had an unusual Viking ship model for $50. I bought it because the ship reminded me of when I was at Homer Street School, where there was a replica of the Santa Maria on the second floor on top of a bookcase by the window overlooking Wilbraham Road. It had leather sails and although the kids were free to touch it the ship was never vandalized.

Meyer's was closed but Radzicki is always open. Unfortunately, their prices are always higher than anywhere else. They have lots of merchandise but I never see them selling anything. However, I was intrigued by a painting they had of pink flamingos in a lush green setting. I bought it from a hip guy in a bandana for $110, which I'd haggled down from $185.

When I got back to Caron's the door was open and inside was a fat young guy that looked like your typical politico type and Karen Lee. I gave her some reading material to give to Caron and left with a lawn sign and several stickers. On my way back I stopped at Food Mart and bought one of their Italian grinders for $2.99, which was superior to Stop&Shop's grinders in every way. At home I put up my Caron and Lewis-Caulton signs, then took a picture of my dolls posing with my new Viking Ship, Honey Pot in his Harley Motorcycle jacket and Sweet Pea in his sailor suit.

August 20, 2001

Storms last night, 75 degrees at 6:30am.

Ames is in Chapter 11, Walmart is killing everybody and it's not fair! The Big Dig is now scheduled to open in May of 2002, provided it doesn't spring anymore leaks. The Superman ride at Six Flags was closed for 12 days but has now reopened. Karen Salerno, formerly a fine reporter for local TV, is now with TV61 in Hartford. David Lee Miller is the legal reporter for Fox TV. Monroe Street is not being changed to Taj Mahal Way due to objections from residents who don't want the inconvenience of having their address changed. The real name of Taj Mahal is Henry Fredericks and he lived in Springfield for the first 23 years of his life. Taj Mahal is certainly one of Springfield's all time great artists and should be honored by the Quadrangle, but the only Springfield artist they are interested in is Dr. Seuss.

Frank Faulkner and Melinda M. Phelps are listed separately in the phone book but at the same address. I called the number for Frank and got a young girl who said he was out. I asked to whom I was speaking and she said his daughter. I tried the number for Hungry Hill Press and it is still connected although I only got an answering machine message, "Hello, you have reached the editor of Hungry Hill Magazine, please leave a message after the beep."

I dined today on Total for breakfast, two hotdogs for lunch and a Smart Ones Chicken Oriental Dinner for supper. First Church sent a Music at First promotion to Mother despite her being deceased for over two years. Called Hurwitz today and told him about my idea of a museum of the local hat industry featuring the collection of Nader the Hatter. He told me he knows Nader and will ask around to see what may be possible. I told him it would be a shame if Nader's collection went out of the area, like the Diamond Match archives ending up in Philadelphia. I told him I have a history of problems with David Starr and would not like him to be involved in the hat museum project. I added, "I'm sure you understand," and he replied, "Yes, I do." Next I called Security Shredding of Holyoke and Harriet said they would allow me to watch the shredding of my documents if I wanted. "We're good people, she said. "We've been in business for 17 years."

Eamon called and said he keeps his guns in a big 1895 medicine cabinet similar to what Teddy Roosevelt had. He said his newest weapon is a Beretta with a walnut handle. I told him his guns are an adjunct to his jewelry collection. Eamon told me that Jim Landers' specialty is installing computers and he sometimes gets jobs that take him out of Springfield for days at a time. Landers told Eamon that he wishes his son Sean would start driving, which reminded Eamon of the time he contacted Emmanuel Horne, Chief Assistant to the Registry who handles "special cases" on behalf of Paul Santos from Cal's Variety, who lost his license due to intoxication. Later Eamon withdrew his help when he found out that drugs were also involved. We then recalled how Tom Devine lost his license due to his problems with alcohol and drugs.

Eamon is thinking of taking his telephone answering machine editorials, writing a forward and then putting them together into a book. Eamon complained about how the Government Channel 19 on cable is providing Mayor Albano with thousands of dollars of free advertising. Eamon said no event is too small for them to film if it involves Albano. According to Eamon this morning they had the Mayor on for presiding over a tree planting ceremony. Eamon says there may be a lot of corruption in the Albano Administration, but proving it is another matter. Albano, Keough and Phillips would lie on a stack of bibles to save themselves. But if any one of them talks, then the whole game is over. Therefore Eamon says the pressure on everyone to keep quiet must be intense.

Eamon said the Springfield Newspapers should be ashamed of the way they've promoted Peter Negroni and Joe Burke as people who could turn around Springfield's school system, when both failed to turn around the low ranking school districts they worked in before coming to Springfield. He said the politicians and the educational establishment in Springfield like to bring in incompetent outsiders like Negroni and Burke because they can get away with their scams without fear of discovery by the clueless management.

After Eamon hung up I called the Landers house and Sean answered. He said his father was out but we chatted a bit. He said his father was in the Marines, just like Charles Rucks, the black Republican running for City Council. Sean said he has been helping at Caron's new headquarters by cleaning out a lot of junk in the alcove out back. I asked what Caron is doing now and Sean said don't tell anyone, but Caron is on vacation! According to Sean the campaign right now is focusing on how to win over Hispanics who in the past have voted overwhelmingly for Albano. Sean said he saw Albano with Rep. Cheryl Rivera at Lees' Golden Gathering and they appear to be very close. He thinks Rivera is one of the few Albano allies who would stick with him even if he got indicted.

Sean told me he does a puppet show at the Hippodrome for $7.50 per hour on Fridays and finds it fun. He attended the Samuel Bowles Elementary School, then Chestnut and then went to Central for a year before dropping out. A year later he enrolled in the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts, a charter high school in Hadley, and said "it was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me in my life." The whole school had only 64 students. Now he is attending Emerson and studying video production.

Finally, I called the WNEC School of Law Dean's Office and got a very friendly secretary. I said that WNEC Law belongs in the Guiness Book of World Records and she asked, "Oh? Why?" I replied that WNEC holds the record for having more Deans, past and present, than any other law school. I told her that a grove of trees should be planted in their honor, one tree for each present and former Dean. I suggested to her that it could be called "The Dead Wood." She laughed with surprising good humor and thanked me for calling.

August 21, 2001

80 degrees at 1:30pm.

This little house
we call our own
We try to keep it neat.
So please be kind
with your behind
And don't piss on the seat.

Mark J. Hintlian is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Leavitt Company of Everett, Mass. seller of River Queen salted peanuts. Springfield has finished 96th out of 140 in a list of cities rated for "kid friendliness." Portland, Oregon and Burlington, Vermont topped the list. Mrs. Staniski's wonderful pink hollyhocks didn't do so well this year.

I drove out to get the paper this morning, then bought some oranges, tomatoes and corn at Angelo's Fruits and Vegetables. Then up the road to the Boston Road Big Y where milk has risen to $1.75 per gallon. They also charge $2.49 for macaroni salad whereas it is 99 cents at Food Mart. I only bought their scallops and chips dinner to go. They are getting stingier and stingier with the portions, plus they put fishwrap in the bag all crumpled up so it looks like you're getting more. Their short and thick tartar sauce containers contain very little tartar sauce. When I got home I counted the scallops and there were only 30 pieces. When Mother was alive, she and I always counted them and we usually got at least 35 pieces.

At seven this evening I went to the 16 Acres Civic Association meeting. I brought my 1835 map of 16 Acres to show everyone what a rural, farming area the Acres used to be. Jean Masse was the chairperson and spoke audibly. She said she is happy about recent developments like the Greenleaf Skateboard Park, but is annoyed by the way weeds have been allowed to grow in the planters. Karen Powell, the Association Treasurer, was there but her husband Bob did not show up until near the end.

As proof that the campaign season is underway, Jose Tosado and Nick Fytrilakis were there, as well as Councilor C. Lewis Caulton. She said Caron eventually showed up for her Pine Point event the other day, but it had to be cut short due to rain. The always unfailingly friendly Helen Boyle was there and seemed very interested in my map, but it is hard to know how sincere she is since she is a good friend of Fran Gagnon. A middle-aged woman from the Broska family in leather strap sandals was pleased to find her family's former land on the map. Republican activist Wally Brown of Toastmasters was also present.

Belle-Rita Novak talked about her latest project called Springfield United Neighborhoods, which is meant to be an alternative way for Springfield's average citizens to get their voices heard. Peter Sygnatore, the President of the Outer Belt Association, is running the organization. That is so typical of Belle-Rita, she doesn't have to run everything, she just organizes them. Then Sygnatore himself spoke and praised Belle Rita. Sygnatore comes across like an impressive new person on the political scene. Afterwards I congratulated Sygnatore on his speech and he agreed with me that Belle-Rita is wonderful. I said why don't we try to get her to run for mayor or at least city council, and Peter responded that he has already tried but she insists she has no interest in assuming the burdens of public office.

Eamon called and told me that Nader the Hatter will leave soon for Florida but will be back in October. He also said that it was old man Landers who painted the interior of Caron's headquarters. I told Eamon about my conversation with Sean Landers and he agreed that Albano is especially close politically to Cheryl Rivera. I read him Mayor Albano's resume in Who's Who. Eamon found out that Caron is vacationing in Maine and his sidekick Leon Gaumond is also out of town. Eamon says that the initial roll out of a campaign is crucial and this is no time for the candidate and his top staffer to take a vacation. Meanwhile, the non-vacationing Mike Albano was shown on TV news attending an ice cream social at the Tri-Towers Golden Age Club at Saab Court.

August 22, 2001

Mild, sunny, 71 degrees at 7:30am.

Lots of studies pretend to prove things they have not proven.

Senator Jesse Helms has announced he will not seek re-election and Strom Thurmond says he is retiring. Senator Thurmond was a Democrat before converting to Republicanism in 1972. Ruth Ekberg and Adele Addison are two local talents who should have busts made of them for display at the Quadrangle. Tamara Kelcey, daughter of Denise Kelcey of the 16 Acres Civic Association, is working in the Western Mass Office of Governor Jane Swift. The original land comprising 16 Acres consisted of six acres owned by Rowland Thomas, 4 acres owned by Francis Pepper and three acres each owned by Thomas and John Stebbins.

Mailed my oil payment to Punderson at Louis & Clark, where I found a free copy of the morning paper in the trashcan outside. Then I drove over to Eamon's to drop off some stuff. His garage door was open and there is a lot of junk inside. He has a new fence with a gate with a shamrock cut into it. He said he paid $2,200 for the fence plus some landscaping work that involved taking down a tree. He said the workmen cracked two of the cement tiles on his sidewalk while removing the tree. There is an enormous oak next door to Eamon which must be a hundred years old but is still healthy. Up in front of Moore's there is a completely dead tree that needs removal.

We chatted a bit about the old Victoria Hotel, where Eamon claims he lost his virginity. Eamon is getting older, his hair is now completely white and he is almost totally bald on top. Eamon told me Nader the Hatter was by and left a book for me by Page Smith about higher education called Killing the Spirit. I gave Eamon the book by Thomas Maier on the Newhouse newspaper family, who are the current owners of the Springfield Newspapers. When I left Eamon gave me some pears from right off the tree at Moore's, some of them with the leaves still on them. From Eamon's I went up to Paysavers. Things at Paysavers remain very expensive.

When I got home, City Councilor Angleo Puppolo of 44 South Shore Drive called to ask if he could put one of his signs on my lawn, and of course I agreed. He said he just graduated from WNEC Law where he attended night school. I told him all about my lawsuit against them. After hanging up with Angelo, I called around looking to drum up interest in my idea for a museum to honor the local hat industry. First I called David Bowerman, who wasn't in and never got back to me. Next I called Joe Carvalho at the Quad and left word with Valerie that I'd like him to call me, which not unexpectedly he never did. I also called Belle-Rita Novak, but she wasn't in.

Next I called Atty. E. Berman and told him about my idea. He asked what relation Nader is to the original Nader the Hatter and I said he is his grandson. Berman told me that old man Nader was responsible for the Butterfly Ballroom fire that destroyed several businesses including one owned by the Berman family. I asked whether Berman believes the fire was intentional and he said he didn't know, but the fire started in the original Nader the Hatter shop. Berman said that Springfield would be the wrong location for a hat museum, as other nearby towns had a more thriving hat industry than Springfield. He said the Nader the Hatter archives may be interesting, but are not enough to justify an entire museum. He said that aside from the Nader's shop "there just weren't that many hatters in Springfield."

Finally I called Jim Dowd at STCC, who some claim is the real brains behind the playboy Scibelli, and he was very cordial. I suggested to him that their historic carriage shed would make a good site for a hat museum, but he replied that the roof and building are in terrible condition. I asked about the underground rifle range, but he said that is also in unusable condition. Dowd said there are many historic artifacts from the Armory stored all over campus, confirming something once told to me by Leonard Collamore. In the end Dowd said there was probably not much the college could do, but he liked the idea of a hat museum and said, "If STCC can do anything to help on this we will." A truly fine gentleman.

August 24, 2001

Sunny and mild, 69 degrees at 7am.

I saw a book advertized entitled Collectible Blowtorches. There is a cult of collectors surrounding everything.

Bernie Sanders of Vermont is calling for the repeal of the Bush tax cuts. Yesterday was Sacco-Vanzetti Day, but I did not attend the ceremony. Someone called today and didn't speak before hanging up. My caller ID showed the call came from Texas, and if it was George Bush calling to offer me a job, I'm not interested. They are thinking of tripling the number of beds at Keough's homeless shelter on Worthington Street, but that would cost $8 million dollars. Pendleton Avenue Park has been renamed Donna Blake Park.

The quality of life has definitely declined in Springfield during my lifetime. In the suburbs things are still pretty peachy, with fancier houses and more shopping centers. In Springfield the rot at the city's core has continued to spread outward, with no jobs and a dead downtown. It is hard to get a decent education in the city's schools and crime is a problem. There are crooks in charge of city government and that has been the case at least since the administration of Billy Sullivan. The Quadrangle has never had less on display, but everything is presented in a more glitzy manner. The local history museum is only collecting things that flatter the local political and business establishment, while dissenting voices are being kept out.

I had yogurt for breakfast. This morning I drove out to Fleet Bank, where I was waited on by Judy Wing, formerly of Bank of Boston and Valley Bank. Then I went up the corner to Pride to make copies and saw that the crazy brick house once owned by Mayor J. Albin Anderson (preceded Dan Brunton) has a Caron sign on it. I also mailed Maureen Turner a congratulatory note on her marriage. Next I drove over to Caron's HQ, where Sean Landers was there wearing a light blue tie. I gave him some info on Mayor Albano and Larry McDermott, the same material I sent to Tom Vannah at the Advocate. The headquarters looks all spruced up and there were envelopes stuffed with brochures ready to go out. They also have new stick-on buttons and pledge cards. Sean introduced me to his father Jim Landers, a cordial, workmanlike individual. Sean is a really sweet kid with a bright smile that bespeaks a lack of hardening life experiences. As I left Jim Landers called out, "Don't be a stranger!"

Nader the Hatter called and said he wanted to take me out to lunch before he leaves. At 12:45 Nader arrived and he looks good, although I noticed he now wears a hearing aid in his left ear. He said he has been staying with his brother Gary in Wilbraham. Nader said his brother is a year younger than him and has not taken his wife's death well. He still has her voice on the answering machine and has touched nothing around the house, even leaving her pill bottles where they were when she died. As a gift Nader brought me a 1906 Rules of the Superior Court of Massachusetts in mint condition, a nice little book. Nader told me how just recently he bought a rare book on French hats for $25 and then turned around and sold it online for $175. I showed Nader my new Viking ship and he couldn't believe I only paid $50 for it, noting that the sails are made of real leather and they alone are worth more than fifty bucks.

We went to Ruby Tuesday, where I told him about the phone calls I made around town regarding a hat museum and the general lack of interest. Nader replied that he doesn't want to donate his family archives to a museum anyway, but was interested to know there was so little interest. He told me he took over the hat business from his grandfather Charles, since his own father was an engineer and engraver who graduated from Northeastern University. We discussed the mayoral race and Nader wondered whether Caron will be able to get enough votes from blacks and Hispanics to win. As we left the restaurant, Nader called Forest Park and the Quadrangle "precious places" and said it's a shame how the politicians and moneyed interests have taken them over. He thinks Bright Nights has ruined the appearance of Forest Park with their "erector set" light constructions.

The new Valley Advocate reports that the building trade unions are abandoning Mayor Albano in the mayoral race. This week's Reminder has an article by G. Michael Dobbs about Caron's St. Anthony kick-off rally. He refers to my t-shirt with the slogan about "Albano has Northgate" but without mentioning my name. Indeed, as I recall Dobbs didn't even ask for my name until I volunteered it. Eamon called and said he is putting white stain instead of white paint on his new fence. Eamon told me that the Feds have confiscated records from the Liquor Commission and Community Development, although nothing about it has appeared in the media. We discussed the Landers, and Eamon said they live in a nice Georgian colonial house at 270 Springfield Street. Frank Faulkner lives at 192 and newslady Kathy Tobin lives across the street. When Sean appeared on TV40 she sent over a tape of it. Mrs. Landers works for the Palmer school system.

Eamon said that Eugene Berman called his telephone editorial today which went, "With the subpoena of City Hall records and indictments on the way, Springfield politicians aren't talking much on City Hall telephones for fear they may be bugged. Political corruption is out of control in the Albano Administration, and I'm sure that the FBI will be most interested in talking to the Mayor and his cronies in the days to come." Attorney Berman left the message, "I love your editorials, keep up the good work!" Eamon urged me to keep going to Caron's on a daily basis in order to help him monitor what's going on there. Eamon said I'm the perfect spy because "no one takes you seriously, so they let down their guard."

August 25, 2001

Wonderfully mild, 68 degrees at 7am. Gas is $1.37 at Sunoco Breckwood.

Miller's Law of Tag Sale Postering - The number of posters for a tag sale is inversely related to the quality of the sale.

There's a tree in front of Hillcrest Cemetery that always seems to be the first to change each fall and it now has a little fringe of color on its leaves. Stacy DiPiazza is the owner of Infoshred in South Windsor, Connecticut. Opposite 116 Surry Road is John B. Murray Park, marked by a slab of brownstone with the name carved into it. It's just a small park. Rep. Caron's District Office is at 535 Main Street in the Indian Orchard section of Springfield. For a laugh I called the Sullivan Visitor Information Center in the middle of the night. I got a recorded message saying "all our representatives are busy assisting guests at the moment." I left a message saying, "It's 2:28 in the morning and no way are all your reps busy!"

The mail came around noon. I got a thank you letter from Paul Caron thanking me for signing his nomination papers and asking me to send money in order to "continue to fight to improve the City of Springfield." Went out this morning and made copies at CopyCat. In the trash I found a discarded card reading Socrates "Socco" Babacas, President, CEO of BCL Associates, 224 Birchland Avenue, Springfield, Massachusetts. From CopyCat I headed over to Paul Caron's headquarters, and on the way I saw a Caron sign on the corner of Wilbraham and Plumtree and another at the corner of Inglewood. At the headquarters there is a driver caution cone in a little sinkhole in the parking lot. Leon Gaumond was there, just back from vacation. Karen Powell was just leaving. I asked whether either Jim or Sean Landers were there and he didn't know who I was talking about. That surprised me considering how much work they've done for the campaign. By describing Sean he finally asserted that he knew who I was talking about. He said Sean has to go to school and only works on weekends. Gaumond asked if I knew someone named Denise Parker but I said I did not.

Leon invited me to sit down and we chatted a bit. They have a TV in the corner and two old fashioned rocking chairs. There is bunting hanging up along the walls. We talked a little about the election and I told Leon that it is essential that they try to get more Hispanic support. He admitted that Caron's weakness with Latinos needs to be addressed, but then shrugged as if it were not that important. I told Gaumond that the Stone Soul Weekend was being held today at the DeBerry playground and he said he didn't know that. I said the black community should be one of their target constituencies. I then suggested that Caron go down to the Stone Cold festival, stressing that it is important for Caron not to go in a suit and tie looking like the "Great White Father" but to dress casually. He said he understood. Leon said there is a danger of spies working for Albano infiltrating the campaign. I asked Gaumond for the HQ phone number and he didn't know it! When I left Leon said, "Thank you very much!" I saw they had a pile of re-elect Angelo Puppolo signs so I took one and put it on my lawn when I got home. My sign is the only Puppolo sign up between Breckwood and the Acres.

From Caron's I decided to swing by the Stone Soul Weekend myself. The DeBerry site is parallel to Mason Square, beyond the library and Wesley Church. The playground is fenced. Along Monroe Street there were little tent-topped booths with food vendors. UMass had a booth, as did some healthcare companies. Beyond the vendors was a carnival with ring tossing for stuffed animals and a nice assortment of rides. At the corner most remote from the school was a tent with speakers and performers and a big crowd. The law firm Roden & Casavant had a booth and were handing out matchbooks. There was an Italian sausage booth, but it had all black workers, while the carnival workers were all white. At the other end of the school by the back gate there was a basketball court with a spirited game underway. I asked a police officer Badge 274 whether you have to pay for a table or booth and he said yes. He told me the festival runs from noon to 8pm. Overall a lovely event and better managed and controlled than the Puerto Rican festival. On my way back I stopped at a tag sale at 12 Harmon, where for $5 I bought a Pope John-Paul II certificate commemorating Mr. and Mrs. James S. MacDonald's 50th wedding anniversary on July 18, 1990.

August 27, 2001

Misty, overcast, 69 degrees at 10:30am.

Real people with real jobs, real lives, real families and everything else still don't have hunky-dory lives.

I heard the exact same story on WFCR and TV22 about 23% of local businesses planning to hire new workers. Who is copying whom, or are they both copying the newspaper? Matties on Boston Road is promoting itself as "Springfield's newest Laff Shack with host Big Greg." Club Rapture on Page Boulevard will present Thriller Disco with Shotty and Parro on September 8th. Mother is still on the mailing list of First Church and the Tuesday Morning Music Club.

Spent most of yesterday just sitting and reading. I should do that more often. The pears Eamon gave me from Moore are really good. For breakfast today I went to McDonald's and had a muffin. Going to my seat I found a black purse with a shoulder strap on a chair and brought it up to the Hispanic manager with whom I've had trouble in the past, but this time she smiled and thanked me graciously. A few minutes later, as I sat reading the paper and munching my muffin, a short, somewhat plump young woman came in frantically looking for her purse. When the manager gave it to her she asked, "Can I give you a reward?" but the manager replied, "Of course not." The woman left saying, "God bless you, thank you very much." On the way back there was a cop car nestled behind a hedge at the intersection of Clearbrook and Foxhill. At the intersection of Bradley and Plumtree there used to be No Right Turn toward Wilbraham Road for those coming from Allen, but now I see the sign is gone.

Eamon predicts that the newly remodeled Civic Center will be as much a flop as the old one, because Springfield lacks any first rate anchor store, restaurants and other necessary ingredients to attract people on a regular basis. He says it's ridiculous for central planners to spend money trying to bring "a deficit ridden white elephant" like the Civic Center to life after 30 years of failure. Eamon roared with laughter when he heard how Leon didn't even know the phone number of his own headquarters. Eamon complained that when he called Caron's HQ the other day Karen Lee didn't answer the phone very professionally. According to Eamon, Karen Lee very curtly answered, "Caron headquarters," and when he asked about when Jim Landers might be in she rudely snapped, "I don't know." Landers doesn't like Karen Lee either and thinks she may be a Republican. Landers told Eamon that Karen Lee was charging too many of her expenses to the campaign and Friday she was told she has to clear all her spending with the campaign first.

Eamon said that Sean Landers sometimes drives around with Caron when he goes campaigning. This morning James Landers drove Sean to see his girlfriend in Framingham. Sean has another girlfriend in Northampton. Eamon doesn't believe the polls that show Caron comfortably ahead. He said the public always responds positively to a challenger when they first announce, but a smart incumbent like Albano can quickly rebound. Eamon is skeptical whether Caron's consultant Tony Cignoli is equal to Albano's operatives. Cignoli's clients include Peter Picknelly and Six Flags, but he has been with Caron since the beginning of his career and they are very close. Eamon claims the campaign is trying to get Sheriff Ashe to rescind his endorsement of Albano but with no luck. Eamon said that Albano already has a glitzy brochure and Caron is working on one. I told Eamon to tell them I'd be willing to proofread it when it's ready.

After Eamon hung up, I called Fred Whitney and his wife answered and got him for me. Mr. Whitney was friendly and told me the Western Mass Republican Picnic was "a fiasco" this year and hardly any people came. I told him I might have gone but I never heard anything about it. Whitney said he too is glad Albano is no longer running those "obnoxious" ads with Boland, Neal and Ashe. I asked about Karen Lee and Whitney said he has never heard of her. In this week's Valley Advocate, Caron says Springfield Newspapers editor Larry McDermott totally rejected his candidacy, "When Caron called Union-News publisher Larry McDermott to tell him of his plans to challenge Albano, he said McDermott flatly told him, "We're not with you, I'll never be with you, I think you'd make a terrible mayor."

August 28, 2001

86 degrees at 5pm.

Do all the good you can, have all the fun you can.

Mr. Roger's Neighborhood is airing its last show Friday after 33 years on the air. Charles E. Page is the Artistic Director for Old First Church. Sisters of the Spirit are playing Springfield Symphony Hall on October 2nd. WFCR had a segment this morning about a needle exchange program in Brattleboro, Vermont. Patrick Sullivan has announced that Springfield is going to spend $100,000 to remove insect infested hemlock trees in Forest Park over the next five years. It's a shame that the Leonard Gallery is now abandoned. I got the Delfino Sanchez Latour map of Guatemala that Jeff Cohen and Lonnie Haflich recently framed for me from writing to the Embassy of Guatemala for a book report I had to do as a boy. It is a lovely map and I'm glad to have mounted it.

Pornography is a respectable form of literature, a combination of humor and fantasy. Yesterday I found I have lost my doggie collar, so I have made a collar of two ankle cuffs. I have chained and locked it on as punishment for losing my collar. A collar belongs on all the time, not off and on. There is nothing uncomfortable about a collar, indeed once you've worn one for a while you can't live without it.

I heard a version of the Boland, Neal, Ashe endorsement ad for Albano on the radio today with slightly different wording. The Powells and friends have successfully collected enough signatures to get an increase in library hours on the ballot. Lawyer T. Oppenheimer has been named the official spokesman for the increased library hours movement. Belle-Rita Novak told me that Sheila McElwaine comes to the X Farmer's Market quite often. Sheila was ousted as a docent by the Quadrangle, but failed to take advantage of the material I gave her to retaliate against them. Tonight TV57 had a special on the history of Quabbin Reservoir which showed underwater films of what's left of the towns flooded by the making of Quabbin. There are a lot marble tombstones down there. Walter Carroll was host along with Darryn Winkel.

Picked up the paper, an Italian sub and yogurt on sale at Food Mart. As I was leaving the house Socrates Babacas walked by and said hello. He has aged a lot and was wearing shorts with black socks and expensive tassled shoes. We talked politics and he said, "Caron is going to win! People are fed up with the corruption under Albano but they're afraid to talk." When I got home I called former Representative Whitney to discuss with him the Sullivan Visitor's Center, but his wife said he was out with the Flannery's. Despite her poor health, Mrs. Whitney still has a friendly disposition on the phone.

Eamon called and said that when he was at Caron's headquarters the other day Carroll Robbins called looking for Cignoli. Eamon complained that Governors Weld and Cellucci should be ashamed of how they went along with the Democrats in allowing the Big Dig to go forward. They had the power to end or downsize it, but did not. Eamon went to visit former Mayor Charles V. Ryan at his house today. Eamon described the Ryan house as freshly painted and recalled how Bill Hurley the bail bondsman used to live there. He said they sat like a couple of old Irishmen for an hour or so, being served bagels and coffee by Mrs. Ryan. He said Charlie looks good, but his wife is starting to show her age. Joan McCarthy Ryan is an Elms graduate whose father worked for the Park Department and was in charge of Van Horn Park.

Charlie said he and his family (12 kids?) have been spending time this summer at his properties in Worthington and New Brunswick. Eamon asked Ryan if he knew why there hasn't been an issue of Hungry Hill Magazine since February. Charlie replied that he doesn't really know publisher Frank Faulkner, although he said he heard that he is no longer with his wife, so maybe the breakup had something to do with the magazine folding. He said Faulkner has a home in Ireland and he could be living there now.

Ryan informed Eamon that he has twice been visited by FBI agents who asked him a lot questions about people in the Albano Administration. The agents told Ryan that they have uncovered a great deal and will have to request a six month extension of the Grand Jury in order to handle all of the expected indictments. Charlie said he "doesn't have much confidence" that Paul Caron would be a real reformer if elected mayor because "he never spoke up about anything" until he decided to run. Ryan recalled how former Mayor Robert Markel was "undermined everyday" by Albano in anticipation of taking his job, and Caron should have been doing the same. He said the appearance of opportunism undermines Caron's credibility.

Charlie says he can't see how Caron can win unless Albano is indicted before the election. Ryan claimed that without indictments coming down, the best Caron can do is carry 16 Acres and the Orchard, with maybe narrow victories in Pine Point, Hungry Hill and a few precincts in Forest Park. Ryan said that will not be enough to overcome massive Albano landslides in the North End, South End and Mason Square.

In all Ryan characterized the political situation in Springfield as "pretty depressing." Ryan also said he thinks Larry McDermott is "not a competent newspaperman." He said he had legal dealings with Linda McDermott, Larry's wife, and she told Ryan that she intended to get a divorce because Larry is "no good." As Eamon was leaving Ryan recalled the time years ago that he was talking with Publisher David Starr, and Ryan asked him why the paper kept supporting candidates "who are obviously not the best people."

"Yes, they are not the best people," Starr agreed, "but they are OUR people."

August 29, 2001

A lovely breeze, 70 degrees at 7am. Gas is now $1.36 at Pride.

Mortgage foreclosures are up, consumer confidence is down and K-Mart is on the brink of bankruptcy. Sen. John McCain spent his 65th birthday in the hospital for an enlarged prostate. Father had the same condition and was treated at Baystate. Musician Taj Mahal will be awarded a Key to the City by Mayor Albano. McDonald's has bought the old Liberty Street Friendly's and is tearing it down to put up one of their own entirely new restaurant buildings. If McDonald's can make money at that location, why can't Friendly's? The fact is Friendly's has higher prices and an inferior product line. Wachogue Cemetery is the little cemetery just up Allen from McDonald's. Maplewood Cemetery is the little cemetery right next to Hillcrest.

Former Superintendent P. Negroni sure could talk. Gaston Caperton of the College Board hired him away from Springfield, no doubt impressed by Negroni's slickness. Caperton is not an inspiring figure, although Eamon says he was once the Governor of West Virginia. The paper today finally had an article about the documents that were subpoenaed from City Hall. Yesterday there were mowers and bushcutters working along Plumbtree.

Last night I went to bed around midnight. Over to Dick Nichols the master bedroom window is open at nights but not Dick's bedroom window, so I assume he and his girlfriend now sleep together. Got a nice thank you note today from Susan Rule for the postcards I sent her. Many others still owe me mail. Two friendly old black people came by witnessing for the Jehovah's Witnesses but I sent them on their way. Wore my bondage helmet to Walmart today to pick up photographs without incident. I then went to the Eastfield Mall without wearing the helmet and went to McDonald's for a cheeseburger and fries while I read the Valley Advocate. Then I went to Sears where they were having a 30% off sale and the store was practically empty. Business at the Eastfield Mall stinks. Passed three security guards with no problems. Out of Eastfield at 4:30pm.

From the Mall I drove to Angelo's for some oranges and vegetables, and then to Arnold's for some lovely jelly donuts. Next I stopped at Mrs. Staniski's, who was making honey coated granola. She gave me some cookies she baked from a recipe she hasn't used since 1993. She said Ann is coming to visit this weekend. When I got home I saw that Mrs. Allard now has Caron and Lewis-Caulton lawn signs, she must have been jealous of mine. I found a free copy of the Union-News in an orange bag lying on my driveway. The delivery person must have made a mistake.

I called Caron's headquarters today and I told Leon that he should answer the phone more professionally. He replied that he has been answering Caron's phone for ten years. Leon told me that Caron went to the Stone Soul Picnic the other night and met a lot of people. I then suggested that Leon contact Fred Whitney and get the detailed ward by ward voting records he has. Gaumond laughed out loud, telling me that until recently he was the head of the Springfield Democratic Party City Committee, so of course Whitney would never give him his records that are designed solely to be used to help Republican candidates. I apologized for not knowing Leon's status in the party, but I repeated Whitney's prediction that most Springfield Republicans would be backing Caron. Leon said there are probably not enough of them to make a difference except in a close race.

The Powells deserve much praise for the work they did to successfully get the library hours referendum on the ballot. Only Belle-Rita Novak is in the same league as the Powells as an activist. Eamon called and said his caller ID showed that Angelo Puppolo listened to his phone editorial this morning. Eamon says Sean Landers is back in town from school and that Sean is getting annoyed with the way Karen Lee keeps delegating busywork to him. For the past 12 years Karen Lee has lived at 16 Ashland Avenue. Old man Landers, who is a computer whiz, is upgrading Caron's computers for him. Before hanging up I asked Eamon whether he knew who the head of the Democrats in Springfield is and he immediately replied, "Leon Gaumond."

August 31, 2001

Very humid day, 79 degrees at noon.

Jonathan L. Healy is Commissioner of the Mass Department of Food and Agriculture. This is the fourth anniversary of the death of Princess Dianna, but nobody seems to care. A former student has filed a negligence lawsuit against the Groton School in Cambridge, alleging that a group of older boys sexually assaulted him at least 15 times. The dropout rate is rising at the University of Vermont, according to Dean Joan Smith. Attorney General Thomas Reilly, formerly of Pine Point, is cracking down on oxycontin abuse in Massachusetts. There is $300 million in new cost overruns on the Big Dig.

The Yankee Candle Auto Museum is closing despite drawing 150,000 visitors per year. This is a major loss, especially combined with the loss of the comic museum in Northampton. The newspaper has an editorial today denouncing the increased library hours referendum. For lunch I had a bowl of Progresso Barley and Beef Soup. For supper I had Weightwatchers Smart Ones Chicken Oriental Dinner. Sheila M. Nadolski called from Fleet Bank saying she would correct a ten dollar error on my bank statement. A letter from Shirley Whittier Huang came telling of Sim's marriage and other family activities. Aunt Maria is fine. On TV22 I saw a commercial for the Peter Pan Riverbus.

Today I drove downtown where on the way I saw two cop cars in front of Sci-Tech High. Family Dollar store in the building where ARISE used to be was having a Grand Opening sale. There seems to be nothing in the part of the building with display windows, originally for cars, that sticks out towards the street. There was a sign for the young black woman for mayor, Nicole Jones, in front of the mosque that was formerly a First National next to Wesley Church in Mason Square. Without Jones' candidacy there would be no primary, which will cost the city about $70,000. I may vote for her just as I did the previous black woman candidate Chelan Jenkins. When I got to Salem Street a cop car with blinking lights was headed towards Spring Street. There was a young fellow sitting in a big truck from Chicopee Welding. A man was hosing down the brick walk in front of the Hispanic Baptist Church and I told him about how Mary Alice Stusick and Alice Minkus said that they have the best organ in the city.

In information racks all over downtown I kept encountering flyers for a "Civil War Walking Tour" to be hosted by "Historian Francis Gagnon" on September 8th. It boasts, "Discover how essential Springfield was to the Union soldiers." I saw no Caron signs anywhere downtown. At Stearns Square they were setting up for the weekly free concerts they have on Thursdays all summer. The brick sidewalks down there are uneven. I saw a "Save Old Main" bumpersticker on a car parked near Market Street where that darling little African store used to be. A sign said they have moved up to Chestnut Street. I stopped into Antiques on Boland Way and the Springfield custom glass exhibit is gone, which is too bad because I meant to buy a piece or two. The owner was on the phone, but when he got off he told me that he sent the Springfield glassware to be auctioned off because he had so few buyers.

Then I walked down to the Sovereign Bank and I chatted a bit with Francis M. Hill, who gave me a brochure for a checking account. When I left the lunchtime concert was underway with the steel drum band Mentos. They had a Caribbean sound, Jamaican, with a chubby and articulate lead singer and hippie guitar player. They had a cardboard palm tree. There was a lovely breeze and a beachball was tossed around. A woman with a Sony camcorder was filming it all. An audience member had a t-shirt on that said, "Real Men Don't Read Instructions." Westfield Bank needs one of those facade grants. Tilly's had five tables out but only one customer sitting at them the whole time I was there. The audience was mostly Puerto Ricans, and the businessmen in ties that walked by looked over but just kept on walking. Payne and his legal colleagues were among those walking past. I saw Peotter from TV57. Sitting by me was artist Sheila Spear of the Distinctive Art Studio. There was a grungy young hippie type woman in sandals and she danced and danced, swinging her arms, twisting her body, elevating herself on her toes and other fancy footwork. She was good. At the end the band told us that they would be at the Waterfront in Holyoke on Friday evening.

After I left the concert I drove down to the Visitor Information Center. Steve Larivee greeted me as "Attorney Miller" and I told him I would send him some historical information about the riverfront. I told him it is a shame how Springfield has declined and I blamed it on the politicians and the mob. He nodded and said that may be true. When I told him that I am backing Caron for mayor, Larivee responded that Caron could stand to lose 50 pounds. I bought a Union-News for 50 cents and took some of their brochures. I briefly looked for theaters on their computer and found they had no mention of the cinema complex on Riverdale Road in West Springfield. There was nothing listed under churches and cemeteries. Larivee shouted, "Happy Labor Day!" to me as I headed out the door. On the the way home I saw they have placed a blue skin over the dome of the new Basketball Hall of Fame.