Sunny, clear, calm. 29 degrees at 7:30am.
Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it, so autograph your work with excellence.
Robert F. Dorman, senior underwriter for Monarch Life Insurance, died in 1966 at age 53 after a long illness. His wife Irene died in 1991. R.F. Dorman was a handsome devil who lived on Catalpa Terrace in a cape with a garage with a porch attached. Dorman was aloof from Father because Father didn't drink. He had two daughters, Judith was the elder and friendly and gracious, while the younger one Gail was a snob.
Today is St. David's Day, the patron saint of Wales, so WFCR played a harp number. For their fund drive WFCR had on a borderline illiterate Mason named Lee Hickey of the Free Masons of Massachusetts, inviting other Masons to donate. He claimed there are over 100,000 Masons in Massachusetts and he urged them to "call in and show 'em how we do it!" There were also Masons manning the phones. State Representative Cele Hahn of Westfield and WNNZ has announced she's not running for re-election after serving eight years.
Went to the db Mart around the corner and bought $10 gas at $1.21 per gallon. Pulled up to pump #4 and gave the lady the money but then the pump didn't work so I had to go to pump #2. Nuts! Then I drove to Food Mart where the friendly little black lady who runs the bakery assisted me in selecting some fresh eclairs. On the way home I was cut off by a little black car just before the Bicentennial Highway, license plate 8969LP. Finally I went to Louis & Clark to mail some things and read the Valley Advocate while waiting in line. I found the Advocate disappointing this week with little political news. There was a short woman in line named Mary Lou Mack who had some pretty watercolors of Ireland. I recommended that she put them in gold frames.
For supper I had hamburg and spaghetti on rice with my eclairs. Eamon called and said he wants a new curio cabinet for stuff he has in his basement and wants to buy something that isn't made in China. However his calls to Kavanagh's and Raymour and Flanagan proved fruitless. He intends to call Bottaro-Skolnick tomorrow. Eamon says he keeps hearing rumors that Mayor Albano got caught mixing money from his pasta sauce sales with his campaign accounts, but when questioned by investigators he blamed his campaign treasurer. Eamon said if true that would be just like Albano, always shifting blame and who even now is trying to blame the city's financial problems on former Mayor R.T. Markel, who left office in 1996.
Today Joe Sibilia was supposed to come but never showed up. He said he'd come at 1pm and I waited until 2pm before calling him. Sibilia said he "forgot" and I told him how I had cleaned house and placed things out for him to see. He sputtered something in apology and I hung up in his ear! I then wrote him a letter saying that "you really have been extremely discourteous" and informing him that my fee for legal services is $200 per hour and proposed that he "send me a check for $100 as a token of apology" for his forgetfulness. I should have mentioned that waiting for him prevented me from going to the Quadrangle to see the Impressionism exhibit.
I told Eamon about Sibilia not keeping his appointment and it reminded him of the time years ago when Socrates Babacas took him to lunch at the Liberty Street Friendly's and told him to order whatever he wanted. Then when it was time to leave Babacas announced that he had "forgotten his wallet" and Eamon not only had to pay for his own meal but Babacas' as well. Eamon said he isn't surprised that Sibilia stood me up, saying he thinks Sibilia knows Frances Gagnon and perhaps she warned him to stay away from me. Eamon says Sibilia also knows Charlie Ryan but when Eamon asked Ryan his opinion of Sibilia Ryan was evasive.
32 degrees at 6:30am.
Today is Dr. Seuss' birthday. There are 2700 languages in the world. John R. Silber of Boston University is on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Scholars. Jeri L. Moran is the Quadrangle Poetry Award Coordinator. The winner of the 2002 Quadrangle Poetry Contest is Christian McEwen for his poem "September 11" and 2nd place went to Sara Littlecrow-Russell for "Prison Prayer." In Monson the new Police Chief Curtis M. McKenzie ran a background check with the FBI on the members of his police force and fired seven of them after finding out they were convicted felons. My neighbors Irving and Lenore Cohn are in the paper today for celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary. I called them and Lenore answered in a very faint voice. I congratulated her and her husband and she thanked me.
Spotted Francis Gagnon on the news today standing next to Morris Jones. A Ready Credit Hotline infomercial came on TV40 after Nightline last night. My Verizon bill came today and although I was supposed to get 30 free minutes instead I was billed for a call to Hadley I never made. This is an emerging problem. I recall a few years back that the Sunoco convenience store by CopyCat at the Breckwood Shops had a copying machine for their customers but took it out after CopyCat asked them to. Louis & Clark has a copying machine but I've never used it.
Next I went down to the Quadrangle, where the basement back door to the Main Library was open and there was a dumpster nearby filled with black trash bags. In the library itself the book giveaway section was empty. I went into Rice Hall and made some copies of my entry in Who's Who. Then I looked up homosexuality in the New Catholic Encyclopedia and found that all the pages relating to the subject had been ripped out be someone. Ed Lonergan was there so so I showed him and he laughed, saying the pages were probably stolen by high school students. He added that it didn't really matter because a completely revised edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia is being released in 2003. I also ran into my old friend Jeri Moran.
On the way back I stopped to take some photos of the Wesley Church, then went next door to the Mason Square Library where Reggie Wilson and I exchanged greetings. Finally I went to Friendly's in the Acres to use one of my free ice cream cone coupons and the young girl who waited on me asked if I wanted a regular cone or a sugar one. I don't recall ever being asked that before. She gave me a big scoop too, not the perfectly measured sphere of ice cream the last guy gave me. The place was well patronized and most of the booths were occupied. The area around the clock and freezers is still dirty, and the street literature rack was empty.
Ruth Ehrenberg is the President of the Tuesday Morning Music Club. John Lesniak is the club treasurer. For many years I was the only male who attended their recitals. Mother was a member of the club until she died at age 92. In 1994 I sent a letter to Yvette M. Bernard proposing to write a history of the Tuesday Morning Music Club but she never replied. I have always considered the members of the Tuesday Morning Music Club to be a bunch of insufferable snobs who were only endurable due to the music.
Eamon says that Salerno's near the Liberty Branch Library has the best pizza in the city, not the Red Rose. He says he orders a small and gets three meals out of it, ordering it with everything plus extra pepperoni. Eamon says he loves pepperoni even though it's not good for you, but he says hey, everybody's got to die of something so it may as well be by something you enjoy! Eamon told me that Jim Landers wasn't hired to do the current mailing by Paul Caron, even though Landers did free printing for Caron's mayoral campaign and donated money.
Newly released Nixon tapes show the President agreeing with preacher Billy Graham who was complaining about Jewish domination of the news media. Graham is quoted as saying, "This stranglehold has got to be broken or this country is going down the tubes." There are some people who are pushy and muscle their way into things but I am not one of those people. David Starr of the Springfield Newspapers is a pushy individual who has pushed many things in this city in the wrong direction. Francis Gagnon and Richard Garvey get promoted by the paper as our local historians, but neither will tell the whole truth about what has been going on. David Starr has despised me ever since I sent in my entry into his newspaper's essay contest which I entitled, "Four Big Fat Jews Who Hurt My Family."
Overcast, 45 degrees at 6:30am.
Kirk Douglas was on TV saying "my stroke changed my life for the better. I was so self-centered but after my stroke I learned how to deal with depression - when you get depressed think of other people." Wendy Sibbison is on the front page of The Western Mass Law Tribune as a highly successful lawyer in Greenfield.
Eastern States Exposition Horse Judge George W. Dunham of East Longmeadow died in 1980. Charles S. Hunt and his wife Eleanor M. Hunt died due to injuries they received in an automobile accident in 1993. Charles Hunt was Father's underling at Monarch. He married late in life to a society gal at a tiny Episcopal Church on Sumner Avenue. We had him over for supper once at Crest Street and I was told to call him Uncle Charlie. He was not an intellectual and the death of him and his wife in a crash was truly tragic. Their son Jeffrey was a star hockey player for Cathedral. Martha Grant, a secretary and deaconess at Wesley Church, put out the church paper and Sunday programs. She was followed by Dorothy Smith, whose husband Gordon died in 1983, and then was eventually replaced by Mother's friend Mrs. M. Staniski.
Carl Kasell was on WFCR today. WFCR says property taxes are probably going to go up considerably due to the state's financial difficulties. This morning I had pancakes and read the paper at McDonald's. They had a list of people who wrote letters to the editor in the past year. I went to Food Mart to get some asparagus but they wanted way too much, so I headed over to Stop & Shop. Going down the Bicentennial Highway I saw an elderly woman with a trash bag picking up litter. There is always a lot of litter in that location. A grey Ford truck with elderly white people inside cut me off at the intersection of Parker and Boston Road. At Stop& Shop I bought asparagus, milk and Imperial margarine.
From there I headed downtown to the free concert at First Church and parked by City Hall. I wore my blue tweed sportsjacket and my black Levis and t-shirt with low cut black shoes. I met Belle Rita Novak and her mother outside the church as planned, with Belle Rita wearing flats with white socks, tight jeans and a lemon green top. She told me that her gay son has begun studying to become a rabbi in Israel. He is conservative orientated but only Reform Jews let gays become rabbis so he is in a reform program. She said her older son David is in medical school. Belle Rita asked whether a place had been found for a museum of the local hat industry and shook her head sadly when I said no. She seemed skeptical when I suggested that the York Street jail might be a good site. Novak also said she has just completed the grant applications for the Farmer's Market at the X, which is supported in part by the Department of Agriculture. We talked about who might be indicted in the corruption probe and she expressed dismay that "they got away with it for so long."
After the recital, which received three standing ovations, they offered us cookies, cheese and crackers and punch. Belle Rita and her mother left immediately and I didn't stay long. Jean Turner of the Tuesday Morning Music Club was there but we successfully avoided speaking. David Starr was not there. As I left the digital display on the Sheraton said 57 degrees as I drove under it. While I was downtown I swung by the Robinson-Donovan Law Offices to drop off some material for John Rice with receptionist Zelta B. Bullock. Zelta is a very cautious, older black woman who keeps a notepad by the phone on which she writes down every incoming call in pencil.
Eamon called and said he has orange juice, coffee and a bagel every morning for breakfast. Eamon said that he notes "quite a few cars" parked around Liberty Methodist Church on Sundays. Art Gingras told Eamon that Dr. William Thayer is the Grants Manager for the Springfield schools but doesn't have an office in the school department building. Meanwhile his wife Paula E. Thayer is the Grants Manager for the Parks Department. Isn't that special! Meanwhile Gingras says that Mary Elizabeth Beach is Superintendent Burke's "personal ass-kicker" but she can only do what Burke tells her because she doesn't know what she's doing. Gingras told him that the kids throw away their school lunches uneaten and that special education is a "dumping ground" for problem students while bilingual education programs don't work. Eamon wondered why they didn't have bilingual education when the Italians and Poles came here unable to speak English. Eamon described the public schools as "psycho-social holding pens" and said none of the educational reforms enacted since the 1960's have worked.
Sunny and clear, only 29 degrees this morning at 8.
You can't really be someone's friend unless you speak their language.
Rev. Billy Graham apologized yesterday for what Nixon's tapes reveal he said about Jewish media domination. There is an element of truth to what Graham told Nixon, and it was disreputable of Graham to say it and now take it back. I never say anything about anybody I'm unwilling to put in writing, and when I have something really negative to say I make sure they have a copy. Does David Starr do the same? I have no respect at all for David Starr or Larry McDermott and what they have done with their newspaper.
Doris Kearns Goodwin is all over the papers for her acts of plagiarism. She has withdrawn as a member of the board of the Pulitzer Prize over questions of copying information for her 1987 book The Fitzgerald's and the Kennedys. I don't want to hear any more about Doris Kearns Goodwin. She is an embarrassment to both Colby and Harvard, although I'm sure it wasn't at Colby or Harvard that she learned her sloppy scholarly standards. At least President Bush is honest and admitted he was only a C student. Did Goodwin cheat her way to good grades? Mount Holyoke punished J. Ellis for his lies about his military background, what will Harvard do about Doris? Maybe she can be like Charles Colson and rake in money confessing her sins on a speaking tour.
The Friendly's at 732 Bliss Road was broken into last night. Today I dined on Stouffer's Lean Cuisine Hearty Portion Oriental Glazed Chicken Teriyaki. For lunch I had Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. Progresso soups are good, but when you want a nice, simple broth Campbell's Chicken Noodle is the best. Desoin Hobson called about H&R Block. I told her that if she has a tender to make to do so in writing, I don't deal over the phone. Later a girl listed as Unknown on my caller ID shouted "Hello Jack!" and hung up. Went to the Newsstand and bought the N.Y. Times, Boston Globe and Springfield Union-News. Then I went to Friendly's for a pistachio sugar cone and saw that there is still dirt by the clock base, so I left a small piece of my cone there to draw attention to it.
Eamon said he called Atty. Tony Ravosa Sr. today to congratulate him on his 70th birthday. Ravosa told him that he has been going to lunch every Monday with former Bishop McGuire at the Ivanhoe on Riverdale Road. Eamon says he would love to know what gossip gets dished at those lunches! Eamon recalled his friend Attorney Efrem Gordon, now elderly and seldom seen, but in his day "he would drive Matty Ryan crazy" with his low-key jabs, sometimes causing Ryan to lose his temper and start ranting and screaming in the courthouse hallways while Efrem just stood there and smiled. District Attorney Ryan hated to go up against him in court and it was said that Matty Ryan feared no man in politics nor law except Efrem Gordon.
Eamon says that Kimberly Moore next door is pregnant and works at Ruby Tuesday. Her boyfriend is a chef. Eamon's barber Jack Santos is on vacation, but his son who is running the shop told Eamon that he has no use for priests and no respect for the Catholic Church. A story in the paper today described Springfield as having "some thirty departments" but Eamon says it is 37 departments plus the Arts Commissioner. The city is also described as having 6,700 employees and Mayor Albano says some may have to take a furlough to save money. Eamon says that figure is probably low, as the city has no means of determining exactly how many employees they have. Eamon says he knows of city employees who do little or nothing, such as the kid in the Mayor's Clean City Campaign office. However Eamon thinks it is wrong for Albano to ask the low level workers to take a furlough to pay for his fiscal mismanagement.
34 degrees on the breezeway at 7:30am. Gas is $1.11 at Pride in the Acres.
Doris E. Copley, a 47 year clerk at Mass Mutual Life Insurance, died in 1990 at age 89. Her sister Averill K. Copley, a 42 year employee of Mass Mutual, died at age 90 in 1991. Doris and Averill Copley were little ladies who were Wesley Methodist Church regulars. Doris reminded me of Winnie the Pooh in temperament, a very gentle, kind lady who was Director of the Junior Choir in which I sang at Buckingham Junior High School. The Copley's were among those who fled in the 1960's when the congregation of Wesley Church started turning black. Roger Rada, a large muscular fellow, was involved with Wesley Church youth groups, but I don't remember exactly how. Madeline C. Hunt, a typing teacher at Commerce, was the chapel organist. Van Norman built them a nice chapel. Evan H. Margeson was the chauffeur for Mr. Van Norman. He had a lovely home in the McKnight district and died in 1989. His wife Bernice was active in woman's groups. Their son David graduated from Yale but died young. He was kind of snotty and sat next to me in a Latin course with Elizabeth A. Dean. Mabel E. Williams, who died in 1986 at age 86, was a friend of Mother's whose husband Russell was the Principal of Classical Junior High. He had a reputation as a real sourpuss but he had to be since in those days Classical was the toughest junior high in the city.
Gladys M. Stone of Agawam died in 1979 at age 74. Marion E. Kerr of Hancock Street in Springfield died in 1978 at age 69. Republican City Committee member Katherine M. Hill died in 1978 at age 81. Arthur B. Stone, President of the Agawam Coin Club, died in 1970 at age 76. Robert R. Kane, a 26 year employee of the former Gilbert & Barker Manufacturing Company, died in 1979 at age 70. Kathleen L. Ruggles of Longmeadow died in 1981 at age 88. Dorothy G. Leeman, retired Executive Secretary for four presidents of Bay State Gas Company, died in 1978 at age 73. Bradford S. Yarbor, former Granby Assessor, died in 1986 at age 63. His brother Bruce Allyn Yarber worked at Monarch and was always gracious to Father. Elizabeth Yarber, daughter of Bruce, was married in 1994 to Francis Hoey.
Ralph W. Hastings was a big broad shouldered man who worked at Monsanto Chemicals for 35 years. When he died at age 59 in 1972 many people wondered whether it had to do with exposure to toxic materials at Monsanto. His son Donald was one of my closest friends at Wesley Church and his mother Lois was close to Mrs. Staniski. Donald had a brother Steve who became a teacher. Renee M. MacFarlane, a 9th grade Sunday School teacher at Wesley, died in 1993 at age 94. Mae E. Reynolds was the daughter of a Dr. Reynolds who had his office where the Graham-Wallengren Funeral Home later was on State Street. Mae was the switchboard operator at Monarch for years and someone very special to the Monarch community. She was not known for her brilliance but she was very friendly and just the person for the job. I remember seeing her in her office by the front door near the waiting room when I went to meet Father. Sometimes Father and I would eat in the cafeteria in the basement of Monarch in the days of dietician Mrs. Treat. What may have been the longest obituary ever to appear in a Springfield newspaper appeared on page B5 in yesterday's paper for surgeon Lewis W. Whiting. He did everything!
UMass resident assistants have joined UAW 2322, the first such union in the country. WFCR has a Susan Kaplan working the news department. Any relation to Robert Kaplan? Lawyer Alan R. Goodman has a commercial on TV40 urging that serious injury cases be brought to him. An advertisement for Manny's claims "The more you spend the more you save!" A new roof is going up on 115 Birchland Avenue. Sheriff Ashe was on the news complaining that his jail was built to hold 1300 but has 1800 inmates. The Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Shelter is being closed to make room for a new jail in Chicopee. The animal shelter will be relocated, I think the old York Street jail would make a fine animal shelter.
Got a wrong number today from someone looking for Hafey Funeral Home on Belmont. This morning I called ex-Rep Fred Whitney and a very jovial Mrs. Whitney answered the phone and got me Fred. He said his wife is sharp mentally but in poor shape physically. Whitney agreed with me that Mitt Romney probably wants to use Massachusetts as a stepping stone to the presidency. However Whitney says Jane Swift has no chance of winning so Romney is the only hope the Republicans have to prevent the Democrats from retaking the governorship. After chatting with Whitney I called King & Newton to see about getting an appraisal of my property in Wilbraham. I got Tom King who said he doesn't do appraising anymore but recommended I call Smith & Reynolds and ask for Jeff Reynolds. So I did and he agreed to do the appraisal for $175. Went to Ruby Tuesday's for lunch and had their $5.99 salad bar. I probably ate too much but they had a lot of good stuff. In the mail today the Rev. Margaret D. Goad of First United Methodist Church in Westfield sent me a thank you note for sending her the book The Charm of the Chapel.
37 degrees at 7am. A sunny morning. Gas at Watershops Pond is $1.15 at both stations.
I support the steel tariff for national security and for jobs. We can't be importing our steel or exporting our jobs! K-Mart has announced they are closing 283 stores, including the one in Hadley, but apparently not the one on Liberty in Springfield. Mayor Albano has announced that the city golf courses will open earlier this year than usual. Albano said the city spent, rather "invested three million dollars over the last two years" and opening them earlier will bring in some extra money. Had a bowl of spinach for lunch and for supper dined on Sampson's Stuffed Baked Traditional Turkey Frozen Dinner. I also put a Sarah Lee cherry pie in the oven at 3:30pm.
Church organist L. Greenaway Flathers of Wilbraham has died at age 82. Aunt Maria is in the Renaissance Manor in Westfield. Her condition is stable. My Uncle George A. Giroux died in 1966. He had two brothers: Roderick was a bachelor who died in his apartment and they said it was filled with so much stuff you couldn't get around. Henry N. Giroux, an Electrical Engineer for F.W. Sickles, died in 1987 at age 77. Wilfred R. Giroux, known as Bill, worked at Westover and died in 1994. His letters sent home during World War II are at the University of Vermont. Today on TV57 I watched the documentary Eddie Shore and the Springfield Indians in which Francis Gagnon appeared briefly, saying that many fans were disappointed when the team moved from the Colosseum in West Springfield to the Springfield Civic Center. Fans disliked having to pay for parking but also said the old Colosseum had an intimate and exciting atmosphere that the cavernous Civic Center never acquired.
WFCR this morning played a wonderful Boccetini Symphony No. 24 in A, followed by some Bach. A commercial for Prescription Advantage has a man talking in a fancy, elite setting with a grandfather clock in the background whose pendulum does not move. A thank you letter came in the mail today from James H. Tourtelotte for "hand-delivering Utopia and other interesting items." Attorneys James D. Chadwell, Keith A. Minoff and Douglas Boyd work for Robinson, Donovan, Madden and Barry. Barbara Lucia called from the Bank of Western Mass and said my check has been mailed. Peter Goonan from the Union-News called and thanked me for the proposals I sent him for the York Street Jail. I told him how I was dropping off an 8 page, single spaced memo full of suggestions of what to do with the jail at the City Planning Department. I also complained to him that I should have been appointed Arts Commissioner, especially since they stole a number of my ideas. Goonan said the city received only one bid on the York Street property, and that was from a Catholic youth group solely interested in the use of the gym. Our conversation ended with Goonan saying, "I'll talk to you again soon." We'll see about that.
Saw Lucius in his backyard cleaning out his bird pond and gave him a copy of Foreign Policy magazine, then dropped off some things for Colleen, whose dad said, "We'll be seeing her at the end of April." Drove downtown and parked on Eliot, then carried some reading material for the Bishop to the Chancery front door, rang the bell and gave it to the lady who answered. Then I went back to the car and put on my bondage helmet and spiked collar. I walked down the hill to the Civic Center and left off some stuff for Hurwitz with his secretary, who looked alarmed to see me. Then over to City Hall where there was a bunch of people hanging around in front of the snack bar on the ground floor. A man in a uniform came up to me and asked, "Why are you wearing a mask?" I replied that I am sensitive to light and asked him, "Is there a problem?" He said no and then asked where I was going and I told him I was headed to City Planning. He suggested that they were likely to call security if I showed up wearing that hood so he said he better go with me. We took the elevator together and I dropped off my suggestions for what to do with the York Street jail with the black lady in City Planning. The security man then escorted me out the door.
Next I headed over to Bank of Boston where the maroon-coated security guard there looked at me with alarm and asked where I was going. I told him I was leaving off some papers for Attorney Berman on floor fifteen and he said he would deliver them for me. Finally I dropped off reading material at the Chamber of Commerce and then left without incident to return to my car. Leaving the hood in the car I went over to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and asked if they would like to sell some of the postcards I've made of historic buildings. The lady said the person to ask would be Laurie Darby so I said I'll do that. Then I went to see the American Impressionism Exhibit. I always go to the museums on Friday because that is the day you can get in for free with your library card. I have never paid to get into the museums and I never will! They had about 40 paintings, my favorite being Childe Hassam's Celia Thaxter in Her Garden in part because I own Thaxter's poems which are virtually unavailable. The painting is bright, lively and absolutely beautiful. Most of the other paintings were pretentiously academic, dismal and boring. The exhibit is sponsored by the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation and WFCR. When I left I could see from the Quad parking lot a blue tarp flapping on the roof of the abandoned Tech High.
The Taste of Springfield says the city's pancake breakfast lost money this year. City Councilor Timothy Rooke has sent Gerald Phillips of MCDI a 40 question letter and is demanding an answer within ten days. Eamon called and said his brother Fire Chief Raymond M. Sullivan died on March 10, 1995. His wife's name is Mary and his children's names are Mary Lou, Gary, Brian and Gerry. Eamon says that political corruption is like a hidden tax by making public services more expensive and less efficient. Eamon also criticized former Congressman Boland, calling him "a go along to get along, do nothing Congressman who never took the lead on anything for fear of stepping on someone's toes." Eamon's latest phone message says, "Toots Starr and Twinkles McDermott, along with their toadies Richard the Sheik Neal, former mobster mouthpiece D.A. Wimpy Bennett and social worker wannabe Sheriff Mikey Ashe don't care how crooked Mayor Albano is and show the Mayor far more respect than he deserves."
46 degrees and heavily overcast at 7:15am. Gas is now $1.15 all around Breckwood.
Butterfield's Auction House is slated to auction off the diaries of Black Panther H. Rap Brown, who is currently serving life in prison. Doris Kearns Goodwin is what academics call "a grade grub girl." Every teacher knows them, they sit in the second or third row, write down everything the teacher says, are always smiling and answering the questions in precisely the way the teacher wants, and stays up all night pasting together term papers that are longer than anyone else's.
Mrs. Mariam A. Young Vanderbrook of Longmeadow divorced her husband Frank S. Vanderbrook, President of Monarch Life Insurance Company in 1961. In 1973 Springfield Attorney James S. Bulkley began divorce proceedings against his wife of 36 years, Mrs. Eleanor Francis Young Bulkley of Longhill Street in Springfield. She married Russell B. Neff of the Third National Bank of Hampden County in 1976. Jim Bulkley married Eileen M. Lee of Springfield in 1973. I'll never forgive the totally inadequate obituary Madeline E. Waite of Stearns & Yerrall received in 2001, although she was a quiet and retiring lady and maybe she wanted it that way. I remember a similar non-writeup for teacher Elizabeth A. Dean.
Frank A. Everton was Chairman of the Wilbraham Board of Selectmen in 2001. William J. Fogarty was the Town Administrator. Mel Colburn and his wife Ginger were said to have the largest block of Monarch stock but sold out before the crash. Ginger was a regular in the Treasures Room at the South Church Rummage Sales. The late Albert Koch lived across the street from Aunt Maria. He worked at Kane's Furniture, I believe. They had a cute house with a reflecting ball by their driveway that intrigued me as a boy. The Koch's once gave me a cherry birthday cake with little animal figurines on top. It's funny how I've forgotten most things from when I was a little boy but that birthday cake I've always remembered. On the other side from Aunt Maria lived Edgar T. Daigneault who worked at Pratt & Whitney and died in 1987.
Stover's Raspberry Whip Eggs are purple inside! R.Z. Murray called today as a wrong number and very politely apologized. I have so much good food that I didn't go to McDonald's this morning and instead had asparagus on toast. For lunch I had Progresso Tomato Rotini Soup. Went to Lewis & Clark to put out the mail with Cindy and a chubby new girl who says she just turned 21. I told her she looks like she just got out of high school. When I came out of Lewis & Clark there was a guy pulling soda cans out of the trash barrel and putting them in a plastic bag. Today I went to the Sinai Temple Tag Sale. Sinai is Reform and Beth El is Conservative, which means the Conservatives are the big group in town and the Beth El building is enormous. Sinai is right across the street and is also a handsome structure. Inside the front lobby is an immense Star of David mosaic in different kinds of polished granite on the floor. There is a small gift shop with lovely things inside. A list of names are on the wall and I saw that one of them was Nelson Newmark, my childhood physician. Facing the front door is a extremely beautiful tapestry and behind the front hall there is a sanctuary.
The sale was in the auditorium with round tables covered with items. There was a set of 1980 Encyclopedia Britannica for only $20 but I didn't take them. There were housewares and puzzles and some nice books, but I bought only a copy of Rand McNally's Mother Goose in fine shape and a book long interview with the Rev. Jerry Falwell. The only really good thing I got was a 1936 Classical High diploma for Bertha Hester in a J.H. Miller picture frame for $12. Melinda McIntosh was there and I gave her the 1972 Silver Jubilee nut dish that I purchased on my trip to Ottawa with Father. She was very much pleased with it. I said it is a friendly token and if she ever gets mad at me she is not to smash it by throwing it at me. She called me "a very kind man." The sale overall was okay, but I probably won't go again. I dozed off in the late afternoon and awoke to the doorbell ringing and a rapping at the door. I ignored it all and went out later and found nothing.
There is a very fine analysis of pedophile priests in the morning paper. There was a demonstration in Boston today against Cardinal Law. Eamon said ex-rep Dennis Murphy has a consulting firm named Ventry Associates, which is named after Murphy's parent's hometown in County Kerry, Ireland. Eamon praised City Councilor Tim Rooke for what he's doing to clean out the rat's nest at Gerry Phillips' taxpayer funded Massachusetts Career Development Institute. Eamon's latest phone message says that Mayor Albano "is living on some kind of fantasy island, but his daydream is Springfield's nightmare."
35 degrees at 8:30am, a nice late winter day.
Today is the six month anniversary of 9/11. I think the whole mess is the fault of Bush, who was totally unprepared and lacked any street smarts, the dimwitted Republican!
Chrissie Farquhar was Father's secretary at Monarch and is to be credited for tidying up his stuff, correcting his math and so forth. She was intensely helpful and long after Father died continued to write Mother at Christmas time. Her mother Annie died in 1987. Chrissie married late in life to a wealthy gentleman named Hartley with a big house on a quiet street in Chicopee. In 1987 Benjamin F. Jones, Chairman of the Board of Monarch Capital Corporation was honored by the Pioneer Valley Boy Scouts of America with their Distinguished Citizen Award. He also won the William Pynchon Medal in 1984. Ben Jones hired me to inventory the Monarch archives and was a nice guy.
A girl playing with matches in the Zanetti School started a fire, and putting it out created a pressure strain so that a water main broke. The news says that Cobble Mountain Reservoir is down to 58% full. Mark Giza was featured on the TV22 news as working at Mark Henry Florist on Main Street in Indian Orchard. He and his wife are also Catholic television journalists for the Sunday morning program Real to Reel. WFCR had a piece about education in Jamaica where they have decided that boys and girls have different learning styles, with boys liking activity and sports while girls are more interested in the liberal arts. Good for them, they are making sense while we are spaced out.
I drove down to Smith & Reynolds today at 84 Maple Street in Springfield and parked in the fenced in lot out back. I rang the doorbell and young Jeff Reynolds answered and seemed a bit uneasy at first but we established a splendid rapport. I gave him the Wilbraham certificates and tax bills and showed him on the map the land that I am donating to the town. He said he will be able to complete the appraisal within a few weeks. Reynolds told me he went to Skidmore and majored in economics and has been doing this work for ten years. He said that Smith & Reynolds is the oldest appraisal firm in the valley and said they trained most of the people now working in the field who have big ads in the phonebook. I told him that I enumerated their building in the 1990 census and he said they've been located there for only four years and used to be on Williams Street. On the way home as I was passing STCC I was behind a guy in a cowboy hat driving a Taurus registration STATE 8895.
I noticed my Friendly Easter Seals coupons (I'll never buy anymore) all have early expiration dates of March 17th. So I drove out to the Wilbraham Friendly's and ordered a sundae with one of my discount coupons. I noticed as I left that there was some dirt and clutter behind the benches by the wall. I paid my bill and then told the dark haired Indian woman polishing the windows about the messy benches. Then the manager Cindy came up and asked if I wanted to pay. I said I already had and she punched the receipt number into the register and saw that I had. I told her that I am a stockholder and would not forget this incident. Embarrassed she smiled as I left. When I got home I called nurse Nancy at Renaissance Manor and she said Aunt Maria's condition remains unchanged. I asked whether Aunt Maria received any visitors and she said no but when I asked what about Shirley Lucia she replied, "Oh, yes!"
Eamon called and said he just spent $5,000 on a Tiffany lamp he bought in Pittsfield. I think talking on the phone is a form of therapy for Eamon. Eamon told me his friends who used to go regularly to the Liberty Street Friendly's think their latest price increases are too much and have stopped going. Eamon said that parking will be a problem for any sort of development of the York Street jail unless they take the F.L. Roberts place next door by eminent domain. Eamon complained that the new Picknelly hotel is unimpressive, but I said for the average tourist coming to see the Hall of Fame it is just the thing. Peter Picknelly may like luxury and stretch limos but ordinary people won't pay for them. Eamon recalled how he used to have a friend who flew him to the Cape and Block Island on his private plane. He said he would never drive to the Cape because of the traffic. Eamon says it's dismaying how Springfield voters can't see through the confusion and high fog index and throw Albano and his cronies out of office.
We talked about how Caron aide Leon Gaumond taking a job in East Longmeadow probably means that Caron won't be a state representative much longer. I told Eamon I don't like it that Gaumond, the former Democratic Chairman of corrupt Springfield, is getting a big job like that. Eamon said that Gaumond never impressed him, and that he considered Gaumond to be "non-responsive, evasive and over-confident." Eamon said he is glad he didn't invest too much time or money into the Caron for Mayor campaign since it ended in defeat despite the Caron's campaign's inner circle believing to the end he would win. Eamon says that of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts only three - Boston, Worcester and Springfield - have full time Election Commissioners. Eamon described Election Commissioner Brian Santaniello as "an opportunist feathering his own nest at taxpayer's expense" and a "yellow bellied chameleon slithering through the grass trying not to be perceived."
37 degrees and overcast at 9am.
Grandfather, Father and I were too gentle to make good lawyers. What is beautiful ultimately about the world is that all the human differences are what makes the world work, when properly educated and utilized.
Charlotte Clark, a school teacher in Southwick and Granville, died in 1986 at age 76. Debra A. Young and Harold R. Shaw were married at Liberty United Methodist Church in 1978. Albert and Mary Menzel were friends of my parents. They sometimes visited us at Fernbank in Wilbraham. They had a son Robert, a real live wire with whom I went to school, and two daughters Patricia and Janet. Father told me that Mary used to blackmail her husband to get her way, telling him there would be no sex unless she got a new washing machine or whatever. When Albert became confined to a wheelchair Mary divorced him, remarried and moved to the Midwest. She died in 1993. Al lived on Boston Road and worked for Monarch Life for 48 years. In 1976 he was honored by a dinner at the Mountain Laurel Restaurant attended by Monarch Chairman William C. Giles and President Benjamin Jones. Al Menzel died in 1986.
The Boston Herald has called for the resignation of Cardinal Law and the Bishop of Worcester has agreed to turn over information on pedophile priests within two weeks. Last night on Channel 57 they had a fine documentary on the history of Mountain Park. They interviewed mostly Holyoke people with Frances Gagnon nowhere to be seen. WFCR had a story about a Dr. Walsh who has "discovered" that kids who play violent video games are more likely to show violent tendencies in real life. Commonsense would tell you that, but nobody trusts commonsense anymore. There was an anti-war demonstration at STCC on the news and President A. Scibelli was shown participating. Does he have political ambitions?
There is a serious drought in Maine. Young & Young, the religious articles store on Worthington is going out of business. There is still the Open Window place up in Chicopee which is really a much more complete Catholic shop than Young & Young since it also sells books. It seems like every day there is less in downtown Springfield. The mail brought my Bank of Boston check and my Hamilton check so I decided to buy bonds with both. Today I stopped at the McDonald's on Boston Road opposite Big Y for two fish sandwiches and fries, then over to Mailboxes to make some copies. There are now three large Salvation Army collection boxes in the Five Town Mall parking lot. I swung by Byron's in Mason Square to see funeral director Michael C. DeVito about getting some cremation information but they were closed with only one lamp on inside. It is clear that the building is no longer regularly used. That's too bad, in its day Byron's was the biggest and most elegant funeral home in town, better and more prestigious than Dickinson-Streeter.
I drove over to Eamon's and saw several state police cruisers driving down Carew as I came to the intersection with Nottingham. Eamon gave me the March issue of Smithsonian which has a nice article on the Mountain View House where Mother and Aunt Maria once worked. Eamon recalled how in the 1990's he used to have an office on Lyman Street and earlier had one on Worthington. Eamon is delighted by the growing conflict between Gerald Phillips and Tim Rooke as Phillips desperately tries to shield MCDI documents from public view. Eamon says he hasn't heard anything from Karen Powell and is concerned she may be suffering from depression over Paul Caron's mayoral defeat. Eamon said that former State Commissioner of Education Robert V. Antonicci was a total incompetent. He criticized Congressman John Olver, insisting that Corinne Conte, the widow of Silvio Conte, should have run for the seat. Eamon recalled how Leslie A. Kirwan, Deputy Commissioner of the Mass Department of Revenue, was issuing warnings about Springfield's finances as far back as 1994. Eamon showed me a reply to a letter he received from President Bill Clinton in 1993 in which Clinton said, "I appreciate your honesty and candor." Eamon says he has no use for Hillary Clinton, whom he called "a permissive, social tinkering lesbian socialist."
Sunny, mild day. 39 degrees at 9:30am. Crocuses in full bloom.
News said this was the driest winter in 107 years of records. Arthur Anderson has been indicted for destruction of evidence in the Enron case. He deserves to be ruined. Olympian figure skating champion Sarah Hughes received the Key to the City of New York. The news reported on a protest at Greenfield Community College against budget cuts. I think college administrators support the activism of their students on these budgetary issues.
Vincent J. McCorkle is the President and CEO of the Sisters of Providence Health System in Springfield. The Holiday Inn in Springfield is located at 711 Dwight Street. Phillip Emil Rossmeisl was killed Sunday morning from injuries he received in an automobile accident on Wilbraham Road near my house. He worked at the Smokey Bones Restaurant in Springfield and was a Holyoke Community College dropout. I went out to see and photograph the accident scene today and the informal shrine that has been erected there. The accident happened on the same side of the street as my house near the Venture Drive lot which has a stockade fence around the back, opposite the drive of the brown house at 1640 Wilbraham Road. He went off the road and hit a big tree on the tree belt, leaving skid marks on the street and grass. Tied to the tree was a ribbon holding several bouquets of flowers and a Smokey Bones BBQ hat. At the base of the tree was a sign reading, "RIP - Phillip E. Rossmeisl Jr. - February 27, 1976 - March 10, 2002."
The mail came today at 2pm and included a letter from the Most Reverend Thomas L. Dupre, Bishop of Springfield, thanking me for sending him Father Lance Harlow's book entitled Vermont's First Catholic Bishop: The Life of Bishop Louis de Goesbriard, 1816-1899. I tried to contact my eye doctor Dr. Whalen of the Springfield Eye Association but the receptionist Sally said, "Dr. Whalen is no longer with us. He left to move down south a while ago." Going down the Bicentennial Highway near the middle school a Sears truck zoomed by me. He was really speeding. I tried to visit STCC today but there were no parking spaces except for one that was reserved for the radio station WTCC. At the old Water Shops the two original towers are still standing and they both have brickwork to accommodate clock faces, but presently there is no clock on the Forest Park side tower, and in the northern tower the clockface and hands are still there but the numbers no longer exist on the face. I generally park in a space I can drive out of, or at least try for a space that has a handicapped space behind it. Chances are they'll be unoccupied and you'll have no problem backing out.
Eamon called and said his back is getting worse and he's going to see his primary physician to see what can be done. The Springfield Union-News has printed an editorial praising Congressman Richard Neal and comparing him to his predecessor Edward Boland, whom they describe as "a giant." Eamon said he got on the phone and called Larry McDermott at the paper and left a message telling him how the Boston Globe once described Boland as "a cypher." Eamon noted that Richie Neal, Bill Bennett and Michael Ashe all endorsed Mayor Albano, saying "those worn out political hacks are indebted to Albano for running a taxpayer financed employment agency for their friends and relatives, where cash contributions trump qualifications." Eamon says the FBI is looking into Mayor Albano's campaign contribution reports with lots of unreported cash which does not coincide with legitimate check contributions. Eamon wondered how much Rep. Neal, D.A. Bennett and Sheriff Ashe are able to monitor the corruption investigation through back channel insider connections who tell them who is being interviewed by FBI agents.
Overcast and 43 degrees at 7am. Gas has jumped to $1.23 at the Breckwood Sunoco.
Vermont Governor Howard Dean has said he will veto a medical marijuana bill if it passes. Today is the 200th Anniversary of West Point. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 69. Liverpool has named their airport after John Lennon. East Longmeadow policeman and fireman Edwin A. Falk died in 1978 at age 60. His sister Linnea was an old acquaintance of Mother's. Kelly Marie Coerane and Alan S. Phillips were married in St. Paul's Lutheran Church in 1984.
Today I went to a wonderful luncheon at the Holiday Inn put on by Stores Online as an "Internet Cash Flow Conference" designed to tell you how to make money online. They served apple pie and chocolate cake, a variety of breads and cheeses, three types of salads and a wonderful spread of salami, ham, turkey and roast beef. It was a feast! The lecture was well-delivered but ultimately a misrepresentation as an "in-depth" presentation since it was in fact a sales pitch for a future seminar costing $40. I was surprised to run into Tomoe Viglione, the lady who used to be the crossing guard when I attended WNEC Law School. She is Korean and married her husband during the Korean War. Her husband Vincent worked as a foreman at Westover Air Force Base. She is now a wrinkled old woman but in the 1980's she was young and vibrant.
The Holiday Inn is all fixed up with a pool and exercise room, a video game room and a coin operated laundry. They have nice new carpeting sort of like the Sheraton and the front lobby has a large screen TV and snack bar. There is a plush dining room and the conference room was in the southwest corner of the building. There is also a restaurant called Zaffino's. They gave us a small notebook that had Holiday Inn printed on it and a pen. As I left I told Sandy the Food Service Supervisor that the food was wonderful and the hotel looks good but that I noticed spots on their glassware. I told her, "Your hotel is really nice but better attention to impeccably clean dinnerware is desired." She replied, "Thank you for letting us know that." She said they did two million dollars worth of renovations and she referred to the building as "old" although it was erected in 1969. On the way back I went downtown and walked around the Factory Outlet in Tower Square for about half an hour. They have some nice merchandise, especially the rugs. There were also a number of empty shelves, which makes me wonder if they may soon go out of business. I also stopped at STCC and was surprised to see there are bins with free copies of the Union-News. I also saw a similar bin at the Holiday Inn.
The latest poll for the Republican nomination for governor has Mitt Romney leading Jane Swift 73% to 17%. Eamon called and predicted that people will be "shocked and surprised" when the results of the corruption probe become known. He then tried in vain to remember the name of an Irish tabloid that existed many years before Hungry Hill Magazine in which his picture appeared a couple of times during his child singing star days. He doesn't know if the local history museum has copies. Eamon said that his first public performance was at the age of seven at a block dance on Kendall Street. He sang God Bless America and he was so small that Alderman Raymond Sullivan (also Governor's Councilor) had to hold him up so his mouth would be up to the microphone. When he was older he sang as part of the ceremonies for the first broadcast by WWLP-TV22 on March 17, 1953. Eamon said he also had an act with his sister Kathleen where he would sing tenor and she would dance. They used to perform regularly at a place called Dinty Moore's in Worcester and another place in Hartford whose name he couldn't recall. They also performed at The Red Barn on Montgomery Street in Chicopee Falls, owned by John L. Sullivan, where they passed the hat and they sometimes made more than $200. Someone named Pappas bought the place and it went downhill. Eamon sometimes did Latin pieces in church such as Panis Angelicus and Gounod's Ave Maria.
Eamon says he can sing over a hundred Irish songs from memory. Eamon described how a typical performance would open with Danny Boy and then include such songs as I'll Take You Home Kathleen, Back to Donegal, Mother McCree, The Rose of Tralee, That Old Irish Mother of Mine, A Little Bit of Heaven, How are Things in Glocamorra, Twas Only an Irishman's Dream, That's an Irish Lullaby and closing with It's a Great Day for the Irish. Eamon recalled that he also appeared several times at Irish shows at the Municipal Auditorium with Tin Whistle O'Malley where he performed as "Little Eddie Sullivan." He also used to perform on the radio, originally on WMAS and then on WACE with host Charles "Chic" O'Malley, who used to introduce Eamon as "the little man with the big voice." O'Malley was also the announcer at Pynchon Park for the Springfield Cubs and then the Springfield Giants. Eamon also sang at the Tara Club on Dwight near the Milner Hotel and at the Erie Club in the North End. All those people are now dead and those businesses closed down long ago.
St. Patrick's Day. WFCR said 30 degrees in Springfield at 8:30.
The news says Bishop Daniel Riley of Worcester is named in thirty lawsuits claiming he merely reassigned priests accused of sexual misconduct. This morning the Rev. Robert Schuller was on telling of visiting Lenin's tomb in Russia in 1993. He said that the tour guide told them that Lenin believed in Jesus until a priest told him, "The more we suffer the better it is for us." Upon hearing that Lenin ripped off the crucifix he was wearing around his neck and said he had no use for a God who believed in making people suffer. He was right, sadomasochism is a major strain in Christian practice - if someone smites thee turn the other cheek and all that.
Mark Giza does film reviews for Real to Reel in a segment called Center Aisle. Wrayburn M. Benton, who started at Mass Mutual when the firm was located in the Charles Hall building on Main Street, died in 1974 at 83. His wife died in 1965. Retired Monarch official Gordon M. Grady of East Longmeadow died in 1981 at age 69. His wife Louise worked in keypunch. In 1969 Father was honored for his long service to Monarch Life in a ceremony at Blake's Restaurant attended by President Benjamin F. Jones. Also honored that night was the worldly and cynical moneyman Gordon M. Grady, whose personality was in sharp contrast to the kindly, innocent, trusting Methodist gentleman that was Father. I was the only Monarch kid that was never hired by the company for at least summer work.
Today I cooked a frozen pumpkin pie. I received a thank you note from the Quadrangle for my gift towards the Seuss statues which I donated in the name of my dolls Floppy, Ambrose and Dumbo Miller, with no mention of me. The St.Patrick's Day Mass was on TV22 with commentators Jack O'Neill (whose voice sounded deeper than formerly) and Sister Joan Ryczwicz, who both did well. Conspicuous in his absence was former Bishop McGuire. There was a clean and straight homily by Bishop Dupree about the life of Saint Patrick. Dupree also spoke of his own two-week visit to Ireland in July of last summer with Father Francis Reilly (brother of former Senator Martin Reilly) and he praised the beauty of Ireland, especially the southwestern area. There was no mention this year of those nasty WASPS with their "No Irish Need Apply" signs or anything else for a Protestant to object to. Instead he spoke of the brave people of Ireland "who left fleeing hunger and persecution and seeking a better life." Dupree read from prepared texts held in front of him on a lectern and sometimes haltingly as if he had not practiced enough. The St. Patrick's Day Parade was also televised and was very nice. Superintendent J. Burke was there wearing a long plaid scarf. The hosts were Jack O'Neill and Brenda Garton. The sponsors of the parade were Baystate Medical Center, Catholic Education ("Teaching Gospel Values"), Chicopee Savings, Holyoke Hospital at Ingleside, Mercy Hospital, People's Bank and the Union-News/Sunday Republican. TV22 showed the TV40 delegation marching, a classy gesture and a departure from the standard practice of ignoring the competition.
Larry McDermott's latest column is a puff piece about the Seuss statues, and Francis Gagnon has her picture in the paper again talking about the history of Rosie the Riveter. I called McDermott and left a message that Gagnon appears in the paper too often, that other people are making news and if he doesn't know who they are he should find them. I also said regarding his latest column that birdshit will be a problem with the Seuss sculptures and I also reminded him of what a fiasco Pynchon Park turned out to be. I warned McDermott that even though I am more polite than Eamon I am just as critical of the paper's failure to fully inform. Eamon called and said he spoke to Nader the Hatter whose car broke down and the repairs cost him two grand. Eamon recalled how in the 1950's he was on the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee but got tired of going to the weekly meetings. Mike Albano was on TV saying that he "brought pride back to the city." But Eamon says how can anyone be proud of a last place ranked school system, high violent crime rate, one of the poorest quality of life environment rankings for children and a $350 million dollar debt with a near junk bond rating and a city government under investigation for corruption?
Snowing at dawn's first light.
The Unabomber has sent a handwritten letter to the Supreme Court asking for a new trial. Cardinal Edward Egan, formerly of Bridgeport, is in trouble for not investigating or reporting to police instances of sexual misconduct by priests. District Attorney William Bennett has called on Cardinal Law of Boston to resign. A TV22 poll says 86% think that priests should be able to marry and 14% disagree. The Catholic Church is an institution built upon lies. So is the Protestant Church, but not such big lies.
The Agawam Public Library reopened today after months of renovations. The Reminder has had advertising inserts in it lately, so inserts are no longer the exclusive domain of the Union-News. Conductor Kevin Rhodes will be speaking at the Tuesday Morning Music Club tomorrow. Mitt Romney has announced he is running for Governor and Acting Governor Jane Swift has dropped out of the race. Consultant Tony Cignoli was on the news discussing the sudden rise of Romney in Massachusetts politics.
Richard E. Hickey worked at Monarch and served as an East Longmeadow Selectman. Max R. Petzold, a charter member of the Springfield Chess Club, died in 1977 at age 84. Edith Nyman of Greenfield worked at Monarch and died in 1987. Her husband Alvar died in 1967. Ella M. Atkins and her husband Donald were Monarch employees and friends of Bob Dorman who sometimes had lunch with Father. Donald died in 1989 and Ella in 1993. Howard E. Tuthill, Director of claims at Monarch, was an egomaniac of epic proportions. He worked with Mother under G.B. Smith of Wilbraham, whom she considered a nice man. Mother said whenever Smith was away Tuthill wold move into Smith's office and start bossing people around.
In 1963 my graduation from Colby College was noted with a picture of me and fellow graduate Ernest S. Sagalyn, who lived on Sumner Avenue. Earl Smith at Colby used to send out such press releases in those days, but graduation pictures no longer get in the paper, although the Just Folks column might print a notice. I also got my picture in both the Springfield newspaper and the Boston Globe for being one of the winners of the Massachusetts State Science Fair in 1959. Seeing the picture recently I felt like telling my younger self, "Wipe that smile off your face, you conceited little pompous ass brat." In 1970 Father was promoted to Chief Underwriter at Monarch Life one month before his retirement, a nice gesture by the company. Father was a fine, sweet man but society has coarsened since his day under the pressure of an immense influx of immigrants who are not acculturated to our society. Father was a model of how good people could be. Yet he had no interest in storming the beaches of Normandy, and the men that did gave America more than poor Father did or would have wanted to. These things are extremely complicated.
Called Renaissance Manor in Westfield and spoke to Nurse Nancy, who told me that Aunt Maria's condition remains stable. She told me that she is aware that Aunt Maria's birthday is the 23rd. I also asked if she had any visitors and she replied that "we are not at liberty to give out information like that." I also called Attorney Frank A. Saia who is in a battle to save his property on State Street from being seized by eminent domain. He said he is 65 and formerly worked as a city manager. Saia said he knows Bob and Karen Powell from seeing them at City Council meetings, and he knows Eamon through his friend Leo Sadaropolis. He said he has sent press releases to the Valley Advocate about his fights with City Hall but has received no reply. I said he should call and speak to Maureen Turner directly.
Eamon doesn't know the difference between good paper and scrap paper and so wastes a lot of good paper. Eamon called and said that Mayor Albano has been terrible for economic development, with TV22, the Merrick Company and W.F. Young leaving the city for greener pastures on his watch. He also claimed that the Springfield Police Department has a bad reputation throughout the state. Eamon said he spoke with Gingras the teacher today, who told him about having to cover for a teacher at Commerce who was out sick. It turns out that the controversial civil rights activist Frank Buntin is the teacher's aide in that classroom. Early in the class Gingras looked over and saw Buntin sitting there sound asleep, so Gingras shook him awake. Buntin then left the classroom and didn't return. Later Gingras mentioned this incident to other teachers, who told him that Buntin falls asleep so often that the regular teacher no longer bothers to wake him up. Gingras said he heard that Buntin makes $35,000 a year to doze all day, but because of his political connections nothing can be done.
Eamon recalled how he sang at the wedding of the nationally known journalist Mark Shields when he married Ann Sullivan. They were only married for a few years and Eamon said the rumor was that his wife came home unexpectedly one day and found him in bed with another man. That reminded Eamon of how Donald Carity, who owns the storage warehouse on Worthington Street, once told him that he saw something going on in a car parked in the back of his lot. When he approached the car he claims he surprised Gerald Phillips of the MCDI with another man in the middle of a homosexual encounter. Eamon once again stated how Jack Nelen of Kavanaugh's Furniture, whose wife Miriam served on the School Board and is Joe Napolitan's sister, told him on more than one occasion that he believes Phillips is a sexual deviant.
35 degrees at 10:10am. Sunny, calm, snow quickly melting. The celebration of Passover begins at sundown.
The McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill passed today. Fox News is not reliable. Andrea Bocelli's Statue of Liberty Concert was aired on the last day of the WGBY-TV Membership Campaign. Juan Williams on WFCR says that newspapers have lost 25% of their circulation in the past ten years. Father Gerald Walsh of Leominster has admitted to molesting a kid twenty years ago. He presided at the inauguration of Governor William Weld. The City Council of Boston has voted unanimously to no longer use the word "minority" since 55% of the city's population are people traditionally identified as minorities. Mayor Menino has promised to veto it saying that it would make it difficult for Boston to get money that is set aside by the federal government for minority groups. Robert L. Potvin of Boston has a good letter in the Boston Globe about the difficulty of finding a job if you are a 58 year old white man.
Williston Academy is in Easthampton, Massachusetts. The Hampden Savings Foundation has announced it is giving money to Elms College, the Community Music School and Habitat for Humanity, among others. They have begun demolishing the airwalk connecting the Civic Center and the parking garage. There was a fire at the smoke shop at 1210 Main Street and some damage to the restaurant next door. The WMECO plant in West Springfield is being refitted with new units to make it burn cleaner. The plant was built in 1948.
Edward J. Gula, a meatcutter from Chicopee, has died at age 78. Mel Coburn retired from Monarch in 1963. George A. Coulter of Chicopee, an Accountant at Spaulding, died in 1985. His sister, Ethel Coulter of Agawam, was one of Mother's good friends. Ethel was friendly despite her high status at Monarch as an Executive Secretary. Ann B. Beaton and Mildred M. Blackburn were also distinguished Monarch secretaries. In retirement Ethel was a worker at the South Congregational tag sales. There was a sad matter in Ethel's life about which she didn't speak involving her son Glenn Coulter, who was born out of wedlock. Nothing was ever known about the identity of the father. The son graduated from Yale and moved to New York, but something happened and he became a black sheep that no one talked about, although the son was mentioned in her obituary after her death in 1992.
Dined today on Total, fruit juice, the last of the pumpkin pie, pizza and a can of Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs. I need exercise badly and weigh 203 pounds, which is about 30 pounds overweight for my height. From all the reading I've been doing lately I have a bit of a headache and eyestrain. Withdrew interest from my big CD at A.G. Edwards & Sons via Kathryn M. Baillargeon to invest in stocks. Heading out today I gave Mrs. Penniman a Boston Herald for which she thanked me. The Cohn's were just on their way out and I waved. Mr. Turner in the white brick house at Ballard was out looking into his mailbox so I stopped to ask how he was. He said the people across the street at 115 are selling their house. When I tried to pull out of my driveway there were nine cars lined up along Birchland waiting to get onto Wilbraham Road. One person thoughtfully let me back out. Went to Dorothea Radzicki's Antique Boutique and bought Minnie R. McGlynn's diploma from Child's School of Shorthand and Typewriting from 1892. I paid $40 for it.
Eamon called and complained again about his neighbor who works for the city as a truck driver. He said he leaves every morning at 6:45 and is back home with the truck at 7:05! Eamon recalled that he once had an office at the lovely Apremont Building rented to him by Morris Kirby for $75 a month and said the Hannon Detective Agency was in the same building. Eamon also said he has discovered that it is not illegal for Officer Chester J. Ardolino to own a bar. He said he called and told Maureen Turner at the Valley Advocate because she had wondered about it. We discussed the newspaper report that 24 of the 40 schools in Springfield (not counting the high schools) are rated as under-performing. Eamon said that former School Superintendent Peter Negroni got paid $2000 for addressing the Latino Breakfast Club the other day. He said Negroni always gets paid two grand per speech and said that Negroni's Springfield house, which he still owns, used to be owned by Mayor Frank Freedman.
43 degrees at 12:30pm. Sunny, puffy clouds, a breeze.
To keep you is no gain, to lose you is no loss.
Since 9/11 train travel is up, air travel is down. Howard John Wesley, the pastor of St. John's, was in a commercial on WGGB inviting everyone to Easter Sunday services at the Municipal Auditorium: "No dress code, no fee, see you there." TV's Mrs. Fixit (Terri McGraw) is at the Home Show this year. The news showed retired Bishop Joseph F. McGuire was among those attending the ceremony for Francis Gagnon's Woman's History Month Award. Previous recipients of the award include Rep. Cheryl Rivera and Police Chief Paula Meara. Meagan Brennan, Assistant Director of the Springfield Post Office was also shown and Dave Madsen remarked that Gagnon "probably knows more about Springfield's history than anyone else." Phooey! I called Meagan Brennan at the post office and spoke with her secretary Jean Valentini. I asked the procedure by which Fran Gagnon was nominated for the award and she said their Diversity Specialist Debbie Woods would send me a letter about how to nominate someone.
The Clapp Memorial Library is at 19 South Main Street in Belchertown. Farmer and boater Richard J. Gula has died at age 61. UMass each year has a ceremony for the arrival of Spring at the sunwheel at the edge of the football field. Mrs. Staniski left a bag of goodies on the back gate consisting of some honey popcorn, lemon cookies and Easter candy in the form of bunnies. Wesley Snipes is on the cover of USA Weekend with the article titled, "Wes is More." It was brought to my attention by my neighbor Robert S. Jozefczyk. Dined on hash this evening and one of those cholesterol laden frozen quiches. They're delicious but I will have no more. I called Renaissance Manor today and spoke to a male nurse named Darryl who said Aunt Maria is doing fine but could offer no further information. These people are less communicative and seem less professional than Western Mass Hospital. Most nursing homes are too much like a restaurant and hotel with too much food, to much snazz and too much overhead. The real need is medical attention and help in getting around.
Went to the Foster Memorial Tag Sale today and arriving early I stood in line with Ann Aykanian, the mother of Gail who owns Better Yet in Northampton. I asked her why the Words & Pictures Comix Museum closed and she said that soaring rents on Main Street in Northampton are starting to be a real problem. She said the Goodwill used to have a big store in Hamp but when the old man who owned their building died his kid bumped the rent way up and they couldn't afford to stay. Another little shop that sold African junk moved out overnight when their rent soared to $4,300 per month. Ann said that her own shop is on Market, a side street so rents are still reasonable and they recently installed track lighting. She said Paul Picknelly's wife is one of her regular customers, as is Kurt Vonnegut's daughter. We talked about Monarch and she said she is certain it was Ben Jones who brought in Gordon Oakes. She said that when she worked there she was in disability, not CLU like I thought. Ann also said there will be no South Church sale this spring. The old timers who did the work have died out and the young members are too busy. Melinda McIntosh was there but was way back in line so we couldn't chat. All I bought was a 1999 book of poems by Wally Swist, formerly of Johnson's Bookstore. As I left Durham Caldwell and his wife were just arriving on foot, so I honked at them and waved.
Eamon says that people sometimes ask him for letters of recommendation. He said that when he was in the Navy he wrote letters for two Catholic chaplains seeking promotions and wrote one for Rose Marie Coughlin when she was applying for UMass. He also recalled how former State Representative Jack Sweeney, who represented Wards 1 and 2, worked as a school councilor despite widespread rumors that he was a pedophile. There was also a Father Tom Dow who used to coach kids and was rumored to like grabbing kids in the shower at the American Legion Liberty Post 430. Eamon complained that it is an outrage that Father Lavigne is still on the church payroll and he believes that can only mean that Lavigne has something on the higher ups. Eamon says the FBI told him they are working on over 50 indictments thus far against various officials in Springfield. Eamon says there is also talk of putting Springfield under a State Department of Revenue Financial Control Board.
Heavily overcast and 40 degrees at 7:30am. Gas at Pride is $1.33.
Fixing things that aren't broken does more harm than good.
There was a 5.9 quake in Afghanistan. News said this was the fifth warmest winter on record. White toothpaste polishes silver. Studies show that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week. The Mountain View Grand Hotel in Whitefield, New Hampshire will reopen in May. Cambridge is lowering the voting age in local elections to 17 if they can get the state legislature to go along. The Weekly Reader elementary school newspaper is 100 years old. It was founded by someone in Agawam. Yesterday the State Board of Education met at Central High School in Springfield. The Friends of the Springfield Library will hold their annual meeting April 18 in the Community Room of the Sixteen Acres Branch Library.
Maurice Freedman of the Springfield Symphony was born in 1895 and died in 1976. He had in his studio a framed picture of his teacher, Cesar Thompson, "last of the Belgian Masters" which is now in my collection. Martin Baron is the editor of the Boston Globe. He comes from Miami and said the political process in Florida is generally "more open" than in Massachusetts. Retired Westinghouse employee George B. Nystedi has died at age 91. His daughter Sally was a sweet giggly kid who went to Mount Holyoke. Dined on Dinty Moore Beef Stew and a can of fruit. Spoke to Mrs. Staniski who said a squirrel is digging up her lawn. She said her daughter Ann is coming this weekend to take her to Arlington for the weekend. Ann has only been employed by Harvard for five years and has to be there ten to get a pension so she won't be retiring at age 65. Went to Louis & Clark this afternoon to put the mail out and had to drive in heavy after school traffic.
Republican Minority Leader Dick Armey says "We must break the liberal stranglehold on American college campuses." Former State Representative Fred Whitney came over today to drop off the book I let him borrow. Whitney also gave me a flyer he wrote about how to revitalize the Massachusetts Republican Party. He said his son Fred Jr. the hippie musician is in the hospital because he may have had a stroke. I didn't show Fred around because the place wasn't cleaned up. I asked him what he thought of Mitt Romney as a candidate for Governor and he said on a scale of ten he would give Romney a seven. We parted cordially and I told him to come back anytime.
click to enlarge
The Boston church scandal was initially reported in the Boston Phoenix last summer. Eamon called and said an operation on his back is scheduled for April 4th. Eamon said he likes Maureen Dowd's latest column in the paper today on the Catholic mess. Eamon stated that as one of seven kids he had to grow up fast. He told me that Fred Whitney is a regular caller to his phone messages. Eamon talks about twice a week with his lifelong friend former Deputy Chief Dan Spellacy. He said Spellacy could have helped straighten out the police force when he was Deputy Chief but did not. Eamon claims that Mayor Albano's big fundraiser in February was put on by Peter Picknelly, Chairman of Peter Pan Bus Lines and former City Councilors Francis G. Keough III and Raipher D. Pellegrino.
40 degrees at 8:54am. Basically overcast with the sun playing hide and seek. Gas at Pride $1.35.
Queen Mum Elizabeth has died at 101. Bemjamin Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania in 1749. Agawam Medical Supply has been in the news for routinely over-billing the state since the 1990's. Eamon's nephew Park Superintendent Patrick J. Sullivan will address the Outer Hill Civic Association on plans for the city to purchase Camp Wilder. The Liquor Commission has granted a liquor license to the Pizzeria Uno Restaurant under construction on the riverfront off West Columbus Avenue adjacent to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. I had an unwanted visitor last night at 9 o'clock. The doorbell rang repeatedly and then there was a rapping at the back window. I could see someone in blue clothing through the drapes. I disappeared into the next room. More rapping. Then the doorbell. Then silence.
Bruce Notman, Chairman of the Republican Town Committee of Agawam, died in May of 1978. Gurdon W. Gordon died in 1977 at age 70. He was the Monarch lawyer and the brains behind the company. I remember he had a large model ship in a rectangular glass case in his office. He treated Father kindly and encouraged him in his studies. Gurdon Gordon had two sons and was not difficult to deal with in any way, he was a fine WASP gentleman. John W. Miller (1906-1985) and Blanche W. Miller (1906-1999) appeared together in a photograph in the December 1941 issue of the Monarch Message. They are shown as a cute, handsome couple in their prime. Mother soured up after I was born and I remember her incessant nagging going back to my earliest days on Crest Street.
Mrs. Venelli down the street is having siding put on her house by Beaulieu Home Improvement. The Mudry's drove by and waved. They are nice people. Neigbor Dick Nichols' woodpile looks like a heap of termite infested waste that should be carted off. Went to United Cooperative Bank and a new man, Robert T. Blinn, helped me with my security deposit box. Then over to the 16 Acres Friendly's where the man who waited on me gave me a generous scoop on a sugar cone. I saw that the ice cream freezer still has dirt behind it. Then over to Food Mart where I bought a Grote & Wiegel Kielbasa, some cream cheese and the New York Times. I had a free lunch in the form of free pizza slices. Eleven o'clock is a good time to shop because of the free food. Stop & Shop rarely has any free samples.
Went out today and cleaned up around the Tiger Lilies and mowed along the outside border of the hedge and then uncovered the air conditioners. I came into the garage to rest when suddenly Edith walked into the garage and said to call Shirley. I asked, "What Shirley?" She said that Shirley Huang is trying to reach me because Aunt Maria died Thursday. She said they have been trying to reach me but no one has answered. I said I've been working outside and she replied, "At nine o'clock at night?" I should have said I was in a gay bar with my boyfriend. Instead I was very polite and thanked her for coming while making sure she didn't stumble on the garage step. I must not leave the garage door open and the car out as I have been doing. After she was gone I drove out to the Sixteen Acres Library to see Aunt Maria's obituary. Larry Gormally was there sitting behind the Reference Desk with one of the librarians for the longest time. The obituary has a number of flaws, omitting any mention of Bay Path Institute, Monarch, Giroux Machine Company and my name is wrong:
FEEDING HILLS - Eleanor Maria Giroux, 98, died Thursday, March 28. She was born in Bethel Lympus, Vermont, the daughter of Frank Martin Wilson and Blanche Simpson Gleason Wilson. She attended school in Bethel and graduated from Whitcomb High School. She attended Bay Path College and worked for many years as a private stenographer. She was active in the Feeding Hills Grange for 37 years and was a member of the Agawam United Methodist Church. She was well known for pie baking at the Big E. Her husband, George, died in 1966 and her sister, Blanche Wilson Miller, in 1999. She leaves a nephew, John W. Miller of Springfield, and several cousins, including Doreen Norton Wait of Arizona and Shirley Whittier Huang of Ohio.
As I was headed towards the door the Jozephczyk's were just coming in. From the library I went over to the Eastfield Mall where the place was packed with people bringing their kids to see the Easter Bunny. Coralie Gray was there with her son and we exchanged pleasantries. On the way back at the Acres intersection I stopped to let an old man cross who didn't even wave or say thank you. I shouted out my widow, "You didn't thank me mister!" but he must have been hard of hearing.
The mail came at 1:10pm and I got a fundraising letter from Edwin Meese, former Attorney General under Ronald Reagan, urging me to support Linda Chavez and her organization Stop Union Political Abuse. An article in the Boston Globe says the $40 million makeover of Worcester's lovely train station has failed to revive it. The same fate probably awaits Union Station, one of the ugliest train stations in the area. In the paper today it was reported that there will be a full auditing of the Massachusetts Career Development Institute. Gerry Phillip's last job was as a Commonwealth Bingo Inspector. Before Mike Albano became Mayor he used to work for State Auditor Joseph DeNucci, who's a former middleweight prize fighter and a nice guy but he never studied accounting or became a CPA. Doubtless Albano's connection to DeNucci has helped Albano to escape scrutiny over the years.