Sunny, clear, 26 degrees on the breezeway at 8am.
I came across my original antique paper obituary of Dr. Samuel G. Buckingham. Is the former Buckingham Jr. High Indian painting The End of the Trail still hanging in the School Board room? The Blackstone School of Law was still in business in 1980. Ruth Ekberg died in 1982 at age 92. My parent's dear friend Dr. Howard N. Simpson suffered a gas blast at his home at 795 Stony Hill Road in 1982. Larry Gormally's History of Sixteen Acres was published in March 1983. Donald S. Holland was a Registered Patent Attorney in Springfield in 1986. Agway Energy Products was located at 627 Cottage Street in 1992.
Mrs. Staniski called to wish me a Happy New Year. She told me that she still corresponds with the Rev. J. Alton Templin, the former Assistant Pastor of Wesley Church in the square. However, he told her nothing about the plans to celebrate the church's centennial. She is disgusted that no one invited her. Neither was Lois Johnson invited, even though she was a pastor's wife, although she now lives in Worcester. Lloyd Barton saw something in the paper and told Charlotte Bridgman, who then called Lois' daughter Ruth. Mrs. Staniski heard that Evelyn Meacham was there with Dynia Woodward and Marion Ruggles. "You'd think they would have called me," Mrs. Staniski complained, adding that she is so mad that she is sorry the church was rebuilt after it burned.
I watched the 112th Rose Bowl Parade yesterday with Tom Brokow as Grand Marshall with the theme "The Fabric of America." On NBC the hosts were black weatherman Al Roker and Nancy O'Dell. On ABC it was Robin Roberts (her fifth year) and Richard Kind. The floats I recall as the best were Tom and Huck in Rotary International's "Recognizing Tomorrow's Leaders" and "Recovering the Wetlands" by the Wetlands Recovery Project. Dr. Pepper's "Home Sweet Home" featured the Old Woman in the Shoe, and The American Homebuilder's Association had a Swiss Family Robinson tree house with a water slide while FTD's "Wings of Glory" had especially well done birds.
Nick Morganelli is a serious and professional weatherman. The weathermen enhance their supposed importance by making as much ado about snow storms as possible. Looking at the shows in the TV guide that comes with the paper, I don't see anything I'd pay $30 a month to watch on cable TV. I have dumped all of Mother's return address labels. I called Barnes & Noble and talked to Mary, who said they have none of my books for sale. When I went out this morning the street had been plowed very well. I went down to the Breckwood Shops and mailed from Louis & Clark stuff to Carvalho, Szuch and Gutterman. While at the counter of Louis & Clark I noticed a price list and realized that a pack of cigarettes costs $4.00 a pack and $35 a carton. That's serious money! When I got home, I found going through some old papers a recommendation for law school written for me in 1978 by William T. Lenehan, Chairman of the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison:
Mr. J. Wesley Miller was employed as a teaching assistant in the English Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from September 1970 through May 1973. During this period, he not only carried out his teaching duties with above-satisfactory effectiveness (according to reports of faculty visitors) but also progressed well as a graduate student in our Ph.D. program. Since 1973, he has pursued a number of scholarly goals, including the collection, analysis, and cataloging of a very interesting collection of "street art." I have no doubt of Mr. Miller's ability to do successful work in law school if that is his goal. My reservation about Mr. Miller is that his records do not indicate much progress toward the doctorate since 1973. I have no knowledge of the real causes of this interruption of progress, but it is a fact that disturbs me a bit.
Actually, he was angry because I left!
New Year's Eve I had a snifter of Chambard which I bought with the proceeds from the beer cans I pick up here and there. For supper today I had a tossed salad and Stouffer's Chicken ala King. There hasn't been a peep in the paper about the release of the Cecil Economic Development Plan. They said they would have their report ready by Thanksgiving. Maybe they are waiting for the baseball stadium report to come in. I called Eamon this morning at 9:15am and left a Happy New Year's message. His current phone editorial says that Mayor Albano's facade grants to underworld figures speaks for itself.
Sunny, clear but only 16 degrees at 8:15am.
Electronic and wireless media do much to bring about the coming Age of Anarchy as the world's poor learn what they are missing out on. Five College Radio had an NPR story about how the U.S. led embargo of Iraq has ruined their economy but they still cherish the arts with 25 art galleries in Baghdad. I learn a lot from NPR, even though most of the time they are playing Classical music. This morning someone was playing Mozart on the harpsichord. Suzanne DeHeart was Editor of The Inquirer and Mirror in Nantucket in 1981. Leslie Litoff worked at WNEC in 1981.
John Adams founded the Library of Suffolk County, Massachusetts, the oldest law library in the country. Arthur Curley was the Director and Librarian at the Boston Public Library in 1988. I have prepared the material on the history of the Monarch Credit Union for TWCU President Paul MacDonald. I left this morning at 11:15 and put out the mail at Louis & Clark, then zoomed downtown in order to leave the historic items for MacDonald with Betty J. Evans the receptionist. I parked on Taylor and walked into the city. The Exeter Building is still standing but is stripped. I paused briefly at Antiques on Boland Way before going to the Assessor's Office at City Hall to look up some of the real estate values on Birchland Avenue. The value of my house is pretty high, punishment for all the work I've done keeping it up. I got some posters on Worthington Street but none deeper downtown. Afterwards I drove to the North End McDonald's for a double cheeseburger and fries. I am trying not to eat big meals.
I spoke on the phone with Mrs. Barbara Berselli of 165 Birchland Avenue today about her history on our street. According to her, the land that eventually became Birchland Avenue was originally owned by the family of the famous baby doctor Sanderson, the same Dr. Sanderson that delivered me. She told me she graduated from the High School of Commerce in 1943. They first moved to Birchland Avenue in 1948, when the street was filled with "majestic and beautiful" white birches that were eventually killed off as more houses were built. I mentioned how there used to be white birches on the corner of my property. She said she started taking care of her mother in 1980 until she died in 1995. She also looked after her husband's mother for a time.
Mrs. Berselli said that Jeffrey Road is named after her son Jeffrey, whom they named after Jeffrey Amherst. Her husband is Melchior Berselli and his father came direct from Italy and used to run the three level garage on the corner of Chestnut and Harrison, still standing today but abandoned and filled with litter, located next to what used to be the Sheraton Hotel but which now has a different name. Her husband graduated from Tech, then attended Amherst College for three semesters before going into the Air Force. He was discharged early because of a bad ear, then attended A.I.C. but did not graduate. Finally she told me that she had to hang up because today is her day to see Dr. Steinberg, her hematologist. She described her move to Birchland Avenue as "a wonderful pioneering experience" and insisted that "there have always been quality people on the street."
Jeffrey Katz was Assistant Director of the Springfield City Library under James H. Fish. Katz was the clown behind the disastrous book weeding program, then they gave him a big poetry prize on his way out. Disgusting. Nader the Hatter called from LaRose and said he doesn't have a car. I said I would drop off some stuff for him tomorrow. Nader said his sister told him that there is a woman who works in the office at Sci-Tech who keeps her own hours, coming and going as she pleases, and nobody knows what she does. His sister told Nader that all over the school system there are people working with no known job description. I told him how I haven't heard much from Eamon lately, and Nader said Eamon is not mad at me, although he is sometimes turned off by my "ultra-liberal thoughts and mode of dress." I replied that I am never going to change, but it is still worthwhile for Eamon and I to stay in touch and exchange information.
Overcast, 24 degrees at 7:30am.
Capitalism gives everybody a chance to blow their wad.
Buffalo, New York has hit 100 inches of snow as of today. Who would want to live in Buffalo? Sears has announced that they had a terrible Christmas and will have to close 89 stores. I've said for years that Sears sells unexciting stuff and everything is overpriced. Longmeadow's Bliss Pharmacy owner Al Levine has announced that he has sold out to CVS, according to a story on TV40 by Alison Maloni. Big Y claims they were surprised, they expected to have the pharmacy in their new store. Mercy Hospital is now affiliated with the Lahey Clinic and will be renamed the Mercy Medical Center. Thomas Murray Costello began his position as the President of the Springfield Library and Museums Association in 1985.
Went out at 10:30am and put out the mail at Louis & Clark. I sent Atty. E. Berman two tax envelopes. There was a fabulous cartoon figure of Alan Greenspan as Superman on the cover of the New York Daily News, so I bought a copy for Irving Cohn. Then I dropped off a box for Nader the Hatter on the front steps of LaRose's new white colonial at 16 Telbar Street. Then over to the Boston Road Big Y for a half gallon of milk. From there I headed over to Mark Brunell's Print 2000 at 625 Boston Road and picked up my business cards for $36.75. Brunell appeared to be working in the shop all alone. I wonder if I got my full 2000 cards, maybe I'll count them sometime. I have carefully removed the two cards that were taped to each of the boxes. Ain't I cheap?
I dropped off the copy of the Greenspan NYDaily News cartoon and Cohn said, "This isn't exactly my favorite newspaper," but he enjoyed the cartoon of Greenspan. When I got home I called the Bookstore Building and Peter Johnson has a tape on wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Tonight I dined on Stouffer's Creamed Beef on Potato and half an onion microwaved.
George Magazine, JFK Jr.'s baby, is in danger of going out of business due to insufficient advertising. WFCR had a feature today about the failure of many internet companies. It seems that few people are clicking on internet ads and even fewer are buying. TV40 apologized for being off the air for an hour around noon. Their transmitter was hit by lightning. Dave Madsen was a guest today on Rock 102, talking about his career in broadcasting.
Calm, 17 degrees with a grey sky at 7:30am.
I am typing with my old glasses and head harness on, training to function as a slave. My new glasses from Walmart are too thick and heavy, but my old ones are just right to fit underneath the head harness. I think the harness would be improved if there were something like a football helmet chin-piece that make it even more restrictive. Because bondage is taboo, it is a field in which a great deal of research can be done.
WFCR says that the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill is making progress, even though President Bush opposes it. I certainly hope it passes and Bush is embarrassed. The newsman on WFCR this morning kept mispronouncing the name of Governor Cellucci. Critics are whining that a Certificate of Completion for kids who flunk MCAS is "a ticket to nowhere" but it's better than nothing at all. I feel strongly that the real problem is inferior teachers. The State Department of Education was located on New Chardon Street in Boston in 1980. Rose Mary Donahue was Staff Assistant to Dean Donald J. White at Boston College in 1981. Dr. Michael Sherman was the Vermont Historical Society Director in 1985. The stock market is way down, although Friendly's stock is up slightly.
Steve Ryan from DeWolfe's Real Estate came by at 8:56 for his 9:00 appointment to appraise my house. He walked around the outside of the house and noted some peeling paint and said my 15 year old roof is about half way through its lifespan. He came in and looked around, saying that overall the place is pretty clean. The furnace is good. In the end he said my home is worth about $95,000 and departed at 9:45. I drove out at 10:50 and dropped off some Reader's Digests with a cheerful Irving Cohn. He told me that one of the advantages I have in life is that I "don't have a wife," although he himself has a good one. She is always in the kitchen and today there was a tin of freshly baked buns cooling on the counter. Then to Angelo's where I spent $3.56 on fruit and veggies, then on to Big Y for fish and chips. When I got back I called Shirley H. and she said Aunt Maria was asleep in her bedroom, but that tonight she intends to take her to see Bright Nights in Forest Park. I called Eamon and left a message saying that I haven't heard much from him lately. Perhaps he is adopting a less phone-centered lifestyle.
Received a note from Gene Berman saying that his bookplate was done by Marian Warren, an art professor at Smith College who also did an absolutely marvelous pen and ink drawing of Einstein that he also has. She did it many years ago at a young age. Attorney Berman took over the enormous Kamberg-Berman firm that was once in the Court Square Building, located on the second floor on the courthouse side. They then moved into Monarch Place and used to pass out fancy postcards of the building. I've often suspected that they got cheap rent there as a part of representing Monarch in their bankruptcy case, but I don't know that for sure. Now they are on the 15th floor of the Bank of Boston now Sovereign Building.
I think the firm is somewhat smaller than it used to be, with Phil Hendel the big bankruptcy lawyer having moved out. Kamberg and Berman have always been associated with scales and balances imagery, so I sent them one of Kamberg's bookplates I came across and now Berman has sent me his with a wise old owl contemplating a scale. Berman was the author of a text on debt collecting that he used when he taught at WNEC Law, and we became further acquainted when he served as Secretary to the so-called "Renaissance Group" headed by Peter Picknelly. I attended once in my motorcycle jacket and was taken to one side by Picknelly and warned, "We're trying to get something serious done here." The Renaissance Group came to nothing anyway, but I sometimes maintain the fiction it still exists and I am the only member still struggling to spark a renaissance in Springfield.
Relations between myself and Picknelly then soured even worse because I opposed the first casino drive and then the baseball stadium at Northgate Plaza. He knows how I used to pretend that I was a supporter so I could get inside information to feed to the opposition. I also publicly questioned the character of some of the people around Picknelly, after my old friend John R. Auchter told me that many shady characters are among Picknelly's private friends. I also enraged Picknelly by telling Tom Vannah in 1995 about how I saw Picknelly standing in the side office during the then City Councilor Mike Albano's announcement that he was running for mayor, hiding out of view of the general public, yet still able to peek unseen at the event. Vannah then exposed Picknelly's secret presence in the Valley Advocate, and somehow Picknelly discovered that I was his source.
Cumulus cloud cover, breezy, 34 degrees at 10:30am.
Today, Congress ratified Bush's election, but two congressmen from Florida are objecting. Good for them. Governor Cellucci is visiting Bush in Texas. The shattered remains of an antique bell that used to call Southern Vermont workers to the mills has been recovered from a Massachusetts scrapyard. Dolly Curletti is Marketing Director for Kimball Farms Lifecare Community in Lenox, Massachusetts. The motto of DeWolfe Real Estate Company is "One stop and you're home." The DeWolfe sign is gone in front of the DeRiso home.
The Springfield Library and Museums Association was established in 1857. I once wrote in the Cappy Miller Report that academics should uphold standards and not worry so much about productivity and jobs. Before they start teaching Latin and Greek, it would be nice if they would first learn English. Today I called John S. Coulton, the legal counsel for Monarch, and Joann Peterson got me his secretary Dorothy Mikalean, with whom I had a pleasant conversation. I asked her how the company is doing and she replied "plodding along." I asked if there was any chance of it coming out of receivership and she replied, "I don't think so." I brought up the matter of the centennial and she said she doesn't think anyone has even thought about it. I told her about Father's manuscripts and she said the 25 Year Club still exists and for more information I should contact Jean Jones of Ludlow at 583-6549.
So I called Jean Jones at her Bluebird Circle address and we had a nice chat. She said the 25 Year Club still meets and she'll get me a membership list. I told her I haven't been very successful as a lawyer because I won't do the heavy duty lying and cheating that you have to do to be a successful lawyer. She surprised me by replying, "That's right, you have to." Jones said she likes retirement but enjoyed working more and wishes she were still working at Monarch. She also recalled hearing Father talk about his camp in Wilbraham.
Swinging by Wesley Church this morning, I counted 43 cars in the parking lot. Then I drove downtown trying to find Mother's 1926 address of 241 North Main, but urban renewal has altered the numbers and buildings were destroyed to accommodate the growth of Baystate Medical Center. I saw that Young's Beauty Supply is now where K-Man Taylor was on the first floor of the Five Cents Bank building. Dined tonight on Stouffer's Vegetable Chicken Pasta Bake with lemon cake. I called Shirley and she said she took Aunt Maria to see Bright Nights. She said they were "wonderful" and that Aunt Maria enjoyed them. Good.
I am compiling a chronology of my dealings with Wilbraham and John M. Pearsall. It will be interesting to see how many letters I receive congratulating me on my PMLA article. Joe Carvalho at the Quad sent me a note today saying that Dr. Martin Kaufman had many severe health problems and ultimately had to undergo several brain tumor surgeries. He is now at age 60 in a nursing home. A shame, he was always reliable, and I wonder if Carvalho fully appreciated that. On the other hand, I found Kaufman to be argumentative at times. The news said that Springfield Health Commissioner Helen Caulton wants a needle exchange program in Springfield because the city has 1,700 cases of AIDS, the 11th highest in the nation.
Overcast and 32 degrees at 11:30am.
E. Pendleton James was Director of Presidential Personnel for Ronald Reagan in 1980. Tontine Press was in East Bernard, Vermont in 1980. Phillip Areeda was a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School in 1981. John L. Sheperd was President of the American Bar Association in 1984. I was admitted to practice as an attorney in Massachusetts on June 19, 1984 by Clerk John E. Powers. I am a life member of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maine. Jeanette M. English was the wife of dear old Dr. Walter H. English, a former member of the Springfield School Committee. Jeanette English died in 1986 at age 75.
Springfield ranks third behind Boston and Worcester for pollution and poor air quality in the state. An ad on television says that 50% of credit reports have errors on them. That gives the credit agencies an F for accuracy. The FTC is supposed to protect the public and they could start by investigating these credit agencies. Former Gov. Edwards of Louisiana, at 73, is getting ten years in prison and a $200,000 fine for 17 counts of extortion and corruption in connection with the granting of riverboat gambling licenses. What does this say about the gambling industry?
At 9:55, I drove out to the Acres and made copies at Pride. I only buy the Springfield paper these days if I know there is a story in it that matters. Then I continued on to Wilbraham Town Hall, where I dropped off some material with Martha at the Building Inspectors Office. Then down to the Assessors Office, where Diane was there with Mr. Silva. I looked at the old maps hanging there, and was surprised to see that the name Carlin was written on my land between Maynard and King Drive. Actually, Carlin only owned the land on the other side across the road from Bushey.
I asked Diane to have Pearsall's secretary come see me. Instead, I was told that Pearsall himself was coming. I showed him the map and the error. "Do you really want my land?" I asked, to which Pearsall nodded. "Well, I want you to have it," I said, "but this error must be corrected at once." I also said that Mr. Carlin must have special friends in Town Hall to have his name put on my land! Pearsall said, "I'll get right on it" and immediately erased Carlin and wrote in Miller. Everyone smiled. On the way out, I took a Wilbraham United Players poster.
When I got home, I called and had a chat with Bonnie, who is filling in for Shirley who is up at Winifred's. I talked about how Fernbank has been donated to the Town of Wilbraham but told her that Aunt Maria has not been informed yet. I had a short chat with Bonnie who has always been tight-lipped and she told me she went to college for one year. Then I called Raymond W. Gendron, but his paralegal Chris said he is on medical leave until the end of January. Next, I called the Audubon Society and asked for their booklet Twelve Ways to Protect Land in Massachusetts. I called Atty. Berman and told him about two antique abacuses for sale at Antiques on Boland Way. Finally, I called ex-rep Whitney, but he had no time to talk. He did say his Presbyterian Church is adding three Sunday School classrooms. I received the mail from the hand of the mailman at 1:10pm. Tonight I dined on a Swanson Stuffed Baked Turkey Dinner with grapefruit.
Joe Kennedy was in town and was shown on TV delivering oil with Mike Albano. Eamon's latest phone editorial opposes needle exchange and mentions how Springfield is number 11 in AIDS cases. He also recited his usual list of Springfield's failings. The Cecil Economic Development Report is now long overdue. It has been postponed so many times that the date it was first due has been long forgotten. I do recall that the Union-News editorialized that it would be a "Christmas present for Springfield" but Christmas is long gone. There are always new ideas on the horizon, maybe they want to include an aquarium or a children's museum. There is going to be nothing that's truly worth $200,000 in the report, and there will be nothing about free parking downtown and no announcement of a downtown supermarket. I predict the report will be released in the late summer so that it can have the maximum positive impact on Albano's re-election campaign. Having accomplished virtually nothing in the past six years, Albano will once again run on castles in the sky.
Sunny and clear, 10 degrees at 8:06am.
Times are changing and I am on the side of change.
Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer primarily known for his operas. Verdi died in 1901 so this is the centennial year of his death. For supper I dined on Stouffer's Homestyle Salisbury Steak and a tossed salad. Somebody with a baby voice called today looking for Storrowtown. I also got a wrong number from somebody named Jack from Connecticut.
There was an inch of snow on the driveway this morning, but it melted off in the sun. We are in the midst of a cold snap, but it may be warmer in the days ahead. Today I typed fifteen pages of poetry, mostly XXX leather gay porn, pretty filthy stuff but I think some of it has a bit of merit. J. Pearsall called and said he had a draft of the deed, so I drove out to Town Hall and told him it is largely satisfactory and I approved of it. Pearsall actually said, "I wish everyone was as cooperative as you are." I did suggest that they mention the long residence at Fernbank of Lizzy the Model T. Then I drove over to Balise Ford and spoke with Bill Filault, who said he is open to the possibility of taking Lizzy for restoration. He told me that the people at Oaks Farm are his in-laws, so he is native to Wilbraham in some sense.
Next I stopped at Pride in the Acres to make copies. I walked over to the Goodwill, where cruiser 18 was parked outside. There was a young officer inside sitting drinking coffee and talking with the tall lady that runs the used book department. When I got back, on the noon news we were hit with the bombshell that the Hampden/United Co-op merger is off! Jack Briggs said that United lost interest when they realized how many people they would have to lay off. He told Jerry Gretzinger on TV40 that "it was in the best interests of customers and staff" to remain independent. Gretzinger also interviewed Tom Burton, who said that the merger "might be resurrected sometime in the future."
When the merger was first announced, it was Burton who was all over the media, but the failure of the merger has been mostly handled by Briggs. He said that United has 10 branches and 176 employees, while Hampden Savings has four branches and 74 employees. Briggs spoke of what was good for "the employees, customers and city." I guess that's his version of "God, country and Colby." Burton said that integration would have been a problem because "there are differences in products as well as staff." I'll have to be sure to get tomorrow's paper.
Eamon called at 8:17 this morning on his way out to get breakfast. He said he's not mad at me over my extreme sexual and political views, and that the books I returned to him were in undamaged condition. He said he went to the Nader wake to sign the book, but not to the funeral. Eamon is not sure if he will go to Ireland this year, although I told him he should. It was a short but friendly chat. TV22 is having a big retirement party for John Quill, Mark Merek and Holly Low, the last two being people never seen on the air but who worked in production. It will be at the Chateau Provost in Chicopee, but at $35 per ticket I won't be going. The $750 million convention center in Boston is $100 million over budget. They had Hurwitz on TV talking like a broken record about how the Springfield Civic Center is "the economic engine that is going to move Springfield and the entire Pioneer Valley forward over the next decade." I'll believe it when I see it.
Overcast, 25 degrees at 8am.
Thomas P. Sullivan is a Collector of Taxes for the Town of Wilbraham. The Springfield Public Schools is having a poetry slam at Commerce. In 1982, I appeared in the 18th edition of Who's Who in the East. In 1984, The Colby College Museum had an exhibition titled Portraits of New England Places which included the oil painting A View of Springfield Massachusetts, painted in 1845 by Thomas Chambers. The exhibition focused on identifiable cities, towns, scenes, buildings and landmarks of locales throughout New England from the 18th century to the present. Irshad Karim was Book Review Editor for the Harvard Law Review in 1985. Bill Currier worked in the Governor's Office on Dwight Street in 1985.
I went to Louis & Clark to get the new Valley Advocate and send some stuff to Ryan and Gallagher. Then I went and bought veggies at Angelo's, where I bought an eggplant and asked Angelo how to cook it. He said put it in a pan with a little oil and bake it. As I left I used five dimes to get the newspaper out of their paperbox. Then I drove out to Cat's Paw where they had just received an immense collection of liquor memorabilia consisting of fancy bottles and signs of all sorts. I bought a 1960's paisley print that is turning brown, but I love paisley. I was glad to see that Vince R. is in good shape, that Westfield ephemera dealer was also there buying books. Finally, I went to Stop&Shop, where I bought half a pre-cooked chicken for only $2.50.
A wrong number came from Ralph Little looking for 782-4196. Mrs. Meltzer called to remind me of the Tuesday Morning Music Club meeting. She sounds like an old lady now, we chatted about pianos. I called Stuart Hurwitz at the Civic Center and he listened very politely as I talked about the failure of the Hampden/United merger. Hurwitz said he's just an incorporater at Hampden and it is the board that works with Burton. He said he has always had a good personal financial relationship with the bank. He did agree that ivory with rust brown trim looks strange as Hampden's official colors. Hurwitz said he respects my opinions but of course doesn't always agree with them.
Julian Freedman, an accountant who is the son of Maurice Freedman the violinist and a stepson of Mrs. Candib, the widow of the King's Department Store magnate, has died in New Jersey at the age of 64. I called G. McLain at the Quad and got his voicemail, leaving him a message alerting him to the Julian Freedman obituary and suggesting he put it in their file on Maurice Freedman. I reminded him that he was going to reorganize their collection of material relating to Freedman and to get a photograph of his tombstone with a violin on it. I concluded, "I don't forget when you promise to do things."
Then I called United Co-operative Bank and got Labbe's secretary. I told her that I always suspend hostilities until after the holidays, but I will now resume sending them memos. I asked her who is second in command at the bank, suggesting to her that it might be Jack Briggs, but she said that although Briggs is a senior executive, the official second in command is Chief Financial Officer F.X. Lynch. I wonder if part of the reason the Hampden/United merger didn't go through is because Lynch wants to be a bank president and didn't want to play second fiddle to Burton. I can't blame him for wanting to protect himself from Tom Burton the carpetbagger. I dined on Progresso soup and a tossed salad this evening. Eamon's phone editorial says that Six Flags is introducing a new ride. It's called Banking With Hampden.
Absolutely beautiful sunrise, 23 degrees at 7:05am.
Today's rock music is awful. Where is Jimi Hendrix when we need him?
I wonder if watching sunrises is how color mixing theory was developed? Large earthquake in El Salvador. Dr. Judith A. Pamaley is President of the University of Vermont. The Insurance Library Association of Boston is on State Street in Boston. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Ladies Auxiliary will meet at the Chapel of the Acres Church on Wilbraham Road this month. The Springfield Tennis Opportunity Program advocates for free tennis lessons for all youth. I was in Who's Who in the East in 1987.
Had waffles for breakfast with syrup and grapefruit. WFCR was playing Beethoven today. Went to put the mail out at Louis & Clark and was waited on by Cindy. She was wearing black tights and a heavy, body long sweater. Included in the mail I sent out were letters to President Caprio and Donald Dunn. Alas, Cindy said the mail truck had just left. As I was leaving, a black guy pointed at my leather jacket, which is finally getting scuffed up and looks like its been around a bit, and declared, "Hey, I like that jacket!" Went to Pride in the Acres to make copies, then bought the paper because I saw a headline about Pellegrino suing the city.
I swung by Mrs. Staniski's with some reading material. She gave me some gingerbread cookies and said that her daughter Ann is in Arizona being entertained by cousins. Mrs. Staniski has always had the same green linoleum tiles on the floor and they look as good as new. She said her husband put the tiles down on a day when she took the Brownies troop on a trip to Northampton on a train. Mrs. Staniski is a real clean living lady.
I'm currently reading Hester's Encyclopedia of Ethics and Values. There was no mail today at 1:10pm, which is most unusual, but it finally came at 1:45 and included a card from Dorothy Mozley and a letter from Judy Spear. Barry Moser was on TV telling how he grew up in Tennessee as a racist Protestant. He didn't say Methodist, but that's what he was. Sarah Creighton, his bookbinder, calls herself a perfectionist saying, "The binding should invite you to open the book."
The tax rate in Springfield is down, but most people will still pay more because valuations are up. For supper I had a Swanson Yankee Potroast Dinner and green tea. After Mother died, I actually found some maple syrup dated 1937 that was left over from her Father. There were several jars, I dumped them out because they simply had to go. I remember seeing those jars on Crest Street on the bookcase underneath the cellar stairs. I haven't thought of the 37 Crest Street cellar for years. The walls were of field stone and water sometimes seeped in despite Father having reinforced the walls with plaster and cement. Former President Reagan has fallen at home and requires hip surgery. Dr. Timothy Johnson, the ABC medical expert, said that 25% of the elderly who have hip surgery die within the next year. Mother is one of those statistics.
Martin Luther King Day. Fluffy snow at 7:30am.
I love quiet so much.
This would have been MLK's 72nd birthday. Who needs war? How often have I asked that? Deborah P. Clifford was President of the Vermont Historical Society in 1984. The Department of Education had an office on Massasoit Street in West Springfield in 1984. Father's beloved dolls Floppy and Ambrose were placed in the casket with him before he was buried in 1985. Lee A. Iacocoa was Chairman of the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation in 1986. I just finished reading Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Art Materials, which was very good on the latest developments.
62% of Massachusetts prisoners go back to jail within three years. Homosexual activists are demanding the right to kiss in public, saying if straights can kiss in public, why not gays? TV22 is doing a promotion with Big Y called The Great Supermarket Slide With the Falcons. It shows people running on the hockey rink with carriages full of groceries. For lunch today I had a box of Green Giant Baby Brussels Sprouts with butter. I bought it on special as I do everything. They weren't bad although I cooked them too long, as Mother trained me to overcook everything.
I have heard nothing from Nader the Hatter about the $20 check and card I sent. No mail and lots of people owe me letters. I recently came across the wonderful letter I received in 1986 from J. Kevin Graffagnino:
Dear Mr. Miller, I have received your latest Looney Tunes communication, dated June 11. Please do not write to me again. Your letters and memos range from the ludicrous to the pathetic, and I would prefer not to receive any more of them. Thank you.
Next to Ray Browne, Mr. Graffagnino has flunked the pompous ass test more successfully than any of my other targets. I called Community Feed and the guy said they sold their oil business over a year ago to East Longmeadow Discount Oil, which is run by one of the Punderson's sons. I called them and got Mary who said their oil is $1.28 so I ordered 125 gallons for $160. This was at 10:03 and the snow had stopped and never resumed. I went to Copy Cat and made copies, then to Louis & Clark to mail two letters to Vermont.
I have been doing some research on Eamon T. O'Sullivan, who has not been calling here much lately although he is still friendly when we do chat. I've been calling Eamon at all hours and hanging up as soon as I realize that the phone is not busy. It used to be impossible to get through some days because he was always on the phone, but now it is rarely busy. His routine used to be to read the paper first thing in the morning, then call around trying to get background info on people and events that interest him. My research shows that Eamon has not been on the phone anywhere near as much as he used to. The question is why? Did he conclude that he has been wasting too much time on the phone and is changing his lifestyle?
Overcast, misty, 33 degrees at 7:30am.
The texture of life is always changing.
President Clinton has received the Charlemagne Award for working for peace and unity in Europe. Bomber Timothy McVeigh is scheduled to be executed on May 16th. There is an exhibit called Photos of Home by Patrick Lang at the Forbes Library in Northampton. I haven't heard that name in years. Stephen T. Buehl was Executive Assistant to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California Rose Elizabeth Bird in 1984. Joseph Carvalho, Supervisor of the Local History and Genealogy Department, gave a talk in 1984 at the Quadrangle on the role of posters in inspiring patriotism during World War I.
I came across this news clipping from 1984: A Springfield retiree has been ordered to pay $240 restitution to the city's public library and perform community service for the theft of 96 books over a two year period. Springfield District Court Judge Phillip Contant issued the restitution order Friday and called for the service work to be done at the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen by John Quigley, 65, of 371 Dickinson Street.
Yesterday by the Breckwood Shops a young black woman with ice skates over her shoulder and a little kid with white skates were walking towards Breckwood Pond. I asked her if the pond was frozen and she said yes, the temperature lately has rarely gone above freezing. Then on the way back I saw a kid on a scooter speeding by the intersection of Birchland and Wilbraham Road towards Duggan Middle School. He was going fast despite the icy weather, I wonder how he keeps his scooter from being stolen when he gets to school? I cooked up a Sara Lee Pumpkin Pie last night. They are bigger than the Mrs. Smith brand pies, serving eight slices instead of six.
Spent time reading Clausewitz by the window to save on electricity. Mike from Orek Vacuum Cleaners called and tried to interest me in their power broom for $89.95. He failed. Nader the Hatter called while I was in the midst of dining on my Swanson Stuffed Baked Turkey Dinner. Nader said he is getting over his cold, and said he spoke with Eamon who told him he felt he was coming down with something. We agreed to go out to lunch before he leaves to go back to Florida. I also promised to show him the stained glass windows at Hillcrest Cemetery.
Mayor Albano gave his State of the City Address today. TV40 interviewed Albano in front of Symphony Hall on his way to delivering the address. He declared that Springfield is "on the way to becoming a great city." They showed Albano in the Mahogany Room (not the auditorium) talking about how Springfield "is beginning the journey to a better future." He claimed there are "construction cranes all over the city, working on projects like the public safety complex, new schools, Federal courthouse, Union Station, Civic Center and the Dr. Seuss statues" and called the new construction "unprecedented in the city's history." Albano described the city's finances as on "a solid footing" but said that "fiscal prudence will be needed to reduce the city's debt and improve our bond rating." We shall see. Hurwitz was also shown repeating his line about the Civic Center being "the engine that is going to move the city and all of Western Mass forward." Maybe he thinks if he says that often enough, someone will actually believe it.
A lovely winter's day, 37 degrees at 7:30am. Gas is $1.44 at the Breckwood A+ Minimart Sunoco.
If little boys play with dolls they turn out to be gay, sez yours truly.
The news says consumer confidence is the lowest it's been since 1990. There was a small earthquake in New York City, the last one was in 1992. There is a Centennial banner in front of Wesley Church. David L. Yas is the Publisher of Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly. Leonard Shaker is a doctor at Pioneer Valley Urology. I can't believe that Professor Paul Eschols omitted Mary Ellen Waller from The Literature of Vermont (1984). I wrote to him complaining but never received a reply. Ann Russell was the Director of the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts in 1986. Jesse Jackson has publicly apologized for fathering a baby with one of his employees. Everybody does it, it's called fucking. It is inherent in the human critter.
Nightline was about a recent CIA report that overpopulation may lead to scarcity and terrorism by 2015. The last issue of The Realist magazine is out, it was founded in 1958 to "communicate without compromise." The Editor Paul Krassner has a wonderful resume of troublemaking. WFCR had a satirical piece where they played the Antique Roadshow theme music and then said "time to introduce and appraise our next antique, Alan Greenspan!" Very funny, and I'm a Greenspan fan. Lunt Silversmith of Greenfield, hoping for spin off business from Yankee Candle, opened a showroom and restaurant by there a while ago but now they are going out of business. The restaurant is closing immediately and the Design Center in March. That's too bad.
Did a load of wash and the dishes. The mail brought belated New Year's wishes from Melinda McIntosh, who works in the Reference Department at the UMass library. A Belmont Oil truck was parked in front of the Allards today. I dropped off the Boston Herald at the Penniman's and took in their blue recycling box. Then swung by the Cohn's with some magazines, and as I was leaving I ran into a very polite and articulate black Jehovah's Witness walking down the street. We talked pleasantly for several minutes, he said he used to be a Baptist, but became disgusted by the hypocrisy of the traditional religions. He said he likes the Jehovah Witnesses because they rely on the Bible as the sole source of religious wisdom. From there I went and made copies at CopyCat, then looked at the morning paper at Louis & Clark but didn't see anything in it to make it worth buying.
I stopped in briefly at the Coin Exchange, where they had a Springfield Civil War Memorial Medal for $35. I already have one, but bought another because they're so rare. Next I drove out to Charter One, formerly Ludlow Bank, because yesterday I received a statement that they had charged my account five dollars for a lack of activity on the $50 I had in it. So I closed the account. In the bank was a little boy with his dad and the kid had a hat on with eight points and a tassel on each one. It was wonderful. His dad said it's nice to be young and be able to wear things like that. I replied that I wear whatever I want and I'm nearly 60!
Snowing lightly and 33 degrees at 8:30am.
I got up late because I was up after midnight. WFCR was playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 19 this morning. The New England Methodist Conference now has an address in Lawrence, Mass. They must not be in the condo at 566 Commonwealth Avenue anymore. Edmund B. Sullivan was the Curator of the DeWitt-Hartford Collection at the University of Hartford in 1980. President Clinton has agreed to have his law license suspended for five years and pay a $25,000 fine for lying in the Monica Lewinsky case. In other words, he was being just as deceitful as the Republicans said he was.
NIMBY is an abbreviation of "Not In My Backyard," like the Yuppie that wants to use electricity but doesn't want a new power plant built near them. That's what happened in California, they knew they needed more power plants but every attempt to build them was blocked by NIMBY activists. Now they are suffering from power shortages and paying outrageous prices for electricity. Dave Madsen had a story on TV40 about Bruce Landon telling Falcons fans that the current ticket season base of 1,700 is well below the 6,000 season tickets they need to sell.
Quadster Guy McLain never returned my call from the other day when I left a message criticizing him for neglecting the Maurice Freedman archives and not photographing his tombstone as promised. Today I came upon a Letter to the Editor from 1985 written by the President of the Friends of the Library President and former librarian Helen C. Boyle, rejoicing in the help she received from John Francis Speight and James Controvich in carrying out the disastrous 1985 book sell-off that caused the library to lose many major volumes from its collection. Nader the Hatter called and said he would give me copies of Sky Mall, a luxury magazine for airline passengers and some Miami Herald articles on the presidential election vote counting.
First class letters are increasingly hard to get out of people. I called the Hampden Bank branch in West Springfield and spoke to a woman with a heavy accent, asking her if they intend to resume selling insurance. She said they are thinking of it but haven't decided. I called Charter One and got Barbara Sullivan, whom I asked about the five dollars they had taken from my account for an inactivity fee. I argued that it wasn't right and she kept insisting otherwise. Finally, I told her that I felt I was wasting my time talking to her and she replied that it was I who was wasting her time and "I'd appreciate it if you don't call us again!" Then she banged down the phone. Next I called Mr. McDonald at the Telephone Worker's Credit Union and he said he will run a notice acknowledging the gift of Father's manuscript on the history of the Monarch Employee's Credit Union in next month's newsletter. He sounded a bit put-off by my calling. Then I called down to City Hall at the Assessor's Office and was told that there are "only two assessors right now" Richard Allen and Margaret Lynch.
I called my neighbor Mrs. Berselli and we discussed the history of Birchland Avenue. She recalled how they had a couple of block parties in the early years, with fifty or sixty people coming from all over the neighborhood for hotdogs and hamburgers. She said that about 35 years ago they had a neighborhood party at the Springfield Country Club at Christmastime. One year the woods caught fire and it came right up to the back of the houses on Ballard Avenue. "All the neighbors helped to put it out," she said. Mrs. Berselli also told me that the whole neighborhood would take up a collection whenever someone died to send flowers and food "to show that people really cared, things were like that then." She also described the "majestic" birch trees that once stood in the area, but which were destroyed as more houses were built. I told her I would call her again in a few months to see what else she may recall of the earliest days of Birchland Avenue.
I dined this evening on a Swanson Fish and Chips Dinner, which I bought on sale for $1.50. I remember when they were 89 cents. I watched a little of the annual auction on TV57, and Sally Fuller and Susan Tilton Pecora were hosting when I tuned in at 8:25pm. Debbie Onslow was on later, wearing a wig and looking like she is recovering from an illness. Gloria Russell of Wilbraham, an art critic for the Springfield Newspapers, was also on. I left a message on Eamon's answering machine reminding him that communication is a two-way street and that I am not going to change the way I dress so get used to it! I'm determined to stay in tough with Eamon despite his current silence.
35 degrees at 8:30am. About an inch of snow fell overnight.
ABC News is reporting that President Clinton has pardoned 70's radical Patty Hearst (good) as well as his brother Roger for a minor drug conviction. He also pardoned Susan McDougal but not Webster Hubbell. Nothing for Michael Milken, Leonard Peltier or John Pollard the Jewish spy. Sir William Blackstone lived from 1723 to 1780. The comic Rose is Rose is drawn by Pat Brady. Last night I watched the 57 Auction until I went to bed at 7pm, these days I go to bed early. Debbie Onslow was hosting with critic Gloria Russell. Later they were joined by Sally Fuller. They seldom auction antiques anymore and the art is not the sort of things people are looking for. Michelson Gallery used to always donate a Moser print, but not this year. The floral arrangements this year were fabulous.
I recall Attorney Gene Berman telling me once that he regretted selling a lot of his books saying, "I very much wish I didn't sell my books because books are more valuable than money." The mail came late with my statements from Fleet and Bank of Boston. No postcard from Dr. Shaker. Do I get a 20 cent discount on my next appointment? I called down to Edwards Books at Tower Square and cancelled my order for Rich Clark's Pressure Point Fighting, explaining that with all the snow I don't care to come downtown. At 5:28pm PRIVATE called, a woman asking for Storrowtown.
Mother used to keep her recipes on cards she collected that came in boxes of Nabisco Shredded Wheat in 1981. Dined on a Smart Ones Fiesta Chicken Dinner with sprouts. When I went out to shovel this morning I noticed tracks in the snow where someone with big feet came up to the garage door. Left the house about 9am and went over to Louis & Clark for copies of the New York Times and the Springfield Union-News and to send out the mail. I swung over to the Big Y on Boston Road to buy some groceries on special, then over to Pride to make some copies. I popped into the Goodwill and bought the Esquire Party Book, wonderfully designed and illustrated by Seymour Chwast. It was in mint condition except for a few bent page corners. Inside the book I found an old receipt from Barnes & Noble indicating that it was originally purchased October 9, 1999.
Then I came home and watched the inauguration while working. Mrs. Bush read at Constitution Hall in honor of 18 authors because as a former librarian she will make libraries her theme while her husband is in office. Constitution Hall is of course the D.A.R. so all the right buttons are being pushed. Mrs. Bush will be the first First Lady to wear red at the inauguration. Of course it is being held in Washington D.C. although it was noted that D.C. voted against Bush with 83% supporting Gore. They showed demonstrators with signs saying things like "Jail to the Thief" and "I Didn't Vote for Your Daddy Either" and "Al Got Screwed." One demonstrator carried a large sign simply stating "NO!" At times it looked like there were more people there to protest than to root for the President.
Bush was sworn in more or less at noon. The themes of Bush's inauguration speech were civility, courage, compassion, responsibility, character and other bullshit. He spoke about being "responsible citizens building communities of sacrifice and a nation of character." The speech ended at 12:19pm and was well written and adequately delivered. A respectable inauguration but it is a disgrace that the winner of the popular vote is not taking office and we must never forget the racists who manipulated the vote in Florida. How long do you think it will be before Bush completely forgets that he was not elected by the majority of the voters? The local news showed a demonstration today in Northampton against Bush. They also showed Michaelann Bewsee leading a demonstration of 30 demonstrators in Springfield with a coffin symbolizing the death of democracy. Bewsee was interviewed and said we need "to revive the spirit of Shay's Rebellion."
28 degrees and snowing at 7:15am. Got four inches total.
Never take people for granted - so few people know this.
Beetle Bailey is drawn by Mort Walker. January 27th is the 100th anniversary of Verdi's death. WFCR this morning said Massachusetts is 45th in the nation when it comes to charitable giving. Vermont does better, being rated 27th. The Union Station in Washington D.C. is partially built with white granite from Bethel, Vermont. Grandfather Miller died in 1934, before I was even born. Marjorie and Douglas Hall were book sellers I used to see around the tag sale circuit in the 1970's. George S. Mumford was Dean of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts in 1981. Richard M. Howland and Janet M. Sheppard were attorneys in Amherst in 1984.
Years ago, my French Professor McBride, who was doubtless gay, predicted that I would never get married. His house was full of French antiques, but some valuable pieces were lost when his ex-wife smashed some of them in a rage. So many times in my research it has been pure luck that I found something. R.J. Blewitt's The Court of Chancery (1827) has an epigraph of six lines of iambic pentameter attributed to Lord Byron. I don't know the works of Byron like I know Milton and I don't have a Byron concordance. So I ran down cellar and took out my Odyssey edition of Byron and it turned up in the first passage I started perusing. So several hours that I might have spent searching for it were saved. I believe that R.J. Blewitt was the best author of legal poems in the fifty year period from 1775 to 1825.
Francis Gagnon is speaking at the Indian Orchard Library tonight on the history of Indian Orchard. Nader the Hatter once told me that when he built some rooms in his basement he escaped having it added to his taxes by not finishing the floors. I believe Tom Devine once told me the same thing, although he later put down floors made from wood supplied by Jay Libardi from scrap from Eastern Container. I called Pearsall at Wilbraham Town Hall and he told me the selectmen will be taking up the land transfer of Fernbank at their meeting tonight. I asked if the deed included the transfer of all fauna on the property, and Pearsall joked that fauna can't be conveyed and we don't want to get sued by a chipmunk. I then called the Selectboard Office and spoke to Pamela, who said the meeting will start at 7pm.
Today I cooked up a Sara Lee cherry pie. Tonight I had Big Y pork and beans. Unknown called at 8:08am and asked for Storrowtown. I cried, "Madam, do you have any idea of how many of these calls I get?" She meekly replied, "I'm sorry," and hung up. This afternoon I went to Louis & Clark to put out the mail. There was a fat man wearing a Harvard t-shirt shopping with his son and I asked him if he wanted his son to go to Harvard and he said no. I simply thanked him and said no more. I sent a piece about the Blarney Stone to Moriarty at Elms. I also sent a copy of Aunt Jennie's Poems to Holden Wilson, Governor General of the Society of Colonial Wars. To the University of Vermont I sent an angry letter for their cold refusal of the land I offered them. "Incivility" is a term invented by the establishment to dismiss people who have caught them with their pants down. Time is money and boy have they wasted mine! I hope their attorney sends me a letter telling me not to write again, I collect them!
19 degrees at 7:30am. Second anniversary of Mother's death.
J.C. Penny is closing a lot of their underperforming stores. American International College was founded in 1885. I have registered with the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation that Grandfather Miller came to America from Roxham, Canada. Philip M. Anderson worked in the Education Department of Brown University in Rhode Island in 1984. Susan Monroe Nugent was Editor of The Leaflet at Keene State College in 1984. Alvin Paige was Artist-in-Residence and Director of the Sprague-Griswold Arts Center in 1987.
This morning I filled out the my tax abatement application for Five Birchland Avenue, then drove to Fleet Bank to withdraw $1,500 from the interest on my CD, then dropped the letters to Gallagher and Escholz in the Parker Drug mailbox. I made some copies at Pride, then over to Goodwill, where Patty was there and told me her foot seems much improved. While there, I bought an oil painting of three green headed ducks flying above tall marsh grass for $13.
Next I went to St. Michael's Cemetery in Pine Point and inquired about their new mausoleum. I noticed that the two women in the St. Michael's office had their computer terminals set for the card game Solitaire. It reminded me how I once saw a person playing a card game on the computer terminal at ARISE. So people get paid these days to play cards on their computers? The St. Michael's ladies had no brochures, but they did have a spiral bound scrapbook of plastic sleeves with pictures, charts and information on the mausoleum. They went over all of it with me, and said that the most expensive crypts were those closest to the Bishop's. When I left, I went straight to Hillcrest Cemetery, where I told Karen everything. Karen thanked me warmly as she should, then told me that she has been working at Hillcrest since 1983.
When I got back I called Aunt Maria and caretaker Shirley Whittier Huang answered, saying she was just back from Vermont. I told her about giving Fernbank to Wilbraham and she responded positively but in a cynical and sarcastic tone. I asked her how Aunt Maria was doing and she said fine. I told her how I have heard almost nothing from my relatives in recent years, and she said they are probably under the impression that I don't want to hear from them.
Tried several times throughout the day to get Pearsall, but his phone was always busy. Finally, at 2:18pm Pearsall called from Wilbraham Town Hall and told me that the selectmen accepted the land last night. He said a letter of acknowledgement is being typed by his secretary and I'll be given a copy of the minutes of the meeting. I thanked him for his good offices and he agreed that it is clear that parkland is the best use of the property. Pearsall suggested it would be nice to have a bikepath all along the river and he promised to "take good care" of Fernbank. I told him I would come by tomorrow for the final signing of papers, and that I would be accompanied by Honey Pot and Sweet Pea, although I did not say who they are.
The latest Reminder was here first thing in the morning. The Union News today had a business story about how Woronoco's profits are up 28%, but Friendly's stock is sinking again. The mail brought a friendly letter from Jablonski enclosing a full color copy of the old profile of myself in the Valley Advocate, which he discovered by chance on the internet. I wrote a thank you letter pointing out to him that I have been published five times in The Journal of College English, twice in PLMA and in many other places including the International Leatherman, although not in the nude.
Fair and 23 degrees at 7:35am.
I am sometimes difficult to deal with, but my complaints are always legitimate.
An NPR story says enrollment of women in religious orders is down by two-thirds. On the news, Hurwitz was saying that the Springfield Civic Center intends to have a drug-free rave for 2,500 kids. The Society of Colonial Wars in Massachusetts is located on Tremont Street in Boston. Paul C. Montefusco is a Sales Associate at Keenan and Molta. Kathy Esser worked for Landmark Realtors in 1999. Laurie Ely-Bongiorni was a realtor with Landry, Lyons, Stearns and Verrall in 1999. Harvey Clay, the tall, muscular, bright smiling, highly articulate, impeccably dressed, cheerful, do-gooding and self-promoting black man who ran the Lincoln-Mercury out on Boston Road has left the area. He did all the right things and should have won a Pynchon Medal. The new Lincoln-Mercury ads say that a Dan Plante is running the place and offering "the same wonderful service and more."
As a lawyer well acquainted with copyright law, I am especially sensitive to unreturned manuscripts because it is a way of committing intellectual theft. Accordingly, whenever I send a manuscript, I always include some errors and omit some key paragraphs. Once the article is accepted, these omissions can be straightened out. Until then, the manuscripts I submit are lined with traps for the dishonest. It's too bad it has to be this way, but that is how my intellectual property involving expensive historical research is protected. I can handle top drawer professional relationships and I can handle unprofessional ones, although it can be more than some people can take. Professionalism is the standard, and nothing less will do.
I wrote to the city's Assessors Richard Allen and Margaret Lynch and invited them to compare my property with 1523 Wilbraham Road, 15 Ventura Drive, 38 Falston, 33 Puritan Circle and 55 Embassy Road. I was a licensed real estate broker in Wisconsin and here in Massachusetts during my graduate school days. I still visit all the houses for sale within ten blocks of here and have a pretty good idea of what things are going for. My house looks ritzy from the outside, but it was a low-end house when constructed, more like something on Boyer Street or Breckwood Boulevard. Just because I'm a lawyer doesn't mean I have money coming out of my ears. Instead of focusing on money, I'm engaged in antiquarian legal research and have been a generous donor of my time to Springfield related projects.
Today I officially deeded away Fernbank to the Town of Wilbraham. On my way there I traveled non-stop thru three green lights at Sixteen Acres, Tinkham Road and Stony Hill Road right to the Wilbraham Town Offices where I arrived at 8:58am. I brought the Fernbank sign Father had made many years ago, in green script on white, which lately has been hanging in the cellar over my old typewriter. In a large L.L. Bean bookbag, I brought my beloved dolls Sweet Pea and Honey Pot, four goblets, a bottle of Bristol Creme and an instant camera. Honey Pot had his flag and both dolls wore bow ties. I also brought along a tin of brownies I baked last night, a copy of Aunt Jennie's Poems inscribed to Pearsall and an old picture of my Father's beloved dolls Floppy and Ambrose sitting on the hood of Lizzie the Model T on the occasion of the Ford surpassing the 100,000 mileage mark.
I was wearing the fool's cap with four bells on the tips that I got at Eastfield Mall. Pearsall was already there and I gave him the poetry book and showed him the Floppy and Ambrose picture, which he recognized as being taken on Maynard Road. The lady from across the hall, Pamela Beall, came over and introduced herself as she gave me a copy of the minutes of the selectboard meeting from the night before. I signed the transfer and Beall notorized it, then I exclaimed, "Let's take some pictures!" I took out the dolls and set them in front of the Fernbank sign and a woman from an adjacent office was called in to take several photos of Pearsall, Beall, Honey Pot, Sweet Pea and myself decked out in my tinkling fools cap.
I took out the brownies and said that they were for the entire staff to enjoy after I left. I then pulled out the liquor, but Pearsall said he couldn't have any because of medication he was taking. Beall also declined, saying that it was too early for a drink, so we all chatted for a bit. Pearsall said, "This must be a bittersweet moment for you." I replied that yes it was, but I also admitted that in a way I was glad to be rid of the property, which had become a bundle of headaches due to liability on the decaying buildings, ecological regulations, litter, vandalism and other problems. I didn't mention that I was also glad not to have to pay a thousand dollars in taxes every year on land that had become useless to me. Beall departed, saying I was "a most interesting person" and remarked, "I appreciate your sense of ceremony." Pearsall shook my hand and called me "a most agreeable person to work with." I told him that I could name a few dozen people who would disagree with that. I urged them both to contact me before they demolish the buildings at Fernbank so that I can come photograph it.
When I left Town Hall at 9:20am, I drove out to Fernbank and parked in front of Riley's before walking up the hill. With the snow on the roof of the buildings they were accented in a scenic way that made them look almost as they had in my youth. Suddenly it occurred to me that this was my first time arriving at Fernbank with my family not the legal owners. I stood for several moments surveying the scene and contemplating how much this land had meant to Mother and Father, and I felt their absence most acutely. I walked back to the car, wiping the tears from my cheeks with my black handkerchief, then drove down Maynard around to Boston Road and back home.
Beautiful, sunny afternoon, 35 degrees at 3:30am. Gas is $1.42 a gallon at Watershops Pond.
Nothing is taught or learned correctly without an example.
Greenspan says the economy is slowing down. The news says lots of people are moving to Franklin County. Arthur R. Gaudio is replacing Donald Dunn as Dean of WNEC Law, Dunn has been with WNEC in one capacity or other since 1973. Gaudio is an old man who looks like Bishop Dupre. Violinist Faye R. Shapiro, one of the founders of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, died in 1984 at the age of 70.
The mail brought a card today from Mrs. Staniski remembering the anniversary of Mother's death. I called Mrs. Staniski to thank her and told her about my signing away the land in Wilbraham and she said she thinks it was the right thing to do. A black woman named Darlene Wilson called for the Republican Party and she told me how Tom Delay claims that the Democrats are planning to obstruct the agenda of President Bush as he tries to lower the price of prescription drugs and strengthen the military. She then asked (I knew this was coming) whether I would give $75 or $100 to fight the liberal onslaught. I told her I can't spare the money and wished her a good evening.
I then called Nader the Hatter and told him about Fernbank and Lizzy the 1935 Model T. He said to restore Lizzy would cost around $25,000 and most collectors would prefer to spend the money restoring some other, more classic model. I explained to the Hatter that in Vermont Yankee shitkicker culture the horse is a member of the family, and when that culture gets transplanted to the city the auto becomes a family member, thus the long preservation of Lizzy. Nader said he couldn't talk long because he was helping his sister make supper. The other day I drove down Birchland and back down Jeffrey in my head harness to see if I could drive in a head harness. I had no difficulty but took it off when I got to the main road.
I cashed a check at Fleet Springdale/Eastfield just before 10am and went over to the Boston Road McDonald's for a sausage McMuffin. The sidewalk was shoveled but the door was locked. From there I drove directly to Whately for the Antiquarian Book Center sale, only to find they weren't open yet. Troubadour, the shop down the road, was open so I went in there. Run by Bob Willig, they have fabulous academic stock for sale at academic prices. Willig said he has bought out two Miltonists in the past year, and said that Eugene Hill is a good customer who takes all the Malone things he gets in. I bought three legal items, including two Theatrum Orbis Terrarum reprints of early legal writings. I saw but didn't buy a book on the criminal underworld and saw that Lucky Luciano looked just like Peter Picknelly and another picture showed a pall bearer that looked like a young Mayor Albano.
When I left Troubadour the parking lot at the Antiquarian Book Center was full of cars despite their having expanded their lot to include spaces not only in front of the school but also the field to the left. I was dressed high queer with my handcuff bracelets and leather bondage collar with bell and dogtag. I spent $268.26 on 20 volumes, my favorite item being Lewis Gaston Leary on Andorra: The Hidden Republic (1912) in mint condition. I recall telling President Beverly Miller that being banned from WNEC was like being banished from Andorra. I also bought James Weldon Johnson's Black Manhattan, a Professor Commanger's copy of Frances Hawes on Henry Brougham (1957) and D.A. Mahony's The Prisoner of State (1863) autographed by George W. Wilson, whose own incarceration is described in pages 371-84. Smith apologized for not sending me any notice about the sale and said she is sure I'm in their database. She was in a good mood and said she is originally from the New Haven area, an unusually forthcoming personal admission from her.
On my way home coming up State Street I noticed that the roof of the one story 100 State next to Saia at 106 has collapsed. On the way down Wilbraham Road I was behind a Mercedes with an Albano sticker on it. A woman named McCarthy called looking for Storrowtown. Dined on a can of Campbell's Chunky Beef With Wild Rice Soup. Watched the nightly news, Dan Elias sometimes uses bad English, but Barry Kreiger usually gets it right. TV22 says Springfield has the highest infant mortality rate in the state. Eamon's latest phone message says the Leeds Relocation Company Consultant Report rates Springfield as one of the worst places to live or do business. He says the city "has no competitive edge."
Sunny, clear, 24 degrees at 8am. Gas at Pride in the Acres is $1.39.
There is now a Vermont Alliance of Country Stores hoping for a membership of 75 or so to get cheaper prices through bulk purchasing. Friendly's stock continues to slide. At 9:20 WSPR played Mozart's Concerto 26. The Foundation for Anglican Tradition were publishers of The Seabury Journal in 1986.
Out at 10:05 and drove over to Spag's to buy a scrapbook, but they were all sold out, so I went over to the Walmart on Boston Road and bought one of theirs. When I got home, I used the scrapbook to assemble my nomination of the Valley Advocate for a Pulitzer Prize. The scrapbook is green and I cut out some Valley Advocate mastheads and pasted them on the outside. Then I drove out to show it to the Powell's, but only a barking Simon was home. I went over to Marshall Moriarty's, but only Mrs. Moriarty was home, wearing a SABIS t-shirt, so I showed it to her. Then I spotted Bobby Brown and his wife sitting outside at the end of Maebeth eating Chinese food. They both liked the nomination scrapbook and were most cordial, urging me to stop by again sometime.
I went home and put the finishing touches on the nomination, then went over to CopyCat and made copies of it and showed it to the new guy. Then I walked over to Louis & Clark and mailed it to the Pulitzer Prize Committee with the help of Cindy. I also mailed a note to Tom Vannah telling him how I sent the nomination with the $50 fee and that I specifically mentioned himself, Maureen Turner and Stephanie Kraft. Then I crossed Breckwood to Dunkin Donuts, where I got a cheese and onion bagel with a coupon. When I got home, the mailman was just arriving. The mail brought a few interesting things, including a biopsy quote from the doctor and an invitation from Elms for the lecture on John Boyle O'Reilly on April Fool's Day. I also got a fundraising flyer saying that Albano is raising money by selling campaign roses at $39.99 for a dozen packaged with "a bow, baby's breath and greens."
Had a Swanson Fish and Chips with cherry cobbler for dinner. I'm currently reading Arnold's Great Public Schools (1890) which I bought in Whately for a bargain priced $12.50. Up in the attic I found an old package of a dozen rolls of Soft Weave Toilet Paper with a no-expiration coupon inside. I haven't seen such a coupon in years, in the early days all coupons had no expiration date. An entertainment analyst on the Louis Ruckeyser's Business Journal Friday night said of the movie industry, "There are too many screens out there." That's what I've been saying for years about the theaters in Springfield. On the TV40 news they said The Limited is closing at the Holyoke Mall and they had on John Donnellan, Director of Business at Holyoke Community College, who said that the J.C. Penny in Enfield is also closing.
31 degrees and sunny at 7am.
Pinochet of Chile is now under house arrest. He should be put into a meat grinder. Alaska pays the highest teacher salaries in the nation. General William Westmoreland graduated 112th out of his class of 276 cadets at West Point. TV22 says that Franklin County has the fastest growing teen pregnancy rate in the state. John J. Peterson is Senior Vice President at Paine-Webber in Monarch Place. Janet A. Nolan was Director of the Providence Preservation Society in Rhode Island in 1985. Isaiah Thomas Books and Prints was located on Main Street in Worcester in 1986.
When I got up I turned on the TV first thing and the news was on TV30 and the Teletubbies were on TV57. The news said there was an implosion conducted at 60 Washington Street in Hartford which drew an audience of thousands to watch the building transformed into a 20 foot high pile of rubble. It was built 35 years ago and there will be a parking lot there "until we can erect a new building that will last another 30 years." Does that mean that Monarch Place will be torn down in a few decades? The Mayor of Hartford was shown saying that it was "one of those 1950's and '60's buildings with no historic significance whatsoever."
It would be fun to make a Blair Witch type movie about Lizzie the Model T Ford. Went to Louis & Clark and sent Gainor Davis a letter along with one to Glenn Clark of the Wilbraham police. I mailed a note to Tom Vannah giving him the details on their Pulitzer Prize nomination, and also sent notices on the Valley Advocate Pulitzer nomination to the Powells, Charlie Ryan, Springfield College, Caprio at WNEC, Mrs. Crossetti, Lewis-Caulton, Belle-Rita Novak, Michaelann Bewsee and Marshall Moriarty. Then I went to McDonald's for a sausage and cheese McMuffin, which was a ripoff at $1.29, but I read the paper with the Economic Outlook section in it for free, so that made up for it. Out of McDonald's at 11:15am and down to Wesley United Methodist Church, where there was an unusually large attendance of 50 cars in their parking lot.
Next I came back down Boston Road to the Big Y, where I bought milk and frozen pizza. Back home, the sun was shining through the dining room window, lighting the pages of The Poems of William Barnes (1893) while I wearing my hoodie and reading. I called the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and asked about getting tickets to the Evan Dobelle speech, and Jeanie said Carol Collins will send me the info. The rest of the afternoon I spent cleaning in the attic. I brought down a big box of coat hangers and other stuff to bring to the Goodwill. Also, I cleared out five boxes of shower curtains that Mother saved, some of which had deteriorated to uselessness. I also found a lot of equally deteriorated Poly-Foam Hanger Covers and assorted knick-knacks from Crest Street. Mother put many things away in boxes and then never looked at them again. It reminded me that the Fairfield Mall is closing Wednesday. Two Guys used to have a store up there, and when Mother couldn't find what she wanted, she would go there for some more shoes, shower curtains, whatever!
Among the other things I came across in the attic, I found some handsome carved figures that Crespi sent me from Venezuela, and a Christmas themed block print I made in Mr. Issac Padfield's art class at Buckingham Jr. High. I also came upon a kidney shaped ashtray I made at Buckingham, which is simply hideous. Written in pencil on the bottom is "Made in School June 1954." To relieve future art bidders the agony of deciding what it is worth, I am throwing the ashtray directly into the trash where it will never be seen again. I will keep the stool and lamps I made at Buckingham as they look half decent.
For supper I had Progresso Vegetable Soup and sausage patties. TV40 says there was a fire today at the Friendly's on Sumner Avenue, but there wasn't much damage. The fire was caused by someone lighting a roll of toilet paper on fire in the men's restroom. Holyoke Mayor Mike Sullivan is considering a multimillion dollar sports complex, which would be bound to hurt the new Basketball Hall of Fame. Eamon's latest answering machine editorial condemns Phillips' MCDI for "fiscal and personnel mismanagement." Who does the auditing for MCDI? Alas, most of my communication with Eamon these days is unsubstantial. Eamon also blasts Hurwitz for his comments about the Civic Center being "the engine of economic growth" and he predicts the remodeled Civic Center will be as big a flop as the old one. This is the first time I recall Eamon referring to Hurwitz in his messages.
Cloudy and 35 degrees at 8am.
WFCR reported this morning that the Fed says the housing market has softened and consumer confidence has fallen. Robert Whitelaw was a member of the Colby Class of 1963. In 1973, I had an article published in The PhD in English and Foreign Languages: A Conference Report. Carol W. Kinsley was Director of Public Relations for the Public Schools of Springfield in 1986. Jean A. Franck was Computer Coordinator for Alumni at Colby College in 1986. Ann Russell worked for the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover in 1986.
Nicholas Lowry of Swann Galleries was on Antique Roadshow quoting circus posters from the 1950's as worth several hundred dollars. Rudi Franchi of Nostalgia Factory in Boston was also on. The New Haven Register flashes their number for home delivery on TV24, so I called and got Ronnie who said that home delivery is not available in Springfield and that the number is only for Connecticut residents. Beth Carroll reported on TV40 that a Sudbury Church had graffiti and swastikas sprayed on it. They are treating it as a hate crime.
This morning Pearsall called from Wilbraham Town Hall and asked me for my Social Security number. I said that's pretty private and asked why. He said their lawyer found a bankruptcy against a J. Wesley Miller in Worcester. I gave him my number and he said immediately that it is a different J. Wesley Miller. I told him there are a surprising number of people named J. Wesley Miller around, and told him about the J. Wesley Miller Club. Pearsall promised to "keep confidential" my SS number and also informed me that the deed for the Fernbank land transfer will be recorded on February 1st.
I pushed around the vacuum in the basement this morning and then read the Union-News. They ran a list of the names of everyone who had a letter to the editor printed last year. Later, I sifted through some files and threw away old newspaper clippings of articles I had used to write The Cappy Miller Report. I also came across a listing of recent hotel prices for the Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Marriott and Sheraton in Dallas, Texas. The Springfield versions of those hotels charge a lot more, even though it is clear that Dallas has a lot more to offer travelers than Springfield. In fact, even West Springfield has more to offer in shopping and other "attractions" than downtown Springfield.
It was snowing when I drove out today to make copies at Pride in 16 Acres. Fleet Bank now has a United Cooperative banner on its front promoting a new branch to come to that location. Then to Bradlees, which was mostly cleaned out, but with about 20 people in line at the single cash register. Bradlees was the most civil of the local department stores and their merchandise more tasteful. The Fairfield Mall will be demolished and a Home Depot erected there. Then over to the CVS at Eastfield Mall, where I got some prostate pills. I saw a bus driver there I had known in the 1980's, who has aged considerably and was buying some vitamins. I then went to the Eastfield Post Office and was waited on by Linda as I mailed some info on the Valley Advocate Pulitzer nomination to Lovejoy.
Unknown called at 11:13am. Nader the Hatter called at 12:14pm and said he had a book for me so he was going to swing by on his way to visit his cousin. He arrived shortly after in a bright blue car. I gave him a bag of reading material, and he told me that he is uncertain when he will return to Florida, it depends on Nardi's projects. Alphonse's divorce trial is next month. The book he brought me is really of little interest to me, Richard Quevedeaux's The New Charismatics (1976). Nader told me that Eamon is not mad at me, but Eamon did tell Nader that he is disappointed that someone as brilliant as me doesn't have an appropriate job. Nader said he asked Eamon, "Well, what about you?"