Clouds with some sun, 37 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.50 at Alden and Wilbraham.
A good lawyer is someone who can take the simplest thing and transform it into an incredible mess.
Saddam Hussein has cut off all sales of oil to the United States. Good for Saddam. The news said that 60 million homes now have a personal computer. Jane Swift is expecting twins. South Congregational Church is celebrating World AIDS Day. TV22 had a story about indoor rock climbing at the Northampton Athletic Club. I'm too old for that sort of thing, but it sounds like it would be fun. A new ad for First Bank claims to give customers "the respect and service you deserve everyday." Tell that to Hampden.
Slept exceptionally well last night in two four hour stretches. The Frederick Historical Piano Collection was established by Patricia and Michael Frederick, who have filled their colonial house in Ashburnham, Massachusetts with old pianos, including a couple of grand pianos from Europe and the last piano Brahms played on. Ashburnham is over by Worcester near the New Hampshire border. The Brahms piano was played in a benefit concert at Smith College recently.
All the supermarkets are having sales on ham. Today I had a tossed salad, on top of which I put my last little tomato. It was somewhat wilted, Mother would have definitely thrown it away. It turned out to be a tasty little tomato. I called Mrs. Staniski today and she is much improved. She had to see a surgeon to have the tooth removed and he told her she should have been insistent when she made her appointment at the dentist Monday. I agreed, and told her "Sunday school doesn't apply to real life." She laughed. I also called cousin Shirley and told her she can come visit me anytime and she can bring Aunt Maria, except of course Aunt Maria would never come. Shirley said that she hopes that I don't think that she is standing between my Aunt and me, that Aunt Maria is quite firm in her refusal to see me.
At 11:30 I drove to the ARISE headquarters. When I got there, Timothy was friendly enough and said Michaelann was at an AIDS meeting and wouldn't be back until four. I gave him some memos I wrote which he placed on Michaelann's desk. He said they are moving to a new location at 41 Rifle Street, so they are packing and throwing a lot of stuff away. It is a property the city has taken for back taxes, and they are moving because the Goodwill is forcing them out. They had no old copies of their newsletter, but he said they are all archived at the Quadrangle. A nice stew was cooking on the stove in the corner. Their present place is an L-shaped area with several offices along the side of the building and a hallway down that wall, and at the back a wide open space and a printing area behind the offices, then a large table in the middle and a couple of desks along the inside wall, computer terminals atop two of the desks which had card games on the screens. The door leading out back is by the printing area and there is a small kitchenette in the remote back corner. They have posters on the walls and a rack of literature as well as bookshelves.
When I got home, the mail was already here, which included the Commonwealth Library Commission Report and the Heidelberg Press catalog. This afternoon I called a few printers to find out what kind of presses they have. A.L. Fredette, who was in Nader the Hatter's old building with the lovely freight elevator up to Springfield Central, said "they kicked me out" and they are now up in Holyoke where they have a Heidelberg and an old Chandler & Price. The Northampton CopyCat has a Heidelberg, as does Marcus and Bassette. So it appears that Heidelberg is the industry standard.
Black leather jackets are the uniform of troublemakers. Eamon told me he spoke with Tom Vannah of the Valley Advocate recently, who told him that their deadline is Tuesday and by Tuesday evening they start releasing their stories online, where they quickly begin getting a lot of hits. I called Karen Powell and she said she is mad at Russell Denver because he always tries to shift the tax burden from the businesses to the homeowner. She also said that she is not a fan of ARISE and has nothing to do with them. Karen had to hang up because she was watching the coverage of the Bush vs. Gore Supreme Court case.
35 degrees on the breezeway at 7:30am. Gas is $1.49 at both stations at Alden and Wilbraham Road.
On CPTV24 they had a lovely Taste of Chanukah program from the hall of the New England Conservatory in Boston. It featured Jewish music with dancing. The music was overall more fast-paced and joyful than Christian pieces. The host Theodore Magill doesn't look like a Jew. Very interesting and very good, the first time I recall seeing the Jews have a show at Christmas. 18 Pineview was the first house my parents considered buying when they started thinking about moving to the Acres. It is an L-shaped ranch, smaller than what they bought on Birchland but with a lot of nice trees around it. The owners of those first homes have put additions on them so they are larger now than they were when first purchased from Boyer.
Put out the mail at Louis & Clark in the Breckwood Shops, and dined on an Egg McMuffin at the Allen Street McDonald's, where I also read the morning paper. Just as predicted by K. Powell, on page A-15 there was an article about Denver and the Chamber of Commerce calling for a shift of the tax burden from businesses to homeowners. Then over to Springfield College to do my poster gathering routine. I noticed that my odometer hit 99,900 about two minutes past Watershops Pond. When I was going along Alden enroute to the college, a young couple asked me how to get to Camp Massasoit. Then later at the intersection of Eastern and Alden, a man asked where the college was, so I gave direction to two people this morning. I was able to get a nice gang territorial sticker on a light pole in front of Babson Library. Then over to A.I.C. to get the freebies offered at the Shea Library.
Drove past Wesley Church and there were 30 cars in the parking lot at 11:05am. Down to Third Baptist the parking lot was packed. Unfortunately, there was not a poster in sight along the entire State Street corridor. Coming home, I decided to drive down Rifle Street to see where ARISE might be moving, but I couldn't see anything that looks appropriate. So I zoomed out Allen to Plumtree and was going to get milk at the 16 Acres Big Y, but spotted people removing the safety deposit boxes from the former Community/Heritage/Shawmut/Fleet Bank building. I parked at Friendly's, which was doing good business with customers stopping by on their way home from church.
There were two cop cars parked by the bank entrance, cruisers 128 and 132. There was also a cop standing outside, Officer 417. Inside they were rolling out the safety deposit boxes on dollies and using a lift to place them in a van. The cop said they were inventorying each box which would then be taken to the Boston Road branch. At one point cruiser 18 came along and chatted with the cop. The United Coop Bank digital thermometer said 38 degrees. I took a photo from the far end of the bank showing all the boxes lined up. From there I stopped at Sixteen Acres Gardens, which has all their Christmas decorations up. They had a nice little Xmas tree for $27, but I took only their free 2001 calendar with their name on it and bought nothing. Across the street it looked like they were trucking dirt in to fill in the gully. I spoke to one of the workmen who told me that years ago Wally Hubbard of the DPW wanted to build houses there but was discouraged by the amount of landfill required.
When I got home I called the Powells to talk with them about the article on Russ Denver and taxes, but Bob Powell answered and said he hadn't seen the paper. He told me he and Karen will check it out. Bob also said that Tom Devine and his father have flown down to Houston, Texas to visit relatives. Dined on Swanson's Fish and Chips for supper.
34 degrees at 12:30pm.
The presidential election is more of a mess than ever. Poet Gwendolyn Brooks, who they said never went to a doctor, has died in Chicago of cancer at age 83. The news says that our electric bills will go up 8% in January because of higher energy costs. I am now reading Apollodorus, translated by none other than Sir James G. Frazer! David A. Penney was an Executive with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams in 1990. I'm considering donating my signed Calvin Coolidge etching, which is unique and worth around $15,000, to the University of Vermont.
Sent Moriarty at Elms College Philip Freeman's Ireland and the Classical World and copies of the Kennedy gift documents. I called Trinity Church and spoke to the always professional Huber and told him to get together the books I've lent them over the past year and I'll pick them up later in the week. I then called the Unitarian Universalist Church and asked whether anyone has ever made postcards of their current building. The woman who answered said no, the only postcards she was ever aware of were of their old church on State Street. The electrical power went off at 10:23am. I called Mrs. Allard and she said that her power was also off and she was using her fireplace and a propane heater. The power came back on shortly afterward.
Called Dr. Mullan and Patience says they have no flu shots yet and she doesn't know when they will arrive. The little bug light refractor Mrs. Staniski gave me is wonderful, there are three rainbows reflected on this paper as I write this line. Drove out today at 2:30pm and made copies at Pride, then went to Fleet on Boston Road where there was only one teller on duty, a tall blond woman. As I was leaving a little man came in with a box of poinsettias to be used for decoration purposes. I put out my mail at the Wilbraham Post Office, then went to CVS at the Eastfield Mall where I got a can of Progresso Vegetable Soup for free with a coupon. I briefly looked at dishware in Filene's.
I went over to Natural Foods and got a bottle of prostate support pills for $37.99 and a pound of pumpkin seeds. When I got home I began typing wearing my head harness and doing quite well, I think. I want to increase the use of the head harness until it feels comfortable and natural. I have started to wear the bondage helmet to bed at night. The harness feels good so it cannot be bad, the helmet keeps my head warm and the light out. Since it feels good, it cannot be bad. I have to get away from the notion that things are bad because they are said to be bad. I am serious about experimenting with the bondage lifestyle and am learning to enjoy it. I took out the trash last night at 12:05am. The sky was starry and Barry Simpson was just getting home. I think Bradley has a new wife, the old one was fat and the new one is a white haired lady. The Coburns have very fancy Christmas decorations up.
Eamon called tonight and said he has to be careful about talking about the things he is learning about the corruption probe and that he can only release information on a "need to know basis." He said he is reluctant to share what he knows even with the Valley Advocate, although he said the most recent issue of the Advocate is a good one. Eamon told me that he hears rumors that T. Regina will be the new School Superintendent, which if true he says is a shame because A. Southworth should get it but is being blocked because she is not an Albano supporter. This morning Eamon was talking with Al Kozak of The Cafe Manhattan on Bridge Street. Kozak said that he dislikes the critical comments the Valley Advocate makes about the Entertainment District because he thinks it makes people hesitant to come downtown. Kozak told Eamon that Mike Armitage sometimes comes into his place and is a big spender. Kozak's daughter works as a waitress and Armitage once gave her a $300 tip!
Sunny and 34 degrees at noon.
Prices of IBM laptops are tumbling. WFCR says that bookmobile service is being cut back in Florence and other places because funding has been cut by the state. Had a Hungry Man Beef Pot Pie with turnips for lunch. It's best to eat the big meal at noon so you can work it off the rest of the day. Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery is in Bloomfied, Connecticut.
I belong to many organizations including the American Philological Association. Several years ago Harvard University Press offered t-shirts to people who bought from their English Literature catalog. I received one and it was hideous! It looked like something designed by a lady in a retirement home for Methodist Sunday School teachers. Now they are offering Loeb Library book bags.
I called Dr. Mastafavi, the urologist I visited last spring, and spoke to his receptionist Margaret. I asked if the doctor would recommend what he considers to be the best prostate pills and she said she'll leave my folder on his desk and he'll get back to me. I told her I am currently taking Solaray Saw Palmetto once a day. Tried to call The Hippodrome, but their answering machine message just plays over and over and you never get an operator. Unknown called and I wasn't around. A woman with a baby voice called looking for Storrowtown. A man named Frank Morse called from West Virginia, sounded like a black man, calling for Audience Study Inc. and wanting to interview any females in the house between 18 and 24. I said the residents here are all gay men.
The mail brought a publication For Women Only from the Harvard Woman's Health Watch. I sent it back marked, "No, I am male!" This morning I dropped off the Boston Herald at the Penniman's. A man was raking leaves at 101 Birchland. At 56 Birchland there was white van with a sign in red lettering on it saying "DEVINE/ Wall Covering and Painting/ Interior/Exterior Powerwashing/ Free Estimates/ Roger Devine/ 525-6933." I believe that's one of Tom Devine's cousins. Drove to Pride in the Acres looking for the new Valley Advocate, but it wasn't out yet. Then I went over to the Wilbraham Post Office where I sent out the mail. I sent a letter to President Anthony S. Caprio at WNEC, correcting his English on his latest mailing. I suppose he'll figure it's okay not to answer a crank letter, but I'm not the crank. He needs to hire someone with superior English skills, as I believe his field is French. I would give his English only a C-plus.
The Inspector General says the Board of Sabis International School made a number of payments in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for which no adequate records were kept. Michael Glickman was the principal then, but that was not mentioned. The Union-News has a Ken Ross story "Historical survey targets Liberty Heights" featuring Francis Gagnon. Peter Goonan also has an article entitled "Springfield sets a summit on school truancy." They would never admit it, but the person responsible for stirring up that issue is Eamon T. O'Sullivan. Eamon has been talking to the Valley Advocate, giving them the names of all the political people he recognizes as being tied to the local mob. He would say no more about it, and refused to give me the list of names.
Sunny and 34 degrees at 11:30am.
The whole presidential election mess in Florida is thoroughly disgusting. It's clear Florida has sophisticated legal measures for making sure that minority votes won't get counted. Now they've been caught with their pants down and are fighting tooth and nail. I notice that there is a black sitting on the Florida court, Justice Peggy Quince, and the Chief Justice is Charles T. Wells. The Publick House Historic Inn and Country Motor Lodge in Sturbridge is having their Holiday Beer Dinner December 14th.
Mother used to have plastic all over the place which I hated but it was her home. Now I am getting revenge on Mother by removing plastic whenever I can. I like Vlasic pickles, I didn't know they were owned by Swanson. Sometimes when I get a Chicken Pot Pie I find pieces of the crust rattling around in the box. Is that their fault or mine? Certain types of products sometimes seem all the same, like toilet paper and bottled water and biodegradable trash bags. However, Big Y trash bags rip very easily and lack the tensile strength other bags do. I'm convinced that not all trash bags are created equal.
I plan to banish bacon, cheese, eggs and candy from my diet. Increasingly, it is becoming hard to come up with things that I can eat. Dr. Mastafavi called and said all the prostate pill brands are the same, just don't get the ones with testosterone or other additives in them. I called the Valley Opportunity Council and asked them to send me information on insurance. Someone called looking for Storrowtown and my identifier said it was someone from the Springfield Library. I recognized the voice as being Joe Carvalho's secretary, but when I asked who is this she hung up. I think she may have recognized my voice and didn't want to acknowledge that she had misdialed.
I called St. Michael's in Pine Point and they said they'll have brochures about their mausoleum in January. When I asked about the prices, they connected me to Joe Kostek, the Director of Cemeteries. He said they are going to start marketing the mausoleum on January 15th and will charge $6,500 per vault. Conventional in-ground burial at St. Michael's costs $2,200. The mausoleum will also be used for a chapel and for burial services on rainy days. He said to get back in touch with him or Lynn Cary in January for a copy of the brochure.
Mrs. Staniski's Christmas card came today so I gave her a call. Next week is her birthday and she said her daughter Carol is planning on spending the day with her. Her other daughter Ann will be coming on the weekend. Mrs. Staniski asked if I could get her a copy of the Wesley Church 100th Anniversary program for her in order to send a copy of it to Mrs. Smith's daughter. She said Eleanor Wilcox, who lives at Reeds Landing, told her that Marion Ruggles attended the services, Mrs. Staniski said she herself would have attended but no one invited her.
Debbie Onslow of WGBY57 has aged so much I hardly recognize her. The jewelry shop Carat and Under has reopened in part of the old downtown block where Ravosa had nis offices. Peter Picknelly appeared on camera saying he intends to revitalize the entire area. The news also showed an assembly held at Central High to honor the kids who have raised their GPA by one point.
Barbara Huber called from Trinity and cheerfully said I could come get my books anytime. I said I'll try to come by soon, and told her to take a good look at the big red book because she'll never see it again. I thanked her for calling. I then called Leonard Collamore; he recognized me immediately from my voice and was exceptionally polite. He said he doesn't get the Oak Knoll catalog so I told him about it. I also told him about Forest Park Antiques and he said he'll stop by there. A Frank Morissey called from 747-9247 and asked for Storrowtown. When I said he had the wrong number he just hung up. I called him back and said, "Mr. Morissey, you forgot one thing."
"You failed to say you were sorry you bothered me," and then I quickly hung up on him!
To the Rev. Corella Brown and Colleagues, Wesley UM Church, 741 State, Springfield 01109
Congratulations to your church upon its Centennial and best wishes to you for the future.
Enclosed is my money order for $100 which I send as a gift on this occasion, subject to the following conditions and restrictions - the money is not to be spent but to be added to your permanent invested endowment funds and I am to receive a written thank you letter for the gift. You can think of this as a pretty paltry gift, but it is more than you are likely to get from the many constituents your church once had who are still living but who will not be touching base.
Some people say "never forget" but it is the order of nature that forgetfulness occur. Dead soldiers tell no tells, and the survivors grow feeble of mind as well as body and drop off so that new life and hope and love may emerge for their moment where "rarely reason guides" but only the Sun. When my father John W. Miller came to Springfield from Bethel, Vermont in the late 1920's he brought with him a letter of reference from his dad, the Rev. J. Wesley Miller, to Rev. Rice of Wesley Church, and Wesley became Father's church, although he and Mother were married by Grandfather in Bethel.
I was baptized by the Rev. John Hoon and reared in Wesley Church. The Parish House was new, though of fundamentally wooden construction. As a youngster, the main building seemed curious, old and special. I sang in the Junior Choir under a sweet, timid little lady named Doris Copley, an unmarried woman who lived with her more assertive sister Averill. I sang in the Chapel Choir under Madeline C. Hunt, an Oberlin alumna in organ and a crack typing teacher at Commerce. She lived with the other crack typing teacher at Commerce, Miss Walker, on Massachusetts Avenue. Once a year she hosted a tea party for the choir members, in addition she provided rides on snowy days for the five choir members who lived most distant from the church. I was slightly active in the youth groups and still have a Sunday School class picture from way back.
Each Christmas the Sanctuary was filled with pots of red flowers all around the altar, and at Easter the flowers were white. The congregation was so large that the immense sliding doors into Fellowship Hall were slid back. The apex of Wesley in the old days was a winter series Leslie Johnson staged called the University of Life which came with Sunday evening dinner, featuring cultural lectures on various things. I remember the Masonic pin Leslie sported on his lapel, and also the long parade of Masons who formed outside the church each Masonic Sunday in the spring and paraded in to a special section of the sanctuary where they sat as a body.
Sometimes my parents took me to other Methodist churches - to Trinity where the ushers wore spats, to South Church where Gilkey was noted for his children's sermonettes, and once to the Church of the Unity where an immense bowl of peonies sat on the white altar in gleaming beauty. As preparation for church membership Johnson did a passable job over a series of Saturday mornings making us memorize the books of the Bible in the correct order. In due course I acquired a Bible inscribed to me by him, a hymnal with my name stamped on the cover and a veritable rainbow of choir ribbons for six years of service. After I went away to Colby, Winifred Herman faithfully sent a copy of "The Upper Room" each month for some time.
Change is the Law of Life and changes were stirring. My parents wanted me to join the junior Masonic Order of DeMolay because the kids of all the other men where Father worked belonged. I was somewhat uncomfortable because I thought the group encouraged a hatred of Catholics. But what really got me was all the brothers were white. I asked why we couldn't initiate Paul Mason, and Russ "Dad" Parker, who worked as a roofer and lived in the cheap section of Longmeadow, growled "Would you want your sister dancing with one?" I sent a letter to Methodist headquarters asking why we couldn't have black members, using my address as feature staffer for the Classical Recorder so my parents wouldn't find out I was causing trouble. I received a letter saying that the matter would have to be discussed in private. I have that letter to this day.
I began to feel that the training I had received at Wesley was suspiciously hypocritical. I recall my 12th grade Sunday School teacher reciting the jingle, "Once a minority/gaining a majority/seizing authority/hates a minority!" I think he was thinking of the Irish, but it is a jingle of universal application. After graduating from Colby, I returned to Springfield and made a speech at Christmas demanding equality for blacks which infuriated Dad Parker and he handed my DeMolay application back to me saying he knew "they would never approve it." The Springfield chapter of DeMolay has since gone out of existence, and the nearest one is a Brownstone Chapter in East Longmeadow.
Wesley Church was a racist church. Religion has done more to promote hatred and misery than any other force on the face of the globe. I'm referring not just to Methodism but to all religions. At Wesley the racism was subdued and Johnson sometimes preached against racism. But when black folks started to come to Wesley in large numbers, with services increasingly becoming interrupted by a "glory hallelujah" or two, the white folks started leaving. Many deserted to South Church, more hardcore Methodists migrated to Trinity. Today Liberty is the only really Methodist Church in the city.
Soon I went to grad school at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where I made my famous collection of 60's posters that is now located in the Manuscripts Division of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. On holidays I returned to Springfield and attended Wesley, persuading my parents to continue. My parents had brought me up to have no special feelings against blacks, or Irishmen or Jews (my violin teacher was Maurice Freedman). We did not desert Wesley Church, we stayed, until eventually Wesley Church kicked me out.
Shortly after the church's 75th anniversary, the main church was damaged in a fire. The organ burned, the freshly painted sanctuary had smoke damage and the carpeting was ruined. Fellowship Hall and the back Sunday School complex were unscathed as was the dining room with the portrait of Anna Danforth on the wall. The firemen who saved the building did an admirable job. My parents informed me that if the building were demolished they would leave. The church increasingly appeared to be headed nowhere, and little money was donated to restore the church.
Methodism is slipping and Methodism has failed. Methodism has slipped away slowly but surely, so the disastrous fire at Wesley came in the context of a fading Methodist church. It would have been gracious if our neighbors at Trinity had offered appreciation and encouragement for saving at least part of the old Wesley structure. Methodists lost their pride in there distinctive contributions to church architecture, and so Wesley was demolished. When the demolition began, I appeared on the Wesley Church lot and took progress photos of the demolition, resulting in over 100 color photos. They show that Wesley Methodist Church did not burn down. There was a fire in it, but the destruction was the will of the congregation. I should have gotten some friends and chained myself to the bulldozer.
Following the demolition, I corresponded with Leslie Johnson, and over the years I have visited Wesley at widely spaced intervals and walked around to see how things are. The church archives are in disarray and should be donated to the Quadrangle. When Leslie Johnson died I was alarmed to learn that Wesley did not send a representative to the funeral. I obtained a copy of his Worcester obituary and sent it to the church and never had the courtesy of a thankyou note. There is no use crying over spilled milk, but Wesley Church was the finest church in Winchester Square. The structure today looks like a chapel attached to a chapel.
I have always considered the demolition of Wesley Methodist, without even saving the tower, as a kind of architectural racism. The current black congregation would be proud today to sit in what was Wesley Church with its lovely windows and its organ up front and a black pastor at the altar. I should be proud to come there sometimes. A church is God's House, it is a special place, and if that place is in fact not special, you will never have people in it. The final insult came when I was booted out of Wesley Church. I attended the dedication of the new church, but a week before I received a notice that I had to renew my vows to the church, having taken vows earlier when under the duress of youth and not having made any contributions in recent years, so they said I had become "a burden" to the church. I promised that I would never again be a burden to the church and by quitting I shall not be.
I am yours, with congratulations on your Centennial,
John Wesley Miller III, Esq.
WFCR said it was 18 degrees at 8:30am. No breeze.
Thoughts create destiny.
NPR had a piece about President Clinton's trip to Nebraska, where no President has visited since 1939. A Meagan Dunn who lives near Lincoln said that Nebraskans don't want outsiders to come to their state, and said "the reason we're such good neighbors is because we have no neighbors." I think there is a profound truth in that, over population creates problems as there are more people bumping into each other. Swarthmore is dumping football. I can easily finish a book in an hour or two, then I am anxious to start another book.
Today I worked on alphabetizing the catalog cards for the books I've purchased in the last decade. For lunch I had Campbell's Broccoli Soup and a piece of pizza. When I went out the garage door this morning I noticed that my dumpster was missing. There were no tracks in the snow. I departed at 9:30am and went directly to Trinity Church to pick up the books I lent them. In front of Trinity there is a two-sided lawn sign, one side says Trintiy Summer Day Camp and the other side says Trinity Pre-School and Kindergarten. Huber was friendly and told me that Mrs. Goad delivers her sermons from notes and never prints them. I told Huber that I thought the Goads have done a wonderful job at Trinity. I asked if they had any copies of the church paper kicking around but no. I made no fuss. As I left I noticed that the printer next to Huber's desk is a Toshiba.
I buzzed from Trinity out to Pride in the Acres and made two copies of my Wesley Church essay for Mrs. Staniski. While there I picked up the new Valley Advocate. I put out the mail by placing it in the mailbox outside Goodwill. Included was my cancellation of my subscription to Newsweek for having too many health and religion features and not enough world news. Inside the Goodwill I saw a nice lamp I recognized as something selling for top dollar in one of the fancy catalogs I get. Patty let me have it for a mere $15, but it's a fair swap considering all the things of Mother's I've donated to them. I arrived at Angelo's about 11am and bought some fruit, although the price of tomatoes was too high so I bought none.
When I got home I saw that Jam's Bar & Grill on Pasco Road had called from 796-1637. I dialed the number and no one answered, probably it was someone calling Storrowtown from a pay phone in the bar. On TV24 tonight I watched the Suzie Orman program The Courage to be Rich. Caffeine's downtown is presenting a charity art show featuring artists Robert Valenti, Bruce Guindon, Angry Johnny and others. Business sponsors include V-Mag and Executive Business Solutions. The Event Coordinator is Terrence Davenport.
I am a 40 year member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. I received a letter in the mail from Laurie Cassidy, the Ombudsman for Greater Springfield Senior Services, acknowledging my "dissatisfaction with the Ring East Nursing Home over issues surrounding your mother's care." At 2:23pm Robert Giaquinto of 56 Birchland called and said he has an extra dumpster in front of his house and noticed mine is gone. So I went down there, and sure enough it was mine so I rolled it back to my house. Someone named Rita called about a Fairfield Resort vacation package and I snapped, "I don't go on vacations!" and hung up the phone in her ear.
The trick is to get your things into as many files as possible so that hopefully they will survive someplace. On TV22 Barry Krieger had Dick Messier on camera lamenting how someone stole the lighted reindeer from the Sixteen Acres triangle in front of the church. I notice I hear less frequently from Eamon these days. He has mentioned that he's been busy with many responsibilities, but never said what. Perhaps he's decided to dump me on account of the porn video that I sent him, but that's hard to believe. He may have also disliked what I said about him in my letter to Tom Vannah. He has retreated in the past and perhaps he is retreating now.
Sun coming out, 23 degrees at 8am.
The Supreme Court has ordered a halt to the counting of ballots by a 5-4 vote. Shame on the Republicans for their unending efforts to disqualify thousands of votes in Florida. This is about counting ballots, ALL of them! Fleet Mortgage is located at Monarch Place, Springfield. Gary Kaczmarczyk works for First Eastern Mortgage Corporation in West Springfield. Joseph Zajac lives on Granby Road in Chicopee. A film about the Italian community around Mt. Carmel has been produced by an Italian lady from Greenfield and the cable endowment.
Sunny in the morning, overcast in the afternoon. On TV24 I listened to Andrea Bocelli sing, he's the replacement for Pavarotti. I listened to it with my head helmet on while eating a can of pineapples. I drove out at 10:10 and brought the Boston Herald down to the Penniman's. Then I had an Egg McMuffin at McDonald's on Allen Street. They new have cash register technology with little cups into which your change rolls down. I remember the cash register at the Meridian Restaurant in the basement of Forbes & Wallace had such a device. Then down to Food Mart, where I used a $3 gift certificate to save even more on the specials. I went to check out a house for sale at 853 Allen Street. It looks nice from the outside, but inside it was all banged up.
I went downtown looking for ephemera from Albano's birthday party at the Paramount/Hippodrome, but found nothing. Wesley Church had 37 cars in their parking lot. I did note that the original Hampden Savings Bank building at 1665 Main Street has a 1918 cornerstone. On the way home I stopped at Angelo's Fruits and Vegetables, but bought nothing. Also went to the East Coast Marketplace and bought four generic all purpose cards at 99 cents each, plain and dignified. When I got home, I cooked up a Stouffer's Lasagna with some Green Giant Mixed Vegetables that I bought on special a few days ago. Later in the day, I cooked up a Sara Lee Blueberry Pie.
Heard nothing from Eamon. My primary achievement today was successfully editing Mother's pricetag collection. I call it the Blanche Ethel Wilson Miller Pricetag Gallery. It is a virtual museum of price tags! Mother often wrote on the back of the tag or register tape what she bought and the date. Mother was extremely thrifty. She saved everything, but nothing she had was junk (unlike Aunt Maria) because Mother took good care of everything she owned. Mother saved all her price tags and cash register tapes in a box in her closet. They are mostly from the 1960's and 70's, but someplace in the attic there are more. Mother had a genius for preserving things.
I went over all the tapes and tags and threw out all but one well imprinted example of each design and style from each store. Almost all the tags were from merchandise that had been marked down. J.M. Fields in particular would mark things down bit by bit until they sold. Topps on Boston Road and Woolworth downtown were other such stores. Most of the tags are from stores that no longer exist, though in their day they seemed like institutions that would last forever. Bradlees and Ames are still around, but Grants and Caldors collapsed suddenly. Nothing lasts.
Overcast, misty, 34 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.53 at the Cumberland Farms across from Angelo's.
The first high speed train between Boston and Washington began running today. Yankee Candle is concerning itself with educating buyers in candle safety. The Chicopee Lodge was instituted in 1848. Jeffrey Marshall is the Archivist for the University of Vermont. Angie Liebel is a Mortgage Consultant for People's Bank. Jennifer Granger is a Sales Consultant for New England Fidelity Insurance. Banknorth Mortgage is a division of First Massachusetts Bank. I am a member of the Spam Fan Club, which charges $15 per year membership dues.
There are pine cones on the ground all over the street and my driveway. Roy Scott was having a terrible time this morning on the radio, at one point saying that someone "didn't know who the Beatles was." That should have been "were" not was! Yesterday Fleet Bank gave me a white and raspberry card giving me a dollar off at Bright Nights. I added it to my postcard collection, as I will not be going to Forest Park's overpriced light show, even at a dollar off.
Called Dr. Mullan today and Patience told me they may be getting their flu shots in on Wednesday. Next I called Guizonis at Edwards but he was out. Nader the Hatter called yesterday and said he wants me to send my book of legal jokes to a woman friend of his he considers to be too serious. I sent it inscribed, saying that "these are all the legal jokes you will ever need." By writing something substantial, it increases the book's value. Nader, of course, covered the $75 book and shipping cost. Finally, I called Mrs. Staniski, and she said her water faucet is not working in her bathroom and the plumber is coming this afternoon. She said she had a nice birthday.
Sometime today my odometer turned over to 00,000. It read 99,996.7 when I left at 9:35am. I sent out the mail by putting it in the mailbox outside Louis & Clark. I mailed the gas and water bill payments as well as letters telling the Red Cross and Salvation Army to stop sending fundraising letters to Mother. Then I drove over to my old neighborhood and drove around. The little cottage behind Maher's, once Corcoran, has been fixed up and is now for sale. The enormous oak tree at Mrs. Jones is still there at 36 Highland. Albro was at 22 Highland and it is still one of the best houses over there. Douglas Schenck was at 38 Lakeside.
Next I drove down to Winchester/Mason Square and got some literature at the Martin Luther King Center. As I was leaving, State Rep. Benjamin Swan was just arriving in a white car and he waved. This was about 10:25. I paused at ARISE and they said they will be moving out by the 17th. Their dumpster is loaded, but Michaelann said there is still much to discard or move to their new place. On the way back I swung by Angelo's, where Salvatore Anzalotti agreed with me that poll workers are badly underpaid for all the headaches they have to put up with. From there I continued up Boston Road to the Eastfield Mall, where they were passing out free mugs and bags of pretzels.
The power went off from 11:02 until 11:52am. I had lasagna and a tossed salad for lunch. The weather throughout the day was dramatic and atmospheric. The other day when going through Mother's cash register tape collection, I noticed that a lot of tapes say "thank you" on them, but Walmart's do not. So I called the Boston Road Walmart and got James Bowen, who thought it would be a nice idea to say thank you on their cash register tapes and he will bring it up with the higher ups. Bowen sounded black. A man called at 2:47pm and asked for information about the party on the 23rd for ex-Congressman Boland. I told him I didn't know what he was talking about, that I am a Republican who would never hold a party for Boland and hung up. Of course they must have been trying to reach Storrowtown.
28 degrees at 8am, sunny, clear blue sky. Gas at Pride in the Acres is $1.49 per gallon.
The Supreme Court has effectively made George W. Bush the President. Somebody on TV said that the Republican counties in Florida have optical scanner voting machines, while poor Democratic counties have obsolete, worn out voting machinery. That's how George Bush won. WFCR played Beethoven today as part of their series on him. Glenna Nowell was Director of the Gardiner Public Library in Maine in 1994. Kristen Ambrose of Wilbraham delivers my Reminder.
Drove out at 9:35am and dropped off a bag at Cohn's. He was watching out the window as I hauled his dumpster out of the street and brought in his recycling boxes. I arrived at Dr. Mullan's office at 10:16am and sat listening to Beethoven on the car radio for a few minutes before going in. There was not much business in the doctor's office, but the nurse made me wait awhile before she gave me my flu shot. It cost $16 and I paid by check. The phlebotanist Beth Ann was wearing raspberry scrubs and told me she lives on the corner of Balboa and Embassy and is 30 years old.
From there, I went to the Telephone Worker's Credit Union, where I asked Dolores P. Rodrigues about insurance. She led me to an office in the far backside corner, where I chatted with Cynthia Farmer who offered me a 10% discount on car insurance. On the way out, I noticed we passed MacDonald's glassed in office, which he has never invited me in anytime I have come to see him. From the Credit Union, I walked up Main toward Tower Square. In the trash can in front of the Peter Pan Bus Terminal, I found 15 copies of yesterday's paper, despite my formal complaints that the Springfield Newspapers are not being recycled. I bought creme puffs and a chocolate Santa for Mrs. Staniski at Gus & Paul's for less than $10. I left downtown and went to see Mrs. Staniski, bringing her books, magazines and goodies for her birthday. She gave me some Harvard Gazettes from Ann and said that Carol brought over a big bag of bird seed earlier.
On my way back, I was waiting at a red light by St. Michael's Cemetery when a black car with a black driver 205 PIY coasted through the intersection like the light was green. I honked loudly as he sped away. Doyle the Twig Painter has a lavishly decorated tree in his front window where his artwork is usually displayed. Gateway Hardware had about 8 or 10 cars parked at the side of the store. I continued up Boston Road to the Big Y, where I have been buying Stouffer's dinners on sale all week, although they only let you buy five each day. On the way home, I noted how the intersection of Breckwood Circle and Grayson was repaved recently, but they should have straightened out the street because it is hard to see who is coming and the new paving encourages speeding. Of course, straightening the road would have been expensive.
Jeanne Webster of Agawam has sent me a letter saying "nothing has been done as yet about the plans for the hundredth anniversary of the Tuesday Morning Music Club" in 2002. She noted that "Florence Center wrote a history of the Club" for its 75th anniversary "so it can simply be added to as needed." Later, I called Valley Opportunity and got Sheila Reitz RN, and she thinks eligibility for MassHealth is income based and not based on assets. She said I should call the Division of Medical Assistance to see what free services I may be able to get from a hospital or clinic.
Roy Scott was blabbing away on TV57 last night. Eamon and I have not been communicating much lately. Is he cutting me off? The mail brought a check from Bank of Boston, now Fleet, and something from Robert Arieti from the City Council Office, featuring Tim Rooke, who probably wants to be mayor someday. The mail also brought this impeccably polite note from WNEC's President, "Dear Atty. Miller, I enjoyed your annotation. You are fully correct, including the use of shall/will. Language is great to examine. I regret that I did not see the final version of that piece. Thank you, Anthony Caprio."
Lovely all day, cummulus clouds lacing the sky. 27 degrees at 2:15pm.
Albert Gore has made his concession speech saying "while I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court's decision, I accept it." It's amazing how far George W. Bush has gotten in life with the poor grades he got in college. On the Lehrer News Hour, David Brooks of the Weekly Standard said that Bush's victory speech was not as good as Gore's concession speech. David Broder of the Washington Post explained that "the Bush men do not feel comfortable talking in lofty terms about historic moments." On TV last night, Senator Brian Lees predicted that "Bush will do well partly because expectations are so low."
Western New England College is conducting their Faculty and Staff Annual Giving Campaign. In 1999, Judith A. Matt, President of Spirit of Springfield, put together items for a New Millennium Time Capsule, and asked citizens to "write down any thoughts you may have as a lasting treasure of our times." This morning WFCR was playing the Beethoven sections of Creatures of Prometheus. Dined today on Stouffer's Fillet of Fish and fruit. The most significant thing about my Springfield poster collection is not just what's in it, but what's not. You can see what groups didn't think Springfield was worth wasting a poster on.
I drove out at 2pm and cashed a check at Fleet with Andrea Dixon. I pointed out that none of the pens on their counter worked and she replied, "We already know." Then I headed to East Longmeadow to the GNC store there to buy some prostate pills. I wished a Merry Christmas to the clerk, an Indian woman named Deena, and she said she is Hindu, but added "we celebrate Christmas as a matter of goodwill." I bought a load of stuff, then headed over to the East Longmeadow Big Y. Their Big Y is really fancy inside, with much more variety and more festively decorated than the Boston Road so-called World Class Market. They have nice merchandise that the Boston Road store simply does not carry. These little touches tell the story of Springfield's inferior status. From East Longmeadow I went to Pride in the Acres and filled my tank with gas, spending $20 on the button.
Of all the department stores that were in business in the 60's and 70's, Bradlees is about all that is left. When going through Mother's collection of price tags and cash register tapes the other day, I put aside some of the better samples from Bradlees and had them with me in the car. I proceeded to Bradlees by the hardware store and a friendly young Assistant Manager named Bailey, petite and alert, was waiting on two customers. I waited until she was finished with them and then showed her the Bradlees tapes and tags from Mother's collection, comparing them with one from Forbes & Wallace.
She looked at them with delight and when I suggested they give me a $50 gift certificate for them she said she would buy them and call it a "miscellaneous expense." Suddenly from somewhere a man named Ken Morehouse appeared and announced that he was the store manager, and although he would like to buy them, he could not authorize their purchase. The Assistant Manager looked disappointed, but there was nothing she could do. I said I understood, then ripped the tapes and tags in half right in front of them, carefully read the manager's name badge, and left.
Nader the Hatter sent me a note in the mail with some clippings from the Miami Herald about the presidential election mess. He complemented me by saying "like you, non income producing ventures have long been my priority and I find the competition is positively exhilarating!" He also boasted that he came upon a book at a church tag sale in Florida that was autographed by former First Lady Betty Ford and inscribed to a Broward County Democratic Committeeman. He claimed he bought it for 50 cents!
Friendly's is advertising that you can have a Jubilee Roll sundae for "99 cents with any meal." Does that include breakfast? I decided to find out. I called the Friendly's on lower Sumner Avenue and got Roberta who said, "No, just with lunch and supper." Next I called the Eastfield Mall Friendly's and got Jan and asked her if I could get a 99 cent Jubilee Roll sundae with my breakfast. She instantly replied, "No, I don't think so." I asked, "Is breakfast not a meal?" She decided to get her boss Judy, who insisted that no, I could not. I insisted, "If I were in your store and had pancakes and bacon and eggs and you refused me, I'd start screaming!" She then said she would probably let me have it because they like to satisfy their customers. I concluded, "Have you ever dined at Ruby Tuesday? If you have, you'll never dine at Friendly's again." Quite remarkably she replied, "I know."
Everything is ice covered and sparkling, 30 degrees at 8am.
They live twice who enjoy both the past and present. - Marcus Martial
We hear more on the news, day by day, about Israel than any other foreign country. Why? The Bush Administration has received 25,000 resumes for 6,000 jobs. Jay Leno last night: "As long as the Supreme Court is fixed, you don't have to fix the voting!" There is a Rep. George Miller serving in Congress from California. Pamela P. Swain is the Assistant Executive Director of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, a national center for family and local history. The address of the East Longmeadow Big Y is 441 North Main Street. Eric Swensen is the Manager. The Flower Box is located at 596 Carew Street.
Today is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. The Springfield Preservation Trust conducts Historic Homes Tours of houses in Forest Park. The Lil Chipmunks Daycare is in Wilbraham. The Escape Night Club is on Pine Avenue in Chicopee. TV weatherman Adam Strempko slipped and said TV24 before quickly correcting himself to TV22. Today it was all Beethoven on WFCR. There are wonderful expansive, visionary spaces in Beethoven's work sometimes, but much of it is boring. I prefer Handel, Hayden and Mozart, sorry. Beethoven's 230th birthday is Saturday.
There are grounds to question the judgement of Tom Burton on matters of decor, such as the ivory with rust brown trim in the branches and all the prints covered with wavy plexiglass. I called the Hampden branch in West Springfield, and asked about insurance. Ann Toto told me, "No, we don't sell it anymore." I also called the Allen Street branch and spoke to the manager Carolyn Hodge. She was friendly but said, "I don't have anything to do with insurance." Mid-afternoon Dr. Mullan's nurse Michelle called and said my PSA was 4.9 and that the doctor "would really like you to see a urologist." She gave me the name of Dr. Leonard H. Shaker and when I asked about his reputation she replied, "He's very good."
I called Pearsall in Wilbraham, but his secretary Fran said he was gone for the day. Stephen Collins wrote me on how to nominate Mo Turner for the Lovejoy Award, basically to "honor and preserve the memory of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, America's first martyr to Freedom of the Press and a Colby graduate (1826) who died bravely rather than forsake his editorial principles." I also received a response from Rev. Maria L. Coleman in regards to my essay on Wesley Methodist Church. She said that Bishop Susan Hassinger asked her to respond:
Dear Atty. Miller,
Thank you for your reflection on Wesley Church's past and your rationale for your response to Wesley Church's Centennial Anniversary Celebration. You also included specific information on your personal background and accomplishments and your connection to Wesley Church. All these were helpful. An accurate recording and sharing of history is important lest we repeat its mistakes. It allows us to honor and celebrate the past, even as we learn from it and move into the future. Each of us stands in a particular place in relation to the reality of history. Dialogue form several perspectives can help us all truly see. Thank you for your continued interest in Wesley Church.
She sounds like a Methodist Sunday School teacher. Got the morning paper at Walgreens in the Acres, then out to Eastfield Mall where I walked around. Jerry Marchand was very nicely playing Silent Night on his Celtic harp in the food court by a table with his disks and tapes for sale. He is a lab assistant for Mt. Holyoke College in geology and runs the Rock n' Bone Mineral Shop in Westhampton. Later I went across to Stop&Shop to buy the specials - sooner or later everything is available on special. Then to McDonald's by Stop&Shop for a 99 cent double-cheeseburger. One of the side doors was locked, so I complained to a young guy named Matt in a blue shirt that it was "pretty late in the morning not to have both doors unlocked."
One of the goals of this diary is to reflect what life was like at Five Birchland Avenue. Dinner this evening was a can of Progresso Beef Barley Soup and a microwaved potato. Nine people were busted in the Springfield area for mob activity. I spoke to Eamon very briefly about it, and he said he has no inside information about it, but thinks the Valley Advocate will have all the details. I told him the Advocate doesn't usually pay a lot of attention to the local mob. Today I went to the Tax Meeting at Central High. I arrived at one o'clock and counted 56 cars in the lot. As I walked in I held the door for Councilors Bud Williams and Dominic Sarno.
Don Flannery was there, nicely dressed in a topcoat and business suit advocating for a plan to adjust the salaries of politicians and city workers. I gave Flannery Eamon's number. Ex-Officer Bob Brown of Maebeth was there. Most of those in attendance were old and the speakers were inarticulate. Russ Denver was standing in the back. There were 52 in attendance including me, and only five were black. No Powells, no Tom Devine. It was a dull affair so I left early, but on the way home I saw a Grand Reopening sign on the Acres Dunkin Donuts. They gave me a free spill-proof coffee mug of a higher quality than I've seen elsewhere. Home at 1:55pm.
Overcast, mist on the windows, everything wet. 55 degrees at 4:45pm.
Reporter Emily Harris said that sales tax revenue is falling, which is usually a good indicator that a recession may be coming. Today the electors in the Electoral College meet in the state capitols. The flu season peaks in December and a fewer than normal number of flu shots have been given. WMECO is requesting a 15% rate hike, I thought deregulation was supposed to lower prices? Blake and his group still own 10% of Friendly's stock. Aetna is laying off 2500. WFCR played Handel's Messiah at 9:15am. There was wonderful music on WFCR all day.
In 1989 I made a contribution to the Vergillian Society in honor of Robert John Gula. When I went to bed at 9:15 last night, rain was coming down with flashes of lightning. I work better on cloudy days when normal people are depressed. Seeing others happily playing in the sunshine depresses me. My phone ID said Takvor Melikian called so I called back and he said sorry, he was trying to call his paperboy. Perhaps the Caron kid has a paper route. I finally finished alphabetizing all the cards for the books I bought in the 1990's. It required two large file card drawers.
Parked on the other side of the street this morning was a sporty little red Chrysler LeBaron convertible. Dropped off some stuff at the Cohn's, then I drove out to the Wilbraham Town Office and left a copy of my land deed with Pearsall's Secretary Fran, an older, stocky woman. Then Pearsall himself appeared and asked me if I absolutely had to have the land transfer done by the end of the year, and I said no, but I would like to have the land off my hands by the February tax payment. He said that's "doable" a favorite term of his. He said the problem is getting the Town Council to act as they are currently involved in several major projects. As I left I picked up a Reminder in the free paper section of the Town Hall lobby.
Next, I briefly went to the Eastfield Mall where they gave me a free Santa candle with a coupon, then to Ruby Tuesday for the salad bar for $5.97. When I got back, I found that Irving Cohn had left a bag of magazines by my garage door. Today's mail brought a copy of the Elms College Annual Report, which lists all the Cairde members. I counted 501 including myself, although they still list Eamon who has not renewed and Robert Pazini who is deceased. Kathleen T. Flynn is listed, as is Thomas Hunt. It's as though they are trying to get the longest list they can justify printing. I also received a letter from the Pilgrim Society.
Someone named Wesley Wayne Miller, once named best all around student and a three sport athlete, has been accused of killing a cheerleader who declined to date him. Dined tonight on a bag of Birdseye Mixed Veggies and a Stouffer's Chicken a la King dinner. I wrote some of my Christmas cards this afternoon. Jack Briggs was on TV22 tonight in a paneled office with a poinsettia behind him, talking about how falling interest rates make this a good time to buy a home. Briggs always comes across as talking down to his audience.
Sun dancing in and out, 31 degrees at 7:30am. Gas is $1.46 by Watershops Pond.
Last night Antiques Roadshow reran a show from Hartford I'd never seen before. There seems to be less Christmas programming on Public TV this year. They did have a Jewish music program that had Theodore Bickel in it. The chubby faced little old man doing the singing was none other than Springfield's Morton Shames, whom I have not seen in recent years. I'm sorry that the University of Wisconsin's Inside the Academy is apparently no longer publishing. The newsletter was a channel, among many, from which Madison gossip leaked to me here many miles away, and so I miss it. I'll have to write to Gail Kohl and find out what's happening.
Dropped off a bag of magazines at the Cohn's, then to Louis & Clark to buy stamps and drop my mail in their outside box. Then down to ARISE and Michaelann Bewsee was there. The back area seemed cleaned out, but the main area was the same as always. Their new address is 94 Rifle and they have to be all moved in by the end of the month. When I left I drove down to Rifle Street and their new place is a lot more modern, but doesn't seem to be as large.
Next I went to Angelo's and got fruit and salad, the Cumberland Farms across the street was selling gas for $1.53 per gallon. Frank's is the garden store next to the Boston Road Big Y for the past dozen years or so and appears to be closing. They have a big banner out front saying "Everything Must Go" so are they going? Further up Boston Road Mr. Tux is boarded up with a sign reading "Closed Due to Car Accident - Reopening January 2001."
I then continued on to the Eastfield Mall, where the parking lot was packed everywhere except outside the theater, which is pretty good trade in the morning on a weekday. I got some prostate pills at GNC and was waited on by a woman whose nametag read ARAX. I said that is an unusual name, and she replied that her full name is Arex Charkoudian. She told me they have a lot of trouble with people coming in, opening the pill bottles and stealing medication out of them and then placing the bottle back on the shelf.
As I was leaving the mall, I was in front of Penny's when a forest green Buick 3095 LE driven by a black man came speeding down the outside lane and almost hit me. I went across the street to Stop&Shop for the specials, then came back home where I saw that the lawn of the old Petzold place is not picked up with pine cones all over and the whole property is a pigpen. Later I called Friendly's and got Lance in Stockholder Relations, who told me that Priestly Blake and The Helen Blake Trust are buying up stock "for investment purposes." I told him I hope the Blakes become more powerful since the new owners have the wrong vision of what Friendly's should be. He thanked me for my comments and wished me a Merry Christmas.
Hampden Bank has never been as competitive as they made out to be, with their puffing up and wrong headedness they have caused a serious default on the Hampden good name. The December 14th edition of the Springfield Journal has on page 8 a quarter page Merry Christmas ad from Mayor Albano. No such thing appeared in The Reminder. I am awaiting a response from Peter E. Heinrichs to a blistering letter I sent him, shaming his church for aiding and abetting the collapse of Wesley Church by accepting members who were fleeing Wesley Church because they thought that too many blacks were moving into the Square.
Sunny, 25 degrees this morning.
The Boy Scouts is a quasi-military organization that encourages the notion that war is fun.
Jane Fonda is 63 today. The news says Massachusetts has closed half their hospitals - Ludlow was one - and now they are complaining there isn't enough hospital beds to meet demand. Spaulding announced it will furlough 100 employees after Christmas. Today in my files I came across a letter written in 1948 from Sidney B. Smith, Director of the University of Vermont Library, to Mr. D. Feigenbaum of Boston. Last year Eastfield Mall gave away tall candles at Christmastime, this year they are giving away much shorter ones.
Yesterday I endured a most unpleasant period where I was very ill. I had a feast on a chicken I bought at Stop&Shop after eating too much at Ruby Tuesday's. I also had a grapefruit from Angelo's that may have been spoiled. In any case, I had a terrible case of diarrhea which kept me up all night. I was weak all day yesterday, but eventually did get some sleep. I spent most of yesterday in the chase lounge and didn't start to revive until last night. I did nothing yesterday and so have little to record except I did get a Christmas card from Mary Alice Stusick and her husband Gary Plant. Unknown called three times.
I spent part of this morning reading about the library of environmentalist George Perkins Marsh. His collection reminded me of the Forbes Library in Northampton in its prime, when it had lots of foreign stuff and all the major authors, although not a complete set of the English poets. Then this afternoon I went out to pick up the new Valley Advocate, then went over to see Mark at Print 2000 off Boston Road to order a thousand business cards for $35. I asked Mark if he was married and he replied, "No, are you?" I informed him I was not, but added, "I'm not a handsome young fellow like you." Mark wears a butch haircut and I've sometimes wondered if he is gay. I asked about the chalk drawing on their blackboard and he said it's been there for seven years.
At Stop&Shop the other day I passed Cerrone's sister, Addie Falk, and as usual we exchanged felicitations but did not talk. Mrs. Staniski called today and told me that after choir rehearsal tonight Ann is coming to pick her up and take her to Arlington for the weekend. Ann will bring her back on Tuesday and then drive on to New York. Someone called Alan Erwine called and wanted to sell me something, but when I asked where he was calling from he hung up in a hurry. Tonight I dined on a Swanson Pot Roast Dinner and tossed salad with bleu cheese dressing.
TV22 had a story about Hampden Savings Bank offering elder home protection tips. Tom Burton keeps coming up with one gimmick after another. I received a waffling letter from Peter Heinrich today in which he pretended not to understand my accusation that he aided and abetted the racially motivated white flight from Wesley Church. At least I got a drawing of South Congregational Church by Charles B. Hayward on the card Heinrich sent, which closed with a cheerful, "Would be happy to see you at South Church on Sunday morning!" He's clueless.
A lovely afternoon, 36 degrees at 2:30am.
President Clinton pardoned 59 people today as a holiday gesture. Bradlees, with 35 stores in Massachusetts, is reported in the news to be near financial collapse. On TV22, John Donnellan, who used to work at Steiger's, then UMass and is now the Dean of Business at Holyoke Community College, was on commenting on the current retail market and the effects of Bradlees going under. The Springfield Newspapers is seeking newspaper deliverers with a sentimental ad showing a boy with a teddy bear. The problem is the wages are low and the paper is heavy with inserts.
In 1989 I wrote to Monsignor Thrasher, Bishop Wiseman of Christ Church, Gustave Peterson of First Church and Rev. Heinrichs of South Church urging them to register their historic paintings with the Smithsonian to ensure their long term preservation, but received no reply from any of them. I still respect Robert Thrasher for his efforts to save Precious Blood, the old church in Holyoke. Camden New Jersey Mayor Milton Milan was convicted yesterday of making mob payoffs, laundering drug money and stealing campaign funds. A cautionary tale for Mayor Albano and his buddies?
Chatted with Edith Michaud today. We exchanged holiday greetings and I asked her about Aunt Maria. She said my Aunt's appearance has deteriorated to the point where she looks like another woman, but when she sees Edith "her eyes light up and she is so happy to see me." She said she will bring Aunt Maria a plate of Christmas cookies as she does every year. Edith said Aunt Maria has endured a lot in recent years, starting with having her ability to drive taken away and the death of Mother, whom she believes was murdered by me. Edith claims those kinds of troubles "pile up on you." She urged me to forgive Aunt Maria for rejecting me "considering how awful she's been feeling" the last few years.
Next I called Ruth Johnson who always carefully chooses what she says for fear of saying what maybe she shouldn't be saying. She told me Edith visits Aunt Maria regularly. I said to Ruth that she shouldn't take seriously Aunt Maria's claims that I am a drug dealer and a physical threat to her. Ruth replied that she never mentions my name for fear of making Aunt Maria mad. I asked her if she thinks Shirley has poisoned Aunt Maria against me because she feels she was cheated out of her share of the family land in Vermont. Suddenly Ruth said she couldn't talk anymore because "I have company at the door." It was obvious Ruth did not want to talk to me at all, but perhaps she will say more in the future.
I always water the plants on Saturday morning. I put a Sara Lee Apple Pie in the oven at 8:50am. I'm writing more letters, there are so many things to to sort and straighten out. The little Chrysler LeBaron sportscar, which I bet belongs to Abernathy's daughter, was parked on Birchland again. I drove out at 10:30am and the mailman was just coming down the street with some junk mail for Mother from Westbank. I drove to Eastfield Mall and got a free candle and a copy of the Union-News. I walked around Penny's for a bit and then came home.
While I was going over my 1989 business papers, Nader the Hatter called and told me that his dad has died. His father went to the beach the same day he died, which came on suddenly. His doctors had feared something was wrong, but Old Man Nader refused to submit to testing. Nader says he is sad he and his father never had much time to spend together. Unlike his father and son, Old Man Nader had no interest in the hat business. Before moving to Florida, Abraham C. Nader had lived on Telbar Street in Springfield and was a mechanical engineer for Hamilton Standard. He was also the former owner of Stewart Engraving in Springfield. His wife Marie died last year. Nader said he just got off the phone with Eamon, and I told him how I feel that Eamon and I are falling out of touch, and told him I have not even received a Christmas card from Eamon this year. Nader said he is busy fussing with all the funeral arrangements and financial considerations, but he promised to stop by for a long chat, perhaps next week.
Christmas Day. 26 degrees at 10am.
It was a slow Christmas.
They played Mozart's Cello Concerto on WFCR this morning. The Pioneer Valley Automobile Club Insurance Agency is located at the Five Town Plaza on Cooley Street. David Montgomery lives at 67 Tallyho Drive in Springfield. Linda Benjaminsen was head of Circulation at the Framingham Public Library in 1986. Josie Wrangham was Adult Services Librarian at the Sommerville Public Library in 1986. The sidewalk around the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke was used for a chalk drawing contest in 1988. William J. Ziobro was Secretary/Treasurer of the American Philological Association at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester in 1992. I minored in Latin at Colby and I love Roman poetry, romantic, agricultural and mythological writing.
The Titanic Historical Society erected a bronze tablet on the tombstone in Springfield of a person who went down with the Titanic, and there is a quote from Milton on the tablet. The trouble is the quote isn't from Milton! With all the English Professors in this city of second rate colleges, not a one spotted the error, although pictures of the tablet appeared in the media. Neither did any of the pompous, swell-headed local historical bigshots. These so-called local history authorities are the same people who eagerly discarded valuable books at the City Library.
The day before Christmas I did some running around and noticed that the orange insurance sign is gone from the Hampden branch on Allen Street. I paused at McDonald's, but there was nobody there and no newspapers lying around. Then down to Food Mart and bought some cran-raspberry juice. I glanced through one of the their copies of the Union-News and found nothing worth buying it for. I then went to Pride which was closing at 7pm for Christmas Eve and made copies and bought some Wise Potato Chips.
My new dietary supplement pills allow me to sleep from midnight to 6am without going to the bathroom. Before, I could never sleep more than three hours. This morning I drove around checking the attendance at nearby churches. The Church of the Acres parking lot was absolutely packed. The Presbyterian lot was also full, more than I can recall ever seeing before, with an old white school bus parked at one end. Down on Hancock the St. John's Congregational lot was full as usual with cars also parked on Hancock back to Monroe. In all there were more than a hundred cars. The Wesley Church Christmas Service drew 48 cars to their lot.
When I got back the Christmas edition of The Reminder was hanging in a bag from my mailbox. Lots of cars were parked over to the Coburns. I spent some time playing hymns on my organ. Christmas is music. For Christmas dinner I had squash, baked potato and a hamburg and spaghetti casserole. The news is full of the anniversary of the killing of Holyoke Police Officer John A. DiNapoli. His fiancee was Carol Bevan-Bogart, who was the Public Relations head at Monarch Life towards the end.
As I go through my old papers, I am finding some interesting, even wonderful things that I had completely forgotten about. I was sorting through my 1986 correspondence this morning and turned up a letter from the Globe Bookstore thanking me for sending them a copy of Aunt Jennie's Poems, as well as a note from Standish Henning saying his health was declining. I also unearthed a December 1986 letter from David Starr explaining why he did not respond at first to a letter I sent him critical of the way the library was discarding their books.
Dear Mr. Miller - I did not respond to your letter because I think your comments about our newspaper are entirely uncalled for. What goes on at the Quad is open to the public, just as it is open to you. You have the right to your opinion, of course, but you should not say that the newspapers are covering something up. Your feelings about the Quadrangle are personal. You're entitled to those opinions, but I don't think you should be suggesting that there is any chicanery. What people save and what people throw away can be debated without that kind of unnecessary allusion. - Cordially, David Starr.
I always act in the spirit of trying to help people out, some send thank you notes, some do not, but I have done my job. Good manners require that mail be answered and it is easy to do it. Doing good can be a lot of work, but the more work people make for me, the more archival records I have reflecting on them and their ways. Rather than thank me and nominating me for a Pynchon Medal for blowing the whistle on the book discarding, David Starr gave me a sermon. In this city where the respected people are naughty and stupid, I'd rather be thought of as bad because I'm certainly not like them.
Raw, cold day, 25 degrees at 8am. Gas $1.46 at Citgo on the corner of Alden.
I correct EVERYBODY!
Bradlees has declared Chapter 11 and is closing 105 stores while firing 10,000 employees. Donald R. Chase is President and CEO of Westbank. Nathan Hassan was the producer of Masterpiece Theater at WGBH in Boston in 1985. I am a descendant of Benjamin Cooley, the founder of Longmeadow. In 1992, the Cooley Family Association was planning their annual family gathering in Longmeadow, and although I don't belong to the Association, I wrote them saying I was interested in attending. I heard nothing until six months later, when the event was long over, and a snooty lady wrote me saying she was sorry but my letter had slipped between the cushions of her couch and so not answered in time.
Was out at 12:30pm and drove over to the X where I parked in front of the old Schemerhorn's Fish Market and went to the calling hour for Nader the Hatter's father at Hafey Chapel. Mr. Aldrich of Byron's was inside and greeted me professionally. I wrote in the guestbook that Abraham C. Nader "had a wonderful sense of humor and was very proud of his family." There were no missal or remembrance cards. The Hatter was standing with the LaRoses by the wooden casket. I greeted them all, explaining that I came early so I could leave early. Nader and I chatted briefly, he was dressed in a flared pin-stripe suit with his head shaven. The Hatter said he appreciated my coming because he knows I don't generally attend such events.
After I left, I went to the Forest Park Post Office and mailed a few things, including a letter to Eskowitz telling him Sealtz has died. Then into the The Clock Mill where the old man was on duty. He said he charges $45 for a housecall, and that nobody in town does Atmos clocks "you have to go to New York." He had a pile of wooden organ pipes for $3 each, so I took the smallest one marked "D" since I have never had an organ pipe. On the way back I stopped at the Eastfield Mall where the parking lot around the cinema was packed. There were lots of people inside and I bought a $1.99 roast beef grinder at Subway. When I got home, the mail came with a note from John Rixon saying he will visit soon. A Christmas card arrived from Mrs. Staniski. I also got a check for $25 from the settlement of the Nasdaq Market Makers Anti-Trust Litigation regarding Yankee Energy Systems. I can't believe it!
I got no Xmas card this year from Minahan, none from Annie's people in New Hampshire, no DuPont, nothing from the Bethel Millers. Mrs. Penniman might have sent me a card considering all the Boston Heralds I give her. No card from Eamon. I called Heather Haskell at the museums, but her Secretary Lydia Lockwood said she is away until January. Diane Ferero called asking, "Is this Louie at Storrowtown? I am trying to book a party." Bob with First Republic in New York called and I told him I am working with the District Attorney investigating dishonest securities marketers. He hung up.
Dined this morning on corn flakes and orange juice. For supper I had a Stouffer's Veal Parm and Spaghetti entree with apple pie. I suspect Frank Faulkner and his friends have bad attitudes. I once tried to give him some copyright advice, but he thought I was just a Protestant bugging him over legal technicalities. Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. I am now working on a box of papers from the 1980's and finding many interesting things as well as tossing away a good bit. David Starr and I have never gotten along because of our disagreements over the Quadrangle, but I did get a friendly note from him in 1987 thanking me for some advice I gave the Springfield Newspapers on copyright matters.
I also came across a 1988 letter I wrote to then Mayor R. Neal about sending him a copy of the Harvard Crimson from the day JFK was shot that was passed out in Harvard Square on the day of the tragedy. It is extremely rare and my copy of the Crimson eventually ended up in the Kennedy Library. Eamon has always claimed to have written a lot of the editorials aired by Bill Putnam when he owned TV22. I came across one with a TV22 letterhead about incompetence and corruption at the State Department of Education that aired in March 1984. I recall how Eamon once told me how he went over to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, where the Putman family papers are kept, and was shocked to find that a lot of the editorials were missing. Could this be one of the lost ones?
Snow flurries and 26 degrees at 11:25am.
Montgomery Ward of Chicago is going out of business. Mongomery Ward was founded in 1872 and has 250 stores. They pioneered the phrase, "Satisfaction Guaranteed." Robert H. Scott was Vice President for Administration at Harvard University in 1984. In 1987 Mother was awarded a certificate from World of Poetry for her poem Shoot Me Dead in the Head. It is a nice looking certificate and I'm glad I kept it. I see that there is such a thing as The National Association of Professional Organizers, a group whose services Aunt Maria would have benefited from.
English Professor John Sweeney was a good hippie and doubtless a splendid companion for sleepy John Sutherland. John Hale Sutherland was the editor of the Colby Library Quarterly and taught 18th Century Literature and several other courses. I took them all. The class readings were good, but the level of insight and critical imagination were nothing compared to Benbow's classes. However, unlike Benbow, Sutherland never tried to be a one man show. Sutherland was from UPenn and very competent, but nevertheless no Benbow nor Eileen Curran nor John Iorie and hence called Sleepy John and didn't attract as many students.
Had Creme of Wheat and a tangerine for breakfast. Sitting here at the dining room table with the window behind me makes it possible for me to work without using any electricity at all. My beloved dolls Sweet Pea and Honeypot are on the couch, all set up with blankets. Going through my papers today I found a 1940 share of stock from the Western Mass Electric Company, another from Community Savings Bank and a worthless 1968 share of Monarch stock. My parents were so proud of the thrift they had shown in acquiring thousands of shares of Monarch stock and it all went down the tubes. Fortunately, I sold some shares in 1985 at a good price and used it to buy some rare law books and get myself started in legal antiquity. I also found a youthful photo of Nader the Hatter that appeared in the paper in 1985.
Went to Pride in the Acres and started making copies when a woman came in and said that if I were a gentleman I'd let her make hers first. I said I was only making nine copies and she could wait, so she sat there and pouted. Dressed the way I do I'm surprised she thought I was a gentleman. I went over to the Goodwill, where a feeble elderly woman pulled up her Dodge in front and asked me where you donate clothing. So I actually was a gentleman and carried two large boxes of clothes from her car and into the store. While there I bought a wonderful 2001 Guide of Ireland, used but in mint condition. In the mailbox outside the Goodwill I put letters to Carvalho, Rev. Coleman and Goad.
I keep getting junk mail from people peddling newsletters telling how to get rich. Does anybody ever read this stuff? I remember for a while on Crest Street Father used to get mailings from the Rosicrucians in California and Mother arranged for him not to see them anymore, locking them in a cedar chest in a bundle, and Father never missed them. You don't always miss things you simply see no more of. I called the Wilbraham Town Clerk and was told that the Town Counsel is Michael T. Hassett who is at 1383 Main Street. The Union-News is starting to write negative things about Anthony Ardolino, all stuff earlier reported in the Valley Advocate, but of course they give them no credit.
Mild, 33 degrees at 4:15pm.
A judge has granted T. McVeigh his wish for an early execution date. Being dead is more comfortable than doing time. If a prisoner wants to live forever on appeals then fine, they may actually be innocent, but if they want to die, let them. Robin M. Carlaw was a curatorial associate at the Harvard University Library in 1984. The Rev. Robert W. Thrasher was Vice Chancellor for the Diocese of Springfield in 1985. Thomas M. Costello was President of the Springfield Library and Museum Association in 1986. Deborah Kelley-Millburn was a Reference Librarian for Harvard College Library in 1986.
The museum in New Britain is doing a photography show done by Beatle Paul McCartney's wife Linda McCartney. Bunnicula by Deborah Howe is a book about how Chester the Cat is convinced that the family's new pet bunny is really a vampire. The message of the gospel is love, and I esteem any religion which produces good, loving people. I also disesteem those who feel their goodness entitles them to commit hateful acts. Monarch Capital Corporation President Gordon N. Oakes announced a plan to recapitalize the company in 1985. Its Board of Directors voted to eliminate the dividend on its common stock and then repurchase up to one million shares of outstanding stock.
My Father was hard of hearing and was often confused with John Haynes Miller the actuary and the Rev. John Homer Miller. My Mother, who was born to a poor Vermont father and spent her formative years in a Rhode Island orphanage, always had an inferiority complex. Mother never forgot the time that someone, thinking she was one of the more prominent Mrs. Millers, invited her to a special meeting of lady fundraisers at the Symphony office. Mother called them insisting that they must have the wrong person, but the lady on the phone insisted she should come. Mother went to some trouble getting herself ready to go in hopes of making a good impression, wearing her light blue dress with white polka dots. She thought the ladies wanted to make friends with her.
When she got there, there were ten or fifteen ladies sitting in a row of chairs with Rose Simon up front. Blanche Gamel, whose daughter Mary Kay I went to school with (later we met again in grad school) was over to one side of the room. As Ms. Simon addressed the group, Mother felt that Simon was staring at her as she spoke. Finally she conferred with Blanche Gamel and said, "We'd like everyone to sign their name." She then brought the notebook over to Mother and then looked at Mother's name after she signed it. Simon looked at Mother and said, "How did you happen to come?" If Rose Simon had asked that question of me, I would have asked her right back and told her that she was being impertinent. But Mother was demolished, replying, "Somebody told me I should come." Then she quietly left.
WFCR is doing ASCAP's 25 most performed pieces of the 20th Century. The mail came at 1:20pm and contained a lavish Christmas card from Rudy and Dory Szuch and also a refund for The History of Caning in Singapore. Then I drove out and made some copies at CopyCat. There's a new manager named Rick who said the prior manager is now up in Greenfield or Deerfield. Then I headed downtown and was followed by cop car 81 around two corners and he never used his signal lights. While I deposited a check at the credit union, making a deposit at one of the windows was a heavy woman in a blue dress with a paisley scarf. What style! Is she Nancy Litz? Whoever she was, she made a striking image. Then I headed to Angelo's Fruits and Vegetables and got some things, wishing Angelo a Happy New Year on my way out. I went to Pride in the Acres and parked on the side by Burger King and after making copies came home.
President Anthony Caprio has a house on Wagon Drive in Wilbraham worth $323,000. Springfield officials have acknowledged that the city's population will likely fall under 150,000, a level that could alter its eligibility for certain urban grants. I love learning but hate politics, which is why I skipped getting my PhD. My statement in the PMLA (Publication of the Modern Language Association of America) is out. I mentioned how I corresponded with Jasper Neel about professional ethics in 1978, published The Cappy Miller Report, disciplined two professors in legal actions and have disciplined others by direct complaints. I have been a teacher of teachers.
25 degrees and overcast at 8am.
Byron R. White was a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984. Toni House was Public Information Officer for the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984.
Dined on Total and had a banana for breakfast this morning. I went to Pride in the Acres and copied a couple of things. I peeked at the paper, only rarely do I buy it, as most days there is nothing in the Union-News worth shelling out 50 cents for. Then back to the Breckwood Shops to put out the mail, which included Who's Who nomination forms for Claudia Koppelman (little as she has done for me) and Tom Vannah. Then over to Mrs. Staniski's, where I left several things in a bag on her back doorknob. As I passed through the intersection of Boston Road and St. Michael's Cemetery, the light remained green for Boston Road but never seemed to change for the side streets, so with no cars coming I drove through anyway. I went to the Boston Road McDonald's where there wasn't much business and then came home.
By 9:30am a fine snow was falling and by 9:55am it was falling quite briskly. I spent most of today reading the PMLA Millennium issue. My contribution is near the end, so many people will probably never read my piece. My essay places me at the cutting edge of literary studies with interest in street literature now rising. I found nothing particularly interesting about other people's essays. It is a lovely issue, but most contributors addressed the essay questions less concisely than I did. However, the Millennium issue is indeed something special. I applaud the splendid Millennium issue as a wonderful contemporary antiquarian publication and I am flattered that they elected to include my little piece.
I called Shirley and she said she hasn't sent out her Christmas cards yet either. She said that Aunt Maria is fine, and they went to a candlelight service on Christmas and intend to go see Bright Nights at Forest Park. We also discussed the political situation in Springfield in some detail. Shirley seemed unusually interested in talking and listening today. By 4:05pm the evergreens were weighted down with snow. By this time Birchland Avenue had already been plowed once. The plow left plenty of snow at the end of my driveway, but it was not hard packed so it was okay. By 7pm the snow had stopped and looking out the window I'd say we got five inches. For supper I had Stouffer's Swedish Meatballs and cake. The Cecil Report on the future of the City of Springfield is overdue once again.
I got a whopping tax bill from the city today, with my house assessed at $111,400. I called Mrs. Allard to see if she got her tax bill, but she claimed it hasn't arrived yet. Next I called Karen Powell, who told me that she confronted Tim Rooke at the tax meeting at Central High, but that must have been after I left. She told Councilor Rooke that the city was "just juggling numbers" to make people's bills go up. Her house assessment went up $3,000 this year, less that the $10,000 it went up last year. She said the newspaper's coverage of all the chicanery at City Hall is very inadequate, as could be expected. Karen agreed with me that the Valley Advocate deserves a Pulitzer Prize for the work they've done on the Albano Administration this year. She said she hasn't heard any rumors about me, which I said is surprising because they are so well planted.