May 2001

May 2, 2001

Beautiful, sunny day. 81 degrees at 3:30pm.

Martin Luther: Moderation in all things. Aristotle: The Golden Mean.

True Brothers Jewelers had stores on Main and Pynchon Streets in Springfield. It was the place Mother used to go when she wanted something fancy. On WFCR they played Vivaldi this morning, and also played a Beatles song that spoofed Vivaldi. Dr. Ronald P. Catanese of Comprehensive Urology Care has offices in Holyoke and Greenfield. Roland R. and Kathleen D. Joyal live at 69 Penacook in Hungry Hill at the edge of Van Horn Park, a couple of blocks from Eamon. The continental breakfast at the Springfield Marriot costs $7.50. They also serve gourmet bean 100% Columbian coffee.

I favor basic military training for everyone between high school and college. Eleven weeks of goofy summer camp and a year and a half of vigorous, athletic outdoor labor would be good for kids. The featured segment on the Lehrer's News Hour said that in 1991 42% of schools had daily physical education classes, but by 1997 only 21% did. I was brought up that it was head over body, that athletics didn't matter. I am now convinced that was wrong. As a boy I raked and worked in the garden, but I never learned to swim and had no interest in sports. I do believe that sometimes sports can be a waste of time. While exercise for adequate bodybuilding is one thing and necessary, dallying away hours and hours on games when you could be studying is foolishness. That is why I preferred playing in the orchestra as opposed to playing in a band. Bands have weekly obligations, orchestras appear in public only several times a year. You play music, but not too much music. So it is with kids and athletics. Doing away with athletics or arts and music is wrong. Creating time for more courses is unnecessary. It is not the amount of teaching, but the quality of teaching that is crucial. Bad teaching screws.

I did a lot of wash today, four loads, each done twice for a total of eight loads. I also did the dishes, backed out the car and and vacuumed it, straightened out the trunk and swept out the garage. I gathered all my soda and beer containers and loaded them in the trunk. Later, I cooked up some ziti with meat sauce and Green Giant Brussels Sprouts. Went out and watered the flowers and removed the tarp from the picnic table. I also refilled the salt shaker. Salvon was out watering his stuff and we exchanged greetings. Kelly drove by and tooted her horn. Ciatras also drove by, but I didn't notice which way they went on Wilbraham Road. There was a PVPC van parked by the stockade fence and a man down on his knees and a woman with a tatoo standing by, putting in a counter to record the number of cars going down the street. They said it would be there for two days, located right before Colleen's driveway, but before Colburn/Potvin's. The car counter is much smaller than they used to be, just a padlocked green box attached to two narrow wires that run across the street.

Today I went through Mother's cedar chest. The chest contains many carefully packed and tied plastic bags with a note inside each saying what it is. It contained Valentine's Day cards Father gave Mother between 1930 and 1953. Mother dated all mail when received. For years Mother took cards very seriously, but by the 1990's the price rose to where she gave up sending cards regularly. Also in the chest was a plaid carriage blanket from Aunt Annie Miller Davis (Mrs. Bert Davis), mittens made by Aunt Jennie, a wool suit from Mrs. Koch, a pink wool sweater given as a Christmas present by Aunt Maria in 1953, a Provident Mutual 75th Anniversary (1865-1940) calendar, and a white and wine suit from Mary Menzel. There was also a quilt made for me by Belle Chamberlain Gillette. Where is the patchwork quilt Aunt Fanny made me? That was on my bed for some years on Crest Street. I learned its fabric quite well one time when I was in bed sick. The real prize I found in Mother's chest was a silver-lined Albert Steiger Company box with a green cord around it.

I had Smart One's Swedish Meatballs for supper with pickles and orange juice. Kelly had her umbrella up today. I called Skippy Peanut Butter and told Heather about the sugar granules I found in the jar I bought. She said the sugar is supposed to have dissolved, and she asked for the batch number and took my name and address. I suggested that they sell peanut butter without sugar, at a higher price, of course. She said they have no plans to sell sugarless peanut butter at this time. Peter Johnson called today from the Bookstore Building. He said he has the Mt. Tom poster for me. Peter told me that Paul Johnson has been invigorated by his church work and was back in the area recently for his father-in-law's funeral. The Johnson's have sold one of their three buildings and are glad to have a tenant going in where the bookstore was. I said that if I ever open a law office, I will rent space in the Bookstore Building. I told him about how I recited the Johnson's Bookstore Funeral Ode at the Odyssey Bookshop and he said he likes that place.

Unknown rang three times today. My identifier says that Oak Knoll Books called at 4:36pm. I called both Hungry Hill Magazine and Frank Faulkner's personal line but got only voicemail on both. Eamon has a good telephone editorial today: "When it comes to rooting out corruption in Springfield's near junk bond rated bad city government, it takes forever for outside investigators to gather the evidence for indictments and prosecutions. Perhaps if District Attorney Bennett did his job, outside investigators wouldn't be necessary. They finally caught up with Mayor Cianci in Providence, now facing over 100 indictments. Mayor Albano takes his cues and directions from this Rhode Island scumbag, so can Springfield's Mayor and his gang of robbers, gangsters and thugs be far behind?"

I Called A.G. Edwards to speak with Guizomis, but he was out to lunch. Instead I spoke with the very conscientious Bob, who advised me against investing in wireless. He said what I want is broadband, which is the most valuable thing AT&T has left. Bob said that Bellsouth, Verizon and SBC are also good companies. I called Mrs. Napolitan around ten this morning. She always calls me "Attorney Miller." I told Mrs. Napolitan that the last meeting of Friends of the Library I attended had only 13 people in attendance. She said it is hard to get new members because "the girls these days" all have jobs. She said she was encouraged by the money they raised at their Barnes & Noble fundraiser, but said it shows how people today prefer to give money, not volunteer. She recalled how years ago they used to take field trips to various libraries, and once went to the New York Public Library. I said they should plan new trips to see the libraries at Yale, Hartford, Providence and Dartmouth. I further told her that I sometimes think that the people running the Quadrangle would just as soon see the Friends of the Library go out of existence. I was surprised to hear her reply, "I think so too."

May 3, 2001

65 degrees at 7am.

Whoopi Goldberg on Politically Incorrect said she's "not necessarily certain that communism is a bad thing." Good for you, lady. Given the world situation, the ascendancy of capitalism is temporary, inevitably to be socialized. On WFCR this morning, Daniel Schorr admitted, "I have had a talent for losing jobs." He recently wrote his autobiography Staying Tuned: A Life in Broadcast Radio. He said he is glad for the sake of history that it has been published. The Massachusetts restaurant tax is 5%. The Harvard Gazette has a picture of posters on a kiosk in Harvard Yard. Howard A. Eisenhardt is the Chief Privacy Officer for Charter One Bank. Mother received her first Mass driver's license in 1937 when she was living at 114 Central Street in Springfield. William F. Callahan was Commissioner of the Registry of Motor Vehicles in 1937.

Alex Trebek the Jeopardy host has shaved off his mustache. Florida is switching to optically scanned paper ballots like we have. A painkiller is in the news Oxycontin, which is more effective than morphine but highly addictive. Especially effective against the excruciatingly painful pancreatic cancer, which is what Bob Gula had. The news said use of First Class mail is stagnating as more people use email. Senator Bob Kerry is being criticized for his behavior during the Vietnam War towards civilians.

I was up until 12:15am writing letters. Unknown called while I was napping. All my plants are coming along except the white lilac, which is getting anemic and its leaves are too small. What to do? Japanese quince and beech plum in full bloom. There is a chipmunk hole in the middle of the lawn by the old garden. The mail was very thin today, no thankyou from Albano, no card from the lawyer. At Spag's they have a laminated sign up about customers. I asked at the courtesy desk if they could make me a copy. The poor woman cheerfully said yes, but then made about ten copies before she could get one good copy. Perhaps they should have a business course Office Machines 101.

Words of Wisdom About Customers

Customers are the most important people in any business.
Customers are not dependent on us - we're dependent on them.
Customers are not an interruption of our work, but the purpose of it.
Customers do us a favor when they call, we're not doing a favor by serving them.
Customers are part of our business, not outsiders.
Customers are human beings with feelings and emotions just like our own.
Customers are not people to match wits or argue with.
Customers bring us their needs, and it is our job to fill those needs.
Customers deserve the most courteous, attentive treatment we can give.
Customers make our paydays possible.
Customers are the lifeblood of this and every business.

I called Balise Ford of Wilbraham and was told Bill Filiault is off today. I stopped into the AAA and told Juanita Rodriguez that I am a 55 year member who joined in 1946, yet wasn't listed in their newsletter. She called and spoke to Dawn Crowe who said my name was not in their January issue but will be in the next one. That is something to watch for.

Out this morning at 9:10 to Fleet Bank in the Acres and then made copies at the Pride gas station. I drove out to the Wilbraham Town Offices to deliver a photo to Pearsall. He said he heard on the radio a story about a library somewhere that foolishly discarded valuable books. He said he is going on vacation soon, but wants to talk to me about my donation of Fernbank when he gets back. Pearsall said the town has not yet published their annual report. I put out the mail at Louis & Clark, including a letter to Donald Dunn. They had the new Valley Advocate, which has an article in it on the latest City Council meeting with a quote by Belle Rita Novak. I also got a few groceries at Stop&Shop, then over to Spag's, where I noticed their price on silk is high next to Walmart. I found some doormats I wanted in green astroturf, three for $25.

Next I went to nearby Subway, which had three customers, a black and two Latinos. The daily special was was a BLT sub for $1.99 with just two, miserable slices of bacon, but I did not complain. I got plenty of salad. On the way back, I noticed that the front gate to the Stusick estate is dingy and in need of repainting. The people on Jeffrey keep changing the name on their tag sale permits so they can surpass the yearly limit. The car counter on Birchland is gone. Cohn still has branches all over his front lawn and the Swedish lady across the street was sitting by her backdoor. I went over and said hi, she said she has four kids and her husband just went to the hospital today. I said that is sad and wished her a good day. Jozephczyk was out gardening. I've seen no more religious brochures around WNEC.

When I got home I put one of my new doormats at the foot of the basement stairs, one right inside the breezeway and one just before entering the kitchen. Mother had mats in those same locations, but they were rubber mats and these collect more dirt and you can just shake them clean. I called Subway and talked to Omar and then Sal, who told me that their BLT subs are supposed to have four pieces of bacon and promised, "Next time we'll do it right." Doris Robinson called and said she is still teaching at White Street School. She attends St. Michael's Cathedral and is still living alone. She said she has had conversations with Eamon and said he is very well informed on economic development issues. She recalled that Walter English had an unmarried brother who taught at the Zanetti School. She told me she has never met Belle Rita Novak nor Karen Powell. Eamon's latest phone editorial denounces Albano, Ardolino, Keough, Phillips and Barsom as "dishonest, self-serving career politicians."

May 5, 2001

69 degrees at 7am. Violets and magnolias are out. Gas at the Cumberland Farms across from Angelo's is $1.63.

The Pope is in Athens. Congressman Traficant from Ohio has been indicted on corruption charges. There was a big nursing home walkout in Connecticut. Paul Bruhn is the Executive Director of The Preservation Trust of Vermont. The Springfield Marriott sells filet mignon with a cognac peppercorn sauce for $34.00 per person plus tax. Shrimp cocktails are $5.50. In 1928, Father was freshly graduated out of the Detroit School of Lettering. Mother lived at 99 High Street in Springfield in 1928. Wilmond Parker loved Mother, but she turned him down for Father. Mother was better for Father because she had the smarts to look after his good heart. I'm now convinced that as death approached Mother pulled up the board in the floor and relocated the money hidden there.

Mother thought a great deal of Dr. Stanley Stusick, sometimes seeing him at the hospital and sometimes at his office at 59 Maple Street in Springfield. In February 1949 Mother had a hysterectomy, which is when I was in the 2nd grade with Miss Wood. It was with Miss Wood that I learned the multiplication tables. Her room was on the first floor of Homer Street School in the first room on the courtyard side of the building. I sat fairly close to the front. I have no recollection of Mother being in the hospital that year. Today I came upon an old letter written from Father to Mother less than three weeks before I was born. It shows Father trying to console Mother by implying I will be a girl. It also shows that they called me "Pesty" before I was born, not a name you give to a child whose arrival you anticipate with pleasure. Father wrote the letter in the voice of his beloved doll Ambrose.

click to enlarge

Had toasted waffles this morning, but they lack the nutrients of Total and have too much sugar. I have stopped using granulated sugar altogether. When I left this morning Cressotti was mowing his lawn. Salvon was talking with some friends. At Cohn's an orange newspaper bag was hanging on their doorknob. Bought fruit at Angelo's, their prices seem high. Prices are still good at Arnold's. The Burger King at the Big Y plaza on Boston Road is closed and the windows are covered over. I went to the Faith Church tag sale, which was pretty good. The little black lady who is a retired nurse was first in line and Melinda McIntosh was second. I invited her to lunch, but she said she had to work at UMass this afternoon. The Koziol's were there, plus a grandmother and her granddaughter who did nothing but cry. The younger Koziol was talking with the daughter of the used clothier in Northampton. I recalled how Koziol has a sister in New Hampshire whom I met once. Koziol has a long, greying pigtail and has been working as programmer at UMass for three years. He said he used to work for Monarch and thought something was wrong when they took everyone's retirement money and invested it in the stock market. He said he got his job at UMass through the boss he had at Monarch. He was unaware that this is Monarch's 100th anniversary year.

Faith Church now has an ultra-modern child's play area, the stuff they had before was old. At the sale I bought some books, a fine lined chafing dish and an enormous abacus with 38 sets of white beads and 38 sets of black beads. It is made to hang on the wall, a fully working abacus with a black wooden frame. The books I bought I think I can sell at a profit to Odyssey's in South Hadley. One book had "Kathleen Stiles of 11 Oak Hollow Road" written in it, another said "From Betsy Merrill - Christmas 1996." I also bought a St. Joseph's dedication book with illustrations. The sale was mostly a heap of junk, although I got a nice piece of white marble. An aging Mr. Balch was at the cashbox and very friendly towards me considering how he snubbed me at the Longmeadow sale. Melinda said she bought some nice clothing from a 94 year old lady. On the way back I saw that the black family at 221 Ashland had a large tag sale. There was also a large estate sale at 1008 Parker, the older brick house diagonally across from the church. It is a custom built house with a large double garage. The books for sale suggested that the owner was an engineer.

Back on Birchland, I saw that there is a sign for an upcoming Open House in front of the Petzold place. The Cohn's have a beech tree in the middle of their backyard. Received a polite thankyou card today from Caprio at WNEC. R. Grossman with an accent called on a wrong number looking for Storrowtown. TV22 had a story on forest fire danger filmed up in a fire tower in Agawam. They also showed the ribbon cutting in the Acres for United Cooperative Bank, with Mayor Albano, Senator Lees, Jack Briggs and some customers shown. They also had a story showing Joe Carvalho and others at the Lancaster Foundry in Pennsylvania to see the beginning of the casting of the Seuss statues for the memorial at the Quadrangle. The sculptress, Seuss' step-daughter, said the sculptures are being done in bronze because, "I want people to see him in a dignified manner, I want him to be taken seriously." I would disagree, however, because casting Seuss in bronze is like dressing George Washington in a toga (which was actually done) and which made him look silly. You can take Seuss "seriously" without casting in bronze.

In light of my receiving only two slices of bacon in the grinder I bought the other day at the Subway at Five Town Mall, I decided to do a little research by making some phone calls. I called the Eastfield Mall Subway and they said they put four slices of bacon in their grinders. The Wilbraham Subway said they don't sell BLT grinders. The one at 665 Boston Road by Raymour and Flanagan said four slices of bacon. I called the Subway on Riverdale Road in West Springfield, but they refused to answer my question. The one at 1143 Berkshire Avenue said four slices. Finally, I called Subway World Headquarters at 1-800-999-4848 and told them I wanted to file a complaint. They connected me with the very professional Kathy and I told her my story. I said I have invested an hour of my time researching their policies and I expect "several" free coupons in return. She said she would forward my complaint to their regional office and promised to send me "several gift certificates today."

Dined tonight on Swanson's Baked Turkey Dinner. Eamon called and said the Grand Jury investigating corruption in the Albano Administration has been granted a six month extension to continue their probe. He said he heard that Mayor Albano himself is under investigation for tax evasion and misuse of state and federal funds, crimes similar to those for which Mayor Buddy Cianci of Rhode Island was indicted for. Eamon again denounced District Attorney Bennett for not doing anything to fight corruption in Springfield.

May 7, 2001

55 degrees at 7am. Lilacs coming out. Gas at Pride in the Acres is $1.69. Full moon tonight.

Turtles have their shells, men have their cars.

The Gallop Poll has found that only 10% of Americans still consider baseball to be their favorite sport. Clifton Hillegass, the creator of Cliff's notes, has died at age 83. UMass has a list of 14 universities it considers its peers for determining competitive salaries. They use it to justify the big salaries they pay. Dr. Claudia Koppelman and her husband/receptionist Jack McQuaide have a practice in Holyoke. Yolanda Graham was the Assistant to the Director of Admissions at American International College in 1983. The Academic Dean at AIC was Joseph Cebula and the Vice President of Academic Affairs was John Mitchell in 1983. In Mother's closet dresser drawer I found a card revealing that Mother paid True Brothers Jewelers $18 to repair her wedding ring in 1952. Six Flags season tickets are available at Big Y for $54.99. Baked swordfish at the Springfield Marriott is $19.50 per person. American beer is $3 per bottle.

I like the green of oxidized copper such as you see on old statues and buildings like the Ravosa building on Court Square. The Colony Club also had it. The wristwatch I picked up months ago in the parking lot of the Breckwood Shops is 19 minutes fast. I have really cut back on soda pop and have been drinking orange and fruit juices instead. The news said the price of gas is at a record high in Massachusetts, with prices hovering around $1.70 per gallon. That is still better than the average of $2.09 in Chicago. TV22 has started doing a story from Franklin County every night. TV Reverend Robert Schuller claims he has a thousand visitors a day to his "International Center for Possibility Thinking." Eat your heart out, Basketball Hall of Fame! Schuller claims they come for "help to realize God's dream for their life because God makes impossible dreams come true." He claims "people will be coming for centuries to see this crystal cathedral." Blah, blah, blah. President Assad of Syria has accused the Jews of killing Jesus Christ and claimed they also tried to kill the prophet Mohammad.

Today was an absolutely wonderful day in terms of weather. Drove out at 10:33am and went to McDonald's on Allen for an Egg McMuffin and read the paper. Then to Food Mart where I bought their summer rotisserie chicken special. The Burger King in the Acres is closed just like the one next to the Big Y on Boston Road. I bought two tubes of Enamelon the other day at Stop&Shop because the Big Y had none. I drove over to the Open House at the Orchard Valley elderly home in Wilbraham and arrived at five past noon. They had an assembly of old cars, including a Rolls Royce. I talked with Walt Midura of Midura's Garage in Chicopee Falls which does antique and classical repairs, about my parent's Model T Ford. I said I would be in touch and we exchanged cards. There was a place for a band to set up but no music when I arrived. There was a kid on a scooter scooting around but nobody minded. The free lunch they offered consisted of a tiny bag of potato chips, a potato and rotini salad, hot dogs on a bun and a can of soda. I sat down leaning on a pillar to one side and when I finished eating I thanked the workers and left.

On my way back, I noticed that about ten motorcycles were parked in front of the restaurant/bar Thirty Something on Boston Road. The last several days workmen have been putting silver paint on the light poles around the Eastfield/Parker/Boston Road intersection. I stopped by the Open House at 174 Sunrise Terrace. It is owned by a black family and was immaculate with a finished attic and basement. Then I went to the Open House at 101 Birchland. Compared to the Sunrise place it needs a lot of work. In the yard there is a woodpile that is old and no doubt full of termites. Who would want to move in with a mess like that out back? It was built in 1956 and the asking price is $120,000. The agent is Kevin Walkowski. When I left I noticed that Irving Cohn's garage door was left up. He is still getting around but just barely. Too bad.

After lunch, I headed out to meet with the leaders of the Wilbraham Atheneum Society to present them with the full text of Blanche and John's Fernbank: A Suburban Wilbraham Camping Experience. The Atheneum Society was incorporated in 1963 to form a permanent local group to preserve artifacts and memorabilia relating to the people and history of Wilbraham. The Society holds its meetings in the Old Meeting House at 450 Main Street, which was built in 1793. In 1979 the Old Meeting House was designated a National Historic Landmark. I arrived at 1:45pm and parked in the back of the bank lot across the street. Wilbraham still feels like a small town. The sign in front of the Atheneum said they were open and had new exhibits. Inside it is freshly painted, the exhibits professionally displayed, in all a very nice small town historical society.

Present were three ladies and one man, all my age or older. Chairwoman Marie Williams is certainly no spring chicken. They were seated at a table in the main room, so I sat down and I told them about the discarding of valuable books by the Springfield Library. I couldn't tell whether Williams was listening quietly or just struck speechless by what she heard. Maury Hayn the Treasurer was more jovial and said she had heard me speak the time Mullin was over to the Academy. I also engaged in some small talk with trustee Bud Rotherby and curator Alice V. Godfrey. She said that many of the town's most valuable records are in Town Hall. I suggested that the Society arrange to have them microfilmed. Godfrey had a flash camera and asked to take my picture, so I took off my glasses and let her. I did not have my collar or leather jacket on. Hayn shook my hand as I left and they were all friendly towards me.

On the way home, I swung by the Home Depot and got some goo to patch the cracks in my driveway. I went into the garden shop and asked the lady what to put on lilacs. Since she didn't know, I told her I would take my business to Sixteen Acres Gardens, then spun on my heel and walked briskly away. I paused again on my way home because there was a tag sale at the brick house near the Stusick place. It was being run by a couple of older ladies and I asked if they had any memories of the 16 Acres Inn. They recalled the horse riding place where the Pride station is and thought the Inn was by the Mobil station, but couldn't recall anything specific about it. When I got home, Thomas L. Canty called and apologized for calling the wrong number. For some years the back door has been sticking, so today I gave it a couple of whacks with a mallet and it is no longer sticking.

May 9, 2001

Sunny, clear, 52 degrees at 7am. Gas is $1.67 at Breckwood Sunoco, $1.71 at Shell across the street.

I try to be nice to people but they are too dumb to appreciate it. Everybody's crazy but me. I'm cool and collected like like a hen in a hurricane.

There were rolling blackouts in California yesterday. Eva Wiseman, a teller at the Fleet in the Acres, formerly of Shawmut, has been elected Hampden Town Clerk. Springfield Postmaster John Steele was on the TV22 News at noon saying that the price of stamps are going up again because, "It's no secret that costs for virtually everything have gone up." Ellen Cheng of TV22 did a story on the local antique market, visiting Lady in Red and then out to Brimfield. Alicia C. Williams was the Executive Secretary of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendents in 1983. The Clark Oil Company was located on Union Street in West Springfield in 1943. The Best Western Sovereign Hotel and Conference Center is on Riverdale Street in West Springfield. Moet and Chandon Brut Imperial from France is the most expensive wine on the list at the Springfield Marriott at $75 per bottle.

Activists are told to put aside violence and work for peaceful change, but this is politically correct bullshit because going through the proper channels can be an unending treadmill going nowhere. The problem with most historical archives is that they collect in only one medium, where I am preserving accounts based on TV, radio and print. Maybe my smeller is losing its keeness because I can't smell Easter lilies. I remember on Crest Street Mother would put a few on the chest in the back entryway and it would fill the whole room with a wonderful smell. I didn't go to the Chamber Channels event at the Hall of Fame. I've decided to be completely absent from the Chamber of Commerce scene this year.

I recall that my parents had an old tan enamel gas stove on Crest Street that you had to light with a match. I still have the ornamental iron stand our old gas hot water tank was on. These days I see them at tag sales selling for a good price. I've been searching Mother's papers for some Union Trust Company ephemera but have found only a single envelope. Mother had a friend at Monarch named Maud M. Prentiss who was one of their prized secretaries. Mother always described Maud as having been good to her in many ways. Maud was eventually sent out to California by the company where she repeatedly got into trouble for excessive drinking. Mother's comments about Maud Prentiss appear throughout this diary. Why is the computer keyboard flat instead of raised like stairs on a typewriter? And operating a mouse causes problems that do not occur when flipping pages. Looks like old fashioned books and typewriters aren't so bad after all.

Today I sprayed termite stuff around and put Thompson's Sealant on the picnic table, which is beginning to crack and deteriorate. The rhododendron by the front door is dying. Does it need water or what? I poured some Miracle-Gro on the failing white lilacs out back. Put out the trash for the Cohn's today, no one in the house saw me do it. Their lawnman David Pelletier was there cleaning up so I asked him how the Cohn's are doing. He said that Irving had eye surgery recently and his wife was seriously sick over the winter but seems to be doing better. I saw Kelly closing her garage door, but it was shut before I could say anything. Socrates Babacas went by in his black Caprice Classic and didn't wave.

I drove over to Food Mart to get their chicken, potato salad and soda pop special and to redeem some coupons I've gotten in recent months for my consumer complaints. Then I took Roosevelt Avenue up to Chicopee and on to the Odyssey Bookshop. I parked in front of the Blockbuster Video a few doors down. I sold Odyssey some used books for $105, no bad considering I only spent $13 for them. Their used book prices were always better than at Johnson's Bookstore. I bought a biography on the life of social reformer Charles Loring Brace and a book of the unintentionally humorous quotations of George W. Bush. I asked if they had any Dr. Seuss books in Latin and they said not yet but they are on order.

When I got back, I called Atty. Berman today and left a message suggesting he read the book on bankruptcy Whitewash. Tried to call Kathleen Joyal but her phone is constantly busy. I cleaned out some of the magazines that have accumulated in the livingroom, some of them dating back to 1998. Michael Moynihan finally returned some law books he borrowed. Belle Rita Novak and Scott R. Hanson were both in the paper for the opening of the Farmer's Market behind the Goodwill Shops off Sumner Avenue. Birchland Avenue hasn't seen a street sweeper yet this year.

The Middle School component of the Rebecca Johnson School is being closed by the state, but it will still be an elementary school. The principal of Rebecca Johnson was interviewed on the news and she sounded almost illiterate. Joe Sibilia was interviewed this morning on WFCR by Karen Brown about his plans to establish a stock exchange for socially responsible securities. Meadowbrook Lane is the corporation he is working with. Sibilia was also one of the founders of The Bank of Western Mass. The reason Sibilia (who is Italian) has never been given a Pynchon Award is because he opposed the casino, famously saying that "a casino would benefit only those who owned it."

Eamon called and I suggested that he go to see the Ireland slideshow at the Elms but I know he won't. Eamon said that the politicians and local prosecutors are all in bed together and won't do anything about corruption. Eamon claims that the Miami Dade County School District, which is where Springfield's new School Superintendent is from, is one of the most corrupt, mismanaged districts in the state of Florida "with levels of academic performance far below the national average." He said it looks like Dr. Negroni all over again, and he described those who were on the hiring committee as "bent over with stupidity."

May 11, 2001

Foggy, 60 degrees at 7:10am.

Timothy McVeigh's execution has been delayed until June 11th. WFCR had a story on about the "explosive growth of the Hispanic population in America." Explosive is certainly an emotive word. There are 35 million Latinos in the USA, which is 13 million more than in 1990. In Massachusetts, three times as many people die of suicide as die of homicide. Especially at risk are the elderly. Dwight Vicks is the Chairman of Galaxy Funds in Providence, Rhode Island. The windows of the Young Building where Eamon had his office have Available/Colebrook signs in them. The Acres Burger King has a sign on both doors reading, "Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control This Store is Closed." It said nothing about thanking us for our patronage.

In 1999 Matthew Donnellan was Collector of Taxes in Springfield. In 2000 Quadrangle President Joe Carvalho was the recipient of the Spotlight Award by the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. Libraries use the term "problem patron" to refer to the bums who come into the reference rooms, especially in the winter, to spend the day. TV40 News says there are 900 drug arrests in Springfield every year. I called the Bushnell in Hartford and they said they have no organ onstage but there is one in the building. She said they perform the Messiah all the time. Darnell Williams is leaving the local NAACP and going to Boston to head the Urban League of Eastern Mass. It is disgusting the way the Democrats are attacking Governor Swift for neglecting government business because she is pregnant. Have pity on the poor lady!

Saw a chipmunk around where the magnolia used to be. Kelly's umbrella has been up every morning. I've been reading Fruit Among the Leaves by Samuel C. Chew (1950) which has material about J.G. Holland of the Springfield Republican. I called down to the City Library and a sweet girl said it is not in their collection. Steve at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum said they don't have it either. I'll bet they once had the book but foolishly discarded it. Charlene from Brookdale Associates called looking for Storrowtown and I gave her the riot act about how I'm an attorney who charges $200 per hour and if she calls me again she will be billed. She replied, "What's the problem?" and hung up. I am a popular venue for wrong number calls and most people on the phone are people I'd just as soon not hear from.

Today I went to the lecture on Irish murals at Elms College. The road to Chicopee has potholes all over it and I arrived at the Elms at 6:30pm. I saw no posters for the event on the bulletin boards. The lecture was very good, although I did have a problem hearing sometimes because of the Irish brogue and the slurring of words. There were about 45 people there, with many of them (including the Elms President) bunched in the back. It was definitely not a full house and everyone there was white. The speaker was Gerard Kelly, a Belfast mural painter who describes what he does as "performance art." I especially liked his mural of Nelson Mandela. There were incredibly detailed Celtic mythological pieces which the British authorities deface with red paint as soon as they go up. When it was over, I went up to Kelly and shook his hand and said I hope he understands that the attitude of Protestants toward Catholics is different here in America than it regretfully appears to be in Ireland. He graciously said that he understands that. And then I departed.

Next I went to the tag sale for the rescue mission held at the Pioneer Valley Christian School. I bought an unusual Japanese black and metal dish and some books I can resell at a profit. I chatted with a woman with nail polish on her toenails who said she teaches over at the Alice Beal School and was hoping to buy some children's books to supplement their library. A pleasant, professional lady, I urged her to start listening to Eamon for updates on problems in the public schools. At the bank I stopped to cash a check for $894.14 with Maryann Reardon. She said she likes gardening and has never been to the Springfield pancake breakfast. There is a big sign in the parking lot for Alibis, which is between the Acres Big Y and the oriental restaurant. I went to Boston Market to use a coupon but they said it was only good online and I told them the coupon was useless to me because I don't have a computer. So I left and went to Ruby Tuesday and had a good time. The place was full and there was a sign saying that they have been rated best by Parent's Magazine, so eat your heart out Friendly's!

On my way back I stopped at Louis & Clark to get the new Valley Advocate. I also bought the Union-News which has an article about a reception that was held for the new school superintendent. On Birchland Lucius and his wife drove by and waved. Salvon was working shirtless in his garage and cleaned out enough to park his jeep in it. TV News anchors Dave Madsen and Beth Carroll were sitting in director's chairs in Court Square yapping about the pancake breakfast. Scott Cohen was reporting from the current Hall of Fame, saying the new one will open in 13 months. Russell Denver was interviewed and predicted that "people will flock to the new Hall from all over the world." Young Hurwitz was on talking about the new hotel and Uno restaurant. Mayor Albano said that "the city is much better off than it was five years ago." The new Superintendent Joe Burke is getting $162,000 per year, which even Albano says is too much. Burke also gets a $4,200 per year car allowance and 20 free round trip tickets to Florida. That makes hin the highest paid school official in the state. Committeeman Nick Fyntrilakis has complained about the perks but Ken Shea said we have to pay them to be competitive. The TV22 evening news with Patti Smith said that Burke has "a proven track record of raising student test scores in the Miami Dade schools." But that simply is not so based on the material Eamon had gotten from Florida.

May 12, 2001

Misty and overcast, 68 degrees at 6:15am.

Information is hard to pry loose.

President Bush says we need a tax cut so that people can afford to buy gas, or is he trying to help Cheney's friends in the oil industry? Rep. Dick Gephardt, whom I respect, said that Bush will soon be recommending a tax cut for the common cold. First Lady Bush was on the Lehrer News Hour saying she supports filters on the internet in schools to protect kids. She said she is currently reading a book about Edith Wharton. Bush said, "Reading has been one of the great joys of my life." I recall Father reading to me from The Book of Knowledge holding me on his lap in one of the easy chairs on Crest Street.

Barbara Nadeau is Director of Human Resources at Harvard University. Albert F. Carville lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. My old friend Jay Nathaniel Michaelman and his father Leonard have their picture in the new phone book. My telephone number is 782-4188. The Salvation Army has bought the Frank's Flower's place on Boston Road.

On the news recently, at one point they showed a 15 second shot of the Court Square statue of my ancestor Miles Morgan, a very pronounced, memorable image. I remember when there was a McDonald's in 16 Acres, a sort of half a shop. It was driven out of business by the 99 cent Whoppers Burger King sold for a while. When McDonald's went out of business, Burger King raised their prices. Now Burger King is closed and the Acres has become a crossroads without a burger parlor. That is a bad situation indeed. We no longer have a hardware store and the building United was in is empty. Perhaps the Acres has passed its prime, but who can tell? Maybe things will fill up. Ruby Tuesday is advertising that it will have a drive-thru soon.

Lately I can sleep for up to three hours a night without having to get up to go to the bathroom. I went to Louis & Clark and Cindy helped me send out the mail. Then I went over to Mrs. Staniski's and was surprised to find Ann there. They were replacing the storm windows with screens and I helped to carry them from the garage. Ann is so sweet and she said she intends to watch The Magic Flute on TV this evening. Mrs. Staniski had a whole grocery bag of stuff on her front steps for the mailman's food drive. I swung by Arnold's for some lemon donuts. On the way out I saw Douglas Auctioneer's white truck in front of 112 Rosewell Street. Made copies at Pride and then went over to the Goodwill store. Their book section has been reduced to a quarter of what it used to be. There were no customers besides me.

Paused briefly at a tag sale at 89 Embassy Road. The woman running it said she has seen me before at tag sales. She had nice stuff but her prices were high. She said she knows Mrs. Penniman. Then to the Big Y for milk and coldcuts. When I got back Kelly's umbrella was up. I saw Irving Cohn sitting on a stool by his open garage door so I stopped to ask how he is. He replied that he's in good shape and Mrs. Cohn is doing better. Up at Berselli's a grounds crew was just about finished with her lawn. I asked if they could get the branches that fell on her roof, but a young guy said it wasn't their job. I got a wrong number call from D. Laverdiere. Then W. McIvery called asking for Storrowtown Tavern and I asked, "Do you have any idea how many of these calls I get a week?" He said sorry and hung up.

I called Mrs. Napolitan and as always she was friendly and called me Attorney Miller. That's fine since I would never presume to call her by her first name. She promised she would bring up my suggestions for improving the libraries at their meeting in June. I mentioned my idea of trying to get an endowment so that the Friends of the Library wouldn't have to hold a fundraiser every time they want to put out a newsletter. She said finances are handled by their Treasurer Patrick Markey, who is married with two kids and one on the way. His wife's name is Jennifer and they live on Oxford Street. She suggested that sometime I might want to come to one of their meetings and give a talk. Mrs. Napolitan is always pleasant to deal with.

I watched The Magic Flute which is supposedly a Masonic opera about maturation into wisdom. The production by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra under Mark Russell Smith was supposed to be the climax of both Smith's career and Channel 57. It was financed by Mass Mutual, which is celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year. There were a few wonderful moments, but overall I consider the performance to have been an unmitigated disaster. So many things went wrong it was worse than a high school production. The dramatic magical chords were not played with sufficient drama. Somehow, Springfield just isn't capable of producing excellence. Throughout the performance the sound quality was bad. At the end I called their viewer comment line and when I tried to describe why it was such a disaster I was cut off.

Afterwards, Fuller and Montinari interviewed Mass Mutual CEO Bob O'Donnell, who looked unkempt and was no Tom Wheeler. Then they had a segment on Eric Carle, the children's artist who lives in Worthington. They also had a segment on the history of the Springfield Symphony that showed Jansen's Orchestra in the picture Marilyn Crittendon gave them. They also showed a picture of Ben Snyder and Bob Staffanson together. Turner and Aaronson were both mentioned, but nothing about my teacher Maurice Freedman. Elsa Brown, the retired 2nd violinist was interviewed and showed some memorabilia. They mentioned the Municipal Hall (not auditorium) and told of the 1977 grant to renovate it but did not mention the removal of the organ or how they spoiled the wonderful old acoustics. Later, Eamon called and said he's disgusted by the inability of "The Union-Snooze" and the "Ken and Barbie talking heads" for their inability and unwillingness to do investigative journalism. He said the reports in the media that Superintendent Burke improved the test scores of minorities in Florida "are absolute lies."

May 14, 2002

Overcast and 63 degrees at 7am. Buttercups are in bloom.

On the TV22 noon news Cardinal Bernard Law is reported to have said that "only a life in prison will allow Tim McVeigh to achieve a change of heart and mind." My opinion exactly, life in prison is a meaner sentence than death because he has to put up with it. Therefore, is opposition to the death penalty a liberal or conservative position? The answer is not simple. This week is the 40th Anniversary of WFCR. They played Haydn's String Quartet No. 2 which seems unexciting, mechanical, not melodious. Steve Cirillo was the host. Jane S. Albert has her picture on the business page today as vice-president of marketing with Veritech. I guess she is no longer at WNEC. In 1980 I received a letter from Joe Freme about a Buckingham Junior High reunion. Dr. Howard Simpson of Stony Hill Road had a gas blast in 1982. Larry Gormally wrote his history of 16 Acres in 1983. A person named J. Wesley Miller has gone bankrupts in the town of Holden.

Have you ever noticed that when nothing more remains to be said, some boob always says it? Man comes into this world without his consent and leaves it against his will. When he is little, the big girls kiss him, and when he is big the little girls kiss him. If he is active in politics, it is for graft. If he is not interested in politics, he's no good to his country. If he makes a lot of money, he is greedy. If he remains poor, he is a bad manager. If he needs credit, he can't get it. If he is prosperous, everyone wants to do something for him. If he is religious, he is a hypocrite. If he doesn't go to church he is a hardened sinner. If he gives to charity, it is for show. If he doesn't give to charity he is a stingy cuss. If he is affectionate, then he is a soft specimen. If he doesn't care for anyone he is hardhearted. If he dies young, there was a great future before him. If he lives to a ripe old age, he missed his calling. If he saves money, he is a tightwad. If he spends it, he is irresponsible. If he hasn't got it, he's a bum. So what the hell's the use?

I have an Emerson radio in the dining nook, Mother liked Emerson radios. I suspect Mother destroyed a lot of her private papers, but who knows what will turn up? I have found her love letters from Wilmond Parker of Bethel who taught in Randolph. A lot of stuff that no longer matters but a few items it was nice to have saved. At one point Parker discusses the election of 1924 and says, "I am not a Democrat, neither am I a Republican, socialist or anything else. I'm just for Coolidge!" I have sealed up my Milton Bradley litho of Wesleyan Academy after stamping my name on the back. This morning I relocated the poppies which have been crowded out by the rose bush mother planted. Did a load of wash, the dishes and cleaned the floor. I take a bucket that is a third filled with water, add bleach and Fantastic, slosh some on the floor tiles, wait a couple of minutes, go over it with steel wool, wipe it dry and the floor looks brand new. Followed the usual routine for breakfast, then out for the paper at 10:30.

I had a Swanson's Fish and Chips Dinner for supper. On the news Mayor Albano was speaking at First Church in Longmeadow and said he would like to be Longmeadow's first mayor. Albano recalled how he grew up in Longmeadow and went to St. Mary's. Some have argued that Albano only moved to Springfield for a political career because Longmeadow doesn't have a mayoral form of government. Eamon's telephone editorial number is never busy when I call these days. Doris Robinson told me she wants to get to know Eamon better "but only by telephone" because she heard he is a real ladies' man. Eamon called and said promotions and pay at City Hall are not based on ability. Eamon discovered that the new School Superintendent Burke was making only $99,000 per year in Florida and now he's getting $162,000 here. I told Eamon that figure is wrong because it leaves out his car expenses and the twenty free trips to Florida. I declared, "Your figures are wrong, Mr. O'Sullivan!" He laughed.

May 15, 2001

Sunny, 53 degrees at 7:30. Gas is $1.69 at both stations at Watershops Pond.

Finished scrubbing the floors, when a room is clean, it echoes. Tidiness is exhilarating. Make a poem: Messes depress. The road to success is neat as a pin. That was Aunt Maria's problem. She never cleaned house and continually bought more junk.

Israel is 53 today. The Palestinians are having a holiday to recall "The Catastrophe" of the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians to create the state of Israel. Naturally they're pissed off and I support the PLO and their radical friends. Professor Michael Klare of Hampshire College was interviewed on WFCR by Kaplan. He says that future wars will be fought over natural resources including water. China will probably cause trouble because they need lots of oil to grow. Klare feels that the Bush Administration's energy policy is based too much on getting more oil and too little on conservation. I think he is correct. Professor Klare is giving a speech at Broadside Books in Northampton tonight.

New census data says people are waiting longer to marry, longer to have children and the number of divorces is growing. Less than half of all Americans read even one book per year. The Fillary Corporation is located in Springfield, Missouri. The slogan of the Springfield Business Improvement District is "Clean it up, spruce it up, liven it up...sell it!" Today is the official 150th anniversary of Mass Mutual. Today Mass Mutual has annual revenues of $15 billion and assets under management greater than $213 billion. Spoke to Joan Jenks who said that Billy Beldon is not well and has been in the hospital. My WNEC Law School deanship application was never acknowledged.

Near the Oxbow in Northampton a group of boys clubbed to death a swan that was looked after by an old Polish woman. A neighbor William Underwood is offering a reward to catch those who did it. Before I was born, my parents referred to me as "pesty." The first years of my life they called me "Cappy." Mrs. Staniski called and agreed that the TV57 production of The Magic Flute was boring. Michael Wiseman of Springfield has a letter in the paper complaining about the Quadrangle's plan to demolish an apartment building on Edwards Street and urges the museums to instead take over the old Technical High School.

Mr. Cohn left off the five latest issues of The Economist, his way of saying thank you for the magazines I give him. Went downtown to the credit union and saw two street sweepers in front of Northgate Plaza. I haven't seen any around 16 Acres. I stopped into Cabrini Moving Service on Worthington, and sitting in a small office with a low ceiling was Lorraine Cabrini St. Jean with her hair dyed red. Nearby sat a young woman named Emily working on a computer. Lorraine introduced me to her son Lance St. Jean, a tall, thin fellow in jeans and sneakers who is now the manager of the business. She gave me some of their old business cards from the 60's and 70's. She talks very well and is a friendly, accommodating lady. When I left Lance said my visit was "a refreshing breather" in their day.

From there I drove over to Salem, where I parked and walked down the hill. Surprisingly, Tom Burton's light brown Mercedes with WNEC stickers on it was parked in the space closest to the fence of his own lot rather then in the parking garage. I went to the Johnson Building and Peter Johnson came immediately when I rang the bell and took me to the old office on the second floor. I think Peter may have gotten false teeth, his mouth looks somewhat different than formerly. He said a black and Latino clothing store is going into their former bookstore area. He gave me two Mt. Holyoke posters and a couple of pieces of Johnson's Bookstore nostalgia. I told him about my dealings with Odyssey Bookshop and he told me I could use the Johnson's Bookstore sailboat logo on printings of The Johnson's Bookstore Funeral Ode.

Next I went across the street to leave off a bankruptcy article for Berman. Antiques on Boland Way was closed. Then I stopped by A.G. Edwards where Guizonis was just sauntering into the reception area. He quickly tried to turn away when he saw me coming, but I called out to him. Then I gave him the most recent Writer Magazine for his wife. He thanked me graciously and I beat it out of there. I went over to City Hall where Councilor Bill Foley made a point of greeting me and I replied respectfully, "How do you do, sir?" I stopped at the Mayor's Office and told Carlos Gonzales that either the mayor or Anthony Ardolino should send me a thank you note for the pictures I gave them.

I found this week's Reminder lying on the grass by the mailbox. There is a story about Jane Albert getting the Rotary Club's highest honor. Reminder Editor Carla Valentine has an opinion piece this week promoting East Longmeadow and wrote a paragraph I like, "Leaders need to step forward. And by leaders, I don't necessarily mean the people with the titles. Some of the best leadership comes from individuals who are community focused and who want to make a difference. Throughout the history of our nation, this has been the case." My old friend Bobby Brown was in the Union-News today. Retired Officer Brown is President of the Springfield Retired Police and Firefighter's Association and says city pensioners are struggling while the mayor balks at raising their benefits. I called the Superintendent of Schools office and told Judy to call Eamon's number and listen to it regularly because he has obtained Miami Herald articles about corruption in the Miami schools. She promised to inform Terry Regina.

May 16, 2001

Overcast at 7am, 56 degrees. Gas in the Acres is now $1.69.

Governor Jane Swift gave birth to twin girls by caesarean section. President Bush's daughter Jenna pleaded no contest to trying to get alcohol with a fake ID. She was sentenced to eight days of community service. The violence of Timothy McVeigh was motivated by hatred of Janet Reno and the FBI and he succeeded in embarrassing them. Now there is a problem over the documents the FBI failed to give his counsel. I've been told the FBI does this all the time, they give you the documents you need to defend yourself but the FBI decides what those documents are. Shouldn't the defense be entitled to see all the documents they need to select their issues for themselves? McVeigh is emerging as a bittersweet American hero among the far-righters as the man who whipped the ass of the FBI. Does he care if he dies? Of course not.

Writer Studs Terkel is 81. Lee R. Sheridan, former marketing director for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and a longtime art critic for the Springfield Newspapers and the Valley Advocate, has died in Monson at age 83. She is the reporter who did a feature story about my poster collection in the Springfield Daily News many years ago. This is National Bike Week, designed to get people to avoid using gas and thereby lowering our standard of living. The Chinese are great bike riders. The Kimball Hotel presently has several flags hanging out front, one of which is the Kimball flag, which is white with a yellow shield and a red lion. The Basketball Hall of Fame has business functions and special events facilities. The cost of a room at the Best Western Sovereign Hotel and Conference Center in West Springfield is $89.00 per night.

Robert E. Parks is the curator of the Pierpont Morgan Library. Thomas Stebbins (1620-1683) was a tailor and surveyor. He served as a Springfield Selectman and served in the militia under Miles Morgan. During King Phillip's War he fought in the Battle of Turner's Falls as a lieutenant in Capt. William Turner's company. Anthony Dorchester (1607-1683) arrived in New England in 1649 and was a partner in William Pynchon's grist mill. He ran the ferry service on the Connecticut River in 1666 and participated in numerous building projects with Miles Morgan. I'd like to write a sarcastic article about all the times that Francis Gagnon has been in the newspaper, but I probably won't get to it. She has been chairman of the Springfield Historical Commission for 25 years and has served under six mayors. I remember how last year there appeared an article describing her as a "visionary" and citing her attempts to save Technical High School so that it could be made into "a housing center for the elderly." Really? When is that happening? A visionary? She's more like a worm of influence.

Today was overcast and promising rain that was never delivered. My street has still not been swept. The slogan for this year's Catholic Appeal is, "If Not Me Than Who?" The gay bar The Pub is having a new front put on it. The lot on the corner of Ashland Avenue is having all new dirt put on the front lawn. Turned off the furnace early yesterday. A black telemarketer James Robinson called offering me the New York Times for $9.55 per week. I declined, saying I greatly respect the Times and thanked him for calling. Eamon's latest phone editorial announces that "the Pulitizer Prize winning Miami Herald, along with the Florida State Auditor and the Department of Education Inspector General are conducting an investigation of mismanagement and corruption in the Miami Dade schools." Eamon goes on to accuse Superintendent Burke of leaving Florida "one step ahead of the sheriff to find a safe haven in Springfield for an educational charlatan with a record of failure."

UMass official Judith Gill was to receive an honorary degree from UMass, but Chancellor David K. Scott has announced that the award has been cancelled to avoid the appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest because she works for the University. That's interesting that Scott admits that just the appearance of impropriety is enough. Does Mayor Albano know that? Did WNEC think letting their librarian Donald Dunn go to their law school was proper? Mayor Albano has purchased a full page picture of himself in the Valley Advocate which reads, "I was voted Best Local Politician again by the Advocate readers. I sure am glad no one took a poll of the Advocate writers! It's always nice to be re-elected. And thanks to the Advocate readers, I've won the Best Local Politician six years in a row. Now if I could only get the writers to think as highly of me as their readers do." I have to admit, that's funny.

May 17, 2001

Overcast and 56 degrees at 8:30am. Shell at Breckwood is $1.73.

WFCR had a segment this morning about how in India they are training people to handle customer service calls for U.S. companies. They get paid $3,000 per year, which is good money over there. Eva Wiseman is indeed the new Town Clerk in Hampden and I will miss her at the bank. She was a courteous and conscientious teller and obviously capable of much more than she was doing. Ann McFarland Burke left the downtown development agency Greater Holyoke Inc. in 1999 for the Springfield Business Development Corp. and it's Springfield Business Improvement District. Roy Scott was Chairman of the Greater Holyoke Foundation in 1999. Judith Allen was Chairman of the search for a publicist for the UMass Fine Arts Center in 1983. Chet W. Yacek was the Director of Personnel for Cape Cod Community College in 1983.

Target is no longer selling FBI t-shirts or jail uniforms. I guess I've failed to popularize such styles. I have completed my spring housekeeping and am now catching up on my correspondence. I found a New York Times tossed in my driveway this morning. Capt. Kenny was on the news saying that there were 70 reports of runaways in Springfield last year. He's showing his age but sounds less surly. For supper tonight I had Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Chow Mein with some Green Giant Green Bean Casserole. There is so much going on it is impossible to be everywhere or even have a sense of what a proper overview would be. Over the years I have attended many events, always as a member of the public for nobody ever invites me to private parties.

There's been a lot of turmoil with Friendly's in the past year, with its stock becoming nearly worthless and founder Priestly Blake purchasing an immense block of stock to prop the company up and entitling him to chew out the company's executives. Because of these controversies, I expected the Friendly's Annual Meeting of stockholders to be well attended and it was. In the past they used to let us park out back, but this year we were directed to a parking lot down the street. I was dressed high queer with my laced boots, black jeans, Bad Attitude t-shirt, leather jacket and belt, my bondage collar padlocked on with the dog tag dangling. My clipboard was in hand.

On my way there, on State Street I was behind an X16 Jaguar with a basketball license plate #12onic. Coming down Liberty into Main I was behind a Connecticut car with the plate NOTARY which turned on Dwight towards the interstate. There is a new place called The Union Grille where Pizza Uno used to be. One house along Riverdale across from the dike wall, a 1910 era house, had a wonderful bunch of azaleas growing in front of it, big, puffy bushes of all colors. In the lot where I parked at the Friendly's meeting I saw a Connecticut registered car with the plate BENBOW.

At the front door they took names and issued tickets, mine was number 76. The food was off to the right and I had nut bread with creme cheese. There were lots of Friendly's managers in suits all around. Across from me was Mr. Arthur H. Zalkan, whom I met at the free prostate screening a few years back. We exchanged pleasantries and he remembered my Mother. He said his son is doing well at Microsoft. Zalkan said he thinks one mistake Friendly's is making is that they're gearing their advertising towards toddlers when they should be focusing on teens. I saw Lyman Wood and asked him what he thought of Ruby Tuesday's and he said he likes Appleby's better. I told him Ruby Tuesday's has a wonderful salad bar. Wood replied that the Friendly's near the Boston Road Ruby Tuesday's is doing especially well. He said he dislikes the government of Wilbraham because they rejected some of his projects, but said it was nice of me to donate my family's land to the town, then asked why don't I donate some to Hampden?

Finally, Donald Smith called the meeting to order. I craned my neck to count the number of people in the audience and an official told me to turn around and pay attention to the speeches. You can be sure I frowned on him! Then they showed four new Friendly's commercials, they were cute, but they had too many white kids and were too sentimental. At last Priestly Blake took the podium, an old man but still fully in control of his faculties. Blake delivered a very polite yet blistering speech that criticized the Board of Directors on a number of counts. He said the board members should be paid less, maybe get stock instead of money. He said Friendly's should focus on paying down debt and generally came across as a splendid old gentleman of the old school. At the end I stood to give him a standing ovation, the only person in the audience to do so.

On the way out they had two stations with umbrellas and two young women distributing Friendly's dessert cups. I took the Peppermint Patty. As I was leaving Zalkan came up and praised me for having the courage to stand up and applaud Blake saying, "You're okay, Wesley." I saw Jim Vinick of Advest walking past so I approached him. He told me he owns 2% of Friendly's total stock and advised me to buy at least 25 more shares. I replied that I would be glad to follow the advice of Springfield's leading Wall Street journalist on TV40. In fact, when I got home I called A.G. Edwards and bought 25 shares, which to me is only pocket change.

May 18, 2001

Overcast, 59 degrees, dry as a bone.

Last year my Colby College class of 1963 donated $65,000 to the Alumni Fund. The motto of the Cabrini Moving Service is "From Pines to Palms." I see the buses now have a sign, "How's my driving? Call 781-PVTA." This morning I went to Fleet and cashed a check for $100. Then to Food Mart for some Swanson dinners and decided to try some quiche, which I have never tried and doubt I'll like. Reader's Digest sent me a card saying they wanted to verify their addresses and it had a big space for you to give your email address. No doubt they want to use it to sell me stuff. I wrote www.NONE.com.

This evening at 5:55pm I set out for the Expo grounds in West Springfield for the Gay and Lesbian Civic Association of Greater Springfield Business Expo put on by Cynthia Turnbull and Bill Conley. It was held at the Carriage House of the Old Storrowtown Tavern, and was sponsored by In Newsweekly, a gay paper out of Boston. I went in the Storrowtown gate and parked. It looks like the Maine building is undergoing renovation. At the Carriage House there was a table attended by ladies with rainbow name tags for attendees. I was slightly shocked by the $14 admission fee, but I paid and headed over to the food. The hot food was pretty well gone, but I took some nice pieces of kielbasa. They also had meatballs and breaded chicken tenders. They had fruit and cheese and veggies of the usual sort. No crackers. I had two good platefuls for approximately a $7 value. It was a good feed, better than I've seen in a long time at one of these types of events.

As I walked around I was amazed to see Scott Hanson of the X Main Street group sitting with a black haired fellow representing South Church. Scott was promoting Choose Springfield with a flyer about how reasonable the prices on housing are here. He was friendly as always. In Newsweekly was passing out the latest copy of their paper along with hot pink frisbees and whistles. The Mass Mutual guy Fernando (calls himself Fred) C. Basile was there and waved when he saw me come through the door. Hampden was the only bank there. Blue Moon Roasters from Sumner Avenue was taking names for a drawing and passing out free bags of vanilla hazelnut coffee. Tom Kerner of Rubenstein Gallery had wonderful landscapes by George VanHook done in the Impressionist tradition. There was one splendid, bright little painting of Deer Island, Maine in a wide gold frame.

They also had intricate, fanciful pottery by David Carr, who once had an exhibit at the SEE Gallery in Springfield. Walter May, vice-president of UBS/Paine-Webber, came all the way up from Hartford. He told me his father worked for Mass Mutual for fifty years. The Springfield Preservation Trust was selling $10 tickets to their Mattoon Street house tour this weekend. Bald headed David Golden of Stickley Furniture had Mission Furniture on display, including a library table lamp with a glass shade. Diane Fisher of DeWolfe Real Estate had lots of brochures with color pictures of fancy property for sale. I saw two guys wearing leather jackets and one black woman in attendance. Otherwise a totally white audience, some old but mostly younger. I would say in all there was about a hundred people there. I left at 7:10 and told several people on the way out what a lovely event it was.

When I got back to to Birchland Avenue, I stopped by the Cohn's to drop off some magazines and found Mrs. Cohn in the kitchen where she has spent most of her life. Irving Cohn came out of the dining room and they both seemed chipper. There were three vases of nice flowers on the kitchen table. From there I went over to the Penniman's to drop off the Boston Herald and looking in the porch window I saw them both sitting on lounges watching TV with blankets over their legs. Mrs. Penniman came to the door and told me she has hired a Polish cleaning woman at $15 per hour to do housecleaning. It was good to see her husband not in his wheelchair. When I got home April called from Worcester for American Foods offering a delivery service for expensive, high quality food. I told her I prefer junk food and she hung up.

The mail brought a thank you note from Marcie Williams for my $150 life membership in the Atheneum Society of Wilbraham. She dots her eyes with circles. Eamon's latest phone editorial has Send in the Clowns playing in the background. Eamon called and claimed that he doesn't know much about the Joyal family except that he works in Chicopee. Eamon said Nader the Hatter has sent him clippings about the Miami Dade school system corruption scandal. He said it is the worst district in the state and everyone is investigating it. Eamon said he heard that although Mayor Albano gave the public the impression that he was opposed to the terms of J. Burke's contract, it was Albano and Albano alone who negotiated the contract which includes the moving expenses, 20 round trip plane trips, the money to fully vest Burke in the Miami retirement plan and $11,500 for a one month consulting contract. I told Eamon about the Friendly's stockholder's meeting and he recalled how Lyman Wood was a big backer of Peter Picknelly's casino plans.

May 19, 2001

Overcast, 59 degrees at 11am. Gas opposite Angelo's is $1.66 per gallon.

Enjoy what you have.

On May 19, 1675 four hundred Indians were killed in Montague. South Congregational Church is located at 45 Maple Street in Springfield. Rosemary Morin is assistant vice-president at Hampden Savings Bank. Wilfred Stebbins is the owner of Westfield Flowers. Terry Dusell is the Chef at the Deerfield Inn and Steve Pardoe is the Dining Room Manager. Donna Viens is the the bar manager. The downtown master plan by the Cecil Group from Boston began their work in 1999 with a survey of the readers of the Springfield Newspapers, but still hasn't produced their report. My book Famous Divorces was published in 1999.

Janet Reno may run for Governor of Florida. The Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project is operating out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. TV22 News was talking about all the graduations coming up. They interviewed Brian Wells, who is the Assistant General Manager at the Sheraton, who said, as they always do, that the graduations are "a boost to the downtown businesses." Long-Meddowe Days is this weekend. Weatherman Nick Morganelli gave his forecast from Brown's Berry Patch in New York. He said we have only had a quarter inch of rain this month when usually we have over three inches. Tom Bevacqua on TV40 said there is no chance of rain until Wednesday.

Air used to be free at the 16 Acres Mobil, but now they charge 50 cents. Elmer and Stephenie Homan live at 82 Birchland Avenue. Lucius and his wife drove by today but our eyes didn't meet. I went over to see Kelly, who had her umbrella up, and had a chat with her. She said she is expecting a baby and I congratulated her on their "joint venture." I told her about the Friendly's meeting and she said she likes Ruby Tuesday's better. I cooked up the Nancy's Quiche Lorraine I bought the other day and it was delicious. However, the level of cholesterol in it was awful. A quality product but only to be eaten a few times per year. Shirley H. called and said that Aunt Maria still doesn't want to see me. However, we did make arrangements for me to take Shirley to Ruby Tuesday's so she can fill me in on Aunt Maria's care. She said she has heard of Ruby Tuesday's but has never been there. Shirley asked about their salads as she is watching her calories. She promised to call on Monday to set a date.

The mailman got here about 1am today. I received a thank you note from the Modern Language Association for my donation to the Phyllis Franklin Fund. Went to Mailboxes and made copies. Out front was parked a clean, white truck for Aardvark Services - Pressure Washing and Graffiti Removal. I spoke to the driver and he said he especially likes to remove graffiti. I went to the Pride station in the Acres and asked about the closing of Burger King. They said they had no idea why it closed. Then I went over to Goodwill and Patty was just coming out the door and paused to talk. She said today was her last day at Goodwill, where she has worked since 1994. Patty said she heard that the Burger King closed because they didn't pay their taxes. She said she is going to take the summer off and then she doesn't know what she'll do. I told her how wonderful she's been over the years and how glad I was to run into her before she left. Then I walked into Goodwill and was greeted by a little, impeccably groomed, friendly, sweet and articulate woman in jeans named Lee-Ann. She told me she is a Mt. Holyoke graduate who used to run the Goodwill stores in Chicopee and Northampton. Lee-Ann said she has been assigned to the Acres until they get a new manager and doesn't like it much because she lives in South Hadley and it is a long ride down. All I bought was a little bell for fifty cents.

Up the road, Barbara Tardy of 15 Ferncliff was having one of their tag sales (they have them twice a year) but it was a lot of junk. Then I went to Angelo's and bought oranges and tomatoes. I laughed to note that Angelo's has berries in a basket for $1.29 a pint and on trays at $1.69 a pound. I thought a pint is a pound the whole world round! Although it was only five minutes before four and no later, there was a closed sign on the door to Arnold's. They are supposed to be open until four and I have encountered this phenomenon before. When I got home I was up in the attic where I found a box of elastic jocky short waistbands. Whenever Mother threw out a pair of my jockey shorts, she carefully removed the elastic waistbands and used them to make underwear for herself by pinning folded paper towels that went between her legs. I also found a large bottle of Shalamar perfume still in the box, never opened, in a Simpson's bag. Shalamar was her favorite perfume but she never opened it because it was too expensive. Instead she used Heaven Scent and other sweet smelling, inexpensive brands. I write this down as further evidence of Mother's ingenuity and thrift.

May 20, 2001

Sunny and clear, 61 degrees at 8am.

The J. Wesley Miller economic forecast is this: We have been living off computer gizmos the last few years, but basically a good many American households have all they need and America is over-saturated with consumer goods of all sorts. Therefore, a recession or winding down is inevitable unless we can sell abroad. On CPTV they had a remodeling show about "replacing the old vinyl window with something more stylish." But there can be nothing old about a window if it is made of vinyl. Old windows are made of real glass. Wesley Church has tall grass growing all around and the centennial banner is gone from the front of the building. In the year 2000 Thomas Haberlin was the Community Development Director for Springfield. On the corner of Sumner Avenue and White Street is a Chinese restaurant called Wong Wok. It should be named Wight Wok! In 1986 I published an essay about the problems in legal micrographics in the Publications Clearing House Bulletin of the American Association of Law Libraries.

Today I came upon a list of Methodist clergymen Father corresponded with in 1965. It lists Rev. Bernard M. Hanninger of Attleboro, Rev. J. Alton Templin of Fitchburg and Dr. Leslie H. Johnson of Holden, Massachusetts. I also came across a clipping of a fantastic letter written to the paper in 1999 by historian Jack Hess of East Longmeadow:

Recently I was fortunate to be able to attend an affair at the Everett Barney Carriage House at Forest Park. While the restoration of the building and grounds is magnificent, I was astonished that there was not one single picture or mention of Barney in the building.
Barney made his fortune by building roller and ice skates. His house was destroyed by the construction of Interstate 91, when it should have been moved back on park land and saved. The trust fund that he left was to take care of his part of the park, but it has been used for the whole park. Many of his household furnishings were taken to the dump, oil paintings were stored in the original "monkey house" at the Forest Park Zoo and were allowed to be destroyed by the animals, and some of his personal property was put into the basement of the park offices where it was destroyed or stolen.
This man deserves a lot more than he has received. Let's honor him for his contributions to the city of Springfield by recognizing him at his own Carriage House.

This morning I took pictures around the breezeway, kitchen, bathroom and unphotographed areas of the basement. Kelly had her umbrella up when I went down to Louis & Clark this morning to make copies. I found a copy of today's paper in the trashcan outside. The lawns at WNEC are mostly brown, although the one in front of the Administration building has been watered. Then I went over to McDonald's and had hotcakes and sausages for $2.59 plus 13 cents tax. That seemed like a lot so I took an extra syrup and three jellies. From McDonald's I headed over to Food Mart where I bought chips, ice cream and flowers. Then I went to Dave Douglas' tag sale at 44 Jennings Street. I bought five good looking silver plate spoons with The Shelburne stamped on their handles.

Robert Jozefczyk and Ellen Abernathy came by today. They stayed about two hours and appeared to have a good time. Robert said he retired from the Post Office in 1992. He said he was first assigned to the Chicopee Falls Post Office until it closed and he was transferred to the main Chicopee office. He said he has two sons, the oldest is 40, and Ellen has two daughters, one who is celebrating her 30th birthday. Robert said both of his sons work at Solutia in the Orchard, one as an engineer and the other as an electrician. His son Paul lives in South Hadley and William lives in Ludlow. Ellen comes across as a genteel lady, but she said she lived in San Francisco in 1968 and greatly admired my psychedelic posters. She said her grandfather worked for Monarch Insurance, but she didn't know in what capacity. They declined to look at stereo views of Springfield in the 1800's, but they did enjoy my old city maps. They said they knew nothing about the old 16 Acres Inn. Robert said, "You're living in a museum!" He picked up a Maya Angelou first edition and I said it was for sale but they didn't want it. Before they left I took their picture and offered them a copy of Durham Caldwell's book, but they said they already have a copy. I also gave them a small goblet of Bristol Creme to take home.

My neighbors were barely out he door when I hopped inside the car and went to the Open House at the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts located in West Springfield. I heard about it from a poster at the Food Mart in Five Town Plaza at the corner of Cooley and Allen. The Islamic Center is a brick building in a very deep lot. I sat in the car a bit until a young man named Nordin, who is from Morocco, came and asked me to come in. He said his name means "Light of Fate." The mosque is upstairs and they had cookies and other goodies. When the program started a bearded, robed and turbaned man of considerable intelligence did all the talking. We had to take our footwear off, in my case boots. The mosque is overall plain with posters and calligraphy for decorations. There is a maroon rug with white prayer spaces. The men's room had two vanity sinks and an old fashioned latrine. Besides me, there were only eight guests, six old ladies and a couple of young men. The sermon was about how Islam means peace, and how Moses and Jesus are prophets that Islam respects. Afterwards, I stumbled into the hallway where the first floor entrance is and gathered things from their literature racks. I was especially delighted to get a booklet called The Discover Islam Reader. In all it was a good educational experience and Islam is as decent as any religion gets.

When I got back I brought a copy of the Caldwell book over to the Coburns. He came to the door in tan swimming trunks, otherwise bare except for a gold chain and cross around his neck. He gave me a big smile and thanked me for giving him the book and for telling him where Durham Caldwell lives. Eamon has a new message on his answering machine regarding Larry McDermott's editorial about how UMass should focus on becoming a great university. Eamon's message refers to UMass as "a diploma mill" and ends by calling on McDermott to be "more concerned with improving your monopoly rag." He refers to him as "Larry Twinkles McDermott" and predicts that Springfield will "never be a go-to destination city." The Sunday Republican has a story "Trolly Expected to Gain Following." According to Sandra Sheehan of the PVTA, the average weekly ridership is 158. The other day downtown I saw one those trollies coming along and there were absolutely no passengers onboard.

May 21, 2001

Sunny with clouds, 63 degrees at 8am.

President Bush is delivering the commencement address at Yale today and 171 faculty members have signed a petition saying that Bush's honorary degree is "painfully premature" because he is a president "who has not yet proven himself in office." Actually, just because Bush is illiterate doesn't mean that he's incapable of governing. Lately Bush's English has improved dramatically, and I suspect he has been extensively coached. My Congressman Richard E. Neal is sponsoring legislation to give more money to Medicare because two-thirds of Massachusetts' hospitals are losing money. No wonder they want all those biopsies! Dartmouth is debating whether to get rid of fraternities, as Amherst, Bowdoin, Colby, Brown and Cornell have already done. Cape Cod Community College is in West Barnstable, Massachusetts. The Great Atlantic Auction Company has a 20,000 sq. ft. showroom in Putnam, Connecticut.

The law offices of Roden & Casavant are in Springfield and Holyoke. Charles Vinson, my friend who died of AIDS, used to write to Jean Harris, who was convicted in 1981 of murdering Scarsdale Diet Doctor Herman Tarnower. In the past, I have occasionally seen posters put up with carpeting tape (grey/silver fiber tape). Recently, I saw posters at the Martin Luther King Center that were stuck up with it. They also had posters held up with two-sided adhesive tape and wads of masking tape. One poster was for A Tribute to the Legendary Bob Marley that was held April 25th. There is always something new in postering.

Kelly's umbrella went up late and she also swept the street in front of her house. Today I called Balise Ford and Dianne told me that Bill Filiault was in a meeting. Shirley Whittier Huang came over at 1:30pm today, all dressed up in a long skirt and her long hair done up in ringlets. She is a lanky woman with sort of an old-fashioned look. She told me she graduated from UConn in 1965 and then went to Eden Theological Seminary in Missouri. She is currently driving a SAAB with 300,000 miles on it, but today she was driving Aunt Maria's Ford (the one Auntie Maria has willed to me) and it was rather messy and dirty inside.

I showed Shirley around, and when I mentioned how hard I had to work to keep everything clean she said I should see how clean Aunt Maria's place is. I showed her the Fernbank scrapbook and pictures from Crest Street. I also showed her Mother's price tag collection. I asked Shirley about the writing on my abacus but she said she can't read Chinese. I told her I got a nice letter from Myrtle and told her I sent her a picture of Mother with a teddy bear but never heard back. Shirley said she saw that picture and that Myrtle had showed it around. I gave her a copy of Durham Caldwell's storybook and a circular from the Western Mass Islamic Society. I also gave her a black and white 1941 portrait of my parents. She didn't want to go to the Five Town or Eastfield mall because she hates malls, so I said we would go to Ruby Tuesday's as planned.

As we were driving over, Shirley told me Aunt Maria's washing machine has broken down and Joe L. is getting them a new one. She told me that Aunt Maria has declined a lot in the past year. She used to be able to do the dishes and other small chores, but now Aunt Maria is as helpless as a rag doll. Sometimes she has to be fed, although she ate a muffin by herself this morning. She likes car trips to Vermont, but has trouble getting up the steps to her doctor's. Sometimes Aunt Maria shows flickers of intelligence and a clear memory, but it doesn't last. Shirley said she has had no problems with Maria getting mad or having tantrums. Ruth comes over once per week and she sees Edith at church. She says she's amazed sometimes by how Aunt Maria has been able to "hang in there." It is obvious that that I have been ignored as someone who might help Aunt Maria or be consulted on her care.

The service at Ruby Tuesday was excellent and Shirley said she liked the place. We had hamburgers and french fries and we also had the salad bar. Shirley told me that her father died before she was married and her mother didn't mind that she was marrying an Oriental. She complained that she felt she was cheated out of her share of the family land in Vermont and should have gotten at least ten acres. I told her the relatives never knew that it was Mother who paid the taxes on the land. When we left, I drove Shirley down Boston Road and past Monarch and Mass Mutual, then over to Crest Street and then down Wilbraham Road past Reed's Landing for a little ride pointing things out. It was a lovely afternoon. Tonight on TV40 they had something about a reunion of Steiger's employees. That reminded me of how I was a truck driver's helper for Forbes & Wallace with Roger Lewis and Mr. Creamer. I would go to a Forbes & Wallace reunion if there ever is one. They also had a segment about The Sopranos TV show and whether it reinforces negative Italian stereotyping. Mayor Albano was on saying, "I've been discriminated against because of my ethnic background."

May 23, 2001

Fine rain falling, 62 degrees at 10am.

Half the American population reads below the 9th grade level. Massachusetts is 4th in the U.S. for having the most families with kids. Whoopie! The population of 20-25 year olds living in Massachusetts has shrunk by 700,000 since 1990, meaning once the kids grow up, they move out of state. Sister Mary F. Honnen was the Academic Dean for the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee in 1983. In 1999 I was told I was trespassed from Monarch Place per order of Peter Picknelly, but I never received a written copy of the order. Donald R. Friary, the Director of Historic Deerfield for 26 years, will retire at the end of next year. He is a nut who claims to have seen ghosts in Deerfield. The Wilbraham Town Meeting was on May 7th and the annual report is supposed to be available at the Selectman's Office.

Late going to bed last night and late getting up. This morning I went to Louis & Clark and noticed that the female body building place was open with customers coming in and out even at that hour. Picked up my prints at Walmart for less than I expected, then over to the Bank of Western Mass where I haven't been in so long a new teller had to verify me and Maggie signed the withdrawal slip. I headed to the Eastfield Mall and parked beside the entrance to Penny's and inside the door they had modernesque grandfather clocks at $399 each with no delivery. Went into GNC to take advantage of the postcard special and bought a bottle of Twinlabs Prostate Protector, which has a lot of Vitamin E and other stuff in it. I walked around the mall a bit, Mall Services is being relocated from inside the back side door by the video game place to a remote corner of the Food Court. Looks like a smaller office. I left there and drove over to Hancock Fabrics at the Five Town Mall and I looked at the Allary Scissors display. They have handles in blue, green, wine, black and no fewer than ten in orange. I stopped by the Pine Point Library long enough to read the paper. The Pine Point Library now has a book truck in the entranceway full of free books and magazines "looking for a good home."

When I got home, I called Balise Ford of Wilbraham again to try to see if they are interested in my parent's 1935 Model T Ford that is in storage at Fernbank in Wilbraham. I got Dianne and asked for Bill Filiault, but she said she didn't know where he was. I asked, "Well, aren't you going to connect me with his voicemail? I've left him voicemail already several times and he never calls back! Is he a reliable individual?" She agreed to connect me to his voicemail but called me "Jerry" to which I formally informed her that it is Jay as in J. Wesley Miller! The voicemail rang and rang until finally Filiault himself answered. In my past dealings with him he has been a classic friendly, fast talking auto salesman. But today he was surly and barked at me that, "If anybody is going to correct my receptionist than I'll do it!" He then accused me of asking her whether he has any brains, to which I replied that was not what I asked but perhaps I should have! He then accused me of having hung up on him when he called before and I said I never did any such thing. Finally we got to the purpose of my call by him saying that he didn't want the 1935 car and didn't know anyone who did. "I have absolutely no interest in that car" he said and when I suggested that he put that in writing and send it to me he declared "verbalizing it to you is enough." He repeatedly made fun of me by calling me "Mr. Esquire." I said very politely, "To the extent that you have considered this I thank you for your time." It was a high pressure conversation where Filiault paused several times as if he were going to explode but restrained himself.

My fingernails are growing once again. I dined this evening on fruit and a Healthy Choice Grilled Chicken Sonoma Dinner. The mail brought an unsubstantial thank you from Riford for sending him Mother's obituary. I never heard back from Mary Sheila McElwaine about the materials on the Quad I sent her. Sy Becker was on TV22 talking about the growing market in old movie posters. Helen Debian of Cafe du Jour was on saying that she hopes the Civic Center expansion "will boost business." On TV40 they said that "EASTEC, New England's largest manufacturing trade show, is here and it's helping the local economy." They said 20,000 are expected to attend and bring "millions of dollars to the region." The emphasis is always on the money rather than the cultural, technological or educational value of the event. It's always the money that's the primary news angle.

My next trick with Hampden Savings Bank is to try to open an account there sometime and see what happens. I see that Springfield College awarded Mayor Michael J. Albano an honorary degree on Sunday! On TV40 tonight they had a story about how Albano and the City Treasurer are in New York City to try to convince the bond markets to give the city a better rating. Mayor Albano was on talking from NYC, saying that he is "cautiously optimistic" that the city's bond rating will go up. The city is preparing to sell $61 million in new bonds for projects such as new schools. Eamon called and told me the city's Standard & Poor rating is BBB, a medium investment grade bond and that Moody rates the city even lower. Eamon said he called Moody's today and spoke with Jeffrey Kaufman, who told Eamon that the city has a $90 million unfunded retirement plan. Kaufman said that when it comes to sound fiscal management "Springfield doesn't do anything right." Eamon also told me he sent the FBI a copy of the Valley Advocate's latest article attacking Anthony Ardolino.

May 25, 2001

Straight down rain. 58 degrees at 9:50am. Breckwood Sunoco wants $1.69 for gas.

Today is Bob Dylan's 60th birthday. Adam Strempko, the thin and boyish TV22 Weatherman is 29 today. WFCR played the first piano piece I ever learned, the Brahms Waltz No. 39. They followed it with Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony No. 6. I love the Pastoral Symphony but not much else by Beethoven. The average life expectancy is 79 for females, 74 for males. Two of my favorite comics are The Wizard of ID and Beetle Bailey. Friendly's is recalling their Candy Shop Sundae half-gallons because it has egg whites in it that can cause allergic reactions but was inadvertently omitted from the list of ingredients. Friendly's stock is up to 2.79.

The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project is trying to get something substantial named after Reagan in every state. Senator James Jeffords of Vermont has resigned from the Republican Party, which has the effect of turning over control of the Senate to the Democrats. He said the Republicans under Bush have become too extreme and on WFCR they had Daniel Schorr noting that Barry Goldwater near the end of his days told Lowell Weicker of Connecticut that he would probably be considered too liberal for today's Republican Party. Jeffords was shown on the McNeil - Lehrer News Hour speaking of moderation, tolerance, fiscal responsibility, Lincoln and Coolidge. He said, "Independence is the Vermont way." John McCain (bless him) was on saying, "Tolerance of dissent is the hallmark of a mature party." What Jeffords has done is the true meaning of character as I was brought up to think of it.

Drove to Arnold's Bakery Thrift Store at 414 Boston Road, where an old man was buying eight of the most choice loaves of bread, including all the raisin. Then over to Angelo's to buy three ears of corn for over the weekend. At Angelo's the clerk complained about the rain and I told her, "Water is the precious thing in the world, more precious than diamonds or gold." It was raining cats and dogs as I drove past Raymour & Flanagan. I went grocery shopping at the Boston Road Big Y where I pulled down a couple of posters. They were charging $6.99 for a ten inch pie, which is absolutely ridiculous. Drove over to St. Michael's Cemetery to get a brochure for their new mausoleum. It doesn't have much in it, just a folder with a postcard showing what the mausoleum will look like and their regular cemetery brochure. I then took a copy over to Hillcrest Cemetery, where the man said, "Oh thank you sir! Have a good weekend!" On the way there I was behind a little Napco Auto Parts truck. I bought the New York Times and the Boston Globe at the 16 Acres Newsstand.

From buying the papers I went to Springfield College, where I got some posters and stopped at the President's Office to see what I could find out about the honorary degree given to Mayor Albano. At the intersection of several walkways by the college refectory is a floral triangle inside a cement triangle with a bronze tablet of recent origin on a granite base saying, "In memory of Tom LaRochelle, Springfield College groundsman, in appreciation of his ability to improve the quality of life with flowers." In the President's Office Executive Secretary Nora V. Santourian was extremely polite and helpful. She gave me the commencement booklet, which praises Albano. That's no surprise, Albano is a jock like all their people. It doesn't mention that his Bachelor is in Community Education, which was discontinued years ago as lacking in academic rigor.

Then over to AIC and walked around gathering posters. I found a May 19th car wash poster on hot pink paper attached to a telephone pole, enclosed in a clear plastic bag to keep the colors from running. I've never seen that done before. Outside the AIC Student Union there is a brown trash can and I heard a strange rustling inside. All of a sudden a squirrel jumped out with a Baby Ruth candy bar paper in its mouth. So squirrels get treats out of the trashcan! In the next building I poked my head into the Dean's Office and told the receptionist about it. She said she'll inform the Dean. I finally arrived back home at noon sharp. Mail was really late today, I got a thank you note from my neighbors Ellen Abernathy and Bob Jozefczyk for "a lovely time Sunday." Nice that some people know what to do.

The Union printing press on which Samuel Bowles printed the first issue of the Springfield Republican in 1824, and which was donated to the Science Museum in 1964 by The Republican Publishing Company, has been loaned back to the Springfield Newspapers for display in the lobby of their building on Main Street to help commemorate the newspaper's 175th anniversary. Eamon called and said he heard from a friend out west who told him that Portland and Seattle are two of the most beautiful cities he's seen. Eamon also praised Jeffords for quitting the GOP. Eamon says he keeps hearing rumors that despite their new press, the Springfield Newspapers still hope to relocate to East Longmeadow.

May 27, 2001

57 degrees at 9:15am. Briefly poured around 1pm.

The Bush tax cuts to stimulate the economy passed today, we're supposed to get checks for $300. Mary Ann Fellin works in the President's Office at Springfield Technical Community College. Gerri Lockwood, an Administrative Assistant at the Quad's Museum of Fine Arts, died in 1987. She was a lovely lady. I'm shocked by the shit obit in the paper for Dorothy Mozley. She was the librarian at Mass Mutual and founder of the local history and genealogy collection at the City Library. And this is all it has to say about her: "Dorothy Mozley, 85, of Orange City, Florida died Thursday in John Knox Medical Center. She was a librarian for the Springfield, Mass library. Born in Boston, Mass she moved to Florida in 1984. She was a member of South Congregational Church in Springfield." Disgracefully incomplete!

Mutual Ford Motors had two locations in 1966, one on State Street and the other on Berkshire Avenue. Edward Hamilton the bookseller of Falls Village in Connecticut has raised his postage and handling fee from $3 to $3.50. Inflation is rising by leaps and bounds everywhere. Richie Neal got an honorary degree this week from Suffolk University, which summarized his career thusly: "The Honorable Richard E. Neal, U.S. representative from the Second District since 1988, began his career in public service as an assistant to the mayor of Springfield in 1973, then was elected to the Springfield City Council. While a city councilor, he taught at the high school and college levels. Congressman Neal served as mayor of Springfield from 1984-1989." So what in that summary justifies an honorary degree?

The stock market is down for the week at 11,005. WFCR was playing Edward Elgar's Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61. I never heard it before and was not that impressed but I listened for educational purposes. Father always used to put his keys on top of the refrigerator just inside the back door. He always put his wallet on the dresser. Father always took two weeks vacation in August, another in late fall and one in the spring. The Ford Father bought in 1966 we got rid of in 1988. Father's Monarch co-worker Jimmy Blunt used to send us hand drawn Christmas cards. Mother used to have pet stones she kept in the car ash tray, which was no problem because none of us smoked. Mother complained of the unfeeling snobbery some of the insurance executives at Monarch sometimes showed. I can't recall if Jerome A. Young, the brother of Monarch head C.W. Young, ever received a Pynchon Award. He lived at 19 Eton Street in Springfield.

Last night was most uneventful, eating too much food is the problem. I consumed another Nancy's Quiche this morning. There was a dark van Mass 1980RA parked in front of Colleen's. Someone is moving into the Petzold house, although the FOR SALE sign is still up. The woman said her name is Kelly Menard and she is moving in Thursday. She said she heard that one of the old ladies who lived in the house was blind. Went to Louis & Clark to put out the mail with Cindy, who said that with her night and weekend hours she is working almost full time. Then off to Pride in the Acres to make copies. The bookcases at the Goodwill in the Acres have been cut by 75% but increased at the Goodwill at the X. In other words, they're concentrating their bookselling at the X now. There is an old man who often walks up to the Acres and then thumbs a ride home towards Boston Road. He was standing by the gas pumps in the rain but no one was going his way. I told him he should carry a trash bag folded in his pocket, that way if it rains he can make it into a poncho. Went to McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin. I saw a guy reassemble the paper from parts scattered around the restaurant and walk out.

Cartoonist Matt Groening has a book out The Simpson's Guide to Springfield - America's Favorite Cartoon City. Big story in the paper about the new bank President at United Co-operative. Eamon's latest phone editorial bemoans the city's $350 million dollar debt. Mayor Albano is claiming that the FBI is investigating him in retaliation for him having had the sterling character, the honor, the courage and committment to defend two men falsely accused of murder in the Whitey Bulger case. Of course the corruption probe of the Albano Administration has nothing to do with that, but the best defense is a good offense and maybe it will work to deflect attention away from Albano's current troubles. Nice trick if it works.

May 29, 2001

Blue sky, 65 degrees at 6am. The blackberries in the back garden are in full bloom.

Sixteen percent of Americans are veterans. According to the Burlington Free Press, 55% of Vermonters think that Vermont will benefit from Sen. Jeffords quitting the Republican Party. However, Cokie Roberts says Sen. Robert Torricelli of New Jersey "is in danger of indictment" which would give the Republicans back the majority. 70% of the trout released each year into the Connecticut River are caught. Steve Cirillo was the host today on WFCR. Karen Randall was interviewed on TV40 about how all the rain killed their business over Memorial Day weekend. Karen said business at Randall's was down 35% as people bought memorial flowers but not much for their yards because it was too wet to work outdoors. Sy Becker and Weatherman Nick Morganelli were overseeing the first TV22 Backyard Barbeque in Agawam.

Interstate Tire and Brake was at 1192 State Street in 1966. The Pittsburg Plate Glass Company was located on Albany Street in Springfield in 1967. There was a Goodyear Service Store at 1514 Boston Road in 1969. Nuger's Firestone Tire Center was on Memorial Avenue in West Springfield in 1969. Potter's Mobil was located in White River Junction in Vermont in 1970. Gateway Atlantic and Tire Service was at 1110 Wilbraham Road in 1971. Rockingham Service was in Bellows Falls, Vermont in 1971. Midas Muffler Shops had locations in Springfield, West Springfield and Chicopee in 1972. They also had a service center in Enfield in 1981. Their motto was, "Trust the Midas Touch." Edward R. Maclosky was Director of Personnel at STCC in 1983. Roy's Towing had terminals in Springfield and Westfield in 1985. Bob Wiener Tire Company was located on Columbus Avenue in 1986. Sewall Street Auto Body was in Ludlow in 1986. Jiffy Lube had locations in East Longmeadow, West Springfield, Chicopee and Springfield in 1987. BayState Gas was located at 2025 Roosevelt Avenue in 2000.

Bob Hope turned 90 today. I always liked Jack Benny better. The Golden Anniversary Celebration for Monarch Chairman of the Board Clyde W. Young was held on August 12, 1954. He worked for Monarch Insurance from 1904 to 1954. The first home office of Monarch was a single room at 31 Elm Street in Springfield in 1902. By 1912 the volume of business had grown so much that it necessitated a move to the Brewer Building situated at 121 State Street. Further expansion followed the First World War and the office moved again, this time to space in the City Realty Building at 146 State Street in 1918. In 1924 property at 14 Maple Street was purchased. Samuel W. Munsell was the founder and First President of the firm that became Monarch. He died on March 4, 1925.

I put a ham and three onions into the oven this morning at 6:15. I ate it tonight with Campbell's Beans, everything came out just right. There was a big party at Kelly's around suppertime with with cars parked all along her side of the street. Kelly's umbrella was up. Today I called Daryl Rabinowitz at R&R Industries on Rocus Street in Springfield about helping with the liberation of the Ford Model T from the garage in Wilbraham. I told him if necessary I will put the car in my garage, but I am still hoping to get rid of it altogether, preferably to a collector for restoration. I went to Pride in the Acres to make copies and there was a fat Irishwoman there in blue pants wearing a sheriff's patch on her blue shirt. I guess they hired her because she can wrestle anyone down! She was buying a Subway sandwich. Prices on Subway sandwiches are up, prices on a lot of things are up. Then I delivered some unwanted stuff to the Goodwill, clearing the worthless stuff out is the name of the game. Then I went to the Acres Branch Library to read the paper. Several of the bushes newly planted in front of the library died during the recent dry spell. When I left the library it was just starting to sprinkle and it was pouring by the time I got home.

In the mail today, Mrs. Jenks of Feeding Hills sent me some old pictures of the Beldens from Crest Street. Young Billy Belden was in the service when I was small. Billy looked more like his mother than his father. Mother once told me that Billy and Father used to talk a bit, but I have no recollection of their conversations. The last time I saw Billy was in the 1980's, when to my surprise he came up to me and said hi when I was in Rice Hall in the City Library. Mr. Belden worked at Standard Electric and came home for lunch every day in a business suit and would wave to me playing in my sandbox or whatever. I often saw Mrs. Pearl Belden hanging her laundry on the back porch. Their backyard had a wooden fence around it. The Belden's were very private people. So were Father and Mother, who had inferiority complexes because of Father's deafness and Mother's background of having been raised in part in an orphanage. Our contacts with the Belden's were friendly but ceremonial.

My next big project is to straighten out the attic. The problem is that the attic is stuffed with things Mother put aside for a rainy day. Indeed, like Mother's shoes, she had so much stuff that it was often easier to buy yet more than to find what she had set aside but didn't know quite where it was. So I went up to the attic. I found three boxes of nothing but sheets and pillowcases, brand new just as they came from the store. With the sheets were two pretty bedspreads, pink of course, still in their bag from G.Fox. I also found some of Father's old hearing aids made by Zenith. I came across Schmelzer's self portrait and will have it framed in due course. I discovered my old hippie poster of Popeye screwing Olive Oyl as Sweet Pea looks on with Donald, Huey, Louie and Dewey getting stoned on a hookah and Dennis the Menace on a motorcycle. I also found the large cowbell that hung just inside the porch at Fernbank. Mother tied wadding around the clapper so that the bell would never make a peep in the attic. I found in the bottom of a metal wardrobe cabinet a brand new Floppy suit almost all finished with the head and an arm not sewn on and stitching not done on the face. That means that when Father died in 1985 Mother was well along on making him another rabbit suit.

May 31, 2001

Sunny, WFCR said 52 degrees in Amherst at 8:06am.

The President's daughter Jenna Bush is charged with trying to buy a beer with a fake ID. The MacDuffie School in Springfield was founded in 1890. A. Peter Quinn was Chairman of the MacDuffie School in 1983. Radio Shack had a store at the Breckwood Plaza Shopping Center in 1983. WFCR is going to have a major fundraiser in June. They want to raise $185,000. The Wilbraham Atheneum Society is starting to become an embarrassment. The latest Reminder had a notice of an Open House to be held June 3rd. But when I called to confirm, they said Williams is on vacation so it is cancelled. Having a museum with limited hours and then not keeping those hours is not good. Mass Mutual had an Open House today. Why didn't I know about this?

This is a lovely time of year, rhubarb and honeysuckle are in full bloom. I photographed my doll Sweet Pea admiring the rhubarb blossoms. Had two waffles and an orange for breakfast. The trash was picked up today on schedule, but no street sweeper has been down Birchland Avenue this year. I called The X Main Street Corporation today and the receptionist said Scott Hanson was in today. So I drove over and Scott returned the six postcards I lent him and I showed him my Richard's 1920 Atlas of Springfield. He said it is more detailed than any map of Springfield that he has ever seen. He was especially interested in the area now occupied by Food Mart. Next I went to the Goodwill where Belle Rita Novak was sitting at one of the round tables wearing a raspberry top. She said Tuesday was a good day at the X Farmer's Market this week. No Valley Advocates to be found anywhere. There were big potholes at Talbot and Balboa. The German bakery Gunther and Hundel on Sumner Avenue is now a phone store. Some businesses last, others do not.

I drove up to Fernbank to meet D. Robinowitz to look at my parent's 1935 Ford. It was a beautiful spring day when everything seems healthy and fresh. The trees on the corner of Peekskill are being removed to develop the lot. Two houses at the end of Deer Run are for sale. When I got there, I noticed that a few of the flowers Father had planted were in full bloom, so I dug up a few of them to transplant when I got home. Robinowitz arrived a few minutes early in a navy jeep with a Longmeadow dumping permit on it. He is a small, young man dressed as a tidy workman. Very polite, gracious and easy to work with. Robinowitz said he belongs to a hot rod club and just finished restoring an old car himself. He brought a big crowbar, I brought a small ladder, a pail of tools and some flashlights. He didn't seem to think it was much of a problem that the brush is all grown up.

Robinowitz asked when was the last time I examined the car, and I told him it was in 1993 when I boarded up the windows. He carefully pried the plywood off one of the windows on the garage, then Robinowitz shined a flashlight in upon the darkness surrounding Lizzie the Model T. Soon Robinowitz remarked, "The car looks a lot better than I expected it would." He said the tires even still have air in them, but the interior of the car appeared to be ruined. He leaned in the window and pushed up the hood on our side. He told me cars like Lizzie with a flat piston head are rare. We carefully placed the plywood back over the window. When we left he said he will call around and see who might be interested in the car and get back to me Thursday or Friday. A very polite, helpful guy. On the way home I stopped by Home Depot briefly, and in the parking lot I saw a bumpersticker reading, "Normal People Make Me Nervous." When I got home, there was a Walmart circular in a cranberry bag dumped by the mailbox.

Mrs. Allard came walking by and we chatted. She said the last time she went to Friendly's the service was awful, and at one point she asked the waitress, "Am I invisible?" She said the food has become second rate and doesn't look like the picture on the menu. She told me that she now goes to Russell's on Boston Road instead. She agreed with me that Ruby Tuesday's is good. When I got inside, I called the Wilbraham-Monson Library and they told me their archivist is Cora Lee Gray. I recall meeting her once and her telling me about her son. I called her library extension and got a recorded message which included, "Be sure to leave your name - should you fail to do so the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your existence." Are the people at that library a bunch of pompous asses? Then I called over to Kelly's and spoke with Barry Simpson, who is professional and easy to talk to. He said their baby, named Miles Jefferson Simpson, arrived last week. I offered my congratulations. He said that both he and Kelly used to work for Friendly's but now she works for Bertucci's and he works at ChiChi's. I asked why they left Friendly's and he said they feared "the impending collapse of the company" due to the decline in the quality of their food. I told him he should stop by some time and he graciously said he would.

On Crest Street we originally had a round green washing machine and an Airway vacuum cleaner. Then my parents got a Bendix washer with heavy rubber tubes that squeezed the laundry dry as the water was sucked out. I think that moved with us to Birchland Avenue and Mother saved the green washer to do blankets. She consented to dump the green washer at some point, but always missed the ringers. Today I started consolidating Mother's string collection in the attic. The attic string box is enormous. I daresay, between the barrel in the basement, the dresser in the breezeway and the drawer in Mother's dresser, plus the two boxes in the attic, there must be four cubic feet of string! There are also balls of twine in the cabinet.

For supper I dined on a Swanson White Meat Boneless Fried Chicken Dinner. Seven new indictments have come down against people associated with the Civic Pub downtown, claiming that money laundering, gambling and loansharking activities went on there. TV22 said they also audited some accounts at ADVEST, the firm of Jim Vinick, the Wall Street reporter for TV40. Jim Polito on TV40 said that the Feds are continuing to investigate the Civic Pub for alleged Mafia activity. City Councilor Bill Foley was on insisting that the indictments do not reflect badly on the city. Springfield Health Commissioner Helen Caulton Harris was on TV tonight saying that AIDS is Springfield's number one health problem. Eamon called and told me some things about her. He said that when she was a sociology student at UMass she was a sympathizer of radical leftist Angela Davis. Her dad was a Springfield Police Lieutenant, and Helen Caulton used to publicly demonstrate against police brutality "right in front of her father's face." Other cops used to razz him saying, "Why can't you control your daughter?"

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