August 2001

August 1, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

August 3, 2001

Sunny, hot and humid. 79 degrees at noon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 4, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 6, 2001

Sunny and 75 degrees at 11am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 8, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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August 10, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 11, 2001

Overcast, 75 degrees at 6:30am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 12, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 13, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 14, 2001

73 degrees at 7:30am.

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

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

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

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

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

August 15, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 16, 2001

Misty, 71 degrees at 6am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 17, 2001

73 degrees and overcast at 7am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 19, 2001

Lovely day, 73 degrees at 8:30am.

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

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

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

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

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

August 20, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 21, 2001

80 degrees at 1:30pm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 22, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 24, 2001

Sunny and mild, 69 degrees at 7am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 25, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 27, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 28, 2001

86 degrees at 5pm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 29, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 31, 2001

Very humid day, 79 degrees at noon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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