May Day, Law Day, International Labor Day. Clear day, few clouds, 57 degrees at 2:55pm.
Our galaxy, The Milky Way, and the galaxy Andromeda will merge in a couple of billion years.
The legislature is considering raising taxes again. Northampton has announced it is facing a financial crisis. How much is all this related to paying for the Big Dig? One out of three workers over 65 in Massachusetts are still working. Father Lavigne has been hit with another lawsuit from one of his alleged victims. News says no new leads in the Molly Bish case. Season tickets to Six Flags New England this year are $54.99.
I recall that Mother used to talk about seeing live radio shows at the Hotel Kimball in Springfield before the days of TV. She once saw a yodeling contest there and saw a Vermonter win a contest for the best lobster recipe. I also remember Mother's compulsive shopping and how when I was little she used to drag me from store to store until I cried.
I have cleared out a ten to fifteen foot area in the attic to make possible the sorting and throwing away of Mother's clutter. The folding mattress I found in the garage fits the cot. I relocated the Aztec calendar bronze plate from over the fireplace to the Pink Room or my parents former bedroom. The Blue Room is my room, the White Room is the dining room and the Green Room is the living room.
Street sweepers came down Birchland Avenue this morning before the trash was picked up. Collins Electric called and a man asked, "Is Fred around?" I replied, "There is no Fred around here," and hung up.
Drove to United Co-Operative Bank in the Acres and cashed a $1,000 1986 bond. Then over to the package store for a case of Harvey's Bristol Creme. Service was slow because of a punk couple in line with two kids. She looked pregnant. He had a green mohawk haircut standing straight up with a ring in his nose and tattoos all over, even his face! Their little girl was wearing a pretty rose bonnet and a younger child was in a stroller. Next I went to Hancock Fabrics on Cooley where Linda sold me a lovely floral remnant that was ten percent off.
Finally I went to Food Mart for lunch where I ordered a slice of pizza. The clerk tried to give me a real dog of a piece so I pointed to the one I wanted and insisted on it. She said, "They're all the same," but the one she first offered to me had less pepperoni on it. I also got milk to go with it.
Eamon called and reported that his operation at Baystate on Chestnut was successful and soon over. His female physician Dr. Glover says he should be fine. They removed the cyst and gave him a prescription for 500mg of Cefedroxil. The operation only took 35 minutes and when it was over he sang two songs for the operating room staff, "The Rose of Tralee" and "I'll Take You Home, Kathleen." Some people from elsewhere in the hospital came to listen when word got around that the former child singing star Eamon T. O'Sullivan was performing in post-op.
Eamon said one of the nurses told him that she has been working for the hospital for years but is still part-time. Eamon said part-time workers get screwed and cited grocery store workers. Businesses don't like to promote them because then they have to pay health care and other benefits. Eamon says it's best to start collecting Social Security when you're 62 because you never know how long you'll live.
Superintendent Burke makes $162,000 a year, which is more than the Superintendent of the Boston schools or the national Secretary of Education in Washington. Eamon said Commerce teacher A. Gingras makes $52,000 per year. He said Gingras told him it's a mockery the way teachers are hired in Springfield, with politics trumping qualifications. Gingras also informed him that there are people trained only as physical education instructors who are teaching math and science.
Burke is undergoing a job evaluation by the School Committee. Eamon said Gingras is outraged by what he was told by a fellow teacher who contacted School Committee member Kenneth Shea to see about participating in Burke's evaluation. Shea arrogantly told him that Burke works only for the School Committee, not the faculty or principals, so he wasn't interested in getting input from any public school staff members.
Heavily overcast this morning. 48 degrees at 7am. Lilac time.
Lady Bird Johnson, age 89, is seriously ill. A survey by The Daily Hampshire Gazette shows that the people of Northampton would prefer small business development to "big box stores" from national chains. Dianne Orson on WFCR today told about a robotics contest for kids in New Haven, Connecticut. It is an attempt to combine the thrill of sports competition with learning science. Someone from West Hartford won and will now go on to the national competition. The goal of the robotics fair is "to help create a society that values scientists and engineers more than movie stars and sports heroes." Good idea.
On the news tonight Joe Sibilia was shown standing in front of a bookcase talking about economic development. Steve Clay was also on the news talking about the 150th anniversary of the YMCA. TV40 is reporting that Father Paul Shanley, Boston's most notorious pedophile priest, has been captured in San Diego. They also said that a survey of Massachusetts Catholics showed that 56% have reduced their financial contributions to the Catholic Church as a result of the sex scandals. John Sheehan of Boston says he is forming an organization called "Association of the Rights of Catholics in the Church." He said Cardinal Law has "no moral authority" and the laity should have more say in the church.
Nader the Hatter called and said he's sorry he hasn't been in touch but he's been preoccupied with family matters. He said his brother-in-law Jerry was found face down on the lawn he was mowing and had to be rushed to the hospital. That's his sister's husband in the big house. Nader said he intends to catch up with Eamon this weekend.
Drove to Angelo's Fruit Mart this morning in a light rain. Mrs. Angelo was on duty and sold me some milk crates for my books for $10. When I went with her to get them I saw lots of flowers on skids in the back area which has no roof so the plants were being watered by the rain.
When I got back home and went to cook my lunch of Stouffer's Beef Stew I discovered the pilot light was out on my stove. No matter what I tried I couldn't relight it. It's a nice stove we've had for many years although the oven timer doesn't work. Mother accused me of breaking it but I did not. I called the Gas Company to be sure there wasn't a leak and Louis answered and said they would send a man over to check it out.
About 90 minutes later a chubby, irritable guy named Al showed up. He had a sophisticated electronic sniffing device and he determined that there was no leakage from the stove. He tried to restart the pilot light but was unable to. He said the stove would have to be replaced so I said I would call Sears. He said no, call Steve Salva instead at Evening Appliance, 786-7427, saying they have good products at reasonable prices. I thanked him and said I would. When Al saw the crates I had brought home from Angelo's he said, "I just threw away 40 milk crates."
I went out again this afternoon to attend the tag sale at Faith Church and parked right behind Melinda McIntosh's car (413 BID). I was the fourth in line with Koziol, Melinda and a short lady I've never seen before in front of me. I chatted with Melinda and she said she hopes to buy some clothing today for her relatives in Vermont. I asked and she said she has an electric stove. Koziol joined in saying that he thinks electric stoves are better.
Unfortunately the sale itself was disappointing. Koziol bought some crystal glasses but Melinda and I bought nothing. Ex-cop Robert Brown was there wearing sandals and buying old genealogical publications. He said he has been trying to reach me by phone but I'm never home. I replied that I am out a lot but we must get together soon. On my way home I drove past Charlie Ryan's house and he has a sign in front for Sun Roofing.
Eamon said he heard that School Superintendent Burke doesn't like all the political intrigue in Springfield and doesn't plan to stay very long. Eamon said the local paper is partly to blame for the failure of Springfield's schools and referred to editor Larry McDermott as "a suburban scribe and wannabe journalist." Eamon said he laughed at Sibilia's comments on the news, saying that Springfield is completely outclassed when it comes to trying to compete with Hartford, Providence, Worcester, Northampton, the Riverdale Shops, Ingleside and the Mullins Center.
A beautiful but breezy day. 63 degrees at 2pm.
Bernie's is at 1900 Wilbraham Road. It's interesting that Trudeau's Doonesbury is steering clear of the Catholic Church scandals. TV22 showed some of the Seuss statuary arriving at the Quadrangle. They said it will be unveiled on May 31st and will be covered by the Today Show.
I slept on my right arm too long last night and now it hurts about where my operation was years back. Did four loads of laundry today. Ann Aykanian came by to look at Mother's clothes and I was waiting for her in the driveway when she arrived. As she got out of her car she asked me why I live in such a big house if I live alone. I said, "You'll understand when you get inside." She was flabbergasted when she looked around exclaiming, "Your house is virtually a museum!" It turned out she was not interested in Mother's topcoats but was overjoyed at Mother's collection of hats. She said her daughter may be interested in some of the dresses so I said to bring her over Monday if she wants.
Today I went to the estate sale of William T. Russell at 885 Grayson Drive. On the way there I noticed that at the corner of Fenway and Wilbraham Road the family on the Acres side is putting on an addition. Down Ferncliff there was a tag sale, but it was all junk. The pharmacist Dave Merrigan was out in front of his house on the corner of Aldrew.
Fred Richards was running the estate sale and I remarked to him that my own collections will eventually result in an event like this. Richards asked if I was "all alone" and I replied, "Yes, I'm gay." He responded in a soft voice, "Mr. Russell was too, but he didn't like it to be widely known." He drew my attention to a man with a shaved head named Bill Arzuaga whom he said "was closest to Bill" and "took care of him until the end." Russell died at home in a bed set up in the dining room adjacent to the library. His twin brother was also there at the end. W.T. Russell died on April 15th.
It was a remarkable sale. The property is past the corkscrew turn in Grayson Drive and it is an old house. There is a field with a windmill and miniature golf course that I suspect my have come from the miniature golf place that went out of business on Boston Road. Closer to the house is a badminton/volleyball court. The house has a long porch and the living room has a large fireplace. Russell's bedroom has a large floor to ceiling window and there is an immense kitchen half the length of the house.
The library was packed floor to ceiling with bookcases. Russell had no antique books nor many scholarly ones but still this was the library of an extremely well-read man. He had the classics, books on home repair and gardening, books about fish, about art, current affairs, lots of the better fiction of the 20th century and tons of videos. In other words his library reveals Wm. Russell to have been a widely read and cultured individual. He was indeed a man of many interests.
The art on the walls was mostly blah, except for an Ansel Adams poster and a view of an Irish peasant cottage. There was a crockery figurine of a newsboy hawking the Wall Street Journal that I now wish I had bought. He also collected hippopotamus figures and I bought a brass hippo that was made in Korea. I also bought a dungaree chef's apron that says Wall Street Journal on the front. I was delighted to purchase Russell's old Johnson's Bookstore Preferred Reader Discount Card for $5.
The garage has an apartment over it where Arzuaga lives. In the driveway was a sporty little car with a tarp over it. Fred said Russell had lots of friends in New York City. When I mentioned to Richards about what a wonderful library Russell had he said that Russell had read "every book he owned." He told me that Russell was originally from the Bronx in New York and didn't go to college. He was employed by the Dow Jones Company for over thirty years.
Eamon's latest message describes Mayor Albano as "a despicable villain and a dishonest, pathological liar." Eamon called tonight and said he is healing from his operation. Dr. Hugo Cuadra is his primary physician and Eamon thinks he should have given him some pain pills. He complained that he has a long wait whenever he goes to Cuadra's office, but is always seen within fifteen minutes at the VA Hospital. Eamon said his father didn't trust doctors and never went to them.
Eamon said he called to renew his subscription to the Union-News and asked if they still offer a discount price and they said all discounts have been eliminated. Eamon says there have been a lot of robberies in Hungry Hill recently. A lady who lives on the street behind Our Lady of Hope right behind the rectory had someone break-in and steal $2,000 from her cedar chest. Kwick Cleaners at the corner of Armory and Carew has also been robbed. They stole $5,000 cash and every item of clothing made of dungaree. According to his friend Caroline they were also robbed last year one night at closing time. Eamon tries to be friends with everyone and then gets them to tell him their stories. Eamon says there's a lot more public relations than crime fighting taking place at the Springfield Police Department.
Sunny first thing this morning, 53 degrees.
The Dow Jones Company is located on 2nd Avenue in Chicopee. The Boston Globe says Plymouth wants to convert to a mayoral form of government, which some say will ruin the character of the town. Congressman Neal sent me a newsless newsletter addressed to "Postal Patron." This morning I called Union-News editor Larry McDermott and left a message thanking him for finally writing about thievery by the staff members of the public schools. I also praised Vincent Dimonaco for his honesty and personal integrity which is sorely lacking from the Council of today. I then criticized David Starr, and said that although both Tom Devine and Maureen Turner have warned me that my attacks on Starr might be interpreted as anti-Semitic, I refuse to permit fear of being called an anti-Semite to prevent me from criticizing Jews when I think it is legitimate.
My arm is still hurting. Was up late last night building bookcases out of milk crates. The Brennan Building on Island Pond Road is being completely redone. Yesterday I told Eamon about the Russell estate sale and when I mentioned I'd seen a boxed set of the works of Proust Eamon said he would like it. So I drove over to Russell's today and got it from Bill Arzuaga for $100. We talked a bit and he said that Russell never told anyone that he had cancer. Russell was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes until finally he was released to die at home. He said Russell was 73 when he died and had been a heavy wine drinker. His longtime lover named Fitzgibbons died in 1986. Bill then gave me a document for free showing that William T. Russell was a member of The Irish Book Club in 1957. I left with the books and headed over to Eamon's, pausing on the way to drink some Campbell's orange juice.
I found Eamon chipper and he said he just got back from Santiago's Pizza. Eamon said Art Gingras has an immense lawn and his son and daughter aren't much help with it. He liked the books and showed me the new Tiffany Lamp he bought for $2,500. He said that Jim Landers told him that he spoke to someone from Florida who told him that Superintendent Burke's reputation is as a drinker who likes to golf. His wife is still living in Florida and refuses to come to Massachusetts. Landers believes Burke is "only making a temporary career move" by coming here and hopes to use Springfield as a stepping stone to something better.
Eamon says his cousin Father Callahan is a homosexual who meets with other gay priests at The Fort Restaurant every Friday afternoon. Bishop Maguire once heard about it and tried to break the meetings up but they still get together to this day. Eamon said Soco Catjakis has long served on the Housing Authority Board, sometimes as Chairman, yet he claims he knows nothing about any wrong doing at the agency. It is well known that there is a long list of people waiting to get into subsidized housing, but if you know Soco he can get you to the top of the list fast. Rather than waiting for years for your name to come up you could get in at once.
Eamon says that James Asselin and his sidekick James Krystofic of the Hampden County Employment and Training Corporation have made hundreds of thousands of dollars as "consultants" on the side. One of these fake consulting firms (with the fun name of Greater Springfield Entrepreneurs) has on its board none other than Kevin Kennedy, Congressman Neal's chief aide. Why hasn't this been in the media? Catjakis and Neal are old friends dating back to the Sullivan Administration, a relationship Eamon says the FBI is interested in. To this day whenever something important comes up Catjakis calls Neal in Washington and his calls are always returned. The Hursts got a big loan through Asselin and so did Al Bruno when he took over McNamara's Tic Toc. Most people didn't know that the "Jimmy Fund" even existed before this scandal, and the funds were primarily available only to privileged political insiders to fund their private sector deals.
Eamon recalled how one day he stopped into the Law Office at City Hall and found Catjakis and City Solicitor Peter Fenton sitting together chatting. Catjakis said to Eamon, "Richie Neal has been good to your family by making your brother the Fire Chief." Eamon angrily replied that his brother earned his job by getting the highest scores on all the tests, but Catjakis merely scoffed.
Lovely morning, 55 degrees at 8:45am. Colleen's white flowers are in full bloom.
My fondness for the color green goes way back. When my parents bought me The People's Encyclopedia (not the best but quite good) there was a choice of red or green and I chose green. I spent some time today going over Mother's papers from 1992-98, when she was depressed and seemed to give up all hope of recovering her health. At the time she wrote those papers she kept them hidden under her blankets and bed pads.
Bob Seeger is 57. Edwin Atlee Garrett is Governor of The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maine. Zandra Engel is the Hungry Hill Distributor for the Springfield Newspapers. Miguel Martinez is Eamon's paperboy. Doubleday and Company are celebrating 75 years of publishing. Cardinal Law has assured people that the money they give to church charities will not be spent to pay legal bills arising from the church sex scandals. I say the Catholic Church has lied before, they've lied for centuries, so why may this not be a lie?
On Saturday May 18th the YMCA of Greater Springfield in conjunction with Wilderness Experiences Unlimited and Springfield College will be hosting a work day at Camp Norwich. Tom Sullivan of Springfield has a letter in the paper saying "Injustice breeds injustice. The injustice of suicide bombers is the result of the unjust occupation of Palestine by Israel." Marilyn Peskin of Longmeadow has a bullshit letter defending Israel.
Received an inscribed book from Timothy Hawley in the mail today. Ann Aykanian called and proposed $50 for Mother's hats and I accepted. I brought up the matter of Patty who ran the Goodwill, and she said she now owns her own store called English Elegance on East Street in Ludlow. Lee Ann, the new lady at the Goodwill with whom I've had trouble, "keeps firing the girls there" and one Puerto Rican girl named Dianne complained to Ann that the new boss "keeps picking on me" so Ann got her a job at the Salvation Army on Boston Road that needed somebody who was bilingual.
Went to Louis & Clark for the paper and then to CopyCat. Then drove to the Pine Point Library where the frizzy haired older librarian found the translation of Francisco de Quevedo I wanted. The help yourself free books table inside the door was covered with books on European history, so I took two titles on Ireland for Eamon: Joseph Raferty on Prehistoric Ireland (1951) and Benedict Fitzgerald on Ireland and the Foundations of Europe (1927). Then over to Angelo's where the old head cashier was working in the greenhouse and sold me some more black milk crates. I stopped at Sixteen Acres Optical and asked what their fee is for an eye exam. She asked me what kind of insurance I have and I replied that I don't like being asked that. She said $75 and I told her no thanks that's more than Edmond's. I asked her how long they've been in business and she said nine years. When I got home I called the Cohn's and left a message telling them about the free European books at the Pine Point Library.
Eamon's latest answering machine message thanks the Feds for looking into corruption in Springfield. Eamon called and said he went to see Dr. Cuadra today for a complete physical. He arrived at 11:30 and didn't get in until 12:30. Eamon informed me that the paper says the annual Massachusetts Bar Association Western Mass Dial-A-Lawyer program was scheduled for today at Western New England College. The article said it was available to "anyone seeking help on any aspect of the law." Eamon mischievously suggested that we both call and ask them how to force District Attorney Bennett to bring charges against Father Lavigne in the Danny Croteau murder.
So we did just that, with Eamon never succeeding in getting through and me getting through twice. Eamon said he tried unsuccessfully four times. The first attempt the phone rang so many times without anyone answering that he assumed he must've dialed the wrong number and hung up. He called again and counted fifteen rings per minute. After four minutes or 60 rings he hung up. Later this afternoon he tried again and let it ring for seven minutes or about 100 rings but still no answer. The fourth and final time he let it ring maybe 50 times before hanging up in frustration. Eamon said to me, "You're better off being your own lawyer than dealing with WNEC."
I also called and after the 59th ring a pleasant fellow answered and asked me my income level, to which I replied that I am a man of independent means. I then asked my question about Bennett, Lavigne and Croteau and he rephrased it as "How do you get the District Attorney to take up a case?" He said the matter was strictly an issue for the D.A. and outside the scope of the service they were offering. I pointedly reminded him that they said "any aspect of the law" in their promotional article in the paper. He said he was sorry but I should contact District Attorney Bennett directly.
The second time I called and after only a few rings I got another friendly man who also said he couldn't help me as my question was outside their area of coverage. I said that they should have a set of rules and guidelines for what legal questions they can answer ready for next year when they offer their free legal advice. I then thanked him for wasting my time and told him that "I know you are deeply appreciative of my feedback" and hung up.
Michael J. Sullivan is the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and Kevin O'Regan is Assistant U.S. Attorney at the Springfield Branch Office. Mary L. Boynton and Susan Allen founded The Tuesday Morning Music Club of Springfield in 1902. The current club President is Ruth E. Ehrenberg and Jean Pitman Turner is the Club Historian. There was a fire yesterday at the former site of Mountain Park.
I drove to the flagship Friendly's at 1811 Boston Road for breakfast this morning. When my waitress Leslie brought me my breakfast special I saw that there was no fruit on it. I showed her the picture on the menu which showed a slice of watermelon with the meal and she said she was sorry but they had none. I asked for the manager Khurram Masud and explained what was wrong. He was impeccably polite and co-operative and said that watermelon is "out of season." I informed him that they had perfectly nice slices of watermelon at Stop & Shop just the other day. Khurram said they did have cantaloupes and Leslie brought me a plate with five slices. I thanked them but pointed out that the salt and pepper shakers were greasy so Leslie carried them away. I told Khurram that for a fee of $85,000 per year I would be willing to visit Friendly's shops and see what I could find that was wrong. I said if they already have someone doing that then they are not doing their job. As I left I told them that I would be mentioning these matters when I attend the next Friendly's stockholder meeting.
From Friendly's I headed to the Wilbraham Post Office. I stopped at Wilbraham Self-Storage at 2535 Boston Road where the State Line Potato Chip plant used to be. I spoke to a young woman who is the manager but not the owner and she showed me a unit. She said they are full for several sizes and they accept no liability for anything left there. Going through Wilbraham I noticed that they have Victorian iron posts holding the identification signs all over the Wilbraham Monson Academy property. Springfield Street is closed from the center to the junction of Faculty for upgrading. Wilbraham is really fixing their roads up! When I got home Kelly was out mowing the lawn and I told her about my adventure at Friendly's and she laughed.
Mrs. Staniski and her daughter Carol stopped by to drop off some things after shopping at Sixteen Acres Gardens. Carol has gained a lot of weight but still has a pretty face. Carol said her younger son is majoring in civil engineering at UMass and she is using his 4-wheel drive because freshman are not allowed to have vehicles at UMass. The black wife of her older son is expecting a baby in July. Mrs. Staniski gave me some Harvard material from Ann, a candybar and four gingerbread cookies.
This afternoon I called Bill Arzuaga and suggested to him that a postcard be made in honor of William T. Russell and given to all his friends. I was amazed when Bill replied that Russell was "a wonderful, kind man" but that "his friends just used him." Bill described Russell as "the best and only friend I had left." I asked him about Russell's lover Fitzgibbons and he said he was a psychology professor at STCC. I asked Bill what he himself used to do for work and he said he was a fireman collecting retirement. He had also worked for American Airlines for a time at Bradley Airport. He said he first met Russell in a bar. I asked him about all the land surrounding Russell's house and he said it will be sold for around $250,000 and that some developers have already shown an interest.
The paper says the father of Danny Croteau has hired a lawyer to investigate his son's murder. It is pathetic that local law enforcement has done nothing. The father believes that Danny was about to rat on Lavigne and perhaps other predator priests and that is why he had to be killed. Bishop Maguire tried to do something about the pedophile priest problem in his Diocese but was ineffective. Eamon says his cousin the gay priest Father Callahan told him that many of his fellow priests were afraid of Father Lavigne who he described to Eamon as "a strange duck." Father Robert Thrasher, with whom I have had dealings, has come forward to testify that he saw Lavigne and young Croteau together a number of times, including one occasion where Lavigne and Danny dashed from the room when they saw him coming.
57 million people are on the internet in China, but it is heavily censored. Atilla Aritan was Vice President and Assistant Treasurer for Monarch Life in 1987. A picture in the paper shows Joel S. Morse, Advertising Director for the Union-News and Sunday Republican with Stuart Hurwitz, General Manager of the Springfield Civic Center and Michael S. Hurwitz of Pizzeria Uno.
Having finally finished picking up this dump I can finally get going on my scholarship. I went to the Rescue Mission tag sale today. I wore my bondage hood with gag and purple underpants over my black jeans. I also wore my boots and dog collar. No one gave me any problems. Socrates Babacas' daughter was there and greeted me cheerfully. I bought two books, a 1947 Quebec Civil Law book and J.T. Ford's The Truth About War. They gave me a lollipop when I paid for them. I stopped by Fancy That but they were closed with a sign saying they were at the Brimfield antique fair. Next I drove over to Mrs. Staniski's via Roosevelt Avenue where there was a speed trap with people pulled over. Two of the cops favorite locations for speed traps besides Roosevelt Avenue are Bicentennial Highway and Parker Street. When I got to Mrs. Staniski's she was preparing the ground for some plantings. I gave her some reading material and she gave me a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup.
When I got home I called the Dow Jones Company in Chicopee and got Mary Ann in Human Services who transferred me to Pat Oliano in the Benefits Department. She said she didn't know that William Russell had died and said that the department he worked in no longer exists, the work having been transferred to their Trenton, New Jersey office. Odd how I cannot find any documentation of his death anyplace. D. Sullivan, a polite female, called from 566-3217 at 2:05pm and said in a continuous line, "Who is this? I have the wrong number, I'm sorry." To which I replied, "Okay, have a nice day."
Judith Matt was on the news saying that 70,000 free tickets will be handed out to school children throughout Hampden County to attend the Pancake Breakfast in downtown Springfield. Police, Fire and National Guard people will also be given free tickets for themselves and their families plus 500 volunteers. Who's left? Mike Graziano was on TV22 for the annual Catholic charities drive. Bishop Dupre was also on and when asked about the sex scandals replied, "We have nothing to hide."
Eamon called and said he has to go see his dentist about an abscessed cavity. He also said that Susan Moore from Cal's Variety has given birth to the Santiago baby, named Dean Patrick Santiago. He doesn't know if the parents intend to get married. Eamon says the FBI is frustrated by the unwillingness of local people, even law enforcement personnel, to co-operate with them. Everyone is afraid to talk, but of course they've seen other corruption probes fail in Springfield in the past and no one wants to be left open for retaliation if the probe goes nowhere. Eamon recalled how Matty Ryan has a terrible temper going back to when he used to play baseball and fought every call by the umpire. Eamon said Efrem Gordon was the only lawyer that Matty Ryan was afraid of, with Gordon having successfully defeated Ryan on important cases more than once. Ryan also feared that Gordon might run against him someday. Otherwise nearly all the lawyers were afraid of Ryan, including most of the judges.
Lovely day, sunny and clear. 57 degrees at 8am.
Tomorrow Jimmy Carter goes for a five day visit to Cuba. The opening of the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Quadrangle is the weekend of May 31 - June 2nd. It will feature five larger than life bronze sculptures by sculptress Lark Grey Dimond-Cates of characters from the books of Springfield born author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Among those performing will be The Pottinger Singers, Goovins Balloovins, Paul Miller's Flow Circus, The Suspenders Stilt Walkers and performers Peppermint Patty and Gilligan the Clown. The Connecticut Valley Historical Museum will have a display about "all things Seuss" from the private collection of Dr. Charles Cohen. Of course I intend to be in attendance.
Did a load of wash and the dishes. I also put my parent's bed out on the tree belt to be picked up along with a broken chair and a birdbath. A lady came by and took the bed and my neighbor took the birdbath so that only the chair remained for the trash collectors to take away. Then I drove out and dropped off some clothes and things at the Salvation Army on Boston Road for which I received a receipt but then lost it. Next over to the Big Y for some fish and chips for lunch. I had just sat down to eat in the cafeteria area when Bill Arzuaga came along. I invited him to sit down but he would accept no food. Still we chatted a bit.
Bill is a short man with a large neck and muscular shoulders who was born in Puerto Rico and first came to Massachusetts for medical treatment. He is 56 years old and has a brother who lives in Hartford. Bill told me that back when he was on the Fire Department he did not get along well with Fire Chief Sullivan, Eamon's brother. He said the sale of William T. Russell's estate continues with a lot of it for sale on eBay and he uses a digital camera to put photos of the items online. Bill told me that Russell's obituary appeared in the Springfield paper so I will look it up. The funeral was handled by Joseph J. Nowak's funeral home in Indian Orchard. He described Russell as "sometimes bossy but with a heart of gold." He also said Russell lived in Longmeadow before moving to Springfield. Bill described himself as depressed ever since Russell died and "doesn't much care" whether he lives or dies. When I finished eating he walked me out and got into a small blue pick-up truck. He said the sports car that was in the driveway the day of the sale belonged to Russell.
From Big Y I drove downtown and parked on Dwight then walked to Main where the Pancake Breakfast was all over and the Business Improvement District workers, National Guard people and public volunteers were cleaning up. At the corner by Sovereign Bank I found a small cloth American flag lying on the ground. The trash cans were full of various ephemera but I took only a representative handful. There were buckets of unused pancake batter still around.
From downtown I swung by Eamon's to drop off the Ireland books I picked up at the Pine Point Library the other day. I found him him sitting in a lawn chair in his driveway wearing somewhat worn Johnson & Murphy shoes with tassles on them. He said his back is doing better. Eamon complained that School Superintendent Burke was making only $80,000 per year at his job in Florida, but in Springfield he is getting $162,000 a year plus benefits. What has he done to justify this doubling of his pay? Eamon says we don't know the half of what's been going on in the Catholic Church for the past 50 years and he called Boston's Cardinal Law "a lying bastard." As I left Eamon insisted on giving me seven Stop & Shop triple coupons. When I got home I waved to my neighbor Bob Stephen who runs a gas station.
Mother's Day. Morning rain. 57 degrees at 7:59. Gas at Breckwood Sunoco is $1.39.
Stevie Wonder is 52. Going through some of Mother's things this Mother's Day I found an old obituary for Roger P. Bergeron who worked at the East Springfield Westinghouse plant for 45 years and died in 1989. His wife Alice was Mother's hairdresser located on the 2nd floor of 1653 Main Street. Mother worked at Forbes & Wallace downtown in the late 1960's. I found a list of her fellow employees which included Marjorie J. Farnham of Chapin Drive in Wilbraham, Evelyn Landry of Center Street, Ludlow and Emmie Hayes with whom Mother was closest. They worked together in that boring sheets, towels and blankets section on the 2nd floor.
Richard F. Dutton lived on South West Street in Feeding Hills in 1965. A retirement party was held for Evelyn Wright at Old Storrowton Tavern in March 1970. A family gathering was hosted by Miss Carol E. Hayes of 6 Pomeroy Street in Wilbraham in observance of the 25th wedding anniversary of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wilfred H. Hayes in 1970. Jim Caby was a mechanic at Ludlow Auto Body in 1977. Baystate Medical is raising funds for a new multi-million dollar cancer center. The Springfield Central Library will be closed for renovations until Columbus Day 2002. The hours of the Pine Point Library will be expanded during this period. The Metro-West section has a story about how there will be a Cat in the Hat Balloon Parade to help kick off the grand opening of the Dr. Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden. Although I never got my doctorate from the University of Wisconsin I do have a straight A degree in Reformation History.
Bedroom phone went "ding" once at 10:27am. What causes this? Received another wrong call asking, "Is this Storrowton Tavern?" I drove out and got the Saturday and Sunday papers out of the trashcan in front of Louis & Clark where I find the paper delivery person often dumps his spares. There were multiple copies of both editions. Then I went to the Pine Point Library and asked if they have city directories but they have none. I asked to look at their back papers to find the obituary for William Russell but they were missing the papers for April 17, 18, 19 and 20, the very days when Russell's obituary would have appeared.
When I went to look at the free book table I struck up a conversation with a bearded black man wearing a UMass t-shirt named Andre Martin of Spring Street. He complained that computers are replacing books and that eventually there may not be any left. He said he recently visited his native city of Philadelphia after an absence of thirty years and was shocked to see how few books there were in the main library. No sooner did Martin depart than librarian Jeri Moran came over. She offered me some chocolate and commented that my spiked collar was a sign that all standards of public dress have collapsed. She reminds me of Nancy Brittain all grown, someone who was daddy's pride and joy.
We talked about library unionism and she asked about Nader the Hatter. She said her father had been in the hat business in Chicopee and he threw away "millions of dollars" in machinery when he closed. I mentioned that Nader and I have tried to stir up interest in a museum of the local hat industry but without success. I asked her how she liked the cocksucking poem I sent her and she said she thought it was great. I told her that pleased me because others I sent it to said they were horrified. She then asked me, "Guess what!" and danced around like Snoopy doing his happy dance. She exclaimed, "I'm taking early retirement!" However she still intends to substitute at the elementary school level in Westfield part time. She is only 55. I told her she has preserved herself well and told her that I am 60 and have never dyed my hair and never will. I praised her for her fun and sweet vivacity and said I think she will be wonderful with elementary school kids. She said she is glad to be leaving the library because the other library people think she has a bad attitude. I told her that it is no doubt they who have the bad attitude because they resent that she is so young and active.
From the library I went to Ruby Tuesday for a salad. Their salad bar is so wonderful I don't want to go there too often lest I become bored with it and like it less than I do. Then I drove down Stony Hill Road and back over to Wilbraham Road to confirm that Farnham lived in the Cape Cod on the corner of Chapin and G. Owen Flynt was the house with the long garage on the corner of Colonial.
Nader the Hatter came over today, arriving at about 12:50. He looks good but said his hearing is getting worse. Nader gave me a copy of Peter Nahum's Fairy Folk in a Fairy Land in which he inscribed, "To Wesley, It takes a brilliant mind to distinguish between life and its fairy tales, a task for which you are well suited. Enjoy the ride," followed by his special hat signature. He looked at my French books and was amazed I have so many.
We talked a little about his family. His grandfather was Charles Joseph Nader, born in Lebanon who came to America around 1915 by way of Egypt. He started in the hat business by working in Fall River before coming to Springfield. He was 13 when he came to America and died around age 70. Nader asked if I wanted to hear about the mistress he kept in a downtown apartment but I said that was not a necessary part of the historic record. Marie Nader was Nader's father's cousin. She had married and divorced a policeman and never married again. Her brother Joe ran Nader's Oriental Rugs on Appleton Street in Holyoke and Nader used to work there in the summer when he was in high school at Cathedral. Marie spoke both Arabic and French and lived in the Belmont Apartments for a long time and later lived in a house on the corner of Dickinson and Sachem. Marie died in 1988.
Nader thought my green lamp was a marriage of different parts from different sources: shade is arts and crafts, base is art nouveau and the junction is awkward. Yet the paint appears to be old and I still like it. Nader said as a youth he sang in the Holy Name choir. He was married for four years and then discreetly divorced. When he left I gave him a cigar, some postcards and a bottle of Bristol Creme.
The Reminder has a story by Dobbs about young Collamore running against Gale Candaras. Larry McDermott has a splendid column today putting down the Catholic Church. Eamon and I have praised McDermott on occasion, as we are objective commentators who will praise or blame as deserved. Of course the Springfield Newspapers never deserve as much praise as the Valley Advocate. Eamon called and said his Cathedral classmate Vincent Conway of Agawam has died at age 67. Conway was a highly decorated Korean War veteran and worked for Baystate Gas for 34 years. He was a 1952 graduate of Cathedral. Eamon says Springfield has more teachers, vice principals and other ancillary personnel than school systems twice the size and described the Springfield School System as "larded with fat, waste and corruption."
Eamon recalled how in the days when he and Joe Moran were health inspectors under Tommy O'Connor a rat was once found in a bottle of Coca-Cola sold in Forest Park. He said Coke payed a $300 fine to settle the matter. Eamon said there was also a Dawn Brothers Bakery on Belmont that had a mouse baked into their brownies. They left the brownie batter sitting out overnight and a mouse drowned in it.
Eamon claims he has a photographic memory. He also said he has written to the Vatican four times and never received a reply. Eamon complained that District Attorney Bennett isn't fighting organized crime or corruption, and instead is attacking poor people who try to escape their misery by doing or selling drugs. He said Bennett is trying to be a drug czar. Eamon wondered what Chief Scott in Holyoke really thinks of Bennett. Eamon also described Paula Meara as "a small-minded and vindictive" Police Chief who is out of her depth and mismanaging the department.
Overcast and 48 degrees at 6:20am.
"The best friend of freedom is information." - John Ashcroft
When I left this morning I saw Cressotti was out so I pulled up and said, "Happy whatever it is you're supposed to be happy about today!" Lucius had both his American and U.S. Marines flag out. At least Lucius brings in his flags if it rains, everybody else leaves them out rain or shine. I had breakfast at the Friendly's on lower Sumner Avenue around 10 and they got everything right, including a slice of watermelon with my meal. I congratulated the manager Roberta Grayluck. There were a lot of customers, mostly old people. It is a large shop with a fireplace with dummy logs.
From Friendly's I drove over to Springfield College. Where the college president's house stood, later an administration building, a very large new presidential house is going up. After collecting a half dozen posters on campus, I headed over to the Pine Point Library and gave J. Moran a Happy Retirement card. She was sitting at her desk drawing a picture of The Cat in the Hat. I asked her what happened to the large framed picture of the old Pine Point Library they had hanging up and she said after the library was refurbished several years ago the picture never went back up.
In the evening I went to the 16 Acres Friendly's and pointed out to their manager Mark Mahoney all the dirt behind the base of the clock and on the window sill. He thanked me politely and I bought a strawberry banana cone. When I got home Eamon called and said his back continues to be a problem. When he asked his doctor why he replied, "You're just one of the unlucky ones." Eamon said his FBI contact told him they are going to the judge tomorrow for more search warrants, but would not say against who. That set off Eamon reminiscing about the mob. He said mobster Jake Nettis (married to Rita Santaniello) was a "made man" according to Joe Calibrese who told Eamon so. Joe died two years ago. Eamon said the mobsters he knew personally were "really nice people who would treat you well" provided you didn't interfere with their rackets.
Calibrese was a big gambler, sometimes called "Suitcase Joe" because he was always on his way to either Atlantic City or Nevada. His father left him $650,000 and he blew it all on gambling. Joe owned the Hollywood Deli and New England Auto Body in West Springfield. He loved to play cards all day with his friends and went on gambling junkets with Skyball Scibelli. Eamon used to regularly go with Calibrese to Hinsdale and the Teletrack in New Haven. Eamon said he never lost money when he went with Calibrese, whom he called "the best handicapper I ever met." Eamon gave him his money and Calibrese made all the bets. Eamon sometimes went home with four or five hundred dollars more than he came with. Sometimes Calibrese would win so much money an armed guard provided by the track would escort him to his car. Eamon said Hinsdale had good restaurants.
Nettis and Calibrese had no education but were brilliant in their own way. When Nettis went to prison (he had been manager of the local Dreikorn's Bakery) he was made manager of the prison laundry and had it running like a top. When Eamon went to visit him the warden told Eamon, "We're gonna miss him when he leaves." Eamon also discussed George Simons of Croyden Terrace, a Jewish guy with mob connections who was rumored to be homosexual. He was a jeweler who dealt a little in stolen goods on the side and at one point got robbed by a mobster. Eamon also recalled Norman Yester, who was one of the first in the area to put car washes in gas stations. Eamon once had lunch with him at the Longmeadow Country Club and Yester showed him that he was carrying $2400 in cash. He had a summer place in Vermont where his youngest boy drowned, a tragedy from which he never fully recovered. His relative Carl Yester was in charge of claims at a big insurance company in Hartford. Eamon dated his daughter for a couple of years when she was enrolled at the Andover Institute. She ended up working for the Central Intelligence Agency.
After Eamon hung up I watched the eleven o'clock news. TV40 continues to promote Lisa Daniels as a Harvard Law School graduate. Ray Herschel did a story on Harrison Ford receiving an environmental award from Harvard. Also on the news was Antonette Pepe of the Springfield Paraprofessionals Union complaining about reductions in the number of teacher's aides under Burke from around 800 to 650. She said there is no excuse for the cuts because, "The Springfield School System is top heavy with administrators and bureaucrats who are making too much money and we don't know what for." That is a wonderful line.
Beautiful day, breezy. 59 degrees at 4:57pm.
Kevin Phillips, author of Wealth in a Democracy was interviewed on WFCR today about how the rich have become richer and the poor have become poorer. The weatherman says rain appears likely on the Norwich Work Day scheduled for Saturday. Dan Elias reporting on a new lottery game said "more players mean bigger jackpots." College President Carol Leary has been declared Woman of the Year by the Affiliated Chamber of Commerce Woman's Partnership and is to be publicly honored on June 26th. In her seven years at Bay Path she is credited with doubling the enrollment "and elevating the level of Women's Education." I wonder if she walked out after the porn at the Christmas party that I called to her attention and got integrity brownie points for that and this is a kiss and make up gesture?
I had planned to go to the Friendly's Annual Meeting today, but then I decided to stay home and work on cleaning out more of Mother's clutter. When I was done I headed out to Boston Road. Bradlees is now in an advanced state of demolition and there was a lot of dirt blowing around in the wind. They should be watering it down, as some of it was blowing over to McDonald's and covering it with dust. As I drove past Five Mile Pond I could see boats on the water. I drove up to the intersection of Maynard Road and King Drive and found major changes have been made to the land I donated. The intersection has been flattened and improved, there is a new lightpole on the mountain side of the road replacing the one formerly on my side of the road. The entrance to Fernbank itself has been opened up. A green on cream sign says "Site Work by Joe LeCour, Excavating." There are survey flags down King Drive but no roadwork beyond the opening to the property. I took several pictures of the ferns in the sunlight.
I turned around on Deer Run and in North Wilbraham I stopped by The Wilbraham Antique Shop, where I bought a color lithograph of two Victorian children for $200. The lady said they opened April 1st. I then proceeded to the Salvation Army and turned over a lot of Mother's old dresses. Then I went to Pizzeria Uno for lunch. The manager had six kids in the very last booth showing them a training video. I did something new: I took a basket of peanuts and ordered a beer, casually relaxing in my booth and taking my time before heading back. The garden shop next to Hillcrest has no flowers at all and a big sign on it "Closed for the Year, Thank You For Your Patronage."
A wrong number this evening at 11:42 from someone looking for Fred White, another wrong number today came from someone wanting Storrowton. I called Springfield College this morning and got Donna W. the secretary and I told her that if their literary magazine would like a speaker on copyrights I might be willing. Donna said she will tell the English Department chair Margaret Lund. The Union-News reports that James Asselin also had a job paying thousands of dollars as an instructor at Holyoke Community College. He claimed he taught the class during his lunch hour. When asked when he ate he said he had lunch during the morning and afternoon coffee breaks at his economic development job. At our community colleges it has become commonplace to see do nothing instructor jobs given as political favors to those with the right pull.
Eamon called and told me that crooked attorney Roy Anderson is the lawyer hired to defend James Asselin. Eamon says the Asselins are bold, brazen and arrogant. He said that Soco Catjakis' sons are thieves just like the Asselins. Eamon said that Gerald Phillips is the son of Cornelius Phillips, who with Judge Landers controlled the Chicopee Bank and Trust which went belly up on their watch. Eamon said that Jerry Hurley told him "straight out that Cornelius fixed a judge in Boston" so they could escape responsibility for the collapse of the bank. Eamon knows two doctor brothers, Emil and Basil Ferris, who lost a fortune in the bank failure. Their father Mitchell Ferris was the banker to the Lebanese community and had a home at the top of Springfield Street, one of the fanciest in the Atwater area. Eamon said he used to date Laurie Ferris, who was a graduate of Columbia and a registered nurse. So was her sister. Eamon claims that the corrupt children of Soco Catjakis, Cornelius Phillips and Raymond Asselin proves the old saying that "apples don't fall far from the tree."
Eamon says thieving in the public schools is still rampant with thousands of dollars in equipment lost from the automotive department at Putnam while thousands of dollars in computer equipment can't be found at Sci-Tech. The FBI tells Eamon that they are frustrated by how few people are willing to talk to them with full frankness. They told Eamon they are convinced that City Clerk Metzger and Assistant Clerk Connie Powers "know where all the dead bodies are buried" but they refuse to co-operate. The FBI is also looking into how Congressman Boland's widow got a $350.000 commission on the purchase of the old Tapley Street post office during the Neal Administration and then hid her involvement behind a dummy corporation. Eamon said he told the FBI that former Mayor Ted Dimauro would have all the details.
50 degrees at 6:30am. Gas is $1.34 in Huntington.
In 1869 Mary Bryant established a fund to buy books for the Springfield Libraries in honor of her husband John Bryant. John L. King established a similar fund in 1921. I received a formal invitation today from the Quad to the unveiling of the Seuss statues, addressed to my beloved dolls "Floppy, Ambrose and Dumbo Miller c/o J. Wesley Miller, Esq." It says that the Dr. Seuss dedication parade will be led by "a Rolls Royce on loan from Springfield business leader Peter Picknelly."
Father wore size 9 shoes. I sorted out some of Mother's old hats and gloves and will bring them to the Salvation Army. Of the TV22 weathermen Nick Morganelli is the one I like best as Brian Lapis is too egotistical. At least Lapis no longer stands in front of the 5-Day Forecast board and that is good. However Tom Bevacqua on TV40 is better than Morganelli and Lapis combined.
Rain is predicted for the Camp Norwich clean-up on Saturday so I thought I would head up today just to check things out. First I stopped at Winn's Liquors and turned in some bottles. They now have a fully automated return system just inside the door. I drove past the Giroux place and there was a blue car in the backyard. The grass needs cutting and there was a red van at Lucia's. I saw a Marcotte Ford vehicle go through a red light in West Springfield. It was a wonderful ride up to Huntington. After Westfield there were virtually no other cars on the road and it was a beautiful early spring day with the sun rippling through the trees. The condition of the highway was fine all the way up to Pingah Road. It's been a long time since I went to Camp Norwich and I almost lost my way even though I had an Arrow map.
In the old days the road went down to the water's edge but no more. The Camp itself had a "No Trespassing Police Take Notice" sign on the gate. Therefore I turned around and drove back, pausing at the Huntington Country Store on Worthington Road. It has a fine array of touristy stuff and I purchased two postcards. Having had nothing for breakfast I bought a raspberry twist. I asked how fresh the pastry was and the lady said she baked it this morning. It was very soft and good. On the way back I went down Westfield Street or Route 20 where the Westbank thermometer read 72 degrees at 11:35am. In all the trip, which took about an hour and a half coming back, was a mini-vacation for me, a refreshing ride in the country that allowed me to mull over some things. I pulled over in the town of Russell to let the cars behind me pass so I could continue my leisurely pace. I must return to Camp Norwich some afternoon soon for further exploration.
When I got home I walked down to the Penniman's to drop off a Boston Herald, then saw outside his house the always polite and refined Mr. Lucius. He said he is not done with the material I lent him and I told him to keep it all summer if he likes. He said he has twice seen a red fox walking around the neighborhood. Lucius told me he has been retired from the Fire Department for 22 years and said there were no Hispanics on the force then "but the city has changed a lot." I mentioned the church scandals and he said that he was brought up Catholic but now considers himself an agnostic. He said, "The Catholic Church is based on fear."
Next I went over to the Cohn's to give them some magazines and found Mr. Cohn in the backyard sitting in the garden. I sat down beside him and remarked how nice his place looks. He said he pays two gardeners to look after things. Cohn said he and his wife appreciate the magazines I give them. Mrs. Cohn was gone to her dialysis treatment "which filters her blood" and Cohn described his wife as having "good days and bad days." He said it is getting hard for them to go shopping on their own because of their advanced age. Cohn said that his was the third house to be built on Birchland Avenue and was constructed by a man who had to sell it fast because he was drafted into the Korean War. Cohn said his granddaughter Rebecca has published a novel for teenagers with Simon & Shuster that is doing well and may be made into a movie. He said he is happy with the way his family has turned out. Cohn said many people claim to be happy but are secretly miserable and said the secret to happiness is "to do what you want to do."
For supper I went to the Boston Road McDonald's for a filet-of-fish and fries. When I got back Eamon called and said his sister was over this morning cleaning and vowing to "straighten out this domicile." Eamon said the Feds are looking into the political campaigns of Rep. Chris Asselin to determine whether his father Ray directed taxpayer money to his son's campaigns. Eamon also accused Mayor Albano of "excessive borrowing and bonding" and predicted Springfield will soon face a profound financial crisis. Eamon's latest phone message asks, "What is it with Springfield's inept rubberstamp school board? Don't they learn from the stupidity of their mistakes? They hired the phoney educationist Peter Negroni from the most corrupt, mismanaged, last place ranked School District 12 in the Bronx and then they hired his friend Mr. Burke from the most corrupt, mismanaged, last place ranked Miami School District. Now Springfield also has a last place ranked system. What did they expect?"
50 degrees at 2:40pm. Steady, soaking rain, brief snow flurries.
Little people are okay, it's the big shots who are the problem.
So much for the Norwich Work Day. Today was Six Flags Physics Day. Today is the Westfest in Westfield. The Annual Meeting of the Atheneum Society of Wilbraham will be held June 4th at the Old Meeting House on Main Street. The Sixteen Acres Garden Center donated new shrubs to landscape the Old Meeting House. Hampden Bank motto: "You can be treated like a number, or number one. The choice is yours."
Today is the Pope's 82nd birthday. Democrats are accusing President Bush of exploiting 9/11 for political purposes. Susan Goodman on TV40 said the Habitat for Humanity house at 120 Calhoun Street is being built entirely by women. Gerald Phillips is claiming his Massachusetts Career Development Institute is actually a private entity and so he doesn't have to open its financial records to public scrutiny. Larry McDermott writes a good piece this week insisting otherwise.
Joseph and Margaret Shipley established a fund to buy books for the Springfield libraries in 1914. The Albert D. Nason Fund for the purchase of books on "history, science and the useful arts" was established in 1934. The Travelers Insurance Company is located at One Tower Square in Hartford. Is that where they got the idea to rename Baystate West as Tower Square? Our talentless local mediocrities can never come up with an original idea but must steal it from somewhere else.
The urn in which my ashes will be placed was made by Aristocrat Arts in Waterbury, Connecticut. Going through Mother's clutter I found a Jensen's candy box. Jensen's was on Bridge Street in Springfield and Pratt Street in Hartford. Also found a The Women's Shop box in mint condition, and a box from the Hall Galleries in Steiger's with a sideview of the Steiger Building. I came upon a Forbes & Wallace candy box but the special find was a Johnson's Bookstore bag with a different ship logo than they later used, a ship rather than a sailboat and pointed in the opposite direction. No doubt worth some money. I found some financial records covering 1984-1986, the period of Father's last illness and death, including the receipt for the flowers at Father's funeral plus a pin with the Monarch logo on it. I also found some letters from Mrs. Staniski, Zina Turner, Dorothy Smith, Madeline Waite and Alice Parker. Madeline Waite lived on the 8th floor of the Hampden House on Dwight. There was also an immense amount of gift wrapping paper and I'm throwing most of it out. Finally I hauled down five rolls of linoleum and put them on the treebelt.
Four cars were parked over to Mudry's today. Went out to an Open House at 26 Granger. An older bungalow, quite beat-up but with nice old cabinets and a carpeted playroom in the basement. It was for sale by AAA Advantage Real Estate in Holyoke through sales agent Pete Blaha. Also stopped at 30 Abbott, which was real nice. The big fancy house at 124 Longhill Street was also having an Open House so I swung by briefly. It has magnificent views of the Connecticut River Valley and is selling for $359,000 by Terry O'Mally of Sears Real Estate.
Eamon called and complained that his back is still bothering him. Eamon said the last time he went to the Emergency Room at Baystate it was dirty and crowded with lowlifes. He said he likes Mercy Hospital better because they have prompt service. He then recalled how when he was a boy he used to sell Christmas cards to raise money for the church. Eamon said when he was growing up many people suspected that some of the Catholic priests were homosexual, but there was no talk of child abuse. He said the level of awe and respect for the church was such that no one discussed it. Eamon said that Art Gingras called him today and said that the police officers assigned to Commerce are no help to the faculty, they just sit in the cafeteria drinking coffee all day. They are supposed to patrol the halls but do not, and when a fight brakes out they do nothing but call for reinforcements.
Eamon said Gingras told him that the MCAS proficiency tests are underway at Commerce and it is a complete farce. Gingras told Eamon that "the level of cheating is unbelievable" with kids jumping out of their seats and shouting out answers to the whole class. He said most of the teachers have already coached the students on the right answers, yet even with the teachers trying to give the kids the answers in advance the scores are still abysmal. Imagine what they would be without the cheating! When Gingras tried to tell Principal Henry what was going on she yawned and said, "I'm well aware of it." Meanwhile he said the Principal has been locked in her office during most of the testing period. Eamon said he urged Gingras to go to the media but Gingras said he didn't trust them to report what he said and then word might get back to Henry and Burke who would retaliate. He said that to the school system administrators "letting the public know what is going on in the schools is the ultimate taboo."
A raw, cold day. Westover had a record low of 34 degrees. Gas is $1.37 at the Pond.
141 Mill Street was built in 1876 for Reverend Samuel Buckingham. Rev. Buckingham was active in the city's civic life and the former Buckingham Junior High School was named after him. The Optical Shop was at 141 Bridge Street in Springfield. Pieroway's now says "always the lowest prices." That used to be Walmart's line. The special quality of Birchland Avenue is that all the houses are different, custom built homes like in Longmeadow. The voters of Longmeadow have defeated a tax increase 2721 to 1908. Town Selectman say they may ask for a smaller increase in several weeks. The Catholic Charities Appeal raised only 82% of their goal this year, which many are attributing to their sex scandal troubles.
Called Mrs. Staniski who told me she doesn't like rhubarb and much prefers strawberry pie. She said her daughter Ann is going to take her and her other daughter Carol to Storrowton to celebrate Ann's 64th birthday. She said Mrs. Driftmeyer, whom she described as "a kindred soul like your mother" sent her a Reader's Digest video of sacred music entitled How Great Thou Art. I also called the YMCA today for any information about when they might reschedule the Camp Norwich volunteer work day. I got an answering machine where a woman's voice said she'd be back in the office by May 20th. At the beep I said, "It is 3:55pm on May 20 and you jolly well should be there to answer the phone. Perhaps I should report your continued absence to your supervisor." I called again about 15 minutes later and got a black woman who said there are only two people who work in the camping office and she transferred me to Andrea Allard where I once again got a tape saying that she will be out until May 28th. At the beep I identified myself as Puddentaine and said if they ever reschedule the work day to let me know and I left my number.
The big event today was the Eastec Advanced Productivity Exposition, which is put on by the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, whose membership represents the areas largest employers and educational institutions, as well as the eight mayors of the area's cities and co-ordinates economic development activities in Western Massachusetts. Through its affiliates, the EDC owns seven individual parks and the Westover Metropolitan Airport. Allan W. Blair is the President/CEO. I played it straight and didn't wear any leather or other parts of my uniform except my black jeans and boots. It was at the Eastern States Exposition grounds and it was so packed I had to park out in left field. There were shuttle buses from the parking lot to the show, Gray Line Conway with shamrocks on them and Rhode Island license plates. Last year it was hot and the air-conditioning was on inside the buildings, but this year they had the heat on! A real mob was in attendance, with more women this year. Yet I saw no one I knew.
I took less freebies than last year and would have taken even less if not for getting stuff for Eamon. For free food all I got was two bags of popcorn, an apple and a number of candy bars. Springfield information was available from an old man who seemed knowledgeable, Bernie Tourangeau, Hospitality Ambassador for the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. He claimed that Eastec has a $16 million impact on the local economy. They had various brochures and a binder of local restaurant menus including the recently raided Art E. Pasta. The Springfield Armory Museum had an exhibit featuring a working model of a Blanchard lathe. In the Better Living Building (formerly the Industrial Arts Building) they had a historic Ford, but wouldn't a Springfield Duryea or one of Picknelly's Rolls have been better? On the ground I found an identification badge belonging to Adam Stern of Leed Himmel Industries in Hampden, Connecticut and turned it in. Before I left I went to the Men's Room and was annoyed to see that not a single latrine had been flushed.
The new phonebook was in a bag by the mailbox when I got home. For supper I had a Callender Turkey Dinner with gravy that tasted much better than the other brands. I usually just buy what's on sale. Eamon called and said that today is the first time his back has felt better since his operation. He said there is a room up in his attic but no heat or running water. Eamon said his brother Ray the Fire Chief used to make model airplanes up there as a boy. Ray Sullivan also collected stamps. Yesterday there was an FBI raid of Caffeine's on Worthington Street which is owned by Victor Bruno, son of Al Bruno of Agawam. They seized business records and computers from an upstairs office. Young Bruno is among those receiving money from Asselin's controversial loan program. They also raided Art E Pasta, another Bruno business. Eamon says the FBI suspects there is a money laundering and illegal betting outfit operating out of those establishments.
Another lovely day. 56 degrees at 9:30am. Gas at Pride is $1.37 per gallon.
Bob Dylan is 61. John F. Bantis of Ray Street in Ludlow has died at age 92. Springfield College President Richard B. Flynn has become Chairman of the 2002 United Way Campaign. The Agawam Historical Museum has been set up in the old Fire Station, memorabilia on the first floor and historical documents upstairs. The formal opening is next Monday. NBC's The Today Show has spent a lot of time in Western Massachusetts lately. The show aired a segment on the Brimfield Outdoor Antique Show. Nancy Soriano of Country Living Magazine visited the market and interviewed shoppers who told her they knew they would find anything and everything there. Earlier this month, a Today Show crew shot footage of the installation of the sculptures of the Dr. Seuss characters at the Quadrangle and interviewed Joseph Carvalho III, President of the Springfield Library and Museums Association.
St. Catherine of Siena is not listed in the phone book along with all the other churches. So I called the Diocese's main number and the lady said listing is up to the Rector and gave me the number 783-8619. I called and they gave me some mumbo-jumbo about how the office is in the Rectory so the listing is different. I told her that I am a Protestant and that I wanted to register my approval of Larry McDermott's criticism of the church in the paper recently and wished her well. She was polite. I also called Nowak Funeral Home and asked how many people work there. Five she said. Finally I called the Springfield School System's Director of English and Language Dr. Lorraine Plasse, and her secretary transferred me right to her. I told her that the Union-News had failed to capitalize her title in their account of her upcoming retirement. I proposed as a strategy for building language skills that a contest be held in which students compete to see how many errors they can find in the newspaper. She said she would pass the idea around.
In the middle of the night I came down with quite an earache but it faded away in the course of the night. First thing this morning Nader the Hatter called from his brother-in-law's place and said he has been busy lately training his apprentice Brent Black, who he says is Irish. He said he has known Black since 1980, but won't tell him the secrets of blocking hats until the very last. Black has proposed they make videos about hat making but Nader has refused, saying that the hat making processes discovered by the Nader family can only be revealed to family members or employees working under their supervision.
I put the house plants outside today for the summer and moved the typewriter into the front bedroom. Then I drove out Burger King on Page Boulevard where once again nobody can get anything right. I had a two for the price of one coupon Eamon gave me for two Egg McMuffins. They gave me two with ham in them instead of sausage as I asked, which I didn't realize until I took a bite out of one of them. When I went up to complain I said I would keep the one I took a bite out of but demanded a sausage patty for the other. They said no problem and gave me two sausage patties. Having had my cholesterol and fat for the day I headed to a dull tag sale at 111 Jeffrey, which had no permit but the name on the mailbox was McKenney. I was wearing my orange jumpsuit with purple underpants over it. People stared but nobody said anything.
The Episcopalians are meeting at the UMass Mullens Center this weekend. TV22 which boasts that it is "First in Breaking News" was a day behind the rest of the media in reporting on the raids on V. Bruno and companies. Their I-Team better stick to covering how to water geraniums. In a TV40 story by Jim Polito, Representatives Mary Rogeness and Gail Candaras were on with drug enforcement officer Rodney Benson and D.A. Bill Bennett, saying that money spent on illegal drugs often ends up in the hands of terrorists. And so the War on Drugs merges with the War on Terror.
Eamon called and said he went to the VA today to have his teeth cleaned. He told me the portrait of his late dog Snuffy was drawn by Penny Cohen whom he worked with under Mayor Tommy O'Connor. Eamon said his green Cadillac cost $36,000 when new. He went down to Orr Cadillac today and they told him they are having a hard time selling cars. They also said they have a problem with kids climbing over the fence and stealing hubcaps. Eamon recalled how his mother could be quite demanding, often obsessed over little things that would create "constant tension" beyond what the matter was worth. He admitted that it has been a great relief since she died to be free of such concerns and I told him I've felt the same way since Mother died.
A lovely, mild Memorial Day. 67 degrees at 1:20pm.
Saturday Night Live is still a very good show. The other night they had a skit about High Times reporter Russell Putnam investigating the secret acre of Acapulco Gold that the government has set aside for the White House and congressional use. They are also still dumping on Dan Quayle. Today was the final business day for the last Howard Johnson restaurant in Massachusetts, located in Greenfield. It will become an Applebee's. Howard Johnson's has been in Massachusetts since 1925. There used to be one on Boston Road and another on Columbus Avenue with a motel.
Dr. Howard L. Jackson had an office on Chestnut Street in Springfield in 1947. Dr. D.G. Suitor had his office on Temple Street in 1949. The Springfield Newspapers are having a contest for their carriers where they get 20 food tickets for the Taste of Springfield for every new subscriber. I believe the tickets are worth 50 cents each so that's ten dollars per subscriber. Most everything at the Taste costs at least $2.50 worth of tickets. The Board of Directors of Friends of the Springfield Library includes Kathy Joyal, President, Patrick Markey, Treasurer and Nancy Evans, Secretary. The Wetland Educational and Nature Arts Festival will be held on the Amherst Town Common on June 1st. I saw a dedication of the renovated Mt. View House in Whitefield, New Hampshire on TV. Mother worked there in her youth. Mother had a hysterectomy in 1949. The surgeon was Dr. Stanley Stusick whose office was at 59 Maple Street.
I consider my legal specialties to be artistic property law, copyright law and legal literature. Today I transplanted a Black-eyed Susan that was next to the downspout and doomed to be drowned if not relocated. I also put termite spray around the foundation. While doing so I noticed that the Puppolo and Caron stickers I stuck on the telephone box by my house have been scraped off. I suspect it was done by the telephone guy who was working on our street the other day. Later as I was driving out I tooted at Dickie Nichols who was mowing his lawn; he did not respond. A sign in front of Mudry's says, "Jesse Harrington - Floor Sanding." Dropped off two boxes of Mother's clutter at the Salvation Army, then headed to Agawam to the old fire station to see their new town history museum. It is a nice facility but they had no truly interesting historical items on display. They were passing out Smokey the Bear books for kids and there was a table of homemade sweets. I chatted with Board member Bill Miller about the importance of microfilming their most valuable archives. Driving home I drove past the Tavern and saw that the Duryea Museum appears to be gone with its name no longer on the tenants sign.
Next I drove out to Fernbank to take some pictures. Afterwards I went to a tag sale at 285 Maynard. There was some antique silverware for sale but the lady said there was little interest as people don't want to polish silver anymore. As I left I saw a red jeep going by with Larry McDermott at the wheel. Coming through Wilbraham center I encountered what appeared to the Wilbraham Monson Academy graduation ceremony. I stopped at Hillcrest Cemetery and photographed the carillon. Behind the mausoleum they are putting up a small cement block building. A sign reads, "Future Site of Hillcrest Park Crematory." A sign in front of the Country Inn and Tavern at 339 Boston Road says it is reopening on May 28th after renovations. I had lunch today at the McDonald's on Allen Street and read the paper. There were no customers at all when I left. For supper I dined tonight on chicken, potato salad and root beer from Food Mart.
Eamon called and said he went to the Memorial Day ceremony in Chicopee and then went to visit his sister in Agawam. His sister's name is Eleanor and her husband Charles who worked at Monsanto is deceased. Eamon described her as a very sweet, soft-spoken woman. Eamon said it's hard for UMass to compete with "a first rate university college system like Connecticut's" because higher education in Massachusetts has been "ruined by dishonest, inept career politicians who put incompetents with political connections on the faculty" especially at the community colleges. He said Connecticut's $750 million dollar Adrian's Landing riverfront project makes Springfield's only $100 million Basketball Hall of Fame riverfront project look sick in comparison. Eamon said that Springfield is "a go-to destination city only if you are a crackhead drug dealer competing with Hartford or Holyoke for the most drug sales."
67 degrees at 9:39am. Gently raining, first red clover buds coming out.
Richard A. Booth was the Treasurer at the Springfield Institution for Savings in 1939. An early motto of Johnson's Bookstore was "It's All Right if it Comes From Johnson's Bookstore." Later it boasted of being "the largest store of its kind" which was true because it was the only store of its kind. Hampden Bank's new ad campaign talks of being "First and Last" but I would say "Worst and Last." Ann Staniski and her husband used to own the Lighthouse Inn in Maine. They divorced because he treated her like a maid and was playing around with a rich lady in town.
Chief Meara has announced that the police will crack down on illegal speeding in the Springfield streets. Derek W. Parr called and gave me Hurwitz's number. He said he once taught one of the Hurwitz kids in school. So I called Hurwitz at the Civic Center and he was at work early. I told him how I thought the old Hall of Fame would make a good museum for the history of the Duryea car, Indian Motocycle and the local hat industry. He said it was worth considering but didn't sound enthusiastic, questioning whether enough artifacts exist of high enough quality to be worth it. I then called the YMCA and got Andrea Allard who said the Camp Norwich work day has been rescheduled for June 8th.
Then I called Janet Edwards of Edwards Books and she said she will try to get me a copy of Pressure Point Fighting by Rich Clark. I asked Janet about her lecture to the Friends of the Library and she said she did not discuss Springfield authors. I apologized for not attending but said I'm being a gentleman by staying away and not disrupting their meetings with my complaints about the libraries and museums. However, I told her that if she ever does give a talk about Springfield writers to be sure to include me. Finally I called Peter Picknelly but Brenda said he wasn't in today. I told her to tell him that he should have had his Rolls Royce on display at the Eastec Exposition and she promised to tell him.
I was the first customer to arrive at the grand reopening of the Country Inn on Boston Road in Pine Point. Everything is new but it is still basically a KENO dive. There are simple stained glass lights over the tables and a fireplace but no piano. There was nothing I recognized from the old place. I told the big fat man who's the manager that they should bring back something old. He told me that Thursdays are still Corned Beef and Cabbage Day just like in the old days. He said the motel rooms are newly remodeled and cost $50 per day, and I told him I remembered when it was twelve dollars. I ordered spaghetti with sweet and sour sausage, but there wasn't enough sauce on it. I took home one of their green menus.
Eamon called and wondered whether Nader the Hatter will tell his apprentice the three secrets of hat-making now that he has signed a non-disclosure agreement. I told Eamon about going to the Country Inn and Eamon said it used to be called the Red Carpet in the 70's and 80's and he said you could pick up a prostitute at the bar and take her into one of the motel rooms for the evening. Eamon says his cousin Father Edward M. Callahan is retiring June 1st. Eamon says he doesn't talk to him much but suggested he may be "a problem priest." He served up in Huntington for eight or nine years but mostly served in hospitals and "bounced around." Sometimes he says Mass at St. Cecelia's in Wilbraham. He said Father Callahan has a group of friends "who are homos" that dine together and go on vacations to Bermuda. He also has a group of priests he hangs around with who are suspected of being gay. Bishop McGuire tried to break them up as part of his unsuccessful attempts to deal with homosexuality in the church. He said Father Callahan has health problems related to heavy drinking.
Eamon said that if the State of Massachusetts and the cities of Boston and Springfield were private corporations they would have declared bankruptcy long ago. Eamon described city employees as having no accountability, supervision or employee evaluation. They are paid for eight hours work while barely working five, they take an hour or more for lunch, a half hour break in both the morning and afternoon and call it quits for the day around 2pm. No heavy lifting, great pay, benefits, paid vacation, sick time and all of them looking forward to an undeserved early retirement. Eamon says that maybe now that Buddy Cianci of Providence is under indictment the New England mafia might like to change their headquarters to Springfield. He said Mayor Albano could lead the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Overcast, 68 degrees at 8am.
Bob Hope is 99 today. WFCR said the recession hit Massachusetts and Connecticut worse than the other New England states because of our high tech industry. Al Norman of Greenfield was on talking about his fight to keep out so called Big Box stores. Great line: "Shoppers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chainstores!" Peter Picknelly has sold land to the government for a medical center on State Street. Springfield has joined Pittsfield on the State Department of Revenues watch list as a city in danger of a major financial crisis.
Frank Duford of Sports Illustrated says young men are 75% influenced by sports and 25% by young women. I was not like that. I was 25 percent influenced by cute, intelligent men and 75% by things intellectual and mechanical. Not so much interested in the social sciences. As a little kid at Homer Street School I wore blue pants and striped shirts, sometimes with suspenders to hold up my pants. Tony Baptista in the Savings Department at Fleet called and said my saving bond order went through. A Peter Vassallo called, another wrong number for Storrowton. David Montgomery called and thanked me for the Buckingham postcards. I called the Tavern Restaurant today and asked about the Duryea Car Museum. The hostess said that the museum closed about a year ago because "almost no visitors ever showed up." Then I called the 16 Acres Library and spoke with the Reference Librarian Martha. I told her I have a discarded book that they neglected to stamp DISCARDED inside. She said not to worry about it and wished me good day. An impeccably polite man from Balise Toyota called and asked, "Is this the Archie residence?" When I said no he said, "Oh I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bother you."
Cut my hair and the lawn. Trashmen went down the street at 7:30am. A tree has been cut down on the cop's lawn at the corner of Jeffrey and Ballard. In the attic yesterday I found an old Forbes & Wallace bag. Went to Copycat at the Breckwood Shops and asked if they can print postcards. They said yes but I would have to order 2000 to make it worth their while. Nader the Hatter came over today at 11:10 so I could take him out to lunch at the newly reopened Country Inn. Nader said he saw Jehovah's Witnesses going door to door on my street but they did not stop at my house. We both ordered liver and onions, corn, french fries and strawberry shortcake for dessert. We talked a little politics and Nader was critical of Israel for the way it has treated Lebanon. Nader also mentioned the infamous Yale Clothing Company fire that destroyed his family's hat business in his grandfather's time. Our meal came to $20.50 and I gave the waitress a $4.50 tip. Afterwards I showed Nader the Pine Point Library, which he had never been inside before.
Eamon T. O'Sullivan was born on February 13, 1935. Eamon called and said that Tacoma Street where he lives was originally named Taft Street. He doesn't know why the name was changed. Eamon says he likes the name Taft better. He said the street was originally all muddy with potholes but his mother's persistence got it paved. The head of the Department of Streets and Engineering told her, "We would never have paved this street except for you, Mrs. Sullivan." Eamon said as a child he used to play football and even baseball in the street. He said he got hit with a bat once and had a concussion. They also ice skated on the big frozen puddles in the street. They played Kick the Can and a game he called Ring Relevio where kids stood in a circle and tried to hit kids inside the circle with a ball. I told him it sounded like a game we used to play in school called Dodge Ball, a game I hadn't thought of in years.
Eamon also talked about how he once visited the home of superlawyer Efrem Gordon in Hampden. He is the son of Joseph Gordon, who was himself a distinguished attorney. Efrem loves antique cars and owns a silver Rolls Royce and several rare Cadillacs. Eamon said someone called his message today and left an anonymous remark saying, "Well, we won't have to worry about Mr. Albano much longer. He's going to be getting out in July." Eamon says he hopes that's true. He said there is no way that two Grand Juries, the FBI and the State Attorney General would spend all this time and money on a fishing expedition. They know Springfield is corrupt and they want to clean it up if they can get some co-operation. But Eamon says people are being told if they keep their mouths shut they will be taken care of even if they have to do a little jail time, just as long as you don't take anybody else down with you. Eamon heard rumors that some of the hush money is coming from the Richie Neal campaign coffers which have become a big slush fund since he never has any opposition for Congress.
At 6am overcast and 70 degrees. Honeysuckles coming out.
Maude Prentiss of Monarch Life was one of Mother's best friends. Mother's friend Margaret Coleman of 97 Spring Street, a secretary for the Gilbert and Barker Company in West Springfield, died in 1980 at age 81. Candidate for Governor Shannon O'Brien was on TV tonight saying "selling state wetlands to fund clean elections makes no sense." I agree. I certainly wouldn't want Blanche and John's Fernbank sold for some silly reason.
Father loved bushes and my house is surrounded by them. This morning I found some beautiful wrapping paper Mother saved from the 1930's. As a child several times I made a snowman in our backyard on Crest Street using bits of coal for the eyes, nose and buttons. One very rough winter I made a little snow fort by the front steps. Got a wrong number today from someone asking, "Is this John Eddy?" Hung up in my ear, no apology. Eamon called and said he is not going to go to the Seuss unveiling. Eamon complained that Springfield has a $370 million dollar debt and a near junk bond rating with a high interest annual debt service. He said it is outrageous how Albano and cronies have spent and bonded for whatever projects suit their fancy, dumping the burden on the taxpayers for decades to come.
I drove out early in order to get a parking place before the mob arrived. I was amazed to find plenty of parking in the Edwards Street Quad lot. At first there was a question about what sort of weather we'd have, with Brian Lapis predicting "showers and thundershowers for late this morning into the afternoon." Joe Carvalho was on TV this morning saying that the Seuss Memorial was 16 years in the making. TV22 and TV40 were set up in different places. 22 by the elephant and 40 by the garden. I took a picture of the almost empty Quad as the set-up was in progress. The sun came out at 9:29.
I looked at the Memorial benches which are beautiful but with cheap screwed on plaques you could pull off with a screwdriver. Hillcrest Cemetery cuts the name of the donor right into the bench and that is what should have been done with the benches at the Quadrangle. Some of the plaques read: Virginia Lee Betteridge (1941-1996), Russell E. Whiteford, The Rotary Club of Springfield, Attorney and Mrs. Robert Murphy (of Monarch Place), and Robert and Norma Sears. I brought my dolls Sweet Pea, Honey Pot and Lambkin in my Brookstone book bag and I set them up on the grass and then moved about without them. At one point I saw a mother repeat, "Don't touch!" to a toddler reaching out to them. Security people were there but they made no hassles for anyone.
I spotted Joe Carvalho and we chatted. I told him to be on guard for vandals and said I have no respect for the Springfield Historical Commission, to which he responded with a funny expression. I also talked with Guy McLain and told him I thought his violin and toy soldiers displays were splendid. He said he'd like to do a display about Thornton Burgess and I suggested that others to consider are Parker, Adele Addison, Manchester, Holland and Timothy Leary, to which he nodded. I told him that Bancroft wrote the third volume of his History of Springfield and he said he hadn't heard that and would like to know more. I also spoke with Agawam City Councilor Bob Magovern. I told him the Republicans don't deserve another crack at the statehouse and if he gets in Mitt Romney will probably leave early just like Weld and Cellucci. But we did agree on two things: Fred Whitney is a fine gentleman and the Democrats are mostly crooks. Magovern said "it is indeed a sad situation."
Turning to my right I saw standing about twenty feet away none other than Larry McDermott in a dark suit, expensive patent leather shoes and sunglasses. He was staring right at me, although I had no leather gear on, just my orange jumpsuit. McDermott quickly turned away and began talking with editor Wayne Phaneuf and Guy McLain. I walked up to them and started to chat with Phaneuf by praising his historical pieces in the paper and suggested that he should do more historical writing. Larry McDermott just stared at us in amazement as if he couldn't believe I was standing in his presence. Soon Tony Ravosa came up to join us and shook everyone's hand. I'd heard he was in declining health but he looked good. Finally McDermott acknowledged my presence, weakly shaking my hand and saying with a hint of sarcasm, "Thanks for all the messages."
Soon joining us was Emily Bader and Lyman Wood, with whom I discussed the Friendly's stockholder's meeting. Then suddenly came along David Starr accompanied by Senate President Tom Birmingham and Senator Linda Melconian. I whipped out my camera and took a close-up of Starr, who looked aghast that I was doing so. I quickly took another one with him glaring at me with smug disdain. Suddenly Guy McLain intervened and urged me to visit the museums, which were free all day, and to help myself to the food, which was catered by Big Y. And so Starr slipped away, but coming right behind him was Congressman Richard Neal. I boldly approached him and told him I was dressed in orange to show solidarity with those suffering in jail for doing drugs. I also told him I think it's disgraceful how District Attorney Bennett is prosecuting drug users instead of crooked politicians. Neal simply turned away without speaking but with a mad expression on his face. I now understand better why Eamon has such a terrible relationship with him.
The food was served beneath a large tent set up in the area behind the library. I was looking for Judith Matt but never saw her. I loaned her some pictures last year but she never returned them. Hurwitz was there with Gordon Oakes. I also spotted Rep. Chris Asselin and a fat friend talking with Sue Davison who was wearing a red suit. I would say at least 400 people were there in all, perhaps even 500.
I consider the Seuss Memorial to be the apotheosis of high hip culture. Seuss was an early and snazzy hippie. With his anti-establishment characters and funny musical machines the intellectual strands cannot be separated. Seuss' chacters are wonderful and internationally loved, the sculptures are beautiful. I love the elephant. Unfortunately they are also an attractive nuisance, a target for vandals, anti-Semites, souvenir collectors and birdshit. Yet unquestionably the Seuss sculptures are still the biggest thing to hit Springfield since George Washington founded the Springfield Armory.
Ted Kennedy, Mike Albano and Richie Neal at the Seuss Memorial unveiling.