2/23/13

April 2002

April 1, 2002

Overcast, damp. 51 degrees at 10:55am.

Bill Clinton says he regrets his last minute pardoning of Mark Rich not because it was the wrong decision but because of its damage to his reputation! Joseph R. Freiberger was fifty years old in 1963. Alvin W. Gates, of 34 Skyridge Lane, the brother of Helen C. Notman, died in 1972. Florence M. Edwards of Miles Morgan Court, a former member of the 16 Acres Golden Age Club, died in Ludlow Hospital in 1984. Guy E. Moran of 57 Alden Street, a former supervisor at Monarch Life, died in 1987 at age 72. He was an usher for years at Trinity United Methodist Church and a sweet, meek individual. Thomas J. Shea passed away April 1, 1989. Atty. Edward Hurley died in the year 2000.

There is a picture of Fran Gagnon in the Cries & Whispers column this morning, how appropriate on April Fool's Day. Springfield City Solicitor Peter P. Fenton is also in Cries & Whispers for "his penchant for all things unlucky." He got a flat tire without a spare and had to be towed to Sears to get it fixed. On TV40 today there was a report that they may move the Volleyball Hall of Fame to the present Basketball Hall of Fame when the new one opens. Good idea, but when I mentioned it on the phone to Belle Rita Novak she was skeptical, just as she was when I once told her they should turn it into a museum of the local hat industry. Spring housecleaning begins today. I saw Socrates Babacas coming out of Louis & Clark and he said hello. Then I went to Food Mart and bought a sub. The secret to buying subs is to take one from the middle, not the end. The end pieces are longer, but the middle ones are fatter.

On my way to the wake I swung by Aunt Maria's house and saw her old blue Ford parked behind the house. When I got to Curran-Jones T.J. O'Brien greeted me at the door and showed me in. I saw Walter Giroux and we chatted. He was unaware of the Giroux genealogies in the historical museum. He said he wrote a paper about his family in junior high school and discovered one of his ancestors was an explorer. Mr. Aldrich arrived and we were polite to one another. The Nystedt family was there and I went over to Sally and said hello. She seemed pleased and told me that she dropped out of Mount Holyoke after three years, got married, had a couple kids, finished her education at UMass Boston and taught school. I told her she was one of the most beautiful people at Classical and that pleased her.

The body is nicely embalmed, she was wearing her glasses, a white velvet dress, rhinestone earrings and nothing in the casket with her. There was an immense spray of flowers, including some from Bonnie and Ruth, and Laurie and David. After plainly signing the guest book I left and went over to the recently reopened Agawam Public Library across the way. The old building was a one floor deal on the top of a little hill next to the high school. They have put a two story front on that building and a librarian told me a stained glass window of the town seal is planned. They have a lovely periodicals center with comfy chairs and a good selection. So I took the latest copy of Time magazine and sat by the window where I was able to see what was going on at the funeral parlor across the street. Shirley Lucia showed up, no Joe, in a silver car carrying flowers. Lots of students came pouring down the street. When I left a white Continental was just arriving. Coming home there was a wonderful puffy white cloud formation over the city with heavy grey clouds over the Wilbraham Mountains in the distance and a clear blue sky overhead. Last thing on the way home I stopped at the coin shop and for $12 I bought the 1893 Pocket Guide to the City of Springfield. It has a large fold-out map in the middle and was published by Hubbell and Roberts of 389 Main Street.

April 2, 2002

A lovely day, 44 degrees at 8:22am. Gas at Six Corners is $1.35.

Agawam Medical Supply Company has been fined $375,000 for over-billing Medicaid. East Longmeadow Methodist Church owes me a thank you letter. City Democrats have chosen 13 Ward Five delegates to the party's convention in Worcester. Among them are Jerry Belair, City Councilor Bud Williams, City Councilor Jose Tosado, former City Councilor Barbara Garde, former Councilor Carol Lewis-Caulton, ex-Rep. David Vigneault, Leon Gaumond, Walter Pinckney, Jean Masse, Helen Parker Payne, Teresa Provost and Doris Gaumond,

This afternoon when I left to do errands a limping Mrs. Babacas was out in front of her house. First I went to Louis & Clark and sent the mail out with Cindy. Then I went to Arnold's for some bread and the lady there said that their business is good. I stopped at the newspaper box outside Angelo's and bought today's paper, Angelo's appeared to have a lot of Easter flowers in their hothouse. I decided to go to the Boston Road Big Y for the first time in a while. Next door men were landscaping around the new Salvation Army where the garden place (Franks?) used to be. At Big Y there were hardly any customers in the store, where I bought some donuts, three for a dollar. Then I went to Walmart and left off some film to be developed with Jackie Morisette, who said she's heard my name because she's my neighbor Mudry's oldest granddaughter. She is majoring in psych and photography at Holyoke Community College and appears to be a nice young woman. I bought some more camera film and when I left there was a line of traffic heading out of Walmart onto Boston Road so I took the winding back way via Wrentham, etc.

A condolence card arrived today from Mother's friend Mrs. Staniski. Today was Aunt Maria's funeral. I arrived at Curran-Jones at 8:45 and was greeted by Chet Kwolek who asked if I was going to the cemetery. I said no and parked at the foot of the embankment. When I got inside I saw that the page of the Condolence Book which I signed yesterday during the Visiting Hours had been ripped out and there was now a full page of names beginning with "Shirley" in big letters at the top. However there was a space above her name so I wrote in my name all over again. Then I copied all the names I could from the page. The coffin was unchanged, but some photos had been put out of Maria including a large one of Maria and Mother. There was also a picture of Mother and Ruth that had been taken by me. Maria's high school picture was in a frame, as was a large picture of Lowell, Maria and Doreen. There were no pictures of me.

Having gathered this information I left and drove over to the cemetery where I arrived just as the church bells were ringing. The gravesite was readied, the name plaque on the vault with the dates. Then I drove back to the funeral home but when I saw Shirley standing in the carport I drove by without stopping. Instead I parked under a shady tree well down Willowbrook Drive, a street of two car garages, across from house number 68. After a bit I drove up to the Methodist Church and parked there for a few minutes. There were lots of cars in the Methodist lot, I bet high school students are parking there.

After a few minutes I drove up to the library and parked there. The library opens at 9am some days and this was one of them, so I got a copy of Christianity Today (founded by Billy Graham) and looked out the window as the funeral guests arrived. Chet put green flags on the cars and in the end sixteen vehicles were in the procession leaving for the gravesite, including the hearse. I stayed at the library about another hour reading and when I left the hearse was just getting back from the cemetery. You can bet a lot more people said nasty things about me at that funeral than I ever said about anybody!

April 3, 2002

57 degrees at 10:30am. Gas is $1.37 at both stations at the corner of Alden.

WFCR is proposing that people donate through their website at WFCR.org. That's bullshit. The East Longmeadow United Methodist Church on Somers Road sent me a thankyou note for the information I sent them concerning the Rev. Alfred B. Perry, one time pastor of that church. The current pastor is The Rev. Marjorie W. Mollar and Marjorie D. Cooter is the Church Administrative Assistant. Harold G. Young of West Springfield, Personnel Director for Monarch Life from 1958-1970, died in 1981 at age 72. There was a retirement party for Harold Young at the Colony Club. He was Father's first boss at Monarch. G. Owen Flynt of Monarch Life lived in the real nice house on the corner of Colonial and Springfield Street in Wilbraham. His wife Grace died in 1971 and he remarried in 1972.

I sent Mother's blind old friend Blanche Allen Pritchard a birthday card. I enclosed a photocopy from Mother's Browning Birthday Book (arranged by James Watson) of the page with her autograph. I also sent Who's Who a letter to correct my resume in the new edition which presently incorrectly states that I won the Baystate Objectivist Local Hero Award in 1993, 1994 and 1996. In '96 Devine only gave me an honorable mention.

I went to the Annual College Employment Fair at American International College which was held in their gym. I actually gave my resume to two firms - The University of Phoenix which is looking for internet instructors and Corporate Staffing Solutions. Of course I don't expect to actually hear from them. This event is good for gossip and freebies. The best freebie was a police cruiser squeezeball from Mass Police Corps which I will give to Eamon and an Earth squeezeball which I will keep for myself. I was also able to acquire the annual statement of Hampden Savings Bank as well as a summary of their history. From the Job Fair I headed to Copycat where Jeff let me take from their wastebasket some Waterfront Club and Pepper's Bar & Grill promotional items, some beautifully colored stuff showing how color laser copies have achieved perfection in quality. Then to Louis & Clark for the Union-News.

I took Shirley Huang of Oberlin and her mother Winnifred Lowell of Randolph, Vermont, both cousins, to lunch at Ruby Tuesday's today and bought them burgers and fries. They got to my house right at 3 and I took their picture. Winnifred was all dressed up for her trip to the Big City. They also took a couple pictures of me. I showed them around and gave them my current postcards. I also gave them Gram Wilson's candlesticks and showed them a photograph of the statue of our ancestor Miles Morgan in Court Square. At the restaurant the unlimited salad was splendid and the burgers were fine, but the fries were thin and tough. I said something to our waitress Kristie and she said they were using new fries because they cook faster, but she admitted there have been complaints. As I talked to Shirley she seemed mad at times but was always polite. I complained about not being invited to Aunt Maria's deathbed, which I told her was a major breech of protocol. She replied that it wasn't her responsibility and that I should speak to Lucia. She asked why I didn't just come to the hospital on my own and I replied that Aunt Maria told me to stay away, so no one should be surprised that I did.

We agreed that Maria always felt that Mother received more attention from their parents than she did. I brought up the removal of my name from the Condolence Book and Shirley admitted that she had ripped out the page because that is what Aunt Maria would have wanted. She said that in total 40 people signed the Condolence Book. Shirley said she read from Aunt Jennie's Poems at the funeral. I congratulated her on her handling of the proceedings, even though I had been excluded. We talked about Aunt Maria and I was surprised to discover that Shirley didn't know that Mother had given Maria her first car or that Maria had once been in a car accident resulting in a fatality. I complained about errors in the obituary, especially the omission of the fact that Maria had been associated with her husband George A. Giroux in the Giroux Machine Company. Maria had also worked at the Mountain View House in New Hampshire with Mother but got fired after one of her temper tantrums. The bill for lunch came to $29.88 and I gave the girl $35 and told her to keep the change. Winnifred had a good time and thanked me several times. Shirley was polite to the end.

April 5, 2002

Breezy and chilly, 45 degrees at 7:16am. Gas is $1.37 in the Acres.

People with nothing can be easily persuaded to fight for anything.

In March 2880 there is a one in a hundred chance that an asteroid will strike the Earth. On TV40 Robert Brown, retired Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Westfield State said that the only hope for Mideast peace is shared control of Jerusalem. The situation over there is impossible, and I continue to support the Palestinians. Massachusetts has experienced the sharpest decline in tax revenue of any state.

Mildred Mason, a Springfield violinist, died in a West Springfield nursing home in 1992. We knew her when she was married to her first husband, Leroy E. Severance, who died in 1971. They lived on Hartford Terrace in Springfield. Monarch Life Auditor Rene D. Boldoc died in 1972. Monarch employee Vera Arnold Dunham died in 1978 at age 69. Monarch retiree Grace A. Shackett died in 1980 at age 80. Mother's friend Mildred Spencer of Somers died in 1981. Her husband Charles died in 1983. Alexander Mills, a retired Monarch machinist, died in 1982 at age 90. Ruth A. Sanders, a 40 year Executive Secretary at Monarch died in 1984. Ethel A. Bulet, retired Monarch supervisor, died in 1984 at 68. Elmer E. Nyberg once established a book fund for the Huntington Public Library in memory of Adah Newcomb Nyberg.

I'm continuing to use old address labels that list me as John W. Miller III, and I have so many that there will probably be some left when I die. Saw a bumpersticker today - "Puerto Rico is not a four letter word." Someone with red paint has vandalized the bus shelter in the Acres and down to Breckwood. I called Ruby Tuesday's and got Mike the manager and told him that I love his place but the fries I got the other day weren't as good as the fries at McDonald's, and a fine restaurant should strive for thicker and softer fries than is available in fast food joints. He agreed that they would switch back to their old type of fries.

Joe Lucia sent me a thankyou note for the postcard I sent him of Maurice Freedman. He says Freedman was his teacher; I didn't know that. At 1:50 today Jeffrey T. Reynolds Jr. of Smith & Reynolds (Smith retired years ago) rang my doorbell and presented me with his report on Fernbank, the land I am donating to the Town of Wilbraham. It reads, "The subject property is located on the western side of Maynard Road in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, in an area of single family properties and several cottages. Vehicular access to the property is via King Drive." It is a nice report and it assesses the property value at $55,000. There are a lot of problems with the land - river set back, wetland, steep banks and the private way, but I still think the town will get a lot out of it. As he left Reynolds said he was on his way to an appointment in Wilbraham.

This morning I went to a tag sale at St. Luke's on St. James Avenue. It is a beautiful avenue for a long while, then the industrial patch with the little castle that used to be an oil company, and then it gets residential and then finally St. Luke's. I was late and there was a lot of people there including Melinda McIntosh's friend who came up and whispered to me that "Melinda couldn't come because she had to work today." I bought two books, one on beating traffic tickets and the other on suing lawyers. Not much clothing for sale, but some nice amateur paintings I successfully resisted. My real prize purchase was a silver plated letter opener engraved, "M.J. O'Malley, Springfield, Mass, Manufacturer and Printer" which I bought for $12. It's both rare and in nice condition. I also bought for $5 a screwdriver that says Northampton Commercial College on one side of the handle and the other says "Typewriters and Supplies." So I had a good time. On the way home I drove past Plastics Park which has an "Available for Development" sign out front.

Eamon's mother Catherine died in 1998. Eamon called and said he is going to see his doctor in two weeks about his back. Eamon's groundskeeper Jack DeCaro of East Longmeadow was over with a crew today. Eamon told me that there have been a lot of afternoon break-ins around Duggan Middle School and the police suspect it is students who go to the Duggan who are doing it. Eamon said he urged the FBI to plant bugs in Springfield police cruisers because the Police Department is riddled with rogue cops.

April 6, 2002

Overcast and 48 degrees at 1:45pm.

James H. Ballieul of Hawley Street in Springfield died in 1973. His son Craig worked at Monarch Life for a bit. Gertrude Pease of Springfield had an eye operation in 1970 and died in 1974. Former Monarch Treasurer Louis C. Clarke died in 1980 at age 94. Mildred C. Goodyear was a friend of Mother's whose farm was perched on the edge of the Connecticut River. Occasionally we would drive down there to Suffield and buy vegetables in the fall. She is buried in West Cemetery in Somers, Connecticut. Aunt Martha Miller told me once that my grandfather the first J. Wesley Miller used to begin each day by reading the Springfield Republican to Grandmother Miller while she did the chores. I called Aunt Maria's number and the operator came on saying that the phone has been disconnected and no further information is available.

This morning I went to the Grand Opening of the new Salvation Army store on Boston Road. There is new ivory siding on the Borrelli house, which had been charcoal grey for years. When I got there the lot was nearly full and all the programs had been handed out, but a fireman from Enfield gave me his. I thanked him and said this made my day and he replied, "I wish I could make somebody's day so easily every day!" There was at least a hundred people waiting to get in. I took a few pictures and then I said we should sing while we waited so I sang one stanza of "Follow the Fold." People smiled and a little Puerto Rican woman with a kid asked me to sing it again. I said I was sorry but such spontaneous happenings cannot be repeated.

There were a few words of welcome from Captain Glenn Chandler and some short comments by City Council President Bud Williams. Also in attendance was City Councilor Bill Foley. Then the doors opened and the lines moved rapidly. The store is rack upon rack of clothing with furniture off to the right. The place was mobbed. I saw one woman buying some cute Campbell Soup Kid figurines. Driving back I went down Arnold Avenue and saw that they have cleared out the formerly wooded area on the left. It is the area around and behind the Print 2000 building and about two acres of trees have been removed.

The old Super Food Mart Plaza in Agawam is about empty and pathetically a large banner is still draped across the abandoned store reading, "True Lower Costs." Yesterday on the corner of Benton I let a white guy into an endless line of cars and he didn't even wave thanks. I'm keeping track! Eamon called and said he likes the postcard I sent him of Father. He said, "Your father was a good looking man, and he looks like a nice man." I thanked him. Eamon said the landscapers were over again today and he paid them $80.

Eamon told me he talked to Nader the Hatter on the phone today who told him that Dorothee has bought a condo. Again Eamon wondered where Nader gets all his money and mentioned the rumor that the last years of the Nader the Hatter Shop was actually a front for a small but highly profitable illegal drug dealership that catered to downtown's political and business elite. He said the Hatter did not say when he would be coming up from Florida, but it would be soon. Eamon said he also got a message from an anonymous caller saying that four U.S. Attorneys are meeting in Springfield to plan the direction and expansion of the corruption probe. Eamon said his caller ID revealed that the phone call was made from the offices of Mass Lawyer's Weekly.

April 8, 2002

37 degrees at 7am. Sunny, calm, clear.

Antique Roadshow was in Boston this week. Tommy Boyajy worked at Monarch in the Underwriting Department but went into the service at the time of World War II and made a career of it. His brother Ned Boyajy, Special Assistant to the President for Development at American International College and active in youth sports, died in Springfield in 1986 at age 76. The witnesses to Father's will made out on March 14, 1956 were Robert F. Dorman, Bruce A. Yarber, Charles S. Hunt and Joseph W. Johnson. Morton Reed was a Monarch associate of some kind, his Penfield Productions building is still in Agawam. Dorothy White of Wilbraham, a former Monarch Life employee and secretary at Western New England College, died in 1991 at age 82. Mother knew her in the 1930's as Dorothy Drake. Her brother Walter Drake died in 1983. Lucy Gensheiner of Wilbraham, a 40 year employee of Western Mass Electric, died in 1996 at age 69.

I woke up at 3:45am and turned on the TV and was surprised to see that TV22 was off the air and didn't come back on until 5am. TV40 and 57 were still on. Today I completed my Federal income tax. Dined this evening on Stoffer's Lean Cuisine Teriyaki Steak Dinner. A very nice meal and better than Weightwatcher's. Povirk the dealer called and said he had a copy of Morrow's Story of Springfield for $95. I bought it. He said he liked the postcards I sent him. The news showed candidate for Governor Mitt Romney at Renaissance Deli in East Longmeadow. Yesterday I went to Food Mart and outside there was a guy petitioning from Freedom Petition Management of Worcester and I signed two of them, one for Bruce A. Herzfelder of Cohasset, a candidate for State Treasurer, and Kamal Jain of Littleton, who is running for Auditor. Only Republicans and Independents could sign.

Clocks have been set ahead. I bought gas for $1.37 a gallon at the Sunoco Minimart at Breckwood. They had no Valley Advocates. I went to the Expo grounds in West Springfield for the Doll and Toy Show. I had no discount coupon but a nice lady arriving alone at the same time let me have her extra dollar off coupon, so I got in for $6. The sale was thinly spread out in the former Industrial Arts Building, now called Better Living. Very broad aisles with benches and trash cans in the middle. The advertising said there were 240 booths but the program listed only 136 dealers. The merchandise was disappointing and the place was nearly empty the whole time I was there. There were no airplanes, but they did have sewing machines for children for $130. A lady selling Victorian greeting cards said they were not selling well. She said that yesterday business was better. I chatted with Annette Carmen of Charlie's Bears in Connecticut. There were no attendants for the bathrooms for the first time I can remember.

I also went to a couple of Open Houses. The list price for 682 Alden Street is $139,000. It has small rooms, a steep backyard and another house is going to be crowded in next door. Terry Deriso's old house at 1671 Wilbraham Road near Plumtree Road, built in 1951, is listed at $130,000. It is one of the early 16 Acres houses and was nice when it was new. Underneath the breezeway is a cold cellar. I always thought it would be nice to have a secret room under our breezeway. Susan Graney was the realtor working for Sears Real Estate of 928 Belmont Avenue.

Eamon called today and told me he baked an apple pie. He said he used to cook at the old Highland Hotel when he was in high school. Eamon puts in lemon as well as brown sugar and cinnamon in his apple pie. In his latest phone message Eamon is calling the Albano Administration "a self-serving employment agency and mutual admiration society where academic credentials, experience and qualifications are meaningless, especially if you know Catjakis, Phillips, Kingston or Keough."

April 11, 2002

56 degrees at 11:02. Gas is $1.39 at the corner of Alden. Daffodils in full bloom.

John McCullough has won the Pulitzer Prize in history for his book on John Adams. I'm reading an article in the Christian Century called "Bin Laden: Interpreting Islamic Tradition" by John Kelsay of Florida State University. State A.G. Tommy Reilly is considering the criminal prosecution of Cardinal Law. Robert Reich, Warren Tollman, the Manchester Union-Leader and the Boston Globe have all called on Law to resign. Richard Earle, an expert on advertising, says the Catholic Church should open up and use the same damage control techniques used by Big Business. He says, "The more they disclose the more they get it behind them."

Alberta Settle, a friend of Mother's who lived in Longmeadow and was a member of the Longmeadow Republican Woman's Club, died in 1978 at age 73. I knew nothing of her, because when I was growing up Mother had virtually no contact with her old girlfriends. Robert Boyer of Jeffrey Road In Springfield, an Administrative Assistant to the Episcopal Diocese, died in 1993 at age 72. His daughter Brenda Forbes was at Buckingham when I was there and played violin in Richard Holuvia's Buckingham Orchestra. Brenda resurfaced as Mother's supervisor when she was working at Forbes & Wallace. She screwed Mother by falsely accusing her of doing something incorrectly so Mother screwed her right back by reporting her. Mother was the sort who always did exactly as she was told, but got fired anyway. Still I think Mother was just as glad to be no longer working for them.

Six Flags is having a ticket promotion, buy four and get them for $55 each. Dined today on Stouffer's Three Cheese Stuffed Rigatoni. I took what I hope will be a super picture of Sweet Pea and Honey Pot sitting in a carpet of crocuses. The mail brought a thank you note for dinner and Gram Wilson's candlesticks from Shirley and Winnie. Drove downtown and parked on Salem, then walked over to the porn shop. I suggested to the guys behind the counter that there should be a new line of hardcore porn featuring models dressed as priests. They laughed. Then over to the old Post Office, now a State Office Building, to get some state tax forms. Then headed down Main, where City Jake's restaurant on the corner of Worthington had a big Bin Laden Wanted Poster in the window next to their open front door. As I walked by I shouted inside "Long Live Bin Laden!"

I crossed Main and went over to Antiques on Boland Way. The amount of merchandise has grown thin and everything was half price. Then I went into Tower Square and checked out the new offices of the Community Foundation on the 23rd floor. I spoke to their President Kent Farber. He said that Sandra Eagleton retired several years ago. He also said they honor the Donor's Bill of Rights. I took their newsletter and noted they had a banquet in October to which I was not invited. As I was standing waiting for the elevator I observed a sign reading, "In Case of Emergency Do Not Use Elevators." But it didn't say where to find a staircase and there were no EXIT signs in sight. Before leaving Tower Square I went into their office and spoke to Carla who said she will convey my concerns to Fred G. Christianson. I said if they haven't made changes in six weeks I'll start to make noise. Finally to City Hall to pay my water bill and then home. I stopped to drop off some magazines at the Cohn's and Mr. Cohn came to the door so I asked him if he had a good Passover. He replied that "it was a peaceful one."

Yesterday I stopped at the new Salvation Army and looked at every single book they had. One appeared to have been discarded from the East Memorial Library in Suffield. I bought a book on the Vietnam War by the publishers of the World Almanac. Then I went to the Big Y but all they had were their typical specials where they bundle things together that are not special and then call it special. I bet a lot of suckers fall for it. I bought Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice and that was it. Then I dropped off at Walmart the mysterious roll of film I found that I suspect is my missing roll from the Northampton Gay Pride Parade. Walmart these days gets so much business that there is usually a line getting out of their lot. There is a traffic light but it is so short you usually have to sit through it twice.

A three year pilot program to have cameras placed at problem intersections in Boston and Cambridge is before the legislature and Paul Caron is adding an amendment to have Springfield included as well. I think it's a lousy idea that will irritate a lot of people. Representative Caron has announced that that he will not run for re-election to the legislature. It's not surprising, he was screwed in the redistricting and probably wouldn't have beat Asselin, plus he probably still has debts from his failed mayoral race. Eamon called and said he is reading Tom Bower's The Perfectly English Spy (1995). He said he met Bower once in Boston. Eamon called Sheriff M. Ashe "a wannabe social worker who doesn't care how crooked and corrupt the Albano Administration is" and said that the Sheriff "has Frankie Keough's number on speed dial."

April 13, 2002

A lovely day, 41 degrees at 6:44am.

Johnny Carson used to do a skit as Carmac the Magnificent who always knew the answers. Rep. Jim Traficant the nine term Democratic congressman from Ohio has been convicted of taking bribes and kickbacks. Russell's Antiques is located in Milo, Maine. Brooke House Fine Arts of Fairfield, Connecticut is owned by Peter Winjum. Sears & Roebucks used to have a store where Bob's Discount Furniture is now in West Springfield. They moved there from the tall building they once had facing Court Square on Main Street in Springfield. The reason they moved is because West Springfield had free parking and when their new store first opened it was regularly packed with customers. That was the beginning of the end of downtown Springfield. When Eastfield Mall opened in the late 1960's Sears moved out there and have watched their patronage dwindle as ever cheaper shops have come along.

Cooked up a cherry pie last night. Dined this evening on asparagus, kielbasa and beans. Around nine someone called and asked for Jack and when I sternly asked who was calling he hung up. No doubt a husker who doesn't want to deal with someone who sounded like he couldn't be pushed around! A brochure came in the mail today addressed to Father from Smith Monuments in Westfield. I spent the day clearing out unneeded stuff in garage attic. Soon it will be too hot to go up there or I will be too old to go up there. I brought down four tires, a bird bath and pedestal, a busted old chair, four old hubcaps and lots of cardboard because Mother had a hard time throwing away boxes. Mother also had a whole oil drum full of empty birdseed bags in case she ever needed a strong paper bag. I discovered Grandpa Frank Wilson's handmade rake, but the handle was broken so I threw it away after first photographing it. I also found a toy blue boat so I brought it over to Kelly for her kid. As I was leaving Mrs. Penniman came by and she said her husband used to teach electricity at Trade High as a second job but now does little more than do jigsaw puzzles. I noted that Irving Cohn's flag was wrapped around his flagpole so I walked down with my long aluminum pole and untangled it.

I drove to ex-cop Bobby Brown's house at 140 Maebeth and gave some publications to his wife and said I'll bring over some Mayflower stuff soon. Then I stopped at a tag sale at 43 Harrison whose owner John A. Musacchio is moving to Chicago. I bought nothing and continued on to the tag sale at the Church of the Acres. There was an enormous collection of books from the collection of Henry and Marie Eaton, most were book club editions of novels. Other books were marked as belonging to Helen Crosby of Chicopee. I bought Max Schoen on Art and Beauty (1932) and a cheap metal Christmas plate. There was an etching of Calvin Coolidge the same size as mine that was selling for $100, but since mine has his autograph on it the one I have is worth considerably more. I bought eleven postcards, including one of Main Street, Wilbraham and another of the office of Cutler & Co. which sold grain in North Wilbraham. But my big purchase was a fabulous impressionist painting by Andrew C. Goodwin of Boston (1866-1941) for $375. Koziol was there as well as Melinda McIntosh's friend.

April 15, 2002

Gentle rain in the middle of the night. An absolutely beautiful spring day. 77 degrees at 4:40pm.

Without a love for books the richest man is poor. Lots of lawyers who do not succeed go into preaching, for which the study of law is good preparation. Grandfather J. Wesley Miller abandoned the law in Quebec to become a Methodist minister in Bethel, Vermont. Today I prepared spaghetti with hamburg, peppers and onions with baked potatoes and a can of tropical fruit. Mr. Mudry was out mowing and pruning so I brought him some magazines and told him no more fruit please.

I like Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut but sometimes I wonder what side he's on. Mass taxpayers will get an extra day to file their taxes because of Patriot's Day, which only public employees celebrate with a day off. Antique Roadshow is in Boston for the second week and they had a segment on the Gardner Museum. They also showed the Peabody Museum and talked about Frederick Law Olmstead. Austin's Antiquarian Books of Wilmington, Vermont is owned by Gary and Karen Austin.

Mother's hairdresser Flora Bourcier of Oswego Street died in 1960 at age 59. Caroline H. Mosher of Kensington Avenue, a self-employed antique dealer for many years, died in 1981 at age 70. Edward E. Barry, a Tech graduate who worked at Hamilton Standard, died in 1993 at age 74. His wife Mildred was a friend of Mother. Warren B. Fales of West Springfield, a 40 year Springfield policeman, died in 1992 at age 87. His wife Kathleen worked at Monarch around 1930 and was a friend of Mother. The Fales celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the Light House in Ludlow in 1982. Their son Richard went to school with me and was not the brightest kid, but was friendly with a bright smile. He grew up to be a Ludlow firefighter.

Nader the Hatter called and said he is flying up from Florida on April 25th. He wanted to know if there were any indictments yet in the corruption probe and I said alas, not yet. I got a call from Linda McConnly from Channel 57 Outreach trying to get me to send them some money. I complained to her that no one has ever offered me a job in Springfield, even Monarch Life and my family had 5,000 shares of Monarch stock. She interrupted me to say that she had other calls to make. I said well lady you called me, I didn't call you, and just because I gave last year doesn't mean I'll give again this year. I added, "Besides, I like Channel 24 better." She hung up. Then I called Larry McDermott and wished him a Happy New Year on his answering machine, saying that it is always a new year somewhere for something. I also said he should do a glowing story on Eamon after all the good advice and right opinions Eamon has shared with him over the years. I also told Larry to give my regards to David Starr.

The Croteau family put a memorial to Danny on the obituary page yesterday with the poem:

If tears could build a stairway
And memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to heaven
And bring you home again.

-Sadly missed by Mom, Dad, Brothers and Sisters.

In the paper today Larry McDermott wrote a column praising reporter Tom Shea for his work on the Danny Croteau case. Eamon has told McDermott a number of times that he should focus more on the scandalous role of former D.A. Matty Ryan, who refused to prosecute Father Lavigne for the Croteau murder because he believed that no jury would convict a priest. Eamon has written a very critical letter to the Pope which he read to me. He included an article on the Croteau murder and an Irish prayer. I warned him he will be ex-communicated. Eamon said the Catholic religion is based on fear "such as the fear that if you don't go to confession you will go to hell."

Eamon said that Arthur Gingras is up in Lubeck, Maine where he is interested in some property. Eamon asked if I would ever consider living at Reed's Landing and I said no, it's too expensive. I told him I would find it depressing to be among all those oldsters and their boring, make-work "activities." Eamon says that many of Springfield's misfit cops could have been weeded out if only the proper psychiatric screening methods were employed. Eamon also recalled how when Richard Neal was Mayor in the 1980's he often dismissed his critics as "naysayers" and "nabobs of negativism."

April 16, 2002

Lovely spring day, 68 degrees at 10am.

All memories are precious.

Aaron Lansky of the Yiddish Book center was interviewed today on WFCR. They got a big grant from Steven Spielberg. They have around 14,000 books and people can read them on the internet. They are now beginning a ten year project to translate everything into English. It is a wonderful project. Stephen Jablonski spoke recently at Crestview Country Club in Agawam on the topic "Historical Buildings Past and Present in the City of Springfield." Jablonski designed the new entrance to Forest Park, the Carriage House at what's left of the Barney Estate and the addition to St. Michael's Cathedral.

Marie Falvey, who died in 1971, used to go to church and the movies with Mother. John E. MacNaughton of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and a founder of the Basketball Hall of Fame died in 1984 at age 93. His wife Dorothy was a member of the Mayflower Society and a friend of Mother's. She once gave Mother a wooden jigsaw puzzle. This is spring vacation week for the schools. I called and left word with David Montgomery that I hope he got the color reproductions of the Buckingham Junior High postcards I sent him. I said I hope he'll keep me informed regarding any future Buckingham historical events and told him I wasn't invited to the event they held a few months back.

Eamon called this afternoon and recalled how because he had a good voice he was often called on at Cathedral to recite religious readings over the school intercom. One day he accidentally skipped from the 3rd to the 5th Holy Mystery. When he got back to his classroom the nun pushed him out in the hall and poked a finger in his face and told him not only had he sinned by leaving out the 4th Mystery but caused his 800 listeners to sin as well. He was given a month's detention. Eamon said at Cathedral they said the rosary every morning at 8:30. Eamon complained that this year's Pynchon Award went to the Open Pantry people and that he has never even been considered for one. I agreed that if Eamon doesn't deserve Springfield's highest honor than who does? On his answering machine message this morning Eamon urged people to mail anonymous tips to to the FBI at Box 1473, Springfield 01101.

Tonight I went to a speech by Springfield Superintendent of Schools Joseph Burke at the Church of the Acres. I arrived at 6:45 and I was the first one there besides Jean Masse, who was setting up chairs. As I helped her she asked where I've been lately and we chatted. Then with a big smile she asked me to please don't be too hard on Burke as he has been under a lot of pressure lately. However she said to say anything I want about Albano! I told her no problem. Soon Karen Lee arrived in a white t-shirt and jean overalls. She told me she is looking for a job as an events coordinator and has an interview tomorrow. She is divorced and has a sixteen year old daughter. Lee feels confident that Paul Caron will quickly find a job once he leaves office. Mrs. Boyle arrived and was very friendly. She told me her daughter has a PHD from Pittsburgh Cathedral and is doing educational consulting.

The meeting attendees were mostly old and white except for Doris Robinson, who told me she doesn't think Superintendent Burke knows what he's doing, since he needs five assistants despite the budget crunch. She complained that teachers these days have to teach to the MCAS tests and I replied that I support the tests because Harvard requires tests and you have to pass the bar exam to become a lawyer and pass tests for many other professions. We agreed that the test should be developed locally rather than one test for all of Massachusetts. She thinks the current test makes money for the political machine people. Robinson said the problem is the curriculum standards are not high enough. She also said she knows Frances Gagnon and described her as having "clawed her way to the top." The YMCA had a table set up, they told me they plan to hold a Camp Norwich reunion at Forest Park in May or June. They passed out copies of the Sixteen Acres/Outerbelt Police Report for 2001 and in general crime seems to be up. They also passed out brochures for the Watershops Restoration Committee.

Mrs. Moriarty sat right behind me and said hi, her husband Atty. Marshall Moriarty sat at the head table and looked at me while snickering at my marijuana t-shirt, bondage collar, leather jacket and boots. Sergeant James Rosso is the Sector Commander and the Officers assigned to the Acres are Peter Fett, John Taylor and James Collins. Others in attendance were Don Levesque, Chairman of the 16 Acres Golden Agers, Mayoral Aide Jen Kakley Murphy, Rudy Ruggeri of the Crime Watch, Dawn Vadnais, Manager of Colonial Estates and Walter Gould of the Outer Belt Civic Association. Steve Afhas from Duggan Junior High School and Karen Powell from the Citizen Action Commission were also there. I spoke briefly with Powell and mentioned to her that this is the type of event I thought Tom Devine might attend and she said Devine is in Texas visiting his uncle and cousins.

When Burke was introduced a tape recorder and a bottle of Dasani water was placed on the table. Burke was wearing a sporty shirt, tie, brown pants and loafers. After talking a bit Burke sat down and the gathering took on the aspect of a large meeting rather than that of Burke talking down to us. Unfortunately Burke said nothing of importance, just talked vaguely about a "plan for excellence" and threw out a lot of statistics suggesting that the schools are doing well. Of course we know through Eamon's sources that is not true. People asked boring questions so I stood up and asked Burke how many uncertified teachers are in the classroom and he said about 40. I think it is much higher, but remembering my promise to Masse I didn't pursue it. As I left I slipped Burke a copy of my essay on education, then as I was walking out the door a woman in a green dress approached me and asked, "Why are you dressed the way you are?" I replied, "Madam, why are you dressed the way you are?" I left her sputtering as I walked across the parking lot towards my car.

April 18, 2002

76 degrees on the breezeway at noon.

Just because you're strong doesn't mean you're smart.

Muriel Guyett, mother of Douglas Guyett, Development Coordinator for the City of Holyoke, died in 1971. Her husband George A. Guyett of Mass Mutual died in 1975 at age 79. Frances "Ned" Sheehan, retired Captain of the Springfield Fire Department, died in 1976 at age 69. His wife Dorothy Sheehan died in 1987. Edith M. Lundbled of Berkshire Avenue, retired Manager of Standard Electric, died in 1985 at age 79. The engagement of Sherrie Ann Lucas to Peter A. Ludbled was announced in 1986. Agnes M. Falvey, a retired cashier at the Sheraton-Kimball Hotel, died in 1985. Lincoln A. Squire, a former football player for the Acorns, died in 1986 at age 79. Received a brochure from the UMass Division of Continuing Ed addressed to Mother. I sent it back marked "deceased." Father's nickname at the University of Vermont was "Jack."

Boston's Catholic Charities has announced that they will have to make major cuts in their social services because so many Massachusetts Catholics are saying they will donate nothing until Cardinal Law resigns. Basket collections are also down. The Berkshire County Bookmobile will be discontinued in July. I see that the New England Historic Genealogical Society now has "All Rights Reserved" on their materials, as they should. I am a 60 year old bachelor living on a substantial inheritance from my Father. A lot of people have found me more than they can handle. I'm a heavy hitting legal bibliophile with a collection of art, books, manuscripts, an inscribed etching of Calvin Coolidge, rare books by Mary Waller and lots more.

Woke up at 2:57am and TV40 was just a test pattern. At noon on TV22 the music accompanying the stock market quotes didn't start until a third of the way through and last night on 57 a kids program cut into the first three minutes of the BBC News. These mistakes are becoming more and more common. The problem with television is that it is so entertaining that you don't notice the inaccuracies. Kelly put up her yard umbrella. Dined on another Teriyaki Steak Dinner from Stouffer's. Delicious and filling with generous portions compared to Weight Watcher's. The trash truck went by at 7:35am. The Union-News Extra was left on the lawn. I noticed that a tulip is coming up four inches from the curb. The Reminder came while I was out watering the plants. There was an article in it on Kathleen E. Grady running for State Representative. Grady is a Classical graduate who founded the Massachusetts Institute of Behavioral Medicine and has been active in Longmeadow Democrat Party politics for 25 years.

Boston Road is being widened on both sides at Boston and Stony Hill Road. It was previously widened a few hundred feet down the road to accommodate the entrance to Home Depot. Drove out to the Wilbraham Post Office where I picked up a "Call to Action" poster for an anti-war rally in Washington D.C. on April 20th. The Wilbraham Post Office bulletin board is the chief posting place in Wilbraham, which often has a lot of stuff not posted in Springfield. In recent months Rice Hall in the Springfield Library has had a bulletin board over the copier, but it is usually used only for Quadrangle propaganda. The board in the front of Wellman Hall often has valley art events posters. On the front page of today's paper there is a picture of a large bronze book being installed as part of the Seuss sculpture garden. The annual Friends of the Library meeting is this evening but I'm not going. The Channel 57 Auction was on tonight but I only watched a little of it. Russ Peotter ran things early on, then Roy Scott, then Peotter was back when I went to bed. Elms College people were manning the phones, and Joachim W. Froelich, the new President of Elms, also appeared. He is an immense man, big smile and seems like a good guy. He presented a check for $1,500 to Channel 57.

Vice President Dick Cheney is quoted in the Washington Post as saying that the so-called War on Terror "may not end, at least not in our lifetime." Senators Joe Biden and Richard Lugar were interviewed by Bob Edwards this morning on WFCR. They expressed full support for Israel and said that "nobody's going to trust Yasser Arafat any longer." There was a large demonstration in Northampton last night supporting the Palestinians. Eamon called and said he has installed his air conditioner in his bedroom window and says he hasn't used his computer in months. Due to budget restraints the Forest Park pool will be closed this summer. Mayor Michael J. Albano has announced that he supports having the police arrest truant kids. The black community is opposing it, but Albano says over 700 kids are truant each day.

April 20, 2002

69 degrees and overcast at 6:30am. Thunderstorms at 2:39. Gas is $1.37 all around.

A minor earthquake that could be felt from Boston to Baltimore to Buffalo struck at 5:15am. There were two aftershocks. WFCR said the last earthquake to hit Western Mass was in 1983. Big anti-war demonstration in Washington today, largest so far. Stone Phillips on the NBC Evening News interviewed former Vatican employee Tom Doyle who said, "The secrecy level of the Roman Catholic Church is almost pathological." That's a good line. Mark from First Security in Barshore, Massachusetts called and asked if I wanted a home security system. I replied, "You are a stranger, I don't know anything about you, so I would be nuts to say I don't already have a security system. If I do already have one then we have nothing to talk about. Don't call again."

WFCR said wages amount for 70% of the cost of Hadley asparagus. TV40 was hit by lightening this afternoon which knocked them off the air and when they came back on their computers and teleprompters were not working. During the news the talking heads were reading from scripts and "doing it all the Edward R. Morrow way." I must say they were pretty good at it. Dave Madsen said they were knocked off the air around 3pm when their transformer got hit and things were made worse by an auto accident that caused a big traffic tie up on Liberty Street by the embankment so a repair crew had a hard time getting there. Arthur Leavens of WNEC Law was on TV talking about statutes of limitation in a tone of voice as if he thought he was talking to students.

Why haven't I received a newsletter from the Wilbraham Atheneum Society? When is their annual meeting? I'll let them play their games for a little while. There is a new drive through car registry in Chicopee, where you can pick up forms and get your license renewed. Yesterday I dined on America's Choice Fried Chicken Dinner. The chicken was rubbery but for only 99 cents I can't complain. Today I threw out the old green chair with lush fabric that used to be in the living room but was stored in the attic by Mother even though it was worn out. When in the attic I found a souvenir mug for The Queen's Silver Jubilee that I'll give to Melinda McIntosh who is into all things royal.

Turned off the furnace for the summer. I drove out today to the Trinity Church Tag Sale. On the way I swung by a tag sale by McKenney at 111 Jeffrey but there was the same old merchandise. All the mailbox hangers on Plumtree Road had Faith Baptist Church flyers on them. When I got to Trinity Melinda McIntosh was the first in line with her sea green Mercury backed into a parking space. She waved and I came forward and I gave her the Queen's Jubilee mug. Koziel was in line. The Trinity Tag Sale was awful this year, the only thing I bought was a 1995 American International College alumni directory. I noticed that one of the books they were selling had originally been purchased by the Public Library of the City of Taunton in March of 1956. Melinda was still there when I left. On the way home I went to Fancy That where the owner told me that he had recently purchased a Harriet Lumis print for $200 from a woman who said she is a niece of Lumis. He then turned around and sold it to a young fellow from Greenfield who paid $8,000 for it. He said that was one of the best profit margins he ever made. I discovered that the Brimfield Flea Market starts May 13 and that Fancy That will have a booth. Then to the Pride station for the new Valley Advocate and then home.

The mail brought a fundraising letter from Michael Armitage in Aqawam supporting Tom Birmingham for Governor, plus two fundraising letters from Mayor Albano and Congressman Neal. Eamon said he has not received any letters from Albano or Neal, who both probably accurately concluded that sending a fundraising appeal to Eamon would be a waste of postage. David L. Yas is the publisher of Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly. Is this Eamon's anonymous tipster who informed him of the summit of U.S. Attorney's gathering in Springfield to plan the expansion of the corruption probe? Eamon wondered where booster Russ Denver lives but he says his phone book is worn out from use (!) and the page Denver should be listed on is missing. I looked in my phonebook and Denver lives at 35 Littleton Street, just down the road from where Eamon's street turns off from the funeral parlor. Eamon was amazed, he always assumed Denver lived in Longmeadow. Eamon says that I've done more to preserve local history than anyone, but he predicts "the local historians will never thank you for it" because my information undermines the false history they would prefer people think is true.

April 22, 2002

Clear blue sky and 53 degrees at 7am.

Jimmy Carter said it's time to put pressure on Israel by cutting off aid, but Colin Powell says the U.S. has no intention of doing so. I love Jimmy Carter. Saddam Hussein has offered $25,000 to the family of every suicide bomber who succeeds in their mission. Professor Cornell West has left Harvard for Princeton complaining that President Summer was not supportive enough of affirmative action for blacks. Pope John Paul has advanced Parkinson's disease. An NBC poll shows that negative feelings toward the Catholic Church have tripled. Massachusetts has identified 1300 cases of welfare fraud but acting-Governor Jane Swift has cut the number of fraud investigators from 68 to five and 50% of all fraud investigations were dropped due to lack of staff. Marlyn Crittendon (1918-1993) was the longtime Concertmistress of the Springfield Symphony and an honorary member of the Young People's Symphony.

William E. Rattman of Ludlow, a 42 year New England Telephone Company employee, died at age 70 in 1972. His sister Mabel Remington was Mother's friend. Sara Y. Greenough of Chicopee died in 1980. Richard R. Rasquin of Grace Union Congregational Church in North Wilbraham died in 1985 at age 80. Laura Reed of West Springfield, a retired stenographer for Monarch Life, died in 1987 at age 82. His sister Ann was Mother's friend. A letter from Fleet Bank for Paul S. Kenyon of Main Street in Palmer was accidentally delivered to me this morning. Today I dined on meatloaf and Sara Lee Blueberry pie. I called Mrs. Staniski and she said the recent heatwave took a lot out of her. She said she didn't enjoy the South Church Palm Sunday service as the organ was silent except for Dr. Gilkay's hymn. She said her best friend from her youth was a Mennonite. Mrs. S. also told me she always watches The Crystal Cathedral on Sunday morning.

Eamon called and said he is going to see his doctor about his back tomorrow. He will see Dr. Frank but he prefers Dr. Wojak. His friend who works at Amherst College gave him the tuition numbers of all the area schools: Amherst College is $35,180, Smith is $34,936, Mt. Holyoke is $33,640, WNEC is $25,442, Springfield College is $25,420, Elms College is $25,210, Bay Path is $23,350, AIC is $23,292, and $11,955 for instate students at Westfield State. Conclusion: It isn't worth it.

Eamon told me his living room used to be two rooms, a living room and a dining room separated by french doors, but his parents converted it to one big living room. His porch is bigger than other ones on the street. Eamon said that at one point there were eight of them living in the house. His father's first wife was Brigid Garvey who was born in Ireland. She died giving birth to William Sullivan who died in World War II. When his father remarried they had three boys and three girls, with Eamon the last child. He said his parents could not afford six kids but the Catholic Church forbid them from practicing birth control. Eamon said his brothers brought him up and taught him to take care of himself. His brother Gerald died of Scarlet Fever and although Eamon also got it he survived, although it stunted his growth. During the years when he went to public schools he had to attend catechism twice per week. He also recalled that there were rumors that Francis Coughlin and Rep. Jack Sweeney were homosexuals.

Eamon said Gingras is back from Maine. He told Eamon that the upper echelon of school officials make more money than most managers in industry. Eamon told me that Hirschon the jeweler (who smokes constantly) said that there is a high rate of fraud in the jewelry business because most people don't know what they're looking at. They can't tell the different kinds of gold apart or the number of carats in a stone or whether the stone has flaws. I told him the rare book business has a lot of rip-off artists as well.

Eamon recalled a story that Judge Landers once told him. He said Dr. Donahue of Longmeadow once hired the famous attorney F. Lee Bailey to defend him in a malpractice case. Bailey got up before Judge Quirico and said, "I am F. Lee Bailey of downtown Boston," and the Judge interrupted, "I know who you are now sit down!" Eamon said the Judge's annoyance with Bailey's ego cost Dr. Donahue the case. Eamon said he called McDermott at the paper today and left a message congratulating him on a column he did critical of Superintendent Burke. Eamon declared that "pathological liar Mike Albano and his inept, political hack appointees" should all be indicted.

April 23, 2002

Overcast, 45 degrees at 7:30am. Chilly last night. Gas at Pride in the Acres is $1.39 a gallon.

Today I dined on America's Choice Turkey Dinner which was the best of the three frozen dinners I bought for 99 cents each. It had peas, mashed potatoes, a slice of white turkey and some croutons with gravy, which is healthier contents than the other ones. When I went to the Food Mart to get more the sale was over, but I don't really care. Spag's signage is still up all over the Five Town Mall, not just on the abandoned store but on signs in the parking lot. It was inconsiderate of them to leave the area without removing their signs.

Today's Union-News has a photograph of Boston prosecutor Michael J. Sullivan who was in town for the swearing in of Thomas J. O'Connor Jr. as the seventh local Assistant U.S. Attorney. He said O'Connor was working in the D.A.'s office in Northampton and had interned there in 1995. Sullivan described young O'Connor as a smart guy who got along well with everyone. After seeing that article I decided to call the U.S. Attorney's office at 1550 State Street and got Sheila who confirmed that young O'Connor was working there and that Kevin O'Reagan was his boss. I was transferred to O'Reagan's secretary Laurie Ann and I fully identified myself. I said I objected to O'Connor's appointment, saying that 34 is too young for the job and that his old man was close to Socco Catjakis who is a subject of the FBI corruption probe. I further suggested that young O'Connor should be closely questioned about his knowledge of his father's friends and activities. She thanked me for calling.

Eamon called and said Dr. Frank said he needs to have a minor operation on his back and said it needs to be done as quickly as possible. Poor Eamon. We then talked about the appointment of O'Connor Jr. to the D.A.'s office. Eamon recalled that Tommy O'Connor Sr. the former Mayor, developed a serious drinking problem after he left office following his defeat for re-election. Eamon said that around 1965 he and O'Connor went to a resort in East Otis that was owned by a Greek friend of theirs, and Eamon was shocked when he saw that O'Connor had brought a whole case of Johnny Walker Red with him for a visit of less than a week. Eamon said O'Connor used to sip scotch all day long.

Tom O'Connor was close to Socco Catjakis and the Liquor Commissioner Harold Chernock, who owned a Jewish market at the end of Sumner Avenue. Eamon said that anyone who could afford the payoffs could get a liquor license, which meant a lot of ex-cons, mobsters and other undesirables owned bars in Springfield. Catjakis and Chernock would walk into the mayor's office at any time, as Eamon said he saw with his own eyes on plenty of occasions when he served in the O'Connor Administration. They entered through an unmarked entrance in the hallway so the public wouldn't notice them coming or going. I told him that sounds like the entrance David Starr used to use during the Markel Administration. Eamon said he often ran into O'Connor, Catjakis and Chernock in downtown bars and "they were always wheeling and dealing." Eamon said they were smart and never accepted any payment except in untraceable cash. Finally Eamon recalled how Catjakis once came into the office of Eamon's brother Ray the Fire Chief and tried to get him to sign some false insurance papers relating to a fire at Quik Cleaners. Ray Sullivan angrily ordered Catjakis to get out of his office.

April 24, 2002

Gas is $1.35 at the Carew and Liberty Pride.

Nobody can get anything right and the little guy pays.

Springfield ranks 206th out of the 208 school systems in Massachusetts. Melinda C. McIntosh is the Microforms Reference Librarian at the UMass Library. Al Bryant is a Sales Manager for H.L. Dempsey Office Equipment Solutions. Terry Haskins is the Assistant Manager at the 16 Acres office of Fleet Bank. The Publick House Historic Inn and Country Lodge in Sturbridge has a Spring Fling Beer Dinner on May 3rd.

I went to the Market 2002 business fair today wearing my leather cap, orange jumpsuit, combat boots, lime green Superstar t-shirt, spiked collar, head harness with bell and of course my motorcycle jacket. I drove into the city behind a Mercury with AIC across the back window and a bumpersticker reading, "My Child Was Inmate of the Month at the County Jail." Symphony Hall was surrounded with yellow school buses, there must have been a concert. Do the drivers get paid for waiting around until the concert ends? I arrived at the Exposition grounds at 10:30. I brought my new postcards of Freedman and Crittendon, which I doled out selectively as I walked around. I ended up passing out about half a pack of each card. I asked people, "Do you know who Marlyn Crittendon was? Maurice Freedman?" No one did except TV man Sy Becker, not even the WFCR people knew. Fame is fleeting.


J. Wesley Miller III by Keith Sikes

Three people asked me if they could take my picture. One was Keith Sikes, Director of Marketing for Turley Publications in Palmer. Sikes says he runs the photo gallery in the old Valley Bank space at Tower Square. At one point a little old security man came over and questioned me. I was very friendly, gave him a postcard and he went away. The show itself was smaller than formerly with broader aisles. Only Taylor Rental had popcorn and Tiger Press/Copycat had their traditional cups of jelly beans. Not many freebies around. I spoke to the black guy at the Sheraton booth who said he sees Peter Picknelly every day. I gave him some postcards to give to Picknelly. In the Springfield Newspapers booth they had a big burly pressman named Al Stanisewski who was showing people how to make hats out of newspapers by folding it. I gave him some postcards to give to David Starr but told him to give nothing to McDermott.

There was no booth representing the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Quadrangle or the Symphony, not even a combined cultural booth. The Springfield Area Council on Excellence had candy bars with their name on a red wrapper. The Union-News had assorted pastry. WGBY had 2002 Auction buttons. PVTA gave out little clocks and the Sheraton had discount coupons. Hampden Bank and Valley Communications were there. The Jewish Community Center had a booth so I left off a handful of Maurice Freedman cards with Amy Kimball. I spotted Russ Denver talking with some secretaries so I gave them cards. Maggie Haigis was there passing out her flyer "Words for Results." Turin the Arts Commissioner was there and I asked him who Crittendon and Freedman were and he didn't know even though he attended AIC. I told him he should do better as I handed him the cards and he angrily bellowed, "Thank you!" Then a little old lady came up and asked, "What is that you have on your head? Are you a clown?" I decided it was time to leave.

April 26, 2002

51 degrees and some sun at 3:50pm. Rain and wind last night, the tarp was blown off the picnic table.

One in five children in America are in poverty. The amount of materials recycled in Massachusetts since 1994 avoided the need to build four new landfills, according to the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility. The East Longmeadow Lion's Club has announced that John V. Hess of East Longmeadow is the recipient of the East Longmeadow Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award for 2002. Thomas E. Burton, Eugene McCarthy, Joel Morse, Dr. John J. Flahive and Police Chief Paula Meara received the Paul Harris Recognition Awards this year. Keith Martin and Jeff Hagen run Whalley Computer Associates of Southwick. There will be a Sacco and Vanzetti symposium on October 4th put on by John and Linda Thompson. Michael's Limousine Service charges $47 for a ride to Bradley Airport.

At 1:08am TV40 said, "At this time WGGB leaves the air for technical adjustments." Today was the Woronoco Bank stockholder's meeting but I didn't go. I went out to get some donuts at Arnold's discount bakery this morning. First I stopped at Louis & Clark which had a 75% off sale on Easter candy. Then over to Angelo's, their garden section is open and a young woman who said she is Angelo's granddaughter was at work. She said her father would be back later in the day. Then I dropped off a bag of reading material at Mrs. Staniski's. I could hear her inside but she didn't come to the door so I left the bag on her door handle. The tulips Mother gave her years ago are in bloom. Later she called and thanked me for the stuff and said she liked the organ music. She told me Ann is coming on Monday and said to me, "You are a part of my family." The only condolence card I received over the death of Aunt Maria was from Mrs. Staniski.

Eamon called and said that he has little respect for the psychiatric profession, saying that most of the psychiatrists that he has encountered were crazier than their patients. He said Nader the Hatter is up from Florida and is staying at his sister's. Eamon said he was talking to an FBI agent today named Wilson. He told him that Salvatore Anzalotti the Accounting Professor from AIC "is a fucking thief." Eamon told the agent that Anzalotti works hand in hand with the mafia, handling their taxes along with Morris Kirby. I told him that Father took an Accounting class with Anzalotti years ago.

Eamon then talked about going to confession when he was a boy. He recited what he used to say, updating it as if he went to confession today: "Bless me Father, I confess to God Almighty and to you, Father, that I have sinned. It has been forty years since my last confession and these are my sins: I went to a Protestant Church, I masturbated and I voted Republican." The priest would then dish out the penance, which would probably be something like five Hail Mary's and an Act of Contrition. Then the priest would say, "Now you are dismissed, go and sin no more." I asked him what an Act of Contrition was and he said it was a prayer and recited it: "Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee. I dread the loss of Heaven and the pain of Hell, but most of all because I offended Thee My God who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy Grace to do penance and amend my life. Amen."

City Councilor Bud Williams, a Probation Officer, has announced he is running for State Rep. against incumbent Benjamin Swan. The TV news says there was a raid today at the Hampden County Employment and Training office on Main and the Springfield Entrepreneurial Fund including documents seized from a condo in Classical owned by one of the managers James Krystofik. Also involved in James Asselin, son of Raymond from the Housing Authority and brother of Chris the State Representative.

April 28, 2002

A beautiful day, 48 degrees at 8:58am.

Today Iraq is celebrating the 65th birthday of Saddam Hussein. Donald J. Dowd of West Springfield, a longtime Kennedy operative, is in Rhode Island working on the re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, son of Ted. Dowd's nephew, Dean Martilli, formerly of West Springfield, is Pat Kennedy's Chief of Staff in D.C. and Pawtucket. Yesterday I came across a get well card for Father when he was in the hospital in 1966 from Maitland Graham, the President of Monarch Life Insurance. He had a nice signature.

The Calligraphy Studio of Jamie Risley-Hall is on Puritan Circle in Springfield. The Kent Memorial Library is in Suffield, Connecticut. Sam Brendler was a Docent Trainee at the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum. This is the weekend of the Springfield Arts Festival. Artist Bill Myers, curator for the Springfield Art Museum will give a Graffiti Mural Art Demonstration free at Tower Square Park. Juggling minstrel Leonard Solomon of Concord uses musical instruments made from plumbing materials, kitchen utensils, mailing tubes and other objects found around the house. He is superb and a true genius. I weigh 205 pounds, which is at least 25 pounds too much, alas.

It's amusing how often you meet the person who sped by you at the next red light. I tried to to make copies at the Pride station in the Acres but their machine was out of order so I went to Louis & Clark. There were two stretch white limos in front of Church of the Acres so there must have been a large wedding. I found a copy of the Sunday paper in the trash outside Louis & Clark, complete with coupons. Renovations at the Country Inn bar and restaurant in Pine Point seems near completion, a sign says the motel section is already open. I stopped at Angelo's where his son was getting into a white panel truck. I asked him if he had any milk crates for sale I could use as shelves and he said he was just leaving but to come back later and he will sell me some for a buck a piece. Then I drove out to the new car registry at Eastfield Mall. There was a long line and you had to take a number, so it is just as bad as the downtown registry. I went across the street to Stop & Shop and got some cranberry juice and then over to Ruby Tuesday's for their $5.99 salad.

After lunch I drove back to Angelo's and the whole family was there. Old Angelo himself was there leaning on his cane and I told him that I thought the story about him in the paper was wonderful. He smiled and admitted that he also liked it. The tall and rather corpulent son with the thick glasses was less friendly. His daughters were there, one is 22 and the other 16. I bought ten milk crates of different sorts and said I'll be back again for more. Today is the Earth Day Clean-up and on the way home I saw volunteers cleaning up the area around Breckwood Pond.

Watched some of the 57 Auction tonight, and Roy Scott was on wearing Hawaiian clothes for the Vacation Auction round. He also introduced his Executive Auction Committee which I couldn't help but notice consists of all white people. At another point R. Peotter was on and used the word "penultimate" which means he is no dummy if he can use that word. Professor Jay Demerath of the UMass Sociology Department was on the news talking about the Catholic Church but didn't say anything of significance. They also had on Jason Berry, author of Catholic Priests and Sex Abuse. Mark Hyman, Chairman of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, was on TV40 editorializing against Janet Reno. I called TV40 and got Nate and told him I prefer Carole Simpson as their female talking head on World News Tonight and he thanked me for calling.

Eamon called and said his back hurts worse than ever. He talked on the phone to Nader the Hatter and told him he should get back in the hat business, at least part time. We also talked about Joe Sibilia and Eamon wondered whether Socrates Babacas is the Sibilia of baseball or Joe Sibilia is the Babacas of business. Either way both have big plans that never seem to go anywhere. Eamon said his house was built by Charles and Fred Abbe and that he is sometimes tempted to tear the house down and build something entirely new.

Eamon reminisced about the years he used to hang around the Dory Lounge on St. James Avenue. It had once been the Dry Bridge Cafe run by Alice Balboni, who sold it cheap to an ex-cop she was having an affair with named Edward J. Weldon. He turned it into a popular cop bar and all kinds of scams went on there. Eamon said rogue cops would use the Dory to fence stolen goods. There was also a big bookie operation operating out of there, which angered the local mafia because it was taking away their business. There was nothing the mob could do however because Weldon was protected by Matty Ryan and was also friends with lots of powerful lawyers and politicians. Many times Eamon saw known mafioso enter the bar to speak with Weldon. Eamon said you could buy alcohol out the back door after hours and on Sunday and the cops who hung out at the Dory were cheap and never bought a round of drinks for anybody. The illegal gambling operation was eventually shut down by the state police, but Eamon said the place is still open and run by Weldon's lesbian daughter.

April 30, 2002

46 degrees at 11:09am. Overcast all morning. Mrs. Marian Staniski always says that cool weather makes the lilacs last.

Jerry Seinfeld is 48. Today is the 100th Anniversary of The Tuesday Morning Music Club in Springfield. Bay Path College was founded in 1897 and its motto is, "Educating Tomorrow's Leaders." Carol A. Leary is the College President. Anthony S. Caprio is President of WNEC. Chiropractor Stephen A. Dean is at 1367 Parker Street in Springfield. WFCR said UMass has a program for sending young Jews to Israel for free, but fewer students have been signing up since 9/11. I suspect that psychologically unhealthy people are drawn to the clergy, immature types who cling to the cross for support. Old men have to die because they know too much and to make room for young men in whose breast hope springs eternal, until it is killed by a lifetime of experiences we call wisdom. In other words, there's a sucker born every minute.

John Cameron Swayze worked for NBC in 1955. Financial journalist Louis Rukeyser, ousted by PBS after 32 years, will return with a new program "Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street" on CNBC. Black UMass Professor Julius Lester was on the news, at some point he converted to Judaism from Methodism. In recognition of Women's History Month, Springfield Historical Commission Chairperson and Springfield Journal writer Frances M. Gagnon has been honored by the Springfield Office of the U.S. Post Office. Mount Holyoke College history Professor Joseph J. Ellis has earned a spot in the Liar's Hall of Fame in Playboy Magazine along with O.J. Simpson, Kenneth Lay and Bill Clinton. Playboy included a photograph of Ellis and the inscription: "A Pulitizer Prize winner, he said he was a Vietnam vet. He wasn't."

In 1963 I received the Elmira Nelson Jones prized for my essay on Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca. 84 BC – ca. 54 BC). Had Total cereal for breakfast, Progresso Vegetable Soup for lunch. Came across some Christmas cards Father received in the 1940's plus a 1933 birthday card to Grandma Wilson. In The Reminder this week Managing Editor G. Michael Dobbs has an opinion piece entitled, "Time for a Tax Override?" I called his voicemail and said the City of Springfield is overrun with useless employees who are part of the local political machine, that many employees use their computers to sit at their desks playing games and there are twice as many aides and specialists in the public schools than in the past. yet test scores are lower. I said therefore a tax override should not even be considered. Dobbs never called back.

Cindy at Louis & Clark helped me mail out my postcards and other mail today so I bought her a candy for all she did. On the TV40 news Bishop Durpre was holding a press conference saying "people sometimes do not distinguish between the Diocese of Springfield and the Archdiocese of Boston." He said the sex abuse problems locally were largely settled ten years ago and people should not punish their local churches for the current scandals in Boston. Of course Bishop Dupre said nothing about the still unsolved murder of Danny Croteau. Reporter Kathy Shepardson then interviewed four Catholics, two who had stopped giving the church money as a result of the scandals and two who still gave. Interestingly, Shepardson herself spoke of the "Archdiocese of Springfield" which is of course incorrect.

Eamon said he went to see his female prostate doctor this morning. Eamon spends a lot of his time going to medical appointments. Eamon recalled how his mother was constantly cooking and making jams, jellies and preserves. I told him how Mother made maple sugar fudge, but also made jellies, ice cream from scratch, shortcake biscuits made with Bisquick, scalloped ham and potatoes and cinnamon rolls. But these skills notwithstanding, Mother did not like to cook. Eamon asked if Father ever got mad about Mother not cooking and I told him Father never got mad about anything, he was always a perfect gentleman.

David Madsen reported on the news that there may be layoffs in the schools due to budget problems. What was most interesting was that Madsen twice reported during the story that there are over 700 uncertified teachers in the school system, but when I asked Burke at the Acres Civic Association meeting recently how many there were he replied "over forty." Technically true, but very misleading since 700 is indeed way over forty! Eamon said that if they'll admit to 700 than the real number is more like 800 or 900.

No comments:

Post a Comment