April 2001

April 2, 2001

Overcast, 40 degrees at 8:45am. Crocuses by the house blooming.

Arrogance comes with power, and in due course America will be brought down.

Milosovic of Yugoslavia was arrested yesterday. Belgrade is talking about charging him with capital crimes and executing him there. That is what should be done. Barbara M. Adams is the Governor of the Society of Mayflower Descendents of the State of Maine. Elaine Dow has been the Garden Consultant for many period gardens in the Boston area, including Paul Revere's House in Boston and Pioneer Village in Salem. This morning WFCR was finally admitting that they had a "shortfall" in March, blaming it on bad weather. Someone named Roger Lewis called in and pledged $1,200, which made me recall that I was a truck driver's helper to a Roger Lewis, but not likely the same one.

Homer Street School is in the news as in need of renovation. The state says there is no land for an addition and they won't pay for repairs. An article by Peter Goonan in the paper begins, "You name it, Homer Street School needs it." Principal Bonnie L. Rennix, while giving a tour to Councilors Puppolo and Ryan, said, "We are living in an unsafe dungeon." Rats and bats have been seen in the building by teachers. Marjorie Hurst was on TV saying that the school received no attention until parents started complaining. I called Belle-Rita Novak but she couldn't talk. M.L. Egan called looking for Storrowtown.

In the old days, Father would look out the window and ask, "When is spring coming?" Then we would pretend that Floppy and Ambrose would try to fool each other that they had seen a robin. The sucker would be the one who ran to see it, usually Floppy won, naturally. I'm ready for spring cleaning, which is already slightly started. I wiped and washed all the counter tops, but did not clean the floor. Had grapefruit and Total cereal for breakfast. Went to Fleet and transferred $3,000 to checking. I chatted with retired Officer Bobby Brown while in line. He said the city increased the assessment on his house by $13,000. He is still fighting to raise the pensions of city retirees, but Albano says there is no money. Then to McDonald's for a 99 cent burger and fries.

I went to the Elms today to hear the lecture about John Boyle O'Reilly. It was superb, but there were only 24 in attendance besides me. I arrived at 1:15pm and found the doors locked tight, how very Catholic. I went into the library and there was a tall fellow with a baseball cap at the circulation desk and he didn't know anything about the Irish Cultural Center or the lecture on John Boyle O'Reilly. He suggested I go to the campus security shack out back, which I did, and a young, uniformed guy told me where to go. I was the first to arrive and rode in the elevator with Professor Thomas Moriarty, who is tall, wears penny loafers and is always friendly. Good guy type individual who went out of his way to be gracious. He said he reads all the letters I send him, but did not say what he thought of them.

They have remodeled the library's 3rd floor with a grant from the Davis Foundation, which has created an Irish Room on one end and a Polish Room on the other. They had lots of free literature about Ireland so I took several of each. The lecturer was Professor Catherine Shannon and the audience was all white and mostly elderly, not a single student was there, which seems a shame. Nobody seems to have publicized the event, I saw no posters for it around campus. Elms is a weak college that could use the supplementation of an excellent program like today. Shannon said that O'Reilly was a pioneering progressive who was ahead of his time and had liberal ideas about everything except the emancipation of women. At the end she took questions, so I asked if anything by O'Reilly is still in print. She said no, so I suggested to her that the reprinting of O'Reilly's books would be a handsome addition to her bibliography. Following the lecture they served fruit punch and large chocolate chip cookies. They should have more such events.

April 3, 2001

Sunny, clear, calm. 45 degrees at 12:15pm. Gas at Pride in the Acres is $1.36.

A good citizen is a well informed citizen.

Mayor Buddy Cianci of Providence has been indicted on an array of charges. The Post Office is considering eliminating Saturday deliveries even with the increase in rates they had last year. Most people have forgotten the old days when the mail used to come twice per day. A recent news story said the Post Office loses more than a billion dollars a year due to fraud and abuse. On TV22 they had on an ad for the Three County Home and Gardens Show at the UMass Mullins Center, which looks like a real competitor to the Home Show at the Exposition grounds. Construction at the Agawam Public Library is creating parking problems at the High School next door.

Robert H. Rubin Books is in Brookline, Massachusetts. They sell rare and scholarly books in economics, law, philosophy, social history and thought. It seems the tobacco companies couldn't care less about the victims of tobacco. I had a theory in my youth that pimples tend to appear in symmetrical places. I now have a pimple on the inside of each of my calves and they are in corresponding spots. A disappointing morning in many respects. Went down to the main Post Office downtown to pick up a package and Rick at window #1 said he couldn't find it. He said they must have left it on the truck. I expressed my displeasure while also pointing out that on the notice they sent me my name was misspelled as "Westly." I told Rick I invested one hour going to the Post Office and 10 miles worth of gas. Figuring my time at $50 and the gas at one dollar, I said that "you owe me $51 dollars." He replied, "Not me, the Post Office," and I said yes, I meant 'you' in the corporate sense.

Then to the Telephone Worker's Credit Union, where I had trouble cashing a check. Next I went to the free concert at the Tuesday Morning Music Club. It was a lovely concert in every respect, but they had no refreshments, none at all. There were also no programs around, so maybe their budget is tight. The pianist and the singers were both superb and the pig-tailed Noble is an excellent accompanist. Mr. Lamoureaux the retired teacher came up to me and introduced me to his short, red-headed wife. I noted that he was friends with Mr. Lynch and he replied that the late 1950's were the golden years for Classical and that I attended the school at "just the right time." He said "things began going dramatically downhill" soon afterward. Mrs. Ehrenberg didn't speak to me this time. American International College had a booth set up with brochures that said that A.I.C. is "a campus where change is the norm." I told the man at the booth that change can be a strategy, but that the only appropriate norm is excellence.

On the way home I stopped at Louis & Clark and bought a book of stamps. Over to Angelo's, but nothing there and Arnold's Bakery was closing. From there I went to the Big Y and was once again disappointed. I ordered fish and chips with extra tartar sauce and she said they were cutting back on the amount of tartar sauce they give away. I replied, "Forget it, sell your dinners to somebody else," and instead I had a Swanson Fried Chicken frozen dinner tonight. Everything at the Big Y is overpriced. Then I swung by Fleet and cashed a $500 check and noticed that someone had left a Municipal Employee Credit Union ID card behind, which I turned in to the teller. Outside, I saw that Moren Signs of Agawam were installing a time and temperature clock in front of the former Shawmut which is now United Cooperative Bank. I noticed that 16 Acres Gardens has their pansies in.

The mail today brought a Meadowbrook Landscaping circular in it. My first interest check from WMass Credit Union also arrived for $118.42. I called A.I.C. and asked for the Provost and got Marie. She listened politely as I told her that excellence is the norm and rising to excellence should be their goal. I explained that change is only meaningful if it aids in the unending quest for excellence. I said our ideals are like the stars, they guide us but we can never reach them. Eamon called tonight and said that teachers have the highest rate of absenteeism of any profession.

April 5, 2001

Beautiful out, 39 degrees at 10:06am.

Knowledge is Power; Time is Money.

The Vatican yesterday denied a report saying that sexual abuse of nuns by priests in AIDS ravaged Africa is a major problem. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is putting course material on the internet without charge because they think education has become too commercial. Fox61 News at Ten had a story about Hartford's plans to transform their Civic Center into a 24 hour facility "not replicable in the suburbs." If Springfield is smart we'll wait until their facility is complete and then build an even better one, but we won't. There was an article in the paper about Mass Mutual trying to peddle insurance through the Chamber of Commerce. Article on the Business page said that Friendly's suffered major losses last year. The Friends of the East Longmeadow Public Library Annual Book and Bake Sale is April 28th.

The average American family has only $10,000 in savings. As a child I was very fond of the original Christopher Churchmouse adventure books. Linda K. Broker was Assistant to the President of Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Connecticut in 1983. Sister Kathleen Keating has donated books to the Elms College Library in memory of Ryan C. Lewis. Pioneer Valley Urology is on Medical Center Drive in Springfield. A new musical Leader of the Pack is playing at the Bushnell in Hartford and features people in leather jackets. TV22 says an apartment block on Edwards Street behind the Quadrangle is in danger of having its historic district restrictions removed so that it can be demolished. You can be sure that Fran Gagnon will ram that through. Later Dr. Frank Faulkner, thin, white-haired, mustached and casually dressed, was on as a former U.S. Intelligence Officer talking about foreign policy. He came across as a pompous ass.

I went to bed in the middle of the night and slept with the covers over my head (I always sleep with the covers over my head) until about 8am and then I rushed to complete some chores I had left undone the night before. I cooked up some broccoli and parsnips. The phone rang at 9:40am when I was on the toilet. I jumped up, picked up the phone, turned down the radio and said hello very professionally. The caller ID read "Kelly Bill 565-2697" and the person said, "I'm looking for the Storrowtown Tavern." I replied in exasperation, "Look at all the trouble you've caused me," and hung up! Another person called later when I had a mouth full of toothpaste and it was someone identified as "E. Ryan 584-4573" also asking for Storrowtown. Unknown called, to hell with them. I'll make trouble for these people when I get around to it.

I see there is a book out called White Collar Sweat Shop by Jill Andresky. Bruce Yarber once told me that he felt Monarch Insurance had become a sweatshop towards the end, with everyone afraid of losing their job and the supervisors ordering everyone to tow the line. I called Scott Hanson at the X Main Street Corporation and congratulated him on their History of the X exhibit. I offered to let him borrow some of my postcards of the X for copying and he said yes. I received a thank you card in the mail today from Joseph Rodio, Assistant Director of the Wilbraham Public Library, thanking me for correcting his spelling. I also received another salmon colored slip from the Post Office saying they located my package and I can pick it up.

I always have multiple objectives when I go out. I wanted to get some newspapers to read about the indictment of Albano's pal Buddy Cianci. As I was leaving Lucius drove by in his red Cadillac. I chatted with Mrs. Penniman who came walking down the street. She said this is the first year they have tapped their trees for maple syrup. She said her son did it and they got five pints worth. She reported that her husband's health is the same, with "some good days and some bad ones." I went to Louis & Clark and bought the Boston, Hartford and Springfield papers. Then I went to the Fleet Bank at the Eastfield Mall and cashed a check and the cheerful black gentleman Mr. Pitts let me into my safety deposit box. He asked me whether I was from Springfield or Wilbraham. Then I went across the street where there was an enormous pothole at the top of the ramp connecting Stop&Shop with the Staples lot behind Bank of Western Mass. At Stop&Shop I bought a ham, fruit and spaghetti. So I drove out to the X with the Gill print of the Springfield skyline, my Forest Park postcards including the double one of Whelan's Drug Store. I left them off and Hanson gave me a receipt. Patty was working at the Goodwill and said they've been shuffling people around lately but she hopes to be back in 16 Acres in about three weeks.

In a meandering way, this has been a long day. Too many mistakes in my typing this evening, I am seated a bit to the left of the typewriter. Eamon called and asked whether I got an invitation to the Elm's President's retirement party. When I said no he replied that he threw his invitation directly into the trash. He said he wishes they would nail Mayor Albano the way they did his buddy Mayor Cianci. I told Eamon about my friend retired Officer R. Brown of Maebeth Street and his fight with Albano over pensions. Eamon said he hadn't heard about it, but would consult his sources. Art Gingras called him and told Eamon that the situation at Commerce is unbelievable and getting worse. He said that Principal Ann Henry is "holed up in her office, above the fray while her school is in meltdown." Gingras said Officer Edward Shultz, a member of the Commerce security team, was beaten by a student last week but nothing about it appeared in the media.

April 7, 2001

Overcast, rain in the afternoon. 44 degrees at 9am. Gas is $1.41 at Watershops Pond.

Even when dealing with the best of people, demand a receipt.

The New York Times has a picture on the front page of a Chinese poster campaign protesting the recent downing of a Chinese jet by the United States. Today in Milwaukee George Bush will toss out the ball at the Grand Opening of Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Sen. Helms of North Carolina says he will not oppose the appointment of Paul Cellucci for Ambassador to Canada as long as he promises not to advance his personal views on abortion. WFCR said this is National Tartan Day so they were celebrating with Scottish music. The news says the national average reading scores have stayed the same for the last 25 years despite spending billions to raise them. In Springfield, only one third of 4th graders read at or above grade level.

Passover begins tonight. Had a dream last night that I was at Fernbank in Wilbraham eating strawberry shortcake and Mother was complaining that she wanted applesauce. Membership in the Spam Luncheon Meat Fan Community is a rip-off at $15. Elaine M. Bristol is Marketing Director for Essex Meadows in Essex, Connecticut. Larry McDermott was on TV40 talking about his paper's "deep commitment to Springfield" as reflected in their $20 million dollar press which will be in use in 2002. It will be twice as fast as the press they use now, which is 30 years old. I'll bet they use the new press as an excuse to jack up the price of their papers. B. Garton on TV22 told us that Mayor Cianci has pleaded innocent to corruption charges. They then showed us shots of Mayor Albano, his staffer Anthony Ardolino and Mayor Cianci all in chef aprons cooking something up. Real cute.

From there I drove to the Acres, where the new digital United Co-operative Bank sign is working. They have a manicured lawn and landscaped bushes. It will be interesting to see what becomes of their old structure, which had too little parking. Maybe Tommy Burton will take it off their hands. The street was dug up for cable work and there were cops standing around in raincoats. Then I attended the Walter Stock lecture on Celtic languages at Elms. When I arrived I stopped briefly at the Elms Library, which is a very beautiful building and study space. Years ago I went over every book in the Elms Library, their rare book room is a tad thin on actual rare books. At the Polish Cultural Center they were hanging some lovely curtains in the windows. The Men's toilets are old fashioned with beautiful tilework and old sinks all neat and clean and respectable as you might hope for in a longtime woman's college.

Walter Stock is a big bear of a man with a bushy beard and a loud voice I could easily hear without a microphone. If you have a proper sense of projection, then you don't need a sound system even for the nearly deaf like me. Stock told us he is part German and is past President of the New York Gaelic Society and a Professor at New York University. He is an expert in Celtic language, culture and spirituality. Stock is a wonderful person, extremely competent, oozing learning, with a splendid attitude and wry sense of humor. Irish Gaelic (unlike Scottish) makes no use of "polite address" as found in most other European languages. You can address anyone with the informal "tu" from your best friend to the President of Ireland. Sean is the Irish form of John. He said only 20% of the Irish population currently speaks Gaelic. He recommended getting Irish books at Schoenhof's Foreign Books in Cambridge. There were exactly 24 people present. While listening to the lecture a ladybug landed on me, which is a sign of good luck.

Afterwards, we were served a box lunch and I sat with the McCarthy family (Andrew and sons Adam and Gregory). The father said he has a daughter he would like to have brought but she is away at school. Also sitting with us was Christine Coughlin. We talked about education and I opined that the worst students tend to go into education, to which Couglin replied, "I couldn't disagree with you more." The lunch was a can of soda, a ziti salad with onions and broccoli, a lovely ham and cheese sandwich, two chocolate chip cookies and an orange. There was also a bag of potato chips with vinegar flavoring I disliked very much. Professor Moriarty came by and remarked about me showing up for two events in a row, and I said I like to attend academic events. I told him the lecture last time was really nice and a public service. For a senior scholar with a Big Ten university degree, Moriarty is always putting on public events for the college and the faith, when other men would prefer the solitude of a carrel in the library. In the end, I learned very little Irish, but picked up a lot of other useful things. I did learn the word for thankyou in Irish and bowed and recited it to Stock and Moriarty on the way out.

Back home, I spoke on the phone with Gouzounis at Edwards about the Centennial Money Market interest. Mother would have had a fit, and Father would have laughed, at all the games with stock acquisitions and splits in the last year. I went over the flower beds and removed three bags of debris. Still a little snow along our side of the hedge. The Republican Extra, which normally comes on Friday, was lying in the driveway. The mail included a refund check of $47.50 from Commerce Insurance and a thankyou letter from The Smithsonian for telling them about the immense antique painting of the River Jordan in the fellowship hall of Agawam Baptist Church.

After readying the lot for spring, I drove down to the Breckwood Shops and got a copy of the New York Times and the Union-News, which had an article about how Peter Picknelly would like to buy Smith & Wesson but it is too expensive. There was also an article about the takeover by the Quadrangle of the apartment block on Edwards Street that was railroaded through the Historical Commission. Mayor Albano said he didn't want to save it. The Springfield Preservation Trust, a private historic preservation group, opposed the sale and demolition. William J. Devlin is vice-president of the Springfield Preservation Trust, which also tried to block the recent demolition of the Donoghue House on Chestnut Street. They complained that it made no sense to tear down a historic building to build a museum of history. So sad to see one of the few respectable apartment blocks remaining downtown lost.

April 9, 2001

Thunder and lightening, pelting rain. Gas is up to $1.47 at Sunoco at Gateway.

If Jesus loves me, does that mean he's gay?

This is Paul Celluci's last day as Governor, he will step down to become Ambassador to Canada tomorrow. Lt. Governor Jane Swift is planning to run the state from her home in North Adams, where she is expecting twins in June. The Republicans did nothing to control spending on the Big Dig and Celluci is the second Republican to leave before his term as Governor was done. As State Treasurer, Joe Malone was a clown. The Republicans do not have a good record on statewide offices. Health New England's office was at One Monarch Place in 1999. The TV40 news showed the Rev. Mr. Goad doing the Palm Sunday service at Trinity Methodist Church. Does that mean that Mrs. Goad will do the preaching Easter morning? Everything is ready for filling out tax forms, but I haven't done them yet.

There is still some ice and snow along the garden portion of the back hedge. It was raining when I left at 9:30am to get an Egg McMuffin at the Allen Street McDonald's. Then I bought some asparagus at Food Mart and made copies at Pride in the Acres. I stopped at the Goodwill and the books were very picked over. I bought Fun With Hieroglyphs and although I didn't learn Irish at Elms, I do appear to be learning hieroglyphics. It is fun to explore exotic languages. Then I walked over to the Grand Opening of the United Cooperative branch that relocated into the former Community Savings/Shawmut/Fleet building in the Acres. The buildings out back have been completely reconstructed, no occupants yet but For Rent signs are in the windows. There was no formal ribbon cutting, but they had green and gold balloons at the entrance. I took a picture of the balloons.

Inside, I chatted with Sally Fuller and told her the place looks great. She laughed when I said, "Eat your heart out, Tom Burton!" I told her that United branches are nice and homey inside, while Hampden's branches are ugly. Sally is showing her age, but still looks good and it's apparent she takes good care of herself. A chef was serving pastry on a large plate. I took a raspberry jelly one. There was a drawing which I did not enter. I looked around, told everyone it looked nice and left quickly. Outside, I took some pictures of the Acres intersection from the United vantage point. Then I headed downtown where the Exeter Building is now bricks and rubble. I parked at the Telephone Worker's Union and paused at the restroom at the Peter Pan bus station. By the bushes in front of the Springfield Newspaper's parking lot I found a crack cocaine pipe on the ground and brought it home to add to my collection of drug paraphernalia. I stopped at Fleet and Sovereign, then headed home. 16 Acres Gardens has a large selection of pansies this year. Dick Petzold's old house is still abandoned. I tooted at Dick Nichols who was out front getting his paper. He looked at me with disgust.

Western New England College makes its Art Gallery space available at no charge to area artists for art shows. A person with a gay sounding voice called from Palmer looking for Storrowtown Tavern. Afterwards, a stockbroker called looking for business. I called Aunt Maria and she answered faintly, then quickly gave the phone to Bonnie who said that Shirley Huang will be back for Easter. I talked about Wesley Church and my views on religion, which seemed to horrify her. Bonnie is such a sweet, innocent person. I said I would send postcards and pictures.

In the paper today David Starr is shown standing by their press in a way that draws attention to how short he is. Eamon called and said his spies have produced no new reports on Armitage and D. Murphy. He told me that Hampden Bank has a low rating with the FDIC while United Cooperative is ranked much higher. Eamon said the Springfield School Board and the citizens have been deceived and lied to about the record of the new School Superintendent Joseph Burke. In the official report of the School Committee he is credited with raising the performance of the Miami-Dade system in Math and Science. Eamon called that "a bald-faced lie!" He has the latest Math/Science study report which ranks Miami-Dade the 6th lowest in Math and the 5th lowest in Science, both far below the national average. Eamon exclaimed, "So much for Dr. Burke's expertise!"

Gingras the teacher called Eamon and told him that at Commerce last Thursday a Pakistani girl named Charlene was beaten and had clumps of hair pulled out by a Hispanic girl who caught Charlene talking to her boyfriend. Friday on the second floor there was a big brawl that was so bad the five Commerce security police had to call in 15 more cops. The Principal Ann Henry was nowhere to be found. Eamon called down to the newspaper and told them all about it, but it has received no coverage. Eamon spoke to his friend Mr. Johnson at the State Department of Revenue and asked him about Springfield. He was told that the city has a $240 million debt and an unfunded pension liability of $90 million. Johnson told Eamon that Cianci in Providence had "an identical" way of handling community development money as Albano. Eamon's friend Spellacy told him that the FBI agents in Providence are talking with the FBI office in Springfield "all the time." Eamon predicts that when the FBI shifts its attention to Springfield, it will result in "the biggest scandal in Springfield's history."

April 11, 2001

A lovely spring day, sun shining. 51 degrees at 9:30am.

UMass Undergraduate Dorm Assistants want to organize with the UAW. Six Flags New England is selling season passes for $52.50 at the Big Y. Dwight Vicks is the Chairman of Galaxy Funds in Providence, Rhode Island. The street sweeper has been up Wilbraham Road several times but down none of the side streets. Tomorrow Barry Moser will present a lecture and slide show of his work, emphasizing his illustrations for the Caxton Bible at Springfield Technical Community College. I'm going.

Today I called and spoke with Edith Gottsche of First Baptist Church on Main Street in Agawam about their painting of the Jordan River. She said their church was founded in 1790 and never had a major fire. They are looking for a new pastor, and now have a temporary one who only comes in one day a week. She told me that for a long time the painting was behind the baptismal. I told her that she should send the Smithsonian a snapshot of the painting. I called Wilbraham Town Hall and spoke to Pearsall, who was polite and said whenever I get Lizzie the Model T out of the garage, he'll have the Highway Department come by and demolish all the structures at Fernbank.

Today I took pictures of the Nichols' place from both sides (Catalpa and Aldrew). Saw an older lady coming out of the fitness center at the Breckwood Shoppes wearing an apple cap and I praised it. She replied that she loves it and that it once had a pompon on it. The newspapers at Louis & Clark have been relocated. They are no longer inside the door, but are at the other end where you have to walk past the cash register to get to them. Good idea, since it will reduce shoplifting. I asked about the rack for free papers that was missing, and she replied that the only freebie paper they will carry from now on is the Valley Advocate. Went to Angelo's, where there wasn't much out, but I got two nice grapefruits for 69 cents.

Next I left off my camera film at Walmart for developing and then went to the Fleet branch at Eastfield Mall. I stopped by United Cooperative Bank in the Acres and gave Donna Nolan the pictures I took at their Ungrand Opening. I told her that I am the unofficial historian of 16 Acres and that I think their new branch is real nice. She nodded and I left. From there I headed to Wilbraham and noticed that the Lakeside Restaurant is still abandoned, but up the road somebody has opened a storage place. At Fernbank I found everything secure and the snow all melted. I took a picture of the pine tree by the garden and the rock on which we used to crack nuts. I recalled how in 1978 and 1991 the light company cut trees at Fernbank without our permission.

Coming home I decided to celebrate the completion of this year's taxes, which I mailed this morning at Louis & Clark, by dining at Smokey Bones on Boston Road. They still have an immense pothole at their entranceway and a smaller one going out. There are too many potholes all over the city. I got there at noon and there was a lot of business, mostly younger people. I asked to be seated at the bar, which is the best seat in the house because you can see all six TV sets. One TV was showing skateboarding, another mountain biking, a baseball game, the Weather Channel, President Bush and John Ashcroft in Oklahoma and Golf Central. I ordered drumsticks and they were okay, but I didn't care for the barbeque flavored french fries. The side order of baked beans was delicious. I sipped a mug of beer through a straw. The service was so slow my server Kevin apologized, but I said it was fine because I was having fun watching TV. I would never pay to subscribe to stupid cable TV channels, but as something that comes free with lunch, I'll sop up all I can see. I saw a delightful commercial of Noah's Ark being loaded with two Mercedes Benz driving up the gangplank at the end.

On the way home, I went by the Cat's Paw in Indian Orchard, but it was closed. However, I pulled over when I spotted Mary Alice Stusick leaning on the door to the old Stusick building. She said her husband was upstairs showing the building to somebody in their continuing efforts to sell it. The stairway was all littered. She said we must go to lunch sometime, but we'll see what happens. Springfield is 98th on a list of places where your car is likely to be stolen. That isn't too bad. Mickey Novak of Sunderland was on WFCR talking about the rising prices on the ephemera market. They make no grammar errors on WFCR. A report on TV22 by Maggie Porteaus said some boys found a dead body in the Gun Club Dingle. The man was identified as 20 year old William Garrison of Grenada Terrace.

Apr. 12, 2001

Overcast and raining virtually all day.

My diary is all about capturing memories while they're still fresh.

On WFCR John McCain said that as a First Lady Hillary Clinton "left very little of substance behind." He said Mrs. Bush is more popular because she is a traditional First Lady. WFCR also reported that stadium seating in movie theaters has not put non-stadium theaters out of business. National Amusements (what we have at Eastfield Mall) is a leader in the stadium seating revolution. 56 nursing homes have closed in Massachusetts in the past year. Robert B. Parker is an American crime writer. Richard J. Allen and Margaret A. Lynch are on the Springfield Board of Assessors. Saw Jesus Christ Superstar on TV24 tonight and Phillip Cox wore an open motorcycle jacket.

I dined this morning on asparagus on toast. I left at 8:55am and got down to STCC at 9:10 for the lecture by artist Barry Moser in the Scibelli Theater. There was a fire engine in front of the Monarch/Sci-Tech building at 365 State Street as I drove by. Around the STCC campus there are wire racks like the Valley Advocate has with free copies of the Union-News on them. I saw similar racks at Elms the other day. When I got to Scibelli Hall I asked three different students where the Scibelli Theater was and none knew. However, I discovered that the theater says "Auditorium" on the doors.

It was a superb lecture with about 75 people present. At one point Moser declared, "I don't think we've had had an administration that was friendly to the arts since the Kennedy Administration." Moser said that people have criticized the sordidness and ugliness of some of his illustrations, but he said they are that way because life is like that. He said life is definitely depicted that way in the Bible. Moser claimed that because the world is sordid and ugly, the wonder of Jesus Christ and his resurrection is all the greater. Moser compared his art with the standard vanilla religious pictures of Christ that are used in many Protestant Bibles. He several times denounced religious fundamentalism. Moser proclaimed, "The purpose of art is not to entertain but to disturb."

It was a splendid speech, and the question and answer session was quite lengthy. When it was my turn I asked, "Horace said the purpose of art is to delight and instruct. Callimachus said the artist should prefer the slender rather than the grandiose. Sidney said that poetry should move the emotions. However, you say, "The purpose of art is not to entertain, but to disturb." Wouldn't it be correct to say that's your opinion and that there is no correct statement of what the purpose of art is, but rather many theories and we should respect all the different ones?"

"You're absolutely correct," Moser said, "I don't even know what art is, in fact, I don't call myself an artist except on my income tax form." No refreshments were served and I saw no posters around publicizing the event. At the end, I paid $30 for his book In the Face of Presumptions and Moser inscribed it to me. I then stopped briefly at Central High School for the Stop the Hate program to pick up posters and literature, but there wasn't any. Terry Regina was there and I told her how Eamon has launched a full scale investigation into Superintendent Burke and that Eamon has already received damning information from Florida.

I drove back to the Acres where I attended the Job Fair at the WNEC Better Living Center. I talked to a black woman about an ombudsman position at Smith College and left my resume with Mass Mutual. I was dressed full queer, bondage collar with little ring dangling down and of course my biker jacket. That should help me get a job! Someone gave me a Golden Bowl brand fortune cookie which said, "When you speak honestly and openly, others truly listen to you." My Lucky Numbers were 13, 22, 31, 34, 43, 45. It would be interesting to know how many of the fortunes are the same. I told a lady from UPS promoting part time jobs that their company is wonderful, but they need to put their packages in plastic bags in case of rain and I told her about my shipment from Oak Knoll that got soaking wet. In all I got several good freebies like a little green car from Enterprise Rent-a-Car and a flashy ball from Sun Life of Canada. Sweet Pea and Honey Pot like it.

There is too much sugar in Skippy Peanut Butter. Peanut Butter should not have sugar in it. I notice that advertisements for Forest Glen Merlot show a deep woods scene with the light source in the middle like so many of the paintings I've collected. I'll have to buy a bottle sometime. There is an article in the paper by Alicia Guide about the show at the Goodwill coffee shop and bookstore at 473 Sumner Avenue "Reflections of the X and Forest Park." The City Council voted last night 8-1 to approve the demolition of the apartment building on Edwards Street to provide space for a new history museum at the Quadrangle. Councilor Timothy J. Ryan was the only one to vote against it. David A. Shrair was the Springfield lawyer representing the Quadrangle. James Boone was quoted as saying, "This is a disgrace!"

April 13, 2001

No sun out. Lots of crocuses around now.

Someday I will die and leave my boxes of archives to posterity.

Friday the 13th and Good Friday. Robert Moon, who invented the Zip Code in the 1960's, has died at the age of 83 in Florida. Ad man Harvey Ball of Worcester, who invented the smiley face graphic in 1963, for which he was paid only $45, died yesterday. Don Daley worked at Sewall Street Auto Body in Ludlow in 1990. The Friends of the Library have two events coming up, a fundraiser at the Barnes & Noble by the Holyoke Mall on April 19th and their Annual Meeting to be held the 26th at the Sixteen Acres Library Community Room. Kathy Joyal is the President of the Friends of the Library. I'm sure they don't want me showing up at either event, so of course I'll go.

Pitsfield has admitted misusing pension fund money to paper over budget shortfalls. Phyllis M. Nader, wife of Gary J. Nader of Wilbraham, died last month at age 53. I spent time reviewing my parent's old slides this afternoon, throwing out the duds and saving the treasures to have printed. I found one from 1963 of me with John Rixon and his little turquoise Volkswagon Bug. I also found slides depicting the damage at Fernback by the flood of 1963, a real mess, I'd forgotten about that misadventure.

I was reading all morning Aphra Behn's poems, especially her piece on The Golden Age and the Lord's Prayer. I will next read Grey's abridgement of Gibson (1732) which having paid $320 for I should pay some attention to. Lots of mail today, there was also a Republican Extra in a lilac bag on the grass by my mailbox. I received a note from Professor Moriarty of the Irish Cultural Center. He said, "I'm glad you enjoyed the lecture." His penmanship is exquisite. Also got a note from Hanson at the X thanking me for the loan of the postcards. Roy Scott of TV57 sent me a note thanking me for my contribution and enclosed a discount coupon for the Norman Rockwell Museum. Also got a very polite letter from Bessinger of Wisconsin. I got a wrong number from someone this afternoon looking for Fred Withee of Storrowtown Tavern.

Dined on a Swanson Fish and Chips frozen dinner this evening. Eamon called tonight and we discussed all the dirt he's been digging up on new School Superintendent Joseph P. Burke. He said he is going to try to get the local media to help him "pull the mask from the face of Dr. Burke, another educationist, lying fraud." He said he has been in touch with all the major media, urging them to help him "smoke this faker out." He denounced Burke for claiming he helped to turn around math and science scores in Florida, when Eamon has a Miami Herald article by Nicole White in which the scores are shown to be below average and Burke himself is quoted as follows: "The results are not wonderful," said Joseph P. Burke, administrative director of Mathematics and Science education for the Miami-Dade schools." Eamon claims that Burke holds "a phony Education Doctorate from the correspondence school Nova University, where the only admission requirement is submitting a check that doesn't bounce." Eamon said it is tragic how Springfield's children "are being shortchanged by schools that are nothing more than holding pens."

April 15, 2001

Sunny, slight breeze, clear sky. 48 degrees at 8:45am. Gas is $1.49 at Watershops.

The Pope extended Easter Blessings expressing the conviction that "the world can change" which is utter nonsense because the nature of man is genetic and therefore never changes. The Pope's messages of "faith and hope" are just what keeps him in business. M. Thomas Inge was editor of the Handbook of American Popular Culture in 1982. Roy Scott of 57, in his most recent letter to me, spelled my name Westly - a Protestant like him should know better. The morning paper said that Friendly's will report losses on their last quarter. Maybe Chapter 11 coming up?

I take a vitamin pill every several days but not regularly. I have recovered from the pain caused by my fall a few weeks back. My chimney was last repaired in October of 1976. My parents were thrifty and didn't always hire good workers. After Fernbank was broken into in 1968, we began moving things over to Aunt Maria's for safekeeping. I recall I spent time in '68 cleaning out Uncle George's shop and the attic. Martha Miller visited that year. Aunt Maria's car was totaled in September of 1969 in an accident where someone was killed and a lawsuit ensued. Aunt Maria didn't learn to drive until 1966 after Uncle George died and the accident caused Mother a lot of stress.

Yesterday I drove to Fleet Bank in the Acres to cash a check, then made copies at Pride and put the mail out in the box by the Goodwill. I sent letters to Caprio of WNEC, Scott R. Hanson of the X Corporation and Bruce Yarber. Inside the Goodwill I couldn't believe it, but I saw a copy of Saudi Aramco and its world: Arabia and the Middle East (1995) in mint condition with map so I gave them $3 for it. I won't tell Cohn and see if he returns my copy. I want it because it is like a one volume encyclopedia of the Arabian world with many maps, charts and color pictures. I also bought Polly Burrough's The Great Ice Ship Bear.

Next I drove over to Stop&Shop and bought cranberry-raspberry juice on special plus other items. Then down Boston Road to Walmart to have my old slides made into prints. The lady on duty, Karen or Kathy, said they will be ready in less than two weeks. Next to Angelo's for salad and tomatoes and to Arnold's for bread. Finally to Louis & Clark where Cindy was on duty. She said she now works weekends and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. They have a lot of stuffed critters that haven't been sold. I told Cindy, "Think of the disappointment of a large plush rabbit to have no one who wants to love it!"

Coming home I saw a man working at 101 Birchland, Dick Petzold's place, so I stopped. The guy was friendly and invited me in and showed me around. He said in February all the pipes burst and the basement was full of water up to the sills. The lady who lived there had no close relatives and the place was filled with junk (sounds like Aunt Maria). He said they have completely rebuilt the inside and are putting it up for sale next week. He told me that he and another guy devote their spare time to buying reasonably priced places and fixing them up and selling them. The first floor has a small living room with a fireplace and a little room in the back corner where the old lady used to sleep. They left the oak flooring in the attic, but put down nice tiles in the kitchen and carpeting elsewhere. The guy bought a used furnace, he said a new one runs around $3,000 and the old ones run a lot better than the cranky new ones. There are two end bedrooms and a bath on the second floor. A very well-planned house and a luxurious little home when Petzold lived there.

Today is Easter Sunday. It was an absolutely beautiful day, crocuses in full bloom, daffodils out, no forsythia out yet, but the ground is ready to spring to life. Easter morn I took a picture of Sweet Pea, Honey Pot, Lambkin and Piggy playing among the crocuses out back. I found a bottle of Budweiser thrown on the edge of the treebelt. I went to the Boston Road McDonald's and had a sausage patty biscuit and read an unusually dull Union-News with very little Easter prettiness in it. I swung by Wesley United Methodist Church and counted exactly 50 cars in the parking lot on Easter Sunday. I got a couple of nice posters while in the Square.

The other day I bought a bottle of Forest Glen Merlot for $8.99. It is red in a green bottle, a very pretty design. It tastes awful, but then again as a sissy/pansy who am I to judge? This evening I drank it with a Healthy Choice Mandarin Dinner. There is more food shown on the box than inside, where there was only one sprig of broccoli. Another wrong number called for Storrowtown. I suggested she might want to apologize for bothering me, but she got mad and hung up in my ear. I could dedicate a chapter of my autobiography to the wrong number calls I've had. I tried to call Aunt Maria but her phone was busy. I also called Eamon but no one answered.

April 16, 2001

Cloudy white sky, gentle breeze. 53 degrees at 12:20pm.

Today is Patriot's Day and the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon. 50 percent of those who call the IRS for tax advice get the wrong answer and 37% of callers never get through to get any answer at all. The new United Cooperative Bank is located at 1930 Wilbraham Road. Roy A. Scott is is the Development Manager at WGBY TV57. The morning paper says that Kevin Rhodes is the new director of the Springfield Symphony. If someone buys Friendly's at $5 a share, that would make millions for the Blake brothers who bought it at $3 a share and under.

Northampton has received the honor of being named a Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A reception was held at the Hotel Northampton by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Northampton City Council President Michael R. Bardsley. Chubb, one of the sponsors of TV's Antique Roadshow, has an ad that says, "We can protect your family heirlooms." That is a blatant lie, if my family Bible burns there is nothing they can do to replace it, and that can be said of all other heirlooms. Ken Gloss of the Brattle Bookshop in Boston was on Antique Roadshow yesterday.

In August 1968 Albert Menzel of Boston Road, a supervisor in the Monarch Life Records Division, won the Springfield Union's Dollar Dazzler contest. Menzel was a good friend of my parents whom they often entertained at Fernbank in Wilbraham. I used to play with his hyperactive son Bobby. Al Menzel became a cripple and his wife left him for a Monsanto executive and moved to the Midwest. I've been looking through some more of my parent's old slides. From 1966 there was one of Father in bed surrounded by plants, so that must have been after his first operation. Father developed serious health problems when he turned 60, and I fear I shall do the same. There was also a slide of the South End Bridge.

Looking at old slides reminded me of how when I was a child, I hatched a black swallowtail butterfly from a cocoon I found and also a luna moth. I haven't come across a cocoon in years. Sometimes I used to get pollywogs out of the lily ponds at Forest Park. When the pollywogs were evolved and ready to be set free we used to let them go in Watershops Pond. Once I got two crayfish that I put in a fishbowl and left on the front porch. It froze one night and I was amazed that when I brought them inside and the ice melted the crayfish were still alive!

When I drove out today Lucius' garage door was open with his red Cadillac in full view. Someday I'd like to take a picture of him and his wife. I dropped off some stuff for President Caprio at WNEC with his red-haired receptionist S. Curto. She has an Easter Tree in her office and told me that she got the eggs from Johnson's Bookstore years ago. Went downtown and parked on Salem Street. Just Friends looks nicely renovated on the outside and the Union Grill is opening up where Pizzaria Uno used to be. There is a Chinese jewelry store going into the corner of the Fuller Block where there was once a copy shop. Westfield Bank was open today but not the Telephone Worker's Credit Union. I closed my account at Westfield and Casey Ferguson gave me a questionnaire asking why I was closing. I told him that Westfield is a nice bank, but I can get better interest elsewhere.

I drove out to Staples and made copies of some postcards of Buckingham School and Wesley Church to give to Mrs. Staniski and her daughters Ann and Carol. Then I stopped by the X Main Street Corporation but the door was closed and the lady at Goodwill said Hanson hadn't been in all day. While at the Goodwill I bought a paperback Smart Moves for People in Charge (1995). I should send it to Tom Burton or President Caprio. I checked out some gas prices along Sumner Avenue: Texaco is $1.50, the same as the Sunoco down the street. The Sunoco on Breckwood is only $1.49 and Pride in the Acres is only $1.53. O'Connell on the corner of Allen and Plumtree is $1.51. The Breckwood Shell has raised the price of their car wash. Overall, Shell tends to be higher than other brands.

I stopped at Louis & Clark and bought some half-price Easter candy. Pink marshmallow bunnies in boxes of 12 were $1.19 and Cadbury Cream Eggs were 60 cents. I remember when they were a quarter each. Dined this evening on Healthy Choice Beef Macaroni Dinner. Boy, does that slop look different than what's shown on the box it came in. Despite their motto, "Coverage You Can Count On," TV40 went off the air at 5:52 and didn't come back on until 5:58. Beth Carroll said, "Thanks for bearing with us as we resolve some technical difficulties." TV40 goes off the air more frequently than TV22.

April 17, 2001

Sunny and 45 degrees at 7:45am. Gas is $1.51 at Daily Mart by the pond.

Rep. Barney Frank has introduced legislation making universities exempt from anti-trust laws for giving financial aid to needy students. The Pulitzer Prizes were announced today, but despite my recommendation the Valley Advocate received nothing. Glenn Hughes, a singer who performed as the mustached, leather clad biker in the disco band The Village People, has died at the age of 50. The campus of Vermont College has been sold. The Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative is a group of seven school districts: Agawam, East Longmeadow, Hampden-Wilbraham Regional, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Southwick-Tolland Regional and West Springfield. Dr. Jeanette G. Davis-Harris founded the Black Studies program at Technical and Classical High Schools in 1969.

This morning I woke up with a 1950's jingle in my head from ads for Cuticura soap. Today was a busy day. When I left, Mrs. Penniman and her husband in a baseball cap drove past. I stopped at CopyCat, where I do less copying ever since they doubled their price to ten cents a copy. I am contemplating terminating going there. Then I swung by Mrs. Staniski's, whom I told I didn't come on Easter because I didn't want her giving me a lot of sweets. However, she still ended up giving me Hershey's chocolates in a blue plastic egg. She said she felt depressed on Easter Day. Then she complained that her new dumpster is bigger than she can handle and how she is also having trouble with her car. She told me she paid Hampden Dodge $140 but it still isn't running right. Mrs. Staniski also complained that she gave her grandson Jason $4,000 to go to Westfield State but he dropped out. She described her daughter Carol as "beautiful but dumb" and her other daughter Ann as "smart and cute." She called Carol's husband "a wimp." At one point when discussing the newspaper she said of David Starr, "there's a hypocrite if there ever was one."

Next I headed down Wilbraham Road to see the Tuesday Morning Music Club concert at the Griswold Theater for the Performing Arts at American International College featuring the Epic Brass Quintet from Boston. On the way I saw Tom Devine walking along with a notebook in his hand near Massachusetts Avenue. At the theater I was met by activist Belle Rita Novak. She was all dressed up in her Saturday best, a pink blouse with matching sandals and a purple skirt. We sat in the middle aisle. The performance was splendid and the sound quality was excellent. Belle Rita said she enjoyed the concert.

After the concert, the Tuesday Morning Music Club had their annual meeting and new President Ruth Ehrenberg spoke. Belle Rita didn't want to attend the meeting and said she would wait in the lobby until it was time for the club's luncheon. When the meeting was over, I found her sitting in the lobby reading a novel while Wayne Turner was looking over the merchandise for sale. Belle Rita asked if I ever read novels and I said occasionally, but I prefer reference books. When we walked in my childhood friend Mary Alice Stusick and her husband Gary Plant were seated at the far table so we joined them, Belle Rita sitting next to Mary Alice and I next to Gary. Also sitting with us were several old ladies, Nina Bailey, who wanted to talk about dictionaries, the socially skilled Ellie Reynolds and red-haired Dolores Snyder. Alice Moore joined us but looked fragile and now walks with an aluminum cane. She had to be helped in and out of her seat by Belle Rita, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is the last time I see Ms. Moore alive.

Over dinner Mary Alice told me that her mother's parents were poor, but they still managed to get their daughter Irene a harp, which she learned to play on her own along with other instruments. Irene Minkus was in her eighties when she died around 1990. I told Mary Alice that I had seen her mother perform at a concert at the East Longmeadow Old Age Club that I attended with Father. Gary kept making jokes about sex and said that Mary Alice was "innocent" when they were married. Gary told me he has worked in all kinds of restaurants and said all the Chinese restaurants he worked in had dirty kitchens except for the Hukilau in Chicopee, which he said was very clean. At one point Belle Rita told me that one of her grandparents who came from Russia was named Miller.

The dinner was nice with a salad consisting of three cucumber slices, two chunks of tomato, lettuce, no onion and French dressing. They also had beans, chicken on rice with gravy and cheesecake with strawberry topping for dessert. I also had a cup of tea. As we left Plant said that he had to go serve an eviction notice to someone renting at the Stusick Building for illegal drug use. They said they are trying to sell the property which old Dr. Stusick built in 1897. I said it's too bad that lightning doesn't strike it, but Gary said they have no insurance which would be too expensive at $900 per month. I told Mary Alice that it was fun talking with her, and she thanked me very graciously for a nice time.

When I got back I called the X Main Street Corporation and they said Scott Hanson is on vacation. After supper I went to the Sixteen Acres Civic Association meeting at the Church in the Acres on Wilbraham Road featuring guest speaker Mayor Michael J. Albano. Attendees had been urged to bring non-perishable items for the Open Pantry, so I brought three cans of cream of mushroom soup. Albano greeted me as I entered and was more affable than usual. Attorney Richard Greenberg was there and he said he likes Eamon's phone messages. He is married to the head of the Montessori School. The Powells came, Bob is putting on weight and Karen was passing out leaflets against the Lemnos Lane project. She praised Councilors Lewis-Caulton, Puppolo, Ryan and Sarno for voting against giving John D. Montalbray and Matthew B. Campagnari a special tax break. Karen was wearing black boots, tight fitting black jeans, a jean coat and a black shoulder bag. I told her she looked great. Albano passed by as we were talking and he nodded at Karen but kept moving.

There was no sign of Marshall Moriarty or Tom Devine. Retired Officer Brown was there and I told him about how Eamon is investigating Superintendent Burke. Teacher Doris Robinson, the sole black woman present, came up and told me she likes Burke and I told her she should call Eamon's number. Jean Masse spoke first but her voice was barely audible. Albano's talk was evasive but polite, this being an election year he is being less arrogant. Albano described 16 Acres as "a thriving community" and praised the economic vitality of the Eastfield Mall and the Boston Road corridor. He also said he "does not trust" test results showing Springfield schools doing poorly.

April 18, 2001

Overcast, breezy, 46 degrees at 7:45am.

The Confederate Stars and Bars remain in the Mississippi flag by a 2-1 vote, with even 20% of blacks supporting the retention. They claim it's an issue of "history and heritage" but I say the South lost and should subdue and curtail their antique, racist patriotism. What about the Indian on the Massachusetts state seal? I don't know what he stands for. Vermont has a nice state seal. Peter E. Noyes was a Purchasing Agent for the State of Vermont in 1982. The Food Bank of Western Mass is located in Hatfield. The Wilbraham Public Library will host a lecture by Wayne Wrubel on creating a background pond on April 28th. Buses made to look like trollies will now be riding around downtown offering rides for 25 cents.

Cooked up a hamburg and spaghetti casserole today with lots of peppers and onions in it. I called and spoke with Claire in the President's Office at Baypath and said I would send them some material on Margaret Thatcher. Spoke to Mrs. Staniski, who said she would have gone to the Tuesday Morning Music Club concert but her car was being fixed at Hampden Dodge. I told her she should have called and asked me for a ride. Today I went to Arnold's Bread and then Angelo's, where they had lots of milk carts piled on boards instead of fancy metal shelves.

Stuart Hurwitz is among the finalists for a Howdy Award, which honor local hospitality workers who provide exceptional service. UPS delivered my Josh Simpson paperweight today at 4:10pm. Design-wise it doesn't have quite as much decorative color as I might have liked, but for the price I paid it's a deal. I watched the Channel 57 Auction tonight. One of the items up for bid were accommodations at the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson, New Hampshire. It looks big, but not as big as the Mountain View where Mother and Aunt Maria once worked. Roy Scott was hosting the auction and I couldn't believe it when I noticed that he has a white pigtail hanging out the back of his baseball cap. All he needs now is an earring and a tattoo!

WFCR this morning had a story on Mayor Cianci of Providence. The morning news says that upon the advice of a consultant they are going to have more renovations of Symphony Hall. That study was certainly conducted very quietly. The Hall was renovated just a few years ago when they ruined the organ. The churn is unending and the bottom line is not improvement so much as jobs for the demolition and construction industries. TV40 also had a story on the restoration project using the old cliche about "arts and entertainment is the crown jewel of our economic renovation plans." This latest renovation is estimated to cost $5 million. Today I wrote a letter of condolence to the Valley Advocate over not being chosen for a Pulitzer Prize. Belle-Rita Novak has a great letter in the paper today about the Lemnos Lane mess. It begins, "When we are constantly told that there is no money for this and that, how can Councilors William T. Foley, Daniel D. Kelly, Bud L. Williams, Brian Santaniello and Timothy Rooke vote to allow the paving of private property?"

April 19, 2001

Patriot's Day. 41 degrees at 8:45am.

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. On TV Lehrer said this is National Poetry Month. President Bush was speaking at Central Connecticut State University today and students were outside protesting. People in Springfield, Vermont are complaining that lights from a new prison will spoil stargazing through telescopes. There was a demonstration yesterday at Harvard to raise all university workers pay to at least $10.25 per hour. They said Harvard has 400 workers who get less than that. A brush fire on Mt. Tom burned over 240 acres before it was put out. James T. Amsler was President of Salem State College in 1983. Artist Josh Simpson lives in Shelburne Falls. Al Gag, the outdoors reporter for TV40, has a coarse voice like Charlie Hunt of Monarch did. The white pigtailed Roy Scott hosted the TV57 Auction again tonight. The Quadrangle consists of the City Library, Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield Science Museum, Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum.

Cooked up a kettle of parsnips, I love parsnips. The mail today brought a pretty thank you note from Mrs. Staniski for the picture I gave her of Buckingham Junior High, recalling that was where her daughter Ann got her first standing ovation. Belle Rita Novak also sent a note thanking me for accompanying her to the concert the other day. This morning when I left I stopped at the Cohn's with some magazines. Mrs. Cohn told me her husband was at the library. Mrs Cohn was without her walker, supporting herself on the counter edges. She has spent most of her life in the kitchen as a good Jewish mother should. She said her grandson ran in the Boston Marathon. Next I stopped to see Lucius who was friendly but hadn't finished with the books I lent him. He said his daughter who lives in New Hampshire told him they still have snow up there. He knew of the activity at the old Petzold place and agreed to let me take a picture of him and his wife. From there I went to the Breckwood Shops and gave Jeff Moore at CopyCat some pictures, telling him that the reason I haven't been by much is because I can get copies cheaper at Mailboxes. He really liked the picture of him and the cat. Next I drove over to Hancock's Fabrics at 384 Cooley Street to buy some cheap scissors from Zoe Bashore, then over to Fleet in the Acres (formerly Bank of Boston) and paid the bill for my safety deposit account.

I made some copies at Pride and then went to the ceremony for the completion of the first phase of the renovation of the Community Center behind the Acres Library. As I approached I saw Mayor Albano, Patrick Sullivan and Ed Casey planting a tree in the front lot with a female videographer and two bicycle cops looking on. I started taking pictures until Albano shouted, "Hey, you're supposed to ask permission to take pictures, you're a lawyer, you should know that!" I politely replied, "You are a public figure and this is a public place." The Mayor frowned at me but said nothing. Patrick Sullivan smiled. Then Mayor Albano gave a speech for the videographer as if there was an audience present, but the only audience was me taking pictures. Afterwards, Albano asked me for copies of my photos and I said I always give away copies of my pictures but I expect thank you notes in return. Pat Sullivan said he hopes to use the tree planting video to get people to donate to the city's Tree Trust. He also told me that the skateboard park they are building was designed by somebody in Maine and that Sen. Lees and Rep. Caron helped to get the money. Casey gave me a Planning for a Greener City handout.

Inside, there was a ceremony dedicating the Greenleaf Community Center in honor of the late Roger Dumais. He was described as a longtime 16 Acres activist and a founder of the Civic Association. The lighting inside was not the best, so it was hard to take pictures. There were 36 people present, including mayoral aide Candice Lopes, Councilor Dom Sarno, the cop from cruiser 5 and Karen Powell. Caron was there in person but Lees sent an aide. Atty. Greenberg was there and told me that the Civic Association now has 146 members. There was a table with food, sandwiches, chips and drinks but I had nothing. After I left, I dropped off my film for developing at Walmart. Then I swung by Jean Masse's house on Clydesdale Lane, where there was a red car out front. The house is a little one-story baby blue with white trim and an impeccable lawn. Her husband Roland came to the door, a short, slightly rotund individual who said he used to be a toolmaker. I gave him some material for Jean.

When I got home, 4th grade teacher Doris Robinson of Sonia Street called and said she has spoken with Eamon and found him very friendly and informative. She told me she has a bachelor's degree from UMass and her masters from Springfield College. She teaches at White Street School in Springfield, where she said the focus is on "bringing up the test scores." I told her that I thought that with all the emphasis on testing, we are depriving children of their childhood and she liked that. Doris is a really nice lady and I find it easy to discuss things with her. Later Jean Masse called thanking me for the things I dropped off. I mentioned that I was just talking with Doris Robinson and she said that Doris is a new member. At one point Masse told me that she used to work as a school volunteer but the children behaved so badly she quit. She said she couldn't see how the teachers tolerate it. Masse exclaimed that only an angel could have the patience to put up with those kids.

April 20, 2001

41 degrees, sunny, clear and still at 7:35am.

A cloud of Mongolian dust with dinosaur remains in it is supposed to blow over New England this afternoon and then out to sea. Connecticut has passed a law that insurers must pay for a colonoscopy, which can cost more than a thousand dollars. WFCR played P.D.Q. Bach's 1712 Overture, with its memorable 'pop goes the weasel' sequences.

I drove out at 8am today and down to the main post office and picked up my Samuel Victor Constant Society Fellowship certificate and pin which certainly arrived in good order. Then I drove up to the Park Department offices on Trafton Road. The gate was closed with no place to park and No Parking signs all along the street, but there were cars parked all around anyway so I did the same. I wondered as I walked towards the Park office building whether that is a tamarack tree planted next to the Park Office building. I think so. Once inside, a very arrogant, indifferent and inattentive chubby political flunky was sitting at a computer terminal. All the while he talked to me he kept typing on the computer. I asked him if the tree outside was a tamarack and he said, "Don't know, the forester is in the building over." I asked if Mr. Sullivan was in and received a curt "no" in reply. I asked where his office was and he replied, "In here, but he isn't in today." I pulled out three envelopes and said they were for Pat Sullivan, Ed Casey and Mayor Albano. He said he would put them in the mailboxes for Sullivan and Casey and would send the Mayor's envelope over to City Hall by interdepartmental mail.

Upon leaving the Park Department I headed over to the Trinity Church tag sale where Melinda McIntosh was first in line. I asked if she wanted to go out to lunch later, but she politely declined because she was going to attend the Grand Opening of a store in Connecticut. Melinda said that South Church is not having their spring sale this year, but they may have one in the fall. I asked her how things are going where she works at the UMass Library and she complained that it is being "run like a glue factory" as major decisions and changes are being made without consulting the employees. She said she doesn't like the way the library is focusing more and more on computers instead of books. The library is having problems with the elevators breaking down and some people have gotten trapped in them. She said the building is designed more like an office building than a library.

Second in line was a tall frizzy faced guy who said he is interested in books. The line was so short with so few regulars that I wondered whether the sale was a dud and the insiders had already been tipped off. All I ended up getting was a puzzle, two paperbacks and a big but unexciting Westminster Abby book. While there I noticed that the deterioration of their Horace Moses portrait is now becoming very pronounced. Paint is flaking off along the bottom and it is quite sad. From there I swung by the X Main Street Corporation where a friendly Scott Hanson gave my stuff back. He is always very pleasant. I stopped and got milk at the Shell convenience store at 527 Allen.

When I got home, I saw that Michael Colburn was loading clothing into the back of his truck, so I asked him for his new address and phone number. He said he has no new number because it is going to be changed, but his address is 230 Fairview Avenue in Chicopee. I wonder if his phone number being changed was just an excuse, he and his wife Mary were always hesitant about giving out their old one. The Union-News Extra was delivered here around noon. Eamon's newest phone answering machine editorial has a bitter tone to it as he denounces the Springfield Newspapers for not telling the truth and their lack of coverage of all the violence in the schools.

April 22, 2001

Overcast, 54 degrees at 7:45am.

Edward J. Harris was the Director of University Without Walls at the UMass Montague House in Amherst in 1983. Six Flags is open for the season. CityBlock has announced its summer concert series for the year, which will feature Magic Dick and J.Geil's Bluestime, Shemekia Copeland, John Eddie, Indigenous, Firefall, NRBQ, Delbert McClinton, FAT and Roomful of Blues. I called Mrs. Staniski, who said she is recovering from the wedding of Jason in Naugatuk, Connecticut. The bride was 34 and has an 11 year old kid. She is also black and the wedding of Jason to a negro has been a "traumatic experience" for Carol. Her other daughter Ann supported her sister as best she could and then took the back roads to return to Cambridge.

I slept from 1:55am to 5:35am without interruption. Went through the night with both my helmet and harness on. I am perfecting my discipline style. I went to the Antiques and Collectibles Show at the Eastern States Exposition grounds in West Springfield. When I left there was a Bert Hill Movers truck over to the Colburn's. I saw that Colburn had left four saw horses on the treebelt, when I got back they were gone, probably taken by Powers, whom I saw doing carpentry in his garage. The Petzold house now has a sign out front identifying the broker as Total Exposure 876-0800. First I drove over to Wachoque where the Friends of Homeless Cats had a sale going. That is the same group from which I bought a teddy bear toy box on Drexel Street last year. This year I only spent $5 on a few used books. Then I swung by Trinity Church to see if I could mop up a few things at the end of their sale, but I bought only Nature's Hallelujah by Irene E. Jerome (1888). The Evangelical Covenant Church has banners up for a Luis Palau Festival in May. The Jim Dandy on Sumner is now closed and for sale.

I arrived at the Expo grounds at 10:25am and I parked where I usually do in front of the Colosseum. I wore my biker jacket, collar and black and blue back pocket hankies. A guy selling Chinese glass said to me, "I like your colors." The show was billed as having over 340 booths, but the place was not packed and the quality of dealers was down. The cost of entrance was $6 but I had a dollar off coupon from The Reminder. One guy had a couple of decent pastel paintings worth about $125, but when I asked he said they were $295 each. He had a Doyle Twig Painting he offered to let go for $210, but that was a hundred dollars more than I'd pay for it. I think a lot of the postcard dealers were up in Greenfield today, where they were having their 7th Annual Postcard and Ephemera Show on Silver Street. But I'll bet some dealers didn't come because they didn't make enough last time. I did buy eleven cards from Mike Jacobs of Matrix Gallery. Jayne Gray had cards from Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine but nothing from Vermont. Bob Brown of Yesterday's Paper was very nice to me and sold me a 1936 Springfield City Directory in good shape for $15. He told me that dealer Bob Lucas died a few months ago of a brain tumor. He thanked me for the inscribed copy of Aunt Jennie's Poems I sent him. One dealer had two postcards of Bethel, Vermont for $28 dollars each, but that was overpriced by ten dollars. I saw a little plastic soldier of the sort Mother kept in her hanky box. I was surprised to see it selling for $300! You go to these shows to learn.

Joe and Muriel Trovato of the White House Antique Center in Northwood, New Hampshire had a framed Fire and Marine Prairie Schooner print from the 1950's, but it had a round coffee cup stain on it and she wanted $125. I told her that with the stain it is only worth $40. She said the coffee stain would wash off with soap and water, but if so then why didn't she do it? Chet Grabowski, the gay gentleman, sold me a view of Troy, Vermont and Bethel's Main Street, both for only $18. Chet is from C&G Collectibles in Windsor Locks, and when I asked about his partner he said he was "out spending my money someplace." Judy Brown from White River Junction was there, but she had no Lucille Woodenware. Just before I left I came upon a framed print of Wesleyan Academy of Wilbraham, a Milton Bradley litho that I'd never seen before from Two of a Kind Collectibles in West Hartford. I gave the owner Arthur E. Pascoe $40 for it. On my way home I stopped at McDonald's on Boston Road and had a 99 cent burger and fries.

The lilac behind the bathroom window has sent up a sprout, which would please Mother very much. A woman called today from Springfield Radio Research asking me what radio station I listen to the most and I said WFCR. She then asked how old I am and I replied 59 and that was it. On the ABC News there was Richard Gisberg from London telling us about Michael Landy who who has cataloged all 7,000 of his possessions and is now systematically destroying them all. This may be a model for what I will do with my Mary Waller books and research material. Hampden Urological had a commercial for their firm in Holyoke on TV40 tonight. Eamon's phone editorial continues to attack the Springfield Newspapers.

April 23, 2001

High scattered cloudiness, 61 degrees at 7:30am. Gas at Breckwood Sunoco is $1.55 per gallon.

61% of Americans believe in extraterrestrial life. Yale turns 300 this year. 200,000 people are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Ken Gloss of the Brattleboro Bookshop was on Antique Roadshow talking about collecting Life Magazines. He said that the most valuable ones are the issues with Ernest Hemmingway, Winston Churchill and Marilyn Monroe on the cover. They are worth around $100. One of the least valuable is the one on the Kennedy assassination because everyone saved that issue. On TV22 Sy Becker was in southern Vermont and they showed melting snow. There are scattered flood warnings along the Connecticut. The Connecticut River is the highest it has been since 1987. The last time there was serious flooding around here was in 1984.

I planted some of Mrs. Staniski's pink hollyhock seeds from Kennebunkport by the corner of the garage. Just before Mother died, I planted all the daffodils and tulips just as she instructed, but I didn't know that daffodils and tulips can't grow together in the same bed. But where I planted the daffodils all by themselves they are doing fine. I drove out at 9:50am to put out the mail at Louis & Clark. I noticed Mr. Cohn walking around his yard so I stopped. He was wearing his girdle outside his shirt but it was only half-fastened. Cohn said he can no longer tend his own garden, but still closely supervises the people he hires to do it for him. He told me Zachary is going to Czechoslovakia to teach English. Mr. Cohn said that the book I lent him was stolen when he accidentally left it behind at the Jewish Nursing Home in Longmeadow. I told him to forget it because I have another copy, which made him happy. We talked about the new Superintendent and Cohn said that Dr. Negroni made such a mess of the schools that Burke can only be an improvement. I congratulated Mr. Cohn on his positive attitude.

When I left I saw that Ralph Ely of Complete Pest Control was over at the Colburns. He told me he is about to break away and start his own extermination company. While filling up on gas at Breckwood, I was standing next to a guy from Northfield, Vermont. He told me his son is going to WNEC next fall because a couple of his friends already go there. He said there is still plenty of snow in Vermont. When I arrived at Elijah Street in the Point I saw that Mrs. Staniski was not home. The dumpster was by the back door so I rolled it out front onto the brick sidewalk. The lady in the grey house down the street came over and we chatted briefly. She exclaimed at one point about Mrs. Staniski, "We all love her!"

From there I headed down to the A.I.C. Library, where I saw that the new Chronicle of Higher Education had not come in yet. Their entire book catalog is now online. I dined this evening on baked potatoes, tossed salad and spaghetti. My Colby alumni magazine came today and I was saddened to see that Peter Westervelt died in February. Later I called the Mass Department of Elder Affairs and got Edith, who said she would connect me to Barbara Roberts, but the next thing I knew I was cut off. Then I called Total Exposure and Janet Walkowski answered. I asked for the price of 101 Birchland, the old Petzold/McDonough house, and she said $119,000. She said there will be an Open House on Sunday. I also called Christine at the Walgreens on Boston Road but she wasn't in.

Next I called Marjorie Hurst, and although she was distant at first, she became friendlier as we talked. She said she sometimes calls and listens to Eamon's phone editorials. She agreed that the Springfield Newspapers sometimes slant their coverage. I called and wished Eamon a Happy St. George's Day. Eamon said he has been having pleasant phone chats with teacher Doris Robinson. He wanted to know whether she is good looking and said he has always had a soft spot for black women. Doris told him that many teachers allow cheating on the MCAS tests and she agreed that it is outrageous how the media fails to report on the violence in the schools. Eamon told me that he is unimpressed with Tom Moriarty at the Irish Center and was told he is a cheapskate. Eamon said he still hasn't been able to get to the bottom of what happened to the Hungry Hill Magazine, but he said the latest rumor floating around is that Melinda has thrown him out of the house for having an affair with another woman. After Eamon hung up I tried calling Hungry Hill Magazine but got only their voicemail, on which I said, "Please tell Frank Faulkner to call J. Wesley Miller."

April 25, 2001

Sunny, slight breeze, 67 degrees at 10:30am.

The Boston Globe has a story saying that Springfield's property values have fallen by over 10% in the last decade. Tim Brennan says that the Big Dig is the largest construction project in the world and has drained road money from Western Mass from $40 million per year down to $2.4 million. Woronoco Bank has bought back 207,446 shares in their buy back program. The Community Feed Store was on Maple Street in East Longmeadow in 1998. CheckWriters Payroll is on Elm Street in West Springfield.

My Colby classmate Arthur E. Goldschmit is a recognized expert on the Middle East. Even in college he was considered very bright. Claudia Kopkowski is a Land Protection Specialist for the Massachusetts Audubon Society in Lincoln. Arthur Kinny was on WFCR this morning talking about tulips. CPTV's 30th Anniversary Auction was on tonight. Malcolm George is Chairman of the Board at STCC and Bob Chadbourne, the pompous but competent reporter, is now on the board. Bob has always been good a muscling his way into things. Paul Caron will hold his 15th Annual Breakfast at St. Anthony's Parish Hall on Island Pond Road in Springfield on May 6th. Caron's wife's name is Paula and they have a son Matthew and a daughter Marielle.

Weatherman Nick Morganelli reported at 5:39pm that we "actually had a double rainbow today for about five minutes." Today I found tucked away in the garage a ziplock bag with eleven 20mg tablets of Zestril that Mother got from Dr. Mullen and saved "just in case" of who knows what. I threw them away. Wrote to Serena Harris at Smith College this morning. Anthony Passerone called from PaineWebber but I told him not to bother me because my broker is A.G. Edwards. He did say he was sorry for bothering me, so that requirement was met. I read newspapers most of this afternoon. The Stearns Square City Block Party is sponsored by WRNX, News40, Theodore's, The Springfield Newspapers and the Springfield Business Improvement District. Last year when CityBlock was new and pioneering, the Valley Advocate was a sponsor, but now that is is a success it has been muscled out by the Springfield Newspapers. Fine, that will save the Advocate money.

I went to the Eastern States Exposition Trade Fair today. I wore my Redwing logging boots, black jeans, black t-shirt, doggie collar with ID dangling and my biker jacket. Before I left I cut my hair as short as possible with scissors. As I walked in a lady said I looked "sharp" and I did. She asked me where my orange suit was and I told her my costume changes from time to time. She then listed all the shows and tag sales she's seen me at. The most conspicuous aspect of the Fair this year was that although they had candies, cookies and apples there was no substantial food. In past years they have had lobster newburg and roast beef, but this year nothing! They had the usual assortment of promotional freebies, I took little of it because I already had most of it from elsewhere. The prize for the best freebie goes to Marcus printers, which passed out a hologram poster of a deer in a field of grass by David L. Ryan. It is so beautiful I am sending them a thank you note.

I ran into Arthur J. Bicknell of Merriam-Webster, whom I always thought was a black man, but it turns out he is a tall, broad-shouldered white man. While he was waiting to be interviewed by TV22, I told him that they left Mary Waller out of their dictionary of American authors. Along came a jovial Roy Scott and we exchanged pleasantries. I saw no pigtail coming out of his baseball cap and merely mentioned to him that I received my Josh Simpson paperweight. Reminder Publications was giving away milk chocolates distributed by Chocolate Works in East Longmeadow. I had a chat with the woman at the Expo booth and told her that their new traffic policies have reduce the congestion on the street outside. I also told her about an antique Eastern States Exposition badge I purchased a year or so ago. She me an aluminum token with the Big E on one side and Foxwoods on the other. The School Volunteers had a table, as did Symphony Hall.

I told the big pompous ass executives at the Mass Mutual booth that this is the 100th anniversary of the Monarch Life Insurance Company. They just stood there speechless. Jack Briggs was at the Country Bank of Ware booth. I told him their green and white colors are too similar in style to United Cooperative, to which Briggs replied, "I don't care, United are such nice people." The guy who runs the Armory Museum was there and he said at present they are focusing on preserving their archives. The Springfield Newspapers had a double booth and were serving danish. Masslive.com was passing out watering cans. The person manning the booth told me that he is in charge of advertising and I told him how I don't think much of David Starr. He replied that Starr is semi-retired and most things are now run by Larry McDermott, whom he said is much better. I told him about some of my unfriendly exchanges with Larry.

The Forest Park Zoo was passing out peacock feathers. I told them that as an environmentalist I have a problem with depriving birds of their feathers. He replied that these were feathers that the birds had already shed. Rock 102 was there, and BusinessWest was giving away free copies. The new Indian Motocycle Company had a large booth showing old Indians and their new models. The guy at the Sovereign Bank booth said they're doing okay, even though they're losing a lot of customers to Fleet. The PVTA was passing out fancy color markers, James Shriver from the Chamber Energy Coalition thanked me for the letter I sent him.

After I left I stopped by Berman's Law Office and noticed that Foley has the old E.F. Hutton clock sign in his office. Atty. Berman had a red hanky in his pocket and told me that he walks two miles every day to control his weight. I gave him a book on auctions and said, "I know you'll like it." Berman stared silently at the way I was dressed for several seconds before he asked, "Attorney Miller, are you alright?" I replied, "Yup, never felt better," and went on my way back home.

April 26, 2001

Mild day, cool in the morning. Nick Morganelli said the high today was 63 degrees. Gas at Breckwood Sunoco is $1.59.

Lillian Glickman is the Secretary of the Office of Elder Affairs in Boston. Stephanie J. Willbanks worked for Vermont Law School in South Royalton in 1983. UMass wants to start a law school. Will that create problems for WNEC? The same group of art scene insiders run both Symphony Hall and City Stage, formerly Stage West. A full page ad in the Valley Advocate sells for $1930. Ellen Cheng on TV22 reports that the owners of the Foster House Restaurant in Westfield are going to demolish it. Foster House was a favorite dining place of my Aunt Maria and her friends for decades. I got dragged their once and thought it rather routine. At one point the building was an inn. Last night I saw a commercial to re-elect Mayor Albano, with testimonials from Ed Boland, Richie Neal and other local politicians.

Drove downtown at 1:30pm. When I left Kelly was watering the lawn with a sprinkler, and I noticed that Irving Cohn still has branches from winter all over his front lawn. When I got downtown I parked on Salem and walked down the hill. I noticed that the Bank of Boston lettering has been removed from their old building. I spotted Attorney Eugene Berman standing in front, again wearing a red hanky. We shook hands and I went inside City Hall to pay my taxes. I went up to the 4th floor to the Planning Department and got a 1938 picture of the 16 Acres Inn at 1225 Parker Street where Welker's Mobil now stands. As a boy we used to go by it when we went out to Wilbraham. It was demolished and all I could remember about it was that it had two stories and a long porch. My atlas has it down as originally belonging to A.A. Foster, who gave the land for Foster Memorial Church. Afterwards it was owned by Howard F. Gebo and his wife Cecilia who also sold gasoline. In its later years the place had a reputation as a whorehouse. At last I have an image of it.

The Sixteen Acres Inn - 1938
click to enlarge

Came through the photo gallery at Baystate West/Tower Square and the photos are good, but I found out that the artists have to frame their own photos. Also checked out Antiques on Boland Way but they had nothing exciting. I wonder how long they will stay in business? I went back to the car and drove over to the Quadrangle. There was a long flat-bed truck unloading skids of pink granite slabs for the Quad's new sidewalk. I went into the City Library and found three friendly black ladies on duty in Periodicals, where I made a copy of the Boston Globe article about Springfield's falling property values. I asked the black ladies whether they had seen the article and interestingly none of them had. Looking around the Periodicals room I noticed that there are significantly fewer magazines and newspapers. About a decade ago they began cutting back and now they have cut back even more and it shows. They have money for construction and money for salaries, but less and less for reading materials.

On the way home I was in a little traffic jam where there was a line of cars extending all way from Eastern Avenue to the Wesley Church driveway. Tonight I attended the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Library at the 16 Acres branch. It was a small peanuts affair, with only 13 people present, mostly elderly, although they claim to have over a hundred members. They served cookies, punch and sherbet ice cream. The talk was all about how to raise money and they decided to sell tote bags for $5, which they can get for about $2.50 apiece. They showed the same old Dr. Seuss slideshow Carvalho gave a few years ago, but improved by some new additions. There is no amplification in the Community Room and parliamentary procedure was barely observed. I could hardly hear, public speaking is a special skill which everybody thinks they have but they don't. The bottom line is that it was a weak program with the focus on fundraising in order to survive.

I am sending to Persall in Wilbraham a 1987 photo showing how the foundation of King Drive by Fernbank has been worn out by development. I've mentioned it to him in the past and he didn't seem to know what I was talking about. After the news I called Aunt Maria's and Shirley told me she is fine. I told her about the closing of the Foster House and suggested that Aunt Maria might like to go there one last time. Then Eamon called and complained that without the Valley Advocate, the Boston Globe and occasional other sources such as talk radio, the citizens of the valley would be totally misinformed. He said it is rare for our local politicians to be held accountable, and all kinds of corruption and mismanagement goes on "without a word about it in the so-called local news media."

April 28, 2001

Sunny, calm, 48 degrees at 7:30am.

Senator Bob Kerry of Nebraska is in the news for a raid conducted in Vietnam in 1969 in which an old man was killed to prevent him from ratting to the Viet Cong about their location. Kerry got a Bronze Star for the raid but now Kerry says "he feels guilty because of what happened" but does not intend to return his medal. How can you judge what you'd do in a war? A group is trying to get something named after Ronald Reagan in each of the 3,141 counties in the United States. Punk rock pioneer Joey Ramone, known for his leather jacket, tinted glasses and ripped jeans, has died at the age of 49. Mary Louise Van Winkle was Academic Dean for Bay Path Junior College in Longmeadow in 1983. The Valley Advocate claims to have 176,000 readers.

Josh Simpson was thrown out of a bank from which he was seeking a loan for glass blowing because the banker thought he said it was for "grass blowing." Both Pat Sullivan and Ed Casey have sent me thank you notes for the pictures I sent them. Casey said, "Thank you for the pictures of the tree planting at Greenleaf Park. They look great!" Nothing yet from Albano. For lunch today I went to McDonald's on Boston Road for a burger and the black lady who waited on me gave me extra fries. There were tag sales today at 177 Spear and 63 Jenning. McKenny at 111 Jeffrey Road had one as they always seem to every month or so. 205 Birchland appears to be putting up a cheap little aluminum garage.

Today I found a picture of Grandmother Helen Southworth Miller of which we have only five in all. It shows a beautiful clump of hollyhocks and Grandmother Miller with Emmet Holcomb. I also came upon information about Mother's wedding ring, which is still with her in her urn. I also found a 1946 S&H Green Stamps merchandise catalog with a large picture of of the Springfield department store Poole's on the back. It advertises "Smart New Shirts $1.98" and "Sale! Chenille Spreads $1.59 to $2.98." I also found a copy of the Monarch Message from 1941 with a photo in it of my parents. Mother worked as Registrar of the Claims Department at Monarch Life and knew as well as anyone the things that could make you sick.

For a long time milk has been #1.59 per half-gallon, but it was $1.69 when I went to Stop&Shop the other day. The Union-News Extra came today just before noon. It looks like my new neighbors the Mudry's are moving in, I'll keep out of sight. CPTV and WGBY are having their fundraising auctions at the same time. The 57 auction hosts were Scott and then Darryn, followed by the thin Marla and then Amy with the little girl's voice. She can't help her voice, and actually Amy does quite well. Darryn said he always goes to Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement events. Bully for him! No sign of Debbie Onslow. Jack Briggs was on as well, wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Quadling Sue Davison was on TV40 last night wearing a Dr. Seuss hat promoting the parade.

I am organizing my postcards and stamping my name on them all. The most rare of them are worth hundreds of dollars. The reason I first became interested in postcards is that Mother had two large postcard albums that belonged to her mother. It was a rich source of research material about Blanche Simpson Gleason about whom we knew so little. My friend Charles G. Vinson, who died of AIDS, sent me hundreds of postcards, many from his friend Jay Hight. I remember as a child we went way up to Mount Sugarloaf and drove all the way to the top. There was an old Victorian House up there from which you could look out over the valley. The road was narrow and awful to navigate. I have a total of 61 postcards of Mount Holyoke, Mount Tom, Mount Sugarloaf and Poet's Seat. They would sell for about two dollars apiece. I always write down where I get my postcards, whether it was Vinson or Hight or Aunt Maria Giroux or Fran Fearn or Florence Blish or whatever. Tag sales at South Church was a good source for many years. In all I have about 70,000 postcards, many of them in boxes in the attic.

April 30, 2001

60 degrees at 4:15pm. Violets are in bloom.

Uninterrupted concentration gets things done.

On TV Jay Leno was joking about the George W. Bush Middle School, whose motto is, "There's nothing wrong with a C." Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerry continues to get bad publicity over charges that while serving in Vietnam he killed women and children. WFCR today played my first number with the Young People's Symphony, Haydn's 104th. Rich Coppola, formerly of Springfield television, is now a sports anchor on Fox61. A skateboard park was opened in East Hartford today. Barbara J. Kokaszka was an Assistant to Mass Mutual Chairman James R. Martin in 1981. My neighbor Michael Colburn lived in Chicopee in 1984. The Springfield Marriot offers a Down Home Country Buffet for $19 per person.

I began the day by watching the glass brick salesman, the Rev. Robert Schuler of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. He believes that if you follow Jesus, then nothing is impossible. He has his own little aphorisms such as - "It doesn't cost a dime to dream." "If you can dream it you can do it." "You can get anywhere from nowhere." He is going to fund his cathedral by selling people glass bricks with their name engraved on them for $500 per brick. He has to sell 20,000 of them. A scam with many suckers. The Timothy Hawley Catalog came today with 55 cents postage due.

The doorbell rang this afternoon, which surprised me since it hasn't been working all winter, but the person ringing must have jostled it into behaving. Actually, I liked the doorbell not working. Anyway, I answered it and it was Joe, a UPS delivery man bringing me a book about Wales. He said the regular deliveryman Mr. Wilson just retired last week, so I told him to confer my best wishes on his retirement. Then I called Shirley W. Huang to see how my Aunt Maria Giroux is doing. Shirley said, "Maria is fine," but I wonder. She said she told Aunt Maria about the offer I made for her to come over my house and she said Maria replied, "No, not interested at any time." However, Shirley said she would be willing to come over someday by herself. She also told me that the Agawam Food Mart is closed, "the whole complex is gone, Ames is all that is left." I told her that grocery stores don't last long and that she's lucky to have a Stop&Shop so close by. Later I got a solicitation call from Peter Alberding of PaineWebber and I told him don't call again or I will bill them $200 for my time.

In a drawer of Mother's closet chest I found an old WWII Sugar Certificate dated Sept. 9, 1942. I am going to have 41 slides I found of 37 Crest Street made into photos at Walmart. I worked on my postcards until 10:30am and then went over to the Allen Street McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin and to read the paper. Then I went over to see Mrs. Staniski on Elijah Street and gave her some magazines and put out her dumpster. Then over to the X Main Street Corporation to give Scott Hanson six postcards to copy. He really liked the one that shows the art deco X Lounge and the two synagogue cards. Hanson told me that he has a degree from UConn and something in planning from UMass.

I made a list of recommendations for Mrs. Joyal at the Friends of the Library on how to improve their organization. I began by criticizing Pat Markey for not responding to my inquiries. I also complained that when Barbara Bush came to the Quadrangle the members were not invited. I told her that since Dr. Seuss was a book person, the Friends of the Library should be included at every event regarding the Seuss Memorial. I told them they need to do more to promote their events, merely putting a notice in The Reminder is not enough. Then I said they should have record and video sales and sell bookbags in the Quadrangle souvinir shop. They should place a bowl out for donations at every meeting and demand that Masslive.com give them a free website.

I told her that the reason they are not getting any new members is because they aren't doing anything for the members they already have. I suggested they should take field trips to Yale, the Hartford State Library, the Providence Historical Society, maybe Darthmouth and the St. Johnsbury Atheneum. Harvard I omitted. I invited Mrs. Joyal to bring the entire organization to my house to see my library. Finally, I told Mrs. Joyal that unless they follow these suggestions, the Friends of the Library may have to disband in a few years.

Dined on a Swanson's Beef Pot Roast Dinner. My thank you letter from Eamon's nephew Patrick J. Sullivan thanks me for my Tree Trust ceremony photos and notes that the city "has been working towards an active tree planting program" and that "the generosity of Stuart Sugrue will ensure that trees will be planted within our park tree belts." Eamon's latest message says that if you don't like ever increasing taxes, declining property values, inferior schools, violent crime and a poor quality of life environment "call Mayor Albano at 787-6100 and let him know, or call one of his trusted advisers and confidants Toots Starr and Twinkles McDermott at 747-0283 or 788-1000. They'll be glad to hear from you."

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