June 2001

June 1, 2001

Beautiful day, 53 degrees at 7:05am. Gas is $1.71 at both stations at Watershops Pond.

Professionalism makes all things possible.

Rep. Moakley's funeral was in Boston today, and all the politicians who matter had to go. Hank Ketchum, the creator of Dennis the Menace in 1951, has died, His four year old son was the model for Dennis. Profile Systems is an electronic computer company in West Springfield. Ted Coppinger is Vice President for Sales at Starburst Printing and Graphics in Holliston, Massachusetts. Malory Truman is the Public Relations Manager for the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester. Joseph J. Deliso was a business leader in Springfield and a founder of STCC.

Red clover and Iris are out. I woke up at 6:15am and put on my orange jumpsuit and "Correctional Facility" t-shirt and got in the car with my abacus to go to Take Stock in Massachusetts, the information technology show put on by the cutely named The.COMmonwealth. Their motto is, "Massachusetts: The State of Things to Come." It began at 8am with a continental breakfast in Scibelli Hall. I got to STCC at 7:35 so I parked and waited in the car. The guy in the vehicle next to me was just finishing up a Dunkin Donuts breakfast, then put on his jacket and straightened his tie before going in. This was a computer show so not surprisingly I saw lots of people going in carrying laptop computers in shoulder bags. Some were dressed up but many were geeks who were dressed very casually. Finally I gathered up my stuff and slouched inside. A thirty-something guy laughed to see my abacus and politely said, "I see you brought your computer," to which I replied, "It's the only kind of computer I would own."

Inside Scibelli Hall, I went to the registration table and despite the fact that I had told them that I am a fully licensed attorney, my name tag read only "J.W. Miller." I noticed other people's name tags had both their title and their firm. They had a table of freebies that included some free mugs left over from the opening of the Chicopee River Business Park on June 23, 2000. Why did they have all those leftover mugs? I notice they often have mugs from public events for sale at the Goodwill, but no one except me ever buys them. I once got a University of Vermont mug there. The breakfast consisted of danish, cinnamon swirls and cute little cups of Yoplait Yogurt. I took a strawberry/banana one, although raspberry is my favorite. There was a large bowl of fruit consisting mostly of melons. They also had coffee, soda and cookies.

Following breakfast, I stood in the common court area and a short man in a dark suit came up with a black walkie-talkie and a gleaming USMC lapel button and introduced himself as James J. Dowd. I recognized the name as being the person whom some people claim is the brains behind the President of STCC. I told him how I respect the Marines and that I was deferred from serving in Vietnam by teaching English. He said he used to teach at the Junior High School level and got his doctorate from UMass. I joked about Shakespeare criticism being a form of library pollution and that they should shut up about Shakespeare and save the trees! I didn't mention my correspondence with President Scibelli or Leonard Collamore, but I did mention H. Howard Lynch. I promised I would drop off some postcards and reading material for him and Dowd said he would be looking forward to it.

The program started a tad late, with a welcome from President Andrew Scibelli, followed by a few words from economic development hack Alan Blair, who used all the local cliches about turning western Mass into a "knowledge corridor." Congressman Neal was supposed to speak, but instead his speech was read by his aide Kevin Kennedy, who said Neal had to attend Moakley's funeral. This is the third major event I've attended where Neal was supposed to speak but sent an aide instead. Where was Albano? It's like when we had Porter from Harvard here a few years ago and Albano was too busy to attend. Having gotten a cheesy Springfield College degree, he does nothing to supplement it. When the opportunity comes, and there are precious few of them in Springfield these days, he should sit and soak up some learning. I saw Russ Denver and Bruce Stebbins standing in the back. I sat smack dab in the middle of the Hall and no one sat next to me on either side. Near me sat Michael Garjian of Valley CDC in Northampton. We chatted between speakers and he is a good conversationalist, jovial and good at asking questions. He wanted to know how my abacus worked and we fooled around with it. I also spoke with J. William Ward of the Regional Employment Board, who was politely confrontational about how I was dressed, saying I was "trying to get noticed" and when I told him my name he said he had never heard of me.

The main speaker was Raymond Kurzweil, inventor, innovator and author of The Age of Intelligent Machines (1990). I first heard of him back around 1985 when I read about his optical character reading technology. Naturally I wanted to hear him, but in fact he was somewhat disappointing. He spoke as a generalist about the future, but not as thoughtfully as I'd hoped. But still, you go to a lecture like that and listen and you soak up the ethos of it all and that is intellectually valuable. At the start of Kurzweil's speech the Hall was 90% full. I was aghast at the people that got up and left before the speech was over, with only 75% staying for the whole thing. Virtually everyone present was white except for a handful of Orientals and two blacks. I was one of the oldest people there. At the end of his speech Alice Jelin presented Kurzweil with a chocolate computer.

After the speeches, we went across the street to the new Enterprise Center at the STCC Technology Park. The building has been beautifully restored with the utmost respect for the architectural integrity of the building as a historic structure. The most conspicuous thing when you get in the lobby is the Larry Slezak mural "The Entrepreneurial Spirit" dated 2000. I noticed that nearby there was a big tablet listing those who had made financial contributions. I also spotted that there was a typographical error. Of course I had my Correctional Facility t-shirt on, which normally would mean jail, but on me it means I'm the meanest proofreader in town! I walked up to the receptionist and referring to the copy of the Union-News sitting on her desk, I pointed out the hyphen. Then I pointed to the paper's name on the tablet which was missing the hyphen! She thanked me politely for pointing out their error, and I said there was no need to thank me, since I was merely carrying out my role as a Correctional Facility.

After the tour I went to see Jeff the Framer, and when I got there ahead of me was a woman picking up a framed portrait of Abraham Lincoln. I remarked that you meet beautiful people at Jeff's, to which she smiled and told me she used to work for the Country Buffet until she developed health problems. I was dismayed when Jeff informed me that Leonard's Gallery is closing at the end of July. Jeff is part owner of the gallery and complained that his sister didn't tell him of the closing until it was publicly announced. He said his sister is glad to get out of the business.

I recall how I bought a Ronald Reagan jelly bean jar there, which is still in my living room but looks out of place among my parent's decorative items from the 1950's and 60's. The closing of Leonard's Gallery is the final nail in the coffin of downtown Springfield as a cultural merchandising center. I said that someone like David Starr would suggest that the economy of this area will boom once the new Basketball Hall of Fame opens, but Jeff grumbled that the Hall of Fame is on the other side of the expressway (what Thurston Munson called "The Wall of China") and no Hall of Fame visitors would come to visit his shop. Jeff said everyone is telling him how sad they are that the gallery is closing "but where was their support when we needed it?"

Before I left I took the opportunity to take a last look at the Leonard Gallery. They had a farewell book, so I signed it saying I have appreciated their wonderful shop and noted that they were a supporter of Channel 57. They still have lots of merchandise at 20% off, and doubtless prices will drop further as it gets closer to the end. Then I went to Mercolino's Bakery next door and bought a blueberry turnover for 75 cents and read the Valley Advocate as I ate it. There was an editorial by Tom Vannah describing the Albano Administration as "in a shambles." Vannah recalled how when he interviewed Albano for the first time as mayor, Albano begged him "don't put me in bed with the mob" to which Vannah replied, "I only report the facts." He said since then Albano has had many interactions with those who have mob connections, so it isn't Vannah who has placed him in bed with the mob, but Albano who placed himself there with his unethical behavior. In some respects Albano has tried to do a good job, but with a flimsy degree in Community Education, Albano isn't even the academic equivalent of a nursing grad from STCC.

June 3, 2001

Raining, thunderstorms, 63 degrees at 1:30pm.

Comic actress Imogene Coca, whom my parents liked, has died in Connecticut at age 92. Vice President Otto Hartig worked for Monarch Life Insurance from 1945 to 1990. Francis K. Toto was Editor and Chief of the Suffolk University Law Review in 1982. John A. Williamson was the Associate Executive Director of the New York State Bar Association in 1983. Richard R. John was the Managing Editor of Harvard's Business History Review in 1983. Frances Gagnon wrote a history of the Eastern States Exposition in 1988. Northampton's James T. Garvey, a boy scout leader, carpenter for Smith College and brother of newspaperman Richard Garvey, died in 1998 at age 84.

A background in the Humanities is the best preparation for productive activity over a broad range of areas. The automobile has produced urban sprawl. I recall how in my childhood, the road up to South Hadley was virtually all scrub pine on both sides of the road. I believe we are also producing intellectual sprawl, with all the garbage available and the good stuff not accessible. At what point does technology interfere with the improvement of the human condition? At what point do humans cease to be humans and become machines?

This afternoon I had a slight pain in my head and my ears started humming. I feared I was having some kind of attack, perhaps a mini-stroke such as Father had. However, I quickly recovered and resumed reading after taking two aspirin. In 1954, when I was in Junior High School, Father earned his law degree from the Blackstone School of Law. He would study a little each night before he went to bed. Mother became rattled by all the studying going on but it was never to end.

Mrs. Staniski and her daughter Ann came by today at 10:30am. I opened the garage door for them so they could drive right in because it was raining. I showed them around and Ann admired the organ and the illuminated manuscripts. She briefly played the Doxology on the organ. I showed the scrapbook of family pictures from Fernbank in Wilbraham. Ann told me that the first time she saw a television was at my house when we lived on Crest Street. I told her that surprises me because my parents were late in getting one. They declined my refreshments because Ann said she can't eat sweets because they make her "shake all over." As a gift I gave Ann the kid's xylophone I got at a tag sale someplace. They left at 11:35am.

This afternoon my neighbors Thomas and Maria Mudry stopped by. Tom is 58 but looks older, his wife is thin and has her hair dyed a deep brown. Tom was wearing a t-shirt with an American flag on it, she was wearing a white top with pretty needlework on it in several colors. She said she is Portuguese and grew up in Indian Orchard. Tom said his mother was Polish and his father, whom he never knew, was Russian. Though he never knew his father, Tom said he had good memories of his grandparents. He said Mudry is not a common name in any nationality. Tom grew up in Chicopee and Holyoke, and before moving to 16 Acres they lived in East Forest Park over in a quiet section behind Burt Road. They moved to Birchland Avenue because they wanted a house all on one floor in their retirement. He is a truck driver and his wife works at Carando. He also served in the Army in Vietnam. Tom said his only hobby is golf. They have three daughters and six grandchildren with one on the way. I offered them some refreshments, but they said they don't drink and only had some potato chips. I showed them old pictures of the neighborhood and my historic maps of 16 Acres. In short, they are lower middle class people who have worked hard all their lives and who now have a really nice house.

I had to use Raid today to kill a spider climbing up the cord of my lamp. Mother always caught them in a glass jar and then released them outdoors. There are a lot of houses for sale in Springfield on the way to Wilbraham. This afternoon while the rain paused I left the Boston Herald in the Penniman's front breezeway door and left a bag of magazines for the Cohn's. I waved to Cressotti and Lucius. Yesterday I went to the Boston Road McDonald's for lunch and to read the morning paper. At 11:05 they were serving lunch although they still had the breakfast signs up. For supper tonight I dined on Swanson's Traditional Favorite Beef Pot Roast Dinner and a can of chicken noodle soup. Nicole Jones, a former activist in the Chelan Jenkins campaign, has announced she is running for Mayor of Springfield.

June 5, 2001

Lovely morning, 60 degrees at 7am. Gas is $1.70 at Citgo in the Acres.

We may be approaching a new kind of Dark Age where only those who pay can know.

Senator J. Jeffords of Vermont has left the Republican Party. Westfield State College was founded in 1839. Dr. Richard E. Greene was the Dean of Westfield State College in 1983. Oren K. Gilbert was the Collector of Taxes in Wilbraham in 1936. Frank B. Dobek was Collector of Taxes in Wilbraham in 1939. The Wilbraham Board of Assessors consisted of Edward H. Godfrey, Harold K. Jones and Allan R. Kinney in 1962. J.M. Clemenshaw Appraisers was located in Wilbraham in 1977.

There is a Quality Inn at 1878 Wilbur Avenue in Somerset, Massachusetts. The Hampden County Hall of Justice is at 50 State Street in Springfield. According to the Springfield Journal's "Voices of the Past" columnist Larry Gormally, Citizen's Hall in 16 Acres "was a multi-purpose building used primarily as a schoolhouse for several decades." It was erected in 1859 and closed because of structural problems in 1929. It was demolished in 1960. In 1963 Father complained to the town of Wilbraham about "parkers and other undesirables who deposit their rubbish" at Fernbank. By 1966 Fernbank was being repeatedly broken into and vandalized.

I went to Louis & Clark today to put out a pile of mail and ran into retired Officer Bobby Brown. He said he is disgusted with the Basketball Hall of Fame for never paying the city the money it agreed to in its original contract. He complained that the dogs next door to him bark all night. Brown asked about my doggie collar and I said it was to make people ask questions. I then told him how my attire once caused WNEC security to detain me for half an hour. While getting gas today a young guy with a mustache came up to me, pointed to my doggie collar and asked, "Is there a reason for that?" I replied, "You bet there is," but didn't tell him what.

I swung by Walmart to see if my pictures were done but they were not because of the post Memorial Day rush. Then I drove down to Springfield Technical Community College, parked in the circle, then went inside where the secretary pointed me to the office of Jim Dowd. The door was locked and no one answered when I knocked, so I started to slide my envelope of reading material under the door. Suddenly the door swung open and there was Dowd, all dressed up in a suit and white shirt, red cheeks and a bright smile. "Good morning, Attorney Miller!" he exclaimed. I handed him the envelope saying, "Here, as promised." Dowd thanked me and I beat it.

From there I drove downtown and parked on Salem Street and walked over to the Telephone Worker's Credit Union where I deposited some chickenfeed stock checks. I strolled over to City Hall to pay the water bill and to document the former Springfield address of the Mudry's. Tilly's is closed for a month of renovations. The Civic Pub was closed, but someone got out of a car with the bumpersticker "Sex isn't dirty unless you do it right," and unlocked the door. When I got back home I chatted briefly on the phone with Shirley Whittier Huang, who said that Aunt Maria is fine. I then got a phone call from Bob Grillo of United Transmissions who is willing to take the 1935 Ford out of the garage at Fernbank and pay me $100 for it. I told Grillo how the car has been in the garage since 1956. I also explained how I was a boy then, and how Father died in 1985 and Mother in 1999. He said he will call Sunday morning.

WFCR says it needs $173,000 to balance their books by the end of the fiscal year in June. They had a segment on Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) and how by spreading apple trees he was also making possible the consumption of apple wine and brandy. They said "he brought the gift of alcohol to the frontier," which is an angle of the Johnny Appleseed legend I never considered before. The TV news showed The Pioneer Valley Project leading a demonstration at First Church for longer library hours. Albano's Chief of Staff Anthony Ardolino remains at work while awaiting trial on drunk driving charges. This week's Reminder has a picture of a jovial looking Richard B. Collins, the new President of United Cooperative Bank, posing with a beaming Raymond J. Labbe. In past pictures with Tom Burton, Labbe was never smiling, perhaps in amazement at Burton's brashness.

June 7, 2001

Absolutely beautiful morning, sunny, 66 degrees at 9am.

Weatherman John Quill has died and TV22 gave him an eloquently written eulogy that included lots of pictures. Timothy McVeigh has lost his appeals and will be executed on Monday, the 11th. WFCR said the International Meteorological Association has removed Israel from a list of hurricane names because of Jewish complaints. The Jews are thin-skinned and complain about too much. Pittsfield voted down a baseball stadium by over 1200 votes. Springfield's First Annual Pride Party featuring Gary Buseck will be held June 24th, sponsored by Mark Mason, Bill Conley and Cindy Tumbull. James Hankins is a Professor of History at Harvard University in Cambridge. Mailboxes charges 79 cents for color copies, while Staples charges 99 cents and CopyCat even more. There is a free gift if you open your checking account at the Boston Road office of the Woronoco Savings Bank. The mileage from Food Mart to my home via Parker is exactly two miles.

Had Healthy Choice Beef Teriyaki for breakfast. I like rice and it was very good. Yesterday I got three wrong numbers for Storrowtown. One was from Erin looking for Lily, another from Robert M. looking for Louis and another from Peter Babbineau. St. Cecilia's Church on Main Street in Wilbraham has an Easter Bunny Breakfast sponsored by the Wilbraham Junior Woman's Club. I regret that Father never wrote a memorial essay about Fernbank, my family's land in Wilbraham. Father drew refreshment from the land and he loved wild flowers, therefore he kept the property even after it was broken into so many times we couldn't keep anything out there.

My sweet pea bushes are alive and well. Today I cooked a Swanson Fried Chicken Dinner. I went to Louis & Clark and mailed postcards of White Street School and Buckingham Jr. High to David Montgomery of 67 Tallyho 01119. I also picked up the Valley Advocate with M. Turner's article on Futureworks. There was also an article on Albano and Ardolino. I drove out to the Wilbraham Town Hall and left notices for Pearsall and the Town Engineer that the old Ford will soon be gone from Fernbank. Walking around the Wilbraham Town Offices I found a sign for the Epiphany tag sale and the Atheneum Open House. I fear the Atheneum Society has become a bunch of old farts. I drove down Alden on my way to Jeff the Framer's to drop off my map of Guatemala. Jeff said he would frame it for $144. I also gave Jeff a copy of The Johnson's Bookstore Funeral Ode.

When I left I checked the cornerstones on Mercolino's Bakery and the one on the left says 1897 and the right one says 1928. The Ring Nursing Home now has a Providence Care Center sign out front. The black urn for geraniums placed at the triangle of Maple and Pine by Mayor Neal was stolen and has never been replaced. I also swung by the Arise for Social Justice office on Rifle Street. Their office is essentially two large rooms with computer terminals. Michaelann B. was there, looking worn by life but pleasant. She said they are focusing on voter registration in Ward 3 this year. She asked me if I lived in Pine Point. I told her no, I live in 16 Acres, but not far from the Pine Point border by Breckwood.

When I got home, I saw Mrs. Penniman walking down the street and we chatted. She said her daughter has a degree from John Hopkins and spent three years in Alaska with the Eskimos. She also told me that Mrs. Cressotti used to work for Johnson's Bookstore. Mrs. Penniman is a rather conservative Catholic woman unredeemed by broad ideas. I wonder what she would think of my high hippie art! I called the YMCA and their receptionist said their history book sells for $17.80 and she said it has "a little about Camp Norwich." I asked her if it was hard or soft bound and she didn't know what that meant. When I explained it to her she said "the cover is flexible." I told her it is a shame that no one has ever written a history of the Peter Pan Bus Company or the Springfield Newspapers.

I called Ellie at the Spirit of Springfield and told her that the prices at the Taste of Springfield have been too high and that nothing should cost more than fifty cents. Eamon called and said he went to 16 Acres Gardens today, but he thought their prices were too high. He also said the Catholic Appeal fell short of its goal this year, probably because of the public's disgust with the sex scandals. I then called Jennifer in the Mayor's Office and told her I'm still waiting for the thank you note for the pictures I dropped off with the Park Department and Ardolino. She took my phone and address. Then I called the office of the Superintendent of Schools and told Judy that she should tell Dr. Burke to listen regularly to the telephone editorials of Eamon T. O'Sullivan.

June 9, 2001

Lovely morning, 72 degrees on the United Bank clock at 10:09am.

I'm an arts lawyer that does consulting, so when I see a bright idea I don't share it except for a fee.

This is the day that Nero committed suicide in 68AD. Timothy McVeigh is a radical who has earned his place in history. Longmeadow artist Pauline S. Messing has died at the age of 93. Cooley-Shrair P.C. is located at 1380 Main Street in Springfield. Dr. Mary Louise Van Winkle was Academic Dean of Bay Path Junior College in Longmeadow in 1983. The motto of Punderson Oil on Hannon Street is "The Right Blend of Quality and Service." I wonder if I'll get a reply from Dowd at STCC. If I do, I'll give him my Horace Moses Junior Achievement postage stamp poster, but no answer, no poster. I don't bribe people, I test them, and when appropriate, I reward them.

WFCR had somebody on talking about online ads. Turns out the ads don't work, nobody is responding to them. People especially dislike pop-up ads that delay progress to the next screen. The evening news had a story about persistent graffiti problems at the Gerena School on Birnie Avenue. Newslady Ellen Cheng has imperfect English. The building that ARISE used to be in on State Street, which used to be an Anderson-Little and before that a car showroom, is being gutted for renovations. The mail came at noon. This morning I made some copies at CopyCat and the boss guy told me that management didn't like the cartoon mascot they were using because it looked too much like a junkie. In the morning paper it tells of Richard Neal giving a speech at the dedication of the Seuss Garden, the first installment of the Seuss Memorial at the Quadrangle. Unknown called this morning but hung up when I answered on the third ring.

Ann Landers column is about 10 Signs of Cognitive Impairment. It says number one is "Becomes verbally or physically abusive or makes irrational accusations and demands." Sounds just like Aunt Maria! Today I went to United Cooperative Bank in the Acres, where I cashed a $100 check with Santos at the drive-up window. Then to the Acres Big Y, where milk was $1.69 a gallon, the same as Food Mart. This spring there have been metal plates all over the 16 Acres main intersection with cops directing traffic. The intersection was really congested with a line of cars backed up. An orderly mess. Parker has been scraped from the Acres to Boston Road in preparation for resurfacing. There seemed to be tag sales everywhere by people doing spring cleaning. There were about four of them right on Wilbraham Road.

Once again, there was a big tag sale at 111 Jeffrey Road. There have been at least three tag sales there this year. Over at 64 Ashland a woman was selling the possessions of her mother who was put in a nursing home. I bought some antique Avon bottles and a copy of Dolman's Handbook of Public Speaking. Dave Douglas the auctioneer had his usual tag sale today at 50 Jenning. I also went to the Epiphany tag sale. When I arrived, business was slow. The Acres fundamentalist bookseller was there and bought a lot of kid's books. He told me, "I'll sell 'em to homeschoolers." I bought a copy of the Epiphany Sunday School Handbook. At 145 Prouty I bought a green glass globe from the woman who used to work in the book department at the Goodwill. She said she quit, as did Patty and Lynn. I should have asked why. At 102 Melha I bought a pretty piece of cloth from Guatemala. For lunch I went to Ruby Tuesday and sat in the front in an inside booth. I dined on a Wisconsin Burger and the salad bar. The tab was $8.43 so I gave the guy a ten and asked for a quarter change. For supper last night I had a Swanson Boneless White Meat Fried Chicken Dinner.

The brick house at the corner of Parker and Sunrise is sold, houses are selling fast around here. When I got back from the tag sales, I saw Dick Nichols in his backyard not walking too well. His mother was large, but his dad was a little guy. Dick is even bigger than his mom with a huge belly. Down the street next door to the Cohn's I saw Mrs. Cressotti out so I walked over to chat. She said she is 79 and used to work for Johnson's Bookstore from 1950 to 1955. She remembers working there as "a delightful five years," during which they built their home on Birchland. She worked in the department selling writing paper, invitations and greeting cards, but she quit to raise her family. She knew Roger and all the Johnsons but had no special anecdotes to share. I promised to give her a copy of my epic poem The Johnson's Bookstore Funeral Ode. She is a very sweet and friendly little lady.

June 10, 2001

65 degrees at 7:30am.

Lizzie Liberation Day

1935 Ford Model T

India's population is estimated to have gone over the one billion mark. Afganistan's Taliban proudly displayed to journalists what remained of two huge and ancient statues of Buddha they blew to pieces in the name of Islam. Laura Ogoley is the Branch Sales Manager at the Indian Orchard Branch of Charter One Bank. Zina Davis is the Director of the Museum of American Political Life at the University of Hartford. Reliable Temps has offices in Agawam and Easthampton.

In 1923 Forbes & Wallace operated a lending library out of their downtown store. There were once several such independent lending libraries in the city that were completely independent of the Quadrangle library system. This afternoon I left off some film at Walmart and said hello to Kim the manager. Then I went to Ruby Tuesday's and had a salad and a Miller Lite as I read the paper, which has an editorial by editor McDermott saying he wants criticism suggesting how the paper could improve. Eamon and I will have fun responding to that. The tab came to $8.75 and I gave the waiter a $1.50 tip.

Unknown called again today but I was reclining. Today Robert Louis Anthony Grillo of 151 Johnson Street in Springfield bought my parent's 1935 Ford Lizzie, more than a junk but less than a operating vehicle, which has been unused and in storage for 45 years. By agreement, the vehicle was transferred "as is." He hopes to restore the vehicle for the pleasure of himself and his family. This is a chance for Lizzie to enjoy a new life of fun and glory after the decades it has spent cooped up and gathering dust for nearly half a century. Grillo promised to take myself, Sweet Pea and Honey Pot for a ride in the restored car, a promise that thrilled Sweet Pea and Honey Pot. Hopefully, the car will be restored in time to attend the dedication in Wilbraham of Blanche and John's Fernbank as public land.

I arrived at Fernbank this morning at 7:45. I went down to the old driveway and started clearing it out, it having become greatly overgrown. I worked with the brush snippers for an hour, when Grillo and his family arrived in a large brown and tan Chevy van Aviator. Grillo told me it had belonged to a black family who had driven it 400,000 miles and given it up as junk but he completely rebuilt and restored it. Along with Grillo's wife Kim there were his sons Steven and Timothy. Two family friends also came, a tiny black 2nd grader named Issac Delaney and Rick Daignault, the nephew of Ed Daignault over on Poplar Street. They had brought equipment to clear the driveway, but I had gotten most of it done already. I had also removed one of the cobblestones to preserve for the historical record.

Grillo had a gas chainsaw and shrub cutter, but first he wanted to look at the car. We broke the lock on the garage and opened the door. Grillo said the car was in better shape than he expected and offered to pay me $150, but I said let's leave it at the $100 already agreed to. As we proceeded with the remainder of the shrub clearing, the little boys wanted to help so I let them pick up the branches after I snipped them. The little black fellow was very diligent and I asked him what three times five is and he instantly said fifteen. The children were not quarrelsome or difficult in any way. Grillo's next door neighbor Robinovitz never came.

As we worked, Grillo told me he got his house in a bankruptcy sale. It has a large side lot and he recently had a swimming pool installed. They have a two car garage facing the side street which is where they will store Lizzie. He said United Transmission where he works gets a lot of business from the Springfield Police Department. He said if I ever have transmission trouble to bring my car to his home rather than United and he will fix it for a bargain price. Grillo noted the lock on Lizzie's gas tank and I said it was to prevent vandals from pouring sugar in it. He said a better vandalizing substance is Red Devil Paint Remover. He said it will make the entire engine explode in a ball of flames.

Grillo told me he was originally married at 18 to a 17 year old, but they were too young and soon got divorced despite having a baby daughter. Kim Grillo has been doing bindery work for the past five years at a firm called Expo, but used to work at Starr Press and Bridgeport National. Soon Scott Caplette and his wife Janet arrived in a bright red Chevy Silverado truck. Scott is a radiator man and he backed in, tied a chain and cord to Lizzie, and with Grillo standing on the running board with one hand on the steering wheel, Lizzie slowly emerged from her decades of repose in the garage. Grillo used a tank of compressed air to re-inflate the tires. Scott pulled her out and around the corner up onto King and then finally to Maynard Road by the mailboxes. Grillo untied the cord and then Scott waved out the window and was on his way.

Now that we could see Lizzie from every angle, she looked worse than one might have hoped. The car was old and dirty but still restorable. The glove compartment was filled with shredded paper, obviously it had been turned into a nest for mice. Indeed, it appeared as if the entire car had been used by animals for shelter in various ways. The seats which Mother had covered in plastic were in good shape. An old gas can was still in the trunk. I went to my car and brought out my camera and my beloved dolls Sweet Pea the Rabbit and Honey Pot the Bear. I placed them on the hood of the car and took their picture. A chubby teenager appeared and it was Nick, the son of neighbor Paul Riley. He asked what was going on and I told him how I was giving the land to the town and we were removing the car from the garage in which it had been imprisoned for many years. While telling this, I had to turn away for a moment to compose myself, being overcome by emotion.

Soon the tow truck Grillo had arranged to come from R&S Towing and Recovery of Wilbraham arrived. Owner Ron Nadolski was driving and admired the car. Seeing my camera, he asked if I would send him a picture of Lizzie and I said sure. He hooked Lizzie up and prepared to drive off to take Lizzie to a new life with a new family in the Forest Park section of Springfield. I will never forget that after Lizzie was loaded onto the tow truck platform, just as it was being driven off, a bright yellow butterfly suddenly appeared and flittered about the car, as if joining in the celebration of Lizzie's Liberation Day.

June 11, 2001

65 degrees at 8am, rain in the afternoon.

The electronic media are not conducive to accuracy.

Timothy James McVeigh was executed today. A Pew Poll found that 75% of the people approve of the execution. The TV said that McVeigh's death is "a day of victory over evil." Right, Earth is evil and McVeigh is victorious. Bernard Law of Boston likes to see prisoners suffer. WFCR said the purchase of second homes is down 5% in Vermont, but up in the rest of the nation. The story said nothing about taxes and transfer regulations. WFCR still needs $147,000 in their fund drive. The noon news said a 53 year old person jumped to their death from the 12th floor of the Sheraton downtown.

Priscilla L. Buckley was the Managing Editor at National Review in 1983. Shirley Walker was Director of the Bureau of Personnel and Labor Relations for the Massachusetts Department of Education in 1983. Nicholas Mitropoulos was the Director of the Governor's Personnel Office in 1983. Mary Ann Gioscia was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of STCC in 1983. William E. Cummings was vice-chairman. Father bought Fernbank from Ralph Carver of Brewster, Massachusetts. Ralph M. Hoke tried to get Father to sell him Fernbank during a visit in 1974. I'm currently reading Why Johnny Can't Tell Right From Wrong by William Kilpatrick.

The newspaper has a story today about renovating the entranceway to the City Library. There is always money for construction but fewer and fewer books and other reading material. Dickie Nichols mowed his lawn Saturday while I was away or not looking. Went to Louis & Clark this morning, then to United Bank where it was 70 degrees at 10:20. I went in and asked to buy a $500 bond, but they said they don't sell bonds. They suggested I go to BankNorth or Bank of Western Mass, but made no mention of Fleet. So, leaving my car parked in the United lot, I walked over to Fleet Bank. Going past the tattoo parlor in the space formerly occupied by the hardware store, I noticed that they never open before noon and no one is allowed to enter who is under 18. Eamon has talked in the past about "the body decoration shops" that were always found near navy bases. At Fleet I bought my bond, and I was sure to inform them that United Coop has omitted them as someone they mention to their customers as a vendor of bonds.

For lunch I had a Healthy Choice Beef Tips Portabello Dinner, a nice lunch. I also ate strawberries for breakfast. This afternoon I went to an Open House at 99 Bellwood Road. It is a rather simple house from the outside with bushes by the garage. Inside it had special features such as a raised hearth rustic fireplace with surrounding bookshelves. The kitchen cabinets were okay. There is elaborate cabinet work around the windows and a large cement grill with smokestack in the backyard similar to what Father built for Fernbank. The house was owned by the Maratea family and the son was a computer programmer for Monarch. His father worked for Lauren Sports in Holyoke. The house looks rather plain in front but is actually a minor architectural landmark by 16 Acres standards.

I called Wilbraham Town Hall and had a nice chat with Assistant Town Engineer Tonya Capparello. I told her all about Lizzie's Liberation Day. She said they will begin making plans to demolish the remaining structures and will notify me when they do. She said it may not be for some weeks because they are busy with a number of other projects this summer. When I hung up, I realized I was overdue to hear something from the officers of the Friends of the Library, so I gave Mrs. Joyal a call. The first time I called the phone switched to voicemail after only two rings, which leads me to suspect that she was sitting right there and switched it to voicemail when she saw me on her caller ID. I called again later and a kid answered and went to get her. Mrs. Joyal was very polite to me but spoke in a formal, matronly tone. I asked her why she never returned my calls and she said her answering machine must not have been working. Ha! A likely story. I asked her whether she had forwarded my suggestions for how to improve the libraries to Mrs. Napolitan, but she said she hadn't had the chance. She said she would speak to Mrs. Napolitan at the June Board of Directors meeting and get back to me. We'll see.

It also occurred to me that I haven't heard from Frank Faulkner of Hungry Hill Magazine in a while, so I called his house. I got the babysitter who said that Melinda Phelps was out. When I asked for Frank Faulkner she replied "he's away" and when I pressed for more details she said "I don't know what's going on with him." She promised that Mindy would call me back, but of course Mindy did not.

June 12, 2001

Triple H day: Hazy, Hot and Humid. 65 degrees at 7am.

J.H. Taylor was the Chief Accountant for the Worcester County Electric Company on North Main Street in Palmer in 1951. Herbert L. Butler was the Highway Superintendent for Wilbraham in 1955. The Board of Regents of Higher Education appointed Dr. Gerard F. Burke as the third President of Massasoit Community College in Brockton in 1983. Kathy L. Ryan was Director of Transfer Affairs for UMass in 1983. WFCR is now campaigning in earnest for their fund drive, with Congressman Richie Neal this morning urging everyone to make a $60 pledge. They still need $138,000.

In 1967 Father wrote a brief history of Fernbank, my family's land holdings in Wilbraham. Merrill and Sears were Civil Engineers who made a map of Fernbank in 1930, at that time known as River Knoll. The 1935 Ford Lizzie was Mother's personal car for its last ten years on the road and she could not bear to see it wrecked. That is how it ended up stored in the garage at Fernbank for 45 years. In my childhood Wilbraham was a small town with mostly dirt roads, individual water systems and small country schools. My grandfather J. Wesley Miller (1869-1934) died at the age of 64 having written in his diary the night before. I'll bet it was his prostate but they didn't know what it was back then. I fear I may be in a race against time.

Drove out at 9am, and I saw that Mancuso has a new lawn and fence. I always honk at him and he waves. I made some copies at CopyCat, where I held the door for Mrs. Boyle. She always acts like my old pal, but I view the 16 Acres Civic Association as a backstabbing, self promoting little clique. Then I went and spent 30 cents on two donuts at Arnold's and a dollar on a day old salad at Angelo's. I dropped off some reading material at Mrs. Staniski's in Pine Point, then went over to Redbrick Books. Marcia Fuller was working, and we discussed the mysterious demise of Hungry Hill Magazine. She said that as far as she knows, the last issue to come out was the one with an orange cover in February. She said she called the Faulkner house repeatedly, until someone finally called back to say that "their press broke down."

When I got back, I called to check on Mother's sister Aunt Maria, and Shirley answered saying that she was giving Maria a bath and would call back. She did so over an hour later. She told me that she has been taking Maria out for the past four days. Yesterday they went to Connecticut to Kent Park. I suggested they try Elizabeth Park in Hartford but she said she's never heard of it. Saturday they went up to Look Park in Northampton and Sunday she took her to church. I asked when I might visit and Shirley said that Aunt Maria takes her nap at 2pm so to come by then.

Therefore, after the mail came at 1:10pm (which included an invitation to an Albano golf fundraiser) I drove out to Agawam. Going through West Springfield, I noticed that the coal conveyor on the WMECO generating plant has been taken down. I stopped on the way at the Agawam Stop&Shop, where they were giving out large free chunks of cheese, unusually generous for them. It's a lovely store, neat, clean and not too crowded. The nearby Food Mart Plaza appears completely abandoned. At Aunt Maria's, Shirley's grey SAAB with Ohio registration was parked by the garage. Shirley came out to greet me wearing leather slippers without socks. She insisted I come into the house so I did. Aunt Maria was in the front room chair, sound asleep in front of the TV. I suppose Shirley as an RN knows how to make sure Maria would be asleep. The house is neat as a pin, with the kitchen uncluttered and everything spotless. Obviously Shirley wanted me to know that she's as fussy a housekeeper as I am. Shirley said that Aunt Maria has one friend who is older than she is named Rhea Duclose.

We went into Uncle George's old machine shop, which appeared undisturbed except for some raccoon dung in the grinder room. We took out a card table and library step stool and brought them both into the house. Then we walked around the yard and I showed Shirley where the septic tank is. Sumac is taking over furiously and poison ivy is everywhere. I pointed out where the orchard used to be and the formerly mowed paths. Shirley said she raked up to thirty bags of leaves last year. I told Shirley she is doing a splendid job and that I will take her to lunch sometime soon. On my way home I swung by Elms to leave something with Mrs. Moriarty in the Irish Office and also left material with the Polish Cultural Center. Then I went to Eamon's who was not home. I left him some reading material in the chair on his porch. I also went to Walmart on Boston Road and complained to Debra Parker about the stool I bought there that soon broke, but she said that because I have no receipt there is nothing they can do.

I called Frank Faulkner's private line today and it has been disconnected. I called Mary Alice Stusick to ask her and her husband Gary Plant over for coffee. She said she was delighted to be invited, but she doesn't drink coffee. She did say they would like to stop by for pastries sometime. This morning she performed someplace in Longmeadow. She also complained that the city is giving her a hard time over the deteriorating condition of the Stusick Building in Indian Orchard. The morning paper says that Mayor Albano and School Committee member Fyntrilakis are hesitating to sign Dr. Burke's contract as written. Eamon's latest phone editorial insultingly compares the hiring of Joseph Burke to the way Peter Negroni was hired.

June 14, 2001

72 degrees at 11am. Flag Day.

This diary is a very complicated enterprise.

Polaroid is restructuring and laying off 25% of their workforce, mostly in Massachusetts. A worker was killed by the Lake Compounce rollercoaster. State lottery sales are down, but will still bring in nearly 4 billion this year. Cynthia Kowalczyk works in the Interlibrary Loan Department at Springfield College's Babson Library on Alden Street. James Balise is the President, Owner and Chairman of the Board of Balise Chevrolet in West Springfield. ManagedOps.com is in Bedford, New Hampshire. The last day of school in Springfield is June 18th. Vivaldi and violin stuff on WFCR this morning. WFCR says their station is about "keeping the music coming to you." They describe their news as "portable, dependable and enlightening." WFCR is offering tote bags to "first time contributors" only, so the best way to contribute if you want the freebies is to use a different name every time! I'm waiting to see if they dangle free Simpson paperweights in front of us near the end of their fund drive.

I never see a street sweeper on Birchland Avenue. At a tag sale recently I got a copy of the Star Trek Encyclopedia in mint condition for only $2.99. The other day there was a letter in the paper from Julia M. Mastroianni of Springfield criticizing the speech by U.S. Senator John F. Kerry at the Springfield Civic Center. She said Kerry "is not a good candidate to run for President or any other public office." At home I wear Dr. Scholl's sandals all the time They are the most comfortable of all shoes. TV22 News said today that people get into foster parenting "because they want to improve a child's life." No mention of doing it for the money.

Did a load of laundry of my stinky clothes and had them out on the clothesline by 9:15 this morning. Been eating salads a lot lately, but today I had some Weight Watcher's Smart Ones Swedish Meatballs. Ken Mitchell called from Harvard Magazine in Boston seeking contributions to cover a shortfall due to postage increases. I told him I already contributed this year, so no. At about 2:30 this afternoon I heard fire engines headed up Wilbraham Road towards the Acres. The mail today brought a thank you letter from Mayor Albano for the pictures I sent him of the Tree Trust Announcement on April 19th at the Greenleaf Community Center. He wrote, "I appreciate your thoughtfulness in forwarding them to me." I also got thank you notes from Ann Staniski Flentje and Maureen Vincent Beck. Thank you notes are still needed from Penniman, Mudry and Doris of Buckingham.

I first passed the Bar Examination in 1984. Cheryl is the new girl at Louis & Clark, she's chubby but serves very well. Yesterday I got donuts and a loaf at Arnold's and peaches and yellow beans at Angelo's Fruits and Vegetables. I bought gas at the Sunoco A+ MiniMart by Louis & Clark. The last several issues of the Valley Advocate have listed Tom Vannah as Editor and Maureen Turner as Managing Editor. The June issue of the Western Mass Law Tribune has a story about a stock broker named Jacob Chase who has mob ties. Federal prosecutors say Chase, of Longmeadow, set up two securities accounts for Giuseppe Manzi, who faces federal racketeering, gambling and loansharking charges. He used to work for Advest, so I called there and was told "he left two years ago" and now works for First Union, located in the same building as A.G. Edwards. So dialed over there and asked for Mr. Chase and got connected to Mike Chase, who said he's Jacob's father. He said Jacob was unavailable so I said, "Oh well, there's a story about him in the Western Mass Law Tribune so I thought he'd like to know," and hung up.

When I drove out today I paused to drop off some magazines in the Cohn's breezeway. The Cohn's garage door was open. Then I cashed a $115 check at Fleet Bank in the Acres, then went over to the Goodwill. There was a new lady working there, so sweet, who told me that Ann quit with no notice, just left at the end of the day and never returned. From there I went to the Eastfield Mall, where the new customer service center has opened in the southeastern section of the Food Court, where formerly there had been a restaurant. Then over to the Bank of Western Mass where I spoke with Maggi. I asked about Tony but I got the sad reply that they are getting a divorce. She looks haggard, worn, like she's been through the ringer. I noticed her wedding ring is gone from her hand. I told her when I left that she is a wonderful lady and don't forget it.

The Taste of Springfield begins today. Eamon called and said he got a phone call yesterday from former School Superintendent Donahue saying, "Eddie, Dr. Burke called and wants to meet with me even though I've been gone 13 years." To help him prepare for the meeting, Eamon sent Donahue some material on both Burke and Negroni. Eamon recalled that he worked under four Commissioners of Education and all were graduates of Harvard. Eamon says that Harvard, Columbia and Michigan are the three best schools in Education. Eamon is upset by an insulting letter he received from Larry McDermott of the Springfield Newspapers accusing him being unable to approve of anyone but himself as Superintendent of Schools. It is the fourth insulting letter Eamon said he has received from McDermott over the years. Eamon says that McDermott's nasty letter is a reflection of McDermott's own flimsy academic credentials.

June 15, 2001

Sticky overnight, 75 degrees at 6:30am. Barometer at 29.59

Anthony J. Scanlon was the Assistant Dean of New York Law School in 1983. In 1983, A. Peter Quinn was Chairman of the Headmaster Search Committee at The MacDuffie School in Springfield. Connie Kellogg is the Clinical Office Assistant at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Randolph, Vermont. Vermont syrup production is down 40% from last year. At 4:30am, while TV40 is selling jewelry and plugging palm readers, CNN News is being broadcast on TV22. Actually, CNN is much better than TV22 News. WFCR had Roy Scott on this morning. $104,000 remains to be raised in the second half of the month. I'm currently reading How to Argue and Win Every Time by Jerry Spence, which I got at Savers. Someone called at 12:11am and woke me up, my identifier showed it was P. Mannix at 43 Rhinebeck Avenue. The mail brought a thank you note from Doris Robinson and the June issue of American Heritage with a feature on Mass Mutual. June Young also sent me directions to the New England Archive Center in Holyoke.

This morning I went to the Bank of Western Mass where Biccum transferred $572.64 into my checking account. Then over to Eastfield Mall where I got a Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream cone for 29 cents with a coupon. As I ate the ice cream, I sat looking at people and thought about the way they are dressed and what their clothing says about them. Fashion today is a real zoo. Only one man in a business suit and tie went by. A lot of respectable middle-class people, young and old, were dressed casually but tastefully. There was one hard working looking guy, dirty from neck to toe in a rumpled shirt, jeans, work boots and the face of a cynic. Another guy with Boston Tiles advertized on his t-shirt had holes in the knees of his jeans and worn work boots. Most pathetic was a short old lady in her 70's pushing her husband around in a wheelchair. There was a little girl with a gleeful smile holding a doll in one hand and her mother's hand in the other.

Most women's shoes these days are ridiculous, with elevated soles that must be uncomfortable, awkward and dangerous. There were lots of little kids, including babies in fancy strollers. Two fat women in shorts were sad to see, they were immodest, sloppy and walked with bad coordination. You see it all. So me dressed in black with my collar didn't look anymore ridiculous than anyone else, although a couple of people did comment on my clothing. One said I must be baking dressed all in black. I replied it's my uniform and I have to wear it. Another person, dressed like a biker, came up and propositioned me, but I just shook his hand and moved on. I wasn't there looking for a pick-up, I was just being queer and getting people used to it. But that's another story.

I went to the Taste of Springfield this afternoon wearing solid black, full collar, jacket zipped up, only undergarment my cup and jock strap, my black and blue hankies, black jeans and lumberjack boots. I now have a chain that fits perfectly under my right epaulet and around under my arm and back. My message is clear: I'm a queer bottom looking for abuse and to serve as a cocksucker. I parked on Salem and then walked down the hill to the Chamber of Commerce to leave off a letter for Ward. There was dogshit on the sidewalk in front of Subway on Main. Tilly's is all torn apart inside for remodeling. I stopped into the Bank of Boston/Sovereign building and looked up First Union on their building directory. It is on the 14th floor with a lot of other unheard of businesses.

Then I went outside where things were just opening up and walked over to the Old First Church Tag Sale, where four old ladies from Connecticut were going inside. It was the biggest First Church Tag Sale ever, with over a thousand books. Inside I encountered James Sarantidis wearing tan shorts, casual top and his hair pulled back into a ponytail. He has a distinctive appearance and dark skin that reminds me of Nader the Hatter. Sarantidis is 36 years old has been dealing in books for 14 years. He said his father worked at Moore Drop Forge and his mother worked at Lauren Sportswear. Jim said he graduated from Cathedral and has two bachelor degrees from Westfield State, one in English and another in Criminal Justice. At some point he started a Masters at UMass in English. He said his favorite author is Dostoyevsky, but that isn't English and he reads him only in translation.

Sarantidis has worked in a number of bookstores, including Odyssey, Edwards here in Springfield and the Hartford Barnes & Noble. He thinks highly of Troubador Books in Hadley. Jim said Odyssey now has a contract with Mt. Holyoke to sell all their textbooks, which may crowd other stuff out. He said it's amazing that a city like Springfield has so few bookstores. Jim visits Redbrick three or four times a year, and thinks their prices are absurd. He does a lot of scouting for rare books in New York and Boston. He claims the further north you go the worse the book trade gets so he doesn't bother with Vermont, and there are fewer bookstores up that way anyway. Jim also said he saw writer Wally Swist at Thornes in Hamp. I ended up buying ten books and then had to lug them all the way up to my car on Salem.

After dropping off the books, I walked back and explored the Taste. My first stop was the free Starbucks coffee van. They had three flavors and I chose Mild. It would have been real nice with an ice cube in it, but they had no ice cubes. Everything was $2.50 or $3.00. They had a rock band playing in front of City Hall. A new thing they had was portable rocks to climb for $5 a try. I spun a Wheel of Fortune and won a green Peter Pan Bus Lines frisbee. I ran into Larry Gormally and asked him what he knows about the 16 Acres Inn where the Mobil Station is now. He replied that it was "a popular hotel in the 1930's" but he has never been able to find a picture of it. So much for Mr. Gormally as a great Acres historian. I also gathered up six posters, including a MetLife boat safety poster, a Job Corps poster, a Mt. Holyoke Summer Theater poster and an X Farmer's Market poster. I rarely see radical political posters anymore. On the way home I listened to Handel's Water Music on the car radio. Back on Birchland, I saw Mr. Allard walking down the street and waved to him. He somewhat embarrassingly waved back.

Eamon called later in the day. Eamon claims that a friend of his named Ed who is an accountant told him that Jim Vinnick of TV fame loses money for his clients. When I told Eamon about Margaret Fuller saying that Hungry Hill Magazine told her their "press broke down" he laughed saying "that's a good euphemism to describe what happened." According to Eamon Doris Robinson told him last month that she wants to sue her principal for sexual harassment. He said he hadn't noticed that Maureen Turner was promoted to Managing Editor at the Valley Advocate. He said he has had no contact with her for months. He did say that he thinks that the Advocate does a good job covering Springfield "most of the time."

Eamon told me that he looked up Larry McDermott's listing in Who's Who and it shows he has no distinctive accomplishments. Eamon said that Rosemarie Coughlin ran into McDermott's wife at a party recently and she asked how Larry was and she replied "oh that rotten bastard" and changed the subject. It made Coughlin wonder if they are still married. Gingras tells Eamon that absenteeism by both teachers and students in the Springfield schools is unbelievably high. At Commerce 75 students were to be denied graduation because they were absent more than 50% of the time. However, Principal Ann Henry ordered that they be passed anyway and they were. Eamon says that Henry and Teresa E. Regina are trying to keep the lid on so the public doesn't find out about all the problems at Commerce, but a school-wide survey of teachers is threatening to expose the poor management and lack of leadership under Principal Henry.

June 17, 2001

77 degrees and overcast at 8am. Gas is $1.69 at the Pond.

Springfield is a greater failure because it was once such a great success.

The Presbyterians are going to let individual congregations vote on whether to ordain homosexuals. Big storms and flooding in Houston. Alden L. Penland was Assistant Director of Personnel for The Travelers Company in Hartford in 1983. In 1986 I bought two historic prints from The Old Print Shop in NYC. One was of Court Square in 1840 showing a stage coach passing the courthouse, and the other was an 1870 print of the Armory grounds. WFCR said today that their operating budget is over two million dollars per year and they have 13,000 listeners. The average person listens seven hours per week. They are now offering Josh Simpson globes for $365 during their fund drive. WFCR had a special broadcast today of David McCullough talking about John Adams. Their fund drive still needs $94,000 by the end of the month.

In 1983 132 people, including myself, applied to be considered for the Presidency of Springfield Technical Community College following the retirement of Dr. Robert C. Geitz in 1981. In 1982, Leonard J. Collamore was named acting-president until a replacement could be found. Frank D. Gulluni was picked by the trustees in 1982, but was disqualified due to not having a doctorate. Gulluni was economic and educational development aide to Springfield Mayor Theodore E. Dimauro. Edward R. Maclosky was Director of Personnel at STCC in 1983. Upon my elimination as a contender in the first round, I wrote and asked, "If there is no other position open, may I be King?"

At 8:30am it was raining with gentle rumblings of thunder. It rained until 10am. A letter from Jordan Luttrell came in the mail today. The mailman was a little late and I met him at the door. He said his day off is Thursday but he would rather have Saturdays. I asked him about street sweepers and he said he sees them all over Pine Point but rarely in the 16 Acres area. Today I went to Louis & Clark and mailed to Tom Vannah of the Valley Advocate a copy of Larry McDermott's resume and Springfield College citation. I also sent Ann Staniski a post card suggesting she take pictures of the entire interior of her mother's house at 90 Elijah Street for the historic record. Then I drove down to Mass Mutual and parked in front of their majestic front doors, climbed the steps and left my letter for O'Connor the archivist. I had to slide it under the bronze doors which were tightly locked despite the fact that the lights were on in the rotunda, but with no other signs of life inside.

From there I drove into the city, occasionally pulling over to gather posters on State Street. I parked on Salem, then walked down to pay another visit to the tag sale and Taste of Springfield. Once again I went to Starbucks and once again they had no ice. There were not as many people as last time, although the crowd increased as time passed. Radio station WMAS was there broadcasting live. Outside First Church Bruce Johnson was standing on a soapbox with a megaphone drumming up business for their tag sale. He said they hadn't resorted to cutting their prices yet. He said he is the brother of Peter, five years younger, and he went to Oberlin. Looking at my clothes he called me "a radical." He said he grew up in South Hadley but now lives in Agawam. I said his voice and personality very much struck me as similar to his brother. Later I saw him in front of City Hall, again promoting the tag sale but this time from the stage where the rock bands were playing.

I walked over to the booth run by B'Shara's and bought a sausage grinder with fried peppers and onions. It was 8 inches long and served on a fluffy, soft bun that was so wonderful I bought a second one even though they were $6 each. I went inside the tag sale where I had a chat with Dick Beebe who is the head usher at First Church. He showed me the new water cooler the church bought recently that lets out a confident rather than limp stream of refreshing, cool water. I went over the books they had for sale very carefully and ended up buying nearly 50 books. Ernestine was the sales clerk and she said one of the books I bought, The Mary Lyon Year Book (1895) with a Mount Holyoke bookplate in it was donated by her, so I could have it for free. I also bought an old copy of the Vermont Chelsea Herald, which was the local edition of the White River Valley Herald in the old days. My treasure of the day was Chairman Mao's Four Minute Physical Fitness Plan (1973). As I left I suggested to Ernestine that she read the Scottish poem The Lion and Albert by Marriot Edgar.

Once I got home, Eamon called and said there is nothing in the paper most days worth reading. He told me that the typical mark-up in the jewelry business is 900%! Eamon also recalled how when he was a kid, his brothers used to take him up to the Valley Arena in Holyoke to see the fights. After hanging up with Eamon, I tried to call Mrs. Joyal and let it ring eight times, but she doesn't have an answering machine so I hung up. I also tried to call Karen Powell but no answer. Finally, I attempted to call Frank Faulkner again at his private number, but again got the disconnected message from the phone company. I took a bath and stayed up late watching wrestling. Slick and professional Springfield black newsman Tony Gill was on TV30 at 11:15pm. I then went to bed and slept until dawn.

June 19, 2001

Cool, fresh air, 66 degrees at 7:30am.

The Sheraton Blackjacks Pub is located on the 2nd floor atrium. The Chronicles of Culture were published in Rockford, Illinois in 1983. Martin A. Smith was Assistant Vice President for Information Management at UMass in 1983. WFCR needs $82,000 by a week from Friday. They complained, "Thousands contribute, but tens of thousands who listen do not." They also boasted, "National Public Radio is about the only place left where you can find real journalism." WFCR also claims that Morning Edition costs them over $1,000 per day. The news says Springfield started street sweeping six weeks later than usual this year. TV22 also had a segment of Ernie Bates of West Springfield talking on insurance fraud. Whenever they have something about insurance they have Bates on.

The motto of Peter Pan Bus Lines is "We'll Get You There." The Boston Globe is reporting that distinguished Mt. Holyoke College historian and Professor Joseph Ellis falsely claimed he was a paratroop platoon leader in Vietnam. They are not questioning the quality of his historical research. Professor Ellis has apologized thru his lawyer for misleading about Vietnam and having "embellished" his involvement in the anti-war and civil rights movements. He got a Pulitzer Prize just this year! Mendacity in a professor strikes at the very core of the teacher's calling.

The mail today brought the Wisconsin Union Quarterly Member News for Summer 2001, featuring a story on the John Mann German stein collection, which I cut out and sent with a friendly note to the The Fort's Rudi Scherff at 6 Katie in Wilbraham. A copy of Maxim for Men was mistakenly delivered to me. It was addressed to Matt Sotherden of 409 Hampden Hall, which is a WNEC address. Drove out today at 9am and bought the Boston and Springfield papers at Louis & Clark and made copies at CopyCat. I then delivered a book to Huber at Trinity Church, noting it is a gift for Mrs. Goad that need not be returned. Their carillon concerts start June 23rd and run thru July. No longer are copies of the church paper and other literature available, indeed, even the bulletin boards have been stripped. Pictures of the church trustees are posted in the front lounge, including Nate Olin, a young fellow. From there I swung by 72 Firglade Avenue to see what it looks like. It is an impeccably maintained, tall, thin Victorian, a nice but not lavish house among similars.

Then I drove up to New England Archives in Holyoke and parked just before the fire hydrant in front of the building. Inside I asked Cyndi who told me that is an okay place to park. She said they will make diazo prints of my negatives of Grandfather Miller's diary for $63. Diazo is more scratch resistant than the older silver process. It has life expectancy of 100 years. So I left them off and then circled around past the beautiful church situated on the hill. I then drove back to downtown Springfield and parked behind First Church by the side door near the courthouse. Bruce Johnson's fancy white car was also parked by the door. Poor Bruce was down in the basement tidying up after the sale. He was jovial and friendly as always, but expressed disappointment with the results of the sale. I asked, but he declined to reveal how much they made or how much they had hoped to make. He said they gave out a lot of discounts towards the end. I bought an old loom for $40 that was still for sale, which had "Patent February 13, 1923" impressed into the cherry colored wood. When I left I gave him an envelope containing The Johnson's Bookstore Funeral Ode and told him to give my regards to his brother. Then I directed my steps to the Cooley law firm and hand delivered my reservation to their event this Sunday. The receptionist had of all things a picture of the Masonic Temple hanging on the wall behind her.

Dined tonight on a Swanson Sirloin Beef Tips Dinner with wax beans, potatoes and a brownie. I also took a vitamin pill, which I do not do every day. Over at Kelly's the hedge has been trimmed and they have eight bags of trimmings out on the lawn. The grill was going over at Kelly's at 12:50pm. I called the Spirit of Springfield and told Sarah that I had tickets to the Taste of Springfield that I didn't use and that I'd like a refund. She replied, "Those tickets are not refundable." Of course the extra tickets I have I found lying on the ground! I gave Leonard Collamore a call and told him about an article suggesting that Columbus was secretly a Jew. He said he had heard that claim before but had never seen anything written about it. I said this is an example of why it is good to know J. Wesley Miller. Next I called the Faulkner house and a dreamy voiced kid answered. I asked for Frank and the kid replied, "Not here right now." I asked when he will be available and he said, "On vacation right now." When will he be back? "Not sure."

I decided to call Dr. Steve Sobel the self promoter, who true to form has his picture and an article by himself in The Reminder, which has given him so much publicity in the past. His wife answered and said, "He doesn't live here anymore, I'm now his ex-wife." She gave me the number for his office, then when she hung up I checked my phone book collection. The 2000 phone book lists Steve and Amy as living on Academy Drive in Longmeadow. The new phone book lists Steve at 475 Porter Lake Drive in Springfield and Amy at 220 Burbank Road in Longmeadow. I proceeded to call Mrs. Napolitan, wife of Joe, and the maid said she is on vacation and will be back in a week. Finally I called Mrs. Joyal and told her I will be sending her a memo on the libraries "which I'm sure you will tell me was lost in the mail, but you may be sure it will be coming anyway, Mrs. Joyal." She stammered, "Um, oh, okay." and hung up.

June 20, 2001

74 degrees at 8am. Tomorrow is the first day of Summer.

Learning is the most wonderful thing in the world, the fullest joy, the richest pleasure.

The Lehrer News Hour had a segment on how book reviews are the latest casualty in the downturn in the newspaper business. There are over 50,000 books published every year, but only about 2,000 get reviewed or receive any major publicity. The editor of the Boston Globe was on saying "the bottom has fallen out of the help wanted ads" especially in high tech areas like Boston, so they no longer have the revenues for extensive Arts pages with lots of book reviews.

WFCR now needs just over $55,000 in their fund drive. They said, "This information highway has turned into a toll road so please contribute." A survey has estimated that Northampton has 312 lesbian couples. Timm Rinehart was Chair of the Search Committee for Periodical Editor of UMass in 1984. Lynn D. Cantell is Vice President of Community Banking for the Bank of Western Mass. Professor Ellis' American Culture course on Vietnam has been cancelled. Mt. Holyoke has announced that it will launch its own investigation into Ellis' indiscretions.

At 3:30 this morning there was an increase in stuffiness in my left ear and a sound of humming. My theory is that the humming is caused by water getting up the Eustachian tube into my inner ear. I once put forward that theory to Dr. Reiner in a letter but he never answered. Boiled some corn this morning and added small Goya beans to make succotash. I also picked up litter on the treebelt. Salvon has planted a hedge across his front lawn. Black raspberries are coming in, some may be edible in a few days. I saw an ad tonight on TV40 for the Leonard Gallery going out of business sale. Mayor Albano is asking the state to let Springfield do bonding under the state's better bond rating.

We had assessment tests when I was a child, the Iowa Tests and others, but they didn't scare the daylights out of us by suggesting we wouldn't graduate. The people who should be tested are the teachers. Eamon called and said he has heard of the book Twenty Years A Growing by Maurice O'Sullivan (1933) and wants to read my copy. I mentioned that I didn't even get a Christmas card from him last year and he laughed. Nader is supposed to be coming up from Florida soon but he hasn't heard when. Eamon said former Superintendent Donahue has met with new Superintendent Burke and found him "congenial and affable." But Burke told Donahue that he "doesn't know how to get his arms around" all the problems in the Springfield school system. Eamon has seen some of the preliminary returns from the faculty survey of the High School of Commerce, which shows that 90% think that tardiness and absenteeism are major problems. A majority say rules are not consistently enforced and 42% say that the school is unsafe for teachers. So much for our International Baccalaureate School under Dr. Henry.

After Eamon hung up, I called the Odyssey Bookstore in South Hadley. I saw a Monarch butterfly flitting about outside as I was talking on the phone. I asked if they are buying used books and they said they are not buying at this time but to call back in August. I also asked about their new role as textbook sellers for Mt. Holyoke, and it appears that they are remaking themselves from a lovely, little bookshop with a splendid variety of books, to a narrower selection that is guaranteed to sell because they're required for Mt. Holyoke classes. Then I called Fred Whitney and Karen Powell, but neither answered their phone.

I called Larry McDermott and got his secretary Anita. I told her that there's a survey of Commerce teachers that tend to support Eamon's criticism more than their optimism. I told her to tell Larry that Eamon has degrees from Amherst and Columbia and mine are from Colby and Harvard, all four of which have more books combined than Arkansas State, which doesn't even teach Latin or Greek. Then I called the Superintendent's office and got Judy, who was filling in for Rosemary Shea. I told her that Eamon has a copy of the survey results from Commerce and it sounds like the principal there should go. Judy was very friendly and thanked me for calling. I finally called Commerce itself and got someone named Cistella who I told that the survey results will soon be public and suggested that it may be better for all concerned if Principal Henry offered her resignation now.

June 21, 2001

Overcast all morning. 73 degrees at 7am.

There has been bad rioting in Northern Ireland that was set off three days ago by Protestants throwing stones at Catholic schoolgirls. Why oh why? The Union-News has an editorial today calling for Professor Joseph Ellis to resign his position at Mt. Holyoke College because he was caught lying about his role in the military and the 60's cultural revolution. Electrician William J. Gula, formerly of Easthampton, has died at age 79. Stephen B. Collins of the Colby College Lovejoy Selection Committee has rejected my nomination of Tom Vannah of the Valley Advocate for the Elijah P. Lovejoy Award. Carol F. Campbell was Personnel Officer for UMass Amherst in 1983. Bloom's Camera Shop was on Worthington by the Hotel Worthy. It had an intricate mural of photo trademarks on its outside wall that is still faintly visible in 2001.

I think today is Dave Madsen's birthday. An effort is being made to make "Reverse the Curse" the new slogan for the Boston Red Sox. Hampden Savings is featuring their 150th logo in their advertising. Peter Picknelly was shown on the news at the groundbreaking for a $14 million Hilton-Garden Inn which will offer mid-priced accommodations for families going to Six Flags New England and the new Hall of Fame. Albano was shown claiming that public investment has evoked private investment all over the city. Pizzeria Uno will be part of the complex and the young Hurwitz could be seen in the background. There was also an event at the abandoned Springfield railroad station with Kevin Sullivan of the Mass Department of Transportation. He called the station a "19th century gem," which it is not because it has always been a boring building compared to the railroad stations in Albany, Worcester and Hartford. Meanwhile, AMTRAK claims it will be solvent by 2003, but we've heard these predictions before.

Friendly's Ice Cream has recalled their mint chocolate chip ice cream because it has pistachios mixed in it. So I called the Friendly's Product Recall Hotline and got Erik in Southern New Hampshire who said if I ate the ice cream and got an allergic reaction then I should call a doctor immediately. Friendly's stock has slipped to 2.26. Spoke with Shirley on the phone about Aunt Maria and she is doing fine. My friend Charles G. Vinson was an early AIDS victim. I found one of his notes to me today from 1986, as always written on arithmetic paper because he didn't want anything archivally preserved. It reads in part: "Lately as I was talking to a panhandler, I was struck by how similar our arrangements in this country for the homeless are to the conditions described by Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago, the same restless wandering, the same hypothermia, the same frequently fatal, untreated infections. In both societies the governing classes have probably made a conscious decision that inhumane treatment of a part of the population will stimulate a healthy fearfulness in the rest and stifle dissent."

I drove out to the Acres Newsstand and bought a Union-News and a Boston Globe and sat in my car for a while watching what was going on. A group of boys, some on bikes, were talking by the front corner of the liquor store. The tattoo parlor was closed. There were kids on skateboards by Fleet Bank and by the Pride station and Bernie's Appliance. I got out and went inside Bernie's, it was the same as the last time I was there. Some of the refrigerators were as high as $1,500. On my way home, I dropped off the Boston Herald at the Penniman's. Abernathy was walking down the street and not smiling. 65 Birchland has been repainted baby blue with pretty cream trim.

Herbert from The Odyssey Bookstore called and said he has set aside a copy of The Cat in the Hat translated into Latin for me. It cost $28.50. I asked if I could defray the cost of the Latin Cat in the Hat with some used books and he said sure, bring them to Neil to be appraised any time Sunday thru Thursday. A black man named Dennis Jones came by and offered to mow my lawn for $20. I thanked him warmly and took his name and number but I said I need the exercise. An Italian girl from Domino Pizza also came, selling coupon books for $19.99. I told her they look good, but are not for me. That was two door to door solicitors in one day, the first came to the front door, the other to the back. I finally got through to Karen Powell and tried to get some information out of her about Maureen Turner. She said Maureen recently got promoted at the Valley Advocate and also got married to an Advocate writer, but she didn't know the details.

TV22 had a big story tonight by Ellen Cheng on all the rats that are seen scurrying around Court Square. They showed all the trash left over from the Taste of Springfield. The story said that a contributing factor was the high level of water on the Connecticut River pushing the rats out of the sewers. Eamon called later and said he was shocked by the video footage of all the rats running around downtown and poking their noses into the trash. Eamon recalled how years ago they used to bait the downtown drains to capture and kill the sewer rats. He said that in the old days Bondi's Island was covered with rats. Eamon also told me that he has sent copies of the results of the Commerce survey critical of Principal Henry to Mo Turner, McDermott, Burke, the TV and radio stations plus the Mass Department of Education. Eamon hung up abruptly when he realized the time and said he had to rush upstairs to watch the news on TV.

June 23, 2001

Overcast and 66 degrees at 9am. Tiger Lilies are growing out. Gas is $1.66 at the Acres.

Sun trying to moce out around 10am. That was COME, we get in all the letters, sometimes just in the wrong places.

The rats in Court Square are still in the news. A third associate of Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim is pleading guilty to corruption charges. Holyoke is one of 30 finalists in the National Civic League best cities contest. Roy Scott was on WFCR this morning, they still need $21,000. TV22 had an advertisement for DiGrigoli Hair Salon that has a short glimpse of a guy in a biker jacket. There is a major American Folk objects show at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Hampden Savings Bank has branches in Springfield, West Springfield, Longmeadow and Agawam. William J. Kelly was Director of Personnel Services for WNEC in 1983. As a child we used oleo which came with a container about the size of an eraser with orange goo inside. You could mix the oleo with the orange goo and it would look like butter.

I have a bald spot on the back of my head the size of my palm. The news says that the Boston Herald has bought Metromedia and the paper now considers itself as "a distribution operation." This is what the Springfield Newspapers have become with all their flyers and ads. Mother used to go to sales and buy a lot of stuff she didn't need and spend a lot of money doing it. I called the Faulkner's and a little girl answered. When I asked for Frank she answered, "He's away and he's going to be away for a long time." I thanked her and wished her a Happy 4th of July. Interestingly, if you call the Hungry Hill Press number the answering machine has a tape of a little girl inviting you to leave a message.

My street still hasn't been swept by the city. The mail came at 1:15pm today. Mother received junk mail in the form of a Verizon flyer with pictures of the pop group NSYNC in it. Also got a thank you note from Rev. Goad. Called Mrs. Napolitan last night but no one answered. This afternoon I tried to call Tony Capparello at Wilbraham Town Hall but Clarissa said she is not in today. Wrong number at 2:24pm was from someone named Gary looking for Storrowtown. "I apologize for that," he said so I gave him no static. This morning I went to Louis & Clark and sent my memo on the libraries to Mrs. Napolitan and Mrs. Joyal. On Mrs. Joyal's I wrote "Hungry Hill" instead of Springfield. Copycat's new manager has a little silver car with a rainbow across the back and a bear in an oval sticker. I asked him if he's a bear and he replied yes he is. Gays are everywhere.

Today Orchard Valley is having Open House with a complementary lunch, but I'll pass this one up. Drove up to Holyoke today to get the microfilm reels I had made up of Grandfather Miller's diary. When I left I stopped at the Cohn's to drop off some magazines and Irving seemed pleased. Heading to downtown Springfield I was stuck behind a silver Mercedes 300 that belched clouds of black exhaust. When I got to New England Archives, boss Tom Colton was there and we chatted. He said he recalled seeing me at some of the trade fairs. Colton said their building used to be a laundry in the olden times. The old J.M. Fields next door is being remade into a Stop & Shop. He didn't know what the wonderful little church on Lincoln used to be, he said it has been a private home as long as they can remember. It is now for sale.

When I left with Grandfather's reels I decided to take a walk around. I passed through what must once have been a very pretty neighborhood with big and little house with lawns and hollyhocks. Still somewhat nice, but rundown. Holy Cross Church is an architecturally perfect blending of site and structure. The old church is preserved across the street as a youth center and the rectory is in an adjacent mansion. The door to the church was open so I went in and walked around. I saw there was a pail to catch water dripping from the front left corner of the church's immense tower. You can't look up into the tower from the church, it doesn't function as a lantern as such structures generally do. I took a church newsletter, noting that it said collections are averaging $6,900 per week, down from $7,500 a year ago. Outside is the Kennedy Memorial with a bust of JFK that reminds me of the one of Coolidge in Northampton. The landscaping has weeds and appears very unkempt.

Tonight I dined on Healty Choice Beef Tips Portabello plus puffy pastries. Eamon called and said he has bought some turf for his lawn. He also complained that the Sunday paper is all ads and flyers. Eamon said that the Court Square rat scandal has made New England Cable News. He said Springfield has no systemic rat control program. Eamon told me that downtown restaurant owners have told him that the Board of Health seldom if ever comes around to inspect. Eamon claims they were very diligent back in the days when he was an inspector during the O'Connor Administration. According to Eamon the Catholic Church hates to be questioned about their behavior. He remembers a nun once telling him in catechism, "Outside the door Master Sullivan, you're asking too many questions." I told Eamon that the Holy Cross newsletter said the winner of the monthly $300 drawing was Msgr. John Harrington. Eamon shouted, "It's fixed!"

June 24, 2001

Overcast, misty. 74 degrees at 6:30am.

WFCR says they are $11,200 short on their fund drive.

In 1984 Rob Lucheme of WFSB-TV3 in Hartford, "The People's Lawyer" declined to investigate my charges of academic malpractice against Western New England College School of Law. He wrote:

Thank you for writing me, but I'm afraid I'm going to pass on your complaint.
The reason, quite frankly, is that it doesn't sound any worse than a million other complaints I've heard about various people's college or law school experience.
Even in my own case, I found many frustrations in dealing with academic establishments. Often, professors fail to keep their word. Or a turf battle prevents two professors, who ought to exchange information and co-operate, from doing so. Sometimes administrators set down rules and then ignore them. I understand your feelings.
Unfortunately, the law doesn't have an answer to every problem in life. Sometimes injustices go unremedied. My suggestion is that you move on with your life and put all this behind you - either that, or sue for the simple satisfaction of trying to argue your case in court.

Had two waffles for breakfast and chicken pot pie for lunch. I mailed pictures and thank you notes to everyone who was involved with Lizzie Liberation Day. Later, I went to R. Grillo's house to see how Lizzie the Ford is doing. I wore my jacket, collar and purple underwear worn over black dungarees. When I arrived I saw that Robinovitz lives in a white, nicely fixed up house with a camper in the driveway at 145 Johnson. Mrs. Robinovitz was at the front door and waved to me. Bob and Kim Grillo are at 151 Johnson, which is in the process of being reshingled. Lizzie is inside the fence in the backyard with a NOT FOR SALE sign in the window. Lizzie has been all washed up, revealing peeling paint in many places, so you can see the original grey with green pinstripes. The interior has been completely vacuumed and the horn and some of the trim has been removed. The hubcaps and tires are still on. In sum, they've cleaned up the car all they can and have made a running start on restoring it.

Kim Grillo answered my knock and I gave her copies of the pictures I took at Fernbank on Lizzie Liberation Day. Kim is a very pleasant woman, who then took me to see Bob, who was sitting on the back steps with plenty of beer cans around. He cheerfully told me that my parents did everything right when they mothballed the car. The top was covered with cardboard and plastic and was up on blocks to protect the tires and underside. He was amazed to find that the radiator had been drained. He said the original fabric inside was probably mohair. He was especially excited to have gotten the frame number off it and has written to Ford to see what they can tell him. I told Grillo that I am glad that they got the car because he and his family are just the folks to appreciate it. From the Grillo's I went to the First Annual Springfield Pride Party at 73 Firglade Avenue. The old Salvation Army on the corner of Dickinson and Oakland has a For Sale sign in the window. I parked on the street beside Trinity Church and first stopped at the Goodwill. They sometimes have a copy of the paper sitting around to read, but not today. They had lots of stuff leftover from the First Church tag sale on their bric-a-brac counter, but nothing special. As I walked down Sumner, two girls yelled out of a passing car, "You are hot!"

Soon I arrived at the gay party. Mike, the boyfriend of Mark Mason, greeted me at the door. The house's decor reflects high Victorian taste with a white loveseat, an Edison Victrola, illuminated manuscripts, a nice place with a modern kitchen. Considered a nice old Victorian house today, but it was nothing special when it was built. I was amazed upon entering the kitchen to discover none other than Belle-Rita Novack! She was working in the kitchen doing the cooking, making shrimp toast, home made ravioli, turnovers and more. She had a red apron on and sandals to match. She was her usual cheery self. We chatted and she recalled how Fran Gagnon once came to a library funding hearing on a sticky hot day wearing nylons, and that she heard that when people send her letters on historical topics Gagnon never responds.

The backyard has a contemporary but formal garden with all sorts of statuary, bird feeders, urns, iron lawn furniture and a green gazebo. I counted 16 men present and five women. Mark was in boots with heavy socks. Mike wore sandals and a light shirt, acceptable because he was home. Mark and Mike's personalities are pleasant, bland and non-confrontational. Mark said they have four dogs, and Mike is the one into gardening. Mark plays in the Pioneer Valley Symphony, but didn't recognize the name of Mary Alice Stusick when I mentioned it. The Mass Mutual insurance guy was there. I overheard one woman say she came down from Northampton. There was lots of beer and soda, but I drank nothing. There was a large plate of cookies and a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table. When I left Belle Rita insisted I take some of the cookies. I took two and bid her adieu. It was an extremely high-toned gay event, all white, all yuppies.

When I got back to Birchland Avenue I saw Mr. Penniman sitting in his wheelchair in the garage doorway, so I stopped and said hi. Alas, he can't say anything except grunts, but appears to be able to maneuver the wheelchair under his own power. I said what a nice day it was and how much I enjoy the memory of our past conversations. He seemed to look repeatedly at the house to see if Mrs. Penniman would appear, but she did not. Obviously it is difficult to communicate with Penniman in his current state. I wished him well and departed.

June 26, 2001

70 degrees at 6:50am. Raspberries ripening in front.

Many years ago, Phil K. Cohen predicted that my biggest problem in life would be getting along with people who are not as smart as me.

ABC News says that less than half of all college athletes graduate. Jocks are boobs! The evening news also said 22 million have died of AIDS, 36 million are infected. A foolish woman on the news said if the school day started later there would be better attendance! There are over 900 students absent on a daily basis in the Springfield School System. Dave Madsen and Beth Carroll were shown on TV attending a party at the Quadrangle promoting the Cat in the Hat license plates. The dedication of the Seuss Memorial will be in June of next year. Debra M. Twardzik was the Personnel Representative for the Farm Credit Banks of Springfield in 1984. Mary A. Marynuk was Managing Editor at Channing L. Bete, Publisher of Striptographic booklets, in South Deerfield in 1984. Housing sales are up, but so are delinquencies and foreclosures. Mortgage lenders have been pressing home ownership to an all time high by signing up subprime clients. Bet that's what Hampden Bank has been up to.

The Wilbraham Atheneum is becoming a half-assed, smug WASP group. George Matthew will be the guest carillonneur at Trinity United Methodist Church on July 19th. The 104th Infantry Regiment Retirees Association has donated a television/VCR to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. The Museum Director is John Hamilton, Frances Gagnon is a trustee and Maggie Humbertson is the head of the Genealogy and Local History Library. In 1984, Edmond P. Lonergan of Mooreland Street in Springfield was honored by an award from the Massachusetts Historical Commission presented by Mass Secretary of State Joseph Connolly. Lonergan is the author of Main Street: Then and Now a chronicle of the major changes on Springfield's Main Street.

I saw two Monarch butterflies today. I drove over to Mrs. Staniski's house at 9:35. Mrs. Staniski was just coming home from her morning walk, with the aid of a walking stick and wearing a green blouse with a large hat. Her trash dumpster was at the end of her driveway and full of hedge trimmings. I helped her bring out the household trash and she was grateful for that, giving me a box of York Beach Goldenrod Candy Kisses and a whole slew of cookies. She said she got a phone call from the West Coast where her daughter Ann is visiting in Portland or Seattle, she couldn't recall which. I left her with with some books, including one with pictures of the Maine coast.

From there I headed north to South Hadley and the Odyssey Bookshop. The manager only gave me $10 for the books I brought to sell, even though just my copy of Atkinson on Wills was worth that. I made no fuss and thanked him, but I will not sell them books again. While there I bought three volumes of the Loeb Hippocrates and the Latin translation of The Cat in the Hat. When I got back to Springfield I stopped at Burger King by the old Westinghouse, partly because I saw a sign advertising free fries with a Whopper. However, they cancelled out the bargain by raising the price of the Whopper to $3.99, so instead I bought their 99 cent burger with the 99 cent fries. When I got home around noon, a city street sweeper was parked directly across from my driveway, driven by an older white man. He told me his street sweeper is seven years old and will hopefully last for twenty. He said the small brushes on it have to be changed about once per month and each brush costs almost $40. The large green brush also has to be changed monthly and costs $65. I told him I hadn't realized that the brushes wore out so fast. The man then cleared my curb real nice. Talking to people always helps.

Barry must be working because his car was gone all day. Called A.G. Edwards and George Gouzounis had left for the day, so I spoke with Jack about buying more Friendly's stock. Then I called Mrs. Joyal of Friends of the Libraries and she said she hasn't received anything in the mail from me. She also said she hasn't spoken to Mrs. Napolitan because she wasn't at the last board meeting. I told her that the material I sent her was in a red envelope and as usual it will probably get lost in the mail. I then called Mrs. Napolitan and we had a short chat. I asked her nationality and she said she is Irish. She claimed not to have received anything from me in the mail, so I told her it will probably arrive soon and that it is full of good suggestions on how the libraries could be better run. She said she just got back from vacation, but will let me know what she thinks of my memo, so we'll see what happens.

Tonight I dined on a can of Libby's Lite Fruit Cocktail and a Swanson Baked Turkey Dinner plus some plums. Eamon called and said he has planted blue spruce, bayberries and holly plants on his lot. He said he notices a lot of new numbers on his caller ID these days of people listening to his editorials. Eamon went downtown today. He told me he parked on Worthington and walked down to Main. He said even the new bars around Stearns Square look tacky. He said he spoke for some time with Asher Kamen, who said he's seen rats downtown "as big as cats." Kamen also complained that they've never completely solved the Bondi's Island odor problem. He told Eamon that no one knows what to do with the immense vacant space where Valley Bank and then Bank of Boston were because it's so big. As for his business, Kamen told Eamon he's "holding his own" but that's all.

June 28, 2001

74 degrees at 6:30am. Gas is $1.66 at the Cumberland Farms opposite Angelo's.

Ross Perot is 71 today. This day in 1914 the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated. John S. Howland was Associate Librarian for Public Services at the Harvard Law School Library in 1984. Grace L. Gainley of West Springfield, retired senior librarian at the Hampden County Law Library and a former faculty member of the Western New England School of Law, died in 1985 at age 95. She was the Grande Old Dame of the Hampden County Law Library. WFCR says that newspaper advertising continues to decline. They still need $4,250 for their fundraiser. Allen and Barbara Zippen and their grandchildren traveled to Washington D.C. recently and met Congressman Richard Neal. The new trim put up on the Fuller Building in the 1980's is falling off. These expensive, glitzy revitalization projects only last for a short while.

Cooked up a mess of Stove Top Stuffing. It's too bad about Molly Bish but I'm tired of hearing about her. Some tragedies get too much attention. The Reverend Mrs. Goad has not thanked me for the book I sent her. There are too many events at the Quadrangle to which the public is not invited. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioner's advertising campaign to raise public awareness of the libraries was unveiled yesterday at the Sixteen Acres Branch Library. The theme of the ads is: "Your local library has all the information you need...and some you don't!" In today's paper Mayor Albano was requesting more funds for the libraries, saying too much is given to Boston. No mail today of much interest, just the latest mailing from the gaybar Judge's Chambers.

Charles River West has been bought by Mass Mutual for a conference center. I think Peter Picknelly was the owner. Our Catholic Repubican Governor Jane Swift is going to give more tax deductions to families with kids. How about tax breaks for those who don't have kids at all and thereby keep costs from going up? That's a queer's perspective. I tried to call Fran Becker at Baystate Health Services, but spoke instead with Charlene who said that they have no Hippocrates in Greek, only the Genuine Works of Hippocrates as translated by Francis Adams (1939).

I saw a Monarch butterfly in the vicinity of the driveway, I have milkweed plants and they like it. I picked berries out front until quarter to nine and there were men patching the road around the manhole in front of Birchland Avenue. I went up to them and thanked them. Went to CopyCat at the Breckwood Shops, mailed some stuff at Louis & Clark, then out to the Acres to cash a check at Fleet. While in the Acres, I looked around for a Valley Advocate but there were none in the Acres Newsstand. The tattoo parlor was open. The entire former hardware complex is for rent by Perella 525-9800. The Acres Friendly's is selling half gallons of ice cream for $4.49, which is cheaper than Food Mart.

There were a lot of customers at Friendly's, including kids and a woman in a wheelchair at the picnic tables. Inside I recognized Atty. Marshall Moriarty sitting with someone from the Sixteen Acres Civic Association. I also noticed that there was dirt around the base of the clock. That should be cleaned daily! Then I saw that they were just delivering the Advocate to Pride. I got one and it has a wonderful Tom Vannah piece on Joe Ellis, but not a single word by Mo Turner. Continued to Food Mart for some chicken on special, some macaroni salad and soda pop. I got two Friendly's half gallons for the price of one, but their regular price of $5.29 is still higher than Breyer's $4.79. It doesn't seem that long ago when they both sold for $2 a half gallon. A lady at the checkout counter gave me a coupon for a dollar off a quart of orange juice. Very nice of her.

Drove downtown, parked on Eliot because Salem was full. I wore my purple underpants outside my black jeans as I walked all over downtown. Walked down the hill to the Cooley law firm and left off a note for Mason, then over to TV57 and left a note for Roy Scott. Looked into the Mayor's Clean City office today and saw a young woman with a brass nameplate reading "Jean Williams" sitting in front of a computer and not looking like she was doing much. Over at the Johnson Building, there is a sign for the new tenant BSW City Sports Wesr. The awning is gone, but the sign is like Johnson's, gold letters in a sea of green. There is art still displayed in the windows. Looking inside I could see that the store has been painted bright white with wood panels covering the stairs to the basement. Along Main Street I found a copy of today's Union-News in a trash can that also had a quantity of Republican Job Finder tabloids dumped in it. I was shocked when I read the paper later and saw that they actually had a story about the Commerce faculty survey that casts Principal Henry in such a negative light. There is also an article about problems with school roofs in Longmeadow, which reminded me of the roof problems under Mayor Neal as reported in the Ogulewicz Chronicles. Tessier is the architect and I remember Eamon having a good deal negative to say about how they operate.

For supper, I got a burger and fries at the Boston Road McDonald's, which had termite traps around the base of building! This evening I attended the carillon concert at Trinity by Sally Slade Warner of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Cohasset and Phillips Academy in Andover. It was poorly attended, even the Goads weren't there. There were about thirty people, all white except for two blacks. Although I wore my purple pants and collar there were no problems. I sat as usual on the roots of the Beech tree. As a child, I was much intrigued by the unusual seeds of the Crest Street Beech tree. On the nightly news white haired City Councilor Bill Foley was on complaining that Springfield will lose 40 cops because the federal funds to pay for them is drying up.

Eamon called tonight and said he is leaving tomorrow for the weekend. He told me that in his current will he leaves most of his money to his sisters, Amherst College and the SPCA. Eamon said he is surprised and pleased that the Union-News did a story on the Commerce survey. However, he is disgusted that none of the TV stations haven't picked up the story and told me he called to complain to Sy Becker. Eamon claims he has been talking a lot lately with former Superintendent Donahue, who has been feeding him some good inside information. Eamon says that rumors are rampant that Frank Faulkner has been thrown out by Melinda and is currently living in Ireland with his girlfriend.

June 30, 2001

Overcast at 7:30am. 74 degrees at 11:05am.

Spent the night in bondage helmet and hood and collar, now mastering long term bondage scenes and enjoying them very much.

Dick Cheney has had his pacemaker replaced. Yesterday would have been Princess Diana's 40th birthday. Nathanial E. North is a Sales Representative for Sentry Insurance in Worcester. Denise J. Bastien was the Assistant Graphics Curator for the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1986. Edward B. Doctoroff was Head of Circulation at the Harvard College Library in 1986. Also in 1986, James A. Pierson of Wilbraham was named President of The Farm Credit Bank of Springfield. Roy Scott, the President of Holyoke Community Savings Bank, announced that the bank had raised $52 million through their initial stock offering to depositors in 1986. Vanguard Savings Bank in Holyoke went public in 1985. Scott Hanson is in Rochester this weekend.

Got up today at 5:30am, I didn't know that NPR News is on that early. WFCR announced this morning that they have met their fundraising goal. WFCR reported that the cost of Springfield's healthcare for city employees is up 25%. The annual Rainbow Gathering is today in Bear Valley, Idaho. Items from the French Revolution have been stolen from Widener Library at Harvard. The city is providing kids with free lunches this summer and they said on TV22 that they passed out 60 lunches at Court Square. Bob Defelice of Hamilton, Mass wants to drop the 1812 Overture (which celebrates Russian victories) and replace it with selections from Roger's Victory at Sea. It is very difficult to argue with this, however fond I am of Tchaikovsky. I wrote today to the Pulitzer Prize Committee and denounced Professor Joseph Ellis for pretending to unearned glory.

I was out gathering berries and called "Happy July 4th!" to Dick Nichols. He ignored me once again. Cressotti drove by and waved. I went to Louis & Clark and mailed three envelopes, then over to buy two loaves of steeply discounted garlic bread at Arnold's. Next I drove up the street to the Big Y and walked around. They were selling donuts 3 for $1, a half dozen for $1.99 and a dozen for $3.99. I told the guy pricing in the aisle that those prices makes the donuts cheaper by the half dozen by a penny, although no doubt most customers are too dumb to notice. He agreed, then shrugged, "The people upstairs make those decisions." From thence I traveled further up Boston Road to the Eastfield Mall. There I used a coupon to buy a chocolate soft serve cone from Friendly's and then sat down to watch people go by. It was mostly old people, and among them I recognized Harriette Michaels, walking decidedly humped over, rolling along on a spiffy turquoise, blue wheeled walker with a basket in front in which to place purchases. She seemed to be getting along pretty well. A sandwich shop is going into the place where Mother bought her last pair of glasses. The final surface paving is being applied on Parker Street, almost done.

Unknown called while I was out. I called the Big Y corporate offices and asked to speak to company president Gerald D'Amour. They directed me to Claire in public relations, and I told her secretary Denise about the donut pricing and suggested they send me a thank you letter for telling them about their pricing problem. We'll see what happens. I tried to call Belle Rita Novak, but I think she answered and then pretended that she was her answering machine because the message started immediately after one ring. Anyway, I told her to call me back if interested. Dined yesterday on Healthy Choice Medley Mandarin Chicken with rice in it, today I had Swanson's Traditional Beef Pot Roast Dinner.

Saw a Monarch butterfly while I was talking with Eamon today. Eamon told me he is going to the Berkshires for a few days to escape the heat. He says the temperature is always 15 degrees cooler in the Berkshires. Eamon commented on the terrible car accident in Westfield involving a drunk driving crash with a pickup truck that killed two kids and an adult. Eamon said that what the media left out of the story was that the driver Richard Labelle is a Springfield cop. That inspired Eamon to bring up Officer C. D'Amato, who was shot downtown and the media treated it as a big tragedy, but left out that D'Amato had been at both the Hippodrome and the Civic Pub and was probably drunk and may have provoked the altercation.

Eamon said a friend told him that when it rains on Bondi's Island, afterwards you can see the rats in broad daylight drinking from the puddles. He claims that the people that feed the pigeons contribute to the rat problem in Court Square. Eamon declared, "I'd never eat in any of those restaurants on Worthington!" Eamon is still angry that the TV stations won't pick up the Commerce survey story. He says the city handles everything through "crisis management." That's where you do nothing until there is a disaster, then you say that you just discovered the problem and everything is being fixed. Like Stephanie Kraft once complained, at the same time the public is being told for the first time that there is a problem, they are simultaneously being told that they should go back to sleep because the problem is already being solved. He mentioned Neal and the school roofs story from the Ogulewicz Chronicles as a prime example of crisis management.