4/18/13

February 2002

February 2, 2002

Overcast, 37 degrees at 8:30am. Slush in the streets.

The developing world has has a very simple message for us, "You got yours, we want ours, NOW!"

Megan M. Mullaly is a Sales Associate with Chittenden Securities on State Street in Springfield. The news said that cell phones are replacing traditional land lines by leaps and bounds. Jason Russell is the chunky weatherman on TV40. On the noon news today he was very careful not to stand in front of the numbers. He's a nice enough guy. TV40 had a piece tonight reported by Gretzinger about the Charthouse Restaurant in Simsbury, Connecticut. The Patriots being in the Superbowl had big screen TV's flying off the shelves in Western Mass. I watched the second half of the Superbowl which New England won 20-17. Sorry, but athletic events bore me. Competing in sports is noble, but just watching it is lazy and disgusting.

The City Library is closed due to the weather, which isn't really that bad. Staples is closing 30 stores nationally but opening 120 worldwide. The trouble with these merchants is they come and go in too rapid succession. When I used to buy office supplies at Johnson's Bookstore they were a tad pricey, but you knew year after year for decades that you could go in there and they would have what you wanted. Channels Hardware was super but it only lasted a few years and Spag's was even shorter lived. Springdale Mall on Boston Road had Leachmere's at one end and Bradlees at the other and architecturally looked very nice, only to have Leachmere collapse within one year of its Grand Reopening. Then Bradlees also closed. Target is way up at the Holyoke Mall, so there is no longer any merchant you can rely on.

I saw an eastbound helicopter today out my picture window. Dined on a Swanson Chicken Dinner today, minestrone soup yesterday and pizza the day before that. Also cooked up the rest of the broccoli today. Drove out to the Antiquarian Book Center in Whately, arriving about noon. Carla the cashier was just arriving in a little white car. I bought a Bay Psalms Book (1905) and was tempted to buy the complete works of W.M. Thackeray that was discarded by Forbes Library but didn't like their red binding. Povirk was not there so I told Carla that if he comes across anything I might like to contact me. When I left the parking lot was full. Back in Springfield I stopped at the Allen Street McDonald's and had a fish sandwich and fries.

Called Fran at the Basketball Hall of Fame and she said she is going to Philadelphia over the weekend. She told me she was brought up Protestant, and I told her about my idea to have people shoot basketballs in hoops set up along Main Street for the Hall of Fame Grand Opening. She expressed concern that some balls would hit the curb and bounce all over the place, thereby delaying the whole procession. However she said she would circulate the idea and see if something can be done with it. Next I called Nader the Hatter and thanked him for the book he sent. I told him about how Angelo's Fruit Mart is struggling and he said the Price Rite that went in almost across the street must be hurting their business. Nader said his lady friend may come up with him from Florida so maybe I'll meet her.

Eamon called and complained that Mayor Albano creates confusion in the public's mind by the way he uses the terms debt and deficit loosely and interchangeably as if they mean the same thing. He accused the Mayor of "monkey doodle bookkeeping." He said if Springfield is doing so well then why is it on the State Financial Watch List and why does it have a Baa3 lowest investment grade bond rating? John Greaney, Associate Justice on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, is a second cousin of Eamon's because both their mothers were Fitzgeralds. He said Greaney came out of Chicopee and is an NYU grad who was a Housing Judge before being appointed by Governor Dukakis. Eamon says he is a yesman who never says anything to offend anybody.

That reminded Eamon of Kennedy family buddy Donald Dowd, who was originally a bartender when he ended up on the New England Regional Commission. Bill Putnam of TV22 once investigated him and asked Dowd point blank how he got on the Commission and Dowd replied, "I was a bartender and I understand people." Eamon said if you asked Dowd a pointed question he would talk like everybody and everything was wonderful to him, at least in public. Eamon also commented on the article in the paper revealing that Rep. Paul Caron spent $223,208 on his failed mayoral campaign. That compares to the $670,229 spent by Mayor Albano, a record for a Springfield mayoral race. Eamon said he talked about the article with Charlie Ryan who told him that the amount Albano spent is absurd and he doesn't see how it is even possible to spend that much. Ryan told Eamon that he suspects that Albano was using his campaign accounts as a cover for a money laundering operation.

February 4, 2002

37 degrees at 7:45. Sunny, clear. Gas is still $1.11 at Watershops Pond.

Today is Dan Quayle's 55th birthday. NBC Reporter Lisa Myers is getting fat. President Bush said today, "Deficits are acceptable in time of war and recession." Acting Governor Jane Swift has announced that $400,000 has been earmarked for emergency repairs for the road to the top of Mt. Greylock. Don't forget Ms. Governor is from that area. Still, I'd rather they spend the money on that rather than the Big Dig. 200,000 cars go up Mt. Greylock every year. The Colby Annual Report to Contributors lists my $1,000 contribution to their library, perhaps hoping I will give more. I'll pretend I didn't see it. My name also appeared in the Springfield paper today as part of a list of those who contributed money to having an published opposing capital punishment. Our names were placed around the slogan, "The Death Penalty: We Can All Live Without It." I'm surprised that David Starr didn't refuse the ad because my name was on it!

On Antique Roadshow tonight a chubby middle-aged man said that in 1972 he was clearing out the home of a relative in Springfield, Mass. named Susie Skelding where he found letters by authors William Dean Howells (1837-1920), children's writer Mary M. Dodge and poet Lucy Larcom. They estimated the total value of the letters at $6,000. They also had an old lady on who had a top of the line guitar made in 1938 that had belonged to her late husband who was a cowboy. They appraised it at $25,000 but she wouldn't sell it. It was sad to think of how this lady as a young woman fell in love with a cowpoke, probably partly because of his music and having it come to this; still clinging to the guitar because she no longer has the man.

I prefer to deal with men rather than women in financial matters because women tend to get whiny in perfectly normal business exchanges. No matter how critical I am during a phone call I always end with a pleasant remark, a silly little "Have a nice day" or whatever. On WFCR Laurie Sanders the naturalist was on talking about drought conditions and the local water supplies. The house at 533 Wilbraham Road on the corner of Longhill in my old neighborhood is for sale for $110,000 and $20,000 more if you want the empty lot next door. The agent is Chrystal Rosinski of Feeding Hills.

I arrived at the Quadrangle at 11:35. A whole bunch of women were leaving the Museum of Fine Arts. In the library I found the free book section just restocked, and I took 23 books on history, JFK, Clinton and the Civil War. One of the books was about Columbus which I picked up for Leonard Collamore. I don't know what I'll do with the rest of them, if Mother were alive she would have screamed! The Columbus book has a City Library bookplate inscribed, "This book was given by Thaddeus Martowski in memory of Julian Magera - Born April 29, 1924 - Died November 30, 1944." I left the Quad at 12:20 and parked at Northgate Plaza because the credit union lot was full. There are empty storefronts at Northgate, but overall the place seems lively. I stopped into the liquor store and asked them how business is and they said fine. They have the largest assortment of shot bottles I can recall seeing anywhere, ranging in price from 99 cents to $4.99. As I drove up State Street on the way home after leaving the credit union I saw the white bearded teacher's union President Tim Collins crossing by Eliot.

Eamon called and said he has no use for the Bank of Western Massachusetts. He said the people who work there are "fucking idiots" who were hired for their political connections. He especially dislikes bank co-founder Frank Fitzgerald, whom he suspects of being an alcoholic. He said Fitzgerald was only able to get the charter for the bank in 1986 because he is a friend of former Governor M. Dukakis. Eamon said Fitzgerald used to be in charge of trusts at Valley Bank and has a law degree from WNEC. Eamon also claimed that Mayor M.J. Albano is a man of poor character based on the saying, "Show me your friends and I'll tell you what you are." He said, "With friends like Ardolino, Catjakis, Keough, Kingston and Phillips it's clear that birds of a feather flock together."

February 5, 2002

Bright sunny day, a bit of a breeze. 27 degrees at 10:45am.

President Bush has called terrorism "a new American vulnerability laid bare." There is absolutely nothing new about terrorism in America. Oklahoma City and the Unabomber as well as slipping dangerous substances into pill bottles are examples of acts of terrorism in recent years. What is laid bare is that our military is so wrapped up in missiles and other forms of technology that they don't know what's going on in the streets. The Patriots Superbowl Victory Parade was today. In Boston it is 25 degrees with a wind chill that makes it feel like eleven degrees. The news showed Sy Becker at A.I.C. with the students watching the parade. They interviewed English Professor Mel Williams who brought his class to watch, saying he will do this anytime the Patriots win the Superbowl. TV22 and TV40 both covered the parade.

Senator John McCain has a new melanoma on his nose. The Olympics are as crooked as anything else. Since everyone else is doing it you have to, you absolutely must, cheat to win. Geagan's Hardware and Paint Store was at 1129 State Street in Springfield. Its motto was, "A Friendly Store to Trade." W.J. Strausser is the Director of the Postal Commemorative Society located in Norwalk, Connecticut. Today I received a fundraising letter from the Putnam Scholarship Fund, which I have never heard of before. It operates out of Longmeadow and is run by W. Lowell Putnam and Kimberly L. Putnam. Went out only briefly today and bought jelly donuts at Arnold's. The Reminder came late in the day. I should sue WNEC again for educational malpractice for not offering a course in legal poetry and anecdotes.

Spoke on the phone today with Mrs. Staniski who had just come home from a hearing test at Wesson Women's. She loved the article I gave her on Beverly Hills. She said she always watches The Price is Right everyday between eleven and noon. She also takes a nap every afternoon. I then called Kendall Commons to inquire about Madeline Waite and a young woman told me that she had died last September. Waite was the last of Mother's old friends and had been institutionalized ever since the passed out in her apartment in Chestnut Towers. I tried calling her old phone number and a man answered who said I had reached a payphone in Hampden. Finally I called Kavanaugh Furniture and asked when their mid-winter clearance sale is and Jack said it was last week. He said this week they are offering no finance charges as an incentive. I told him they should put the dates of their sales in their circular ads and he said, "Good idea, I'll pass that on to the man who does our advertising." There was a pause of silence so I said, "You can thank me now for calling and telling you that," and he replied, "Oh, I do!" I hung up without ever giving my name.

News says Peter Picknelly is still interested in relocating Peter Pan to a renovated Union Station. Myer's antique building on Sumner Avenue is for sale. He had Forest Park Antiques but I rarely saw him at his his new place by Lady in Red. Mother had some sewing stuff downstairs in a Kennedy Peanut Butter tin and a 1930's style wooden sewing box. I threw most of it out, saving only some unused spools of thread. I threw out all the partially used ones Mother had saved. I also kept some pins, needles, pliers, scissors, and threw out all other sewing implements. A lot of it was rusted or rotting. Mother had a White Sewing Machine she bought in 1926. She loved it. One pleasant surprise was finding a fabric receipt from the former Zayre's on Boston Road. Clearing out Mother's things will be a long process but I am doing it.

Eamon called and said he is hearing a lot of rumors about former School Committeeman Gerald Phillips of the MCDI. One involves an incident of date rape with a female city solicitor, but Eamon is having a hard time getting confirmation from a non-secondhand source. Eamon said Phillips brother Stephen was involved in some crooked real estate deals with Frankie Keough in the South End. Eamon also explained why the Irish Mafia is superior to the Italian one. Eamon says the Italians like to be flashy and buy people drinks and enjoy the limelight. A mafioso will steal a thousand bucks and then make a big show out of giving five bucks of it to an orphan so they look like the salt of the earth. Because of their high profile they always get exposed and taken down by the Feds. But Eamon says the Irish mafia doesn't operate like that. The Irish gangsters believe in keeping their heads down and just quietly pocketing the cash so they rarely get caught.

February 7, 2002

Some clouds, calm. 31 degrees at 7:15am. Gas is $1.09 at Pride in the Acres.

I am coming to be of the view that being nice to people is more trouble than it is worth. That is a sad conclusion but I can document it.

Ronald Reagan is 91 and his birthplace in Dixon, Illinois has been declared a national historic site. Tom Brokow is 62. Years ago I sent a letter to the Queen of England suggesting the entire Monarchy abdicate on New Year's Day 2000. I never got a reply. The news says that with 4,700 people laid off from the Enron debacle Houston is suffering from the economic ripple effect. That's what happened in Springfield when Monarch Life suddenly went under. The UMass Student Senate is suggesting to Chancellor Williams that all school employees making more than $70,000 take a voluntary paycut to cover the current budget shortages.

Current U.S. Census figures: Worcester 172,648 - Springfield 152,082 - Hartford 121,578. I keep all of my current financial records in an IBM box by the front bedroom window. Older records are in yet another IBM box in the attic. I have a large safety deposit box at Fleet Bank in Monarch Place full of coins and a smaller box at the Acres United Cooperative with my stocks and bonds. As for my book collection there is no junk; if it were junk I wouldn't save it. Last night I got a call from a baby-voiced senior at Colby asking me to donate $25. I told her of my gifts to the library and then asked what she intended to do when she graduates. She said she is getting a job with the State Department and I said that sounds like a good idea "just don't get yourself into the kind of mess Monica Lewinsky did!"

Neighbor Dick Nichols had oil delivered by Co-Op Plus this morning at 11:30. There are five foundations being built across from Sixteen Acres Gardens. I drove out to get gas in the Acres and also picked up a copy of the Valley Advocate with candidate Robert Reich on the cover. Then I went down to the Quadrangle and in the library the free book section all the books from the other day have disappeared. I wonder if book dealers are starting to monitor it or perhaps the general public is catching on. When I got home I called to check on Aunt Maria and her nurse Gerri said she is "doing fine, no change, stable." She said Shirley Lucia comes to visit her every other day. I told her that Aunt Maria will be 99 on March 23rd and she said she didn't know that. I also said that her old friend Madeline Waite died and that she should tell her if she can understand. Gerri replied that when spoken to Aunt Maria responds appropriately.

Next I called the City Library but was told that Sue Davison is out with a stomach virus. I was transferred to Linda Keating who is a contractual employee working on the Seuss Memorial Project. She said they are still collecting donations and anything I could give would be "very definitely welcomed." I told her I will give as long as I can still get my name on the donor's plaque. Finally I called the Girl Scouts of the Pioneer Valley in East Longmeadow and spoke to Tina who told me they will soon be announcing who they will be honoring this year. I said I hope they gave special consideration to my nominee Maureen Turner. Greater Springfield Lincoln Mercury at 1355 Boston Road is right before Boston Market which is right before Auto Zone which is right before Circuit City which is right before Ruby Tuesday which is right before the light.

Eamon called and said that Springfield "has all the symptoms of a sick city." He had an interesting visit to City Hall today. Eamon says the place is crawling with shady characters, like the last time he went and ran into Frankie Keough. Today he went down to try to get a listing of Springfield's city solicitors in hopes of identifying the woman who is the subject of all the date rape rumors involving Gerald Phillips. Eamon hopes that if he can identify the woman he can encourage her to come forward and press charges. Eamon said that years ago Trade/Putnam High used to print a City Hall staff directory so he went to the Personnel Department to get one. However the woman at the front desk sputtered that she had never seen or heard of any booklet of city employees but said she would send him a list of the city solicitors in the mail.

Just then ex-Rep. Soco Catjakis appeared and gave Eamon a stern look while saying, "We need to talk outside." Once they were in the hallway Catjakis bawled Eamon out for using his name on his phone messages as someone guilty of corruption. He also accused Eamon of ingratitude because he had helped Eamon to keep his state job. "Don't you think they wanted to fire a troublemaker like you?" Soco said. "But I told them it would be wrong to deprive a man of his livelihood just because you disagree with his politics." Eamon was shocked by this statement and angrily replied that "I worked for the Department of Education for 30 years with no help from you!" Eamon then rattled off a list of some of the shady deals Catjakis has been involved in over the years, especially involving the Asselins. In reply Catjakis groaned, "I know, I know," without even trying to deny Eamon's accusations. Finally Eamon shouted, "I hope all you bastards go to jail!" and then turned and marched out of City Hall.

February 8, 2002

Last night Tom Bevacqua said, "No real cold air in sight." 34 degrees at 7:30am.

The year 2000 has passed and we must consider completely new ideas which break with the past. The internet is going to transform the world more than the automobile did. They say the road to the boardroom is through the locker room. I say the road to the boardroom should be through six years of Latin, which will teach you discipline and focus.

The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics was tonight and they say 70 million Americans were watching. Mitt Romney spoke very well, but President Bush said little, which is perhaps best because of his limited oratorical skills. The overall ceremony was truly splendid. On the news Peter Picknelly says that Peter Pan can handle the extra traffic if AMTRAK goes out of business. Former Governor Mike Dukakis was shown saying that Congress has never given AMTRAK enough money to operate. Daren E. Winckel is Director of Annual Giving at WGBY. Schoenhof's Foreign Books is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The center of the local crafts industry is presently Northampton.

Years ago I advised Ben Jones to create a restaurant at Monarch Place to be called the Springfield Fire & Marine, a steak and seafood house, to be decorated with the late casualty insurance company's fabulous collection of memorabilia. In the end the memorabilia went to the Quadrangle, where it is only seen in bits and pieces on the rarest of occasions. I called the Quadrangle today and was told the switchboard was closed. Why? Went to the Eastfield Mall and idling at the Boston Road and Parker intersection a woman in a white VW Cabrio license plate 6742 EX tossed a cigarette out her window and I honked at her repeatedly. At the mall I bought batteries and Valentine chocolates for Melinda at CVS. On the floor in Eastfield there is a large tile missing between Old Navy and the Gold and Silver Connection and another in front of The Gap's front door. I told the security officer about it and suggested a woman in high heels might trip and fall. Stopped at CopyCat but the machines were tied up by a portly and distinguished black man making a million copies while the big copier was making copies of a Springfield College newsletter.

The cardinal rule of historic restoration is to avoid irreversible procedures. In the case of Springfield's former York Street Jail that means preserving as much of it as possible, especially the main building by removing additions to the original Victorian structure. Preserving the most historic characteristics of the property is the main objective. I'd go for abolishing the gym which is crowded in where the gardens used to be to create more parking space around it. I hate that gym, for once I'd like to see them demolish a modern building for a change. I wouldn't mind seeing Peter Picknelly acquire the property because whenever he does anything it's done right. He always says he aims to help the city and to make a profit doing it and there's nothing wrong with that. Perhaps it could be a public corporation with Picknelly allowed to own only so much. In the meantime they should be trying to get the property noticed in the National Trust publications.

The closest jail museum is in Connecticut which is colonial and quite different from York Street. I believe that the best use of the jail is to make a museum of it, perhaps of the history of our major local industries. We need a museum of Springfield's industrial culture. My Uncle George had his own machine shop, but the machinery is all long gone. The people at the Duryea Society have done a good job at saving things as have Mr. and Mrs. Mathos. At one time there were so many companies making so many things that it is unlikely that anybody knows how much there was. Such a museum would be a good complement to the new Basketball Hall of Fame. But perhaps the best use of the York Street Jail is as a jail. Unfortunately it is easy to predict that in the future more jail space will be needed. Perhaps it could be sold to a private jail company. Perhaps it could be a homeless shelter. Francis Gagnon has suggested it be made into a bed and breakfast. In any case the jail is a unique piece of real estate and deserves the best use that can be found for it.


The York Street Jail

Eamon O'Sullivan called tonight and was complaining that Michael Ashe is a "mollycoddling Sheriff." Eamon also said there should be a formal investigation into whether Mayor Albano's pasta sauce profits are really going into educational scholarships or into his campaign accounts.

February 10, 2002

43 degrees at 4:30pm. Light drizzling.

Just being nice to people can make an enormous difference. The lesson of Sociology 101 is to communicate with people but too many people have never learned it.

Princess Margaret died last night of a stroke at age 71. The Meekins Library is in Williamsburg, Massachusetts. City Solicitor Peter Fenton's daughter has been selected as the Springfield Colleen this year. She is a student at Cathedral. Her mother is Director of Professional Development for the Springfield Public Schools. When my Mother worked for the U.S. census in 1970 she went to the Picknelly house and she couldn't believe how messy it was.

The Evening News with Tom Brokow did a special segment on the Archdiocese of Boston tonight. They had an almost hysterical woman on telling about her feelings of betrayal by the church. I watched the Chalice of Salvation broadcast from the chapel in the Marshall Center. Father Gross was the celebrant with Terrence Scanlon assisting. Most of the seats were empty but I noted the Graziano family present and Mrs. Jean Hillman. Afterwards Real to Reel came on from the Mystic Aquarium with segments about a new Parish House going up in South Hadley and a new church being build on 21 acres in Belchertown. The new church will hold 700 people plus 80 in the chapel.

On my way to Stop & Shop to buy some LaChoy Chinese food advertized at one third off, a silver grey Nisson Altima at the intersection of Boston Road and Parker Street had a New York license plate LUDICHRS. I swung by Angelo's Fruit Mart and there wasn't much of anyone there. I bought some cookies and some day old fruit. Then I went to the new Price Rite located where ShopRite once was that is apparently hurting Angelo's business. Heavens, it was packed with all sorts of people, mostly minorities but by white folks too. And the prices are a lot lower than Angelo's. Then I went next door to the Washing Well laundromat which was well patronized by minorities, then peeked into Subway and then finally into Raymour & Flanagan where Brian Morrissey said prices are negotiable up to 20%. I was surprised to see that they have an old junk violin for sale for $79.95.

Eamon called and said that Jim Landers called him and said his Boston friends tell him that there are rumors that State Senate President and candidate for Governor Tom Birmingham is a closet homosexual. Eamon says the Tourist Information Center is going to be named after his cousin former Mayor William Sullivan, whom Eamon described as "the stupidest Mayor Springfield ever had." Eamon said he can't see how such a flimsy building as the Information Center could have cost $3 million to build. He thinks it's ridiculous how Mayor Albano is still blaming Robert Markel for the city's financial condition when Mayor Markel has been out of office for six years.

February 12, 2002

32 degrees at 8:30am. Light snow in the afternoon, windy.

My present motto is, "Professionalism is the standard and nothing else will do." What is professionalism? A lot of people in Springfield don't understand it because around here the emphasis is on teamwork. But professionalism is all about doing the right thing even when there are powerful influences to do something else.

President Bush's statement that Iran is part of an "Axis of Evil" has led to violent protests in the Arab world. Instead of seeking conciliation Bush is causing more ill feelings towards America. There was a special on Queen Elizabeth on Channel 24 tonight. This week is the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Foxwoods casino. Westfield Bank stock is up to $15 a share. On the news Sy Becker and Ellen Chang did a story on the Entertainment District downtown and the problems they are having. There was a violent incident where eight people were arrested at the Fuse nightclub as well as a nearby incident in which someone was beaten with a baseball bat in an alleyway. They interviewed the woman who runs the Mansfield Beauty School who says she routinely drives by her place on weekends to make sure everything is okay. Apparently there is a lot of trouble in Albano's Entertainment District.

In 1928 former Boston Mayor Samuel Crocker Cobb made a major donation to the Taunton Public Library. They played Mozart's Oboe Concerto in C on WFCR at 9:30am. My kind of stuff. Kevin J. Moriarty is a Selectman in Wilbraham. The members of the Springfield City Council are William T. Foley of Wildwood Avenue, Daniel D. Kelly of Plumtree Road, Rosemarie Mazza-Moriarty of Osborne Terrace, Angelo J. Puppolo of South Shore Drive, Timothy J. Rooke of Overlook Drive, Timothy J. Ryan of Morningside Park, Dominic J. Sarno of Carroll Street, Jose Tosado of Birch Glen Drive and Bud L. Williams of Joanne Road.

WFCR said this morning that the Springfield City Council will be asked to borrow $912,000 to purchase Camp Wilder. So today I called down to the City Council office and got Bob. He said the Camp Wilder acquisition is first on the Council Agenda for this evening and there is a big packet of information that all the Councilors have been given. He said if I came down this afternoon I may have one too and said if he is not there to just ask Sue for the Wilder packet. I told him how I gave my family's camp in Wilbraham to the town consisting of 250 feet of waterfront as a memorial to my parents. I then called down to the City Library but they said Sue Davison is still not in. I asked for Linda Keating but they said she's only in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I headed downtown at 1:45pm after mailing some Valentine chocolates to Melinda McIntosh and one other at Louis & Clark. Once downtown I went to the Bank of Western Mass to get my check from Mullaly. I asked if I could leave my car parked in their lot while I went to City Hall and she said no problem. On my way there I noticed that all the little shops along Courthouse Walk are boarded up with black painted plywood, although the barber pole is still there. In one of the 3rd floor windows there is a big sign of white letters in a field of green for Tom Birmingham for Governor. I guess he is the candidate being backed by the local machine.

Once I got to the City Council office Bob was there and very accommodating as he gave me a bundle of Wilder papers. It had a fancy gold paper clip on it but I said, "These cost money," and handed the clip back to him. I gave Bob some postcards, then went over and left one on the desk of Candice Lopes in the Mayor's Office. As I left City Hall I noticed a big InfoShred truck pulling away with the motto on it, "Better Shred It Than Regret It." One of those fake trolleys went by on Main and was completely empty. Council President Bud Williams was crossing the street in front of City Hall. First Church looks nice with its new coat of paint. On the way home I stopped at Big Y and bought some Imperial margarine, milk and two avacadoes. They were expensive but I liked them.

Bishop Durpre was interviewed on TV22 and he admitted that four priests had been relieved of their duties in the 1990's for sexual misconduct. He said nothing about Fr. Lavigne or the Croteau murder. Eamon called tonight and griped about the "all glitz and no substance Albano Administration." I mentioned to him that I saw Bud Williams today and Eamon said he works in the Probation Department despite having a criminal record himself! Eamon said he has found out that Crowley & Associates was the appraiser in the controversy over Roy's Towing a few years back. Eamon knows the politics of this city better than anyone, but his talent is wasted on the two-bit mediocrities who run this city.

February 14, 2002

A bright sunny day, about 35 degrees at 10:30am. Valentine's Day.

Did you hear about the family that cloned their cat? They named it Copy Cat!

In rejecting the Kyoto greenhouse gas treaty President Bush said that he will "not commit our nation to a treaty that will throw millions of Americans out of work." Does that mean he's opposed to NAFTA? An American author claims that historian Doris Kearns Goodwin copied material from her book Kathleen Kennedy: Her Life and Times. Doris, dear Doris has been such a success, and now it is all going up in smoke. The overarching characteristic of the best and the brightest from the 1960's (as exemplified by Bill and Hillary Clinton) is the belief that because they are the best and the brightest they know what is best for the underclass and are justified in breaking the rules. In the end they always admit nothing, deny everything and take the fifth!

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Ash gave to the Library of Temple Emmanuel in Worcester in memory of Flora Greenberg and Bertha Ash. The library's motto is, "They Shall Not Hurt Nor Destroy." I wrote a poem today, also did some housekeeping. I have more ideas for the rehabilitation of the York Street Jail. Marilyn the nurse for dentist Anthony Giannetti called and asked if I was still a patient as they hadn't seen me in a couple of years. I said my teeth have been fine but I wondered whether I could get a copy of Mother's dental file. She said she'll let me know. She also said Dr. Giannetti is presently visiting Mexico and has no intention of retiring. It was a very cordial chat. Then I called Mary Alice Stusick and left a message alerting her to the Ron Midgett violin lecture at the Quad. Her answering machine message is now more professional and no longer has a flute playing in the background.

There's a lot in the news about the creative accounting used by Enron. Apparently they made losses disappear by taking credit for future earnings early. Professor Baker at WNEC Law wanted us to be creative in his accounting class so I dropped it. Weatherman says we've only had 17 inches of snow this winter compared to the roughly 35 inches we get in a normal year. Every night on the 11:00 news on TV40 Dave Madsen tells us what's going to be in the paper tomorrow morning and the newspaper runs ads promoting TV40. They scratch each other's back. The Catholic schools have a commercial running on TV22 featuring Police Chief Meara telling how much "gospel values" have meant to her. I called Larry McDermott at the paper today and told him on his answering machine that they should do more on Father Lavigne and Matty Ryan's refusal to prosecute him. I said he should turn to Eamon O'Sullivan for guidance on what to cover, since Eamon knows everything about local politics. David Starr thinks he knows everything, but he's just a carpetbagger "just like you Larry!" I closed by pointing out how slow they were to report on the problems in Albano's Entertainment District adding that "by the time you got to telling us it wasn't the news but the olds!"

I have never purchased an Angelo Fruit Mart t-shirt because I have too many promotional shirts. Dined tonight on Stouffer's Lean Cuisine Hearty Portions Roast Turkey Breast frozen dinner. It was really nice. I found the latest Reminder lying on the curb ten feet from my mailbox, real sloppy delivery. The Reminder had an article about the library vote in East Longmeadow passing by just seven votes. People unhappy with the vote are being urged to contact Robert Maier, Head of Library Development at the Board of Library Commissioners in Boston. There is a picture in The Reminder of Field, Eddy and Bulkley President Samuel Hanmer and Vice President Michael Coffey inspecting some of the damage in the agency's basement caused by a broken water main. Coffey appears to be holding a Fire & Marine prairie schooner picture, so I decided to call and confirm. Mike Coffey himself answered and we chatted for about five minutes. He was unaware that his picture was in The Reminder but said yes, that was a Fire & Marine print he was holding. He said he is no relative of Jim Coffey, my old friend from Classical. Then I called Linda Keating at the Quadrangle but got a recording, "No one here to take your call." Therefore I called J. Carvalho's office and got Valerie who transferred me to Lynn in the Development Office. However, she said only Sue Davison can answer my questions and then wished me a Happy Valentine's Day and hung up.

I was up into the night yesterday reading the newspapers Josephczyk gave me. First thing today I called Eamon and played him Happy Birthday on my xylophone into his answering machine. He called back and told me my xylophone needs tuning. It is just one of those Fisher-Price kids things and the red top note is not quite in tune. Eamon said he is taking medication for his headaches, which they think may be caused by his high blood pressure medication. He thinks it is ridiculous that he has to take medication to counteract the effects of his medication! In his phone message today Eamon calls Mayor Albano "a despicable bum."

February 16, 2002

42 degrees at 9:40am. Gas is $1.09 at the Pond.

Osama bin Laden has released a tape promising to put the American people "into an unbearable hell." President Caprio of WNEC recently got an award for mentoring. Sometimes there is more wisdom in junk books than you ever expected.

Cooked up a mince pie, the mail was extremely late today for a Saturday. Two of the houses opposite the 16 Acres Garden Center are fully framed. When I went out this morning I left a bag of reading material at the Cohn's and then drove over to see Mrs. Staniski. She said she received no Valentine from her daughter Carol. The adopted grandson who married the black woman is pregnant and he told her they are disappointed to find out it's a girl. She told him he should be thankful that the baby is healthy. Mrs. Staniski said she liked the reading material I gave her last time, especially the Berkshire anthology and the History of the YMCA book. When I left she gave me brownies and cookies, although I tried to refuse. She also gave me some Harvard Gazettes from her daughter Ann.

Next I went over to the A.I.C. Library to look up the Roman Senator Tacitus in translation. When I got there the reference librarian was hovering over a bunch of students seated at computers. I asked her about the location of their material on Tacitus and she replied, "I really wouldn't know." She said she couldn't help me because she was teaching a class until 11:00. I checked my watch and it was 10:13, so I went and found the material myself and made copies. Then I headed over to Springfield College to see what material on Tacitus they had at their library. After making copies from the Loeb Tacitus they had, I continued down to the Quadrangle. In Rice Hall a young, slender, long haired librarian was unable to find anything useful for me. So although I did make some progress on my research today, it was excruciatingly slow and time consuming due to the lack of adequate librarian assistance.

By then it was time to walk across the way to the Ron Midgett violin lecture. He is the owner of the Easthampton Violin Company on Lovefield Street. When I arrived I saw that Midgett had brought with him several violins plus violin making tools and parts. Jeanne Fontaine came along with a list of people who had signed up in advance and gave me the senior discount price of $11. Eventually a total of eight people showed up which with Midgett and Fontaine made ten of us in all. Midgett went over the violins he brought in great detail, telling us the fiddlehead is the key because if they put a lot of effort into a fancy fiddlehead then they put a lot into the rest of the instrument as well. He said if a violin is flat it will be loud, but if it has a rounded belly it will sound sweeter.

At one point Midgett said that local violin maker Frank C. Ball had "a special relationship" with Maurice Freedman. What did he mean by that? Midgett spoke well although he later told me he has only an Associate's Degree. Midgett was casually dressed, wearing worn shoes, chinos and a t-shirt. For half an hour at the end he appraised instruments. He examined my good German violin and priced it at $250 which is slightly more than I paid for it. Midgett told me he hopes one day to write a book on Massachusetts violin making. It was the nicest academic meeting I have been to in a long time, combining history and precise technical information about violins.

Eamon called and said his friend Hedges was at the School Committee meeting that Mo Turner wrote about. He said he has heard nothing lately from his Boston contacts. Eamon said he read in the New York Times that a priest originally from Springfield has been accused of sexual misconduct in New Hampshire.

February 19, 2002

Snowed much of the day. 29 degrees at 9:40am.

Only believe.
Only believe.
All things are possible,
Only believe.

There is a Calvin Coolidge Library at Castleton State College in Vermont. S.M. Jones of Amherst's Jones Library lived from 1836 to 1912. Angel L. Marzan is the Manager of Rascal's Comedy Club located within the Springfield Sheraton at 1 Monarch Place. Falcetti Music is celebrating its 45th Anniversary. Sinai Temple is accepting applications for the 4th Annual Rabbi Jerome S. Gurland Human Relations Award. Mark E. Hyman had an editorial on TV40 about role models in which he cited soldiers, cops, firemen, athletes - all jocks! The news said that tourism is thriving in the Berkshires from New York tourists who don't want to fly to more distant resorts since 9/11.

We should do nothing with the York Street Jail until the Basketball Hall of Fame has been open for a couple of years so we can see what usage would be most appropriate. For the same reason we should delay upgrading the Springfield Civic Center until after Hartford completes theirs. This has in fact been proposed, but Hurwitz says no because construction costs are rising. But the real reason is that Albano wants it to look as though things are moving forward in the city despite the corruption probe. A poll shows that Mayor Buddy Cianci of Providence R.I. has a 63% approval rating on the eve of his corruption trial. Sort of like Mayor Curley of Boston who was re-elected while in jail. I'm not sure if Providence or Springfield holds the title of the most corrupt city in New England.

Mother collected info on people and Father had a lot of personal information about people through Monarch. Processing this information where it is written down will be both a mess and a field day. Today I found a 1938 phone book my parents had saved from when we lived on Crest Street in Springfield. Our telephone number then was 3-8549. Other interesting numbers were Monarch Life 2-1101, Forbes & Wallace 9-7211 and Johnson's Bookstore 2-6221. I got a letter today from Sharon Putnam of the Girl Scouts saying, "Thank you for your time and effort in submitting a nomination for Maureen Turner for the Year 2000 Pioneer Valley Girl Scout Council Woman of Distinction Award. Unfortunately she was not selected this year." The selection committee included former School Committee member Candice Lopes, Dora Robinson, Denise Vogel and Chairperson Anne Burke.

I drove out this morning through light snow and bought a Union-News which I read while having hotcakes at the Allen Street McDonald's. The paper had articles on Judge M.H. Marshall of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Springfield Libraries want more money and sex abuse suspicions have fallen on more local priests. In 1986 there were 345 Catholic priests in the Springfield Diocese. Today there are 197. When I got back I called L. McDermott at the paper and congratulated him on the coverage they are doing on the Catholic sex abuse scandal. I said the Jewish owners of the paper must be pleased by the chance it gives them to bash the Catholic Church. I told Larry I turn to the Valley Advocate for news on local corruption and to the Union-News for info about the pedophile priests. I ended by telling McDermott that this is his last chance to have a real career in journalism and reminded him that each day "is the first day of the rest of your life."

Eamon called tonight and complained that Amherst College seldom sends him their alumni magazine. Eamon then recalled how his mother used to work as a maid for Dr. Russell on Longhill Street. Eamon reported that Art Gingras is out in California visiting a history professor named Pickering who stays in San Diego in the winter and Lubek, Maine in the summer. Eamon says his spies spotted Frank Keough and three little kids walking in the Holyoke Mall yesterday at 11:45. He wondered whose kids those were and when does Keough work? I wondered why Keough doesn't shop in Springfield?

Eamon believes that term limits would help Springfield rid itself of its deadbeat career politicians. He says the FBI has been grilling City Solicitor Peter Fenton. Eamon's cousin Father Edward M. Callahan usually serves as a hospital chaplain. Eamon's sister Maria once told him that Father Lavigne once tried to convince her to let him take her three boys on a camping trip but she refused. She said that she heard that Lavigne also abused one of Danny Croteau's brothers. His sister also told him that Fr. Lavigne considers himself an artist, and he used to make the posters and banners for church events and played the guitar at youth gatherings. Eamon has once again vowed to stir up all the trouble he can over the Croteau murder.

February 20, 2002

Clouds around, 46 degrees at 2:30pm. Today is a special date, not to happen again until 2112. The year is 2002. The date is 20/02 and at 8:02 it will be 20:02 military time.

Haj is the name for the pilgrimage to Mecca. Miss Wahlstrom was Assistant Director of the Springfield Library for years. She had a little office on one side of the grand front staircase on the Rice Hall side, now swallowed up by an elevator. It had its own window on the front of the building. Phillips Stevens was Headmaster at Williston Academy in Easthampton in 1967. I was accepted to the Massachusetts Bar on June 19, 1984. The Supreme Court has ruled that making students swap papers for correction is not an invasion of their right to academic privacy. In the paper today Holyoke Mayor Sullivan called State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien "a bitch" after she told him that if she is elected Governor she'll reward her friends and punish her enemies. There is an ad running repeatedly on TV22 from Cornerstone Productions marketing "The Spirit of the '60's - 34 Great Songs for $19.98."

The hedge between my house and Moynihan is more of a mess than ever. They have let it grow with abandon and why should I be the one to trim it? The doorbell rang at 9:40am and it was Tom Douglas, a white fellow, come to read the water meter. A cranberry plastic bag with a Big Y flyer in it was delivered before the mail. Librarian Melinda McIntosh sent a pretty thank you note for the Valentine chocolates I sent her. I went out at 3:15 this afternoon and slipped some reading material on the York Street Jail in the door of Karen Powell's house. The dog Simon was barking inside. Then I swung by the liquor store and then over to the Acres Friendly's for a perfectly spherical ball of pistachio on a cone that I paid for with a coupon. Unlike Orange Julius, the Friendly's cone does not have a protective wrapper so I asked for a napkin. I also noticed that there was still dirt around the clock base. This time I said nothing but I shall return and check again! As I left I saw a person in a wheelchair going down Wilbraham Road.

Eamon called and said his old friend Daniel F. Keenan, formerly a state examiner who retired in 1996, has died at the Holyoke Soldier's Home. Eamon recalled how he used to drink beer with him in bars and went to parties at his house in Westfield. Later he moved to Southwick. Eamon described Keenan as very intelligent and one of his sons is a state representative. Eamon says Gingras told him his daughter buys all her stuff at Abercrombie & Finch and he is aghast at the prices, especially since many clothing items are purposely make to look like they're old and worn out! Gingras said he never thought he would see a generation gap in his own family.

Eamon says that Anthony Ardolino's father was a bookmaker at Donnie's Cafe on Chestnut Street, a hang-out for local cops who regard it as their clubhouse. Eamon said that cops and firemen are among the biggest customers of illegal gambling. Eamon said Mayor Albano's closest friends and advisers are convicted felons like Kingston and Keough along with gansters and thieves like Ardolino, Barsom, Murphy, Catjakis, Armitage, Phillips and Murphy. He said he wouldn't be surprised if all of them were indicted and said their imprisonment would represent "a long overdue housecleaning." Eamon told me that one of his favorite quotes is by Edmond Burke: "All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

February 22, 2002

Misty and damp out. 49 degrees at 7:50am. The news says this is one of the warmest winters on record.

Consultants always want to please the people who hire them.

Today is Washington's Birthday. Senator Edward M. Kennedy turned 70 yesterday. Credit Data Services is on Brookdale Drive in Springfield. The Diocese of Springfield Department of Pastoral Ministry is on Carew Street. Otis Library is in Norwich, Connecticut. The state quarters are not sculpted as deep as the old ones, they look cheesy, especially Tennessee.

The news says the troublesome Fuse nightclub is getting its license back, personally approved by the mayor. Was there a payoff? The owners of Fuse have promised to double the number of cops they have on duty on weekends. Stever Roulier of TV22 told us today about being the roommate of Daniel Pearl who was executed by terrorists recently. Roulier had a grin on his face, almost gleeful about all the publicity he was getting. They also had a woman from Pakistan on who now teaches at UMass and she said, "The task of a journalist is to bring out the truth and present it in the best way." Good for her - now tell that to David Starr! Jack O'Neil was also on, and boy does he have an enormous double chin. The news said newspaper circulation is down again nationally and I was going to leave a message about it on Larry McDermott's answering machine, but when I called Anita answered so I hung up without speaking.

My parents did not party and were sort of private, so their social life was not that interesting. There were Monarch people and Wesley Church people, the neighbors and old friends of Mother and Aunt Maria. Father didn't have friends outside of work. John Haynes Miller, a non-relative who died in 1989 at age 82, was a monumental figure in the history of Monarch Life. He first came to Monarch in 1934 as an efficiency expert, asking everybody what they did and telling them how to allocate their time more wisely. He later became Chief Actuary and then Vice President. He was also involved with Goodwill Industries and Western New England College. His daughter Diana got married to Frank Barry in 1972. Father was often confused with John Haynes Miller, certainly I was the kind of precocious kid a bigshot would have. Once at a Monarch Christmas party I was mistakenly given a present meant for J.H. Miller's kid. Sometimes Father mistakenly got presents in the mail from insurance agents who thought they were giving to J.H. Miller. Relations however between Father and J.H. Miller were cordial, as Father was a fine untroublesome man and J.H. Miller was a true professional.

Went to Louis & Clark and mailed things out to Colby, Rick McCary, Sibilia, Downing, Korbut, Krabala, Meyers, Whitney, Greg Farmer, Bonavita, Whitman, Gagnon and some postcards of shot bottles to Northgate Discount Liquors. Then I went to Arnold's for donuts. Next I scooted down to the Quadrangle and got eleven free books from the City Library including one on Churchill and two Agatha Christies for Mrs. Staniski. Then back up to Pine Point's St. Michael's Cemetery where I chatted with the salesman for their new mausoleum Ed Donnelly. He said construction will not begin for about a year but 400 people have already expressed interest. The mausoleum is to be built in an open field in the middle of St. Michaels where veteran's ceremonies used to be held. When I got home the new Reminder was waiting for me in a blue bag.

I wish Tom Vannah would write more editorials for the Valley Advocate. WFCR says that 60,000 people dropped their cell phone in the toilet last year, 20,000 in the washing machine. Eamon called and when I told him about the cell phones he said it's a shame all the time people waste with all the idle chatter on their cell phones. I wonder if he considers any of his own phone chatter to be idle? Eamon recalled that his mother used to sometimes say while watching the news, "The best days of America have passed." Eamon said he talked on the phone this morning with Attorney Jeffrey Newman about the Croteau murder. Newman is representing several parties suing the church. Eamon has sent a sarcastic letter to School Superintendent Burke for saying in the paper that Hispanics have been denied access to education in Springfield. What about the ten years the system was supervised by the proud Hispanic Dr. Peter Negroni? Eamon says Burke is just spewing propaganda to get more money for special programs for Hispanics. If Burke really thinks Hispanics have been denied an education until now, why aren't those responsible being fired?

February 23, 2002

Clear, calm, 37 degrees at 7:30am.

Be grateful for each year you can observe.

Joseph R. Adubato and Henry E. Houghton of North Wilbraham were found innocent of arson in 1969. Our place at Fernbank in Wilbraham was broken into around the same time. Frankly Mother hoped somebody would burn the place down, not so that we could collect the insurance (although it was always insured) but just so we could get rid of it gracefully. Mr. and Mrs. Walter L. Woods had their daughter Tara Ann in 1971. Fireman Clifton Fuller King of Wilbraham died in 1975 at age 73. Eugene L. Cabrini, founder of Cabrini Moving Service, died in 1982 at age 80. He sold the business to Frank and Shirley Warner in 1972. Ralph A. Carver of Wilbraham who was active in Grace Union Church, died in 1986. Forbes & Wallace employee Anna Richter died in 1986 at age 98. Painter Robert R. Reed of Agawam died in 1986 at age 57. Palmer official Edward J. Tenczar, founder of Tenczar's Market, died in 1987 at age 89. Postman Albert V. Rixon, father of my friend John Rixon, died in 1960. Richard W. Parker, the father of my friend Billy Parker, died in 1972 at age 56. John Rixon is my friend to this day, but I rarely saw Billy once his family moved to South Branch Parkway. I remember going to one of his birthday parties and Mother sent new socks with a silver dollar in each toe, which was a nice idea.

On this date in 1954 the Salk polio vaccine was first used. Money Magazine has declared Providence, Rhode Island to be one of the best places to live even though their Mayor Buddy Cianci has 150 indictments against him. Stop & Shop is going to install Dunkin Donuts vendors in their stores. Frances Judkins is Assistant Director of Development for the Basketball Hall of Fame. Went out today dressed head to toe in leather, complete with bondage helmet, and went to the Acres Newsstand this morning to get the paper. I am leatherman, a man of leather, a wimp of leather of course, but I like the look. The clerk was friendly. Massachusetts is letting 3200 state employees retire early to alleviate the so-called budget crisis. When will they learn that older, experienced workers are irreplaceable? The public schools were stripped of their most experienced teachers by early retirement programs, allowing younger, less competent teachers to take over. It was a way to quickly replace the older, conservative educators with the new breed of teachers who were following the more liberal teaching philosophies.

Marion Zavodsky Staniski is a very sensitive, caring, old fashioned Christian lady. Her daughter Ann is wonderful too. Mrs. Staniski attended Burdett Business College in Sommerville, Massachusetts before moving to Springfield to become a secretary for Mass Mutual. In 1936 she married John Staniski. After being a member of Wesley Methodist Church for 40 years they became members of South Congregational Church. Mother never went to funerals, although she sent letters of condolence and sometimes flowers. Father sometimes went to the funerals of Monarch employees, but not wakes because Mother didn't like him going out at night. I recall her making him give up bowling in my childhood so he took up an endless line of independent study courses which she allowed because they might help him get promotions and pay raises. Mother used to send letters with her Christmas cards, they were calculatingly uninformative. I found one from 1986 written on blue paper yesterday and this excerpt is typical:

We keep busy with the usual chores. I finally finished painting the garage door, and had hoped to do some on the house, but that will have to wait. We have had several bad ice storms, and the snow storm we had Wednesday was quite a storm, but this morning there is almost no snow left. Nothing here to write about, just the usual everyday things. Maria was over for Thanksgiving, and weather permitting we expect her over for Christmas.

We used to have season tickets to the Symphony, but I don't care to go out at night. We did have a bit of excitement Monday and Tuesday. A propane gas truck sprung a leak and started spraying out gas. They had to close the thruway (I-91) and as they couldn't pump it into another tank, had to burn off the whole truck full. It took them from 11:00am Monday to about 8am Tuesday. I had been over to Maria's and got held up for a time as I had to cross the thruway, but it got worse and they said traffic was backed up for twenty miles. They even held up the train.

We hope you have a nice holiday and keep well,

Blanche.


February 24, 2002

Sunny, clear, calm, 33 degrees at 7:15am.

Albert Menzel lived at 339 Boston Road in 1968. David Michael Starr lived at 58 W. 68th Street in NYC in 1970. Dr. Stanley S. Stusick died suddenly at home in February 1970 at age 70. His wife Alice (Mikus) Stusick died in March of 1978. Their daughter Valeda Altmann died in 1986 at the age of 47. Why she died has always been a mystery. Valeda played with the Stusick Harp and Instrumental Trio and once performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. Well known Springfield physician Archer L. Hurd died in 1971 at age 70. Dr. Hurd was our doctor for many years and his wife Lillian (Scott) Hurd used to be his nurse. She died in 1981 at the age of 75. Edward and Mildred Barry lived on Elm Street in East Longmeadow in 1982. Madeline E. Waite lived at 11 Edwards Street in Springfield in 1986. Thomas R. Devine of Springfield, Massachusetts lived at 106 Breckwood Boulevard in 1996.

Before he was married Father lived in a one room apartment at 117 High Street near Monarch. Dr. Goodell took out my tonsils in 1945 for a fee of $22.25. Dr. Frank J. Jordan of Wilbraham died in 1975. He was my late childhood physician. Robert H. Popkin, a senior at UMass and the son of Dr. Norman Popkin, died in 1975 at age 21. Dr. Popkin died in 1980. Popkin was a beloved family physician who had an office on the second floor of a brick house on Mulberry Street. He had a wide office across the front of the building. Popkin had great cheerfulness and optimism and it is was terrible how his last years were clouded by the loss of his son.

Dr. Howard Simpson and his wife Caroline did not live long after a November 4, 1982 gas explosion at their house at 795 Stony Hill Road, right across from the golf course. Although she escaped injury in the blast Caroline Simpson died a month later in December, perhaps of a broken heart over the loss of her house and possessions. Dr. Simpson, Medical Director of Monarch Life, was burned by the explosion but recovered, only to die in January 1984 at age 74. He was somewhat close to Father, who always consulted Simpson on medical issues relating to insurance claims. Looking back, many of the Monarch people had a lot of sadness in their lives, even though on the surface it appeared they were sailing along in life. Dr. Simpson and his wife lost everything in the blast, Robert Dorman died young and Charlie Hunt and his wife were killed in a ghastly car accident in Florida. Father had to face the disaster of his only child turning out to be gay and depriving him of grandchildren. Only Bruce Yarber has gone along unscathed - thus far.

Watched the Olympics last night, nice to see countries other than the United States winning things. Went to Food Mart this morning to survey this week's specials, but only bought a newspaper. I read it at McDonald's where I had hotcakes without sausage. I then proceeded to Wesley Church on State and counted 49 cars in the parking lot plus the mini-school bus. Next I stopped by the Open House at 60 Westbrook off Parker by Mohawk. The house was built in 1951 and the realtor is Debby Rosenthal. There were yellow and lilac crocuses in bloom by the front door. The kitchen has been completely remodeled and is beautiful and there is a bay window in front. However, a glass doorknob to one of the closets came off in my hand when I tried to open it. The basement is a mess. In sum a pigpen of a house, Breckwood Boulevard quality, and at $85,000 the price is too high. Came home and had spam and Campbell's beans for lunch.

Finally I swung by Eamon's and found him out in his driveway with the dog. He has replaced his shamrock flag in front with one of Mickey Mouse. The immense tree at the corner of his driveway has been removed and was all hollow inside. I told him he should plant geraniums in the hollow stump. We went inside and Eamon showed me the identification badge he used to wear when making health inspections in his days working for Tommy O'Connor. Eamon again described current Mayor Albano as "an arrogant, inept, self-serving career politician." He said he has been harassing Larry McDermott lately by leaving sarcastic messages on his answering machine. Eamon said he also sent a card to David Starr showing pigs eating at a trough with one little porker with his snout pointing right at the camera saying, "Your name came up at dinner...."

Good for Eamon.

February 25, 2002

Cloudy, slight breeze, 36 degrees at 7:30.

More accusations of plagiarism are being made agaisnt Doris Kearns Goodwin. TV transmitter pioneer George R. Townsend lived diagonally up the street from us on Crest Street in a tan stucco with green trim and a sun porch. A vacant lot next door was used for a garden. They never offered us so much as a green tomato. Neighbor Harold R. Anderson died suddenly in 1964 at age 45, although his wife Evelyn lived until 1986. She never gave me a tip for delivering the Springfield Shopping News. Mrs. Dearden and her aged Father lived in the house up the street right after the Belden's. She had a dog Tootsie and the old man was always sitting on the front porch.

Joseph J. Mahers lived in the "castle" on the back of 43 Crest, a stucco house, very old and to which they added a living room and a sunporch. Cora Hayes, who died in 1969, originally lived there and was a friend of Mother's. Joe Hayes worked at Chapman Valve and died in 1980, his wife Emma died in 1981. Their daughter Beverly married in 1956 and became a clerk at Sears & Roebuck at the Eastfield Mall. Otto and Ruth Schenk lived next to the Townsends. Court transcriber Clayton Crothers, who died in 1982 at age 78, owned a very fancy mansion on Maple Street with an iron fence. He took Father and I on a tour of it once and there were tapestries on the walls. His wife was named Helen.

Realtor Dorothy H. Gray died in 1987 at age 84. She was the widow of former State Rep. Thomas T. Gray and I was in her cub scout group which operated out of Hope Church. I sold more Christmas candy than anyone else in the troop by knocking on every door in the neighborhood. I don't know what became of her son Arthur but Robert Gray became an oil man and a pillar of Wachogue Congregational Church. Both sons were adopted. Ralph and Grace Burke lived at 58 Lakeside Street and the old man ran Pederzoli's Drug Store in the Square. The grandmother sometimes helped as did the unruly kids Ralph, Jerome and cute little Maureen. Insuranceman Thomas F. Duffy died in 1976 at age 68. The Duffy's lived on the second floor of a two family house on Brooks Street down behind our house on Crest. His daughter Patricia was close to Jane Thatcher at Classical and was impeccably schooled by her mother Ruth on charm, deportment, style and fashion.

Mother went into the hospital in 1983 and had Mrs. Napoleon Marneau of Marble Street in Chicopee as her roommate. When Mother canvassed for the 1980 census her co-workers were Adrea Boutin of Springfield and Mildred Barry of East Longmeadow. Mother and Mildred remained in contact for many years. 1966 was a bad year for my family. Father was sick all that spring and later had to have an operation. I don't recall being told he was sick before he had to be hospitalized. Uncle George Giroux died in 1966 along with Monarch friends Bob Dorman and Joe Freiberger. The earliest known autograph of Father is dated November 23, 1924.

I called Francis Judkins at the Basketball Hall of Fame and asked about lifetime memberships and she said they have discontinued them. I called down to the Hartford Flea Market and told them they should ask the Valley Advocate and the Reminder to participate. I also told them they should find out who participates in the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton and see if they want to come to Hartford. He thanked me for helping him find new vendors. A chipper Belle Rita Novak called and we agreed to go to the concert next month at First Church. She said she is pleased to have lost some weight, and we discussed the possibility of me making a postcard of her farmer's market.

Eamon called and said Hartford is wondering how they will connect their Adrien's Landing project with the rest of the city, a problem we have in Springfield with the Hall of Fame that nobody wants to talk about. Eamon said his latest phone editorial ridiculing Chief Meara and the Springfield Police has gotten so many callers that he had to reset his answering machine three times because of people leaving messages of praise and agreement. Eamon told me he called Larry McDermott and left the Edmond Burke quote about evil succeeding if good men do nothing. Eamon said, "Let him ponder that in the context of his paper keeping quiet about all the crooked politicians." Eamon also said that David Starr is a bad businessman "who would step over a dollar to pick up a dime." Eamon recalled how terrible it was how the newspaper destroyed the reputation of State Senator Martin Reilly to prevent him from becoming a rival to Richie Neal. He also denounced the paper for falsely portraying Paul Caron as a negative campaigner in the last mayoral election.

February 26, 2002

Overcast and 43 degrees at 7:30am.

Never park under a tree that has a lot of birds roosting in it.

Holyoke saxophonist Joseph Pelczarski, who used to perform at the Butterfly Ballroom in Springfield in the 1930's and also played with the Dick Newcomb Band, died in 1976 at age 79. Guiseppe N. DiPietro, a greenskeeper for the city, died in 1979. Leo and Lorraine Pasteris of Methuen Street were both killed in an automobile accident in Springfield in 1987. Tax Examiner John Stephan died in 1978 at age 53. The Cerrone family built the house next door at 15 Birchland now owned by Colleen Moynihan and her family. The Cerrone's sold out to surly Coach Wise ("Life is a football game.") and when he moved out there were termites discovered in the back porch that had to be removed.

Neighbor and city employee Walter Nichols lived from 1892 to 1983. His wife Henrietta lived from 1893 to 1991 and their son Richard who lives in their house now was born in 1929. Before they came to Birchland Avenue they lived on Jefferson Street in the North End. I found a letter Mother wrote to Dickie Nichols when Henrietta died in which she called her "a good Christian woman." Shows how nice Mother could sometimes be. Dickie has been miserable since his mother died.

My oil tank is just below half full. I'll make it well into March on one tank of oil this winter. Called the Chapin home and spoke to Judy in medical records who said Madeline Waite died September 2, 2001 and she has no idea why it's not on the Springfield records, perhaps they are now stored online. She said the Funeral Director was Jim Adams of Firtion-Adams on Broad Street in Westfield and her next of kin was Atty. Jonathan Rice of Robinson-Donovan. Then I called down to the Quadrangle to speak with curator Jeanne Fontaine and got her secretary Mary Ann King. I told her the Midgett violin lecture was superb but too bad there were not more people in attendance. She said their watercolor and art history lectures sold out but the violin lecture turnout was disappointing. I told her it was a shame because it was excellent.

Then I spoke for 15 minutes with Armory National Historic Site Superintendent J. Douglas Cuillard about the future of the old Commandant's House. I said it might make a good nursery but he said there is already a nursery on the STCC campus. I therefore suggested it become a museum of Italian culture in Springfield and mentioned that I have items from my personal collection to contribute. He said they were thinking of converting it to an administration building. We then discussed how difficult it is getting to find old manufacturing machinery because so much of it has been sold for scrap and melted down. Cuillard said that those interested in history must work together to identify and save whatever is left. I started to complain to him that Francis Gagnon has a chilling effect on co-operation between local historians, but he quickly and politely changed the subject and thanked me for calling.

No mail until 3:45pm. When it came it included an Elms College newsletter. Joe Sibilia called from Al's Daily Grind and said he would like to read and possibly publish my history of Buckingham Junior High School. He also wants to see my historic photos of 16 Acres and said he will come by Friday afternoon. On the news Mayor Albano was shown at the York Street Jail Open House saying that possible uses include a hotel, a shopping center or a museum. The Dow closed today at 10,175. WFCR says the Northeast is expected to be the last section of the country to recover from the recession.

A protest rally is planned at STCC for Catherine Gilbert Espada, a sociology professor who is being laid off. She has expressed surprise at the support she is getting but she probably engineered it, at least to the point of telling the kids in her classes that she is getting fired. Eamon called and said the Boston Globe is heavily covering the Catholic sex scandals and he thinks the Springfield Newspapers are only doing the same because of "follow the leader." Eamon then accused District Attorney William Bennett of being "asleep at the switch" when it comes to rooting out local corruption. Eamon claims the FBI is looking into the finances of the city water department and is especially focused on bribes and kick-backs paid to acquire community development loans, facade grants and subsidized housing. He said the FBI told him the investigation is "going wonderfully" and they expect to unveil 50 to 100 indictments easily.

February 28, 2002

Overcast and 49 degrees at 6:45am.

Alan Greenspan said in his semi-annual report that "there are mounting signs that the recession might be reaching an end," as reported by Peter Jennings on ABC. The Astros have dumped the name Enron Field. The Greater New England Air Show has been cancelled this year due to 9/11 and the UMass Language faculty are opposing being merged into one department. The new courthouse in Westfield is open. Judge P. Contant donated a refrigerator. WFCR said during their fundraising drive this morning that a six minute story requires a reporter, a recorder and a producer and "can take a week or more of labor intensive work." People have started a website Mitt.com to draft Romney to run for Governor. The problem is Romney sees the governorship as a stepping stone to the presidency and is therefore a political opportunist like W. Weld and P. Cellucci.

Seamstress Ruth I. Smith of Chicopee Falls died in 1987 at age 83. Framingham tax collector Elizabeth G. Wise died in 1986 at age 95. Her brother was Cathedral High football coach William G. Wise. Monarch employee W. Phillip Underwood of West Suffield, Connecticut was Father's boss in the Underwriting Department until he retired and Bob Dorman took over. He was a golfer and a Mason. Father was once asked to write an article for the Monarch newsletter and then they put Underwood's name on it! He died in 1972. My classmate from the Colby class of '63 Albert F. Carville lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

A.G. Edwards has never asked a yearly fee for handling my account. Socrates Babacus had two dumpsters on his tree belt this morning. Went to Louis & Clark for today's paper and then over to Food Mart for two slices of pepperoni pizza at $1.75 each. Robert B. Parker, the Springfield boy who created Spencer, the muscular Boston private investigator, has a new book out about gunslinger Wyatt Earp. He has also completed his memoirs. Doesn't Parker deserve a monument in Springfield like Dr. Seuss? American International College is having a Scholastic Press Forum on March 13th put on by their Department of Communication. Their own school paper is terrible, they should start at home. The Springfield College paper is half-decent, but the A.I.C. Yellow Jacket is awful.

Friends of the Library are looking for volunteers. Paul Caron sent a letter that came in the mail today on blue paper begging for money to retire his mayoral campaign debts. He writes, "While I am very proud of the effort waged by my campaign committee in our quick run for Mayor of Springfield last year, the race isn't quite over yet - it's not over until the final bill is paid and that is why I am calling upon your help once again." His debt is $22,000. Eamon called and said he gave $300 during the campaign and won't give anymore because he feels Caron lost because his campaign was insensitive, arrogant, cocksure and out of touch. I said I would give $25 but nothing more.

Eamon said he has a new mailman. The old one Randy was a Vietnam vet with a drug problem who may have assaulted a superior, but in any event he was caught playing racquetball at the Y during working hours when he was supposed to be delivering the mail. Eamon says he once had Atty. Jonathan Rice write a will for him and "do some fibbing for me." Eamon urged me to get a job at the Springfield Newspapers as a proofreader so I could do some behind the scenes snooping for him. I told him I have no interest in working for the paper. Eamon said when he was working at the Education Department he used to feed information to Bill Putnam at TV22.

Eamon claims the zoning process in Springfield is corrupt and recalled how a business in Indian Orchard with multiple past violations got all three steps of a zoning change done in one night with the help of Atty. Melinda Phelps. She used to be Rep. Neal's campaign money handler and was on the Police Commission. Eamon says he thinks that Joe Sibilia's father was Emilio Sibilia, who was a liquor wholesaler. Joe Sibilia appears to be distributor of non-alcoholic beverages. Eamon praised the New York Times editorial which politely calls on Cardinal Law to resign. He also said, "My parents couldn't afford seven kids, but they were listening to the church when it came to birth control." Finally Eamon said his favorite poem is "If" by Rudyard Kipling. After he hung up I looked it up and recognized it as a poem Tom Devine had published in an early edition of The Baystate Objectivist:

If

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

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